Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Casino remodels and Aria

It’s been a nice week here in Las Vegas. The weather has calmed down and we are running our seasonable temperatures, with afternoons up around 32c (90f) and nightly lows around 15c (60f), with typical sunny skies.

Last weekend seemed to draw some old style music. Both Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were playing, but at different casinos. And for even older Mitzi Gaynor was here as well, (remember her singing ‘was that man right out of my hair’ from South Pacific?) her first appearance in Vegas since 1978. She was a regular singer back in the ‘good old days’ in town a lot. (OK, can’t resist)

It was also IndyCar racing at the local motor speedway, which unfortunately was halted before it got very far. The Strip was closed ahead of the races as the cars sipped up and down Las Vegas Boulevard in front of Caesar’s and other casinos before large crowds.

One of the Republican debates will be held tonight at the Sands. There is hope that at least one of the candidates will mention the mortgage problems ‘ordinary’ people are having. Last year was rated as better than the year before, with only one housing unit out of eight getting repossession notices, the highest rate in the country. (and 12% was better?). wow. Our unemployment rate is at an official 14%, but admittedly is around 20% counting everyone not eligible for unemployment insurance, or who have used it up.

Business is picking up at the casinos, no big projects planned but many casinos are renovating to make them appear more modern. Wynn just spent $99,000,000 to upgrade their 2,700 rooms (in their five year old building). The Stratosphere spent $20,000,000; Bellagio underwent $70,000,000 in changes; $35,000,000 at the Plaza downtown and $180,000,000 at the Tropicana. Latest to announce remodeling is the MGM Grand, spending $160,000,000 on their 3,570 rooms and 642 suites along with changing the whole casino floor and all other public spaces.

Over at the Venetian there are plans to install a synthetic ice skating rink out front, on top of the Grand Canal, so you can skate while gondoliers row people alongside. This will be for their “Winter in Venice” celebration running from Thanksgiving through New Years. Lots of other entertainment activities are planned for what is usually the slowest month for visitors in Vegas. It won’t be cheap to skate - $19 per half hour. If you get sick of the snow season come on by in December, rates are usually low, shows offer two for one tickets, and though it isn’t too warm we usually average around 24c (mid 70’s f) in bright sunshine. You can still lay out and get a sunburn.

I don’t have any MGM or Venetian photos for you, but here are some from City Center – this is the Aria pool just outside the buffet windows (one of the only buffets in town with windows)

One of their indoor brass trees

And if you want to hit their shopping mall, it’s fairly open and a little different than the others around town


stephen Hayes said...

I think I need to book another trip to Vas Vegas. Your pictures are convincing me that it just might be time to go.

SOL's view said...

Nice photos. I like to see what you see.

That's a lot of money to spend when there's a recession on. They don't seem too worried that they won't recoup the money somehow.

This whole economic crisis is continually spiraling out of control. It makes me wonder if there will ever be a solution, even a bandaid...

karen said...

Interesting photos - I just love that brass tree trunk - very different to the sort of tree trunks I'm fond of photographing in the bush!

Yes, a very sad end to the Indycar racing...

Pamela said...

of course we drove through without stopping a year ago as we had other agenda. But a few years back we were there and I had stomach problems the whole time and did not enjoy myself much at all. My best memory was standing with my friend at the Wynn. And some guy with a round belly and bermuda shorts leaned up again one of those big pillars and "broke wind" It was one of those raise the eyebrow moments and look at each other and shake heads. ha ha

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

That brass tree would be worth a trip in and of itself.