Las Vegas & RenoDecember 16, 2021

Nevada: New, Refreshed, and Reimagined By
December 16, 2021

Las Vegas & Reno

Nevada: New, Refreshed, and Reimagined
Pictured: The Fountains of Bellagio. MGM has completed a remodel of all guest rooms in the Bellagio’s main tower.

Pictured: The Fountains of Bellagio. MGM has completed a remodel of all guest rooms in the Bellagio’s main tower.

With much of the world on collective pause in 2020 and large parts of 2021, enterprising hotel and resort properties in the “Entertainment Capital of the World” leveraged the downturn to reimagine their properties and move forward with planned remodels. From gala hotel and resort openings, to luxurious expansions and renovations, the Las Vegas/Reno-Tahoe region has led the charge in elevating the guest experience for corporate and incentive meeting events.

Circa Resort & Casino

Circa Resort & Casino offers the ultimate entertaining event experience in its expansive 35-story, 1.2 million-sf property. It features 777 rooms, including 60 suites and six Founder’s suites, all with king beds, and a two-level casino with 1,350 slot machines and 55 table games. The downtown location opened in mid-fall 2020 as the first from-the-ground-up new resort on Fremont Street since 1980, and operates as a 21-and-older property showcasing “The World’s Largest Sportsbook” — three stories with a 1,000-person viewing area and a stadium-seating capacity of 350.

Currently, planners can book meetings and events at two Circa venues: the 9,330-sf Legacy Club and the multilevel, 24/7 destination pool amphitheater, Stadium Swim. For spellbinding panoramic views of the Vegas skyline, the Circa’s 60th-floor cocktail lounge and outside terrace provide private and semi-private event space for 200 seated or 400 standing guests. Whether enjoying a Legacy Club signature cocktail or learning how to make one of your own in a private cocktail demo, the glamorous rooftop cocktail lounge comes with a dress code — no swimwear or athletic shoes among the directives, for example — and affords the best place to catch a Las Vegas sunset around a fire pit on an outdoor terrace while catching up with colleagues.

Capacity for up to 4,000 people and a massive 143-foot, high-definition screen define the scope of Circa’s Stadium Swim. The venue features six pools, eight “lily pads,” two swim-up bars in addition to 28 cabanas, two super cabanas, 337 chaise lounges and 38 day beds. Guests can soak up the sun, go for a swim, enjoy a poolside bite and a beverage, and watch the giant screen for endless entertainment.

Circa’s premier dining options include the 3,200-sf Barry’s Downtown Prime, a new steakhouse by Make It Happen Hospitality LLC, offering private and semi-private areas in eight distinct dining rooms. Owner/Chef Barry S. Dakake leads a team of dedicated restaurant, wine and cuisine professionals whose mission is to deliver exceptional steaks and seafood, creative cocktails, featuring The Cocktail Cart presented tableside and VIP customer service. The site’s vintage elegant decor reflects a “classic cool” vibe reminiscent of the ’50s and ’60s and features more than 40 artworks by local artists.

Headlining another popular Circa dining venue, 8 East celebrates cuisines inspired by Chef Dan Coughlin’s early years and travels throughout Asia. Communal dining, small plates and shareable dishes span Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai influences featured in Chef Coughlin’s signature dumplings, wontons, noodles, skewers and more, together with rare Japanese and Indian whiskies. Private dining is also available.

The Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall expansion has 600,000 sf of exhibition space, including 328,000 sf of column-free space. Courtesy of LVCVA

The Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall expansion has 600,000 sf of exhibition space, including 328,000 sf of column-free space. Courtesy of LVCVA

Las Vegas Convention Center

As the first facility in Nevada to receive the coveted Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR facility accreditation, the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) promotes safe events with enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols. Construction of the new 1.4 million-sf West Hall expansion and Convention Center Loop continued uninterrupted and was completed during the pandemic. “It was reassuring to know that when business travel returned, the destination would have exciting new options ready to welcome visitors,” says Laurae Clifford, senior director of destination group sales for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). And now, “Las Vegas is open for business and successfully hosting meetings, conventions, trade shows and special events of all sizes.” In early summer 2021, the LVCC welcomed the World of Concrete as the first major convention to return to Las Vegas and the U.S. since the pandemic. Between early summer and early fall, she cites, ”approximately 25 events were held at the [LVCC] facility, welcoming more than 310,000 attendees,” and adds, “From [early fall to mid-winter] 2022, another 22 events are planned with more than 515,000 attendees expected.”

Clifford describes the West Hall expansion as “a contemporary design with an abundance of natural light and 600,000 sf of exhibition space, including 328,000 sf of column-free space — the largest column-free exhibition space in North America,” she says. “The Hall’s open-air atrium features a 10,000-sf digital screen developed by Samsung, the largest digital experience in a convention center in the U.S.” while, she says, “The new 14,000-sf terrace can hold receptions of up to 2,000 attendees, offering spectacular views of the Las Vegas Strip.”

For ease and convenience, Clifford explains how “the LVCC Loop connects the West Hall to the LVCC’s Central, North and South Halls via two underground one-way vehicular tunnels, with stops at three passenger stations” providing “a fun and quick transportation solution to move convention attendees throughout the 200-acre campus in less than two minutes, while the same walk could take 20 minutes or more.” Still ahead, a Vegas Loop which could extend “as far north as downtown Las Vegas, and as far south as our airport and Allegiant Stadium.” Also on the horizon, Clifford says, “the $1.8 billion MSG Sphere, currently under construction behind The Venetian Resort, expected to debut in 2023. It will boast 17,500 seats, and feature several state-of-the-art components, including an exosphere with 580,000 sf of programmable lighting, and a host of advanced technology offerings.”

With so many new developments underway, Clifford assures planners that “Las Vegas has adopted a data-driven approach coupled with an industry-wide commitment to safety,” adding, “with 150,000 hotel rooms and more than 14 million sf of meetings and event space, we offer an unmatched value proposition and options for just about every budget and taste. Las Vegas is busy moving forward to the next era of business.”

Resorts World Las Vegas offers 250,000 sf of flexible meetings space, a 23,000-sf Strip-facing ballroom and 50 meeting rooms.

Resorts World Las Vegas offers 250,000 sf of flexible meetings space, a 23,000-sf Strip-facing ballroom and 50 meeting rooms.

Resorts World Las Vegas

To great fanfare, Resorts World Las Vegas opened in the summer as a new mega resort spanning nearly 88 acres at the north end of the Strip. The property is notable as the first integrated resort built on the Strip in over a decade. “It’s been thrilling to kick-start the next evolution of Las Vegas, adding 3,500 rooms to the market and several new dining, retail and entertainment experiences,” says Jason Glascock, vice president of sales. “Las Vegas prides itself on being an innovation destination, and Resorts World Las Vegas is upping the ante as we continue to develop in this marketplace.”

Located across from the LVCC West Hall expansion and the 2 million-sf, 250-store Fashion Show Mall, the $4.3 billion property has plans to showcase celebrity headliners at its 5,000-seat Resorts World Theatre, such as Celine Dion, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood — who started a residency in December — and Luke Bryan, in star-studded performances. Plus, Glascock says, “Being the new shiny penny in town, Resorts World Las Vegas has a natural appeal for the city’s meetings and events planners. We have a lot of great outlets at the property that are new and unique to guests as well as employees, who are excited to be back at work and ready to help meeting-goers have a fantastic experience.” Despite its massive size, Glascock points out that the resort was designed to be “easy to navigate and very accommodating for visitors.” For example, “the meeting space is less than 30 seconds from the elevator banks, the check-in desks are within view of the guest elevator banks, and you can even access the Passenger Station or group dining options without stepping foot in the casino.”

Overall, Glascock describes how their team “strategically created a meetings experience unique to the Las Vegas market, with a more boutique-style feel to our event space [so that] we have meeting spaces that can handle 10,000-people events, but we can also create an intimate business atmosphere that allows a meeting guest to stay completely focused on their work without heading into large crowds of people.” The resort’s 250,000 sf of flexible meeting and banquet space includes 50 meetings rooms, six ballrooms, a 23,000-sf Strip-facing ballroom and terrace with floor-to-ceiling windows, a 90-foot dynamic LED wall, and digital pillars in the meeting space.

In addition, the property features the aforementioned 5,000-seat, state-of-the-art theater; the 27,000-sf, world-class Awana spa offers a variety of themed experiences infused with Eastern and Western practices; and a 5.5-acre elevated pool complex with seven unique pool experiences — including an 1,800-sf infinity pool showcasing spectacular views of the Las Vegas Strip. Dining options range from famous foods to street eats, such as Nori Bar for authentic sushi dishes to signature restaurants such as Genting Palace for authentic Chinese cuisine, casual eateries that include The Kitchen at Resorts World for international cuisine, and bars and lounges such as Gatsby’s Cocktail Lounge for wine and rare champagnes.

With so much to offer both leisure and business guests, Glascock says, “We are very optimistic about the future of the resort, and its meetings and events, and look forward to welcoming more groups to our incredible property.”

Caesars Palace has embarked on a multimillion-dollar renovation of its original main entrance.

Caesars Palace has embarked on a multimillion-dollar renovation of its original main entrance.

Caesars Entertainment Inc.

At Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, a multimillion-dollar refresh of its guest rooms and public areas recently wrapped up, while a new Nobu restaurant and lounge — the second Las Vegas restaurant between Nobu Hospitality and Caesars Entertainment — anticipates an opening this year at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino.

With three distinct properties — Eldorado Reno Hotel & Casino, Silver Legacy Resort Casino, and Circus Circus Reno Hotel & Casino — THE ROW in Reno arguably deserves its moniker, “The City Within a City.” A $47 million renovation of more than 4,000 rooms and suites last year signals the company’s investment in elevating the guest experience through stylish, sophisticated decor designed to complement the soft palette of the surrounding Reno landscape. The room transformations include new furnishings, updated window treatments, bathroom renovations, carpet replacements and added artwork. As a result, a sense of luxury, tranquility and comfort provide a calm oasis that balances the lively entertainment scene among the property’s 25 restaurants, 23 bars and lounges, and five nightspots. When asked about the challenges of completing renovations during the pandemic, Don Goodman, director of sales, Reno & Lake Tahoe, says: “Like others, our biggest challenges were some delays,” but overall “the challenges were not huge.”

THE ROW’s 180,000 sf of flexible meetings and events space includes elegant ballrooms, breakout rooms and state-of-the-art boardrooms, including a panoramic boardroom atop the 25th floor of Eldorado at THE ROW. From the Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse to La Strada’s northern Italian cuisine, to The Brew Brothers — steak, seafood and bistro food are featured among the numerous group dining options. When it’s time for relaxing entertainment at the end of a busy work day, the recently renovated 21,000-sf world-class Spa at Silver Legacy Resort Casino offers a full-service salon, 12 treatment rooms, three relaxation lounges “with appropriate social distancing,” and seven hydrotherapy soaking tubs.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino and Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino provide popular venue choices for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. Pine-scented mountains rise more than 4,000 feet above the shore of the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe, offering plenty of hiking, boating, skiing and golfing possibilities. “We have something here for everybody,” Goodman says. Located across from Heavenly Village, guests can also take the Heavenly Mountain Gondola, a 2.4-mile ride in an eight-passenger glass cabin for stunning scenic vistas of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Mountains, which are “undeniably the best views of any ski resorts [nearby],” Goodman says. The properties provide more than 1,200 guest rooms and suites, 15 restaurants — including the opening of Gordon Ramsey’s Hells Kitchen Lake Tahoe — nine bars and lounges, and two nightspots. All 519 guest rooms in Harveys Tahoe Tower have been renovated as part of a $41 million total property investment since 2018.

IMEX America 2021 attendees tour the MGM Resorts Mega Solar Array, learning about the hospitality industry’s largest direct-connect renewable energy project in the world.

IMEX America 2021 attendees tour the MGM Resorts Mega Solar Array, learning about the hospitality industry’s largest direct-connect renewable energy project in the world.

MGM Resorts International

“Las Vegas has always been, and still is, a city that is constantly evolving — which has continued to be the case over the last two years,” says Stephanie Glanzer, SVP and chief sales officer for MGM Resorts International. In keeping with the mission “to ensure we were ready with exciting, new experiences once guests began to return” to Las Vegas, she notes, “We’ve been fortunate to continue moving forward with planned remodels and new amenities. Additionally, it gave us the opportunity to accelerate our significant digital transformation that allowed us to create new options for how guests experience our resorts, including fully mobile check-in; digital queues at restaurants and pools to avoid physical lines; and mobile ordering at the pool. We created additional options for our guests and how they prefer to experience our resorts.”

While MGM is most proud of its digital transformation during the pandemic downturn, Glanzer points out that “Within the last two years, we’ve completed several major upgrades, including a stunning remodel of all guest rooms in [AAA Five Diamond] Bellagio’s main tower and a full redesign of the guest rooms in Luxor’s Pyramid Tower.” Beyond room remodels, “we’ve added a host of new amenities, including the popular dumpling hotspot Din Tai Fung at ARIA and The Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio,” she says. “We’ve also added new experiences within our existing venues, including brunch at Spago overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio, and also a new brunch at CATCH at ARIA. On the entertainment front, we recently premiered the “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas LIVE” show at Luxor, providing an entirely new experience for guests and groups.”

For meeting planners and event organizers considering bookings at MGM Resorts, Glanzer says: “With 4 million sf of meetings and convention space across 13 resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, MGM Resorts has the ability to create highly customized events for groups of all sizes. Add that to our wide range of accommodations, incredible dining options, relaxing spas and pools, world-class entertainment and beautiful attractions like the Fountains of Bellagio, and you have the perfect mix for an outstanding event experience.”

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas opened with a modern desert oasis vibe last year as part of Hilton’s Curio Collection at the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. As a lifestyle hospitality brand pioneered by Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group, the brand “combines heartfelt service, straightforward value and a seamless, personalized hotel experience with the track record of innovation and smart disruption.” Among the featured integrated hotel’s plethora of amenities: more than 1,500 chambers, Grand Chamber Suites and Penthouses set in three luxurious hotel towers — Opal, Canyon and Ruby; the state-of-the-art 60,000-sf Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment; and an interactive 5-acre desert pool and entertainment area that includes the two-story Élia Beach Club, the 13,000-sf multifunctional outdoor event lawn, resort pool and The Promenade. Indoor entertainment highlights include The Theater, with 4,500-person capacity, and 24 Oxford, an intimate live entertainment venue for up to 650 guests.

Virgin Hotels Las Vegas welcomes meeting attendees with nearly 130,000 sf of flexible indoor/outdoor space designed to accommodate a full range of planner needs. In dining venues, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s namesake restaurant returns with an expanded bar and fresh decor, while traditional Mexican cuisine takes center stage at Casa Calavera in an engaging, playful setting. Numerous additional dining options include Money, Baby! a high-energy sports viewing experience featuring innovative dishes and cocktails; Todd English’s Olives from James Beard award-winning Chef Todd English; and David and Michael Morton’s One Steakhouse, which combines the excitement of the new Virgin Hotels with their traditional family receipes promoted by their father, legendary restaurateur, Arnie Morton.

With so many new and newly imagined Las Vegas/Reno-Tahoe venues moving forward, it’s easy to see why hotel and resort professionals remain upbeat about the future: “General business levels look very optimistic for 2022,” Glanzer says. “And we expect the meetings business to get better as we progress throughout the year, [and] as groups look forward to returning to in-person events with many committing to multiple years.”C&IT


Back To Top