Many conference organizers say attendance is typically higher when their events take place in Las Vegas. The desert oasis is no doubt a draw: Vegas welcomed an estimated 41.1 million visitors in 2014, breaking its previous record of 39.7 million. This year, that number is expected to hit 41.6 million.New Faces
• Robert G. Goldstein
is the new president and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., succeeding Michael A. Leveen, who retired late last year. Goldstein was most recently president of global gaming operations for the company.• Meg Fasy, CMP,
became vice president of sales earlier this year for Bellagio Las Vegas, where she leads all sales efforts at the property. Previously, she was VP of industry relations at event tech firm PSAV.Highest Heights
The 550-foot High Roller, which opened in The Linq promenade last April, was recognized by Guinness as the world's tallest observation wheel. Each of the attraction's 28 glass cabins can hold up to 40 people.
The Buffet at Excalibur debuted a new look and menu at the end of 2014, thanks to a redesigned facade and a new variety of cultural cuisines (American, Asian, Italian, Latin) at various stations. bit.ly/1DYJSo6
The 2,253-room Linq Hotel & Casino
debuted this past November, a rebranding of Caesars Entertainment's Quad Resort & Casino, which before that was the Imperial Palace. Taking its new name from the new outdoor retail and entertainment promenade it borders, The Linq is positioned for the "socially active" traveler interested in the new entertainment complex and its High Roller observation wheel. Room service is available from a number of Linq outlets, including Brooklyn Bowl and Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar. Since opening, the property has rolled out five new suites with views of either the Strip or the High Roller, as well as a new lobby bar, 3535. A new meetings venue, the Vortex Roof Deck, is set to open in March.•
The $415 million SLS Las Vegas
debuted over Labor Day weekend in 2014, a luxury North Strip destination in the same spot where the iconic Sahara Hotel once stood. The 1,620-room lifestyle resort, from hospitality company SBE, represents a collaboration among SBE founder, president and CEO Sam Nazarian; star chef and culinary director José Andrés, and designer Philippe Starck, who consulted through design firm Gensler. It's also among the first properties in Hilton's new Curio collection, a network of high-end, independent hotels.
The resort has three towers and offers eight restaurants, including the José Andrés-helmed establishments Bazaar Meat and Ku Noodle, as well as Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book; Cleo; The Griddle Café, and others. Among nightlife venues at the resort are the 20,000-square-foot LiFE, lounge and music venue Foxtail, and a new outpost of L.A.'s The Sayers Club. The resort also features a 10,000-square-foot Fred Segal flagship store, a 60,000-square-foot casino and approximately 80,000 square feet of event space, including 30,000 square feet divided among various meeting rooms and a ballroom that spans 9,000 square feet.•
Last spring saw the opening of The Cromwell,
a 188-room boutique hotel on the Strip at the site of the former Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon. Caesars Entertainment invested $185 million to revamp the property, which features 19 suites; Bound, a lobby bar; a 40,000-square-foot casino with 66 table games and 440 slots; and the 65,000-square-foot Drai's Beach Club and Nightclub, a rooftop pool venue. Giada, the on-site restaurant and the first from chef Giada de Laurentiis, opened this past June.
Las Vegas claimed three spots in the top 10 of Cvent's Top 100 U.S. Meeting Hotels, released last month. At the top of the list was Aria Resort & Casino, followed by The Venetian and Palazzo Resort, Hotel & Casinos (third) and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Autograph Collection, in 10th place (bit.ly/1CpzVvP