by Michael J. Shapiro | February 01, 2013
Local Update
The 1,600-room Tropicana Las Vegas, which recently completed a $200 million transformation, is now the Tropicana Las Vegas-a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, thanks to a strategic partnership with the chain. Tropicana Las Vegas continues to own and operate the property, but now guests can earn and redeem Hilton HHonors points and airline miles at the resort. The partnership marks Hilton's return to the Las Vegas Strip after a nearly 14-year absence.

McCarran International Airport officially debuted its new international hub last summer, the $2.4 billion Terminal 3. Seven of the new terminal's gates were designed to accommodate international air service, including secured access to a U.S. Customs & Border Protection area capable of processing up to 2,000 international passengers per hour. The new terminal is expected to significantly ease congestion in the airport. Terminal 1 was built to handle 42 million passengers annually, a figure that has been exceeded in recent years.

The 2,973-room LVH casino hotel, formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, was sold in a foreclosure auction last November. The hotel is now managed by casino development and management firm Navegante Group. The hotel-casino has continued to operate throughout the foreclosure and sale, and no significant changes to the property are planned.

The former Imperial Palace has been rebranded as the Quad Resort & Casino. Renovations to the 2,545-room resort should wrap up by late 2013. The front desk and bell desk have been redone, and a new main entrance and porte cochere debuted on the north side of the building last fall. The casino will expand by an additional 15,000 square feet, to 35,000 square feet, by this spring. In phase two of the construction, an additional 30,000 square feet of gaming space with a central bar will be added, to debut by late this year. The resort will remain open throughout the renovations.

The former Sahara Hotel & Casino, on the North Strip, is on track to become the SLS Las Vegas. Development company SBE and real-estate/investment firm Stockbridge Capital Group secured funding for the project last spring. The new resort, a collaboration among hotel owner Sam Nazarian, designer Philippe Starck and award-winning chef José Andrés, will offer more than 1,600 guest rooms as well as a number of SBE's restaurant and nightlife brands. The property is scheduled to debut in 2014.

Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon, a 199-room property owned by Caesars Entertainment on the Strip, is temporarily closing Feb. 4. A major renovation will ensue, converting the venue to a boutique lifestyle hotel and casino that should open in early 2014 under a new name. The new hotel will offer a new 65,000-square-foot rooftop pool and a dayclub/nightclub, as well as completely remodeled guest rooms and common areas, along with a revamped casino. A new second-floor restaurant will debut as well.  

MGM Sky TerraceThe 5,044-room MGM Grand completed a $160 million room remodel last fall in the main tower. Included in the upgrade were 3,570 Grand King and Queen rooms, as well as 642 suites, including the Skyline Terrace, right, and Skyline Marquee suites. The rooms and suites feature not only new designs, but also environmentally sustainable features such as LED lighting, improved thermostats and solar shades. In late October the resort unveiled its 42-room Stay Well collection, outfitted with health and wellness features like vitamin C-infused shower water, advanced lighting and water purification systems, and antibacterial surface coatings. Also at the resort, construction has begun on the Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, an upscale venue that will fill the space of the former Studio 54. A spring opening is being planned.

The 703-room Palms Casino Resort unveiled the first phase of its $50 million renovation last October, which includes an "ultra-chic" remodel of all 428 guest rooms in the Palms Tower. The new room design features warm wood tones and velvet, as well as 16-foot-high wall-to-wall murals hung over each bed. The bathrooms have been completely redesigned as well. Each redesigned room is outfitted with a 46-inch high-definition LED television and a multimedia hub for connections to cameras, laptops, media players and game systems. Upcoming renovations, to be unveiled later this year, call for a new central bar in the casino and a new sports bar, Heraea, as well as a pan-Asian restaurant called XISHI.
Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, within the Mandalay Bay Resort, wrapped up renovations on all 424 guest rooms at the end of 2012. The new rooms sport a chic, art deco-inspired design. Additional highlights include a multimedia hub on all guest-room TVs, ergonomic chairs, pull-out sleeper sofas in all suites, backlit mirrors and classic marble flooring.

The Spa at Wynn reopened in late September 2012, following extensive renovations. The 45,000-square-foot facility has new décor in 45 treatment rooms, as well as an updated menu of services. In addition to treatments such as the new "Muscle Melt," the spa offers a fitness center, a full-service salon and barbershop, a steam room, saunas, whirlpools and relaxation lounges.

The 152-room Casino Royale, on the Strip between the Venetian and Harrah's, became the Best Western Plus Casino Royale last month. All guest rooms were recently renovated in preparation for the conversion.

Downtown property Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel has rebranded as the D Las Vegas Casino Hotel following extensive renovations. The image overhaul included a revamp of all 638 guest rooms. Other highlights include a two-level casino, with the ground floor featuring contemporary slots and gaming tables, and the upper level showcasing vintage slots and "an original Vegas vibe." A new casino bar, dubbed Longbar, stretches the entire length of the casino. The property also debuted a new Freemont Street Experience venue, the D Bar. The D Las Vegas has 8,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including a ballroom and four breakout rooms.

The 650-room Downtown Grand hotel is under construction, an overhaul of the former Lady Luck. The project calls for a new pool and spa, 50,000 square feet of casino space and 20,000 square feet of retail shops. The new venue is expected to open at the end of 2013.

The 327-room off-Strip Terrible's Hotel and Casino recently wrapped up $7 million in renovations. Guest rooms have new furniture and furnishings, and a hospitality suite was created for meeting guests. The property, which is just north of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, also renovated the gaming pit and added 1,000 new slot machines.

The 493-room Loews Lake Las Vegas became the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa last spring. Changes at the property include the addition of Westin's signature Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Shower to all guest rooms, as well as the debut of a new WestinWorkout fitness center.
JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and SpaThe 468-room JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, right, merged operations with the adjoining Rampart Casino. The two properties have been marketed under the umbrella name Resort at Summerlin, but previously were operated by two different companies. Planned upgrades for the casino include an expanded coffee shop, an expanded race and sports book, and more F&B outlets.

The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, the centerpiece of the Symphony Park development in downtown Las Vegas, opened last spring. The venue has a wide variety of event spaces, among them three theaters, including the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall. The Smith Center is home to the Nevada Ballet Theater and the Las Vegas Philharmonic.