For Your Amusement
In keeping with the "Disney-for-grownups" label oft applied to Las Vegas, a number of amusement-park-like attractions are under construction in the city -- with an unmistakably Vegas air about them, of course.
Dueling wheels. There actually are two Ferris-like observation wheels being built in town, each having claimed to be the world's largest when first announced. The 550-foot High Roller, part of Caesars Entertainment's new open-air Linq development, will allegedly become the tallest in the world when it opens in the first quarter of 2014. The wheel will have 28 cabins, each with a 40-person capacity. The cabins can be booked in any quantity, including a complete buyout for group events. An adjacent building will have 2,500 square feet of meeting space, which can be divided into three rooms, for gatherings before or after the ride itself. thelinq.com
The 500-foot-high Skyvue, which is under construction across the street from Mandalay Bay, is now slated to be the world's third largest wheel in this suddenly competitive category. The wheel will be a high-tech billboard as well, with 50,000 square feet of LED digital signage per side. Gondolas will come in two sizes -- either 24- or 32-person -- and are available for group events. A 21,000-square-foot convention center and 140,000 square feet of retail space are being developed alongside the attraction, which should open in early 2014. skyvuelasvegas.com
A Vegas-style zipline. Those who venture downtown will soon see a new spectacle in the Freemont Street Experience -- or, rather, above it. The previous zipline over the street, which just wasn't Vegas enough, is making way for SlotZilla, an $11 million, 11-story zipline structure that resembles -- surprise! -- a giant slot machine. Willing participants will be spewed from the machine, jackpot-style, using propulsion technology not previously seen in ziplines. Two rides will be offered: The Zoomline, on the upper level, will be more than 100 feet aboveground and propel participants 1,700 feet under the Freemont Street Experience canopy. The lower zipline, meanwhile, will be about 70 feet above ground and take more conservative riders approximately 850 feet to a midpoint landing platform. vegasexperience.com -- M.J.S.
New Boutiques on the Strip
Two behemoth resorts on the Strip are debuting smaller boutique properties this year within their broad confines. As of this month, the 3,348-room Caesars Palace is now hosting the 181-room Nobu Hotel and Restaurant in its Centurian Tower. The opening marks the expansion into the lodging industry for the Nobu brand, which originated with the eponymous chef's first Manhattan restaurant. David Rockwell, the New York-based architect who designed the first Nobu Restaurant, also designed this location, with the help of owners Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, Meir Taper and actor Robert DeNiro. The hotel features the largest Nobu Restaurant and Lounge in the world, at 12,775 square feet, and offers high-end room service to sushi-loving guests. Nobu Hotel guests receive priority reservations and VIP access to the Nobu Caesars Palace restaurant, complimentary VIP access to the Pure Nightclub, private pool access and in-room iPad registration.
South Beach TransplantLate this year or early next, the 1,100-suite Delano Las Vegas will open in place of THEhotel at the 3,211-room Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. MGM Resorts International, the owner of Mandalay Bay, will operate the new hotel on behalf of Morgans Hotel Group, which owns the Delano brand. The second Delano in the country will take some design cues from the South Beach original but adapt the style for its new location. All of the current guest rooms will be remodeled, as will the on-site bars, lounges, spa and restaurants. Morgans will open several new F&B spots on site, including a casual American bistro by chef Brian Massie, a Japanese restaurant by chef Akira Back and a transformation of the Red Square nightspot. All of the venues, which will be managed by The Light Group, are expected to open in 2013. Mandalay Bay is hoping the Delano cache will draw Latin American and European travelers, in particular. -- H.L.