Saturday, January 15, 2011

Paris Sugar Factory Opening March 4th

The Caesars Pulse of Vegas blog is reporting that the Sugar Factory at Paris will be opening on March 4th. A few celebrities will be on hand for the opening including Kim Kardashian and Holly Madison.

I'm still a little unsure of what Sugar Factory actually is. The other locations on the Strip at Planet Hollywood and Mirage are just candy shops (I think). It looks like this location will have a restaurant, bakery, sandwich shop and ice cream shop. There will also be something called a "Chocolate Lounge" that will offer upscale chocolate offerings paired with wine and liquor. Additional bars and a nightclub will also be part of the complex.

It looks like they designed this project to maximize outdoor space and views of the Bellagio fountains, which is definitely a smart idea. The other Strip front restaurant at Paris - Mon Ami Gabi is constantly talked about as a great place to view the fountains. I'm guessing the new Sugar Factory complex will be a great place to watch them as well. It's kind of intersting to see how other hotels make design changes to maximize their views of the fountains. You could argue that The Cosmopolitan's whole design was based on providing great views of the city (and the fountains).

For more about the Paris Sugar Factory opening check out Caesars Pulse of Vegas blog.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Vegas Commercial - My Turn

This commercial has been playing rather frequently on my TV lately. A couple of familiar sights include Minus 5 Ice Lounge and Gilley's.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stratosphere's Under the Radar Renovations

People staying or playing at the Stratosphere may notice some changes at the property. The hotel has quietly been working on a $20 million renovation project.

The biggest changes will come on the casino floor where the carpets have been replaced and marble flooring has been added. The buffet and some of the other restaurants are also getting face-lifts.

New "Stratosphere Select" rooms in the Premier Tower are fully remodeled and seem like a bargain at only $15-20 more than regular rooms. Looks like average rates for these rooms are around $50/night on weekdays and $95/night for weekends. Pretty good prices for a brand new room. You can even request a view of the Fontainebleau.

While this is certainly minor compared to the Tropicana's $165 million dollar makeover, it's good to see some positive changes at the property. Location is a disadvantage, but these new rooms along with the new Sky Jump attraction and a fresh casino experience might give more people a reason to check it out.

For more on the Stratosphere renovations: Las Vegas Sun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Better Directions at Aria

Aria has been open for a little over a year. Since the opening they have been tweaking the operation of the property in an attempt to solve some less than flattering customer service issues. One issue seems to be that it's hard to navigate your way around the hotel and CityCenter as a whole. In an attempt to make it easier Aria has added additional signage throughout the hotel and casino. They recently tweeted:

U asked for better signage and we listened! Check out the new overhead signage on our Casino level!

In addition to the interior signs, exterior signage has been installed on the incomplete Harmon Hotel pointing the way to CityCenter to pedestrians passing by. This was seemingly done as a direct response to the Cosmopolitan opening.

It looks like Aria is taking steps to improve, but I think there's still some ground to make up before they are hitting on all cylinders.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MGM Resorts Launches M life

MGM Resorts International has launched their new "M life" loyalty program. The program will have a tier structure consisting of Sapphire, Pearl, Gold and Platinum. Each tier comes with its own set of benefits, including the ability to earn points faster at the Gold and Platinum levels.

Another feature of M life will be the ability to track spending outside of the casino, but that won't be available until later this year.

The new program is being touted as easier to use and more transparent when it comes to knowing exactly what you've earned. You will be able to check your balances a variety of ways, including online, kiosks, at slot machines and even an iPhone app.

M life is also aiming to offer guests rewards that they actually want. If you went to a concert in the past, they might offer you tickets to a concert by a similar artist in the future.

We will have to wait and see how well the new program is implemented, but I think any change is for the better. I never could figure out the old MGM Players Club. It was seemingly impossible to know what comps you had or how much you had to play to get anything. M life looks to be combating some of these problems, so hopefully it's a step in the right direction.

Source: MGM Resorts Press Release.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Palms a good fit for Caesars Entertainment?

News has surfaced that Caesars Entertainment parent company TPG Capital, along with Leonard Green & Partners are in talks to take a controlling stake in the Palms. This has fueled speculation that Palms will become part of the Caesars Entertainment "Evil Empire" as some have called it. People are assuming that Palms will join the Total Rewards network as a result of the move.

If this transaction does happen, I have to wonder if the Palms is a good fit for the Caesars Entertainment portfolio. Palms is unique because it is part locals casino and part celebrity hot spot. Caesars on the other hand is known for running tourist casinos with less than favorable odds on their games. If Palms is acquired by Caesars it will be interesting to see if they choose to keep the locals happy, or focus more on pushing tourists off the Strip.

I have a feeling that Caesars will take the latter approach and will concentrate on the tourist dollar. I think they will use the Palms trendy reputation to market to their younger Total Rewards members. It will give them a hip hotel to market at reasonable prices, but will they keep payouts high to hold on to the locals? I guess we'll have to wait and see, if the deal even happens at all.