Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sahara Closing on May 16th

Vegas Tripping is reporting that Sahara will announce tomorrow morning that the property is closing.

For the past few weeks there have been some pretty strong signs and rumors about the possible closing of the hotel. Two of the towers are already closed, along with the buffet and most of the restaurants. I believe most (if not all) of the shows have also closed or relocated in recent months.

The biggest problem with the property is probably the location. There isn't much happening that far north on the Strip these days. In better times Sahara would be able to compete by offering low room prices. Because of the economy most of the hotels in Las Vegas have great deals, so there is little reason to stay at Sahara.

UPDATE - March 11, 2011:

As expected, the press release announcing the closing was made public today. May 16th will be the closing date. The reason for closing: "Sahara was no longer economically viable." The company left the possibility for re-opening on the table stating that they would "Assess a variety of options for the property, including a complete renovation and repositioning." I think it's pretty obvious that won't be happening anytime soon though, if ever.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Nobu Boutique Hotel at Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace and Nobu Hospitality have announced plans to bring a Nobu branded boutique hotel to Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa teamed-up with his longtime friend and business partner Robert De Niro to come up with the restaurant-hotel concept.

The Centurion Tower at Caesars will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation to create the Nobu Hotel within the resort. The 180 room tower will feature Japanese styling and elegance, with a separate private check-in for guests. The renovation will also include the Nobu Restaurant and Lounge.

This is definitely a bold new idea. Nobu is a hot restaurant brand and it will be interesting to see if that translates into the hotel business. I'm not sure how many people will travel to Vegas just to stay in a Nobu hotel, but with only 180 rooms they really just need to cater to their niche market to make it work.

If the concept is successful I could see this spreading to other hotels, especially older ones with multiple hotel towers. A struggling hotel like Sahara could re-brand each one of its towers to a different club or restaurant to create some buzz. This also might be a good test run to see if Caesars Entertainment wants to re-brand Bills into a boutique nightclub hotel like it was rumored.

Source: Caesars Palace - Nobu Press Release.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Cosmopolitan gets Sportsbook

Just in time for March Madness, Cosmopolitan has opened a sportsbook. Cosmo has partnered with Cantor Gaming to open the book on the second floor of the hotel next to Holstein's restaurant and Marquee Nightclub. The sportsbook is small by Strip standards, but with Cantor's mobile gaming devices customers won't need to actually be at the sportsbook to place wagers.

Cantor has some interesting new concepts for sports betting, including live betting throughout the game. They just opened a new book at Tropicana, and also have locations at M Resort, Venetian and Palazzo.

When Cosmopolitan opened in December it did not have a "traditional" sportsbook. Instead the Book & Stage lounge served as a place where you could place wagers. The betting terminals at Book & Stage will remain open.

I know Cosmo caught some flack for not having a real sportsbook. I wonder if this is a direct response to that, or if it was planned all along. It seems like sports weekends are a huge part of Las Vegas with the Super Bowl and March Madness. Having a legit sportsbook would almost seem like a requirement for any casino resort.

For more information, see the Press Release and Cantor Gaming.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Augustus Cafe to become Central 24/7

Augustus Cafe, the 24 hour coffee shop at Caesars Palace will soon be transformed into "Central 24/7 by Michel Richard."

The new restaurant will still be open 24 hours, and will include an outdoor patio, lounge, and a full bar. Chef Michel Richard describes the food as "American favorites with a French accent."

I've eaten at Augustus Cafe, and while there was nothing wrong with it, the restaurant did seem a little bland. It's probably a good time for a makeover. The location near the front of Caesars should also be beneficial for the new bar and lounge area.

For more about Central 24/7: Pulse of Vegas.