Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rio Show in the Sky - Closing March 30, 2013

Rio's Masquerade Show in the Sky attraction will be closing for good on March 30th.

The show opened back in 1997 along with the rest of Rio's Masquerade Village expansion. It features dance and style from Brazilian Carnival, and Mardi Gras floats which are suspended on guide rails hanging from the ceiling. Guests can ride on the floats for a nominal fee, or just watch for free.

While it's sad to see an attraction like this close, I'm not surprised in the least bit. It was surely very popular at the beginning of its 16 year run, but I really don't think people were making the trip over to Rio just to see the show anymore. Showtimes had already been cut down to weekends only, and the cost of labor for the show performers couldn't have been cheap, especially for a financially depressed company like Rio's parent Caesars Entertainment.

That being said, it's one less thing on the list of "free things to do in Las Vegas" along with the recently closed Lion Habitat at MGM Grand. You have to wonder if providing a free attraction to bring people into your hotel is a viable strategy anymore, although I'm guessing it still works with the Bellagio fountains. Many of these attractions dated back to when Vegas was marketing itself as family friendly. Since the family friendly thing seems to be a thing of the past, many of these free family attractions are going to bite the dust.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Gronk Sorry for Partying at XS

New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski has been making the rounds on sports news shows and websites. A video surfaced of him dancing shirtless and playfully body-slamming a friend onto his broken forearm at XS during Super Bowl weekend in Vegas.

Now a receipt has surfaced from that same night, which shows Gronk's hefty (although it could be seen as modest by celebrity standards) $9600 bar bill at XS. Highlights include a bunch of $525 bottles of vodka and $11 bottles of water:

Photo: Busted Coverage.

Gronkowski has apparently responded to the controversy by wearing a "Sorry for Partying" t-shirt:

Photo: meli_garcia.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Downtown Grand and SLS

Two closed Las Vegas hotels might be reopening in the near future.

First up is The Downtown Grand, which previously operated as Lady Luck up until it closed in 2006. In 2010 there were some rumblings about the property reopening, and they even had a 2012 target date. Obviously 2012 has come and gone, but now the property has a new name, and today they gave local newspapers a tour of what the new rooms will look like. The rooms look great, and will start at a very reasonable $69 a night. With definite progress and construction work ongoing it's looking more and more likely The Downtown Grand will be open by the end of 2013.

Next up, the closed Sahara might be reborn as SLS Las Vegas. After Sahara closed in 2011, owner Sam Nazarian claimed that he would reopen the property as SLS in 2014. Not many people believed that would actually happen, but now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Nazarian has secured financing for the project. Some of the money is coming from EB-5, a program which gives green cards to foreigners who make investments in US businesses. The Journal article mentioned that The Downtown Grand is also using EB-5 for some of its financing. Construction for SLS is set to begin immediately, but there are still question marks, as much of the foreign EB-5 investment isn't available for use until it clears through government red tape.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Penn and Teller sign 6 year Extension

Penn and Teller celebrated their 20th year in Las Vegas by doing a special show Friday night (February 8, 2013). During the show they performed material from when they first came to Vegas in 1993 and called Bally's their home.

According to the Pulse of Vegas blog, Penn and Teller and Rio also announced a six year contract extension, which will make them the longest-running headlining act at an individual hotel in the history of Las Vegas.

In other Penn and Teller news, they will be getting a star on the Hollywood walk of fame soon, and Penn will be facing off with Donald Trump again on Celebrity Apprentice all-stars.

Penn and Teller is on the short list of shows that I want to see in Vegas, so this extension should give me ample opportunity.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Wedding Chapel at Aria

CityCenter has always needed a wedding chapel, and now its getting one.

The creatively named The Wedding Chapel at Aria is scheduled to open on April 23rd.

Much like CityCenter and Aria itself the chapel will try to shed the tackiness of the traditional Las Vegas wedding experience and transform it into a modern and upscale experience:

"Guests will enter the chapel through chrome, gated double doors backed by mahogany wood. Within the chapel lounge they will be greeted by a sense of natural light streaming through frosted glass windows etched with a blossoming tree. The stylish furniture, wrapped in sumptuous fabrics and set in comfortable arrangements, will create a contemporary, high-end residential feel. Inside the chapel, delicate live flowers weave their way up walls upholstered with infinity symbols to create a sense of romance and opulence."

I'm glad to see a wedding chapel at Aria. It's my opinion that every Las Vegas resort needs a wedding chapel, and I was a little dismayed when both Aria and Cosmopolitan opened without one. Cosmopolitan fixed that problem by opening their wedding chapel about a year ago, and now Aria will have one too.

Source: Aria Press Release.