Elon Musk is building an underground tunnel here, for one.
The hotel has been in the works since 2013. Plans came and went. Construction stalled. For a while, the parking garage just stood there without much happening. An idea for a panda exhibit was floated. Between all the fits and starts, Resorts World threatened to be another failed project in a post-recession Las Vegas. But after so much uncertainty, the project finally gathered momentum and even a pandemic couldn’t slow it down.
Resorts World Las Vegas is opening on schedule (tomorrow, June 24 to be exact) and—speaking in local terms—throwing all its chips on the table. The property has the flash and sparkle to attract out-of-town visitors, luxurious perks for high rollers, and enough efficiency and excitement to draw in locals. And let’s not ignore the ambitious nature of its culinary program. Yet ultimately, the legacy of Resorts World could be in revitalizing the north end of the Strip, while neutralizing the impact of the nearby Fontainebleau eyesore, if not quite erasing it. Resorts World isn’t just here to stay. It’s here to change the way you look at Las Vegas. Here are 11 things to know about the Strip’s first new resort built from scratch in more than ten years:
The property is loaded with history
Long before Resorts World existed, the lot was home to the Stardust, which opened as a glorified motel with an outer space theme in 1958. Over the years, the property was scrutinized for mob connections, but expanded its presence on the Strip with the addition of two hotel towers. Lasting more than four decades, the Stardust became synonymous with a certain retro charm, but was sold to Boyd Gaming and demolished in 2007. Its planned replacement, the Echelon, was never built due to the 2008 recession and the land eventually fell into the hands of the Genting Group, owners of Resorts World.
Before its demise, the Stardust was used as a filming location for movies like “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” and “Showgirls.” At one point, it was secretly run by Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, a crime figure whose story inspired the book and movie Casino. Today, the Stardust’s iconic marquee is on display at the Neon Museum. More than a hundred trees, including pine and oak trees, from the Stardust site were preserved and repurposed for Resorts World landscaping.
It’s like three hotels in one
Resorts World holds a massive collection of 3,500 rooms and suites, spread across three sub-branded categories: the Hilton, Conrad, and Crockfords. Each has its own dedicated porte cochere valet entrance and check-in lobby, sparing guests the hassle of trudging through a casino or endless hallways before taking an elevator up to their room.
Even better, you can go all digital. Check in online and use your phone as a key card. Just hold it up to the door. Within 24 hours ahead of arrival, you can pick out your exact room online (kind of like picking out a seat on an airplane). Want a view of the Strip? Prefer to be near the elevator? Looking to be as close to (or as far away from) a friend’s room as possible? Choices offer flexibility.
So how do the accommodations break down? Rooms under the Hilton banner are the entry-level option. Conrad is a step up. Yet the 230 units associated with the Crocksford brand (in partnership with LXR) are the most luxurious—reflected in the Rolls Royces hanging out by the valet. The check-in lobby has afternoon tea parties and the good stuff (like Louis XIII) stocked behind the bar. “Dedicated service ambassadors” (or personal assistants) are available at your beck and call.
Expect an all-star entertainment lineup within its world-class concert venue
The theatre inside Resorts World is the second concert venue in Las Vegas history specifically built for Celine Dion, who actually weighed in on a few of the design elements (most notably, the lifts). The Grammy-winning singer officially opens the venue on November 5, headlining a COVID-19 benefit for frontline workers and first responders, before continuing with a residency that’s basically a license to print money on the Strip. Other stars lined up for extended runs include Carrie Underwood (coinciding with the National Finals Rodeo), Katy Perry (in time for the lucrative New Year’s Eve weekend), and Luke Bryan (kicking things off Super Bowl weekend).
The theater holds 4,700 to 5,000 people, with even the worst seat in the house no more than 150 feet from the stage. It’s one of the largest in North America, designed with versatility in mind and a first-of-its-kind immersive audio system by L-Acoustics. Big-spenders will appreciate two VIP lounges—one in the lobby and another downstairs, tailor-made for meet-and-greets with the artists.
The hotel will connect to a space-age tunnel courtesy of Elon Musk
Restaurants and shows are lots of fun, but conventions and trade shows are the engines that truly power Las Vegas. Resorts World has about 250,000 square feet of meeting space with a fresh set of design and tech features. Digital screens cover walls and columns—and occasionally wrap around corners. There’s a welcome amount of natural light, especially in the Lily and Rose ballrooms, which have towering floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Strip. Outdoor terraces and a rooftop deck are on standby to soak in the fresh air.
But here’s the thing everybody’s talking about: Resorts World is the first line extension for Elon Musk’s Boring Company transportation system, carrying thousands of people per hour in electric Tesla vehicles in tunnels underneath the newly expanded Las Vegas Convention Center. Conventioneers can travel back and forth between the two properties within minutes, creating a distinct synergy for major shows and trade events that (for now) can’t be matched at any other Vegas hotel. The station (in The District) opens in July.
The culinary program is tapping into top local talent
Resorts World is promising more than 40 unique food and beverage experiences. And while that includes at least one Starbucks, the hotel scores points for avoiding a parade of predictable, familiar chains. Famous Foods Street Eats is the best example. The collection of counter service concepts, modeled after a Singapore-style hawkers market, challenges the casino crowd with an eclectic mix of quick-serve cuisine that skews heavily toward Asian flavors. Pepita’s Kitchen serves Filipino recipes while Kuru Kuru Pa is a yakatori grill by DJ Steve Aoki (who isn’t playing Zouk or Ayu by the way) and brother Kevin Aoki. Make a point to visit Mozz Bar, a sandwich stand from James Trees, who elevated the Las Vegas dining scene with Italian restaurants Esther’s Kitchen and Al Solito Posto.
Yet Brezza could be the most anticipated place to eat at Resorts World. The upscale Italian dining destination is led by Las Vegas favorite Nicole Brisson, who formerly ran one of the most ambitious dry-aging programs in the country at the now-closed Carnevino. The chef is now putting together a farm-focused menu with fresh, light pastas, thoughtful vegetable dishes, and steaks grilled over an open flame. She’s also resumed off-site dry-aging in collaboration with Creekstone Farms.
Other top restaurants include Ray Garcia’s Viva for Mexican cuisine, Kusa Nori for sushi and other Japanese dishes, and Genting Palace, a mix of traditional Chinese recipes and live seafood. Marigold offers classic American dining with a few playful takes on lobster, while Sun’s Out Buns Out focuses on egg dishes 24/7, and with chairs shaped like broken egg shells, who’s to argue? Carversteak, a full-on steakhouse, opens in December.
So… many… ways… to drink
This is Las Vegas, ready with a stiff drink at any given moment. Gatsby’s seems especially promising with a stylish mix of cocktails and champagne. Look for it underneath a collection of orbs that frequently change color near the casino floor. Wally’s Wine & Spirits is a lounge and retail shop in one with more than 8,000 labels to choose from.
The Center Bar at Famous Foods Street Eats thrives on a do-it-yourself approach. It’s equipped with 36 self-pour taps, automated with an RFID card that’s handed out by the bartender. Drink as little or as much as you like (within reason, of course) while reading about tasting notes and other worthwhile info on a digital screen. At last check, 24 taps were dedicated to beer, six were reserved for wine, and another six for cocktails.
The casino is “smart” with cashless betting
Resorts World has 117,000 square feet of gaming space with 1,400 slot machines. The main casino floor is big and bright—and somewhat self-contained while spilling over a bit into Famous Food Street Eats. The Crockfords gaming space is a casino within a casino for high-rollers with a clear and present emphasis on baccarat card games. There are private gaming saloons for the 66th floor Sky Casino and 5th floor villas.
Here’s the fun part. Resorts World aims to be the first “smart casino” in the United States with an optional cashless wagering system. Download the Resorts World app, enroll in the Genting Rewards program, and you’re good to go. Load money into your account, allow the dealer to scan a QR code on your phone, and chips will be in front of you in no time. Winnings can either go back into your digital wallet or handed over as a direct printout at the table. The app makes it easy to seamlessly move money around, not only in the casino, but also at shops and restaurants—all while managing your account balance and loyalty points, which are organized in “milestones” and “badges” instead of tiers.
Casino chips are equipped with RFID technology to not only digitally recognize their value, but monitor how they’re being used. And yes, it helps security notice anything suspicious happening during play. Think of it as a new kind of “eye in the sky” for the digital age.
The nightlife is rivaled only by the daylife
Zouk Nightclub opens in September, yet much of the design remains a mystery with a “surprise centerpiece” in the works. The club is hosting residencies by Tiesto and Zedd, who are also staying busy with regular appearances at Ayu Dayclub (opening July 2). In case you’re wondering, the pool party is pronounced “eye-you” and will also feature regular appearances by Becky G, Madison Beer, and DJ Snake. Ayu Nights is a series of after-dark parties, while Moonbeam promises to be an all-day poolside bash with hair-braid stations, art installations, and possible morning yoga sessions before the pace picks up in the afternoon.
Get ready to shop at The District
Expect to spend lots of time in The District, a two-level Strip-side plaza for drinking, dining, and shopping, with outlets ranging from the luxurious to the accessible. Iconic Los Angeles retailer Fred Segal will have two boutiques, dipping its toes back into the Vegas market after briefly giving it a go years ago at the SLS. One particular upstairs space is reserved for a rotating lineup of pop-up concepts, starting with a sneaker shop.
The centerpiece of The District is a 6,000-square-foot globe, which almost looks like a mini-version of the MSG Sphere. It’s covered with motion-activated LED screens, displaying 20 million pixels worth of custom designs and images, almost like digital artwork.
Room service is getting replaced
Say goodbye to room service as you used to know it. Instead, Resorts World has an exclusive deal with GrubHub to bring food and drinks from the hotel’s collection of restaurants and bars to guests in rooms or by the pool. In some cases, the food will be left inside locker-like warming containers for pickup. Prices are the same. There’s just a delivery charge added on. Maybe you tried a cocktail at a restaurant and loved it so much, you’d like it brought to your room. Totally doable. You can also request select retail items (like a bag of chips or a dose of Advil) and bathroom supplies. And to answer your next question: yes, you can have a bottle of vodka or another spirit delivered as well. Don’t say Resorts World doesn’t make pre-gaming easy.
The pool deck has secret hidden views
The main 5.5-acre hotel pool deck isn’t meant to be seen all at once. It curves, twists, and turns around corners. Overall, you’ve got nine bodies of water in five distinct pool areas, including a “Family Pool” with splash zones and a “Cabana Pool” with shaded cabanas around the perimeter. The most exclusive option is the 21-and-over “VIP Pool,” reserved for select Crockfords and Conrad guests, although others can enter by paying an admission fee that starts at $30. The highlight is a 100-foot-long infinity edge pool with a clear, unobstructed view of the Strip. It looks like you’re staring over the edge of the hotel itself… because you pretty much are.
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