The New Tropicana Las Vegas

The transformed Tropicana Las Vegas honors its historic past while updating for today’s travelers By: Kenneth Shapiro
The new Tropicana Las Vegas has a South Beach vibe. // © 2012 Tropicana Las Vegas
The new Tropicana Las Vegas has a South Beach vibe. // © 2012 Tropicana Las Vegas

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The Details

Tropicana Las Vegas

In a town with both a rich history and a constant need for reinvention, Tropicana Las Vegas achieves the almost impossible feat of being old and new at the same time. One of the Strip’s old-school favorites, the hotel opened its doors in 1957 and has been a mainstay of Vegas luxury, style and service for decades. World famous from the day it opened, the property sits at the southeast corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, an intersection which has the most adjacent hotel rooms in the world. The Tropicana provides more than 1,300 of those rooms, as well as restaurants, a 50,000-square-foot casino, a spa, extensive meeting space, entertainment venues and more.

Last year, the all-new Tropicana unveiled a $180 million South Beach-inspired transformation. The redesign included the lobby (reopening at the end of this month) and public spaces, upgrades to all rooms and suites, a makeover of the conference center and the casino, a revamped nightclub, the addition of Glow, A Mandara Spa and a new beach club (which is scheduled to open this spring).

On a recent visit, I found the new decor to be fresh and bright and, appropriately, tropical. Imagine a Miami Beach resort with rattan furnishings; accents using sand, stone and blond wood; and splashes of rich color that contrast with the overall bright white decor. Even the casino felt open and airy compared with the dark gaming floors found at other hotels.

That combination —of modern luxury and classic accents — infuses the guestrooms as well. My corner Paradise Suite (there are 35 of these) provided breathtaking views of the Strip through plantation shutters that invite natural light. While the suite had been remodeled and featured all the latest amenities, I appreciated the little touches that reminded me of the old Trop as well — the burgundy, art deco tile in the bathroom felt classic and homey, as did the regal deco accents on the ceiling. The room struck me as a nice contrast to the artificial, all-too-plastic feel at many of the latest crop of resorts in Vegas.

The Tropicana features three main restaurants. Bacio by Carla Pellegrino is the celebrity chef’s fine-dining Italian eatery. Biscayne Steak, Sea & Wine is described as serving steaks and seafood in “an island-infused atmosphere of casual elegance.” The more casual Cafe Nikki serves breakfast, lunch and dinner — including standard American fare such as burgers, sandwiches and salads, along with Asian, Mexican and other international options — with a modern Miami vibe.

The property also features the South Beach Marketplace, a food court with various grab-and-go options, including a full Starbucks outlet and The Naked Spoon, a popular yogurt and gelato shop.

According to film buffs, the Las Vegas sequence in the film “The Godfather” was shot at the Tropicana, and the resort plays on its history with the Las Vegas Mob Experience. Though the attraction is currently undergoing an update, the museum is open and features more than 1,000 mob artifacts and memorabilia belonging to Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano and others. Other entertainment at the resort includes a show by “America’s Got Talent” finalists, Recycled Percussion, and “iCandy Burlesque,” an adult-themed revue. RPM, a new nightclub, opened on Dec. 30 with recording artist Mary J. Blige performing there on New Year’s Eve.

Set on almost two acres, the beach club will open this spring and will offer lounge chairs as well as cabanas, complete with premium bottle service. Each weekend, the beach club will feature music by DJs and top recording artists.

Also as part of the massive renovation project, the hotel remodeled its 60,000 square feet of conference and meeting space, including three ballrooms and 19 breakout rooms.

Overall, travel agents should feel comfortable sending their clients to the new Tropicana. The resort is especially suited for those guests looking for something a bit more low-key and who prefer to visit the massive, cavernous casinos around town, while staying someplace that feels a bit more intimate.

They say what’s old becomes new again. If that includes the kind of classic hospitality and comfort found at the new Tropicana, your clients will be all for it.

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