While many of the world’s top resort destinations effectively remained in suspended animation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Las Vegas’ famed hospitality sector continued to evolve, innovate and improve over the last two years. Following are a few of the most notable recent product introductions and enhancements by The Strip’s two largest casino-resort operators: MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment.
Las Vegas hotel rooms have historically boasted an impressive price-to-value ratio, further enhanced by frequent refurbishments. Caesars Entertainment recently completed a refresh of all guestrooms and suites at Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace (located in its own tower) to introduce a more modern, residential feel. Value-priced Harrah’s Las Vegas, meanwhile, finished up a $200 million renovation of its accommodations and casino floor in summer 2021.
MGM Resorts spent 2021 completely refreshing Bellagio Las Vegas’ 2,568 main tower rooms with designs that “take inspiration from the movement of water, the beauty of nature and the vibrant reflections of light seen at sunrise and sunset,” according to the company.
Featuring luxurious, oversize showers, dual sinks and built-in closets, the new rooms build on Bellagio’s classic luxury motif.
Meanwhile, Aria Sky Suites — the Forbes Five-Star hotel-within-a-hotel at Aria — just unveiled a completely renovated guestroom product enhanced by whimsical turndown amenities including board games and delectable truffles.
New Shows and Entertainment
A positive indicator of the Las Vegas hospitality sector’s return to health has been the re-emergence of major musical performances and residencies. Silk Sonic (musical duo Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak), Usher and the Jonas Brothers join Lady Gaga at the relatively intimate, recently enhanced Dolby Live (previously the Park Theater) at Park MGM Las Vegas, which also transitioned into the only completely smoke-free casino-resort on the Strip.
The stars are also aligning at the Zappos Theater inside Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino with John Legend’s residency, “Love in Las Vegas,” opening April 22.
Cirque du Soleil’s five resident shows have all restarted, and the entertainment juggernaut just announced a replacement for “Zumanity,” which shuttered at New York-New York Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in 2020. Appropriately themed for the venue, “Mad Apple” — opening this May — will be a Cirque “cocktail” of comedy, magic, music and the company’s iconic circus acts, all combining to pay tribute to New York City’s vibrant nightlife.
And for those who can’t get enough reality television, “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” opened at Luxor Las Vegas last November, spotlighting memorable acts from the show’s past 16 years.
Delightful New Restaurants
Providing the necessary fuel to power Las Vegas travelers through their visits, new and notable food and beverage outlets have launched up and down the Strip.
A third Vegas outpost of celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Bobby’s Burgers is now open at Paris Las Vegas. Flay also opened Amalfi — his Italian seafood spot — last June, in the space previously occupied by Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace.
And back at Paris Las Vegas, there’s another newcomer: Vanderpump à Paris, reality TV star Lisa Vanderpump’s stunningly designed restaurant and cocktail lounge, which rivals her gorgeous Caesars Palace outlet. Taiwanese dumpling specialist (and Southern California favorite) Din Tai Fung also debuted its famous xiao long bao at Aria in October 2020.
The terms “gourmet” and “buffet” don’t typically exist in the same sentence — except in Las Vegas, that is, where a handful of the city’s top buffets vie for supremacy among faithful diners. In a bid to keep pushing the envelope, Caesars Palace revamped its iconic, massive Bacchanal Buffet in 2020 with a multimillion-dollar aesthetic upgrade and more than 100 new dishes.
And although it may be somewhat overshadowed by flashier new outlets, Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, which opened in 2020 at the Flamingo Las Vegas, appropriately pays homage to infamous mobsters and Vegas visionaries Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky. It features a dark, moody speakeasy that brings Las Vegas history full circle.