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Top Travel Stories of 2014: Las Vegas (VIDEO)January 14, 2015 By: Adam Leposa
Hotels, hotels hotels -- 2014 was a year of big hotel openings for Las Vegas. We've rounded up the ones that made the largest splash, plus the rest of the key headlines in Vegas travel throughout the year.
Although it technically opened in December 2013, the year began with The Downtown Grand establishing itself in Las Vegas' downtown hotel scene. The property offers five dining options and flapper-styled nightlife and cocktails in its Mob Bar. Additionally, the Downtown Grand opened its rooftop pool, PICNIC, marking a new entry in Las Vegas' competitive rooftop pool scene.
Caesars kept the ball rolling in late February with the debut of The Cromwell, a boutique luxury property on the Strip.
The product of a $225 million renovation of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, the property is home to Giada de Laurentiis’ first restaurant, Giada, as well as a signature five-room Cromwell Suite. Other property highlights include a hotel lobby bar that serves barista-style coffee and morning pastries; Interlude, the hotel's mixology-focused bar and lounge; and two day and nightlife venues from Victor Drai -- Drai's Beach Club • Nightclub and Drai's After Hours.
Three months after the property's opening, we caught up with Eileen Moore, regional president of The Cromwell, to talk the property's service philosophy:
Labor Day weekend, the Strip got another new property in the form of the SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The property marks the first Vegas hotel and casino by sbe. The new hotel was designed as a collaboration between sbe founder, chairman and CEO Sam Nazarian, design icon Philippe Starck, chef José Andrés and Gensler Architects. The property is a part of Curio- A collection by Hilton.
In September, the Delano Las Vegas reopened following a transformation of THEhotel at MGM Resorts’ Mandalay Bay.
Designed with a "Miami chic" vibe, The Delano is modeled in part after a Delano hotel in South Beach that's believed to be named after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The Delano opened as the Mandalay Bay began a $66 million expansion to boost its convention center to the fifth-largest in the U.S.
Later in the year, The Linq Hotel & Casino opened with an eye toward the under-40 crowd. All rooms and suites at the Center Strip property offer interactive options on the guestroom TV, providing access to hotel amenities.
The Linq and the High Roller
New hotels weren't the only additions to Las Vegas geography in 2014. This year also saw the debut of The Linq, a giant open-air, pedestrian-friendly entertainment district on the Strip from Caesar's. Situated between The Quad and The Flamingo Las Vegas, the district offers shopping, dining and entertainment.
The Linq's most notable feature, however, is The High Roller, which is (for now) the tallest observation wheel in the world. The wheel has 28 glass-enclosed cabins, which can be booked for private events -- including weddings.
The Linq also has a Brooklyn Bowl, which offers 32 lanes of bowling, and food by Blue Ribbon.
Finally, it wouldn't be a year in Las Vegas without plenty of new restaurants. In addition to Giada's new venture at The Cromwell, celebrity chef Bobby Flay opened his 18th Bobby’s Burger Palace in front of the Mandarin Oriental in late January.
In April, Yusho noodle house opened at the Monte Carlo. The menu by chef Matthias Merges includes signature dishes Logan Poser Ramen, charred octopus and a marinated eggplant steam bun.
Not to be outdone by his fellow Food Network celebrities, Guy Fieri opened a Vegas restaurant of his own this year: Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen & Bar at The Quad Resort & Casino. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. for brunch, lunch, dinner and late night dining, the 200 seat restaurant offers a blend of casual foods, including burgers, wings, tacos, small bites and shareable food items.
Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com all year for the latest Las Vegas news, trends and updates.