While in Las Vegas for the annual US Airways Vacations Scavenger Hunt, Travel Agent was part of a site inspection tour of four distinct properties throughout the city.
We started downtown at Four Queens, which is currently undergoing a soft refurbishment (or "modernization") to its guest rooms. (We hear the bed linens will be swapped out and updated.) The hotel remodeled five years ago, and is looking to do another renovation in the future that will replace tubs with walk-in showers.
The hotel is part of the downtown revitalization program. The revitalization also includes the FlightLinez zipline that currently runs under the Viva Vision canopy, and will soon be extended. Ranging between $10 and $20 per ride, the zipline is a very popular activity for visitors to the downtown area. The owners also own Binions Gambling Hall across the street, which is currently renovating its rooms (the casino, penthouse steakhouse and pool are all still open and accessible to guests from Four Queens, though). Nearby, the former Lady Luck is being rebuilt, and while we couldn’t get a confirmation, rumor has it that the space will be called the Downtown Grand when it reopens in 2013 or 2014.
Circus Circus has a permanent museum dedicated to the work of animator Chuck Jones, who created iconic characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. Much like a cartoon, the museum has no straight lines or natural colors, completely immersing guests in Jones’ world. Sketches and notes line the walls, and sculptures recreate some of the iconic figures in touchable plastic. Perhaps most poignantly, visitors can see the artists' easel and the painting he was creating when he died (pictured below). The museum also hosts an outreach program that brings kids from local schools into a creative room where they can learn about drawing and animation on their own.
The Casino Tower is the top option at Circus Circus, and the rooms there were renovated in December. A full 80 percent have two queen beds, but the Large King rooms have a bit more space. The hotel has 4,000 rooms in total.
The Flamingo has also recently emerged from a renovation, dividing rooms into two categories: “Fab” (for Fabulous, of course) and “Go,” as in “FlaminGO.” The Fab rooms are the most recently renovated, while the Go rooms (pictured below) are the more upscale of the two, with funky touches like patent leather headboards. All five of the hotel’s towers connect, which can be good (no need to go outside to get from space to space) or not (it’s easy to get lost). A new casual dining restaurant has also opened at the resort: Carlos & Charlie’s has indoor and outdoor space and serves traditional Tex-Mex fare.
The MGM Grand is renovating a number of its rooms, with 2,000 Deluxe Rooms refurbished so far and another 2,000 to go. The hotel has also created several high-end “Spa Suites” with Jacuzzi tubs and rotating TVs that can be angled to face either the living area or the bed (pictured below). Some of these rooms and suites can inter-connect—a great perk for families. Notably, a huge new restaurant/nightclub is being built on the resort: Hakasan will have three stories—one dedicated to dining and two for nightlife—spreading across 60,000 square feet. It is expected to open on New Year’s Eve.