Las Vegas is in the midst of a massive makeover with more than $20 billion being invested in new properties. The same is true in Connecticut where both major resorts, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, are spending more than a combined $1.4 billion on colossal expansions. In Atlantic City, several properties are also growing while more are on the drawing board.
Although it might be too early to start booking rooms for your clients at some of these properties, it's always the right time to get them thinking about the next wave of over-the-top spectacle.
Commission is 10 percent on all properties except MGM Mirage's CityCenter, which hasn't announced yet.
After a star-studded debut in late April, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino (www.planethollywoodresort.com) is the new Aladdin. The hotel has just completed an extensive renovation that transformed the property into a hip Hollywood enclave with 2,567 four-star rooms including 200 suites, each featuring movie-themed décor. Elemis Spa is a favorite with traditional spa treatments as well as tanning, teeth whitening and relaxation capsules. A pair of new shows, "Hans Klok: The Beauty of Magic" and "Stomp Out Loud," and an array of bars are now open; a nightclub will debut shortly. The hotel is managed by Starwood, so guests can get Starwood Preferred Guest points. Contact Donna Marcou-Stafford, VP leisure sales at 702-785-5034 with questions.
Fully integrated with the palatial Venetian, the Palazzo Casino Resort (702-414-4020, www.lasvegassands.com/palazzo.html) will open this fall. When complete, the 50-floor structure will boast 3,025 luxury suites. Also here will be 375 concierge-level suites and six, three- and four-bedroom villas with such spoils as media rooms and personal gyms. Some will even have private putting greens. Regular suites range from 655 to 735 square feet and, like the Venetian, will have a sunken living room with business area. While not yet announced, the property will also have a major production. Travel agent commission for The Venetian is 10 percent and will most likely be the same for The Palazzo.
The $7.5 billion MGM CityCenter (www.citycenter.com) has the goal of reinventing the concept of the casino resort. Not just a single property, this will be a community mixing various recreation, entertainment, business and residential towers in a sprawling 76-acre complex.
MGM CityCenter will feature a 60-story, 4,000-room hotel/casino; Mandarin Oriental Hotel; Harmon Hotel; 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district; and approximately 2,700 luxury residences when it opens in 2009. The travel agent liaison is Stephanie Windham, director of sales, 866-718-2489.
Getting There: The Atlantic City International Airport offers flights from both Delta Air Lines (800-221-1212 or www.delta.com) and Spirit Airlines (800-772-7117 or www.spiritair.com). Delta has daily non-stop service from its Atlanta hub, where passengers can connect from virtually anywhere. Spirit flies direct or non-stop from Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Myrtle Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, San Francisco and LA.
Opening in phases during the next year, Harrah's Atlantic City (www.harrahs.com/casinos/harrahs-atlantic-city/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml) is expanding yet again. Debuting any moment is a four-acre entertainment complex featuring a 90-foot-high, glass-dome-enclosed tropical oasis with such perks as a 23,000-square-foot, 86,000-gallon heated pool. Dive-in movies are on the list of offerings. Also here is the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa with 23 treatment rooms. Next year the resort will add a 961-room hotel tower with eight super suites and 104 suites with such treats as in-room theaters. Agents can call James Ziereis at 609-340-2150.
Last summer The Borgata (866-MYBORGATA, www.theborgata.com) expanded its casino and opened new restaurants from Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay and Michael Mina. This fall they will open the Water Club, an upscale, 800-room hotel, bi-level sky-high spa with two indoor and two open-year-round outdoor heated pools. Plus there will be a 25-yard lap pool and well-appointed fitness center. New retail shops and meeting space is coming, too.
Getting There: Providence, RI's T.F. Green Airport (about 45 minutes away from both casinos) offers flights from many major airlines including United, American, US Air and Southwest. Also, the New London, CT Amtrak (800-USA-RAIL) station is about 25 minutes away; cabs are typically at the station.
Opening next spring is MGM Grand at Foxwoods (www.foxwoods.com). An entirely new resort connected by a sky bridge to the existing property, the complex is taking direct aim at the sense and style of Generation X. There will be a new 30-story hotel with 826 rooms and suites, another perk on the long list is a 26,000-square-foot spa. For VIPs, contact Joan Esneault, executive director resort sales (800-FOXWOODS).
Under construction at Mohegan Sun (www.mohegansun.com) is Project Horizon, a $740 million expansion project that will feature a new House of Blues entertainment center. Opening in stages through 2009, the facility will include a House of Blues restaurant, music hall, stores and the Foundation Room, a member's only club. A 1,000-room hotel tower will have 300 House of Blues themed rooms. Also being built is a new casino and an expanded Asian gaming area. Additionally, the original five-year-old hotel will be completing a $13.8 million refurbishment by June. The travel agent liaison is Christopher Perry, 860-862-7100. —GH