I Wasn’t Impressed With Drai’s Until I Saw The Middle Of This Video

Drai's Night-Beach Club
Drai’s Night-Beach Club

The images of the new Drai’s Beach-Night Club at night are stunning. I’m seriously impressed with this indoor/outdoor nightclub at The Cromwell. I’m rarely impressed and that impresses me. Haha. Check out the video.

DRAIS BEACH-NIGHT CLUB from Show Media Las Vegas on Vimeo.

Caesars Turmoil

Caesars Entertainment Chapter 11
Caesars Entertainment Chapter 11?

To say this was a chaotic weekend for Caesars Entertainment would be an understatement. On Friday they announced that they were leaving a casino project in Suffolk Downs, MA.

Partner Suffolk Downs asked Caesars to withdraw following an investigation by the state’s gaming commission, according to a statement yesterday from the horse-track operator, which didn’t didn’t specify the findings and said it was confident it would receive approval on its own.

Whoa. Before anyone could speculate what was happening Caesars Entertainment announced that they were cutting ties with Gansevoort. There would be no Gansevoort Las Vegas.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. is ending its partnership with Gansevoort Hotel Group to transform Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon into the luxury Gansevoort Las Vegas on the Strip.

Caesars executive vice president Jan Jones confirmed the move on Sunday, two days after the Suffolk Downs ownership group said it had dropped partner Caesars Entertainment from its bid to build a $1 billion resort casino at the Massachusetts racetrack.

In other words it seems as though Massachusetts wouldn’t allow Suffolk Downs to proceed with Caesars, in part, due to their ties with Gansevoort because they have ties to the Russian mob.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports the move came after Massachusetts gambling investigators, during routine background checks of Caesars’ business partners, found an investor in New York-based Gansevoort was alleged to have ties to organized crime in Russia.

This sounds like a scene from on of the awful Netflix Instant movies I watch. The hotel project formerly known as Gansevoort will continue. The rarely reliable Robin Leach says that Giada’s restaurant and Drai’s nightclub business will continue as things move forward.

The Las Vegas project will continue for Caesars seeking a new partner. I don’t think Kimpton Hotels will be a demographic match for what Caesars was trying to put together for this property but I’d love to see them have a hotel in Las Vegas.

The Suffolk Downs casino project will also proceed with a new partner. More on that another time.

Throw all of this into the pot of reasons for people to speculate about Caesars filing for chapter 11. I don’t think it’s a matter of if Caesars will file for bankruptcy, only a matter of when. All of this doesn’t help.

PS: If you get bored you can check out a blog I made a few years ago (pimpin at kimpton) after a fantastic stay at Hotel Monaco in Chicago.

Update: Now it seems as if there are possible money laundering problems.

Update 2: There was a shooting at Bally’s Las Vegas this morning.

Changes Happening To The Vegas Strip Right Now

There are a lot of changes happening on the Las Vegas strip right now. Many people just know the construction as an inconvenience. Most of the major projects happening on the strip right now are Caesars Entertainment casinos, hotels and shopping areas. Here’s the quick breakdown in order of new projects opening.

OutImperial Palace (photo flickr/ ayersa@sbcglobal.net) – Caesars Entertainment does not own the license for the name Imperial Palace and decided not to renew their lease on the name. The property is undergoing a name change to The Quad and being renovated.

Imperial Palace Las Vegas
In: The Quad – Caesars decided to only renovate the casino and not hotel of The IP/The Q. The good news is you’ll have a new casino. The bad news is you can still get the dirtiest rooms on the strip! Hey, at least they’re cheap. Transformation will be completed by 12/21. Learn more details about The Quad at Vegas Chatter.

The Quad Las Vegas

Out: O’Shea’s – O’Sheas closed earlier this year and is the biggest closure because of what’s being built in its place, The Linq. I’m happy to see this dump go away, but it was a place for people to go and gamble and drink for cheap. It had a place on the strip.

O'Sheas

In: The Linq – The Linq is not a casino. Instead it will be a variety of retail outlets, restaurants and bars with a ferris wheel as the anchor to the area. This will be a huge area of the strip that seems as if it will rival CityCenter in size. The Linq’s tenant’s aren’t very exciting but there’s nothing horribly offensive about any of the bars or restaurants. The Linq is scheduled to open December 2013. Vegas Chatter has a lot more information on this huge space causing traffic on the strip.

The Linq Las Vegas

Out: Bill’s Gambling Hall & Saloon (photo flickr/ anna_jewels) – Bill’s will close in February 2013 and will be gutted but not imploded. In its place a new “boutique” hotel/casino will open focused on serving people more interested in nightclubs than gambling. I’ve never been inside of Bill’s, but people that like cheap drinking and gambling were their customer. Notice the trend here by Caesars?

Bill's Gambling Hall & Saloon Las Vegas
In: Drai’s (Actual name TBD) – This casino will be completely different by the time renovations are complete in 2014. From all accounts it seems as if this will be geared towards the same people that go to Cosmopolitan for Marquee nightclub. It will be interesting to see how that segment of Vegas visitors develops over the next two years. No photo here since there’s no renderings.

Maybe more: There was talk of Bally’s Grand Bazaar shops being built on the strip earlier this year but I haven’t heard anything recently and there’s no construction happening right now.

I have no memories tied to any of the places closing on the strip so I’m not sad about any of these changes. I look forward to seeing what the strip looks like in 2014.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

Out With The Dump…In With The “Douche”…And That’s OK

Bill’s Gambling Hall & Saloon will be closing for renovations February 4th, 2013 and will reopen in 2014 as Drai’s Douche Emporium and Boutique Hotel. Here’s the info straight from the horses (Caesars Entertainment) mouth.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation today announced its previously arranged $185 million, seven-year senior secured credit facility will fund the conversion of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon to a boutique lifestyle hotel and casino. The renovation includes the addition of a rooftop pool as well as a dayclub/nightclub. Drai Management Group will manage the club.

“This project exemplifies our strategy to develop new experiences that will help attract a broader spectrum of visitors to Las Vegas and our properties,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, chief executive officer and president of the company. “The renovated property will provide visitors with a sophisticated, upscale experience, including a unique rooftop pool and club, which will have a panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip.”

I’ve never been to Bill’s and I don’t care that it’s going away. I felt the same about O’Sheas, Imperial Palace and Sahara. Change is good. Clean and modern hotels are good. Progress is good.

These hotels and casinos aren’t being renovated for me. They’re being renovated for future me’s and that’s fine. If I want to go somewhere less expensive with good gambling I’ll stay away from the strip. If I want to hang out and grab a drink while checking out the future of America I’ll go to the strip.

The Vegas strip has always kind of been this way. There will always remain properties for all kinds of people. If you’re seeking more classic luxury you can head to Wynn, if you want a cheap place to stay you can go to The Quad, if you’re in the middle, maybe a family or older person, you can stay at MGM Grand.

If you’re like me, this is just a sign that you’re getting older. You can tell these kids today to get off your strip lawn but this change like this is fairly normal. Embrace it or just be old and grumpy.

All of this goes to say that my guide to cheap places to stay in Las Vegas will come in handy as the city continues to change.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

Bills Gambling Hall Getting Cleaned Up

Bill’s Gambling Hall & Saloon, formerly Barbary Coast, is getting cleaned up and rebranded by Harrah’s or maybe even another company.

I’m (Robin Leach) hearing exclusively from very reliable sources that the 4.3-acre property is part of a staggering deal with a major nightlife entertainment force, and everything including the 17,200-square-foot casino will get a major overhaul from top to bottom. When the news is officially announced, it will rock the nightlife scene.

Bills/Barbary Coast has never gotten my interest.  In fact, the only time anyone mentions this place is because of Drai’s.  A makeover to fit that crowd might make a lot of sense.  Since there isn’t a hotel component, I can see Bills being changed into a building with multiple clubs and gambling.

**UPDATE: Thanks for the heads up that there are actually hotel rooms at Bill’s.  I’ve never been, but now I know better.