Forget quiet luxury, Las Vegas goes big on experiences and a quartet of new entries to the venue menu prove the point. From new dining and entertainment options to upgraded meeting space and world-class sports infrastructure, the Smart Meetings team toured the latest and greatest while in town for Preview Las Vegas 2024 and sent back highlights to add to your next site visit.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas
Long-awaited Fontainebleau Las Vegas opened its doors on Dec. 13, 2023, with a celebration attended by Las Vegas executives, local government officials and A-list celebrities. The Miami-glam vibe in the glass tower steps from Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Convention Center is unlike anything else on The Strip. Event profs can count on 3,644 guest rooms and 550,000 sq. ft. of meeting space surrounded by over-the-top art, dining and entertainment.
Restaurants such as Asian-inspired and wood-fired KYU, Don’s Prime steakhouse (featured image above) and Evan Funke’s dramatic Mother Wolf Roman classics set the stage for memorable meals morning, noon and night.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas Vice President of Sales, Carmen Rubio describes the approach to hospitality in Las Vegas and Fontainebleau in particular as a distinctive atmosphere. “Fontainebleau Las Vegas is creating a luxury hospitality experience that’s synonymous with excellence in service, entertainment and accessibility.” Indoor and outdoor meeting spaces can be configured for boutique-like settings for smaller groups or opened up at scale for events on a grand scale. Royal Ballroom offers a sweeping 105,0000 sq. ft. of pillarless ballroom canvas.
“Fontainebleau Las Vegas prioritizes both business and pleasure, so guests can make a seamless transition from their rooms to our meeting spaces, with a podium-like design that allows seamless navigation throughout the resort. When business is over, guests can enjoy our state-of-the-art fitness center, Lapis Spa, and a restaurant collection that raises the standard in Las Vegas,” Rubio said.
The 24.5-acre property was designed by architect to the hospitality stars Bergman Walls and Associates and broke ground in 2007 as the brainchild of Fontainebleau Resorts owner Jeff Soffer before the economic downturn stalled the skeleton in 2008. The project went through a couple of different ownership groups before Soffer bought it back and resumed construction in 2021, reinstating the original name and vision as the second-most expensive resort in Vegas.
Since opening, Rubio has seen a major uptick in corporate meetings, particularly in the IT, fintech, medical, and incentive trip sectors. The location, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center West Hall, allows the property to complement to The Strip’s calendar of tradeshows and events, including World of Concrete which was in town during Preview. “Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a global brand, so our reach extends internationally, and we’ve become a preferred destination for business travel, particularly within the financial, insurance, and technology fields. The global appeal of Fontainebleau reflects our ability to cater to a wide range of industries and interests, making us a versatile and sought-after venue for events,” he said.
Insider Tip: Try counting the ubiquitous blow ties in the chandeliers, carpeting, even the artwork. These little reminders of the brand’s commitment to hospitality date back to Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s architect Morris Lapidus in 1954.
MGM Resorts International
Almost $500 million invested in guest room renovations, new dining options and upgraded conference room technology up and down The Strip have added to the ultra-luxury appeal of MGM Resorts properties. The brand’s Luxury Meetings District of Bellagio Las Vegas, ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Park MGM and NoMad Las Vegas totals 10,000 guest rooms, 926,500 sq. ft. of indoor-outdoor meeting space, 44 restaurants, 16 pools and 19 unique venues. A new interior walkway opened last year to streamline the walk from Park MGM to Bellagio, making all that meetings space more accessible.
Investments in 2.1 million-square-foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center left the home of IMEX America lighter, more energy-efficient and with more powerful connectivity. Nearby, enhancements to dining experiences include Flanker Kitchen + Sports Bar, an 8,445-square-foot restaurant; renovation of Chef Michael Mina’s StripSteak; and Retro by Voltaggio, a fun take on pop culture of the 80s and 90s with classic American dishes. An exciting addition planned for the fall is Swingers, a 40,000-square-foot oasis of street food, miniature golf and art.
The Vault at Bellagio is another example of uber-glam, a speakeasy-style lounge with an oversized modern chandelier at the center, exclusive spirits behind the bar and VIPs that can afford the rare and gold-dusted in the velvet booths.
Insider Tip: While drinks at The Vault average $55, ask to see the bottle of Highland Park 50 Year Old, which goes for a reported $30,000 a bottle.
The celebrity chefs at Caesars Entertainment has been turning up the volume on dining for the last year. At Paris, Las Vegas, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa opened a second Las Vegas location for his signature restaurant. Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump opened Vanderpump at Paris after the popularity of her Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace. And hospitality legend Martha Stewart opened her first restaurant, The Bedford.
Read More: Living Kokoro, Delivering Omotenashi
Another advance, Peter Luger Steak House inside Caesars Palace took the place of Rao’s Italian restaurant. The oversize space imported the focus on family-style, on-site dry-aged meats from the 135-year-old New York City icon without the gruff waiters.
A recent multimillion-dollar renovation of Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace by Rockwell Group included penthouse spaces Hakone, Sake, Nobu and Nobu Villa suites.
Nearby, Harrah’s, which is connected to Caesars Forum via an enclosed pedestrian walkway, has been reimagined with a $200-million makeover of the 2,442 guest rooms, lobby and public spaces. A new Ramsay’s Kitchen there is inspired by the celebrity chef’s international travels.
Insider Tip: Brasserie B by Bobby Flay at Caesars Palace Las Vegas may have the best French fries in Las Vegas. Try them for brunch or late night in a European setting that will transport your taste buds across the pond
Nothing says over-the-top like a 366-ft. tall video programmable dome that is 516 ft. wide, the largest spherical building in the world. The Sphere opened in the shadow of The Venetian in September, 2023 and hosted a residency for the band U2 along with the movie Postcard from Earth.
Read More: A Game-changing Visual Experience
Inside, a 16K resolution wraparound LED screen is the largest in the world and the 4D effects include vibration and wind effects for up to 18,600 people. Beam-forming wave synthesis audio broadcasts through 1,600 speakers, including from the floor, creating an immersive experience that may leave you clutching your stomach during deep dives into nature scenes.
During World of Concrete, the power tool company DeWalt bought the branding space on the exosphere with an eye-catching video that was visible all over The Strip and sent attendees to experience the show inside.
Insider Tip: Check out Aura the Robot in the lobby of The Sphere. A total of five expressive humanoid robots greet guests using AI technology to tell the history of innovation.