Wynn Resorts' newest signature hotel, Encore, is the set to open in December next door to flagship property Wynn Las Vegas. The 50-story-high resort will have its own collection of suites, dining offerings, and leisure activities. Guests will be able to sample the property's five restaurants, 11 retail outlets, an upscale nightclub (XS), and a spa and salon. The hotel centers around a European-inspired pool area and atrium, and will include a total of 2,034 suites. The resort's 60,000 square feet of event space encompasses a column-free ballroom as well as multiple private boardrooms. Meetings at Encore also have access to an additional 200,000 square feet of space at Wynn Las Vegas, which is connected to the new property.

Venue Updates

Gaming News

Dover Downs Hotel & Casino
Dover, Del.

The News: Recent expansion to 500 guest rooms and suites; new meeting space brings the total to 35,000 square feet, including a ballroom, exhibit space, and breakout rooms. The Bali-inspired Toppers Spa/Salon has eight massage therapy rooms.

Extra: A $50 million, 70,000-square-foot expansion called The Colonnade is nearing completion. It expands the casino floor to make way for 500 new slot machines.

Potawatomi Bingo Casino
Milwaukee, Wis.

The News: A $240 million expansion opened this summer, tripling the size of the casino and adding the new Tribal Room to the Woodland Dreams Conference Center and Northern Lights Theater.

Specs: The Tribal Room, accommodating 100 people, is a round room with a view of downtown Milwaukee through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Woodland Dreams Conference Center holds 100 people for seated events and 300 for a reception.

Harrah's St. Louis Casino & Hotel
St. Louis, Mo.

The News: A new conference center will open soon at the property.

Specs: The conference center will have 6,300 square feet of meeting and event space and a 24/7 business center. The hotel and casino have 455 guest rooms and 47 suites, all newly renovated, and a 125,000-square-foot casino.

Extra: Complimentary airport transportation

Time Frame: Opening November 28, 2008.

The Palazzo Las Vegas

The News: The resort opened in January after three years of construction.

Specs: The property offers a total of 3,066 suites and a 105,000-square-foot casino. The resort features one of the world's largest pillar-free ballrooms and more than 2.25 million square feet of convention space, including 298 meeting rooms. Also onsite is the Canyon Ranch SpaClub; The Shoppes at The Palazzo, with more than 60 boutiques; and a variety of celebrity chef-inspired restaurants.

Extra: A new theater built on the property showcases productions of the Broadway musical, Jersey Boys.

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem
Bethlehem, Pa.

The News: The new resort, a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp., is now accepting reservations for meetings.

Specs: When it opens, the resort will offer 46,000 square feet of meeting space, 18 meeting rooms, and 300 guest rooms. It will have the capacity to host groups of up to 3,500.

Time Frame: Scheduled to open in fall 2009.

CityCenter
Las Vegas

The News: The $9 billion metropolis — a joint venture of MGM Mirage and Dubai World — is scheduled to open between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

Specs: The center will feature ARIA, a 61-story 4,000-room casino resort, featuring a 51,000-square-foot ballroom and meeting space for up to 5,000; three non-gaming hotels (including a Mandarin Oriental and the Vdara Condo Hotel with more than 10,000 square feet of flexible meeting space); 2,600 luxury residences; and The Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot retail and entertainment district.

Time Frame: Scheduled to open in late 2009.

Tulalip Resort Casino
Seattle, Wash.

The News: A new hotel and spa opened at the property last summer.

Specs: Offers 370 guest rooms; 30,000 square feet of meeting space (including a 15,000-square-foot ballroom); the 14,000-square-foot T Spa, featuring group treatment rooms; and four restaurants.

Crowne Plaza Las Vegas

The News: InterContinental Hotels Group to build new hotel.

Specs: Hotel will offer 386 guest rooms, 16,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, a casino, three restaurants, three lounges, a full-service spa and outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, business center, and retail shops.

Time Frame: Scheduled for completion in 2010

M Resort
Las Vegas

The News: New $1 billion resort, spa, and casino

Specs: The resort will have 390 guest rooms, 9 restaurants, a wine cellar and tasting room, more than 60,000 square feet of meeting space, a 23,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, a 100,000-square-foot pool and events piazza, and 92,000 square feet of casino space.

Time Frame: Scheduled for completion in March

Extra: Future plans include the addition of a shopping mall attached to the resort to open in 2011 as well as a 63,000-square-foot movie theater with 14 movie screens and 3,100 seats.

Jumer's Casino Rock Island
Rock Island, Ill.

The News: The new property is being built at I-280 and HWY 92 in Rock Island and will replace the current facility located on the Mississippi riverfront in downtown Rock Island.

Specs: The hotel will include 205 guest rooms, 8 junior suites, and 3 master suites. Four full-service restaurants, a lounge, a new casino offering 42,500 square feet of gaming space, and 7,400 square feet of meeting space are available onsite.

Time Frame: Opening scheduled for this December

Extra: The new property will feature a 700-seat multi-purpose event center for concerts, trade shows, corporate meetings, and banquets.

MGM Grand Atlantic City
Atlantic City, N.J.

The News: MGM Mirage is building a $4.5 billion to $5 billion mega-casino next to its Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Specs: Three hotel towers with more than 3,000 rooms, spa, convention center, retail space, and the largest casino floor in the state

Time Frame: Scheduled opening in 2012

Luxor
Las Vegas

The News: Renovations to the 120,000-square-foot casino were completed last summer and guest room renovations are slated for 2009.

Specs: 20,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention space and 4,405 guest rooms, including 487 suites.

Cherokee Casino Resort
Tulsa, Okla.

The News: A $125 million expansion and construction project that will make it the largest gaming destination in Oklahoma.

Specs: The facility will encompass approximately 337,000 square feet and will include a 20-story, 350-room hotel tower; a spa; a convention center that will seat more than 1,000 people; and an event and concert arena.

Time Frame: The expansion is expected to be complete in early 2009.

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino
Mescalero, N.M.

The News: New air charter service from Atlantic Aviation, next to Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, to Alamogordo Airport, a short ride from the resort. The service runs four days a week.

Specs: 273 guest accommodations, 40,000 square feet of meeting space, 38,000-square-foot casino.

Newsmakers:

  • The JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE, opening in March 2010, has named Peter Psihas director of group sales. He most recently served as the director of sales and marketing for the Blackstone Renaissance Hotel in Chicago.

  • Loews Miami Beach Hotel has named Eric Gavin as director of sales and marketing. Gavin was most recently director of sales and marketing for The Grove Isle Hotel and Spa in Miami Beach, Fla.

  • Guoman Hotels in London has appointed Jeff Karlson as executive director of global sales. Karlson brings 18 years of senior sales and marketing experience to the role. He will be responsible for working with the general managers of the Guoman Hotels collection to drive international sales for the brand.

  • The Fairmont Chateau Whistler has appointed Roger Soane, general manager and Mark Wood, sales manager. Soane comes to the resort from The Fairmont Empress in Victoria, B.C., where he served as general manager, while Wood comes to the property from Princess Cruise Lines.

  • J.J. Barlow has been promoted to national sales manager at the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho, focusing on the Midwest and Northeast regions. Barlow has been with the hotel for ten years and was most recently the golf, ski, and tour sales manager.

  • The Augustine, a 101-room property set to open in Prague, Czech Republic, in spring 2009, has appointed Tanja Pfifers to the role of director of sales and marketing and Henning Mattheison to the role of general manager.

Is Vegas Bulletproof?

Contributing Writer Irene Korn sits down with Chris Meyer, CMP, CEM, vice president of convention sales at the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, to see how this high-demand city is feeling the pinch from the economic crisis and airlift cuts.

Corporate Meetings & Incentives: Let's cut to the chase: How is the economy affecting the meetings market in Las Vegas?

Meyer: The biggest impact we're seeing is in the number of days that groups are staying here, which is down. But the volume of activity is still very strong — in fact, in July we were up 1.2 percent in convention attendance over the previous year.

We currently have about $30 billion worth of development going on here, with 32,000 guest rooms under construction as we speak and slated to open over the next four years — obviously hotel developers are still very bullish on Las Vegas.

But we have seen it turn into a buyer's market. We've seen some impact on room rates — there's a lot of value out there. We believe this will be the death of the hotel revenue manager position at hotels, and there's a loud cheer from planners about that.

CMI: How are changes in airlift affecting meetings in Las Vegas?

Meyer: The nice thing for us is that we have a diversified mix of carriers here. Even if one cuts service significantly, it won't hurt us as much as some of the gateway destinations that have only one or two carriers that are their bread and butter. We've created five different task force committees, including one focused on business travel, to talk directly with the airline industry.

We are losing some flights but they are flights that aren't being filled now anyway. We will still be serviced from 126 domestic markets and international is actually growing for us.

CMI: What trends are you seeing in the corporate meetings market?

Meyer: It seems like many companies are taking a step back. In the past, they would book really far out, but now it seems like they're questioning whether that's a good approach. We haven't seen any changes in the insurance market yet, but financial services meetings are being cut back.

Las Vegas: On a Roll

In a town that never slows down, the hotels and convention spaces just keep getting bigger and better. Here's the latest news:

The fairways on the Desert Inn golf course behind the Las Vegas Strip will soon be torn up. According to a plan announced by Stephen Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Ltd., an upscale convention center will go up on the land, between the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo & Convention Center. It will be supported by two new 2,600-room hotel towers and an underground transportation system and encompass 1.8 million square feet.

The new development will be east of the 2,716-room Wynn Resort and the company's adjacent Encore property, opening in December (see page 57). The completion date has not been announced.

Also new, with the opening of the 3,000-room Palazzo earlier this year, Las Vegas Sands Corp. has begun marketing its three major properties on the Strip as the Las Vegas Sands Megacenter. In total, the Megacenter — which consists of The Palazzo, The Venetian, and the Sands Expo and Convention Center — has 7,000 rooms and suites, 2.2 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space, 30 restaurants, and more than 60 retail shops.

“With all the amenities housed within The Venetian and The Palazzo, meeting attendees will never have to leave the property,“ said Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., “as everything needed for a great stay will be right outside their suite.”