It’s been a long road.
As Vegas regulars are painfully aware, construction on Fontainebleau started in 2007 with the intent of opening in 2009.
Unfortunately, the Great Recession slammed the brakes on construction in 2008, leaving the project to sit partially complete for 15+ years.
Between then and now, the building has changed hands several times, ultimately landing back under the control of Fontainebleau Development in partnership with Koch Real Estate Investments.
Needless to say, this grand opening was warmly welcomed by those of us who have stared at the empty shell of “what could’ve been” for years and years.
I visited Fontainebleau early in the morning on December 14th, when the resort opened to the general public, and wandered every nook and cranny to get a feel for the newest addition to Las Vegas.
As I made the walk from Sahara, it hit me how big of a deal this is for the north end of the Strip.
Looking up at the illuminated tower, my mind replayed the negative headlines and speculation from over the years which included construction progress screeching to a halt, the need to wrap the structure’s unfinished carcass, fires, missing windows, and even rumors that the tower was “structurally unsound”.
A finished resort was never a guarantee. But there I was, looking at images online of Justin Timberlake ripping the first dice throw just hours earlier with Tom Brady, Cher, and other celebrities looking on.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas has arrived, and my endorphins were flowing.
The Casino Floor
The first thing I noticed is how visually appealing the space is.
Along the high ceilings are light elements of various depths that make the floor feel ritzy, as though no detail was ignored.
Roman-style columns extend from the floor into the ceiling, where they are surrounded by a “bullseye” of illumination, seemingly marrying function and design.
Above the table game sections are lower ceilings that draw the eye, and are an aesthetically pleasing visual. Along the inside of the lower ceilings are TVs that ensure players don’t miss a second of the game they bet on.
Almost omnipresent as you navigate the casino floor is the intricate chandelier that hangs above Bleau Bar, which is situated in the middle of it all.
The casino itself is expansive at 150,000 square feet, ranking as the 5th biggest gaming floor in all of Las Vegas (in a tie with Aria). That space is jam-packed with a wide assortment of modern slot games, video poker, and table games.
Table game limits weren’t as high as I had expected ($25+ for BJ, $25+ for Craps), but those levels will likely drift lower over the coming weeks.
The aroma was distinct, yet not overpowering, reeking of elegance.
What the sportsbook lacks in size it makes up for with swankiness.
Nestled inside a bar & restaurant called The Tavern, the book offers unique (and darn comfortable) seating, a good-sized screen, and easy access to cocktails and food thanks to its location.
While a high-limit slot room is simply a section of the gaming floor with higher minimums, Fontainebleau’s certainly catches the eye.
Lastly, here’s a shot of their low-denomination casino chips, which feel as classy as the broader resort.
Art & Decor
In my opinion, this is where Fontainebleau excels.
Bowties are incorporated into nearly everything. You’ll find them in the carpet, the chandeliers, on garbage cans, and etched on walls. Even the casino cage is constructed with metal bowties.
While some are obvious, others are like Eater eggs that are fun to stumble across. Examples of this are in couches, and even landscaping planters outdoors.
The real stars of the art & decor show, however, are 2 sculptures.
The first is a wall of rotating bricks called “Oceans” which is a product of BREAKFAST Studios and is mesmerizing.
The second is an enormous good and silver sculpture that fills an equally impressive open-air atrium.
As you’ve likely surmised, Fontainebleau’s “Chandelier game” is on point. While the chandelier hanging above the center bar get’s most of the buzz, others are also worthy of a second look.
The Porte Cochere is elegant, inviting, and one of a kind.
Once inside, guests receive an immediate first impression courtesy of the hotel lobby.
Of course, the backdrop behind the front desk is made up of little bowties.
I know that only creepers take pictures inside of bathrooms, but I found them to be photogenic as well.
Given Fontainebleau’s somewhat isolated location on the north end of the Strip, a wide-ranging assortment of cuisine spanning the price spectrum is important.
In my opinion, they hit the mark with dining options that feel as luxurious as the broader resort while also borrowing inspiration from around the world.
“Signature” Dining Options include:
- Don’s Prime – Steakhouse
- La Fontaine – Brunch
- Komodo – Southeast Asian
- Papi Steak – Steakhouse
- Ito – Sushi
- Chyna Club – Cantonese
- Cantina Contramar – Mexican
- Kyu – Asian
- Mother Wolf – Italian
“Casual” Dining Options include:
- The Tavern – American
- Vida – American (breakfast & lunch)
- Washing Potato – Chinese noodles
- Las Cote – French Mediterranean
- Chez Bon Bon – Coffee/Grab & Go
- Cafe Cuto – Coffee
Even more casual, Fontainebleau’s upscale feeling Promenade Food Hall offers burgers, sashimi, coffee, sandwiches, bagels, tacos, and pizza by the slice.
Like the popular Famous Foods Food Court at Resorts World, there aren’t any “chain” restaurants, rather, outlets that have a higher quality, more artisan feel. Most meals come in at a price point of around $15-$25.
Bars & Lounges
Simply stated, the lounges scattered about Fontainebleau are gorgeous.
The visual crown jewel is Bleau Bar, which is located in the middle of the casino floor and boasts an elaborate chandelier as its centerpiece that looks like illuminated crystal stalactites like you’d find hanging from the roof of a cave.
Other cocktail lounges share that aesthetic appeal – Just look at Azul.
I was able to tiptoe around some construction workers to see Fontainebleau’s LIV Nightclub, and it looks great as well, although I don’t claim to know anything about the “club scene”.
Unfortunately, the pool has yet to open and guests didn’t have access to the space. I was able to catch a partial photo from the event center though.
The main pool on the rooftop pool deck is in the shape of an “X” and is lush with palm trees.
It’s going to be a stunner.
The “Craziness” of Opening Day
I’ve grown to enjoy stopping in for casino grand openings and the controlled chaos that comes with it.
Fontainebleau wasn’t quite finished and construction workers were still painting, building out restaurants and stores, and even putting the finishing touches on the LIV Nightclub.
Employees are having their first interactions with guests, and not everything goes to plan.
In an attempt to make a flawless first impression, Fontainebleau had a small army of employees armed with tennis balls on sticks scrubbing scuff marks off the white floors. Not sure how economical that’ll be going forward.
First Impressions of Fontainebleau Las Vegas
The overall vibe of Fontainebleau was luxurious, elegant, stunning – Seriously, insert any superlative.
Aesthetically, the gaming floor rivals high-end resorts like Wynn, Bellagio, and Cosmopolitan, serving up a fresh slate of eye candy every time you turn your head or peek around a corner.
While table game minimums were (expectedly) elevated during the grand opening, I expect them to drift downward towards $15-$25 during off-peak times like Resorts World nearby.
While I didn’t have the chance to stay in the hotel, I look forward to having the opportunity. The rooms appear to be at a level of luxury equivalent to the best options in Vegas, and while prices are high on select dates, rooms can be had for as little as $105 mid-week looking forward (assuming you’ve signed up for their loyalty program online).
The abundance of dining options on-site makes Fontainebleau a one-stop shop, so there isn’t much of a concern about the resort’s sub-optimal location.
In a city with its fair share of “over the top” pool scenes, Fontainebleau’s will easily rank among the best in Vegas when it opens this spring.
Only time can tell how Fontainebleau’s fortunes will play out given the resort’s challenging location on the north end of the Strip.
With that being said, I think the resort experience at Fontainebleau is unique, reeking of class and luxury – It’s a resort you should prioritize visiting.
I think that this could be a *great* value for your hotel dollar once the initial excitement wears off and room prices settle.
One thing is for sure: A tower that’s been the punchline in plenty of jokes over the years is now a force to be reckoned with.
Welcome to Las Vegas, Fontainebleau.
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.