Las Vegas is constantly reinventing the status quo and never growing stagnant. Resorts in Vegas have a notoriously short lifespan, frequently suffering the fate of implosion and rebirth as new, re-imagined mega-resorts. Even iconic properties like Tropicana, Flamingo, and Caesars Palace have seen their footprint grow and change significantly over the years, almost as if everyone is jockeying for the title of newest resort in Las Vegas.
As a result of the 2008 financial crisis, several new resort projects hit snags, leaving the carcass of what could have been to wither away in the desert sun. Fontainebleau, Echelon, Alon, and Harmon are all names that once generated excitement but never materialized or were left to die before reaching completion.
Fortunately, several new Las Vegas casino projects are coming to fruition, or have already opened giving visitors fresh new resorts to explore. Below, we’ll dive into the newest casino & hotels in Vegas that have either opened or plan to open in 2021.
Circa Las Vegas
The first new construction resort to be built downtown Las Vegas in decades, Circa has changed the status quo on Fremont Street. Sitting on the footprint of the old Las Vegas Club, Mermaids, and the Glitter Gulch gentlemen’s club, Circa is already wowing with unique, differentiated features.
Of note, Circa offers a two-level casino complete with a rooftop pool deck comprised of six pools and a 125 foot TV screen. Additionally, the newest resort downtown Las Vegas has the largest sportsbook in the world, complemented by a resident VSIN broadcast studio.
Circa has also incorporated Vegas Vickie (who previously sat above Glitter Gulch) prominently in the new hotel.
In response to shifting transportation trends, Circa is the first Las Vegas resort to offer a dedicated rideshare pickup location in their parking garage dubbed “Garage Mahal”.
As of December 28th, both Circa’s casino and hotel are open for business. Circa is also an adult-only property. You heard that right, only patrons aged 21+ will be allowed entry.
Resorts World Las Vegas
Just south of Circus Circus and across the street from Wynn, Resorts World is a $4.3 billion monster that opens on June 24th, 2021. At that point, Resorts World will be the newest resort on the Strip and will dethrone Circa as the newest casino in Vegas.
The north Strip resort will have 3,500 guest rooms, a 5,000 seat theater, 110,000 square feet of gaming, and 270,000 square feet of dining/shopping.
The feature we’re most excited about is the rooftop pool which will include 7 unique pool experiences.
In the spirit of going big, Resorts World will also incorporate an enormous 100,000 square foot LED screen into the hotel’s west hotel tower. Even prior to opening, they have used the screen to communicate birthday wishes to members of the resort team, and even to broadcast National Finals Rodeo.
We look forward to this new resort project injecting some life into the stagnant north end of the Las Vegas Strip.
Virgin Las Vegas
Richard Branson, along with partners, purchased the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and have transformed the property to the Virgin Hotels brand.
The resort boasts a 60,000 square foot casino, 1,504 guest rooms, and over 110,000 square feet of convention space. Virgin Hotel and Casino Las Vegas opened on March 25th, 2021, and is ready to be scoped out.
The Drew/Fontainebleau Las Vegas
An eyesore remnant of the great recession, the empty, partially completed resort has sat watch over the Strip for a decade-plus and hardly qualifies as a “new” casino project. Located just north of the former Riviera site, and across the street from Circus Circus, the blue behemoth was originally slated to open as Fontainebleau Las Vegas in 2009. Unfortunately, funding ran dry as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, bringing construction to a grinding halt.
During the depths of the great recession, Carl Icahn stepped up and purchased the stalled Fontainebleau project for a meager $148 million dollars, liquidated the furnature, and sat on the property in anticipation of better times.
Fast forward to 2017 and the stalled resort project was purchased by The Witkoff Group from Carl Ichan for $600 million. Witkoff renamed the project “The Drew” after his son who had passed away from an overdose.
The resort again changed hands in 2021 when Witkoff sold the unfinished project to Koch Real Estate Investments in partnership with Fontainebleau Development, who was involved in the original design. For those keeping score at home, this resort project is back to being called Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Will the second go-around be the one that gets some traction?
If Fontainebleau comes to fruition, the resort will offer 3,800 rooms, 550,000 square feet of convention space, a rooftop pool deck, and a pedestrian bridge to the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion. Since Koch Real Estate Investments purchased the property, minimal information has been shared about what the re-imagined project could look like and little to no visible construction progress has been made to date.
With the snags this project has repeatedly hit, we’re not holding our breath. Hopefully, completion of the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion and the nearby Resorts World project will help grease the wheels and push this one along.
Resort projects in Las Vegas have a history of going broke and stalling for an extended period of time, however, progress made on the newest resorts in vegas like Circa, Virgin, and Resorts World has us cautiously optimistic that 2021 will be an exiting time for those looking to experience new casinos in Vegas.