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 carcasses of what could have been to wither away in the desert sun. Fontainebleau, Echelon, and Alon 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 Las Vegas that have either recently opened, or plan to open soon.
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 over 1,300 slot machines and 55 table games. While the gaming floor is beautiful, the crown jewel is the sportsbook screen, which measures in at 3-stories tall and 78 million pixels. The biggest in the world, the screen is almost omnipresent as you navigate either level of the casino.
Stadium Swim, the resort’s rooftop pool deck, is comprised of six pools, 2 swim-up bars, and a 125 foot TV screen. Table games are also available poolside.
Circa has also incorporated the freshly refurbished Vegas Vickie (who previously sat above Glitter Gulch) prominently in the new resort.
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”.
Circa is also an adult-only property. You heard that right, only patrons aged 21+ will be allowed entry.
Resorts World Las Vegas
Located just south of Circus Circus and across the street from Encore, Resorts World opened on June 24th, 2021 making it the newest resort in Las Vegas.
The $4.3 billion resort boasts 3,500 guest rooms, a 5,000 seat theater, 110,000 square feet of gaming, and 270,000 square feet of dining/shopping.
While the casino accepts cash, the Resorts World Phone App allows guests to go completely cashless if that is their preference. Everything from slot machines and table games, to retail and restaurant purchases, can be funded via your phone.
Attracting plenty of attention on opening night was Resorts World’s Famous Foods Street Eats food hall, which offers a wide-ranging collection of cuisine from around the world to include a speakeasy bar.
Resorts World’s rooftop pool deck incorporates 7 unique pool experiences overlooking resorts on the Strip to the south.
In the spirit of going big, Resorts World has also incorporated an enormous 100,000 square foot LED screen into the hotel’s west hotel tower. The screen has been used for advertising, broadcasting sporting events, and welcoming VIPs.
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” 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 furniture, 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 late son.
The resort again changed hands in 2021 when Witkoff sold the unfinished project to Koch Real Estate Investments in partnership with Fontainebleau Development. Interestingly, the project has come full circle as Fontainebleau Development 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. Minimal information has been shared about what the re-imagined project could look like under Koch Real Estate Investments and little to no visible construction progress has been made to date.
Notably, the JW Marriott website lists this hotel as “Opening Soon in 2023” on their website, however, we’re not sure if this is stale information.
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.
Atari Hotels Las Vegas
In the fall of 2020, GSD Group Partners and Gensler, an architecture firm, announced their intent to bring an Atari branded property to Las Vegas at a location yet to be determined. The video game console-themed property plans to combine your typical hotel amenities like bars, restaurants, and a rooftop pool with esports, virtual reality, and other “immersive” experiences. According to Gensler’s website, the project is still slated to open in 2022, however, updates and progress have been minimal since the original announcement.
Dream Hotels Las Vegas
Dream Hotels Las Vegas plans to build on a vacant parcel of land on the south end of the Strip next door to the Pinball Hall of Fame and steps away from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Dream plans to offer a casino, 450 guestrooms, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, and a spa in addition to dining, drinking, and nightlife outlets. The initial timeline slated construction to commence in early 2021 for a 2023 opening, however, the project has yet to break ground.
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 exciting time for those looking to experience new casinos in Vegas.