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Fontainebleau’s first guests impressed by casino’s art, decor

Updated December 14, 2023 - 4:38 pm

Many of the thousands who made their way to Fontainebleau to take in the ambience of the first Strip megaresort to open in 2½ years found themselves looking up a lot — or at their smartphone screens.

Some were gazing up at the 42-foot ceilings. Some spotted the massive chandeliers. Others admired the art pieces, including the 46-foot “Lovers #3” sculpture by Urs Fischer.

You can only see them by looking up, the same way Strip pedestrians must peer skyward to see the 67th floor of Nevada’s tallest habitable building.

Of the guests who meandered the casino floor and public areas Thursday morning — the first full day the $3.7 billion north Strip property was open to the public — many seemed most surprised with how vast Fontainebleau is and they were all intently capturing it all on video as they walked through.

“I was blown away when I walked in the door,” Las Vegas resident Seth Ball said. “Some of it reminded me of The Cosmo (MGM Resorts International’s Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas) with some of its high ceilings, but the colors are more gold here. It’s beautiful.”

Los Angeles resident Jay Mason said he found Fontainebleau to be “very Miami” — a compliment that should be music to the ears of the Fontainebleau development team, which purchased the storied Fontainebleau property on Miami Beach and imported some of its best features to Las Vegas.

“Even the bathrooms are beautiful,” California resident Ximena Contreras said. “Look.”

She then showed a photo on her cellphone to a friend, who exclaimed, “You took a picture in the bathroom?”

Las Vegas resident Gerald Ashley, who was moving through the luxury resort in a mobility scooter, said he found the property to be very accommodating to disabled patrons.

“It’s just magnificent,” he said of Fontainebleau, although he did have one complaint.

“It doesn’t have a poker room,” Ashley said. “I wish they had a poker room.”

Fontainebleau’s website notes that the property “will offer the latest in poker novelty games but will not have a poker room.”

The rest of the casino was fairly active Thursday morning with about one-third to half of the resort’s 128 table games being played. Most of the tables, including three-card poker and roulette, had $15 minimums while blackjack tables offered $25 and $50 minimums.

Roughly one-third of the 1,300 slot machines were being played Thursday morning.

Toronto residents Sarah Borgolivier and Greg Smith, who were wheeling their suitcases toward the exit after staying the night, said they were very impressed with the in-room technology featured in Fontainebleau’s 3,644 rooms.

“We had a fantastic view of the Strip and of the Sphere,” Borgolivier said. “As the sun went down, the curtains automatically opened and we had a perfect view of the sunset.”

Florida resident Bobby Chaney said he was surprised by the size of the casino and public areas, but was delighted with how helpful the welcoming staff were.

Those entering through the property’s main entrances were offered a fourfold map and brochure that provided layout details of levels 1 (casino) to 6 (convention, ballrooms and meeting rooms). At Fontainebleau, public areas are on Levels 1, 2 and 3 with meeting and convention space on Levels 2M, 4 and 6. Maps are color-coded to identify restaurants, cafes and bars, retail and wellness facilities, including spa, fitness center and salons.

Upper levels are accessible with escalators and elevators.

On Thursday morning, self-parking garages were open and guests weren’t being charged to park. That could change because automated gates are installed in the garage.

A Fontainebleau webpage says self-parking would cost $20 for four to 24 hours. Nevada residents with identification will be allowed to park free for up to four hours. Registered hotel guests have no added parking charges because it’s included in the property’s resort fee.

Valet parking rates range from $35 to $40 a day.

The company did not say when those rates would take effect.

Self-parking is accessible off Las Vegas Boulevard and Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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