Fresh look for downtown’s Plaza

For its $35 million renovation to pay off, the Plaza in downtown Las Vegas will have to impress people like Roxie Rybnick.

Rybnick and her husband, Vincent, of tiny Frontenac, Kan., have regularly visited Las Vegas for years and occasionally stayed at the Plaza.

"I really don’t think it was up to par," she said diplomatically, recalling one visit where they switched rooms because the first one was so tattered.

But as the Rybnicks played slots shortly after the newly remodeled casino opened midmorning on Wednesday, she was ready to give the Plaza a second chance.

"It’s much, much better," she said. "We will probably have to try it out."

Although public formalities will be staged next week, the Plaza started letting in guests to gamble as part of a soft opening. The dealers were running table games by 9:30 a.m. and the bingo room called its first numbers at 11. But some of the slot machines still lacked stools, while the sounds of sawing and the smells of industrial glue drifted from some of the food service areas.

Tony Santo, chief executive officer of Play LV, which operates the Plaza, said 75 guest rooms were opened on Wednesday night, mainly for entrants in the bingo tournament that begins Saturday. The available room count will grow to 200 today , 500 to 600 for the weekend and all 1,037 by Sept. 1.

Other components will open at different times, while some work, such as redoing the flooring in the second-floor foyer, have yet to start.

"Phase one won’t be done until the first week of November," he said. "But it’s great to be getting open again."

A second stage will entail "some pretty significant work," he said, declining to elaborate.

The rate calendar lists Sunday-Thursday prices ranging from $39 to $79 a night, except for holidays, and $60 to $159 on weekends. That’s generally higher than what the hotel charged before closing in November 2010.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at or 702-387-5290.

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