Updated June 25, 2021 - 11:15 am
Thousands gathered Thursday evening to help welcome Las Vegas’ newest hotel. Here’s how they celebrated during the final hours before the 11 p.m. opening of the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas, the first new hotel-casino on the Strip in more than a decade.
Donna Lee, who lives in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas, was playing slots at Resorts World shortly after it opened to the public. She said she hadn’t had any expectations for the resort, noting a friend invited her and got her in with VIP access.
But Lee was happy to see the huge crowds inside. Lee, who said she has lived in Las Vegas since 2006, noted the pandemic’s severe economic impact on the valley and how people are going back to work.
Looking around, with mobs of visitors going through the resort, and a small share of them wearing masks, there were few reminders of the past year or so.
“Everybody seems very excited and ready to drop money,” Lee said. —Eli Segall
The casino floor is packed and buzzing less than 30 minutes after the sea of tourists crammed in line outside were allowed in Resorts World.
Every seat is taken at multiple tables as gamblers try to win big at roulette, blackjack, poker and the like, and there is plenty of action on the slots, too.
“Face down, face down!” a man in a plaid blazer told his blackjack dealer, shortly before he and the others at the table erupted in cheers. — Eli Segall
Saraya Waddler, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was standing in line with probably thousands of others to get into Resorts World.
A recruiter for a senior medical center, Waddler and her husband were part of a group of about a dozen visiting Las Vegas. They found out Resorts World was opening while they were coming out here and were excited, knowing Las Vegas does it “big” when a property debuts, she said.
“We’ve got to be a part of it,” she said. — Eli Segall
Bryan Ercolano, a 34-year-old Las Vegas real estate investor and fitness-studio owner, said he arrived at Resorts World at 7 p.m. and has been “super impressed.”
Ercolano, speaking with a Review-Journal reporter outside at the pool complex as celebrity socialite Paris Hilton worked the DJ booth, said the massive property is “pretty overwhelming.”
He also sees it as a mixture of Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“It’s hip, but it’s also modern and classy,” he said. — Eli Segall
“Vegas is back!” Paris Hilton exclaims as she takes the decks at the Resorts World pool, blonde hair bobbing atop a sparkling blue dress as she moves to the beat. She’s the surprise guest artist of the night, her mom joining her in the DJ booth at one point. “Is she playing Journey?” a lady wonders aloud as Hilton did, in fact, play Journey. Vegas? Back? As if we ever left. — Jason Bracelin
The music is loud and the masses are well dressed at the pool-complex party at Resorts World. Guys in suits (mostly without ties), ladies in cocktail dresses, and most of all, lots of people sauntering around, many with drink in hand.
No rowdy, “Vegas, baby!” crowd here — at least not yet. — Eli Segall
People from across the country made the trip for Resorts World’s grand opening.
Among them was Joanne Turner. The Columbus, Ohio, woman has been in Las Vegas for four days with her family waiting for Thursday night.
It’s roughly her 10th time in Las Vegas but, she said, she hasn’t seen anything quite like Resorts World.
“It’s so new, bright, shiny and modern,” she said.
Turner said she’s tried every snack station she came across. She particularly liked the chicken and waffles from Famous Foods Street Eats.
It’s Turner’s last night in Las Vegas but she’s not sure if she’s going to get any gambling in. “Only if I can stay awake until 11 o clock.” — Dylan Svoboda
A DJ, dancers and a light show entertained VIP guests on the Resorts World pool deck and the public waiting to get in for the public opening got to see some of the show.
The show was projected on the 100,000-square-foot digital screen on the south-facing facade of the resort’s West Tower.
The poolside theme of pink flamingos and ducks in sunglasses were prominently displayed for poolside guests as well as for those waiting to get in. —Richard N. Velotta
Large screens displayed the ultra-green baseball fields and golf courses while bar attendees drank beer and listened to live rock covers at the Dawg House Saloon and Sports Book.
Maybe it’s a good thing the sports book wasn’t open when the Vegas Golden Knights lost the Stanley Cup semifinals to the Montreal Canadiens earlier that night. — McKenna Ross
Las Vegas Valley real estate agent Mike Czmil said that when he got inside Resorts World, everything was running smoothly, noting the food and drinks “were flowing.”
He also said the property is gigantic.
“It took us 45 minutes to do a lap around this place,” he said.
“I’m having a great time,” he said. —Eli Segall
Red Tail gaming bar was serving bar fare of sliders and boneless wings, while at the nearby Sun’s Out Buns Out, lines were forming for avocado toast and short ribs with grits.
And Wally’s Wine & Spirits offered up dreamy truffle-and-brie-infused toasted baguettes. — Heidi Knapp Rinella
Raiders owner Mark Davis fielded handshakes and photo requests on the casino floor across from The Kitchen at Resorts World.
“This really feels like the coming out party (for Las Vegas). They just did a wonderful job with this building,” Davis said.
He noted how Allegiant Stadium and Resorts World could continue construction during the pandemic. Davis said he often stays at Westgate, from where he would watch the resort’s progress.
Davis said he enjoyed seeing so many people out at the property walking around with smiles on their faces.
“It’s a hint of what’s to come, the future,” he said. “This town’s gonna rock again, man.” — Mike Shoro
The first floor of the retail and dining district inside Resorts World was hopping around 9 p.m. while most stores on the second floor have yet to open.
Only Pepper, an upscale adult entertainment store, and Sneaker Garden, a shoe store, were the only second story stores welcoming guests in. Still, patrons could be seen riding the escalator and enjoying the scene from above the buzzing restaurants down below. —Dylan Svoboda
What does it mean to be in the Dawg House? George Thorogood blasting through the P.A. as a man in shades and a hockey jersey feeds hors d’oeuvres to a small, shaggy white pup who just might be the happiest creature in the entire property. Yes, a dog is actually in the Dawg House right about now. Here’s for truth in advertising. — Jason Bracelin
Newlyweds in Vegas may have a special place to shop after visiting the chapels.
Pepper, an adult entertainment store, was one of dozens of shops opening in Resorts World’s retail and dining district on Thursday. Employees say it’s a first on the Strip.
It doesn’t boast with innuendo. Instead, the 6,000-foot space on the second floor, overlooking the casino floor, greets customers with an Urban Outfitters-meets-Apple Store setting with neutral colors and dimmed lights. Couples — or singles — can browse through lingerie, special scents, branded condoms and toys. — McKenna Ross
A DJ in bright red lipstick soundtracks the savoring of chocolate-covered apples by a blonde in a dress of the same shade. She rolls her shoulders as she digs into the confection. The Resorts World food court bustles like a Times Square of high-end eats. Loud, packed. Claypot rice and fried chicken and sake go down with a bass-heavy thump as spirits rise with spirits consumed. Getting loose in here. — Jason Bracelin
At Gatsby’s Cocktail Lounge, Clique Hospitality managing partner John Pettei said he was gratified by the reaction from the crowd.
“They’ve been amazing,” he said. “We’ve had a great response from the people who came through,” Pettei said of the reaction to the dozens of red, pink and purple spheres suspended over the bar to evoke the bubbles of Champagne, a Gatsby’s specialty.
Next up: the grand-opening parties next week, with DJ Questlove on Thursday and Brody Jenner and Devin Lucien on Friday. — Heidi Knapp Rinella
Restaurants and bars inside Resorts World Las Vegas were filled to the brim just an hour after doors opened to the invitation-only pre-opening party. Wally’s Fine Wines and Gourmet Foods and Gatsby’s Cocktail Lounge had lines out the door.
Showgirls danced just feet away in front of the Resorts World digital globe. Above, pink tulle birds hung from a string with blue and red lights flashing on the ceiling behind them. Just around the corner, guests were checking out the casino’s offerings. — Dylan Svoboda
Representatives of Resorts World immersed guests attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Conrad Hilton porte-cochere into an Asian cultural experience, with a dragon performance team and lion dancers inviting dignitaries to participate in an eye-dotting blessing ceremony.
Clark County Commissioners Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Tick Segerblom, Gov. Steve Sisolak and Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., were among the participants who dipped a brush into red paint symbolizing blood and painting the eyes, face and tails of the lions to assure good fortune for the Strip resort.
The hourlong ceremony also included addresses from the government dignitaries and from executives of Hilton Hotels and KT Lim, the chairman of the Genting Group, which built the 3,500-room resort — Richard N. Velotta
Typewriter clicks and chimes floated over the usual sounds of a crowded hotel lobby as a man wearing a double-tailed suit coat typed fortunes and placed them in a top hat for guests to grab.
Las Vegas resident Autumn Ellington immediately connected with hers: “flow like water. Adapt and overcome today. From the chairman.”
Ellington works for a premium lifestyle apparel company, Black Clover. It’s expected to open on the property soon, and the past week has been hectic, she said.
Her husband, Joe Ellington, liked his fortune, too: “Welcome to Resorts World. Luck and prosperity are on the horizon. Help those in need. From the chairman.”
“I think this is a great kind of message for this crowd,” he said at the VIP opening. “This is probably a lot of people who are in a position to help a lot of people. So, I think that’s pretty cool. Hopefully I’m not the only one that got this message.” — McKenna Ross
A Louis Vuitton Doberman, fashioned from Crayola crayons, naturally, keeps silent watch over the not-so-silent Crockfords Gaming & Lounge. The crash of cymbals sounds like lighting striking a tin roof as a troupe of dragon dancers makes their way through the high-end gaming spot, its marble tables gleaming beneath lighting adorned with what looks a giant pearl necklace draped down from the ceiling. A cellist in a flowing white gown tunes her instrument as she waits for the lively, percussive din to to subside. Finally, it’s her turn, subtlety supplanting bombast. — Jason Bracelin
Guests were dressed for the occasion, with many wearing Asian-influenced styles or sporting a red flare. Personal style was also on display — with a 6-inch tall Mohawk, Las Vegas resident Travis Schwantes was hard to miss.
Schwantes, a stay-at-home dad, said it was his first time at a hotel-casino opening and was eager to get onto the casino floor. But in the meantime, the people watching was great entertainment.
“I’m pretty impressed, especially with this lobby,” he said over the crowd murmur and sound of champagne bottles popping. “It’s been exciting to brush elbows with celebrities.”
He noted Paris Hilton and Jon Lovitz passed him earlier in the night. — McKenna Ross
Spotted in the crowd: former Nevada Gov.Brian Sandoval, and a lot of people keeping tabs on the Knights game. — Heidi Knapp Rinella
Traffic control, parking and assistance were all stellar at the Resorts World opening reception. And then hundreds of guests, having received their identifying wristbands, had to stand packed in the Hilton Hotel lobby, with all that body heat, at last count 20 minutes past the announced opening time. — Heidi Knapp Rinella
A rainbow of Rolls Royces — colored in green jade pearl, blue candy, fuchsia and more eye-popping hues befitting of a bag of Skittles — nine in all, cordoned off on the casino floor, greeted the champagne-sipping early arrivers on at Resorts World.
A female Elvis posed in front of a two-door Phantom with a Barney-the-dinosaur-colored purple interior. The cars were idle, and yet the ride had begun. — Jason Bracelin
Minutes before a 7 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, a crowd of several dozen guests lined a hall just outside the Resorts World Las Vegas casino.
Rickey and Sandra McCurry of Las Vegas were among the first in line. With a gin and tonic in hand, Rickey McCurry called Resorts World “quite an addition to the Vegas landscape.”
The opportunity to part of the grand opening “ is exciting, an opportunity to meet new people,” he said.
The McCurrys, who are who are originally from Tennessee but moved from Arizona a few months ago, aren’t much on gambling but plan on taking a few chances on some slot machines tonight. —Dylan Svoboda
Dori Koren walked the floor of the Crockfords hotel lobby in a dark suit. He’s the captain of Las Vegas police’s Convention Center Area Command, which includes the Strip. On Thursday he was an invited guest.
He said Resort World’s opening will likely increase pedestrian traffic to the north end of the Strip.
“From the stadium bringing people to the south, and this bringing people to the north, it’s gonna be exciting to see,” Koren said.
The property has been a “fantastic” partner thus far, helping fund an under-construction police kiosk on Las Vegas Boulevard, he said. It will help the Metropolitan Police Department up their presence on the Strip, particularly if the resort attracts as many guests as anticipated, Koren said. — Mike Shoro
Resorts World Las Vegas entered the home stretch Thursday toward opening its $4.3 billion, 3,500-room resort, the first new Strip property since The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened on Dec. 15, 2010.
Guests for a VIP party featuring poolside entertainment, fireworks and food samplings at numerous restaurants within The District were due to begin arriving at 7 p.m.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting by Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella and numerous Genting Group executives and appearances by costumed dragons and lions are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at the porte-cochere entrance to the Conrad Hilton.
Genting, operators of Resorts World Las Vegas, indicated the doors would open to the public at 11 p.m., and the traditional first dice roll by executives is planned at one of the 117,000-square-foot casino’s craps tables at 11:15 p.m.
The resort isn’t planning for guests to check in to their rooms until Friday. — Richard N. Velotta
For more coverage of Resorts World visit lvrj.com/resortsworld.