Updated November 17, 2023 - 7:29 pm
The place seems so permanent. It’s the Winner’s Stage for the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix, the interview platform for the race’s top three finishers.
But it’s a lot more than that.
When you enter Bellagio Fountain Club spectator zone, you discover a fully realized hospitality and nightclub layout. The second-level restaurant scene is replete with fancy glasses, flatware and monogrammed napkins. White and black chairs encircle glass tables, cushy blue couches are plentiful. Several six-tops are set up next to windows facing the Strip, where F1 cars will scream past at more than 200 mph.
MGM Resorts International star chefs are in the driver’s seat. Such stalwarts as Mario Carbone, David Chang, Michael Mina, Masaharu Morimoto, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, are joined by José Andrés, Christina Tosi, Alain Ducasse and Rainer Becker.
These culinary giants rotate throughout the three days with new menus that progress through the afternoon and night.
Two 165-inch video walls have been installed, with 60 OLED TVs with Dolby Vision broadcasting the action. Two F1 race simulators are on each side of the room.
Bleachers are erected on either side of the glass-enclosed fortress. A DJ deck sits on its roof, dubbed the Rooftop Nightclub, a view of Bellagio Fountains at the back and the Las Vegas Grand Prix road course out front. This is where Tao Group Marquee Skydeck on the south side and Red Bull Lounge on the north side host DJ-driven parties deep into the night.
The deck covers three football fields. You could actually play a game on this artificial turf. In the middle is the Winner’s Stage, where you can watch periodic performances by artists from Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group and Jabbawockeez.
What else … A total of 500 Bellagio employees and volunteers make the club run. You take it in and understand why fans paid more than $11,000 for a three-day race ticket, with a meet-and-greet with F1 ambassadors, all-you-can-eat food and drink, and access to all these fan-fun zones.
The club has totally sold out all 3,600 tickets. The structure has already driven revenue and conversation.
“We’re curating an experience at the Bellagio Fountain Club that offers guests the absolute best of F1,” Andrew Lanzino, vice president of Citywide Events Strategy, said in a statement last month. “We’re incredibly honored to host the Las Vegas Grand Prix’s winner’s stage for what we believe will be one of the weekend’s most iconic moments.”
You just shake your head at the scale of it all, remembering that this VIP racing destination took four months to build and required the removal of adult trees in front of the fountains. They will be replaced, MGM Resorts International officials promise. This is not a year-round experience. But it is to take over the front of Bellagio’s famous fountains for several months.
Construction began in August. The venue is to be completely disassembled in time for New Year’s Eve. This is the process for every running of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, about four months of intensive construction on this destination-within-a-destination. Officials say it will be worth the effort. We’ll find out. That’s why they run the race.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.