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Mirage going after locals with free parking, show discounts

Updated April 16, 2023 - 7:39 pm

After all these years, the Mirage is positioning itself as a locals casino.

The groundbreaking Las Vegas resort, a Strip institution since opening in 1989, is trumpeting a new rewards program that’s zeroing in on Nevada residents.

Those with a valid Nevada ID can qualify for free parking; discounts on live entertainment, restaurants and spa packages; and for new happy hour offerings across the hotel.

This can be achieved at no cost, if locals sign up for the Mirage-Hard Rock Hotel Unity Rewards Program. They will then be bumped automatically to the Legends Tier, where the value is available. And locals love value, especially if they can find it on the Strip.

Mirage President Joe Lupo has steered this outreach strategy. Lupo is a UNLV grad whose career started with Boyd Gaming and the since-destroyed Stardust (where Resorts World now stands). He knows the Las Vegas’ resort history, senses its future and says it’s about time to embrace locals.

“I know that the market has grown, and I wouldn’t be doing my part if I wasn’t trying to do everything I could to grow the database for Hard Rock,” Lupo said in a phone chat over the weekend. “I want people to understand what a great property this is. I think it obviously hasn’t been the priority in the past.

“We’re looking to make sure that, especially with the access off Spring Mountain, that we tell the locals that we have a great property to offer.”

The reference to Spring Mountain might not resonate with vacationing tourists or the convention crowd. But locals understand the importance of smooth access and that avoiding the Strip is often a deal-maker in where they spend their time and money.

Complimentary parking draws locals, too. (If you want to know why such off-Strip hotels as Tuscany Suites and South Point pop with locals, easy access and free parking top the list.)

The Mirage currently offers free parking for locals up to three hours, then charges $15 up to four hours and $18 for more than four hours. It’s easy to hit the four-hour payment trigger if you eat at Heritage Steak, see “Love” and drop into Parlor Lounge, for one real-time example.

“I think the combination of our access and free parking plays one of the biggest roles for locals,” Lupo said. “Then, we have to give a reason to come here. So I think that happy hours, and the two great shows we have for families, make a difference.”

Mirage is also offering 20 percent discounts to the Cirque-Beatles show “Love” and Shin Lim’s “Limitless” illusion production at Mirage Theater. That 20 percent offer, and a two-for-one discount on select days, is offered at the spa and salon. Restaurants and lounges are establishing happy hour events throughout the week (for info and updates, go to hardrockhotelcasinolasvegas.com).

Mirage will turn over to Hard Rock Hotel but not anytime soon. As Lupo offered, “I don’t expect to see construction in ‘24, and not until ‘25.”

So there is time to warm up the locals to today’s Mirage, and the guitar-shaped resort in a couple of years.

“I’m obviously trying to push the envelope a little bit,” Lupo said. “I didn’t see any reason not to speak to locals, especially when somebody told me they didn’t think I could do it. So that irks me just that much more.”

Tease this …

Our interview with Morris Day, booked in July at The Strat Theater, is on the tarmac. Look for it soon.

Love her, again

On Thursday, Celine Dion issued her first single since announcing the condition keeping her from the stage. “Love Again” is the title track from the upcoming movie co-starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan.

The film set for wide release May 5. The soundtrack, featuring five new Dion songs, is due May 12.

In December, Dion announced she suffers from Stiff Person Syndrome, which has prevented her return to live performance. She has delayed indefinitely her premiere at Resorts World Theatre. Her spring and summer “Courage” world tour appearances have been pushed back.

Dion’s next scheduled show is Aug. 26, at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. That performance, indicative of the pandemic and Dion’s health concerns, has been postponed three times. And there is no defined plan for her to return to the Strip.

UNLV Jazz at 50

On the topic of Dion (and many other superstar), the UNLV Division of Jazz and Commercial Music marks the 50th anniversary of its jazz ensemble program at 7:30 p.m. April 25 at Artemus Ham Hall. Musicians from the Jazz Studies Program have backed such headliners as Dion, Lady Gaga, Jonas Brothers. Kelly Clarkson, Andrea Bocelli, Bette Midler, Donny and Marie Osmond and David Foster on the Strip.

A UNLV alumni all-star band will perform a program of original compositions and arrangements by such former students as Dennis Mackrel, (drummer with the Count Basie Orchestra), Kenny Rampton (of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra) also appearing as a featured trumpet soloist UNLV Jazz Ensemble I, conducted by Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye.

The event kicks off at Ham Hall 7:30 p.m. April 24, with Jazz ensembles II and III, and the Harmon Avenue Maryland Parkway jazz vocal choirs. And, at 7:30 April 26, the Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, Studio Scarlet (the school’s premiere jazz vocal ensemble), and the Latin Jazz Ensemble.

It’s a whole thing, believe me. So much talent and music credibility in this one. Tickets are $10, in the “ridiculous” range for these performances. Get them through the UNLV Performing Arts Center box office.

Cool Hang Alert

This CHA event has so many performers, it might need a Jerry Lewis impressionist and a tote board.

Jeff Leibow hosts “Oh What A Night Part 2” on Wednesday at Italian American Club. This is a wide-ranging, all-star lineup, the rare chance to see a headlining Strip magician (Murray Sawchuck) share a bill with a former member of a Blues Brothers tribute act (Carmen Roman). The show is a benefit for Leibow’s NF Hope Concert charity, benefiting neurofibromatosis.

Produced and co-hosted by Sal Cucco and Brett Raymer, the show features such Vegas entertainment stalwarts as Frankie Scinta, Anne Martinez, Kelly Vohnn, Chadwick Johnson, Janien Valentine, Breanna Santos, Douglas Crawford, Rita Lim, Genevieve Dew, Mark Giovi, Franci Citro, Michael Monge and Billy Fischer. Peter Fand is music director. Tickets are $75, show only (meaning, dinner is separate), for a noble cause. Go to iacvegas.com for intel.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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