These are some high times at the Strat, and, yes, I meant the pun.
I toured the property Tuesday, a tall order (yes to that one, too) dialed up by Golden Entertainment Senior Vice President of Marketing Brad Goldberg and Golden Entertainment Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Arcana. Some of the highlights:
— A Strip debate. Here we go again.
The Strat execs consider themselves part of the Strip, and I agree. The collective reason is, the famous tower serves as a logical tent post to the north end of the Strip, with the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign to the south. “Whenever you see a photo of the Strip, this iconic building is part of it,” Goldberg says. Clark County officials might scoff, as the Strat is zoned in the city of Las Vegas, with the city/Clark County border at Sahara Avenue. It is the only resort in the city that can justifiably claim to be on the Strip.
The Strat brass is also reminding that their hotel is the logical gateway to downtown Las Vegas and the Arts District, the lone resort that can at least attempt to reach clientele downtown to the north and the Strip to the south.
— An arch for that gateway. Yes, an arch over Las Vegas Boulevard is planned to formally welcome motorists and pedestrians to downtown Las Vegas. This piece is to be built just north of the hotel on L.V. Boulevard, replacing the sort of underwhelming sign over Sahara and the Strip that reminded folks there was a downtown area to the north. Specifics are to be determined, but the arch should be up next year.
— Skywalk action. A glass walkway, looking all the way down from level 109, should be finished by the end of 2020.
— Guest-rooms refresh. We checked out an extensively refurbished standard guest room, more modernized and looking nothing like the old guest rooms of the Stratosphere days. I learned that bathtubs in guest rooms are becoming passe. It’s all showers these days. About 1,000 guest rooms should be completed by the end of 2020.
— New live entertainment havens. One is on the casino floor, still under development. Another is in the space of the old Stratosphere lounge, which did have a name but it escapes me. Maybe it was Over There. But it was a challenging space, smoky and crammed (which was not a headlining duo). Goldberg is still thinking of a name for the spruced-up spot. Meantime, someone should develop an act called the Strat Pack and pitch a concept, pronto.
— A cool photo op. Look through the “Look” stainless-steel sculpture leading to the main valet. If you stand at the base, you have an abstract view through the piece up the Strat’s tower — which is being renamed SkyPod, as a “tower” is to mean the hotel’s room tower. Local artists Nick Stiley, Adin Fly and James Talbert teamed on the piece.
— New SkyPod amenities. Especially impressed with the 108 Eats restaurant, a partnership between the hotel and James Trees of the wonderful Esther’s Kitchen in the Arts District.
— A Sartini sighting. Golden Entertainment Chairman and CEO Blake Sartini was behind the construction walls, consulting with workers in the under-renovation space at the hotel entrance. His imprints and fingerprints are evident throughout the hotel’s revamp and rebranding effort. The Blake, as a name for the renovated entertainment venue, would be a righteous move.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.