What’s new at the Plaza?

Justin M. Bowen

An exterior view of the newly renovated Plaza Hotel and Casino in downtown Las Vegas on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011.

No walls were knocked down, no towers went up, but the Plaza has an entirely new look. The resort’s yearlong, $35 million overhaul is complete.

“This is the only major renovation the Plaza has had since being built in 1971 and having the dome added,” spokeswoman Amy Maier said. “They’ve had mini-makeovers, but nothing this extensive.”

Rooms were redesigned, restaurants rebranded and the casino refurbished. And there are more changes on the way. Here’s a look at what has come, what has gone and what’s next:

  • Renovated rooms

    They’re more upscale-Strip than old-school downtown. The Plaza’s 1,000-plus guest rooms now feature flat-screen TVs, sleek glass tables and leather furniture in modern earth tones with pops of color — a far cry from the hotel’s old, smoke-soaked linens and wood-laminate accessories. Marble, tile and granite replaced bathroom fiberglass.

    Owner Tamares Las Vegas Properties scored most of the furnishings and materials from the stalled Fontainebleau project. The company bought 8,200 pieces of furniture, 50,000 square yards of carpet and 300,000 square feet of stone, tile and mosaics for pennies on the dollar.

    Black-and-white prints of Fremont Street during the ’50s and ’60s line the walls. “The atmosphere is reminiscent of the hotel’s old Vegas roots but with the A-list glamour of Vegas today,” designer Nancy Paolino said. Rooms start at $44 on weeknights and average $109 on weekends.

  • New restaurants

    Local favorites Hash House A Go Go and Island Sushi and Hawaiian Grill line the casino floor. The food court is still under construction but will eventually house Gigi’s Cupcakes, Zaba’s Mexican Grill, Subway and McDonald’s. Cafelatte, a coffee bar, greets customers in the hotel’s main entrance, and Oscar’s, former Mayor Oscar Goodman’s steak house, is slated to occupy the Plaza’s iconic glass dome when it opens in late October.

  • Updated lobby

    The new Plaza lobby is awash in black, white, red and silver. A front desk wrapped in plush red fabric meets slick marble and mosaic floors. A dozen crystal chandeliers from the original Plaza hang from the ceiling. Old photographs show the resort in earlier years.

    Designers worked hard to mix old elements with new. “The old Plaza had a lot of classic charm we wanted to keep,” Maier said.

  • Casino floor

    The 80,000-square-foot casino floor got a complete redo, with new carpet, paint and fixtures. It includes 28 table games and 800 slot and video poker machines.

    Although the hotel was closed for almost a year, the casino shut its doors for only about two months. More than 400 employees were laid off while the property was under construction.

    The Plaza has since rehired close to 300 workers and held a job fair to hire back hundreds more. By the end of the year, when all its restaurants have opened, the Plaza expects to employ 800.

  • New lounge

    It’s hard to get bored at the Swingers Club. The bar-lounge features a number of activities to keep drinkers entertained: flip cup, dueling pianos and a nine-hole indoor miniature golf course with professionally designed greens and a creepy “Haunted Hole.”

    Proprietors aimed to give the bar a casual, fun feel. “There’s no cover, there’s no bottle service,” co-owner Travis Talbot said. “We didn’t want it to be anything like the Strip.”

  • New hair salon

    Exposed isn’t your father’s barber shop. In true Vegas fashion, it will feature female stylists decked out in bikinis and lingerie. Alcohol also will be served. Men and women will have separate seating and entrances, and women will receive haircuts from men in black-and-white attire (sorry ladies, no bare chests.)

    Haircuts will start at $50, and the salon, which is slated to open any day, won’t close until midnight.

  • Coming soon: New sports book

    Goodbye, Lucky’s. Hello, Cantor. Early next year, the Plaza’s race and sports book will get a new operator and new look. Cantor Gaming will take over from Lucky’s Race and Sports Book. Cantor also plans to introduce mobile gaming to the property, which will make the Plaza the only downtown casino with the technology.

  • Coming soon: Renovated pool and sports area

    The rooftop pool off the fifth floor of the Plaza’s South Tower needs work, as do the tired sports courts next to it. Come next swimming season, all should be brand new.

    The Plaza will soon begin renovations on its outdoor recreation area, with plans to refurbish both the pool and the courts. Since the Plaza opened Labor Day weekend at the close of pool season, owners decided to wait for winter to tackle the project.

  • No change: The showroom

    The Plaza’s showroom looks much like it did when it was built. It received no makeover. In fact, it’s one of the few Las Vegas showrooms that hasn’t changed in decades. Owners are, however, swapping out its Rat Pack show for more updated entertainment, although a new act hasn’t been announced.

    Tamares also added a second theater to the Plaza, a 75-seat, third-floor venue that now houses the Insurgo Theater Movement, a 36-member repertory company. The collaboration marks the first time a local acting troupe has taken residency in major Las Vegas hotel-casino.

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Discussion 10 comments

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  1. I think you're totally wrong, SinCityChauffeur. Why would anyone spend $35 million to create or recreate a roach-infested establishment? Keeping the price low, at $44 for weekdays, attracts a lot of non-high rollers. Also, being able to only afford a $44 room does not mean an individual has, or enjoys, roach infestation. "Inexpensive" does not equate with "filthiness".

    I think the Plaza has done a SUPER FANTASTIC renovation and I can hardly wait to visit it on my next vacation in Las Vegas. More and more venues are renovating and refurbishing as opposed to imploding. This is an excellent idea and gives the average, everyday person a nice place to stay and play in Vegas.

    The bst to you, PLAZA!

  2. Congratulations on a job well done, Plaza. Thank you for joining in the reinvention of all of downtown Las Vegas!

  3. I think the author of this article should focus more on reporting than shilling for the Plaza.

    I stayed there this weekend with great anticipation. Anticipation that was fed by disingenuous articles like this.

    First let me say that they have done a pretty good job on the Plaza, so far. I was not entirely disappointed, but mostly just because it was so cheap. Let me make one thing clear however; the renovation is not complete.

    No ice machines -you have to take your ice bucket into the casino for ice. No minibars. The pool has not been completely remodeled.

    We woke up at 9 in the morning to the sound of ongoing construction in the room above us.

    The bedding was thin and there weren't extra blankets available.

    The staff is not well trained, yet. I called from the room to find out where the pool was and it took at least two minutes before someone answered. When I did get to talk to a person, they did not know and had to put me on hold.

    I could go on.

    Like I said, the price was right, so I would probably go back, but with lower expectations.

    Please, do your job LVS!

  4. Love what is happening with Downtown LV. This is a positive sign of forward momentum. We may be losing the battle with Macau in terms of dollars and money spent on big properties, but it's not always about that. The OLD real Vegas is still the original and never duplicated. Sin City is coming back and not a moment too soon!

  5. Hooray for the Plaza!! Boo to SinCityChauffer. I come to vegas three times a year. The only thing that counts for a room is that it is comfortable. After all, all we use a room for is to sleep and shower. I won't spend alot on a room it's just a waste of money. I still go to the shows (high end, low end and everything in the middle), I still go to the casino's, I still go to the restaurants(all varieties). I'm not low end, but I'm not a Whale either, however, if I spend an extra thousand on a room, then that's less I spend to spend on the table's, restaurants, and shows. I'll be back in about 10 days and I will certainly go see the new Plaza.

  6. I live in Las Vegas and would say the Plaza is a little bit better than before. No big deal . They hadn't done anything for so long any type of renovation is a plus. If u stay downtown the only place is GOLDEN NUGGET. U may pay a little more but it's worth it. If u stay midweek SUN=FRI u can get a great deal at $ 59 a day. If u play a little u can get a COMP for 1 or 2 days. Good luck. Do not stay at the Plaza!!!

  7. I also stayed at the Plaza this past weekend, and was sadly disappointed. I do have to agree with rjamesd, the rooms are seriously lacking. While it was clean and the furniture was nice and new, the room just looked incomplete. The linens were plain white, with no blankets or throw pillows (nothing like the picture listed above). You could see the box spring on the beds (no bed skirt). The room was lacking basics like a luggage stand to place your suitcase on. There was no hair dryer in the bathroom & when I inquired about it at the front desk, the girl there had no idea. I also asked her about the linens, and again she was clueless. She told me she didn't have any idea, and there was no one currently on shift that would know. (???)
    While yes, I know its an older hotel and I did pay a low rate for the night, I just expected a lot more. Especially after all the hype from articles such as this one saying how great it is. The front desk staff is not trained properly and could not answer any question I had.
    I am a Las Vegas local who works in the travel/tourism industry. I frequently stay at local hotels on weekends for little "staycations" and I can easily say the Plaza is a hotel I will NOT be going back to (no matter how cheap the rooms are).

  8. I read reviews on Tripadvisor.com and they said things like " you can't put lipstick on a pig!" and "not ready to open". Also complaints about no hot water, bad water pressure, sewage smell, the bedding not complete, the bathrooms sink too tall. Just about 97% bad reviews. I'll give it some time before I stay there, like a year at least.

  9. Wow you mean you complainers expected a $200 room and you paid $50 and you're disappointed? This shows the problem with America. A bunch of entitlement thinking. You want fancy then you pay for it. I am amazed at how out of line with reality the thinking is here.

  10. We went last week and I loved the look of the rooms and the lobby decor was stunning but there were some serious problems like we asked for a fridge and they had to bring one in only to find out there wasn't an outlet where is was supposed to go. The lights didn't have a switch and we couldn't reach to unplug them from the wall so we had to unscrew the bulbs. The TV was so new it had never been programmed. And, as others have said, there wasn't an extra blanket. But it felt really good to be in a room that felt fresh and new where you didn't mind walking on the carpet in your bare feet. Overall, once they get the bugs worked out, I would give them an A.