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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.