The Tropicana: The VegasTripping Review 2010
They're Changing Everything, But Is It Enough?
A helluva lot has happened since the last time we reviewed the Tropicana, and most of it wasn't pretty. Three (?) groups of owners, two bankruptcies, a dozen scandals, head fake implosion rumors and at least three bonafide sets of redesign plans later, the Tropicana landed in the hands of Onex Partners, headed up by former MGM Grand CEO and Kirk Kerkorian protege Alex Yemenidjian. Mr. Yemenidjian hit the ground running, hiring some of the best and brightest in the biz to redesign, rebuild, reposition and rebrand the long neglected Tiffany on the Strip.
$160 million dollhairs later, you'll barely recognize the place. The old dirty, threadbare stinky stanky stained casino has been completely renovated in glossy tropical motif with a number of new restaurants already open and a more on the way. The transformation is shocking, admittedly incomplete and some ways flawed (yet fixable.)
As anyone familiar with the Tropicana can attest, arriving via automobile has always been a pain in the ass. Thinking I was slick, I ducked into parking area on the airport side of the building hoping to find a way to get to the porte cochere. After being blocked in by "do not enter" signs, construction equipment and materials, I ended up back out on the Strip, swiveling down Tropicana and in the front entrance. Not slick. I parked the car, tossed the keys to the valet guy, grabbed our bags and made way up into the main entrance only to find I would have to carry luggage up a short staircase after entering the building. The ramp that used to be here is gone now. Not really a big problem for me, but if you can't pick up your luggage it could be a problem for you.
Check in took an eternity, even though there were only three guests on line in front of us. After running our credentials and noticing that our reservation was made via Expedia, the clerk asked us how we would like to pay the resort fee that was due now... swiped the card, they gave us the keys and off we headed towards room 762 in the Island Tower at the rear of the property. "Go through the casino, up the stairs, over the bridge and up the elevators." The same directions would work if they were sending us to Excalibur or MGM Grand.