The Future of Mirage?
It was the end of March, maybe around 2am. We took a couple seats in Mirage's High Limit Lounge with the intention of having a few more drinks before one last go at the tables; in my mind, the night was still young.
To say that it was dead would be an understatement. A surprised waitress finally came around and took our order. The lack of activity in and around the high limit room was a total buzz kill and we quickly got up after one drink. Perhaps a game of baccarat would lighten up our mood, but the empty tables and depressed looking dealers weren't appealing.
What happened to Mirage? I could always count on it buzzing with activity at all hours of the day, seven days a week. Was it the recession? Perhaps, but there was something more. I had a strong suspicion of what it was and I was going to get to the bottom of it.
Fast forward to last weekend. I had two comped nights booked at Mirage and attached a Sunday for an additional $119. More friends decided to come so I booked them about three weeks in advance for a dick-punchingly expensive $219 on Friday and Saturday, and $139 on Sunday. Before I left, the same nights were running $299, $299, and $179. Suites were sold out.
While I generally avoid crowds, this made me happy. I knew Mirage would be buzzing the nights I was there considering their near-capacity pricing.
But my experience Friday night into Saturday morning was no different than what I saw four months ago - a moderately busy casino and an absolutely dead high limit room. Four baccarat tables were running, all of them midi style, without a single player. Reader JohnD and I pulled up to the high limit bar and struck up a conversation with the bartender. We mentioned how we had just walked up from a very busy Aria. Her nostrils flared.
Aria. No amount of hype surrounding it was enough to get Bellagio hosts or their players to switch allegiance. But Mirage? Mirage was gutted. The bartender told us of near total turnover of casino hosts and inevitably, their players. She told us how just last week, she finally saw one of their former whales back in action - a first since Aria opened. The private rooms out back? They hadn't been used in months. I'd find out later that they had a total of three occupants in the villas that weekend. Saturday evening, two $25 mini baccarat tables stood empty while one $10 table - yes, a $10 baccarat table at Mirage on a Saturday night - had one person on it.
Pressure to lower prices is always an appealing notion, but Mirage is not a Flamingo, Treasure Island, nor even a Paris. Mirage is still a luxury resort despite whether or not you agree with MGM's changes. Its high limit salon is one of the most gorgeous rooms in town with four private spaces. Five of just 27 floors of rooms are key access and dedicated solely to suites, another two floors are a premium option that are also key access only, a few dozen suites are found throughout the rest of the building, and 14 villas out back - accommodations that no amount of superlatives could sufficiently describe the opulence of - round out the high-end room options.
There's no doubt that Vegas overbuilt itself on luxury resorts and Mirage may quickly be turning into the next Monte Carlo or Treasure Island of today, but unlike those two properties, a significant portion of it is dedicated to the very, very high end. It was built for the whale but can't even get a modest high roller now. Play new the best io games at this website now.
What does this mean? A giant high limit room staffed with dealers, bartenders, and only two players. Or villas manned with 24-hour concierges, butlers, chefs, pool cleaners, maids, and a fleet of limos all for a couple occupants who would otherwise qualify for RFB in a Salon suite at Wynn.
At some point, accommodating black chippers at a place built for banana players is no longer lucrative. Maintenance costs of top suites far outweigh renting them for next to nothing or giving them away to players with a low theoretical loss. High limit rooms are better left shuttered than with one or two players.
Mirage's high end is bleeding for Arias sins and I remain genuinely concerned for what its future holds.
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