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Exclusive: Introducing Victor Drai's New Hotel

By Chuckmonster on Saturday, 28th August 2010 7:54pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 22


Talk about timely... an anonymous tipster has sent us some renderings of the proposed new boutique hotel partnership between Harrah's and Victor Drai planned for the space currently being occupied by Bill's Gamblin' Hall and Saloon. The somewhat lousy quality of the low res renderings have been enhanced by blowing them up to a dimension that facilitates some top line analysis and study.

Most notable addition is opening the building up on the second floor to dining / nightlife/ casino with a strip facing veranda. Awesome! It also appears that there is a glow coming off the roof - perhaps a rooftop pool / club?

Why yes the circular thing up on the roof is in fact a night club with a new pool deck off... a rooftop replanting of XS! Wow.

Oh and hi there... it IS a rooftop pool!

Very interesting developments indeed.

We're also been hearing that Harrah's has been talking with other major hotel brands about taking over the space. With Drai parting ways with Wynn Resorts earlier this week, we're going to put our chips on "the deal is done" for Drai's Las Vegas. Without a doubt, a complete reboot of The Bills should provide gigantic return on a relatively small ($200M?) investment.


Comments & Discussion:

So long history, a bit of the past, and a fun joint. Douches move in.

So who wants to take a guess as to where Big Elvis moves when he's asked to leave "Drai's Las Vegas"??

My first thought was next door at the Flamingo, in the "Bugsy's Cabaret" or whatever they call the showroom where the "X Burlesque" show takes place. But Big E seems to fit better (no pun intended!) in a lounge open to the casino floor, where people can wander in and out, not a "closed lounge," pay a cover sort of place.

Thoughts? If Drai's gets "too upscale" for Big Elvis, where's the next logical spot for him?


Look, I understand. The douchebags bashing is easy. They make a big target for themselves. But you know what? One of the things that happens is that things change. The times change. Things evolve. One of the things I've always enjoyed about Vegas is that it changes. It's not meant to stay static forever.

The literary geek in me is screaming right now. Vegas doesn't belong to a particular age and vision. It's whatever humanity decides is the playground of the moment. It's not up to you to decide what that means.

I'm not in front of Wikipedia right now, but the legend was that in Rome, they had places where you could stuff yourself silly, then turn around and vomit out everything else so you could do it again. That was the Roman view of decadent fun. If Vegas existed back then, we'd all be rushing to the dedicated bathroom in Alex to go vomit.

The point is that for now, in this time, pools and partying is the way to go. All I ask is that there is a part of Vegas that still caters to me. Thankfully, there are plenty of places left in the City for me to have a good drink, enjoy a good meal and enjoy the spectacle the way I want to see it.

Big Elvis could probably find a home at Bally's.

Good bye to that Fremontesque exterior, though. Nice knowing ya.

You forgot the word "Exclusive" in the title.. lol :)

oh my... mac you're right! how could i have ever forgotten to capitalize on a an opportunity for self aggrandizement of vegastripping! i'll be on the unemployment line with jimbo in no time.

That club looks very XS/Tryst ish to me, i like it. It will be funny to see Bills transform into that... my image of them is quite a bit different.

Look on the bright side. If Harrah's is gonna pump money into Bills/Drai's, then at least that means it's gonna be around for a while. Which is excellent news for Flamingo fans next door!

I'm all for this. Totally. Completely. Why? Three reasons:

First, Barbary Coast was dead to me when Harrah's took over. If an old, doggy-eared joint is going to have shitty gambling, it's pointless to even step foot inside. This is a hook. A niche. A reason to visit.

Two, the more "nightclub hotels" like Palms and Hard Rock (and to some extent Luxor, Mandalay, and... gulp... Encore), the better. That hopefully means fewer disrespectful crowds occupying rooms in hotels where parties next door aren't the norm.

Finally, Drai has a solid track record of building gorgeous venues where even people who otherwise don't consider themselves clubbers have a good time. Hence the only club I'd ever consider paying for bottle service are still XS and Tryst (and yes, Drai's departure from the two pains me).

Hell, Barbary Coast smelled like its air was pumped in straight from Binions. It was definitely a delightful slice of Fremont Street on the strip, right down to its signage. It's a shame Boyd flipped it over to Harrah's, but hey, whatcha gonna do. Like Attica says, change happens.

Barbary Coast was the place where gamblers continued gambling even as people were leaping to their deaths across the street in the 1980 fire at what is now Ballys that killed 84 people. Tough crowd then. Quite a contrast to who they'll be wooing shortly, that's for sure.

Nice scoop, BTW. You've got some good moles.

I'm for it to. As I stated on the original posting about this change, the wild wild west theme has been out for years. This is going to give Harrahs a hellvua lot more money on a prime property than whats already there. I'm not for everything getting changed to ultramodern because it ALL LOOKS THE SAME I wish they would bring themes back but they won't. But for the people that get so pissed about it, go vacation somewhere else. Or stay somewhere else. Or avoid the property at all costs.

Wow, it looks great. I would like to see this happen, but I have major doubts from both a structural and budget perspective. Bill's was built on the cheap and may require significant structural retrofit to support second floor clubs and a rooftop pool. It might even be easier to demolish and start from scratch. The rooms are a lost cause unless you doubled them up, but there are only 200 to begin with. Even assuming a $200M budget (which is likely more than Harrah's wants or has to spend), they could probably only re-do the casino and put in a new restaurant/club.

Parchedearth's comment is why I've been searching (unsuccesfully so far) for any Clark County Zoning and/or Planning Committee agendas relating to this. A rooftop pool would require major structural changes. With the glut of rooms on the Strip, is Drai/Harrah's thinking of having no rooms, just clubs and pool?

I have mixed feelings.

I love the look of Bill's. As many have said before me it's a little slice of Fremont on The Strip. Big Elvis is one of my favorite attractions on the strip. I always stop in for a song or two when I'm in the area. Having said that, the gambling has been ruined by Harrah's. I would never play there.

This whole "modern" design movement that is sweeping over every property on the strip sucks. Everything looks the same. It looks cool, but the same. Airport lounge-ish. Bleh.

It looks great, except that it's not 2006 anymore. It's impossible, however, to ruin that location but clearly they are going to try.

Put me down on the side of those looking forward to this. I've never been a Barbary Coast or Bills fan. I'm not necessarily a fan of trying to go full on upscale either, but I am interested in seeing how this turns out.

One thing I've learned from watching the changes in Las Vegas, is nothing ends up being like the first announcements are and in most cases are usually far more boring. I'm curious to see what they can implement, whether or not they can attract a clientele they are looking for, and ultimately after 6 months who winds up owning it.

Harrahs partnerships with named players on the strip hasn't exactly turned out great results. One of the biggest disasters I can think of was Beacher's Rockhouse, a poor area to try and institute any bar, which quickly tanked and Harrahs disassociated with and then just ran it as a dive bar.

It wouldn't surprise me to have Victor Drai remodel it and after 6 months of shooting for a high end experience you wind up with low crowds and Victor Drai moving on with LA projects and Harrahs managing a remodeled property, that sits between luxury and middle of the pack.

Big Elvis feels like a Harrah's or IP dude to me.

All for it. Maybe they can bring Drai's Romantic restaurant back to what it used to be.

I agree with parchedearth. Way too much $$$ to structurally retrofit the building and modernize the rooms. The current bathrooms would need to totally change.
Perhaps a large club and annex and casino to capitalize on the great location. Too many rooms on the strip now to assimilate for several years to come.

Never stayed there but some friends did a few years back and they hated the place Check in was in the back and the rooms were so lackluster that we couldnt visit them because they didnt want us to see the room. I dont know if a total revamp is possible but any improvement would help.

Well, it is an improvement over the current building, and it is encouraging to see some potential investment activity on the Strip. However, if Harrah's is running the casino, there is not much attraction for me.

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