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Mirage: Who's Your Daddy?

By JohnH on Thursday, 16th January 2014 12:03pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 16


Nearly every major casino in Las Vegas has its time in the sun. That magical time when all eyes and the zeitgeist are fixed on a single property. At first and apocryphally, it was the Flamingo. As we've seen with Grandissimo, Caesars Palace was a cultural touchstone that is still benefiting from that time in the spotlight. Bellagio set the tone for the Las Vegas of the new millennium.

And then there's Mirage. Obviously, it's historic contributions will never be forgotten. It heralded the modern Las Vegas and made Steve Wynn a household name. Talk to dealers who've been with the property since opening and you'll hear stories of a casino that was so busy you could only walk in after 9:00 p.m. if you were a guest of the hotel. There were Friday nights so busy that you couldn't find a blackjack table with a limit lower than $100. If you had a line of credit, you had better damn well have had a line larger than $1,000,000; if you didn't, you were pond scum and would be lucky if you got a free buffet. The hotel was the stuff of legend.

That, however, was 1990 and this is 2014. On a recent stay at the property, all I saw were $10 6:5 blackjack tables, Terry Fator, a Kardashian Khaos, and villas--still the envy of Las Vegas--that sat empty on New Year's Eve; with only glimmers of a Mirage that sees a place for itself in the Las Vegas of the next ten years in Heritage Steak and the limited villa renovations.

Granted, those lamentable things come with age. They happened at the Sands and the Dunes, but those properties were heaped on the scrap pile of Las Vegas history. The Mirage is different; magical, even. It is seminal. It deserves better. It deserves an owner that cares about the property; someone who sees the beauty of the place and has a vision how it can still lead a segment of the Las Vegas market. That person isn't Jim Murren. It isn't Phil Ruffin. It isn't even Steve Wynn. However, Mirage needs a da-da.

Tagged: mirage   editorial   


Comments & Discussion:

If the Villa renovations and Heritage Steak are any indication, they may have found their new daddy in property president Trevor Scherrer. We'll probably know more in a few years when those freaky Muppet Show rooms are ready for renovation.

I'm curious what folks would do to Mirage if they were tasked to restore former glory.

They gotta fix the bathrooms in the standard rooms, they are much too small. Otherwise still a GREAT property in an EXCELLENT location which I use as a backup when I can't get a good rate at Aria.

Saw Terry Fator Dec. 16 and ate at Cravings Buffet beforehand. I guess I liked it more than most, although I stay at lower-end properties. I still think the volcano is magical and the interior a beautiful setting. Sorry to learn it has lost its way.

The Bellagio and the Mirage to me, are my favorite properties of all time. But i'm with blackjack, if they were to 'restore former glory' to the Mirage, they're gonna have to do something about those bathrooms in the standard rooms.

They might not be the newest places on the Strip anymore but theres that really, really cozy, classy feel about those 2 places that I cant find at any other property, not even Wynn. I really do hope something comes up that would boost the Mirage back to the top (or near)...same with LVH, huge potential in there too.

I remember back when the Mirage and TI were popular, seems so long ago. I was in the minority, I thought the Bellagio was when Wynn finally nailed it. Mirage was cool for it's time, but Bellagio added class. Hard for me to stay at Mirage anymore with Wynncore and Palazzo so close.

Its my favorite property. I thought the launch of Love and the major room renovations brought some shine and excitement back quite successfully. That era has clearly come and gone. I'm hopeful that the change we're experiencing with dining is part of a careful update executed with love over the next few years. Thank the Vegas gods this didn't fall into the hands of Phil Ruffin.

The Mirage was the first place I stayed at on the strip. I like many others on here have stayed all over the strip at various properties..ones that make The Mirage look silly but I still end up staying at the old girl.

I dunno why but I still am in love with the place. Times have changed but The Mirage still generates alot of traffic. I think it will be here for some time.

Ah, Mirage. I still stay there most visits, although I find it more and more difficult to love. If I were in charge, I would find a way to get some light into that casino. It feels so dark and tired to me - and a carpet change just ain't gonna fix it. I agree the dining upgrades are helping. What I'd really like to see now is a nice breakfast place - something more upscale than Carnegie Deli.

Create a themed Polynesian land in between The Mirage and Treasure Island where the parking garages are now. Add a Bellagio size lake with tropical landscaping and restaurants surrounding the lake. Create a water show similar to The World of Color at Disney California Adventure. Except, this show would emphasize the history and glamour of Las Vegas: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Liberace, Elvis, Wayne Newton, Siegfried and Roy, Cirque du Soleil, vintage Steve Wynn interview clips talking about The Mirage and the clip of Steve ordering the cannon fired from Treasure Island and the implosion of the Dunes sign. Add an original musical score to heighten the drama. Cap it all off with the Treasure Island pirate ship firing its cannon and The Mirage volcano exploding. The show should be about 30 minutes long. Run it twice a night.

As an aside, I've stayed at most of the nice hotels in Las Vegas and The Mirage is still one of my favorites. Hotels like The Mirage, Bellagio, and Wynn/Encore strike an emotional chord that is lacking in the vast majority of Las Vegas casinos. There's a feeling of magic in the air. Steve Wynn said something to the effect that you lose this magic when you try to monetize every square foot of a resort. It interrupts the illusion of vacationing in a fantasy world and paradoxically encourages vacationers to spend less. Bring back some of the theming and making the commercialism less blatant. And get rid of the Kardashian store, the Kardashians don't fit The Mirage vibe.

Stayed twice in standard rooms at The Mirage. They're approximately 400 sq ft, less than in newer properties. The bathrooms are too small. Believe we had a discussion of this on Two Way Hard Three several years ago. The only way The Mirage could be brought up to today's standards would be to enlarge rooms by reducing the total number. No way could the numbers work to do this. Still, I have great memories of the glory days with the original restaurants, including the first CPK I ever saw.

I really like the Mirage. I like their pool, the atrium, everything as a whole. I haven't seen it since they started re-doing the casino floor and opened Heritage but I'm sure it looks fine. They did the whole tropical theme right. Pulled it off a lot better than the Trop. Every time we go to Vegas I make it a point to walk through the Mirage. Even if it's literally just for a walk through.

At 371 square feet, standard rooms at The Mirage might be small by current Las Vegas standards, but who cares? I stayed in a 250 square foot room in San Francisco and it didn't make me enjoy my stay any less. Ambience is everything and The Mirage still has ambience in spades. The Mirage should not spend a fortune trying to compete on the basis of room amenities. That money would be better spent on restoring and improving the legendary casino and tropical garden areas. Girls still love the tropics and they love boutique hotels too. Market The Mirage as a "boutique resort" ;) Start a new trend.

I definitely think the Mirage has been neglected, although part of that I think is directly due to Bellagio, since Bellagio can be looked at as the direct successor to the Mirage and fixed much of what was 'wrong' with the resort, I think by default it was bound to suffer for Bellagio's success.

Having said that it still is a wonderful property and should be treated as such, but I disagree that it has a shot at glory anymore. I use the Poker room at the Mirage as a comparison. At one time, it was the zenith of the poker scene in the US. It was where the big game was played regularly and was what high stakes casino poker was. Cut to the Big game moving to the Bellagio and Mirage's room suffered, eventually new management made it into a mid tier room, with promotions and low limit being the focus, and the room thrived. I think the property needs to take a page out of this, it's not going to be in the same line as Bellagio, Wynn, or even Caesars, the structure no longer supports it in comparison to what's out there.

However, can it be at the head of the 2nd tier, absolutely, and with some consistent design, and management, I believe it could be, here's hoping they do so.

The problem is MGM is an operator that has put managed Mirage similar to how it's handled it's true average properties (MC, NYNY, and Luxor). It needs to be elevated above that, similar to what MGM did with the Grand for a while, although I'm starting to feel like they've moved MGM Grand out of the Aria and Bellagio tier.

I always try to spend a few hours in the Mirage casino during each Vegas trip, even though I have stayed at this hotel only twice and the last was in spring 2011. They have a really good craps game and I like the atmosphere of this casino.

As others have mentioned, the rooms are nice but the bathrooms are tiny. I know that should not be a reason to neglect this hotel. But then their fitness center is not comparable to some others plus some of the dining options are limited. Furthermore, the wife will not stay here; she prefers Vdara and Aria instead.

Another ‘limitation’ to the Mirage is the location to other MGM properties. Most of my play is at MGM since I like the MLife benefits. Mirage is in a sea of non-MGM properties and is not an easy walk next door to another MGM casino (as in Aria or NYNY).

Major improvements to The Mirage really need to be coordinated with improvements at Treasure Island. Both of these resorts share the same piece of land. Unfortunately, Treasure Island seems to be going the opposite direction. I really wish that Phil Ruffin would sell Treasure Island back to MGM or Steve Wynn so that improvements could be coordinated at both properties. Maybe Phil Ruffin could pry some properties loose from Harrah's: Paris Las Vegas, Planet Hollywood, Bally's, Flamingo, Rio. Any changes Ruffin could make at these properties would be an improvement over the neglect that Harrah's has shown.

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