The Lucky Dragon Photo Safari
VT reader Waffle was at Lucky Dragon's soft-opening and was super nice enough to take us on a little photo safari of the brand new property. Very cool! Take it away Waffle! -Chuck
Ever since moving to Vegas a little over 5 years ago I always had two big bucket list items. 1. See a property get blown up (check - Riviera) 2. See a property built from the ground up get opened. The last to do this was Cosmopolitan back in December of 2010, in a less than stellar economy. While this is far from a highly anticipated mega resort (some could argue the transformation of Sahara to SLS would rank higher) I was still very excited to be there for day 1. I didn't have a ton of time, but I wanted to give everyone a quick peek into a few of the spaces. I look forward to someone else building on the spaces (specifically the hotel rooms) I wasn't able to see.
The property is situated off Sahara Ave to the west of Las Vegas Blvd, wedged nicely by Allure high rise (the site was originally going to be a second condo tower) and the historic Golden Steer Steakhouse. Turning into the entrance off Sahara, I was surprised there was only one car ahead of me and not a single person waiting to valet. After circling past the first few valet only designated floors of the parking garage I snapped the above picture.
After taking a few moments to find where the elevators were, we got our first taste of the heavy Chinese presence.
We take the elevator down to the lobby, the doors open and BAM.
My eyes immediately look upward at the large dragon hanging in the ceiling. I stand in awe by the newness and openness of this place. I immediately wonder what's on the second level, I turn around the get my answer.
As expected, the directory is both English and Chinese
The property is laid out in a circle and you can pretty much see from one side to another. To the left of the elevators is the cage:
To the right of the elevators is a high limit room.
Moving around the exterior of the circle is a section of slots, the entrance from valet, and another section of slots with a live action video Baccarat and Roulette stadium style game (IGT was on site doing some work on several of the units at the time). We then come to the Dragon Club which is on the opposite side of the elevators. The line was somewhat long so I passed on a card.
Past the club was the exit to LVB and you guessed it! Chinese writing first.
We then arrive at Dragon's Alley which I originally thought was a buffet (as they had a hostess) but the website makes it sound like a street market style food court. My friend tells me that standing in the front of the kitchen window is Dave Jacoby, who is the COO of the property. I'll accept the lucky bonus points on that one!
The last stop on the circle before we arrive back at the Cage/ elevators is a quick service place called "BAO NOW".I went with a BBQ Pork rice dish which didn't have a ton of pork on top of a decent heaping of rice. Was it worth the $13? Meh not really, I noticed a lot of Asians pointing at the menu and sort of laughing. Perhaps it's because you can get a better selection on Spring Mountain for a third of the cost?
I didn't spend a lot of time in the table games area in the center of the casino floor. One thing I noticed was there was not a single craps table in sight, two roulette wheels, a few BJ and poker tables, and a lot of mini bac. Dragons are present right down to the center bar chairs.
It was time to visit the 2nd floor. As the elevator doors opened, we were treated to an even better view of the dragon.
It seemed like a perfect opportunity for a panoramic as well:
The upper left is the Dragon Alley Kitchen, below the hanging bubbles is the Dragon Club and the glass exit doors take you out to the valet/cross walk to the hotel tower.
Walking left we stumble upon Pearl Ocean, which has a bar (with no view of the dining room) in front.
Right next door (maybe 10 ft) is Phoenix
And next to that is the private (but not really per Gaming Control...) gaming space which has a small, square pond with flowers floating. Two women allowed us a peak inside, but I forgot to shoot the entrance - head slap
1 of roughly 8 private gaming rooms.
Each room has curtains which can be drawn to enclose the room. My back faces a private cage window (no one was working) and a back hallway directly into the spa. I didn't see a lounge area.
Next to the "private" gaming area was the Spa:
Looping around was an office with some empty desks, I assume this is where casino host office will be. Only about 1/3 of the circle on this level is occupied, he rest is just walls.
As news crews begin a broadcast nearby, we arrive at the Sky-bridge to the Hotel.
I'll leave descriptions up to you experts. The hall is well lit which allowed us to see a few scratches and dings which must have missed the punch list.
While the website shows there are suites, this was not apparent on the 2nd or 9th floors (maybe they are on lucky #8?) Each side off the corridor has an end room, in fact on level 2 the end room had two room numbers on the door. On the 9th floor it became clear whatever was uploaded into their PMS did not match what was put on the door LOL.
These are the square footages per the website, I was surprised at how small these rooms are for a new especially considering a standard room (well suite) at Venetian is 650 sq ft.
King: 415 sq. ft
Queen: 351 - 369 sq. ft
Deluxe King: 500 sq. ft
Junior Suite: 498 sq. ft
Suite: 612 sq ft.
The lobby has a very nice bar and tea settings complete with Chinese newspapers. A large line at the front desk may interfere with the tea settings as the lobby isn't huge by any means.
Ahh the pool. It's very nice but very small, not only in size but also depth. The tiles on the deck gave me a range of 2 inches in the shallow to 2 feet in the deepest part. This may fall short of an infinity pool. The same little fountains found up front are present on the back wall which features more dragons.
Kick out the back of your cabana and you're steps away from a nice Porterhouse at the Golden Steer.
As it became pitch black at 5:15 PM, it allowed a nice view into the lobby bar.
Coming back in from the pool is another angle of the tea area with the front desk in the background.
We walked across the crosswalk to the valet entrance to return to the start.
While I thought Lucky Dragon would be a little bigger, I was blown away by how nice everything was. This property wasn't done on the cheap that's for sure. The decor somewhat reminds me of Wynn/Encore. The high ceiling with hanging dragon feels like the Chandelier at Cosmo. Dragon's Alley and the Sky-bridge/separate hotel tower remind me of Downtown Grand, and the red curve of the building remind me of Red Rock.
The staff was really nice... they went beyond a usual "Hello" or "Good Afternoon" and would say "Welcome to Lucky Dragon" and pretty much every staff member would greet us or say something. Yes it was an opening and they may ramp down staffing at a later date, but it was still nice to see.
The CFO of Red Rock Resorts recently was quoted saying that the property would have an impact on their customers, but that the impact would be temporary. I had to laugh because the 2-3 Palace Billboards on westbound Sahara between Lucky Dragon and the I-15 were written in Chinese, something I only recall the Gold Coast doing on Spring Mountain Rd (China Town).
I'll be interested to hear from those of you who have visited Macau on just how comparable the experience is at Lucky Dragon. I don't see myself spending a ton of time here, but I'll have no problem going along with friends who want to check it out.
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