another example of the transformation of Las Vegas hotels, the
classic Flamingo Las Vegas has introduced new guest rooms, a
revamped show lineup, an adjacent tattoo parlor and a topless pool
Occupying a prime
plot of Strip real estate directly across from Caesars Palace, the
Flamingo, established in 1946, had until recently been considered a
faded midmarket property ripe for a turnaround strategy.
engineering a tropics-themed pool/garden area 14 years ago, hotel
management shied away from wholesale modifications, until now. The
changes, evident in a recent weekend inspection, are aimed at
attracting younger customers.
"This is not your
granddaddy's Flamingo anymore," said Don Marrandino, president of
the Flamingo. "We're evolving, and we want to be the hip value
significant portion, about 40%, of Flamingo customers who are
gamblers, the property's evolution is key to drawing the remaining
60% to fill rooms in its six towers.
makeover are the new Flamingo GO rooms, which are a blend of form
The new pink
The GO room
experience begins at check-in, when guests are given a CD with a
down-tempo rock compilation specially designed for the
painted with stripes in flamingo pink. Patrons entering their room
find an edgy look that doesn't compromise comfort.
Room decor, with
liberal splashes of pink, is striking and handsome. Call it a
fusion of South Beach chic, Los Angeles cool and retro
wall and door play peek-a-boo with the bathroom, which is bathed in
pink light. A stylish, raised sink basin sits on a marble
countertop across from a sizeable, all-glass stall shower with jet
showerheads. Bath soaps are not scented; other amenities are
headboards back the pillow-top mattresses, which are fitted with
triple sheets and flanked with chrome LED reading lights.
Nonfunctional, white drapery adorns the bedroom walls, a smart
feature a full Denon sound system with iPod docking station, a
CD/DVD player, electronically controlled window treatments and WiFi
electronic set-up is completed with a 42-inch, flat-panel TV and a
smaller flat-panel TV installed behind the glass of the bathroom
The lone tacky
touch is the room product price list, offering everything from the
bathroom glasses to the bed ensemble for sale.
By November, a
third of the room renovations at the 3,545-room Flamingo will be
completed. The demolition of the property's original garden wing in
1993 made way for the lushly landscaped, 15-acre tropical pool and
Since then, the
area has been home to exotic birds, waterfowl, turtles, penguins
(now gone) and, of course, flamingos. The latest species introduced
is likely to be the most noticed: the topless human
In a nod to a trend
sweeping Las Vegas, the topless GO pool premiered on May 19. Ladies
will be admitted free; men must pay a cover charge ranging from $10
Providing even more
of an edge is the adjacent Vince Neil Ink tattoo shop, the Strip's
first such establishment inside a casino.
The Motley Crue
rocker visits the eponymously named, 1,230-square-foot
establishment from time to time to check in and to supplement his
personal tattoo collection in the Strip View Room, a fishbowl-style
space visible to passersby on the Strip sidewalk.
will feel right at home while dining and drinking at the massive,
tropics-themed Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. The multilevel
restaurant and entertainment complex is in constant party mode with
stilt walkers, music videos and live performances.
In a Key
West-meets-Vegas twist, a bikini-clad woman pops out of a volcano
on the hour, then slips down a water slide into a giant green
margarita. She's then fished out and proceeds to dance for the
entertainment leans toward the sensual, as R&B singer Toni
Braxton headlines in the Flamingo showroom with a heavily
choreographed set featuring a troupe of sexy dancers.
Braxton is booked
through the end of 2007. Marrandino said that the singer is a good
fit for the Flamingo, given its new image.
fashionable, sexy and still has great pipes," he said.
"X Burlesque" is
the Flamingo's late-night, topless adult revue, and comedian George
Wallace appears at 10 p.m., five nights a week. Wallace's show is a
"four-waller," a little-known business arrangement whereby the
entertainer essentially bankrolls the production and marketing of
his own show while paying rent to the house.
four-waller entertainer is either a faded celebrity or a B-list
performer who cannot secure a traditional fee-based
virtually removes financial risk from the hotel while transferring
it almost completely to the performer.
in Wallace's case, four-waller performers often devote a sizeable
chunk of their show to plugging their CDs, books, DVDs, T-shirts
and such, which are conveniently available for sale as patrons exit
information on the hotel, call (800) 732-2111 or visit www.flamingolasvegas.com.
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].