When the Cromwell opened in the former home of Bill's Gambling Hall in 2014, it made quite a splash. First, there was the new Drai's Beachclub & Nightclub, a 65,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor party playground perched on the hotel rooftop. Then there was the new incarnation of Drai's Afterhours, the intimate basement lounge that made nightlife impresario Victor Drai a household name in Las Vegas and drew celebrities for discreet late-night festivities. On the casino floor, Bound made the hotel bar a mixology destination, and upstairs, TV personality Giada de Laurentiis launched her first-ever restaurant, the well-received Giada, which served modern California-Italian fare to fans and foodies alike.

It was a powerful mix of boldface amenities, and the Cromwell earned plenty of headlines upon opening. But as the boutique resort has settled into its place on the Strip, some less sexy needs  have gone unsatisfied. Now, a sweeping set of enhancements is slated to change that.

"It's all through the lens of the customer," said Caesars Entertainment senior V.P. of operations Blake Segal, who took over as G.M. of the Cromwell last November. "It's maintaining and improving the service level and amenities that the property has."

First up is Eatwell, a quick-serve restaurant that's been open for about a month in a corner of the casino floor. It serves a three-meal lineup of breakfast sandwiches, pastries, tacos, sandwiches and rice bowls, all at relatively inexpensive prices. There's a full array of Starbucks beverages, and it's the hotel's only 24-hour eatery.

"It's blowing away our expectations. There's a good flow of traffic throughout the whole day," Segal said.

There's some general seating at Eatwell, with overflow tables available nearby at Interlude, the casino's anchor bar, which is also getting an upgrade.

"It's right in the middle of the property, and what we've done is open it up and brighten it up," the G.M. explained. A new stage hosts daily live music piped throughout the casino floor, and video poker has been added to the bar.

"It's very casual in nature," Segal said. "You can sit down have a great cocktail, enjoy the music, the people-watching, enjoy the Strip."

Among the entirely new additions is a high-limit slot area and a sports book. Dubbed the Abbey, the former has 30 machines, a private restroom and a host to greet gamers and ensure they have what they need.

"There was a demand," Segal said. "It's been open now for a month and we're seeing that demand being realized."

The sports book is scheduled to arrive just in time for football season, and will offer an experience different from many books on the Strip. Across from Bound, there will be seating for 50 focused around a 32-foot-long LED video wall that can be broken up into various configurations to highlight any number of sporting events.

"It really feels more like a cocktail lounge setting than it does a stadium," Segal added. "Almost as soon as you enter the building from valet or self park, you walk in and you're right there."

Late last year, the property also introduced Ivy, a text message chatbot that acts as a virtual concierge and can answer basic questions, make reservations or take a request for more towels or a late checkout. More complicated queries are routed to Cromwell concierge staff, and Segal said the property gets statistics every week on what people are asking and how they're using Ivy. Approximately 80% of Cromwell guests opt into the program by providing their phone number, and about half engage with the bot during their visit. Perhaps most importantly, Ivy can offer a path to resolve issues that hotel staff might not otherwise learn about until after a guest goes home.

"Oftentimes a customer won't tell you until days later when a nasty gram comes in," Segal explained. When visitors channel frustrations through Ivy, "our team gets to be a bit more proactive than reactive."

Gaming-focused enhancements are on their way soon, too, like the introduction of single "0" roulette and EZ baccarat. All the additions and adjustments at the Cromwell stem from a single priority: providing the services and amenities that guests would otherwise have to get elsewhere.

"The entirety of their experience could be at the Cromwell if they so choose," Segal said. "To me you get the best of both worlds: a small, intimate feel, pro-player casino with an amazing amount of energy because of the size of the property, and now all of a sudden you have a full amenity package."

A powerful proposition indeed.
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI