If the just-completed casino revamp at the
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is any indication of what's to
come at the former Aladdin Resort & Casino, the transformation
is widespread and thorough. Although the rebranding of the property
occurred on April 17, work on the facade is obscured by a
construction shield; the changes behind it are taking place in
rapid succession toward a planned Sept. 28 grand opening.
In addition to
some skepticism about a Planet Hollywood rebranding -- the Planet
Hollywood restaurant chain has emerged from bankruptcy twice --
many in the industry couldn't understand the need to overhaul a
Ups and downs
opened in 1966 and was soon beset with legal troubles surrounding
its links to organized-crime figures. A series of owners took
possession of the hotel until 1997, when the property's owners
decided to raze it and construct a new Aladdin.
This thinking ran
contrary to previous Vegas hotel rebuilds, which all followed the
same two-step formula: implode and rebuild, eliminating all traces
of the old, including the name.
In August of
2000, the new Aladdin opened to lukewarm reviews and legal
management touted the new design -- guests could reach their rooms
without having to pass through the casino or any other public
space, and no room was more than seven doors from an elevator --
the site plan was problematic.
With no driveway
entry from the Strip, cars had to enter via Harmon Avenue, which
was inconvenient. Slot floor layout was poorly designed and
the Strip were hesitant to climb the steps to the casino entrance
(most other hotels provide ground-level entry). The adjacent Desert
Passage mall wasn't providing sufficient feed into the
All of this
resulted in disappointingly low gaming revenues.
construction-related lawsuits lingered, and the Arabian Nights
theme, especially post-9/11, didn't exactly do wonders for product
bankruptcy declaration followed soon thereafter.
2003, the bankruptcy court awarded the sale of the Aladdin to a
joint venture involving Robert Earl, founder and CEO of Planet
Hollywood International; Bay Harbour Management; and Starwood
Hotels & Resorts.
The partners soon
announced that a complete rebranding, including an extensive
renovation, would take place.
Though much work
remains to be done on restaurants and room renovations, the casino
makeover is complete, and the result is stunning. The ultramodern
look is sleek and sexy.
The walls of the
expansive, two-level space are striped with horizontal lighting and
majestic architectural touches that create an elegant feel. Subdued
overhead lighting projects calm and adds an air of
The casino is
free of any vestige of the Planet Hollywood restaurant look, which
features movie memorabilia and Hollywood kitsch. Both the look and
the message of this makeover are crystal clear: This Planet
Hollywood is an L.A. hipster, not a groupie.
casino entrance remains above street level, newly designed
entryways are designed to "sweep" pedestrians up a series of moving
walkways and ramps into a more inviting opening.
visitors will notice an improved gaming layout and the appealing
Heart Bar in the center of the casino floor.
New shows and restaurants
signature show, "Stomp Out Loud," recently opened in a
custom-built, $28 million, 1,500-seat showroom. The production,
from the creators of the international hit "Stomp," features a cast
double the size of the original production.
"Stomp Out Loud"
is a combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy. Show
times are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily, except Wednesdays. Ticket
prices range from $50 to $100.
Hans Klok will weave his large-scale illusions in "The Beauty of
Magic," which was set to open June 2 in the 7,000-seat Theatre for
the Performing Arts. In a swap of Hollywood babes, Klok named
actress Pamela Anderson his celebrity assistant, replacing Carmen
Electra, who had been tabbed earlier.
Show times are at
7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets range
from $35 to $105.
Most of the new
restaurants are currently under construction, but Planet Dailies,
the resort's 24-hour, diner-style eatery, is open on the casino
The Spice Market
Buffet remains with an updated look but with its action-station
Still a top
buffet in terms of food quality and variety, the Spice Market is
the only Las Vegas buffet to feature a Middle Eastern food
restaurants will include Alfredo of Rome, KOI, Strip House, Yolos
Mexican Restaurant and Pink's Famous Hot Dogs.
The Opium Group
of Miami will operate three lounges and nightclubs on property,
including the Living Room and Prive.
Mandara runs the
Planet Hollywood Spa, fitness center and salon on the mezzanine
Desert Passage mall has been rebranded as the Miracle Mile Shops
and will soon welcome low-price fashion sensation H&M, Trader
Vic's restaurant and the Hawaiian Tropic Zone dining and nightlife
destination. Other new tenants will be announced
Hallway and room
renovations currently under way in the hotel represent a complete
overhaul of the previous decor.
Nights-themed hallway carpeting is being replaced. Hallways will
take on a new look with a darker pattern and muted
All rooms will be
furnished with Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Beds dressed in a modern
look; 42-inch, plasma, flat-panel TVs; work desks; and sitting
areas. Hard surfaces in the bathrooms will remain, but accents will
signature movie memorabilia, absent from public areas, will appear
in a unique configuration in every guest room.
Judging by the
look of the redone casino and the near-future completion of
restaurants and other public spaces, it appears that the Planet
Hollywood team may silence its skeptics.
To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail
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