HotelsFirst Look

Circa Resort & Casino embodies fun and energy of Vegas

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Vegas Vickie, a Fremont Street presence since 1980, has been repurposed for one of the bars at Circa.
Vegas Vickie, a Fremont Street presence since 1980, has been repurposed for one of the bars at Circa. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko

LAS VEGAS -- Sin City's storied past is gloriously present in the vibrant art and meticulous design of the Circa Resort & Casino, opening here Oct. 28.

The first newbuild hotel-casino to open downtown in 40 years is the vision of owners Derek and Greg Stevens, who set out to create an homage to the city, its visionary leaders and iconic properties through the decades.

Thoughtful details throughout the 777-key resort capture the aesthetics of different eras, said Alice O'Keefe, Circa's director of design and architecture, who helped the Stevens brothers renovate the Golden Gate and the D downtown hotel-casinos.

"We wanted people to come to our property and say, 'That's so Vegas!" in whatever aspect, whether it's the carpet, or the shapes and forms, or the signage, or just the overall feel," she said. "We really wanted to create a classic Vegas feel without being old."

Expressions of art deco and midcentury modern are mixed with 1960s and '70s mod and contemporary sensibilities throughout the casino, restaurants, sportsbook, pool complex and retail areas.

Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko

Opening Oct. 28, the massive facility is the centerpiece of the new Circa Resort & Casino, downtown Vegas' first newbuild hotel-casino in 40 years.

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"From a design standpoint, I like to take a little bit of everything and make it work together," O'Keefe said. "So to have a space that is truly 100% midcentury wasn't really what we were trying to create at Circa. But having one ceiling element or a pillow fabric, that was enough to pay tribute."

The centerpiece of this vision is Vegas Vickie, a 20-by-25-foot neon sign that had hovered over Fremont Street since 1980 but is now in one of the casino's prominent bars. The kicking cowgirl, renovated to pristine condition by sign company Yesco, is expected to become the distinctive backdrop of many social media posts.

O'Keefe recalled a lot of pushback about whether Vegas Vickie would be used before Circa's design vision was fully realized. "She's kind of an old find, you know? How do we bring her into our new, beautiful property? We had initially talked about having a chandelier here. I'm glad that she's here instead," she said.

A 22-foot-tall chandelier greets guests in Garage Mahal, a nine-story parking structure attached via covered walkway to Circa Resort & Casino.
A 22-foot-tall chandelier greets guests in Garage Mahal, a nine-story parking structure attached via covered walkway to Circa Resort & Casino. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko

A 22-foot-tall chandelier near the escalator in the resort's nine-floor parking garage will greet guests before they encounter Vegas Vickie. The chandelier is lit in layers of blue with letters spelling out "The Time of Your Life." Murals also help set the welcoming vibe in Garage Mahal, designed to make ride-sharing drop-offs and pickups easy.

Guests walking in from Fremont Street will see a glass-and-ceramic-tile mural with the message, "Make History Leave a Legacy." 

The work of more than 40 artists adorns Barry's Downtown Prime, a steakhouse from chef Barry S. Dakake and Make It Happen Hospitality. Other restaurants include Saginaw's Delicatessen, Victory Burger & Wings Co., 8 East and Project BBQ, a Carolina-style "backyard" picnic on Fremont Street.

In addition to their love of history, the Stevens brothers' passion for sports is evident in what is touted as the world's largest sportsbook. It can accommodate up to 1,000 people (once pandemic restrictions are lifted) under its 6,000-square-foot, 78 million-pixel, high-definition screen. 

The multitiered Stadium Swim pool complex at the Circa Resort & Casino.
The multitiered Stadium Swim pool complex at the Circa Resort & Casino. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko

Stadium Swim, a multitiered rooftop pool complex, is another area that promises sports, music and live entertainment action. It features a 135-by-41-foot LED screen, a DJ booth, two swim-up bars, six pools and two spas. 

Circa will be "oriented around signature features and signature moments and signature experiences," Derek Stevens said in an interview with Travel Weekly last month. "We tried to take what we had learned from the past, take it into Circa and add in these new great things. The vibe is going to be high energy and really focused around having a lot of fun." 

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