by Michael J. Shapiro | April 08, 2019

Change is a constant in Las Vegas, making the city an ideal destination for incentive experiences. Frequently updated lodging, facilities, entertainment and culinary hot spots lead to a nearly unfathomable number of group opportunities, packed into a relatively small area.

What happens in Vegas is bound to be memorable.

New Incentive-Ready Developments in Las Vegas Hotels

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

As always, a lot is happening with Las Vegas lodging. For starters, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is in for a major rebranding. After being sold to a consortium that includes Virgin's Richard Branson, the property is in line to become Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in 2020, at which point it will also join Hilton's Curio Collection.

Renovations were planned to commence late this summer, but construction has been postponed until 2020; it isn't confirmed yet whether the hotel will close at some point, and when the rebranding will take place.  When the change does occur, the 1,500-room property will become the largest Curio hotel, with:

  • More than 110,000 square feet of event space
  • A reimagined pool area
  • Commons Club for dining
  • Shag Room cocktail lounge

Meanwhile, the property continues to operate as the Hard Rock.

Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod

A smaller-scale rebranding recently took place at the towering 2,427-room Stratosphere, now officially known as the Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod. The abbreviated title was bestowed by Golden Entertainment, which purchased the iconic property in late 2017. Since the summer of 2018, the new owners have been renovating and revitalizing the resort. Among the enhancements:

  • Remodeling 311 guest rooms
  • Unveiling a new Baccarat gaming pit
  • Redesigning the rotating Top of the World restaurant
  • Adding 108 Eats by James Tree, a new restaurant on the 108th-floor Observation Deck

The most recent updates include an ongoing renovation project on the 108th- and 109th-floor decks and the imminent opening of 108 Drinks, to accompany the new restaurant on the same floor. A restaurant, a lounge, and a race- and sportsbook area also are expected to open soon, these on the northwest corner of the casino at street level.

Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas turns 20 this year, and to celebrate, the resort unveiled a new $1.7 million light show at its Eiffel Tower. Visitors can enjoy the show nightly, every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour, from sunset to midnight. The Las Vegas Eiffel Tower, a half-scale replica, remains the tallest copy of the original. Paris Las Vegas has invested in excess of $92 million overall in maintaining its youthful appearance, and has recently debuted an additional 1,600 renovated guest rooms, meaning all 2,900 of the resort's accommodations have been redesigned. The refreshed suites feature living areas with wet bars, as well as marble bathrooms with whirlpool tubs and great views of the (replica) Eiffel Tower. Also new is the 25,000-square-foot, $3.75 million Voie Spa & Salon, which promises premium services and top-notch treatments in an elegant atmosphere.

NoMad Las Vegas 

The 293-room NoMad Las Vegas was set to debut its Moroccan-inspired pool in late March, to be followed soon thereafter by the launch of a weekend NoMad Pool Party experience. The new venue offers the hip-luxury touches NoMad is known for, including cabanas, tableside service, a roster of deejays, innovative cocktails and more. The hotel itself opened in October 2018 as a boutique luxury property within the new Park MGM - all on the site of the former Monte Carlo Hotel and Casino. The NoMad features a high-limit casino, a collection of original art on display throughout the hotel and guest rooms, and the newest outpost of the NoMad Restaurant, helmed by chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara. The eatery is a destination in itself, with 23-foot ceilings and a design inspired by Rio de Janeiro's classic Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading library.

Aria Resort & Casino

Aria Resort & Casino, the 4,004-room flagship property within CityCenter, beefed up its wellness facilities in February with major upgrades to its 6,000-square-foot fitness facility. New treadmills and strength machines from Olympic-athlete supplier Technogym have been unveiled, as has an infinity rock-climbing wall and a cryotherapy chamber, the latter for restorative post-workout sessions. 

Vdara Hotel & Spa

Across the main roundabout in CityCenter, the 1,495-room, nongaming Vdara Hotel & Spa debuted the luxury Vdara Club Lounge early this year, an exclusive cocoon for guests of the luxury and club sites. The lounge has concierge services, as well as space for collaborating and fresh gourmet buffets for breakfast, light snacks and desserts. An afternoon social hour provides complimentary hors d'oeuvres and beer and wine.

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Next door to CityCenter, the ultra-hip Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas recently remodeled all 3,033 guest rooms, now outfitted with new art, better lighting, user-friendly technology and more. Note the new 1,050-square-foot Reception Suite, suitable for entertaining with configurable seating and a wet bar. A new WiFi infrastructure serves all guest rooms with fast, free access and download speeds in excess of 100Mbps. The Cosmopolitan's chatbot, Rose, also has been improved; not only is she fun and cheeky, she's been made smarter, as well, incorporating AI and speech recognition to make her a better communicator. Guests can take Rose-guided tours, in fact, following her directions through the resort to discover some of its more obscure and "secret" spots. The newest spot to open its doors in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is Barbershop Cuts & Cocktails, a combination men's grooming salon and Prohibition-style speakeasy that debuted in mid-March. The sleekly designed establishment features a vintage Brunswick bar (the very one featured in the 2017 film The Greatest Showman), a disappearing stage and a custom-designed motorcycle-headlight wall. The venue caters to small groups, too, providing a decidedly "manly" take on the salon makeover for pampering VIPs.

Downtown Las Vegas Hotel Updates

Downtown Las Vegas should see its first new-build resort open next year -- the first since 1980, injecting a fresh lodging option in an area that's seeing a resurgence in its restaurant and arts scene. Developers Derek and Greg Stevens -- the team behind the D Las Vegas, the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center - are constructing the 777-room Circa Resort & Casino along the Fremont Street Experience. Circa will be the tallest tower north of the Strip, promising to mix modern luxury with a bit of vintage Vegas. Among the amenities will be a spa, a two-level casino and a multitiered pool/amphitheater venue. The targeted opening date is December 2020.

Group Eats

Las Vegas has become a true foodie destination - the number of big-name chef establishments and hot new restaurants can be overwhelming, especially considering the pace at which they appear. Lip Smacking Foodie Tours provides diners with a taste of several of the city's finest restaurants in one evening -- or afternoon -- by combining a walking tour with a gastronomic experience. Excursions hit four restaurants -- either downtown or on the Strip - where participants sample three to four signature dishes at each. The three-hour outing, which can be arranged with or without signature cocktails, is highly scalable: Private tours average 50 people, but can range from 10 to as many as 140 on the Strip -- or even a group of 250, divided into three dining experiences taking place simultaneously. For a truly unique VIP adventure, check out Lip Smacking Foodie's Savory Bites and Neon Lights or Ultimate Steakhouse tours. The former includes the food tour with signature-dish tastings at four hot restaurants, followed by limo transport to Maverick Helicopters, where participants enjoy a champagne reception before climbing onboard for a 12- to 15-minute nighttime flight over the Strip. The Ultimate Steakhouse Tour is a high-rolling carnivorous experience at three steak venues, each serving prized dishes with a rare wine and an unforgettable presentation.