Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vegas Is Losing Its "Theme". Should We Mourn Its Loss?

Today's Sun article really got me thinking about just that. The "theme casinos" now look to be a thing of a past, or at least on The Strip. Downtown's still as kitschy as ever, and some see it as a good thing.

So are the "theme casinos" just distant trashy memories of the past that should be left there? Or are we losing some genuine parts of Vegas with every Strip casino that's renovated and "de-themed"?

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle here. On one hand, I LOVE the design of Wynn & Encore. Hands down, they're my favorite Strip casinos. The gardens inside relax me, and the gaming "rooms" give the casino a nice, intimate feel.

I'm also excited about CityCenter. A number of the buildings were just awarded LEED Gold for their eco-friendly design, and the architecture really proves that Vegas has "grown up" and become a truly sophisticated destination.

But on the other hand, I'll also admit that I have a special place in my heart for Fremont Street and the old "grande dame" casinos downtown. Yes, they're mostly kitschy and trashy... But they're also Vegas history and it would be a shame to ever lose them.

Maybe I'm being too Goldilocks here, but I do think there's a "just right" balance between the old and the new for Vegas that I hope we can achieve and sustain. I personally don't miss the cheap buffets and lousy hotel accomodations at all, but there's some redeeming value in downtown that I'd never want to lose. I also sometimes feel that MGM Mirage and Harrah's have gone too far at times in redefining The Strip and making way too many Strip casinos just generic, but at the same time I hope more residents and "old timer" visitors also open their minds to the new "Haute Vegas" of The Strip at the casinos that have done it right (like Wynn/Encore, Caesar's, and Mandalay Bay).

So do you agree with me? Or am I missing something here? Go ahead, let me have it. ;-)

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