LAS VEGAS As we look ahead to the coming year, these are some of the most important new event and meeting venues slated to open, bringing options for everything from cocktail parties and conferences, to business dinners and corporate meetings. Here's a preview of the hotels, restaurants, clubs, performance venues, and other spaces—including even a mini-golf course—the event industry will be talking about in 2012.
1. The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a public-private partnership that will bring performances by resident companies as well as first-run touring attractions to town. The five-acre cultural campus will include three performance spaces: the 2,050-seat main performance area in Reynolds Hall, and Boman Pavilion’s 258-seat cabaret-jazz theater and 250-seat studio theater. The Smith Center broke ground in May 2009 and is slated to open in March 2012.
2. Caesars Palace Las Vegas and Nobu Hospitality are developing the first Nobu Hotel, planned for a summer opening. Under the plan, the interior of the Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation to create the Nobu Hotel within the resort. The 180-room Nobu Hotel will offer 16 suites and a penthouse with an interior design that makes use of natural materials, along with Nobu’s signature Japanese style. The centerpiece of the renovation is Nobu Restaurant and Lounge. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s new space will encompass 9,500 square feet at the base of the tower.
3. The Mob Museum will open to the public on February 14. The space in downtown Las Vegas tells the story of organized crime and law enforcement, including the mob’s impact on the city's history. The venue will be available for booking as an event space.
4. The Light Group is slated to open Lily Bar & Lounge at Bellagio Resort & Casino in February. The Light Group’s Caramel Bar & Lounge closed its doors on November 1 to undergo renovations. The 3,387-square-foot lounge is in the resort’s casino floor.
5. Joining the roster of musicians to back new venues in town, the band Kiss is slated to debut Kiss By Monster Mini Golf in January. The venue will include an indoor glow-in-the-dark 18-hole miniature golf course, an arcade and gift shop, a wedding chapel, a private room, theme-y event rooms, and the Rock 'n Roll All Nite cafe.
6. Gordon Ramsay is widely expected to open two venues, one at Paris and one at Caesars. While speculation and rumors have been flying for months, details were still unconfirmed and yet to be announced at press time.
7. The Beach Boys are expected to bring yet another musician-backed project to town. The band has formed a partnership with Caesars Entertainment and the Monsoon Group to open the Good Vibrations restaurant at Bally’s, with an expected opening some time in 2012.
8. Flamingo Las Vegas has plans to open the first West Coast location of high-energy Mexican eatery Carlos’n Charlie’s. The restaurant and bar is slated to make its debut in the spring. The venue will comprise more than 8,000 square feet. The dining room will have seating for 150, and a terrace will overlook the Flamingo pool and gardens, accommodating an additional 150. The large bar will seat 40, bringing the venue’s full seating capacity to 340, with additional space for gathering and dancing.
9. Flamingo will also refurbish 2,307 hotel rooms, transforming the resort’s standard rooms into stylish and contemporary accommodations. The all-new “Fab” rooms will see their first guest arrivals on January 2.
10. At least three big club and lounge openings will ring in 2012 with big New Year's Eve bashes over the coming weekend: SBE's Hyde will open at the Bellagio. RPM Nightclub will open in the former Club Nikki Space at the Tropicana. And the Light Group will open doors to 1 Oak at the Mirage Hotel & Casino in the former Jet space.