Tropicana stirs up excitement with propertywide renovations
By Susan Stapleton
One of Vegas’ most storied resorts has undergone a renaissance of sorts since completing a $180 million renovation in 2011 that includes South Beach-inspired rooms and a white marble face-lift. But the 55-year-old Tropicana Las Vegas has a few more tricks up its sleeve before the complete picture takes shape.
Coming in mid-October is Bagatelle Beach & Nightclub, a dramatic entry from the ONE Group that features two pools, a supper club, outdoor dining and the infamous Bagatelle champagne brunch, an import from the original in New York. Inside, a circular room will be home to the supper club and brunch, but outside, a soundstage, replete with sand volleyball courts, awaits, capable of holding 3,000 fans that might come for concerts or outdoor movies.
Inside, Bagatelle plans to have a glass-enclosed private dining area to finish out the dining room that will have space for 260. Above, a 12-by-12-foot chandelier commands the room.
On the exterior, the porte cochere facing Tropicana Avenue already beckons with a blue Bagatelle sign adorning the outside, and guests can valet park there or enter through Bagatelle Beach on the eastern side of the Tropicana.
Other changes are already making a difference at this revitalized resort. The Laugh Factory, a Los Angeles institution for more than 30 years, keeps crowds in stitches. Laugh Factory boss Jamie Masada created the venue for up-and-coming comedians as well as superstar performers, who tend to drop in, try out new material and return to their roots. Tropicana launched the Vegas outpost earlier this year, and created an intimate room and the opportunity to get up close with some of the industry’s top stars. Statues of comedy legends and the famous Laugh Factory logo overlook a room with a warm, comedy cellar feel.
Recently taking up residence at Laugh Factory is comedy magician, America’s Got Talent semi-finalist and Pawn Stars regular Murray SawChuck. His weekly show mixes big laughs with his unique brand of up-close magic. Also new to the resort is Mob Attraction Las Vegas, an interactive experience that mines the city’s connection to organized crime over the years. Hologram images and character actors lead you through the first part of the exhibit, which opens up into a museumlike atmosphere, complete with more than 500 mob artifacts.
Last year, the Tropicana landed celebrity chef Carla Pellegrino’s Bacio restaurant, an authentic Italian dining experience that has swiftly become one of the must-visit destinations on the Strip. The former executive chef of Rao’s uses her powerhouse personality and culinary skills to re-imagine Italian cuisine. The restaurant is a welcoming, bright design twist on a trattoria, serving interpretations of classics combined with her innovations. The broad choices of pasta and seafood match the wide variety of veal and meat dishes.
Also new is Chill’m Bar, the perfect spot for specialty frozen drinks and cocktails. Positioned in the middle of the casino floor, Chill’m features a full bar and the opportunity to sit and sip specialty cocktails and take in the sights of the bustling resort.
Just as so many things have changed at the Tropicana, others remain the same. A favorite of in-the-know diners, Biscayne Steak, Sea and Wine transports guests from the Strip to South Beach. Revamping the Vegas tradition of old-school steakhouses, Biscayne brings a lighter twist on the darkened, moody restaurants of old with an open and welcoming atmosphere. Standards such as aged Angus beef and Safe Harbor-certified seafood flown in daily joins signature items by executive chef George Bargisen, such as lamb eggplant taco and the not-to-be-missed lobster bisque.