Major openings set to change the landscape of the Las Vegas Strip in 2013
By Jack Houston
This time last year,we predicted that 2012 would be the year of Shania Twain, Gordon Ramsay and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but we were completely right.
Gordon Ramsay Steak was a smash right out of the gate at Paris Las Vegas, with hordes of Hell’s Kitchen fans clamoring for the chef’s beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding. Twain, who debuted at Caesars Palace on Dec. 1, made a triumphant return to the concert stage after an eight-year sabbatical, wowing crowds in a skin-tight catsuit at the can-you-believe-it age of 47. And The Smith Center? Well, it was the only place in the neighborhood to catch performances by David Sedaris, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, Branford Marsalis, Bryan Adams and Ben Vereen, as well as musicals Wicked, The Addams Family and Mary Poppins.
The coming year heralds the arrival of several highly anticipated construction projects. Caesars Entertainment is making bold moves with its Nobu Hotel, Restaurant and Lounge, set to open in Caesars Palace in February. A collaboration between chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and producer Meir Teper, Nobu is a boutique hotel-within-a-hotel featuring 181 luxury guest rooms and suites and the adjacent Nobu Restaurant and Lounge, the largest of its kind in the world. Across Las Vegas Boulevard South, the sweeping Linq project—a promenade lined with shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and what will be the world’s tallest observation wheel, the High Roller—opens in late 2013. Among the committed tenants are the Brooklyn Bowl, Yard House, Chayo Mexicano, Fame Night Market & Ultra Lounge, Flour & Barley and Sprinkles Cupcakes.
Ahead of its rebranding of TheHotel at Mandalay Bay as Delano Las Vegas in 2014, The Light Group seeks to alter the face of Mandalay Bay with several new venues. Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a 24-hour concept helmed by chef Brian Massie and featuring American comfort food, is first up in March. In April, Light, a nightclub collaboration between The Light Group and Cirque du Soleil, with an emphasis on theatrics and electronic dance music, opens in the space just off the parking garage formerly occupied by Rumjungle. Angel Management Group, too, is about to add to its portfolio with the opening of Hakkasan, a restaurant, lounge and nightclub covering 75,000 square feet across five levels at MGM Grand.
But we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the entertainers and production shows expected to make waves in 2013. Foremost among them is CeeLo Green, who’s transitioned a stellar recording career (Goodie Mob, Gnarls Barkley, solo work) into a judgeship on TV’s hottest singing competition (The Voice) and now broadens that base even further with Loberace, coming in February to Planet Hollywood Resort. At Harrah’s, the long-running Legends in Concert moves down the street to the Flamingo to make way for the February debut of Million Dollar Quartet, a musical inspired by a recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair takes the stage in Pinup, a throwback revue at the Stratosphere choreographed by Dancing With the Stars’ Lacey Schwimmer. That long-promised Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show is also set to premiere sometime in 2013 at Mandalay Bay, a companion piece to Light nightclub.
Not to be outdone, two familiar faces on the Strip—America’s Best Dance Crew winners Jabbawockeez and Australian singing group Human Nature—are on the move to new homes, at Luxor and The Venetian, respectively. And what else might 2013 have in store? Just you wait.