So by now you have no doubt heard that Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon will close on February 4, 2013 to be extensively remodeled and reopen in 2014 under a new name. Caesars has not yet announced the name, but it’s a poorly kept secret that the property will be called Drai’s. As part of the renovation they will add a rooftop club and pool. But I’m guessing you knew all that. What’s more interesting is the implications.
First of all, it’s another sign of the new post-2008 Las Vegas that does not implode and build anew, but rather remodel and improve. We have seen it with Tropicana, Imperial Palace/Quad, and Now Bill’s/Drai’s. While it’s not quite as interesting as a new shiny property, it at least keeps the strip fresh and interesting.
But with fresh and interesting come a different customer. With Imperial Palace, O’Shea’s, and now Bill’s all being remodeled, I expect that table minimums will increase upon these new properties opening along with the new clubs and pools. More and more of the value in Las Vegas is downtown and the changes in demographics and table limits on the strip are only making that ever more apparent.
I do wonder if the remodel will include updating the rooms. We have heard that as part of The Quad remodel, Caesars will not immediately update the room offering. Having stayed at Imperial Palace a year ago, I can say that I won’t be staying at the Quad until they make some updates. Bill’s on the other hand already has a better room offering that Imperial Palace. So if they are not updating the Quad, i doubt they are updating Bill’s.
OK, so they are updating the rooms. This actually makes some sense when you compare the clientele of The Quad versus that of Drai’s. The target market for the Quad is a budget conscious person who likes dive bars and beer pong (e.g. 21-30s). This demographic is probably fine with a basic room as long as it’s clean and cheap. The Drai’s clientele is going to clubs and getting bottle service. They expect a much more contemporary room. With Drai’s positioning as a boutique hotel, they basically would be completely missing the mark if they didn’t update the rooms.
This news also puts the Flamingo Hotel in a rather precarious location, physically. It will be book ended by construction. On one side you have The Quad and Linq construction and on the other side you have Bill’s construction. This will vastly decrease pedestrian flow into the property. I also question how many people will be excited about staying at a property with so much construction happening around it.
At the end of the day, this is all part of Caesars’ plan to modernize the east side of the strip. While their original vision years back may have included imploding some of these places, at least the remodel will keep the properties seeming new and fresh. It will be interesting to see how they tie Drai’s into the Linq plans. For me this probably just makes me want to spend even more time downtown, but for today’s Vegas this news totally makes sense.
image credit: vegastripping.com