Gansevoort Gone – The Cromwell Appears; Flay Opens Vegas Burger Joint; Vegas Uncork’d Returns for 8th Year


cromwell las vegas


Gansevoort who? Caesars execs reveal The Cromwell; Giada discusses her Strip restaurant  

  By Robin Leach (contact)  

After months of rumors it is finally official this morning that the Strip’s newest luxury boutique hotel with only 188 rooms and suites will be known as The Cromwell. Caesars Entertainment executives  revealed details of the property today after floating various names for the boutique resort.

The Cromwell may well be the Strip’s smallest hotel, but it is located at one of its busiest intersections with more than 20 million passersby each year. Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon is now a faded memory as The Cromwell takes its place ready to open this spring.   It will feature a 40,000-square-foot casino, a hotel lobby bar, a lounge and two incredible attractions — a restaurant by television’s top-rated chef Giada De Laurentiis and dayclub/nightlife venues by party prince Victor Drai.

Caesars has spent $185 million in the renovation of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall that it shuttered last Feb. 4. Prior to that, it was known as Barbary Coast. Las Vegas hotel gaming mogul Michael Gaughan built the property and opened it in March 1979, gambling $11.5 million on its construction.   He eventually folded it into his Coast Casino’s company and then sold it in July 2005 to the rival Boyd Gaming.

It was named Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall in honor of company founder Bill Harrah when the ownership passed to Harrah’s Entertainment in a land-swap deal at the 24-acre Westward Ho that became the now-shuttered project Echelon Place.   It lasted for six years as Bill’s when the successor company to Harrah’s became Caesars Entertainment, and the Board of Directors decided to redevelop the center-Strip relic.

The venture was to be known as The Gansevoort and managed by a New York hotel group, but because of gaming problems in New England, they were forced to quit the project. Caesars Entertainment will now manage it within the company.

Rooms will go on pre-sale at on Feb. 21, with the public sale starting Feb. 24. Execs said this morning that the venture will create nearly 2,000 jobs.   In their first official statement, execs said The Cromwell will blend vintage with modern, drawing inspiration from Coste Hotel in Paris with black Parisian-style awnings and gold fixtures adorning the windows.

When guests enter from the main driveway, a boutique hotel experience that blends traditional elements with Parisian flare and whimsical, modern details will await.   The hotel lobby will remind visitors of a parlor from the past; accessories and bookshelves with leather-bound books adorn the walls. The 169 regular rooms are reminiscent of Parisian loft-style apartments with distressed hardwood flooring and vintage luggage motif furnishings. The lighting will recall French provincial styling. Black-and-white mosaic-tiled shower walls act as the canvas for captivating English-French phrases.

Giada De Laurentiis’ restaurant, Giada, will greet guests with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, al fresco dining and a beautiful exhibition kitchen showcasing fresh pastas being made daily by hand. There also will be a signature antipasto bar, a first for Italian eateries on the Strip.   Located on the second story of the boutique hotel, Giada will seat 260 guests and showcases automatic retractable windows boasting prime views of the Bellagio Fountains, Caesars Palace and the new Bally’s Grand Bazaar Shops coming this fall.   The Food Network firebrand chef says her restaurant will be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a private dining room will be available for larger parties. The menu will embrace her Roman heritage, mirroring her passion for Italian cooking with vibrant Californian influences.   Giada promises only the freshest ingredients to create a new take on traditional Italian cuisine while staying true to classic favorites. Her signature dishes include lemon spaghetti, eggplant rollatini, marsala herb chicken meatballs and lemon ricotta cookies.   “I’m so excited not only to be opening my very first restaurant but also to be one of the first female chefs on the Strip,” she said.

“My goal for this restaurant is to be able to share a part of my life, my culture and my family with every guest. I want each person to feel like they’re entering my home, receiving a big welcoming hug and enjoying a fantastic Italian meal.”

Nightlife innovator Victor Drai, who has been behind some of the most memorable Las Vegas nightlife experiences, returns to this premier Strip location with Drai’s After Hours. With the opening of The Cromwell, Victor also will introduce his dazzling rooftop pool, dayclub and nightlife venue, Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub. He promises that its unique attractions ahead of every club in Las Vegas will elevate the Strip’s dayclub and nightlife scenes.   Karie Hall, who has been appointed The Cromwell’s general manager, said: “It will bring an exclusive experience to the Strip as a luxury-lifestyle boutique hotel focusing on hospitality, amenities and personalized service. Our partners Giada and Victor will inspire 360-degree daylife, nightlife and dining experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.


bobby flay

Las Vegas: Bobby Flay becomes latest celeb chef to open a burger joint

Bobby Flay has opened a burger restaurant called BBP on the Las Vegas Strip, the most recent celebrity chef to open a beef-on-a-bun eatery.

By Jay Jones  

With the opening this week of Bobby’s Burger Palace, Bobby Flay becomes the latest celebrity chef to open a Strip eatery devoted to the humble hamburger.

BBP at CityCenter is the first West Coast location for the 18-store chain that began six years ago on Long Island. The menu consists of regionally themed burgers with names such as Carolina, Miami and New Mexico. With T-shirts that read “Get crunchified,” servers encourage guests to get their burgers topped with Flay’s signature potato chips.

The chain’s new Vegas burger ($9.50) features white American cheese, Fresno red chilies and barbecue-flavored chips. Milk shakes ($6.50) come in flavors such as blueberry-pomegranate and pistachio.

“This is a very affordable concept,” Flay told me after the ribbon-cutting. “Everything is under $10.”

“Not everybody can afford to go to the really fancy, expensive restaurants in the luxury hotels.” For example, a New York strip steak at Flay’s Mesa Grill inside Caesars Palace costs $52.

Flay is the latest in a line of celebrity chefs to open burger restaurants along the Strip. Others include Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay, Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR at Planet Hollywood and Kerry Simon’s KGB at Harrah’s.

Flay, however, trumps the competition with location. Instead of being inside a sprawling resort, BBP’s front doors open right onto the sidewalk along Las Vegas Boulevard, just in front of the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel’s valet parking is about a 30-second walk from the restaurant’s rear entrance.,0,2369591.story#ixzz2sCdmqc3j


vegas uncorked 14

Sharpen Your Sabers for the Return of Vegas Uncork’d

By Grace Bascos

Even though it’s still several months away, food lovers from around the country have already begun their collective salivation for one of the largest culinary weekends in the country: Vegas Uncork’d. Now in its eighth year, the four-day gourmet party sponsored by Bon Appétit returns for a feeding frenzy that showcases some 70 chefs and 20 sommeliers through 50 events over Mother’s Day weekend, May 8-11.

Tickets for the festival went on sale last week, and within a few hours, foodies hungrily snatched up seats for some prime events. Unless you were quick on the draw, you will have to miss out on sushi making and sake tasting with Nobu Matsuhisa, Old Homestead’s Master Series dinner and learning pastry tips from François Payard. The most coveted ticket appears to be for the cooking and wine demonstration with Chef of the Century Joël Robuchon, which sold out in 90 minutes.

While Guy Savoy’s May 8 master series dinner is also sold out, you can still throw down for the Krug Chef Table for six (for $5,000) on the same evening. If you think that the price tag a bit exorbitant, it’s worth a mention that the chef’s table is literally inside the Guy Savoy kitchen, so close that the chefs are practically hand-feeding you.

New to the Uncork’d schedule is a mega-collaboration between American contemporary master Shawn McClain of Sage and Five50 in Aria and French culinary god Pierre Gagnaire of Twist in Mandarin Oriental for A Twist on Dinner ($400 per person) on May 8. The more casual Chef’s Counter ($175 per person) puts celebrity chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Michael Mina behind the stations at the buffet in Aria on May 10.

The Venetian returns to the festivities with its arsenal of chefs, including Mario Batali, Thomas Keller and Buddy Valastro, as well as chefs from sister property Marina Bay Sands Singapore in The Night Market: East Meets West ($140 per person) on May 8. The Night Market also is the battleground for the second annual Chase Sapphire Preferred Grill Challenge, where two students from Las Vegas’ Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts compete against each other, paired with professional chefs in their corners, to win $20,000.

The anchor to the entire weekend, The Grand Tasting ($300 early VIP admission, $225 general admission)—or what I affectionately call the Food Nerd Prom—takes place once again around the five acres of Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods pool, and this is the one place where you’ll see just about every culinary star Las Vegas has to offer. I’ll be the one wearing the corsage while trying to get my picture taken with Chef Robuchon. Again.


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