In 2001, fresh from a $200 million renovation a few years earlier, the Desert Inn imploded into a towering cloud of dust, courtesy of its new owner Steve Wynn. In its place now stands his flagship enterprise, the Wynn Las Vegas, which opened in 2005. It's a massive jade arc that contains a large waterfall in its nightclub, Tryst, not to mention a Ferrari/Maserati dealership.
Rather than rest on his laurels, Wynn decided to outdo himself by opening the $2.3 billion Encore casino right next door at the end of 2008. Sure, it was right in the middle of a recession, but Wynn didn't cut corners there, either: There are 5 restaurants and 11 high-end boutiques, and guests can even gamble by the pool.
The Vegas hotel industry is all about one-upping the neighbors--even if that neighbor is yourself. And it works: In 2009, even amidst an economic crisis, the city saw 36 million visitors drop more than $5 billion in casinos on the Strip (and more throughout the rest of the city). They stayed in the city's 150,000 hotel rooms at an occupancy rate over 80%--that rate hovered near 90% on weekends. Room rates in Las Vegas are still relatively low--around $90.But when you're deciding on a hotel in Vegas, a decent room rate only answers one part of a larger question. Namely--what are you in the mood for?
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