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Las Vegas is about to have a banner year — here's why you should book a trip right now

Jan. 20, 2023
9 min read
The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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Oh, Las Vegas. Love it or hate it, it's a place people always find themselves talking about. That makes sense considering it's one of the world's entertainment capitals, an epicenter for bachelor and bachelorette parties, and a continuously evolving city.

The reality is that Sin City is hard to keep up with. Major resorts are constantly changing hands and loyalty programs — or being torn down to build something bigger and better. The world's biggest stars keep adding (or rescheduling) residencies. Major sporting events are popping up left and right, and over-the-top attractions seem to be announced daily.

Speaking of sporting events, expect the city to change more dramatically than ever this year since Super Bowl LVIII will take place at Vegas' recently opened Allegiant Stadium next year — a huge win for the city and its many, many resorts and entertainment outlets.

To help cut through the clutter, we've rounded up some of the biggest developments changing the Las Vegas landscape to help you plan your next trip.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas is finally, probably, maybe going to open

FONTAINEBLEAU LAS VEGAS

If you've spent any time in Las Vegas over the past two decades, you've probably noticed a massive unfinished blue tower rising out of the ground on the north part of the Strip. That building is Fontainebleau, a resort project started in 2007 that fell victim to the 2008 financial crisis. It bounced around between multiple developers and stalled time and time again.

At one point, the project was planned to house multiple Marriott Bonvoy-participating hotels, including the Las Vegas Edition and a JW Marriott. However, Marriott pulled out of the deal in 2021.

Now it looks like the seemingly endless construction project has its eyes on a late 2023 opening date simply as the Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Once completed, the 67-story resort set on 25 acres will have 3,700 hotel rooms, gaming areas, restaurants, shopping, multiple pools and 550,000 square feet of convention space — basically a shiny new version of what you would expect from every megaproject on the Strip.

At the beginning of this year, Fontainebleau Development and Koch Real Estate Investments shared in a statement they'd secured a $2.2 billion construction loan that "keeps construction on schedule and paves the way for Fontainebleau Las Vegas to make its global debut in the fourth quarter of 2023."

We sure hope it pans out because this hotel reporter can't wait to visit for a review.

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All's the same with The Cosmopolitan — for now

The Cosmopolitan Hotel. MARRIOTT

We could really get in the weeds on the details of MGM's acquisition of Marriott-affiliated resort The Cosmopolitan, but why not just get straight to the point? At least for now, everything is staying the same. This means that The Cosmopolitan will still be part of the Marriott Bonvoy ecosystem and will still continue using Identity Membership & Rewards.

"The Cosmopolitan's Identity program is still affiliated with Marriott Bonvoy," an MGM spokesperson said. "They are continuing to work on the integration of The Cosmopolitan into MGM Rewards and look forward to sharing details later this year."

That said, the Marriott Bonvoy calendar for The Cosmopolitan shows that both awards availability and cash booking rates are not available after Nov. 1. This likely signals the timeline for the resort's integration into MGM Rewards — the latest iteration of the program that launched early last year.

For now, we do know that guests at The Cosmopolitan, Aria and Bellagio have reciprocal room-charging privileges. Stay tuned and we'll keep you updated as we hear the latest.

A new casino resort is opening off the Strip

STATION CASINOS

Though the full details are sparse, Station Casino (the group behind Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa and Palace Station) is opening a new luxury casino resort off the Strip in Spring Valley. Once it opens in late 2023, Durango Casino & Resort will add 200 rooms to Las Vegas inventory as well as 83,000 square feet of gaming space and a sportsbook, four restaurants, a food hall, meeting space and a pool.

A cannabis-friendly hotel is set to open this spring

ELEVATIONS HOTELS AND RESORTS

A little north of Resorts World, the Artisan Hotel Boutique is getting a multimillion-dollar transformation from Elevations Hotels and Resorts to become Las Vegas' first cannabis-friendly hotel, The Lexi. Though the hotel will have 64 rooms, only rooms on the fourth floor will be cannabis-friendly and feature "state-of-the-art RestorAir filtration system that employs Advanced Oxidation Cell (AOC) technology," according to the developers.

In Nevada, "Cannabis can only be consumed on private property," according to state regulations; casino resorts, which are subject to federal law, cannot allow cannabis at all.

The Artisan will also offer cannabis-free areas, a European-style pool (wink, wink), a Cajun restaurant and various other dining and drinking outlets.

More real estate shake-ups

In a personally heartbreaking moment for me back in 2021, it was announced that the The Mirage would be sold to Hard Rock International with plans to rip out the iconic volcano and replace it all with a guitar-shaped Hard Rock resort. In December, that deal was completed, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal, though it will remain The Mirage for a while longer and plans for the extensive overhaul and construction project will be announced at the end of 2023.

Until then, read my ode to The Mirage — the hotel that made me fall in love with hotels, ultimately inspired my career decisions and brought me to travel media in the first place.

An announcement at the end of 2022 stated that MGM had closed on the sale of the plot of land where the devastating shooting during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017 took place, taking the lives of 58 people.

In the deal, the majority of the 15-acre lot, located across the street from Luxor, was sold to the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 2020, the Three Affiliated Tribes also purchased an 8.7-acre lot bordering the new purchase, which equals more than 20 acres to develop, lease or sell. No concrete plans have been announced.

Two acres of the original site, however, have been set aside to build a memorial to the victims of the 2017 shooting.

A larger-than-life, out-of-this-world entertainment sphere is on its way

If you haven't heard, Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. is building a giant sphere at The Venetian that will be one of the world's most technologically advanced entertainment venues.

Inside the sphere, which can hold up to 20,000 people, a state-of-the-art screen will completely envelop audiences from every direction and include programmable seats to make shows, concerts and other performances more immersive than ever. In fact, they can even control the wind and scent to create an experience like never before.

On the outside of the 300-foot-tall structure, set to be the largest spherical structure on the planet, a 580,000-square-foot LED display will likely redefine the Strip's nighttime appearance when it (hopefully) opens later this year.

Sin City's turning into a race track — literally

In November, get ready to hear Las Vegas roar with the sound of Formula 1 race cars speeding past the Bellagio's iconic fountains and Paris Las Vegas' replica of the Eiffel Tower, at speeds up to 212 miles per hour.

The incredible spectacle will occur Nov. 16 to 18, and tickets (starting at $500) for the Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Gran Prix are currently on sale for officially designated areas. However, many packages are already sold-out.

Don't fret — some of the best views of the races are found in Strip-facing rooms from the casinos along the race track. Bellagio is actually setting up a grandstand viewing area that will be built on the lake and open to guests who book a special race package starting at $2,827 per person.

And some other news you might want to know

Last year we reported that it was time to say goodbye to Bally's as it would be replaced with the Horseshoe Las Vegas. Those changes are now in full effect, and the newly rebranded casino will eventually play host to the World Series of Poker. It'll also soon be home to two celebrity-fueled restaurants and entertainment venues: Guy Fieri’s Flavortown Sports Kitchen, set to open this summer, and Blake Shelton's Ole Red.

On the subject of celebrities, Lisa Vanderpump opened a new restaurant, Vanderpump a Paris, at Paris Las Vegas. Martha Stewart joined in at the same casino by opening The Bedford by Martha Stewart. Even the Jonas Brothers got in on the Vegas restaurant game with last year's opening of Nellie’s Southern Kitchen at MGM Grand.

Speaking of the Jonas Brothers, the trio announced new shows this year at the Park MGM. Other acts set to headline residences across Las Vegas this year include Bruno Mars, Usher, Maroon 5, Miranda Lambert, The Chicks, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Rod Stewart, Santana, Keith Urban, Sting, Garth Brooks and, of course, the long-awaited residency from Adele, among others.

Dream Las Vegas, which will be part of Hyatt, is now scheduled to open in 2024 — and we can't wait. We will have to wait a little longer for Rio to convert into an assortment of Hyatt properties as it seems that news won't be announced until closer to the end of the year.

As always, we'll keep you updated because there's a whole lot happening — and what happens in Vegas never really stays in Vegas.

Related:

Featured image by STUART DEE/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees