Future Resorts: Dream, Atari and Circa Lead a Wave of New Las Vegas Hotels

Excitement is in the air as Las Vegas prepares to welcome a strong lineup of new hotels in the near future.

It’s safe to say Las Vegas has left the economic slump behind. We’re seeing a boom in tourism and new developments, including the Park MGM resort, T-Mobile Arena, and the currently under-construction Raiders stadium. Visitors are coming to town by the millions and they’re going to need a place to stay. So check out these new properties that will begin taking reservations in the next year or two.

Upcoming Las Vegas Hotels

Dream gives new life to the south end of the Strip

It’s been a while since a new development emerged in the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, which already includes Mandalay Bay, the Luxor and the MGM Grand. That’s changing with the arrival of the Dream Hotel Group. The company’s new property is scheduled to begin construction in 2021 in a now-vacant 5.25-acre lot across from the Bali Hai Golf Club and just steps away from the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. It’s also in walking distance to the soon-to-open Allegiant Stadium. The 21-story Dream Las Vegas will have more than 400 rooms, a casino, dining, nightlife, meeting space and a rooftop pool. The resort is set to open in 2023.

Atari expands into the hotel business

Video games are big business these days, and now the hospitality industry is getting in on the action. Atari is merging its iconic brand with the GSD Group to open a series of gaming-themed hotels in at least eight U.S. cities, including Las Vegas. The hotels are promising to incorporate virtual reality and augmented reality concepts, and at least some will have on-site venues and studios for esports. The first Atari Hotel is set to break ground in Phoenix in mid-2020. No details, including a date or location, have been released for the Las Vegas hotel, although one could expect it will be one of the most high-profile properties in the portfolio. Atari is known for creating classic video games like Pong, Asteroids and Centipede.

Majestic brings luxury to the convention crowd

Forget slot machines. Majestic Las Vegas is a non-gaming luxury hotel set to open in 2023. The 45-story tower is being built on the site of the old Clarion, which was imploded years ago, giving it a location just steps away from the expanding Las Vegas Convention Center. The hotel will have 720 rooms plus 30 corporate sky suites that will no doubt attract overflow from trade show events. In a break from the typical Vegas layout, Majestic will have a courtyard with six free-standing restaurants positioned around in a circular footprint. If it proves to be successful (and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be), Majestic could inspire Las Vegas hotels of the future — with less focus on casinos and greater focus on luxury and outdoor spaces. Groundbreaking is set for 2020.

SLS reverts to Being the Sahara

Photo: Denise Truscello

Something old is new again. After being rebranded the SLS and undergoing a renovation in 2014, the North Strip property has returned to its old name of the Sahara. The decision was made after the resort was sold to the Meruelo Group, which successfully transformed the property once known as the MGM Grand in Reno to the impressive Grand Sierra Resort. Founder Alex Meruelo is committing $100 million to the project, which has already revealed upgraded hotel rooms and casino space. Expect a revamped restaurant, entertainment, and nightlife lineup to be announced now that the official name change has taken effect. Recent additions include Uno Mas Street Tacos, Casbar Lounge and the arrival of a new high limit gaming room.

Circa to Redefine the Image of Fremont Street

Set to open in late 2020, Circa will be the first Downtown resort built from the ground-up since 1980 and the tallest tower north of the Strip. Developers Derek and Greg Stevens (who also own and operate The D, Golden Gate, and the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center) are opening the project on the far west end of the Fremont Street Experience. As the name suggests, Circa will tip its hat to Vegas history while looking to the future with the latest technology and amenities. A two-level stadium-style sportsbook will have a massive video screen and an in-house broadcasting studio. Another large video wall will be found outdoors at the rooftop pool complex. The parking garage, on the other side of Main Street, will be connected by a pedestrian bridge and built with ride-sharing integration in mind. The classic “Vegas Vickie” marquee, formerly outside the now-closed Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club, will return in the hotel lobby. In the middle of all this will be 777 rooms and suites, designed to be the most luxurious in Downtown.

Downtown Grand to Dramatically Expand

In another sign the Fremont Street area is growing and thriving, the Downtown Grand will expand its imprint with a new 250,000-square-foot hotel tower. The addition will dramatically reshape the property’s main entrance and bring nearly 500 new contemporary-style rooms to seven floors. Among them will be three luxury-focused presidential suites. The new tower will also connect directly to the Citrus rooftop pool. It’s set to open in mid-2020.

Hard Rock to Become a Virgin Hotel

After buying the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, billionaire businessman Richard Branson is remodeling the property as the first Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas. Branson said he plans to spend millions on the rebranding while keeping the hotel’s party-hard image intact. The most obvious change — the famous giant neon guitar out front will be replaced with a “V.” The property is closing for four months in 2019 as the new designs take shape. Expect a new lounge, nightclub and restaurant lineup to emerge, although it’s possible current favorites like MB Steak could stick around.

Fontainebleau to Finally Open as The Drew


The 63-story Fontainebleau has long been the most glaring eyesore on the Strip. The hotel was nearly finished when the Great Recession put a halt to its grand opening — and fell into bankruptcy in 2009. The property was short sold twice before landing in the hands of Steve Witkoff in 2017. The New York investor is teaming up with Marriott International to rename the 4,000-room tower The Drew in honor of his late son. Renewed work on the property got underway in early 2018 with plans to open in 2020, although that date was pushed back to 2022, possibly due in part to smoke damage from an arson incident in 2018. When it’s all said and done, The Drew will include a 500,000-square-foot convention center and incorporate Marriot’s next-generation brand Edition.

Resort World Slowly Moves Along

Resort World Las Vegas strip

After years of stagnation and delays, progress is finally being made on Resorts World. The Asian-themed property is being developed in the mid-Strip location once home to the Stardust, which was imploded in 2007. The company behind the project, the Malaysian-based Genting Group, says construction will continue despite legal action filed by the neighboring Wynn resort, who claims the design of Resorts World looks suspiciously like its own, raising the potential for confusion in the Las Vegas marketplace. Current plans aim for a late 2020 opening with 3,400 rooms

It’s “Wait-and-See” for Wynn West

Wynn West new hotel parcel land lot

Although the Wynn is one of the most successful properties on the Strip, the resort, which includes the twin Encore tower, has faced a few recent struggles. CEO Steve Wynn stepped down in the wake of a #MeToo scandal and plans for a new massive lagoon to replace the golf course were dramatically downgraded. Moving forward, the golf course will return, a new convention center will be built and more hotel rooms are being added. That includes Wynn West, a new tower on the west side of the Strip that will be connected by an overpass pedestrian bridge. Originally, Steve Wynn planned to “move quickly” on the project, although the current leadership team appears to be taking a more reserved and cautious approach. Wynn bought the land from¬†Australian billionaire James Packer. The parcel was formerly planned for the Alon casino and resort near the Trump International Hotel and Fashion Show Mall.

Failed Projects

Lucky Dragon

When the Lucky Dragon opened in late 2016, it was the first major Vegas resort built from the ground up since the Cosmopolitan in 2011. It was heavily promoted to the growing Asian tourism market, but the North Strip location turned out to be a problem, generating little traffic and interest. The resort closed only a year after opening and now sits empty. The above video shows Lavish Vegas checking out the Lucky Dragon when it first opened.


The Clarion Hotel and Casino, formerly known as the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel and Greek Isles Hotel & Casino, was imploded in 2015. A new owner envisioned the construction of a new 60-story hotel in its place but so far, plans have yet to take shape. The site sits empty and is used for temporary event parking at the nearby Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Riviera

It’s hard to call the Riviera a “failure,” since it managed to stick around for 60 years. But hotels don’t age well on the Strip. Vegas is always looking for the hot new thing and the Riviera was imploded in 2016 after being bought by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The location is empty space at the moment but will play a role in the dramatic expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center to the edge of the Strip.

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