What Fontainebleau’s long awaited opening means for Las Vegas

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A photo of the Fontainebleau resort located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The large, luxury resort is set to open on December 13, 2023.

Back in February 2007, a large blue building called Fontainebleau started construction on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. It was first supposed to open in 2009, but the recession put the project into bankruptcy, leaving it to sit there for more than 10 years to come. 

Fontainebleau was bought by another company in 2010, and no work was done on it. In 2017, American investor and landlord Steve Witkoff purchased the building with an anticipated opening in 2022. In 2021, though, Fontainebleau acquired $2.2 billion in funding and repurchased the building that is finally to open this year on Dec. 13. 

The Fontainebleau will be the tallest hotel on the Las Vegas strip, towering 68 stories high at 737 feet. There will be 3,644 rooms in the resort throughout the 68 floors. These rooms range from regular guest rooms to suites. Their most luxurious suite will be the Fleur de Lis, with 10,000 square feet of room. For opening night, the standard room rates are around $500, but for the rest of December, rooms go as low as $220.

Matt Barros, manager of poker operations at Sahara Las Vegas, stated that the opening of Fontainebleau will be “good for locals… [with] 7,100 high-paying jobs.” He further added that “everyone that left their job got a pay raise,” hinting at Sahara’s loss of table games and poker dealers. For the Las Vegas community, the opening of Fontainebleau provides competitive pay for new employees. Their starting rate is anywhere between $19 to $21 per hour, and the paychecks deposit weekly. Due to them paying more than other resorts, many people are leaving where they work to move to Fontainebleau. Management job positions are opening everywhere on the Strip because of the amount of people moving on to what they expect is ‘bigger and better.’

John Galvan, casino manager for Sahara, shared a different perspective on the impact of the lodging industry in Las Vegas, “Hotel room prices will drop because there are too many vacancies already.” He additionally stated that the influx of over 3,500 rooms could “make people sell their AirBnB houses if they can’t get renters to pay the mortgage.”

The opening will also boost the popularity of the surrounding resorts like the Stratosphere, Circus Circus, Sahara Las Vegas, Resorts World and the Westgate. Galvan believes “[The opening of Fontainebleau] will only help.” In conjunction with Galvan, Barros further added, “The worst thing for Sahara [was] no casino being next to it.” If visitors want to stay at the Fontainebleau but cannot get behind the price point, other resorts, such as Sahara Las Vegas or Resorts World, are only a short walk away. 

The opening of Fontainebleau will be a huge milestone and is highly anticipated by many. There will be a nightclub called LIV and a multitude of restaurants to try out for guests. The pool is also 6 acres large and is on an upper floor of the resort, providing a beautiful view of the Strip. It will be challenging for these other resorts to compete. 

There are plenty more upsides than downsides when it comes to opening day on Dec. 13. A finished project that has been 16 years in the making is a big deal and will bring in crowds and revenue from all over the world. There may be traffic opening day, but normal operations are sure to return shortly, especially since the rates are so low for a luxury resort only two weeks into opening.

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