- The Cromwell was closed on March 16 as part of the statewide shutdown of the gaming industry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It is the final gaming property on the Las Vegas Strip to reopen.
- Caesars Entertainment is testing a ’21 and over’ concept at The Cromwell.
The only remaining Las Vegas Strip gaming property to remain closed from the COVID-19 shutdown is about to reopen. The Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas–old timers remember it as the Barbary Coast and later Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and Saloon–will reopen on October 29.
When Caesars Entertainment reopens the property they’ll be taking a page out of the playbook of the newest casino in town–the downtown Circa Resort & Casino. More specifically, they’re bringing the Circa’s ‘Adults Only, 21+ Experience’ to the Strip.
Here’s what The Cromwell’s Senior Vice President and General Manager Ken Janssen said about the ‘adults only’ move in a press release announcing the reopening:
“The first standalone boutique hotel on the Strip, The Cromwell, brings an exclusive, elevated lifestyle experience to the destination, focusing on hospitality, amenities and personalized service. In line with the boutique hotel experience, we are pleased to announce that we will reopen on Oct. 29 as the first adult-only property on Las Vegas Boulevard, with a continued emphasis on our enhanced health and safety protocols.”
The only amenity at The Cromwell to allow patrons under the age of 21 will be Giada, the Italian restaurant owned by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. In a perfect world, there would be no exception for a decent restaurant such as Giada–in fact, there’s really nowhere that children should be *less* welcome than most restaurants above TGI Friday’s on the culinary food chain. Typically, you see restaurants and other amenities in otherwise ‘adults only’ casinos allowing minors due to some contractual provision. Hopefully, the vibe of the rest of the property will keep families with young kids away. There’s nothing worse than dropping $150 on a seafood tower only to have some overly entitled parent’s screaming brat ruin your dining experience.
The hotel and gaming floor will be open 7 days a week once The Cromwell reopens at 10 AM Pacific on October 29. At opening, there will be limited amenities available. In addition to Giada, the fast casual spot eatwell will be open. The Bound Cocktal Lounge, Interlude Coctail Lounge and Drai’s Lounge will also be available. So to will be the Curious gift shop/sundries retailer, the fitness center and the property’s William Hill Sportsbook. The William Hill Sportsbook has been remodeled and upgraded as part of William Hill’s takeover of the sports betting operations at Caesars properties.
This isn’t the first interesting ‘niche seeking’ by a reopening property. Last month, Park MGM became the first non-smoking resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Gaming industry analyst Brendan Bussman of Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors LLC thinks that this type of niching in general and non-smoking in particular will become much more common:
“Smoking will likely be one of the casualties of the Great Shutdown. While Park MGM is the first Las Vegas casino to go smoke free, numerous casinos across the country have implemented non-smoking policies, at least on a temporary basis. In the long term, smoking will likely have a smaller and smaller footprint on the casino floor if it has one at all.”
Bussman thinks The Cromwell is making a good move with the new ‘adults only’ policy:
“Cromwell sees a niche here. It’s listening to customers, and now’s the most important time … to listen to customers to get the faith back up from tourists.”
Josh Swissman, founding partner of Las Vegas gaming and hospitality consulting firm The Strategy Organization, concurs:
“All bets are off as companies are opening post-COVID. There’s no better time to reinvent yourself.”
“They have a lot of the great odds and types of games and offerings that savvy gamblers seek out. t only makes sense that a place that embraces the gambling experience as much as the Cromwell does makes an all-adult move. … You couple that with (Drai’s Nightclub) on top of it being the quintessential adult offerings in Las Vegas, and it makes all the sense in the world.”
Swissman thinks that the ‘adults only’ model could be adopted by larger Las Vegas properties. That would be one of the best things to happen to the city in years:
“The other (resorts) are so much bigger, and a big switch like that has potentially more risk. It seems like it’s becoming more commonplace to go back to this adults-only programming.”
The reopening of The Cromwell leaves only one Caesars Entertainment property in the Las Vegas area still closed–the off-strip Rio All-Suites Resort & Casino. There’s no timeframe for the Rio reopening and there has been talk that it might not reopen–at least not under the ownership of Caesars Entertainment. As far as the Rio is concerned, Caesars touts the ‘party line’ they’ve been using since their Nevada properties began to reopen:
“Caesars will open its remaining Las Vegas properties in line with customer demand, regulatory requirements and any additional health and safety considerations.”