There’s usually something new in Las Vegas each year.
In 2017 there are 2 novelties, an aquarium and a completely new hotel and casino and spa called Lucky Dragon on Sahara Avenue. It’s the first totally new property in town since 2010 and unique in that it hopes to cater to Chinese gamblers and tourists.
It was designed and built to please them. Interest in it was sparked by the first direct flights from Beijing to Las Vegas on Hainan Airlines. The first flight arrived in December, 2016, with 200 passengers.
Lucky Dragon is best described as a quiet, boutique hotel/casino off The Strip but not really far from it. Ruth & I spent a couple of hours there last Sunday and were favorably impressed. However, we didn’t stay there. Complaints, which bug any new property, include lack of enough English speaking employees and “not a big hotel”.
Lucky Dragon was specifically designed and decorated to please Chinese visitors. Because #8 is thought lucky in China, the casino is 8-sided. Because #4 is unlucky, there is no floor with that number. Most signage is in Chinese first with English under it. Lucky Dragon has 4 Asian restaurants with Bao Now its equivalent to fast food. Bao has, quite understandably, squid balls and classic noodle soup on its menu. Dim sum is served in Pearl Ocean. There’s a tea garden. We did not see Sothys Spa.
Ruth and I both found this new and understated property elegant and simple. As we wandered about the casino, a Chinese Adele entertained us on the sound system. The casino seemed to favor slot machines over gaming tables. Most of the employees were Asian, but, so far, most of the guests were not. The LA Times estimates that, over time, only about 10% of its clientele will be from Asia.
I found the idea that Las Vegas can support a complex devoted to the Chinese traveler very interesting. I was told that there are approximately 250,000 Asian residents in the area. The west coasts of both the United States and Canada have been magnets for Asians, and now they have an entire complex in Las Vegas trying to attract them and hoping that they will choose it over Macao.