After a construction and financing delay, the Lucky Dragon has achieved full capitalization and is due to open before the end of this year. Reservations should be possible by late summer, or perhaps earlier.
The Lucky Dragon represents two significant “firsts” for Las Vegas. It is the first construction from the ground up in the past six years, since the recession ended. Perhaps even more importantly, it is also the first hotel casino being built in Las Vegas with a design focus “carefully curated” to the Asian market.
The stated goal is to “deliver an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience” so that the Lucky Dragon becomes a “community gathering hotspot” for Asians. Hospitality intentions are defined as accommodating and authentic, showing familiarity with both customs and languages of guests.
Hotel staff will be multilingual (speaking all Chinese languages) and all signage will be in both Chinese and English. The interior designer consulted on cultural authenticity with a Feng Shui master. The décor incorporates Asian elements, with an elegant 1.25 ton glass dragon chandelier as one of its centerpieces, suspended from the ceiling of the gaming floor.
This will be a Macau style casino of 27,500 sq. ft. Games offered will be those having the strongest appeal to an Asian market — such as Baccarat, Pai Gow, , Fan Tan, and Sic Bo — with only a few “Western-style” tables (Blackjack, etc.) There will be several Feng Shui-designed private gaming parlors, a high limit room, the Emerald Room, plus ultra luxurious VIP gaming on the upper level.
The boutique hotel will have 204 rooms, including 23 standard suites (aver. 625 sq.ft.) and a 1300 sq.ft. penthouse suite with great views of the Strip. Guests can relax in the luxurious 4,500 sq. ft spa, taking reflexology treatments as well as options including a full range of scrubs, massages, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines.
There will be five restaurants on the premises providing authentic Pan-Asian dining, ranging from noodle shops to high end dining. The hub of the action will be their Jewel Kitchen, which will extend directly onto the casino floor (said to be the only one in Vegas to do so). There is the promise of the “finest dim sum in North America”, with live exotic seafood specially flown in. A night market will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering an ever-changing menu; this could include regional delicacies, live seafood, barbecue, boba tea and more. The 60-seat fine dining restaurant has a private balcony and extensive wine list.
Of particular note is an indoor-outdoor high tea garden and lounge area. It will be hosted by a tea sommelier, offering teas sourced from specially designated farms throughout Asia and featuring varietals rarely available locally. Guests may choose to sit at custom-built Gongfu tables, in a tranquil environment of oak trees and a shoreline swimming pool, soothed by the peaceful sound of a delicate waterfall.
According to CEO Andrew Fonfa,
“having features like that and everyone speaking the language will give us a shot at some of the big whales, although our legal limits won’t be that of the Wynn or Venetian. But those people will come visit our casino.”
He also noted that while Asians are the target market, they do anticipate non-Asian attendance, but primarily for the authentic food opportunities.
The Lucky Dragon is located in the North end, just west of the Strip, at 300 West Sahara Avenue. Developers plan to create businesses nearby to enhance the area and lure both Asian and West Coast customers. They believe this will become ‘the Chinese end of the Strip’ as it will also include Genting’s Resort World (see Vegas Guy March 27 article on this) which they view as a complementary property. Given that China just announced direct flights from Beijing to Las Vegas every three days, such enthusiasm seems to have strong underpinnings.
The Lucky Dragon is being built by a group called the Las Vegas Economic Impact Regional Center. They utilized EB-5 in conjunction with the USCIS [US Citizen and Immigration Services] as a means of securing foreign backing, representing a win-win a for both the region and the investor . The EB-5 Visa Program was passed by Congress in 1990 to encourage economic stimulation and job creation. Clark County (which encompasses the entire Vegas area) qualifies as a Target Employment Areas, which means an investment of $500,000 is sufficient – otherwise the requirement would be a cool million. LVEIRC will manage the day-to-day aspects of the investment for participating sponsors.