Live entertainment has been a key component of my career since the beginning. Starting my career with long (fun) nights with the Planet Hollywood team in London many years ago while studying law has shifted to the role I play now, where food, beverage, and entertainment make up part of the evolving luxury experience that I lead at Hilton. This summer the opening of Resorts World Las Vegas, the first ground-up resort development on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade, was a major milestone for the enterprise. From the lounge acts of the 1950s when Las Vegas was a city of less than 50,000 people, to the nightclub residencies of today’s top DJs with millions of tourists streaming in daily, Las Vegas is the only place to have on your revenge travel list if you miss the energy and thrill of live entertainment.
Much to the dismay of my parents, I gave up a legal career to pursue my love of hospitality working at several restaurants, bars, and late-night venues, as London was going through its culinary awakening in the late ’90s and early aughts. There’s nothing quite like a busy shift in a restaurant and the camaraderie of your co-workers to fuel your passion for the industry. My wife, best friends, and godparents to my children all come from the industry (almost all from one venue!) and it’s still the best place for any young person to develop skills they can take anywhere in life.
After more than 18 months of virtual performances because of the pandemic, the live entertainment mecca of the world is making its comeback. According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, the destination welcomed nearly 2.9 million visitors in May, up 11.8% from April. June was the first month without size or capacity restrictions on conventions and larger gatherings since the pandemic reached Nevada in 2020, leaving ample opportunity to grow these rates in the coming months.
At large, the event industry is projected to potentially surpass the number of events and attendees from pre-pandemic levels due to the incredible amount of pent-up demand. How is Las Vegas responding? For one, rolling out new venues like Resorts World Las Vegas, which opened mid 2021 and features three premium Hilton brands—Hilton Hotels & Resorts (Hilton Las Vegas), Conrad Hotels & Resorts (Conrad Las Vegas at Resorts World), and LXR Hotels & Resorts (Crockfords)—integrated into the campus.
Integrating Hilton’s Luxury Brands with Resorts World Las Vegas was an incredible opportunity to be part of the growth of the destination, and to provide travelers with a luxury stay that is not often associated with Las Vegas or found in nearly the same way as our properties deliver. Conrad, globally, evokes a world of art, culture, and bold design, and Las Vegas is no exception. The commissioned art pieces are one of a kind and epitomize the grandeur and showstopping nature of Las Vegas in their locations in the lobby and guest rooms. Crockfords brings subtle touches, like an in-house poet, to each stay, thriving on the unexpected yet can’t-miss, locally tied amenities that LXR guests have become accustomed to during their stays.
The resort’s 5,000-capacity concert and entertainment venue is outfitted to host a myriad of affairs, from star-studded concerts to convention, corporate, and sporting events. Featuring the largest and tallest performance stage with the farthest seat only 150 feet from the stage, the brand-new, multilevel venue will provide an intimate, high-energy experience with unparalleled comfort, unobstructed sightlines, and an unmatched immersive audio experience. The joint development between Resorts World Las Vegas and AEG Presents will be exclusively programmed and operated by Concerts West and is set to introduce the next wave of superstar entertainment partners with exclusive engagements by Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan beginning this November. This caliber of this line-up rivals the best of the best on the strip, now or in recent memory, and only furthers the expectation of an “only at Resorts World” experience.
Transforming existing icons is also part of this post-pandemic chapter for Sin City. An upcoming reimagination of Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas’ guest rooms, meeting spaces, and lobby experience features a sleek, contemporary design with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame spectacular views of Las Vegas Boulevard and the surrounding desert landscape. This non-gaming resort thrives on being an alternative to a casino stay, without sacrificing any of the convenience or experiences otherwise sought at luxury Las Vegas.
Las Vegas will continue to find innovative ways to be the entertainment capital of the world. It’s a city that has never followed trends, but instead has set them.