JW Marriott Las Vegas


JW Marriott Las Vegas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (wikipedia.org)

JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa is a luxury hotel in Summerlin, Nevada, near Las Vegas. The Rampart Casino is located within the hotel. The property is owned and operated by Hotspur Resorts, which franchises the JW Marriott name from Marriott International.

History

Development and opening (1996-2000)

In May 1996, the Howard Hughes Corporation, developer of the Summerlin planned community, announced an agreement for a casino resort to be developed by Seven Circle Resorts, an American affiliate of Swiss gaming firm Swiss Casinos. Paul Steelman was the architect. The resort’s opening was originally planned for 1998. Developers envisioned it as a luxury golf and spa resort, similar to those found in destinations like Scottsdale, Arizona and Palm Springs, California. The property would have relationships with several nearby golf courses, including exclusive control of half of the tee times at the neighboring Tournament Players Club at the Canyons.

Seven Circle purchased the 54-acre (22 ha) site from Howard Hughes Corp. in August 1996 for $16.6 million. By February 1998, construction was underway. Managed by J.A. Jones Construction, the project was marked by delays and cost overruns. The final cost of development was $276 million, including $76 million contributed by Swiss Casinos and $200 million borrowed from lenders.

The Resort at Summerlin quietly opened its doors on July 15, 1999. Its developers described it as Las Vegas’ first off-Strip luxury resort. At opening, the property included a 286-room hotel, two restaurants, and a casino. The hotel was named the Regent Grand Spa, under a franchise from Regent International Hotels. Because of construction delays, other amenities, including the spa, pool, retail shops, and more restaurants, opened over the following months.

A second hotel, the 255-room Regent Grand Palm, opened in January 2000. By the next month, the entire property had been renamed as The Regent Las Vegas, to capitalize on its affiliation with the upscale Regent brand, and the two hotels were known simply as the Spa tower and the Palms tower.

In June 2000, Swiss Casinos announced plans to purchase a 22-acre (8.9 ha) parcel next to the Regent and to develop it with timeshare units and tennis courts, but this project never came to fruition.

After completion (2000-present)

Signs of financial trouble appeared as early as November 1999, when the resort’s operating company revealed that it was seeking new financing and its credit rating was downgraded. By March 2000, the resort was in technical default on its mortgage debt, as a result of having borrowed additional money from Swiss Casinos. Executives began to shift the casino’s focus to attract more locals, such as by replacing slot machines with video poker machines.

In September 2000, the Regent defaulted on various payments to creditors. By November, executives were attempting to renegotiate the property’s debt, and 239 of the resort’s 1,700 employees had been laid off. The Regent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection later that month, and soon began seeking a buyer for the property. Real estate developer Peccole Nevada was selected as the stalking horse bidder, with an offer of $150 million, but then withdrew its bid after a disagreement with its financing partner. A new bid of $80 million by Los Angeles-based hotel company Maritz, Wolff was then selected, but was also withdrawn after negotiations with the Regent’s creditors broke down. Finally, the resort was sold to Hotspur Resorts, the hotel affiliate of Canadian real estate firm Larco Investments, for $80 million. Observers had expected a competitive auction with bids from major casino operators, but most potential buyers lost interest after the September 11 attacks, which occurred two weeks before the auction. Hotspur completed its purchase in November 2001.

Hotspur rebranded the hotel under the JW Marriott name, hoping that it would be a better draw than the Regent name, which was found to have good name recognition in Asia but not in America. The casino was leased in 2002 to Nevada-based Millennium Management Group on a 10-year lease. Millennium renamed the casino as the Rampart Casino at the Resort at Summerlin, and continued the effort to shift the casino’s marketing emphasis away from high rollers towards locals, and performed major renovations, including redesigning the gaming floor, acquiring new slot equipment, and constructing three new restaurants.

When the casino lease expired in 2012, Hotspur opted not to renew the agreement, assuming direct management of the casino, with the help of consulting services from Affinity Gaming. Michael Gaughan, Jr., the son of casino magnate Michael Gaughan, was hired as the property’s general manager. Meanwhile, revenues declined because of a slow economy and increased competition from newly opened Strip resorts, leading the property to again default on its mortgage payments. The owners were able to avoid foreclosure, ultimately negotiating a loan modification in December 2013.

Facilities

The hotel has 469 rooms and 79 suites, with rooms starting at 560 square feet (52 m2). There is a 40,000-square-foot (3,700 m2) spa and 115,900 square feet (10,770 m2) of meeting and event spaces.

The casino has 57,610 square feet (5,352 m2) of gaming space with 1,560 slot machines, 28 table games, and a race and sports book.

Film history

In April 2004, scenes were shot at the casino for the fourth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Courtesy of wikipedia.org

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