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Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas making subtle but important alterations

25 September 2017

The glass dragon sculpture is a guaranteed eye-catcher.

The glass dragon sculpture is a guaranteed eye-catcher.

LAS VEGAS – As the Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas nears the one-year anniversary of its grand opening, resort executives continue to listen, observe and adjust.

Lucky Dragon, which became the first ground-up development to open in Las Vegas in six years in December 2016, is in the process of making modifications to its offerings, while at the same time standing strong with its ultimate goal of being the city's go-to resort casino for an authentic Asian gaming, dining and lifestyle experience.

"In the hospitality industry, you have to be able to adapt and change quickly," VP of Operations Blaire Dela Cruz explained to Casino City. "The plan you have on paper is most likely going to change once your guests start coming through the door, and we're making those necessary changes."

In order to accommodate the abundance of high-end players it has attracted, Lucky Dragon, located just off the north end of The Strip on Sahara Avenue, plans to add more VIP space. In addition to The Emerald Room on the main casino floor and the VIP Gaming Area on the second floor, its signature restaurant, Pearl Ocean, will move to the first floor and offer more space for VIPs. The second floor is more accessible for VIPs because it's on the same level as the parking garage. The staff is bilingual, and there's a one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. There are also private butlers and a dedicated food and drink service to the area.

"The VIP program has been a huge success," Dela Cruz said. "We pride ourselves on providing a seamless experience. They park their car, walk a few steps into the casino and start playing. We give them the complete service that they desire and deserve."

Another major change for VIPs was the introduction of "rolling chips." Popular in Macau and rarely used in Las Vegas, the program eliminates the guesswork for pit bosses when trying to track players' actions by using "dead chips." If players win, they are paid with "live" chips that can be used elsewhere in the casino or redeemed for cash. If they lose, the casino simply collects the dead chips, a format that Dela Cruz says has been well received.

Lucky Dragon is also making alterations to its dining options. In October, a new menu with competitive prices will be rolled out at Phoenix, a fine-dining venue that specializes in pork, deer tendon, abalone and other rare delicacies, and offers intimacy with 60 seats and a private balcony. Meanwhile, Pearl Ocean is rolling out new prices and will be making its own in-house dim sum.

"We are able to decrease prices to match the market while keeping the same quality and first-class service," Dela Cruz added.

The pool offers a strikingly laid-back atmosphere.

The pool offers a strikingly laid-back atmosphere.

The hope is that these changes will also bring in more locals, who have made up a decent slice of the resort's customer base. Las Vegas residents receive a 20% around-the-clock discount at all restaurants (Dragon Club Red Card members get 5%), and there are an array of different Happy Hours offering food and drink specials from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., 9 p.m. to midnight and 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.

As for the casino's impeccable design and attention to detail, those attributes very much remain the same as they were when the resort was first introduced. The color scheme, layout and attention to Chinese heritage (there is no fourth floor in the hotel tower or parking structure, as four is considered an unlucky number) adds to the authenticity and is clearly evident at every corner, most notably with the staff, which is 80% bilingual.

Signage throughout the 204-room resort features Chinese first and English second. The rooms have a plethora of Chinese channels on the TV and are spacious and classy, complete with bathrobes, specialty teas with imported house selections, Sothys bath products and complimentary water bottles.

"While many resorts in Las Vegas are doing away with these types of room amenities, we're still offering them and then some," said Dela Cruz, who added that parking is still free at Lucky Dragon.

The Lucky Dragon is the first ground-up development to open in Las Vegas in six years.

The Lucky Dragon is the first ground-up development to open in Las Vegas in six years.

The casino floor is small at 27,500 square feet, but with high ceilings and a hand-blown, 23-foot, 1.25-ton glass dragon sculpture hanging over the Pagoda Bar, which sits in the dead center, it has a comfortable feel. Popular Asian choices like Baccarat and Pai Gow make up the vast majority of the 37 table games, of course, by design.

With a total footprint of less than three acres (by comparison, the Bellagio fountains alone take up eight acres), the resort's other amenities are just like the casino floor – small in stature, but stylish. Just off the main lobby is an indoor/outdoor high-end tea garden and lounge with custom-built Gongfu tables and tasty tea-infused cocktails. There is a full-service 4,500 square-foot spa with, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicines and total relaxation techniques on the menu, and the pool cabanas are the complete opposite of what the Las Vegas scene has become known for, with loud music, DJs and dancing.

"That's what I love most about working here," said Dela Cruz, whose past experience includes a stint with Las Vegas Sands Corporation at The Venetian Macao. "There is a certain elegance to everything we do here. It's not your typical Las Vegas resort, but it has all of the amenities and offerings and service you would expect. We think we've made the necessary changes to make it a complete experience for our guests, and we're excited about what's to come during Year 2."
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Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT