Rio undergoing renovations, Fontainebleau opening in Las Vegas


The tall Fontainebleau, set to open in December, and the off-Strip Rio's top executives recently revealed new information about their respective buildings.

The 2,500-suite Rio resort, which opened in 1990, will shortly begin a two-phase $350 million restoration that will update all of the rooms, the casino, many of its food and beverage outlets, and its pool deck.

Top executives of the Rio and the 3,644-room Fontainebleau resort in the north of the Strip were recommended to have their gaming license applications approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board in separate unanimous votes.

The board made these recommendations at its meeting in Carson City, along with a preliminary finding of suitability for Bowtie Hospitality LLC executives Jeffrey Soffer and Brett Mufson for the Fontainebleau and approval of New York-based Dreamscape Companies Inc. executives Eric Birnbaum and Thomas Ellis for the Rio.

With an existing management arrangement with Caesars Entertainment Inc. expiring on October 1st, 2023, Dreamscape purchased the Rio casino operation from Caesars in December 2019 for $516 million. If licensing is granted, that is the time when Dreamscape will take over operations.

The Fontainebleau's construction was started in 2007, however it was halted in 2009 because of the Great Recession. Although it has since had several owners, the original developer Soffer took control in February 2021, and it is now scheduled to open in December.

The executives gave the Control Board additional information about their individual projects during their visits.

The COVID-19 outbreak shutdowns, according to Birnbaum, were beneficial to Dreamscape because they provided the company time to completely formulate its reconstruction strategy.

Birnbaum and his collaborators were able to confirm their $350 million plan for the Rio thanks to the time. He announced that, in order to keep the resort operational while the renovations are being done, work would start on renovating each of the 1,500 suites in the Ipanema Tower. In order to reduce noise for visitors, he stated that he anticipates closing three levels at once: the one where the work would be done as well as the floors above and below.

Birnbaum stated that in addition to the hotel rooms, the 150,000-square-foot pool area, several food outlets, and the entire casino floor would all be renovated. The corporation will revamp the check-in procedure for visitors.

He estimated that the first stage would last for around 18 months. The 1,000-suite Masquerade Tower and its restaurants will thereafter undergo renovations.


The resort will eventually be affiliated with Hyatt Hotels, he said, and a new loyalty program will be launched. This will provide the Rio the advantage of being able to promote to that company's loyalty card users and boost convention revenue.

Dreamscape and Caesars' property lease-back arrangement expires in December 2023, giving the company the option to either renew it or come up with fresh plans.

The company wants to advertise the facility to both visitors and locals and will ask current Rio staff to sign on as Dreamscape employees.

The lowest three floors will have a casino with a ground-floor area of 150,000 square feet, which is about equivalent to the size of the Aria casino by Las Vegas standards.

128 table games and 1,300 slot machines are the focus of the Fontainebleau casino. There will be a sports book measuring 13,480 square feet, a high-limit gaming room measuring 18,350 square feet with 3,200 square feet set aside for domestic high-limit play, and six private gaming salons.

A retail promenade with a 56,000-square-foot spa and nail salon and a 14,000-square-foot fitness center will be on the second floor.

According to Mufson, Fontainebleau will have four ballrooms, 57 meeting and breakout rooms, 11,000 square feet for displays, and 550,000 square feet of meeting space, including the second-largest columnless facility in the market at 106,000 square feet.

The property itself is anticipated to be considered in November for final licensing approval, despite the fact that Fontainebleau executives were already recommended for licensing.


“New details emerge on big Rio renovation, Fontainebleau opening”, Richard N. Velotta,, July 12, 2023.


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