Resorts World Las Vegas is the head-spinning, real-life incarnation of Everything Everywhere All at Once. Like the Academy Award-winning film, the new casino-resort is a front-row seat to an epic and existential adventure.
The highly celebrated movie is a fast-paced romp through alternating multiverses. “Nothing matters,” according to the plot. Hence, the film’s antagonist decides to burn down a meaningless world. Our heroine concludes, however, that if nothing matters, the better choice is to push past life’s absurdity and enjoy the experience.
Yeah, the latter.
My stay at Resorts World is both nostalgic and revelatory. This visit includes nights in two of the three on-property hotel brands (which collectively total 3,506 guest rooms). I roam the 117,000 square feet of gaming space, peruse the 70,000-square-foot luxury shopping area called The District, eye the seven pools, and sample from the resort’s 40 restaurants, including walk-up offerings on a gorgeous Asian-themed pathway called Famous Foods Street Eats.
No, I don’t actually time travel like the film’s Oscar-winning leading lady, Michelle Yeoh. Still, the resort does cause me to flash back through my own decades of past Vegas visits. On several occasions, I pause and smile at recollections of younger me, running full-speed through the casino that formerly occupied Resorts World’s north-end Las Vegas Strip address.
The aged and faded Stardust Resort & Casino was mercifully imploded in 2007. Prior to that, The Stardust was one of the first places in Vegas where my college buddies and I stayed. It’s where we tipped off our annual pilgrimage here for March Madness tradition. Unexpectedly seeing the commemorative Stardust sign in The District causes me to teleport nostalgically. What happens in Las Vegas still stays in Vegas…but remains backed up on files in my mind cloud.
Resorts World’s grand opening was in June 2021, but it’s still Vegas’ shiniest new thing. The $4.3 billion property houses a Hilton hotel (1,774 rooms), a high-end Conrad (1,496 rooms), and a 236-room ultra-elite Crockfords. There are separate lobby entrances for each, and all have equal access to the resort campus’ gaming floor, restaurants, and shopping. Crockfords has a VIP pool and extensive concierge-plus services.
My Hilton and Conrad rooms are fairly similar. Both are contemporary, with pristine white decor highlighted by red-splashed tables and chairs. I don’t get a taste of the Crockfords experience. I only glimpse the complimentary Rolls-Royce inside the gated entrance, and hear tales of the 10,000-square-foot “Palaces,” luxury suites reserved for international dignitaries, celebs, and sports stars.
It would require a Celine Dion-sized bankroll to dine your way through all of Resorts World’s restaurant offerings. Signature eateries include modern steakhouse Carversteak, fine dining venue Caviar Bar, Chinese cuisine at Genting Palace, the gourmet Wally’s Wine & Spirits, and Italian fare at Brezza.
I salivate during each stroll through Famous Foods Street Eats. Take your pick from Ah Chun Shandong Dumpling, Harajuku Ramen, Geylang Claypot Rice, Fuhu Cha Chaan Teng (dim sum and more), and Kuru Kuru Pa Yakitori (owned by world-famous DJ Steve Aoki and brother/restaurateur Kevin Aoki; their father founded the
Worth mentioning: Randy’s Donuts and an egg-centric Sun’s Out Buns Out franchise share space in the hallway between the Conrad lobby and the gaming floor.
Venturing out of my comfort zone, I sit at the bar for dinner at Crossroads Kitchen. The food here is 100 percent plant-based. It’s billed as “an intersection where vegans, flexitarians, omnivores, and meat eaters can cross paths.”
The bartenders are excellent about explaining to me (a meat eater) what’s going on with the menu. The Baked Mushroom Scallops (Rockefeller-style) and the Eggplant Short Rib (with whipped potatoes and foraged mushrooms) are delicious, satisfying, and healthy replicas of traditional non-plant dishes.
Finishing a Bombay Sapphire martini (with vegan cheese-stuffed olives) at the bar, I’m hit by another moment of reflection. Ever notice how background music is more poignant when you’re in a Vegas setting? Ordinarily, “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles doesn’t make me long to be young and lean again. Tonight, it does.
Music and entertainment abound at Resorts World. The major acts that play here are mostly contemporary but also attract cross-generational audiences. Fans of the American Idol reality TV competition show will be drawn to the revolving residencies of pop star Katy Perry and country crooner Luke Bryan. Comedian Kevin Hart is a regular in the resort’s 5,000-seat theater. So is magician David Blaine.
My entertainment draw as I write this is March Madness basketball games. I’m watching San Diego State play in the Sweet Sixteen inside the Dawg House Saloon. That’s me in a recliner, chomping on a Wake-and-Bake breakfast sandwich and gazing up at a floor-to-ceiling TV screen as the Aztecs advance (and then go on to reach the championship game!).
From Dawg House to the penthouse. At night, I take the express elevator up to the top floor at Resorts World. Allē Lounge on 66 is an upscale room that offers bottle service and panoramic views of The Strip. The dimly-lit, 66th-floor lounge is filled with patrons snacking on Wagyu beef sliders and other bar munchies, presented by attractive servers in black dresses. My high-top table is adjacent to a window. I glance out into the darkness and look down on the peeling paint and neon exterior of the nearby Circus Circus casino.
You see this flashback coming, right? Of course, my buddies and I ambled over to Circus Circus back in the day. Decades ago, we played $1 blackjack there. Today, according to Expedia, rooms are still just 30 bucks on some nights.
On younger legs, we’d walk from The Stardust to pretend to be big spenders at Circus Circus. Now? If I want to venture into the north-Strip environs there’s a more innovative mode of transportation. Elon Musk’s Boring Company has tunneled from Resorts World to the Las Vegas Convention Center. An underground Tesla vehicle trip takes just a few minutes.
Everything on this Vegas visit has caused me to reflect. Everywhere I turn there’s innovation. All at once, I feel an affirmation to both enjoy the memories and relish the new reality.