Vegas Aladdin casino before transforming into Vegas Planet Hollywood

Vegas Aladdin morphs into Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
The Aladdin casino in Vegas has had its fair share of ups and downs. In fact, it’s been more down than up since it was first built back in 1962, and was even blown up back in 1998 to make way for a shiny new $1.4 billion 2,567 room mega-hotel that opened in 2000. However, despite all the cash pumped into it, it still never made money, and went bankrupt back in 2003.

Now, though, things are changing, as last year it was bought by Planet Hollywood for “just” $600 million. The Aladdin name is no more, as the name Planet Hollywood now beams out where once it stood.

Other than that, and a few pieces of scaffolding, there doesn’t seem to be much difference, but apparently, it’s about to get a huge new makeover.

Read more on how Planet Hollywood is transforming the old Vegas Aladdin after the jump.

Aladdin transformed into Planet Hollywood

Vegas Aladdin being transformed into Vegas Planet HollywoodPlanet Hollywood Vegas painted blue - wrongly!
Currently, the new Planet Hollywood is in the middle of a $120 million transformation, which has been the cause of some controversy.

Only a few months’ back, Planet Hollywood were busy painting the building blue (left), until they had a change of heart (and a sudden recollection of what ‘taste’ is!) and repainted it all white again.

It’s inside Planet Hollywood that things are really about to change though; oh, and the new $1.4 billion towers that are going up as well (nothing in Vegas changes unless there are billions attached to the figure!)

The old Aladdin’s interior

Old Aladdin casino interior in Vegas, before transformed inot Vegas Planet Hollywood
The interior is currently unchanged, with the old Aladdin’s casino featuring extremely tall ceilings, and a garish black, red and gold 80’s theme that wouldn’t look out of place in a late 80s pop video (think Top of the Pops, UK readers, and you’ll get the idea!)

Vegas Aladdin casino before transforming into Vegas Planet Hollywood
That said, it looked surprisingly cool, and wasn’t quite as claustrophobic as some of the casinos can make you feel (The Mirage, for example, whose low black ceilings overpower you, or even Treasure Island, which seems to cram the slots in wherever it finds an available space).

Its food was always good, too. I ate at a couple of its restaurants, and its food was always better than most of the other places on the strip, while ThemeParkInsider rates its buffet as “the best in Vegas, even better than those at the Paris and the Bellagio.”

Planet Hollywood’s interior plans

Planet Hollywood casino Las Vegas, interior

All this will soon change, though, as Planet Hollywood will completely revamp the interior. Looks good, too, as you can see from these pics. The pic above shows the new lobby, while the one below shows the casino floor. Compare and contrast this rendering with my own pic of the Aladdin’s pop-video looks, and you can see that things are definitely moving more upmarket.
Planet Hollywood casino floor, Las Vegas

One thing the old Aladdin was famous for was its Desert Passage shops – at over 1.3 miles of winding interior shopping, they seemed to go on for miles. Indeed, such was the distance you had to cover to get from end to the other, the tourist guides all wheeled around on Segways (in extremely short skirts, it has to be said!)

These shops will remain as part of the Planet Hollywood transformation, but have now been renamed the Miracle Mile.

Planet Hollywood’s exterior plans

Planet Hollywood Vegas being rebuilt from the old Vegas Aladdin
Outside, things won’t be hugely different, but they’ll be different enough. One of the reasons the Aladdin consistently failed was because it didn’t focus on detail in the same way the other casinos did. The casinos in Vegas all focus on traffic flow – getting customers through their doors and into their casinos. This is the main reason for the amazing themes and grandeur of the mega-resorts.

Planet Hollywood Vegas towers

An expensive and fancy facade is no use, though, if customers can’t actually find the doors, and the Aladdin’s were set back from the strip up a series of steps. Worse, the main entrance led you to the Desert Passage shops, which wind on for over a mile, and don’t actually take you into the casino.

Factor in the visual appeal of neighbouring hotels such as Paris, New York New York and the Bellagio, and the Aladdin was hit with a treble whammy – you didn’t notice it, it wasn’t immediately obvious how to get into it, and it wasn’t obvious where the casino was once you did enter it.

I remember the first time I went to Vegas a few years back going into the Aladdin and wandering round the Desert Passage, and suddenly feeling very sick. Granted jet lag was kicking in (and a huge burger overdone with mayonnaise wasn’t helping!), but it was the sense of complete disorientation that was the most unsettling.

I was in the middle on endless series of shops in a hotel where I didn’t know where the exit was, and just felt utterly lost! It wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat, and at this stage, I hadn’t even seen a single slot machine in the entire hotel.

Planet Hollywood plans to put all this right in the following ways:

  • Firstly, the main hotel entrance will be opened up, with a huge new plaza entrance being built that will look like Times Square, complete with gigantic TV screens (courtesy of Panasonic);
  • Secondly, the new entrance will showcase both the mall and the casino, so customers won’t be quite so confused;
  • Thirdly, two huge new towers are currently under construction (above) behind the main facade that should give the new Planet Hollywood the imperious presence needed of a mega-resort that has to compete not only with Paris and the Ballagio, but also the giant new $7.7 billion CityCenter mega-complex that’s currently being built directly opposite it.

Whether the new Planet Hollywood will fare any better than the old Aladdin, only time will tell. With its links to Hollywood A-listers, it might be able to secure a niche for itself amongst the other great attractions in its immediate vicinity. With all the money invested in it, though, and Planet Hollywood’s own rocky road over the years, this is one hell of a gamble!

[Sources: VegasTodayAndTomorrow, HotelInteractive, ThemeParkInsider, SkyScraperPage]

3 Responses

  1. Keith James May 5, 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    I can see Planet Hollywood getting some attention when it’s first opened, if only cos it’s the last interesting casino before you hit the MGM Grand. Can’t see it doing too good when CityCenter opens though.

  2. Nigel12 May 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm #

    Will Planet Hollywood still be keeping the Aladdin’s special “rainstorm” feature in the Miracle Mile? Of all the sights in Vegas, this had to be the lamest – a mockup of rain falling into a pond, complete with the sound of thunder.

    The Forum Shops at Caesar’s has its giant Atlantis moving statues thing, and what did the Aladdin have? Rain! No wonder it struggled!

  3. Sherry Miller November 27, 2007 at 8:44 am #

    The style is very retro-Hollywood…Art Deco. I LOVE it. I can see Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers dancing in the foyer right now..AHH. This is a “people” place, without the distractions of fancy carving and forests.

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