Fontainebleau Las Vegas Announces Opening Timeline, Names President

The dream that is Fontainebleau Las Vegas has taken more steps toward becoming reality with announcements of its opening timeline and the hiring of President for the much-anticipated resort.

Specifically, it’s been much-anticipated since 2006. We are not making this up.

Fontainebleau (pronounced “fountain-blue”) Las Vegas now says it will open in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Shout-out to our fellow OCD sufferers. We feel you.

Not only does Fontainebleau have an official opening timeline, the resort has named a President, longtime industry veteran Cliff Atkinson.

Atkinson was previously President and COO of Luxor, and was a Sr. V.P. of Hotel Strategy at MGM Resorts, as well as General Manager at Mandarin Oriental, along with a tenure at something called Gramercy Park which we’re pretty sure isn’t in Las Vegas so it really doesn’t count.

Beyond that impressive work history, we’ve heard from a number of people familiar with Cliff Atkinson and they have had nothing but nice things to say.

This, naturally, makes us very suspicious, but these are people we trust, so we’ll just play along for the moment.

Fontainebleau made Atkinson say some P.R. stuff in the official announcement, including, “Fontainebleau Las Vegas is, without question, the beacon of change for the future of Las Vegas.”

You know what would be a refreshing change? Finishing Fontainebleau!

Still skeptical? Watch!

The project was abandoned in 2009. The resort was said to have been 70% complete. Painful, but on the bright side, downtown’s Plaza hotel got some great furniture on the cheap.

Now, Fontainebleau says it’s 75% finished, and there’s a good deal of construction on the site.

Hope lives!

The irony is the original developer of Fontainebleau, Jeffrey Soffer, is back, but now the project has partnered with Koch Real Estate Investments, associated with Koch Industries, which has enough money to purchase Spain.

Translation: This is actually happening.

Gone is the wrap former owner Carl Icahn was forced to put up to try and make the abandoned building less of an eyesore. It didn’t work.

Fontainebleau has 48 elevators. Appropriate, because this project has nowhere to go but up.

Replaced are a number of windows that fell out over the decade-plus Fontainebleau sat idle. (Even more have been replaced since our photo above taken Jan. 28, 2022.)

Also, Fontainebleau has a new Web site. It’s light on details, but at least they got the dice pips right.

Fun fact: Casinos don’t use dice with rounded corners. Look, it’s an animation, not a documentary, cut them some slack.

All signs point to Fontainebleau Las Vegas becoming an actual thing, and since it’s already built, we won’t even have to wait that long to see what Cliff Atkinson and his team have in store.

Given the resort’s proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center, that is going to be a focus of Fontainebleau, but it will also have a casino, which automatically makes it cooler than a hotel without one.

It’s impossible to predict the future, but we do it, anyway.

The completion of Fontainebleau is a bold move, and it’s likely to face some of the same challenges Resorts World is experiencing.

The resort will bring thousands of rooms online when it’s unclear if there’s the demand to fill them, even if all the lofty promises of more convention business and sports enthusiasm come to fruition.

Still, an exceptional destination (and we’ve heard Fontainebleau Miami Beach is just that) could shake up the north end of The Strip.

The simple act of finishing Fontainebleau will be an extraordinary accomplishment.

Here’s hoping the false starts and unfulfilled promises (looking at you, The Drew) are behind us and now Las Vegas gets a sweet new place to gamble and eat and hold breakout sessions to discuss exciting new developments in skid-steer loader technology.

Let’s go, Fontainebleau, and congrats to the resort’s new President, Cliff Atkinson.

Reminder to Mr. Atkinson: You’re not really a casino president until you appear on our podcast. It was probably mentioned in your contract. Looking forward to chatting.