Rio Turnaround Continues With Lapa Lounge

Rio Las Vegas continues to impress with moves to bring the off-Strip resort back to its former glory.

The resort is giving its lobby bar, iBar, an overhaul and rebrand to Lapa Lounge.

Lapa Lounge, just inside the main entrance to the resort, opens in June 2024.

Jaguars and monkeys! What could possibly go wrong?

We know how your mind works, so we asked Rio if the lounge will have bartop video poker. They haven’t decided yet, but we’d vote “yes.”

Here’s what the news release says about Lapa Lounge, “Infused with the vibrant energy of Lapa, the lounge’s design exudes an eclectic fusion of Rio De Janeiro’s Tijuca National Forest charm and the chic allure of local high-end establishments. Stepping into the Lobby bar, guests are greeted by a spectacle: a ceiling adorned with golden-textured brass monkeys and jaguars, encircling a stunning blown glass chandelier straight from the heart of Italy. Bathed in a warm glow, the honey onyx bar top radiates alongside reclaimed teak accents and daring animal-inspired patterns in vivid red and green fabrics. Anchoring the space, the veined black marble floor emanates sophistication, completing the ambiance of refined luxury.”

We deserve some credit for: 1) Not making fun of news releases, 2) Almost resisting the temptation to say, “No wonder the chandelier seemed so relaxed.”

The news release continues, “In homage to its namesake, the Lapa Lounge’s cocktail program promises a symphony of bohemian-inspired libations, each crafted to dazzle with whimsical garnishes and captivating presentation styles. Meanwhile, beer enthusiasts can revel in a handpicked selection, spotlighting local brewery gems and an expanded array of craft brews exclusive to the venue. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the vibrant social ambiance, much like that of the Lapa district, where every sip and every moment within the lounge is a celebration of joy and camaraderie.”

Fun fact: Lapa Lounge should have go-go dancers named Symphony, Dazzle, Revel, Gem, Ambiance, Celebration, Joy and Camaraderie. Just spit-balling here.

Lapa Lounge fits into the Rio’s strategy to retool the entire resort, one space at a time.

We tried to warn you! Everyone knows jaguars are eating more monkeys in the wild due to human impacts on the environment.

Rio’s overall renovation is set to cost in the $350 million range following the exit of Caesars Entertainment as the resort’s operator in Oct. 2, 2023.

Rio’s new owner, Dreamscape, has made good on its promise to refresh the ailing resort, inside and out. The most visible improvements include eye-catching exterior lighting and the outstanding new Canteen Food Hall.

Rio’s Ipanema Tower has had nearly all of its 1,400 rooms renovated, and Rio is now part of the Hyatt family of hotels.

Rio also announced a renovation and rebrand of its All-American Bar & Grill. The Luckley Tavern & Grill debuts in late May 2024.

Rio is doing a solid job of keeping folks updated on all the changes on its Web site.

Rio’s biggest challenges of late are: 1) Getting guests to realize this isn’t the Rio of recent years, 2) Asshats gonna asshat.

Rio has been the target of some fear-mongering recently, with reports of asshats committing thefts in the hotel. There have been two reported incidents of thefts, but local news and social media have jumped on these rare incidents (that happen at every Las Vegas resort, unfortunately) like it’s some sort of epidemic, playing up the drama with quotes from victims like, “The feeling of being violated while we were sleeping is still kind of haunting me.” Oy.

As with any hotel stay, use common sense. Make sure your door is locked and use the swing bar (hotel latch) provided.

Props to Dreamscape and Rio for keeping the newness coming! The renovation is phased, so there’s unlikely to be a re-opening celebration, but we’re glad to see Rio back in the Las Vegas conversation again after years of neglect.

We’re currently champing at the bit to hear about Rio’s new Italian restaurant, but we’ll take news of a lounge refresh anytime.