Fontainebleau celebrates its long-awaited debut on the Las Vegas Strip

Vegas Inc
Fontainebleau celebrates its long-awaited debut on the Las Vegas Strip
Wild Casino

Fontainebleau Ribbon Cutting

A casino floor is shown during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Fontainebleau Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023 | 2:56 p.m.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas welcomed community leaders and the first guests for a ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at the Strip’s newest resort and casino.

The festivities included music by violinists, dancing dragons and a slew of food and drinks as the blue skyscraper opened its doors after almost two decades in development.

Mark Tricano, president of the resort — a sister property of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach— called the event a “historic occasion.”

“We are indeed making history today with the convergence of two legacies — the nearly 70-year legacy of the iconic Fountainbleau brand, with the legacy and dynamism of the Las Vegas Strip,” Tricano said.

“Our story, nearly 20 years in the making, is a story of resilience, a story of passion and a testament to the unexpected becoming of a resounding truth,” Tricano said.

The Las Vegas iteration of the Fontainebleau will usher in a new era of hospitality, Tricano said from the resort’s south lobby, near a massive sculpture by artist Urs Fischer that intertwines aluminum, stainless steel and gold leaf.

Steve Hill, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, welcomed the Fontainebleau to the neighborhood and expressed his happiness at the opening.

The Fontainebleau, on the growing north end of the Strip and abutting the Las Vegas Convention Center, has about 550,000 square feet of meeting space.

“This is going to be an attraction that is going to help the entire city thrive. What lifts one boat lifts them all, and this is going to play a major role in the next generation of the city,” Hill said.

The Fontainebleau faced many challenges over the years but bounced back in a big way, Clark County Commission Vice Chairman Tick Segerblom said.

Construction originally began in 2007, about the time the Great Recession took hold. Banks eventually pulled out of the project, which changed hands multiple times.

“Welcome to the Miami of the West,” Segerblom told Jeffrey Soffer, chairman and CEO of Fontainebleau Development.

Even as the opening celebration was underway, landscapers were finalizing greenery at the entrance off Las Vegas Boulevard, where a long line of cars waited to enter.

Inside, guests with suitcases passed through the resort’s arched hallways, and eagerly explored its many amenities and art pieces. Some shops, including designer stores, remain under construction.

To open after so many years, with thousands of employees ready to welcome the resort’s guests and show it off to the public, was “overwhelming,” said Colleen Birch, the Fontainebleau’s chief operating officer.

“An opening of a hotel in Las Vegas does not happen often, as we know,” Birch said. “The outpouring of support has been remarkable.”

The resort will open to the general public just before midnight.

This morning’s event culminated with stakeholders gathering on a stage against a blue background speckled with the resort’s bow-tie logo, using gold shears to cut a blue ribbon.

For Brett Mufson, president of Fontainebleau Development, the ribbon-cutting was “more than a symbolic act.”

“It really represents the celebration of a 70-year brand — reinventing luxury time and time again,” Mufson said. “For us to come into this market in this way and during this time is just an incredible feat.”