From swimming pools to showgirls, here’s how you can tell Las Vegas is revving up


That rumble you hear along the Strip might be the sound of returning tourists on the march.

Or maybe it’s the spring awakening of the entire Las Vegas economy, a vast and intricate contraption that includes not just hotels, casinos and restaurants but also stilt walkers, fire dancers, corpse exhibitors, street musicians, Carrot Top, freelance showgirls and restaurant servers who double as tax preparers.

They all seem to be busier now, thanks to a surge of visitors fed by easing state pandemic restrictions, falling COVID-19 infection rates, spring break, the NCAA basketball tournament and a handful of high-profile openings. After a 78-day state-mandated closure last spring and summer, then another tightening of restrictions after the virus surged again in fall, almost all of the area’s major hotels and casinos are open to some degree.


The 1,504-room Virgin Hotel Las Vegas opened in the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Paradise Road. The resort includes about a dozen places to eat and drink — though a few were still closed on opening day. As was the resort pool, which is expected to open in May.

Still, Virgin’s high style and desert-themed art and design will attract many, as will the brand’s disdain for nickel-and-diming guests. The resort doesn’t charge parking and resort fees — a refreshing change in a city where most hotels tack on a daily resort fee of $20 to $45, which they often fail to mention when they quote rates to value-seeking visitors. A late March search showed room rates from about $240 for a weekend night in April to about $130 for weekday.

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