Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023 | 6 a.m.
Patrons who step into the new Durango Resort for the initial time should notice something distinct: It’s bright.
Between the natural light flowing into the $750 million resort on Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, the inside-out concept of some of the property’s restaurants, the light color scheme and plenty of open space, there’s no question this is a modern resort. It opens today to the public.
Some casinos, especially those that have been around for decades, are dark and gloomy. This is the complete opposite.
“Very bright — new age, new energy,” said Jason McCormick, the vice president of race and sports for Station Casinos, the parent company of Durango Resort. “It’s a great look and feel. It’s something our guests are going to love.”
Dave Horn, the property’s vice president and general manager, has been with the company for 27 years. He watched as the company went from having only Palace Station to opening Boulder Station and Sunset Station in the mid-to-late 1990s, to the luxury Green Valley Ranch Resort in 2001. Red Rock Resort, about 8 miles north of Durango Resort on the 215 Beltway, opened 17 years ago in 2006.
Horn understands the phrasing is tired but says watching the finishing touches being put on Durango Resort has “been a surreal moment” and brings a wide range of emotions for the team.
That includes Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, the brothers who lead Stations Casinos and Red Rock Resorts Inc. Lorenzo Fertitta was on site Monday afternoon doing a walk-through the property.
There are many options that scream luxury.
Take the 180 guest rooms, all of which are 480 square feet, include 65-inch televisions and have views of the mountains the property backs up against in Southwest Las Vegas or the Strip. And like the rest of the property, the rooms have light and neutral tones.
Durango Resort additionally has 29 suites, which won’t immediately open. Guests staying in suites will have round-the-clock butler service.
AJ Uriate, the director of hotel operations, says an emphasis has been made on the process of checking in.
Once a guest hits the free valet, an attendant notifies the check-in representative to put the finishing touches on the reservation, and guests can be in their room in as fast as seven minutes, he said.
The attentiveness of the staff also includes in the valet, where patrons inside the resort can communicate through an app when they are leaving so valet has their car waiting.
“We want (the process) to be seamless from start to finish,” Uriate said.
The property has 83,000 square feet of casino space with 2,300 slots and 60 table games, including 29 tables of blackjack — 19 of which offer double-deck play.
The high-limit gaming area has 13 tables, including a special lounge with three tables and seating for guests. Each of the three tables can be closed with a privacy wall but still open in the front, per gaming regulations. And there’s a special touch: Players at those three tables have access to individual bathrooms.
The sportsbook is 10,000 square feet and boasts a circular bar with ultramodern technology. Instead of individual televisions, there’s a video wall at the bar that can be divided into numerous screens — and is double sided. The rest of the book is anchored by six LED screens totaling over 4,200 square feet of screen space.
“Not a bad seat in the house; not a bad sound in the house,” McCormick said of the 205-seat book.
Those great seats are extended outside of the book with The George, a sports lounge for game-day viewing or parties. It will have full-service dining, hand-crafted cocktails, live entertainment and outdoor games such as cornhole.
And when it comes to supporting the home team, The George owner Jonathan Fine said the establishment would be all-in on local teams come game day.
Two of three screens will televise the Golden Knights or Raiders, the pregame festivities will include the singing of the national anthem led by a local artist, and in-game entertainment could be Drumbots, the official drum line of the Golden Knights. The area sits up to 1,100, Fine said.
Fine envisions The George becoming a landing spot for locals — which, after all, is one of the missions of Stations in bringing Durango Resort to the southwest, a casino desert of sorts.
“One word: Showstopper,” Fine said of his impression of the property. “Frank and Lorenzo have wowed again for the community. Green Valley Ranch knocked people’s socks off. Same with Red Rock, and now this.”
Horn said this was the next generation of luxury for the company. Station Casinos broke ground in March 2022, and slowly but surely the final product is something he feels has been a vision decades in the making.
That includes the bright, welcoming and open feel of the property, he said.
“(The property) is a place you can go on a date, or bring 12 friends into town for March Madness,” Horn said.
Fine is a relative of Sun editor and publisher Brian Greenspun.