Located adjacent to Las VegasBoulevard and Sahara Avenue, Lucky Dragon is the first new, built-from-the-ground-up hotel-casino to open in the city since Forbes Travel Guide Four-StarThe Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas in 2010.
“You have everything you want on the Strip, but you don’t need to be in the middle of the Strip,” says Lucky Dragon COO David Jacoby, of the property’s unique geography.
Divided into two separate buildings — casino, restaurants and spa in one, and hotel, pool and tea lounge in the other — Lucky Dragon is a departure from the old-school Vegas philosophy of having guests arrive in the heart of the action where they would be a captive audience for gaming. The nine-story hotel offers 203 rooms and 22 suites that have been appointed in modern Asian luxuriousness.
“If you want to have a hotel experience, you have the pool and quick access to the spa,” Jacoby says. “But if you want the casino, it’s steps away.”
Lucky Dragon eschews most of which is considered typically “Vegas,” as it’s the first casino geared toward an authentic Asian cultural experience. Even its billboards and website are in Mandarin.
“Our core customer is the local and regional Asian population: California, up and down the Pacific Northwest, even New York, Toronto, Houston and Chicago,” Jacoby says. “We do expect we’ll get some international visitation, given how different this is. There’s no other resort of this quality and size that has this focus on Asian culture.”
Jacoby gave Forbes Travel Guide a tour in advance of Lucky Dragon’s December 3 grand opening. Here are our picks for what you should check out:
At the center of the casino, suspended from the ceiling, you’ll find a one-and-a-quarter-ton glass dragon sculpture designed by Preciosa Lighting, which is located in the Crystal Valley region of the Czech Republic.
Nearly 800 people crafted the work of art, which began production in May 2015 and took two weeks to install in its permanent home. The enormous creature is surrounded by 288 hand-blown glass orbs and has a body made of 762 glass scales.
Touch the magic
The casino has 37 tables, mostly baccarat, that are encased in gold canopies. There are around 300 slot machines as well as an upstairs high-limit gaming area known as the Emerald Room.
Taste the flavors
Lucky Dragon offers a range of dining experiences — from the 24-hour Bao Now featuring dumplings, soups, rice, noodles congee and boba on the go, to the delicacy-driven, 60-seat Phoenix boasting a menu of Kurobuta pork, deer tendon and abalone.
Open-all-day options include Dragon’s Alley, the perfect marriage of gaming and culinary action, with a show kitchen extending onto the casino floor — the first of its kind in Las Vegas — inspired by a vibrant night market chock-full of street food, dim sum and barbecue, and Pearl Ocean, serving lunch and dinner with a live seafood room.
Smell aromatic, rare teas
Inside Lucky Dragon’s hotel lobby, discover Cha Garden. Led by Lola Zhao, Las Vegas’ only tea sommelier, it has the largest selection of Chinese and Taiwanese teas in North America, many of which are sustainably sourced.
Credit: Forbes Travel guide.