You have now reached the third level of THE VEGAS NAME GAME. We can't prove that it will be more challenging than the others....each entry is equally confusing. But if you're new to the game, catch up by playing Round One and Round Two (pssst - it's not really a game. You just have to read along). Are you ready? Let's begin.
"Sophisticated". "Seductive". "Enticing". "Exquisite". All of these words are used on the Cromwell website to describe its casino, restaurants, and 188 guest rooms. But when you head upstairs to Drai's Beachclub and Drai's Nightclub, more accurate descriptions would be "vulgar", "chaotic", "violent", and "ghetto".
Yes, The Cromwell is indeed an exercise in contrasts. Sitting on the northeast corner of the city's busiest intersection, The Cromwell is billed as "The first boutique hotel on the Strip". That just means it's smaller and more expensive than its counterparts Unfortunately, the entertainment offerings placate fans of criminal thug rappers who've inspired brawls, arrests, and multiple shooting incidents on the property.
The line-up of
noise-makers entertainers at The Cromwell includes accused serial predator Trey Songz, who allegedly assaulted several women at the hotel in November as a way to celebrate his 37th birthday. Punch-happy Chris Brown, who loves to give women black eyes and wave his gun around, had an exclusive residency at Drai's for several years.
Drai's entertainment calendar for January includes multiple-arrestee Wiz Khalifa, oft-incarcerated felon rapper Gucci Mane, accused rapist Big Sean, and violent homophobic prison favorite DaBaby, Then there's that other infant-named criminal Lil Baby, who's back in the USA after his latest incarceration. The 27-year-old Atlanta native, who was charged with drug-dealing at the age of eighteen, was arrested in Paris last summer for transporting drugs. Yes, it's a nasty bunch who gather at The Cromwell. But it wasn't always that way for the once-classy hotel.
Prior to its re-branding, the building was known as Bill's Gambling Hall, an absolute treasure for those wanting to experience Sin City on a budget. The rich woods, stained glass, rugged furniture, simple layout, and amazing location were wonderful enough, but an affordable hotel mere steps from the Strip sidewalk made Bill's Gambling Hall all the more special. You could watch the Bellagio fountain show from your window, then head down to the legendary 24/7 Victoria Room Cafe for a very cheap, hearty meal.
Bill's Gambling Hall began life as Barbary Coast in 1979. Its gorgeously-appointed exterior was rich with neon, chasing lights, and vintage color schemes. The building's architecture was originally designed to support vertical expansion, making its current rooftop pool and club possible.
Barbary Coast was an integral part of one of the city's darkest chapters. When neighboring MGM Grand (now Bally's) caught fire in 1980, Barbary Coast was utilized as an evacuation center for survivors. Reservations were closed to current guests, and those who managed to escape the flames were temporarily housed there. You can read more about that dark day right here.
$37 ravioli at Giada's? It's in the can.
Then and now. Twenty times more expensive for the same room.
Victoria Cafe's $5.99 steak-and-eggs special has given way to Giada's $37 ravioli. The lowest-tier rooms, which used to cost $29, will now set you back anywhere from $115 to $759 (plus $45.95 mandatory resort fee). Parking, formerly free, now varies from $15 to $30 per day, and valet service will set you back $35 on weekdays, $50 on weekends.,
Now you know the history of The Cromwell and its descent into excess and madness. But did you know that for one hot minute, it was actually to be called GANSEVOORT? Both names sound like stuffy British butlers, and Resorts World has expanded that impression with Crockfords and Conrad. Boring and awful, every single one. But at least the naming of hotels after letters of the alphabet has ended at The D, The M, and The W.
The Cromwell is part of Caesars Entertainment's hotel portfolio.
Hail, Caesars. Yes, that plural is deliberate, because our next entry in the Vegas Name Game focuses on three similarly-named structures. The first is Caesars Palace, an opulent and gaudy resort meant to evoke the ancient Roman Empire. Opened in 1966, the Palace gained worldwide attention just one year later when daredevil motorcyclist Evel Knievel attempted to jump across its massive exterior fountains. His disastrous landing resulted in a crushed body and twenty-nine days in a coma.
The hotel has continued to grow and expand through the years, never waning in popularity or relevance. Today Caesars Palace is home to almost 4,000 rooms, suites, and villas spread across six towers. A number of major movies have been shot there, including Rocky 3, Iron Man, Rain Man, Ocean's 11, and of course, The Hangover. Resident show ABSINTHE may be the most popular adult production in all of Las Vegas, and The Colosseum is among the greatest prestigious performance venues on the planet.
Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is listed as the highest-grossing mall in the United States, It was built as an extension of Caesars Palace in 1992 and currently has over 160 retail and restaurant options. Unfortunately, those brilliant corporate minds at Caesars decided to create confusion when they opened their brand-new conference center in 2020 with the similarly-named Caesars Forum.
With bragging rights like the two largest pillar-less ballrooms in the world and a 100,000 square foot outdoor plaza, Caesars Forum gives you plenty of reasons to consider it for your next convention. Unfortunately, being connected to Caesars Palace isn't one of them. Caesars Forum is two blocks away on the opposite side of the street, behind the High Roller observation wheel and connected to Harrah's Hotel-Casino. That means Caesars Forum is not even visible from its namesake.
If you think that's odd, be sure to return for Round Four of the Vegas Name Game, where we try to figure out why Planet Hollywood Restaurant is at Caesars Palace and not Planet Hollywood Hotel. Click here to continue.