Vegas Vickie Comes Full Circa – Profiling Sin City’s Newest Megahotel
By Richard Jones
A week is a long time in Vegas, so imagine spending the best part of four decades in the thick of Sin City action.
Vegas Vickie, the 25-foot-tall neon cowgirl with a motorised swinging leg and 10-gallon hat, was unveiled on Fremont Street in the Downtown area of the Entertainment Capital of the World in 1980.
She stayed there for 37 years, watching over the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club, eventually becoming one of the USA’s most famous landmarks.
In 1994, she even ‘married’ her neon partner, Vegas Vic during a ceremony to celebrate the construction of the Fremont Street Experience on the historic street where gaming pioneers, including Texas outlaw Benny Binion, once owed casinos.
It was with a heavy heart that Derek Stevens and his developers decided to take Vickie down from her lofty perch in 2017, when Glitter Gulch and a handful of other Fremont mainstays, including Mermaids Casino, were demolished to make way for the first ground-up casino-resort in Downtown Las Vegas in over 40 years.
The adults-only Circa Resort & Casino opened to great fanfare in late 2020.
The resort claims to “combine the best of Las Vegas service in a modern, state-of-the-art setting”. But what makes it different from the megahotels that have gone before it and are still there on the Strip in Las Vegas?
As with many things in Sin City, the first thing that strikes you about the 1.25million-square-foot property is the sheer size of it, particularly its pièce de résistance, Stadium Swim.
Circa appears to specialise in big screens, and at the centre of its spectacular amphitheatre-style pool area is a huge, 143 foot-wide 14 million-pixel diagonal screen on which sports fans and sunseekers can catch games and entertainment.
Six heated swimming pools face the LED expanse, while there are two swim-up bars, surrounded by dozens of chaise longues, cabanas and day beds.
Each body of water is set at a different temperature, with the fifth-level pools heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit on colder days, providing guests with an après ski-like experience in the scorching heart of the Nevada desert.
Local artists helm the DJ booth with a daily roster of upbeat music, keeping the party going into the evening and beyond.
For those who like to gamble, there are tables outside, while away from the blazing sun there is a three-level stadium-style sportsbook which can seat up to 1,000 people and, of course, a ginormous 78 million-pixel screen that can show up to 19 games at the same time.
Accommodation-wise, Circa’s uniquely tapered 71-degree, 458ft tall tower provides some of the best unobstructed views of the city and its famous Strip.
Using art deco style and furnishings, the array of rooms, suites and pads celebrate Downtown’s history, and many of them feature seating areas ideal for relaxing or entertaining.
In a commanding position at the top of the hotel tower, Circa’s six Founders Suites are its most luxe accommodations.
These two-bedroom apartments include a lavish bar with its own refrigerator, floor-to-ceiling windows, a black-quartz dining room table beneath a custom chandelier, oversized bathrooms and separate powder rooms.
While Stadium Swim serves up top-notch poolside fare such as lobster corndogs with yuzu dipping sauce and fruit nachos, there are a plethora of other restaurant options in the resort.
Chef Dan Coughlin has opened his highly anticipated pan-Asian eatery 8 East, while Barry’s Downtown Prime steakhouse oozes old-school style and flavour with a modern twist.
Victory Burger & Wings Co offers mouth-watering specialty burgers, wings and appetizers, including the half pound Victory Burger, and Saginaw’s Delicatessen features sandwiches so big, you’ll need two hands to eat them.
Chef Rex Bernales’ Project BBQ is the Fremont Street Experience’s only permanent food truck.
Here, you can feast on freshly smoked barbecue food, including the signature Garbage Bowl – handmade potato chips smothered in smoked meats, coleslaw, bacon and a trio of Carolina BBQ and cheese sauces and beer.
Circa’s drinking and nightlife options are also exceptional and have already proved themselves to be welcome additions to the Entertainment Capital of the World’s roster.
Inspired by Las Vegas’ founding fathers, The Legacy Club rooftop lounge overlooks the city on Circa’s 35th floor.
Cocktail highlights include The Desert Sunset Martini, the Sunset Spritz, Legacy Club and the Nevadan.
Meanwhile, the show-stopping display of 1,000 ounces of pure gold is a photo opportunity must.
A ticker atop the display of the Circa-branded bars show their combined value, based on the current price of gold.
Located on the property’s first floor, the Mega Bar gives guests a chance to watch talented bartenders doing their thing, while Overhang Bar provides a front-row seat for the sportsbook’s massive high-definition screen, and Circa Bar, also on the Fremont Street Experience, serves a choice of 24 frozen cocktails.
And last, but certainly not least, there’s a familiar face.
Vegas Vickie’s is Circa’s elevated lobby cocktail lounge and serves up seasonal cocktails and vintage libations inspired by the city bygone era.
Before it opened, workers sanded down the metal, smoothed out dents, laid down primer and sprayed fresh coats of paint, to ensure that Downtown Las Vegas’s most famous lady is looking her best in her new home.
British Airways flies London Heathrow to Las Vegas from £598 return including taxes and charges, based on departures in August and September. Go to: britishairways.com.
For more information on Circa Resort & Casino, please go to: circalasvegas.com