Las Vegas hotel developers seemingly have never heard an idea they didn’t like. There are plenty of high-rise buildings with themes that can only be described as “Las Vegas Casino.” Some are luxury, others strive to be hip & trendy, and the rest just look like every other casino hotel. Then there are the ideas on the Vegas Strip that are straight out of the imagination. Luxor, Circus Circus, Excalibur, The Mirage, Paris, New York-New York, Treasure Island (in its heyday), The Venetian, Caesars Palace and Bellagio all take their theming to the max.
Then there are the properties that instead of being inspired by a location or period in history, take inspiration from a brand. For example, when the MGM Grand opened in 1993 heavily themed to the MGM movie vault. There’s also Planet Hollywood and the now-closed Hooters and Hard Rock (replaced by another brand with the Virgin Hotel). These collaborations are hard to pull off unless the brand has a distinct aesthetic you can build from.
Then there’s an idea that you see and think, “There’s no way this is going to work.” Say hello to the Atari Hotel.
The Atari Hotel Las Vegas is one of 8 Atari hotels planned for the U.S. that were announced at the beginning of 2020. You’d imagine that with the global travel recession due to COVID-19, plans might have been scrapped. That’s not the case because in October the CEO came out and said they were close to picking locations for the Phoenix and Las Vegas hotels.
They also put out some really snazzy-looking images of what the Las Vegas hotel will look like.
For those of you who aren’t old enough to know, the building is made to resemble the original Atari logo. The same one you see on all the retro-hipster t-shirts.
At first, I thought this was the silliest basis for a hotel. How can you build a hotel around the classic Atari video arcade games and home console? Who is your target audience? What will it look like?
It turns out they’re not looking to draw people who spent hours playing Pitfall or Super Breakout on their 2600 system (Note from Sharon: I was a Video Pinball CHAMPION!). They’re looking for the current generation of gamers who not only play games, but also watch streams of others playing on Twitch and YouTube. Did you know there are competitive video game leagues complete with playoffs and a championship?
What would a hotel like this look like? Here’s how the press release describes the hotel:
Guests can enjoy the latest in video games, experience cutting-edge immersive entertainment, purchase exclusive Atari Hotels merchandise, and play the night away in retro-style gaming arcades. A speakeasy and fully equipped nightclub will be available for adult guests, as well as themed restaurants and bars. Atari Hotels delightfully plays with the themes of retro-futurism, pop culture, and nostalgia – offering fun for the whole family
I read many articles and interviews about the hotel but found something missing in all of them – any mention of a casino. In fact, they say that unlike other Las Vegas destinations, they’re going to be different.
Unlike other hospitality destinations in the Las Vegas area, Atari Hotels will give guests the chance to explore and enjoy groundbreaking hospitality innovations, business opportunities, and a revolutionary variety of entertainment options. Retro enthusiasts, casual and hardcore gamers, content creators, and esports professionals will consider Atari Hotels as a unique place to call their home away from home.
There’s no denying that the video game industry is huge and the pandemic did nothing to slow it down; in fact, it might have helped it grow even larger. Targeting a hotel to this market and making it a gathering place for everyone one who plays video games might not be a crazy idea. However, Disney tried something similar with DisneyQuest, and here’s how that idea ended up turning out.
I’ll put this one in the “Let’s see what it looks like when it opens.” file.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary