Blaire Dela Cruz, Vice President of Hotel and David Jacoby, Chief Operating Officer, Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino
In December, Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino opened in Las Vegas, designed specifically to appeal to the Asian American market, incorporating feng shui elements, table games popular with Asians (Baccarat, Pai Gow), specialty spa treatments, a tea sommelier and heavy use of lucky number 8 (hence phone number 702-889-8018 and the octagon-shaped casino.)
COO Dave Jacoby and Vice President of Hotel Blaire Dela Cruz answered questions about this unique laser focus on the Asian American market.
Why did you decide to focus on the Asian market?
The decision to focus on the Asian market was as much a decision as it was a realization that there was a growing segment of Las Vegas guests – and locals – that was completely underserved. The rare high roller that arrives on a private jet is provided some aspects of authentic gaming and service at a few other high-end resorts on the Strip. However, by dedicating our entire resort to this important customer, we are able to create a far more detailed and authentic hospitality and gaming experience for our guests in what we view is a more comfortable and approachable atmosphere. (DJ)
The hotel opening coincided with the launch of Hainan Airlines first flight from Beijing to Las Vegas the day before. Was the decision to focus on the Asian market for the hotel related to this new service?
Lucky Dragon was in the works long before the Hainan direct flight was made known to us, or anyone else. Visitors direct from China, while we welcome them as we do anyone, will make up a relatively small percentage of our guests here, as compared to locals and regional Asian-American visitors. (DJ)
Who do you see as your core market?
The local and regional Asian-American clientele will be the largest market represented. Other domestic Asian-American markets a close second, and Asian tourists, particularly with the new flight direct from Beijing, will represent an additional segment of our guests. Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino offers a unique environment where groups can enjoy an authentic Asian gaming, dining and lifestyle experience……an atmosphere unlike any other on the Strip. While our property was established to offer an authentically Asian experience in all aspects for our visitors, we certainly will welcome all who want to experience the rich culture offered here. (BD)
How has the “authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience” been created?
Feng shui – From the very beginning, our property was designed with many principals, feng shui included, and the rich history of Chinese culture in mind, designed to bring good luck and good fortune to all our guests. Layout, design and color scheme also add to the authenticity.
The numbers 8 and 4 – The number eight, lucky in Chinese culture, is well represented on property. The number four, unlucky due to the phonetic resemblance to the pronunciation of the Chinese word for “death,” is absent wherever possible. Guests will notice there is no fourth floor in our hotel tower, nor is there in our parking structure.
Choice of Table games – Our mix of table games is heavily slanted to please the traditional Asian player. With 37 table games in total, 25 of them are a variation of Baccarat. We also have Pai Gow Poker tables and have left room for the possibility of Sic Bo and other traditionally Asian games being added to the mix. We do have Blackjack, Roulette, Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em as well.
In language signage, dealers, staff, in-room TV programming – All property signage is in Chinese first, English second. From the taxi stand and garage parking, to the elevator signage and restaurant entries, the Chinese language is prominently displayed. More than 70 percent of our staff of more than 750 is bilingual, with Mandarin and Cantonese (Chinese) well-represented. Our rooms feature the most Chinese language channels available and more Chinese language programming than any other hotel in Las Vegas.
Spa treatment selections – The spa will feature a variety of treatments, including reflexology, that are known for their popularity in Asian cultures. The treatment rooms in our spa are named after flowers commonly found in China and throughout Asia (Lotus, Cherry Blossom, Rose and Jasmine) and the extracts of which are used in many of our treatments.
Cuisine – The core of Lucky Dragon’s authenticity is most likely found in our culinary program. With five restaurant concepts that range from small bites and grab-and-go dim sum, to modern Cantonese fine dining, we will feature the freshest and some of the rarest ingredients available.
Room décor – Again, the choices that were made with regard to layout, color and design were all made to ensure that our guests are comfortable. Beyond just the décor, each room will have brewing equipment and a complimentary offering of Lucky Dragon’s imported house tea selections.
Other elements – Many people ask why someone would leave their home in China just to book a vacation in Las Vegas that feels very much like home. The truth is, Chinese tourists seek out their own culture and comforts of home more than any other traveling population (Italians are second). So what we have really done here, is we have made sure that the guests walking through our doors in Las Vegas will feel just as comfortable as if they were walking through the doors to a hotel and casino in China. (BD)
What does the casino offer to attract visitors with an interest in the cultural aspect? What can they see and do if they come for that experience (not just gaming)?
The casino itself offers unparalleled sightlines through a really unique and beautiful space. There’s the 1.25-ton glass dragon chandelier that hangs above the casino’s Pagoda Bar (center bar). Guests can watch our chefs at work in the Jewel Kitchen – our show kitchen that serves both Bao Now, our 24-hour grab-and-go restaurant, and Dragon’s Alley, our night market-style restaurant – the panoramic window extends directly out onto the casino floor. Our cocktail program has really become something of a sleeper success – with unique Asian whiskies and other spirits, our mixologists have come up with some really unique cocktails. Groups will enjoy private dining areas in Pearl Ocean, our dim sum and seafood specialty restaurant, and Phoenix our fine dining restaurant. Outdoor functions are also available at our pool, with beautiful cabanas and a wall of glass doors that open directly from the pool area into Cha Garden, Lucky Dragon’s tea garden.
By Lisa Skriloff, Editor, Multicultural Travel News