WHERE IT’S STRAT, BABY!: Taking stock of The Strat’s rebranding efforts

Perhaps many locals, those who work in the tourist corridor and those who don’t, only visit the Las Vegas Strip for fun when they’re escorting out-of-town friends and family. And perhaps the Strat tower that has been a landmark for the valley’s motorists before GPS and an internationally recognized icon since 1996 isn’t front-of-mind when designing an itinerary.

Chris Fiumara, The Strat’s vice president and general manager since 2017, recognizes the challenge. He knows it will take work to attract and engage locals to the north end of the Strip to come for the view, engage and stay for all the other amenities the resort offers. (Story continues below photos. Click on Sam Morris’ images below to start a slideshow.)

What Fiumara calls “stickiness,” that characteristic of the property to hold guests, was one of the motivations behind the Stratosphere’s rebrand to the more colloquial The Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod and invest more than $140 million in property-wide improvements, including renovating the observation deck 1,000 feet above the street.

“We have more than 1 million people who visit this tower (each year),” Fiumara says. “What we found is a lot of people come in, go up, look out and come down. We’ve given them a reason to spend more time and spend more money with us, whether it’s a snack, a drink or a ride.”

The observation deck has a more modern look for its walls, floors and ceilings. Six large touchscreens near the 360-degree windows help identify both what visitors should look for and what they’re looking at. “It was designed to keep people engaged more up here, not just looking out but as you’re looking out, a little history of what you’re seeing as you go,” Fiumara says.

If it’s been five or 10 years, visitors can’t help but see what’s new in the ever-changing Vegas landscape — buildings, neighborhoods, the relationships of those buildings and neighborhoods that’s difficult to appreciate on the desert floor. 

The 108th floor’s renovation also includes two handsome food and beverage areas, Drink 108 and Eat 108. Chef James Trees of Downtown’s Esther’s Kitchen designed the menus.

“We were kicking around different ways of what we could do to tie us into the Downtown Arts District as well as elevate the dining experience for guests. It needed to be approachable and not a real high price point,” Fiumara says.

Esther’s Kitchen is a favorite of Blake Sartini, CEO of Golden Entertainment, owners of The Strat and PT’s Entertainment Group, among other entities, so they approached Trees, and he ran with his concept.

108 Eats’ paninis include mushroom and truffle, prepared with fontina and boschetto tartufo; and sliced meatball, with basil ricotta and bianco pomodoro.  Cookies, popcorn, chips, ice cream, sorbet and coffee drinks are also available.

108 Drinks’ signature cocktails include the Big Shot, made with Patrón Añejo, a Grand Marnier float, Triple Sec, sweet and sour and lime; and 360, made with Grey Goose, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice.

The Strat is also finding new ways to connect with the community with prominent displays for local artists’ work and special events.

It celebrated a new partnership with MTN DEW (Mountain Dew) to reintroduce SkyJump on Sept. 13. Skateboarders Theotis Beasley, Curren Caples and Chris “Cookie” Colbourn of MTN DEW’s roster of athletes were on hand,  as well as the Denver Nuggets’ Bol Bol and social media influencer Brandon “B-Dot” Armstrong.

The Strat is also partnering with art agency ISI Group for live art and silent auctions supporting local artists on the observation deck at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, and Friday, Dec. 20. Hosted by Arturo Cecena and DJ Edoc, it will feature pieces created by 20 artists, up for bidding in a silent auction. Themes will be “Nightmare on ElmSTRAT” in October and “Pop Culture” in December. Bidding on the pieces will close at 11 p.m. at each event.

Fiumara notes that many of the leaders of Golden Entertainment and The Strat are longtime Las Vegas residents focused on bringing more of a sense of community to the property. They’re aiming to connect the disparate dots of the casino, restaurants and entertainment — the family-friendly Celestia opened in a 30,000-square-foot theatrical tent earlier this year — as well as the sportsbook, guestrooms, pools, tower and the community into a more cohesive resort experience.

Cohesive — and adhesive, that “stickiness” approach that Fiumara advocates.

“We’re all locals. We all grew up here. We’re doing things that will appeal to tourists and locals,” Fiumara says. “We’re not like a big corporation with decisions made thousands of miles away. We’re here every day, and there’s a lot of pride of ownership.”

To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.

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By Paul Szydelko / Contributor to Las Vegas Newswire

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