Adam Mizzi

The Prophet of Small

Adam Mizzi has worked with plenty of Las Vegas hospitality legends over his 16-year career, but he has taken a different approach to the business than most of them. Instead of the old “bigger and bolder” vision, he sees the future here as smaller and cooler.

Perhaps that’s just a natural progression for Mizzi, 36, a guy who grew up in the shadow of an ever-expanding Strip. He was working as a lifeguard at the Tropicana when Dennis Gomes encouraged him to get a degree at UNLV. After building a killer marketing résumé under several Las Vegas titans (Scott Sibella, Carl Icahn, George Maloof, Dan Lee), nearly three years ago he rolled the dice on his dream: running his own resort.

Mizzi’s 10.5-acre plot on Convention Center Drive features the chicly revamped Royal Resort. Two of its chief draws are the Royal House Lounge and Barrymore restaurant, which have given local and traveling hipsters alike a reason to visit Convention Center Drive, soaking up the resort’s modern-retro design with its open floor plan, clean lines and vintage details.

“We see this as a premium product that’s got a Palm Springs, classic Las Vegas–inspired look and feel,” he says. “It complements what Steve Wynn has brought to the neighborhood. … Las Vegas is at a much different place now, as the demand/capacity ratio has shifted dramatically. The only reason to build anything is if it’s special in some way. We’re moving away from homogenous and monolithic resorts to smaller, more perfected spaces.”

On that land also sits an empty office building. Following his vision of a more intimate Vegas with a cachet of cool, Mizzi and his team (which includes Robert O’Neill, Catherine Crossley, former Mandalay Resort Group exec Bill Richardson, his son Billy Richardson and nightlife impresario Cy Waits) plan to refashion its 400,000 square feet into a boutique meeting space that caters to—by Vegas standards—intimate conventions.

And if there’s one defining trait that’s served Mizzi well in his career, it’s his ability to adjust to new ideas and surf the wave of change in a city that is constantly reinventing itself. Which is why small is the new big.

Back during the themed megaresort era, there were jokes about building a hotel with a Las Vegas theme. And that’s exactly what Mizzi is doing, just on a smaller scale.

“We’re building for people looking for that authentic Vegas experience.”

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