How has switching hats treated you?
Since moving to Vegas, I became increasingly intrigued by the inside world of hospitality, entertainment, and gaming. Jumping into these fields has been an exciting eye-opener. No two days are alike. I’m working harder than ever in promoting the Westgate and telling our story to as broad an audience as possible. Like all things Vegas, building relationships is the key to success. Las Vegas is synonymous with reinvention.
Fifty years in the making, what defines the Westgate’s appeal today?
The Westgate’s ongoing legend parallels the history of Vegas itself, especially when it comes to entertainment. Virtually every major Vegas act played here. We keep that tradition alive with acts including the Barry Manilow residency and Jennifer Romas’ SEXXY Show. Neighboring the under-expansion Las Vegas Convention Center since day one, the resort continues to host and support major sporting events, conventions, and trade shows.
Since taking over in 2014, Westgate Resorts has invested more than $275 million in ongoing renovations to keep our appeal sharp. Unique features include the world’s largest race and sports book and historic Benihana Village.
Above all, our people set us apart in the market. Nearly one-third of our 2,200- plus team members have worked here for 20 years or longer, including 50 with more than 40 years of service. Our entire staff views the Westgate as family, guests included. We may not be the trendiest property in Vegas, but our people ensure that each guest has the best experience, tailored to their individual taste.
You’ve lived around the U.S. How does Vegas compare?
While often visiting for parties, conventions, and shows, I’d never considered living here. The pleasant surprises keep coming. Vegas is one of the friendliest places I’ve ever experienced, with affordable living costs and a real sense of community. You have the finest entertainment and dining options in the world all packaged in a manageably sized city. There are wondrous regional attractions, too, such as Red Rock Canyon (www.redrockcanyonlv.org); Hoover Dam (www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam); and of course Grand Canyon National Park (www.nps.gov/grca). Friends and family love to visit, which is a plus. Thinking we’d only stay for a few years, my husband and I are now planning to retire here.
As a man “in the know,” which Vegas diversions would you recommend for visitors, gay and otherwise?
Las Vegas overall is very LGBTQ-friendly, so these options generally work for everybody. Westgate’s Edge Steakhouse (Tel: 702-732- 5277) was a personal favorite even before I joined the property. Helmed by Michelin-trained Executive Chef Steve Young, the restaurant was named TripAdvisor’s number one steakhouse in Las Vegas in 2019.
Long-timers Piero’s Italian Cuisine (355 Convention Center Drive. Tel: 702- 369-2305. pieroscuisine.com), and The Golden Steer Steakhouse (308 W. Sahara Avenue. Tel: 702-384-4470. www.goldensteerlasvegas.com), a 1958 heirloom featuring booths where Frank Sinatra and Elvis once dined, offer a true taste of vintage Vegas.