This is the second of three pieces I’m posting this week about experiences I had while in Las Vegas over the weekend. Read part one here.

Another new Vegas venue I visited over the weekend was the Fontainebleau, which opened its doors in December, 2023, following nearly two decades of delays. The site, formerly home of the Algiers and El Rancho, remained an empty lot all that time. Locals have snorted at it because of its long dormancy, but the result is impressive.

The Fontainebleau is a high-end luxury resort and, though I didn’t see the rooms, the place looks beautiful, with impressive design everywhere. It won’t get much foot traffic because it’s on the north end of The Strip, but it’s walking distance to the Convention Center, which explains why, the night I was there, a group of Honda/Acura dealers were walking around with their laminated name tags. Unfortunately, the general public hasn’t found it yet, so they had most of the place to themselves.

The Fontainebleau will compete for upscale visitors with Resorts World, a mega complex a little bit south on The Strip that opened in 2021 opposite Encore, which also targets the same type of customers. I visited Resorts World on a previous trip, but hadn’t gone back because while its poker room is superb, it has no games and stakes I want to play.

However, this time, I walked over because RW is now home to a branch of Junior’s, a deli based in Brooklyn with a vast menu, best known for its cheesecake but with a helluva good corned beef sandwich. Unlike last time, Resorts World was very busy, but not overwhelmingly crowded, and it has a lot of good dining options, so I foresee returning.

From the window of my room at Encore, I could see The Sphere, which is still creating a lot of buzz even though U2 has left town. The next bands to take up residency there will be Phish and Dead & Company, but when the stage is dark, the feature attraction is The Sphere Experience, which includes an hour of interactive elements in the lobby followed by a 50-minute movie called “Postcard From Earth” on the giant curved interior of The Sphere.

I thought I might go check it out, but was dissuaded by three things.

One is that the good seats cost $169 (plus Ticketmaster’s usurious fees). I think that’s more than the combined cost I’ve paid for every nature documentary I’ve seen at the magnificent Omnimax theater at the St. Louis Science Center. It may not be as impressive as The Sphere, but that room has awed me more than a few times.

Second is that The Sphere’s film was directed by Darren Aronofsky, who made “mother!” — a movie I named one of The Worst Of 2017. I also wasn’t particularly fond of his more recent effort, “The Whale,” for which Brendan Fraser won an Oscar he didn’t deserve (read my review here).

Third is that one of the interactive experiences in the lobby is labeled on The Sphere’s website as “22nd Century Technology.” Sorry, I call bullshit. No one can predict what new inventions will be part of our world more than 75 years from now. Do you think anyone in 1924 foresaw the internet, smartphones, or middle-aged men wearing baseball caps backwards? Most of the people alive then weren’t even sure about the idea of a car replacing a horse.

Thus, I opted not to check out The Sphere’s interior, but rather enjoyed the mesmerizing ever-changing graphics displayed on its exterior.

Click for part three: how seeing women dangling their feet in tubs of water while tiny fish nibbled on them triggered a nightmarish memory I had suppressed.