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September 1, 2014

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Lake Las Vegas, 350 workers say goodbye to Ritz-Carlton

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Erin Dostal

The view from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, approximately one hour before the hotel would close its doors Sunday afternoon. As a result of the Ritz-Carlton’s closure, more than 350 people will be out of work.

Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas

The courtyard at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas is shown just before the hotel closed its doors in May 2010. Launch slideshow »

For hotel patrons, Sunday morning at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas felt like any other. Rich aromas of syrup and dough wafted up from the Medici Café and Terrace, and families wandered the hotel’s halls and courtyard.

But this Sunday morning was different. At noon, the Ritz-Carlton would close its doors.

“I think it was an anchor for Lake Las Vegas,” said Eric Villarreal, 37, of Las Vegas, who stayed at the hotel on its final night. “It seems like bigger places like this support smaller businesses here.”

Villarreal said he saw few other patrons at the hotel on its last night, but the lack of customers didn’t seem to affect the hotel’s services.

“You wouldn’t notice that it was their last day,” he said. “It’s impressive.”

The 15-acre, 348-room luxury hotel opened Feb. 11, 2003. The Ritz-Carlton announced Feb. 8 that it would close May 2.

More than 350 people lost their jobs as a result of the closure. Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl said efforts are being made to relocate employees to other hotels in the Las Vegas Valley.

“While the closing has obviously made everybody sad, it hasn’t taken away any of the determination,” she said.

Mary Musso, 57, of Henderson, stayed at the hotel Saturday night. She said the service was exceptional and she was saddened by the hotel’s closure.

Musso suggested the city offer tax breaks to potential buyers of the property. The support of the Ritz-Carlton would aid all businesses at Lake Las Vegas, she said.

“Now is the time they will have to band together,” she said. “The City of Henderson owes it to the residents.”

Nicole Caples, 37, of Las Vegas, stayed with Musso at the hotel Saturday night. She said she wished the city and hotel had done a better job of advertising Ritz-Carlton to locals, many of whom she said would have jumped at the opportunity for a “staycation.”

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “But [it is] an oasis dead in the desert.”

Lake Las Vegas is in bankruptcy, burdened with $728 million in liabilities.

During an April 8 meeting hosted by Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak at Loews Lake Las Vegas, Lake Las Vegas Chief Operating Officer Jim Coyne said the development is expected to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of June.

The Casino MonteLago at Lake Las Vegas closed at midnight March 14. More than 170 people lost their jobs as a result.

Marco Tencanera, a manager at Luna Rossa, an Italian restaurant at Lake Las Vegas, said he has noticed little change in business since the Casino MonteLago’s closure. But, he said, he isn’t sure what effect the Ritz-Carlton’s closure will have on the community.

“We’ll just have to find out,” he said. “Come back in two weeks and I’ll let you know.”

Deuschl said the company has received several calls from people with an interest in the Ritz-Carlton property. All inquiries have been forwarded to Deutsche Bank, which owns the resort.

Amy Moser-Harrison, director of sales and marketing for the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, said there would be an employees-only ceremony Sunday in which they would lower the flag in front of the hotel, then part ways.

“There is not any pomp and circumstance,” she said.

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