Las Vegas’ iconic Bellagio gets a makeover for Formula One race


Wade Vandervort

A view from the roof deck of the Bellagio Fountain Club, a viewing area for the Formula 1 race, is shown Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023.

Wed, Nov 15, 2023 (5:07 p.m.)

Passersby should notice the iconic look of the Bellagio is looking completely different.

The trees previously in front of the Bellagio Fountains have been removed, for one. And a new temporary structure, called the Bellagio Fountain Club, sits out front.

As Las Vegas is hosting its first Formula One race with the Las Vegas Grand Prix on Saturday, the Bellagio is the center of it all.

“I think the fact that if you go onto the rooftop, there is no place in Vegas for this race where you feel like you’re in the center of Las Vegas, other than the rooftop of this building,” says Andrew Lanzino, MGM’s Vice President of Citywide Event Strategy. “And so if you get up there and you kind of do a 360 and you look around, you’ve got the Bellagio Fountains, you’ve got the track. I mean, you really feel like Vegas is engulfing you when you’re on that rooftop.”

Located directly in front of the Bellagio Fountains, built over the water, is the Bellagio Fountain Club, where spectators will watch the race and enjoy several luxury features.

The outdoor bleacher rows go right up to the track. Indoors on the ground floor — the hospitality level — is a banquet hall where celebrity chefs will perform cooking demonstrations.

Some of the other luxury culinary features include caviar, truffles, a carving station and wine sommeliers. Entertainment includes a bar and race car simulators.

Upstairs, there is a rooftop experience with casual seating on artificial turf. These two adjacent green spaces cover the same surface area as three football fields. Two nightclubs are available at this upper level.

The Bellagio Fountain Club, with the capacity for 3,600 attendees, is sold out.

Downstairs, in between the two Fountain Club buildings, is the winner’s stage. The stage has the MGM Rewards Formula F1 Car on display, with the fountains and a scenic backdrop behind it. This is where the three fastest drivers will park and walk up to pose for their “media moment,” Lanzino said.

“We have an F1 theme song fountain show that is custom-made for F1,” Lanzino says.

Transforming the Bellagio into the center of Las Vegas’ first Formula One race required a lot of logistical planning and labor. Lanzino says it was challenging to build the Bellagio Fountain Club “almost entirely over water.”

The Fountain Club took eight weeks to build. Tear down will begin the day after the race and will take 5 weeks.

“So by New Year’s, it’ll be like it never happened,” Lanzino said.

Lanzino says they will store the deconstructed pieces of the Bellagio Fountain Club in the Tompkins Lot, which formerly housed Cosmopolitan employee parking.

Lanzino also says previous New Year’s Eve logistics have informed their strategy for race week, and that this weekend’s road closures will resemble “New Year’s times three.” He is confident that the F1 weekend will be successful.

The Bellagio remains open all weekend to guests not attending F1, and the fountains will keep running the whole time. Inside, the ground floor is filled with guests enjoying gambling, food, drinks, shopping and the gardens.

“I mean, it’s a beautiful establishment. You can see, F1 merchandise is everywhere. I heard maybe, potentially, there were F1 cars and drivers in the building,” said Jeremy Terman, who is in town for a conference unrelated to the race.

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