Desert Passage

(pictures are at the bottom of the page)


TrizecHahn Raises the Bar in City That Flourishes on the Extreme

Las Vegas, NV (August 10, 1999) — To the entertainment capital of the world, TrizecHahn will introduce DESERT PASSAGE®, North America's first ever shopping adventure–an entirely new genre of entertainment with shopping at its core scheduled to debut Summer 2000.

As the crown jewel of the new Aladdin Resort & Casino, the 500,000 square foot DESERT PASSAGE shopping adventure will take travelers on a journey through one of the most exotic regions of the world from Gibraltar through North Africa to India and onto the Arabian Sea. Intended to redefine customer expectations of
the shopping experience, the design approach for the shopping adventure ensures DESERT PASSAGE will transcend the traditional Las Vegas show.

"Our primary goal at the outset of the project was to avoid creating a themed environment," says Paul Jacob, vice president for RTKL Architects, the lead architectural firm on the project. "Instead, we designed a place so compelling, so authentic in its detail, that it will truly transport guests to a land far away, where the romance of travel and desert adventure come to life."

Each element has been carefully selected with assistance from architectural historians and regional culturalists. Thousands of research hours and a warehouse filled with glazed mosaic tiles, custom stencil patterns and color palettes, Moorish archways and patterned iron grills are testament to the unsurpassed authenticity and architectural detail. From intriguing marketplaces, like Lost City which is tucked into a towering mountainside, and lively gathering places, like North African Harbor where thunderstorms are a regular occurrence and a full-sized freighter resides, every inch of space fully captures the experience.

"We've created an adventure so complete, guests will feel they are traveling the routes and great market cities of Tangier, Bombay, and Marrakech," says Lee H. Wagman, president and CEO of TrizecHahn Development.

Further differentiating it from the typical shopping center, the DESERT PASSAGE experience won't stop at the stores. Each of the 130 dining and retail presentations will reflect the Desert Passage style and intrigue from storefronts to merchandising. Additionally, in a radical departure for Las Vegas, the destination will interact with the public street, offering direct access from the Las Vegas Strip.

DESERT PASSAGE recently announced its line-up of world-class restaurants, several for which this is only the second location. The list includes Commander's Palace famous in New Orleans, Anasazi of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Blue Note Jazz Club renowned in New York, Bice from Milan, Lombardi's revered in Dallas, Beluga Bar debuting in Las Vegas and The Macanudo Steak House lauded in Chicago and New York.

Click on images to see the full-sized pictures.

Video of Desert Passage Shopping Mall - 1.9mb - 45 seconds

Video of Contortionist and Bike Taxi - 2.6mb - 1 minute 3 seconds

Video of Thunderstorm - 2.7mb - 1 minute 5 seconds



Las Vegas, NV (May 25, 1999) — World-celebrated restaurateurs have chosen Desert Passage® at Aladdin to introduce their culinary artistry to Las Vegas. TrizecHahn proudly announces an unsurpassed collection of signature restaurants known throughout North America and the world, debuting at Desert Passage in Summer 2000.

"Our goal was to bring Las Vegas renowned restaurants and clubs from around the U.S. and Europe," said Terri Powers, senior vice president of leasing and merchandising for TrizecHahn Development. "Each has earned a unique distinction in their hometowns and a quality reputation around the world. These restaurants will bring their star billing to Desert Passage, catering to locals and the more than 30 million visitors to Las Vegas each year."

Inspired by one of the most romantic and exotic parts of the world, Desert Passage will transport visitors to some of the world’s most fascinating and undiscovered regions, sweeping across history and cultures, from Spain through Africa and on to the Arabian Sea and India.

An entire city-within-a-city, this dazzling collection of evocative environments offers the bounty of these trade routes, leading travelers through 500,000 square feet of exotic marketplaces filled with the most memorable retail and dining presentations in the world.

The Blue Note Jazz Club

Since bursting onto New York's Village scene in 1981, The Blue Note has established an incomparable tradition of presenting the foremost jazz and blues artists in some of the world's most intriguing locations. Owner Danny Bensusan views Desert Passage as a perfect stage for adding a compelling brand of entertainment to the Las Vegas lineup. "We're excited to open our second U.S. location within the pulsating walls of Desert Passage. The Blue Note will offer serious music enthusiasts an intimate setting to enjoy nightly performances from the world’s legendary artists."

The Anasazi

The recipient of numerous prestigious fine dining awards, The Anasazi will immerse Las Vegas visitors in the rich tastes and traditions of the Southwest’s culture and cuisine made famous in Santa Fe. This internationally lauded restaurant features the legacies of Native American, Northern New Mexico and American Cowboy cuisine — blending the freshest, flavorful ingredients with a passion for spectacular presentations. According to owner Harry Ohta, "we’re convinced Desert Passage will provide the perfect backdrop for Anasazi’s culinary artistry."


Widely recognized in international circles as one of the elite settings to savor the art of authentic Italian cooking, Bice enjoys a loyal following in Miami, Palm Beach, Chicago and New York, as well as other distinguished cities in Europe and South America. Owner Roberto Ruggeri says he sought the most prestigious spot in Las Vegas. "We were intrigued by expanding our worldwide presence to Desert Passage's prime central location on the Strip."

Commander’s Palace

For the past 118 years, Commander’s Palace has been a treasured landmark and beloved dining destination for New Orleans’ well-heeled tourists and resident gourmets — hardly a surprise considering its fabled kitchen has nurtured such celebrity chefs as Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, as well as two dozen other cooking stars. Renowned for its signature Creole dishes, gracious hospitality and impeccable service, Commander’s is the recipient of countless culinary distinctions, including the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s "Outstanding Restaurant Award" and Food & Wine Magazine’s "#1 Restaurant In America." Notes Alex Brennan-Martin, "we’re thrilled to be opening the second Commander’s Palace in our illustrious history in such a grand setting, in one of the world’s most vibrant destinations. We’re especially pleased to introduce the discriminating palates of Las Vegas visitors to a truly incomparable dining experience."

The Macanudo Steakhouse & Club

Premium location and top-of-the-grade prime beef. Whether in Chicago, just off Michigan Avenue, or New York at 63rd and Madison, Club Macanudo prides itself on being where the action is and Desert Passage will be no exception. The first bar and restaurant in New York City designed solely for the pleasure of cigar smokers introduces Macanudo Steakhouse & Club–the next great American steakhouse, debuting on the Las Vegas Strip.

Curbside valet service off Harmon Avenue begins this superlative dining experience where the fun is as prime as the steak. The Macanudo Steakhouse & Club will not only cater to cigar enthusiasts, but will be air-friendly to those who prefer dining in a smoke-free environment. From a table for twenty after a hard day on the convention floor to a late, intimate dinner for two to celebrate your luck or your lady or both, Macanudo Steakhouse & Club will present the finest steak, aged spirits and vintage wines and, of course, a stylish selection of Macanudo and other premium label cigars and accessories.


For entrepreneur Alberto Lombardi, Desert Passage marks a triumphant return to the Strip, bringing his renowned expertise and national reputation back to the Las Vegas table. "Desert Passage gives us a wonderful opportunity to once again have a major presence in Las Vegas at one of the most promising and fascinating retail and entertainment gold mines," notes Lombardi. Three distinctly themed restaurant concepts are being developed, including an Italian Trattoria, authentic French Bistro and Moroccan Bar. Revered by loyal patrons in hometown Dallas, Lombardi also owns acclaimed restaurants in Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami and Captiva Island, Florida.


Recalling the ambiance of a turn-of-the-century wharf bar, including the raw oysters, clams, crab, shrimp and lobster, the Beluga Bar will present the ultimate consummate collection of the world’s finest caviar in an all encompassing experience that celebrates caviar’s timeless mystique and tradition in an up-to-date tasting fashion.

Enter its portals and one will be immediately immersed in an environment that literally places every facet of this esteemed royal indulgence at your feet. With a 17th century detailed floor map of the Caspian Sea, along with the music of its seaside ports, patrons will encounter a magnificent overhead aquatic tank with live sturgeon caviar fish, a life-size taxidermy collection of the Beluga, Oscetra and Sevruga sturgeons suspended from the ceiling — and even surround-sound television screens that depict the fascinating secrets of the catch and process of making caviar. "We’ve endeavored to create a concept that feeds off the fantasy of Desert Passage — with a distinctive, visually dramatic twist," says owner Barry Katcher. "For everyone from the discriminating palates to those who’ve dreamed of savoring the world’s most treasured delicacy, the Beluga Bar is an unforgettable journey into all that is caviar."