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Resort Fees / Hotels / Strip / Off Strip / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
2014 could be the year Las Vegas loses the last handful of resort fee holdouts. We've lost one already. Last year, 15 new hotels began tacking on the extra fees in a generally stated 'you asked for them' or 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mentality. Caesars Entertainment's Las Vegas properties and downtown's Golden Gate and D hotels being the most surprising resort fee about-faces of the year.
The biggest bummers we discovered upon updating this guide for 2014? Venetian and Palazzo deciding there would be no more declining their resort fee and that downtown's El Cortez will be adding one in February.
In 2013 (January through November), room rates on the Vegas Strip averaged $120 night compared with $69 a night downtown. Just like last year, that's up from the year before with occupancy about the same at 85 percent. So, same amount of people being asked to dig deeper into their pockets with not just slightly higher room rates, but the addition of $5-$25 extra a night in fees, too. And, that's before taxes are added into the mix. And then, there are the Vegas hotels happy to charge you for a guaranteed room type, two beds, early check-in, late check-out or an express check-in, too.
Last year, VegasChatter feared Sin City resort fees might cross over into the $30 a night territory. That didn't happen, but could it in 2014? Perhaps. Some 20 Las Vegas hotels, from Aria to Wynn, are currently billing fees at the $25 mark. And, many of those were at that rate due to a $5 increase from the year prior. Could another $5 bump be in the future? We wouldn't be surprised to see a Vegas hotel test the threshold this year, and for others to follow suit if public outcry doesn't seem to impact the bottom line that much.
While some travelers hope the FTC will take a harder line against 'drip pricing' in 2014, we're not holding our breath. But, we will do what we've done for many years now, provide you with a comprehensive guide to resort fees in Las Vegas. We hit the Internet and the phone to compile the latest fees and what they'll get you in return. If you come across a new addition to our list, or see an increase we need to know about, email us at email@example.com.
Riviera / Hotels / Retro Vegas / Sad Vegas / Neon Vegas / Fontaine-Bust / → All Tags
Rumors of the Riviera’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as the
tired cliche saying goes. The old gal isn’t quite ready for the coroner, but we’ll keep the paramedics on speed dial. She’ll need some well-trained attention in order to survive the crucial years ahead.
This year, several Vegas hotels marked major milestone anniversaries with little public hoopla aside from, perhaps, a passing social media mention or two.
Luxor marked its 20th anniversary on October 15. Bellagio witnessed its 15th anniversary on October 15 as well. Trump welcomed its fifth anniversary on March 31 while Encore will mark its fifth year of operations on December 22. But first, on December 18, MGM Grand will note its 20th anniversary.
Right around now is the time you're thinking, 'wow, I can't believe those resorts have been around for that long.' And, that's probably why there were no (nor will there be any) epic parties, brilliant fireworks displays, or corresponding 5, 15, or 20 percent discounts at the buffet. Vegas loves the spotlight, but Lady Luck is just like any other dame when it comes to disclosing her age.
Most of the time when this editor is booking a hotel room in Vegas, I'm booking it based on these three factors:
3. Things To Do
More than I'd like, the price factor ends up being the deciding factor when booking my Vegas trip, especially now that, on average, resort fees cost an extra $20 plus tax a night. But, occasionally, location wins out as I need to be close to a certain end of the Strip and I don't often rent a car. (Although, the last two times, I have because I cannot deal with Vegas cab rip-offs.) And, while I do love exploring different hotels every time I'm in Vegas, I like knowing my hotel also has a fun pool scene, great restaurant options, a spa, a lounge to drink in and a nightclub to dance in. Oh, and.. duh, a casino.
But, on my last trip to Vegas, something different happened. I found a room that I wanted to come back to over and over again.
Now, because I'm superstitious and paranoid, I won't tell you the exact room number. But I will tell you that it's on the 36th floor of Vdara and it has a king bed, small kitchenette, a little table for two, a pull-out couch and a partial view of the Bellagio fountains. I was able to get it for $109, before taxes and resort fee, during the week and I would happily pay that rate again and then some.
Minibars / Vegas Observations / Hotels / Fees / Comps / Hotel Charges / → All Tags
We’ve warned you about keeping personal stuff out of the minibar. Those pressure sensitive pads that charge items to your room instantaneously can make even accidentally bumping the minibar an expensive mistake. Still, we’re always amused when one of our drunken friends attempts to pull off an Indiana Jones-style swap of his half-empty travel-sized Listerine for a mini bottle of Grey Goose.
Vegas Observations / Budget Vegas / Hotels / Hotel Rates / Hotel Charges / El Cortez / MGM Resorts / Caesars Entertainment / → All Tags
The length of the average stay in Las Vegas is between three and four nights, and that’s exactly what many casino operators want it to be. You might be inclined to think that the house wants you to stay forever. The long-standing myth about pumped-in oxygen designed to keep you awake and gambling certainly suggests as much. It may seem intuitive that the longer you stay, the more the casino will make; but, that’s often not the case. In fact, many casinos have policies in place designed to limit the time you spend at their properties.
El Cortez has the most straightforward policy about over-staying your welcome. Guests who spend more than seven nights a month in the hotel are penalized with an additional nightly fee. Short of sending security up to pack your bags, there’s not a much more direct way to say “go home!”
Survival Strategies / Tips / Caesars Palace / Augustus Tower / Octavius Tower / Nobu Hotel / Centurion Tower / Hotels / Hotel Rooms / → All Tags
When booking a stay at most hotels in Las Vegas, the decision making process is fairly straightforward. Once you've decided on a hotel, the remaining choices aren't complicated. Smoking, or non? Two queens or a king? Standard or suite? If you happen, however, to be planning a stay at Caesars Palace, be prepared to select not only your room preferences, but which hotel tower you would like as well.
The goliath that is Caesars contains more than 4,000 rooms across its five separate towers, all center Strip. Each tower is unique, almost to the point that it’s as if Caesars is really five hotels in one. Make that six when factoring in the new Nobu Hotel within a hotel which opened earlier this year. Names like the Augustus Tower and Octavius Tower don’t offer up any clues regarding age or location. If you're hoping to stay in a recently remodeled room or seeking out a view of the Bellagio fountains, you need to be sure that you book the right tower. If nothing else, you should know which tower to avoid. That happens to be the Roman Tower, which is where we begin.
Over on our sister site HotelChatter last month, they compared how the guest rooms at Four Seasons Las Vegas used to look with how they look today. If you click the hyperlinks, you'll see quite the transformation. Yet, when we got to peek at the new one-bedroom suites at the Four Seasons LV, we also got to see one of their Valley View Suites and were even more impressed.
As the name indicates, you get primo views of the Las Vegas Valley from this 1,700-square foot, one-bedroom suite as well as views of Mandalay Bay Beach. But, you also get a gorgeous dining room, an elegant workspace, a glam living area, a full-sized kitchen with a Keurig and a Nespresso machine and a to-die-for, walk-in closet. Yes, the ladies will love this suite, especially the closet.
Off Strip / Silver Sevens / Terrible's / VegasChatter Reviews / Hotel Reviews / Hotel Rooms / Hotels / Housekeeping / → All Tags
Last week, we shared some of the disappointing changes to the dining options at Silver Sevens hotel and casino. This week, key card in hand, we jaunt further within the property and explore the property's renovated premium guestrooms.
Silver Sevens is located just a mile east of The Strip at Paradise and Flamingo, across from the Hard Rock. Like the Gold Coast on the west side, Silver Sevens is a locals-oriented casino that isn't far from the action of Las Vegas Boulevard. Some visitors even opt to make the trek on foot, although this isn't recommended during the blistering summer heat. As expected, the Off Strip location allows for considerable discounts on room rates. This writer booked a weekend stay at under $50 per night, while most hotels on The Strip were starting at twice that.
Checking in, even on a Friday afternoon, was painless. The registration area and player’s club share a single space. This set-up would be a disaster at any mega-resort on The Strip, where lengthy registration lines typically greet soon-to-be-frustrated visitors. With just 330 rooms and an efficient staff, Silver Sevens is able to keep waits to a minimum. As I selected my room preferences, I was treated to an entertaining dispute regarding a player’s club promotion at the next counter over. An elderly gentleman claimed he had driven 45 minutes to get here because he was promised $5 in free slot play, which he was now being denied. He was demanding to speak with the general manager regarding the issue. I got my keys before it was resolved and left wondering what type of vehicle he had that allowed him to make a 90-minute round trip for $5 and come out ahead.
Upon entering my third-floor room, I was welcomed with some complimentary banana-flavored cookies that had been left on the desk. Not quite up to DoubleTree chocolate chip standards but, nevertheless, an appreciated treat. Aside from the cookies, the room appeared identical to one I had stayed in six weeks ago, just prior to the re-branding from Terrible’s to Silver Sevens. Only the desk flyer advertising the dining options had been updated. This was not surprising, however, as the premium rooms were renovated less than two years ago and are still in excellent condition.
My single king room was well furnished. The 42” wall-mounted TV was among the best I've seen in a room below $100. The desk was fine to work at and I love that they provided an actual rolling office chair. From my experience with the budget hotel market in Vegas, it seems as if desk chairs are an afterthought and they typically end up throwing in whatever random chair they can find. This leads to a real mismatch, in which chairs are the wrong height or width, or are completely inappropriate for use at a desk.
The bedding was all new and the mattress perfectly comfortable. The pillows were a bit too thick for my liking, but that wouldn't stop me from visiting again. Bedside lamps had built-in power outlets, a very convenient touch. Beside the TV was a beautiful panoramic photograph of The Strip. Blackout curtains over the windows hid the view which, in my case, was of a parking lot. During my previous stay, I had a poolside view. It’s a bit noisier during the day, though, so avoid that side if you prefer to sleep late.
The bathroom area is split in two with the sink separated from the bedroom area by a frosted glass window. The sink and countertop here were included in the renovation and were up to the standards of the rest of the room. The remainder of the bathroom, unfortunately, was lacking. The fixtures all functioned properly, but were very basic and worn. I did appreciate the curved shower bar, which allowed some breathing room to move around under the disappointingly low shower head. The tile was reasonably clean, but would be better off being replaced.
I called upon housekeeping to provide an iron and ironing board shortly after checking in. Silver Sevens offers these at no charge but, unlike most hotels, does not store them in guestrooms. While delivery was swift, I consider this a housekeeping blunder. The iron arrived looking as if someone had previously used it to take the wrinkles out of a cactus. I decided to test it out on a pillowcase. It warmed up fine, but once I set it down I found that whatever black substance was caked on the front was now melting. Sorry about your pillowcase, Silver Sevens, but next time don’t give out irons that were previously used to melt sneakers.
Renovations / Construction / Gansevoort Las Vegas / Delano Las Vegas / Boutique Hotels / MGM Hotels / Hotels / Openings / → All Tags
Are you liking what you see when it comes to Gansevoort Las Vegas, the boutique hotel on the Strip that will rise from the remnants of the old Bill's Gambling Hall? Well, you might have to stand down for a little bit.
The Gansevoort had hoped for a New Year's Eve opening but, just the other week, reps went back to an "early 2014" goal. Now, we've learned the hotel is actually set for a March 2014 debut. That's about (hold on, let us break out our fingers) seven months away, but we don't mind waiting, especially if Gansevoort makes good on those sexy guestrooms, particularly the shower with the one-way mirror.
We'll learn more about what the Gansevoort has in store for Vegas later this month, but for now, the hotel will have 188 guestrooms, 19 suites, a lobby bar, an ultra lounge, retail outlets, a 40,000-square-foot casino, a destination restaurant overlooking the Strip, the legendary Drai's Nightclub and a rooftop pool/dayclub (also run by Drai's).
Vegas Rants / Harrah's / Hotels / Hotel Rooms / Housekeeping / Flamingo / → All Tags
This is room 858 in the Carnival Tower of Harrah's and this is what it looked like when guest, Wendy, and her husband checked-in over fourth of July weekend. Yup, just like that. Remote control on the bed, instead of on the desk or the nightstand, and pillows skew. As Mama Bear would say, "Who's been sleeping in my bed?"
Wendy wrote a lengthy email to us about the issues with her stay, that included this housekeeping fail and some seriously noisy neighbors. In the interest of saving you time, we're pulling out choice bits of Wendy's Vegas Rant. Starting with what happened when Wendy phoned downstairs to express her displeasure and the front desk agent who apparently could care less.
"She raised her voice with me, spoke very rudely to me, and instead of apologizing said that the ‘Room was clean and she would send a maid to straighten the bed.’ She barely let me get a word in before she was raised her voice with me and was speaking over the top of me. We left the room, and yes, when we returned, the bed was straightened, but that did nothing to ease my mind that someone hadn’t still been ‘hanging out’ in the room prior to our arrival."
This housekeeping snafu aside, Wendy and her husband decided to stick with the room. But, over the course of their stay (July 3-July 6), Wendy had to call security three times to have them quiet down the folks in the room next to her room. (Incidentally, if security needs to be called three times, then the hotel has the right to evict that guest.) Wendy and her husband were offered a different room to stay in, but felt that they shouldn't be inconvenienced. Now, cue unsympathetic front desk:
I was greeted by Mark (Front Desk Lead), and instead of listening, and lending me a sympathetic ear, he told me that ‘He didn’t have sympathy for me because he has lived in hotels and apartments and it comes with the territory’. That is the WRONG answer to give to a hotel guest. I am a paying customer, and I am not paying to be disturbed every moment that I am in my room trying to sleep. YES, I understand that it is Las Vegas, however, common courtesy still applies for ALL hotel guests. He offered to change my room, but why should I change MY room when I am not the one doing anything wrong?
We knew it would be hotter than ever when we landed in Vegas last Friday, but it was so hot our room key melted while we were in the pool.
Temperatures on Saturday afternoon hit 115 degrees which is why we sought refuge poolside at the Mandarin Oriental. Yet, the only way we could find real relief from the heat was by being submerged in the pool and leaving our pool key to fend for itself.