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Just as common a sight on the Vegas Strip as buskers and those $1 water guys are DJs. Once a faceless, nameless profession, it now comes with so much cache DJs capture top billing on marquees and some of the city's top salaries, too.
Outside of the Strip's mega clubs, DJs also remain standard entertainment fare at lounges and bars. You're much more likely to jam to a DJ than a live band. But, that's not to say everyone likes throwing their hands up. Just ask VegasChatter reader Donna M.:
Drinking / Bars / Cocktails / OpenThread / → All Tags
Fancy ice is a thing. Say it five times in a row and you’ll understand why. Okay, the latter isn’t serious, but fancy ice really is becoming a thing and bars are beginning to charge for it. Fancy ice has been popular in homes with whiskey drinkers for a few years now and you may have seen pictures of people using ice balls in their drinks. Now the trend is becoming popular at bars.
There are different types of fancy ice. Some are made with filtered water so that you don’t taste the additives or minerals in the local water supply while enjoying your drink. If people are spending $20 and up on a high end spirits, they may not mind a surcharge to keep the flavor pure. Others are flavored with a certain kind of alcohol to create a unique profile. Most are are distinctively shaped.
Slot Machines / G2E / Gambling / OpenThread / Global Gaming Expo / Gaming / → All Tags
As always, G2E (the Global Gaming Expo) was a haze of slot machines and casino wares. It’s going to take a minute to collect our thoughts on everything we saw. There’s one thing that’s certain and that is themed slot machines are taking over. There were more themed slot machines at G2E this year than this writer can remember ever before.
VegasChatter Questions / OpenThread / Vegas Observations / Vegas For Beginners / Casinos / Hotels / → All Tags
With so many choices in Las Vegas, one of the most daunting choices you have to make will be done long before you set foot off the plane. Choosing where to rest after long days and nights of gambling, eating and, of course, boozing can have visitors vacillating between the latest and the greatest, the closest and the cheapest, and more. This writer has even heard of decisions based on the size of the shower!
When looking for hotels in Vegas there are so many options, your first time or two usually results in a stay at one of the main hotel-casinos on The Strip. And, why not? All the lights, glamour, action, romance and nostalgia exist around those hotels. After a couple trips to Vegas, however, that feeling might wear off. A transformation into a Vegas veteran may send you off Strip or downtown when choosing a spot to sleep. If you aren't interested in leaving The Strip, there are other options that provide a good bang for your buck and don't come with the annoyances of a mega-resort.
Gambling / Slots / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Casinos / The Strip / OpenThread / → All Tags
When we looked at the average Las Vegas visitor, a few things that stood out. Some commenters were surprised so many people (15%) still book Las Vegas visits through travel agents while other commenters were surprised that some visitors (13%) had a gambling budget between $0 and $99. Today's average Las Vegas visitor isn't quite the same as we remember from Vegas Vacation.
People reached out directly to discuss the subject of gambling budgets since I’m a gambler. According to research by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 80% of visitors who gamble do so on the Vegas Strip. Those people may not be spending as much money on gambling as they did 30 years ago, but they’re making their gambling budgets last all day. The report indicates 54% of those gamblers play slot machines and the Vegas Strip might not be the best place to get the most bang for their buck.
OpenThread / Vegas Sports / Wranglers / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Plaza / Orleans Arena / Vegas Moves / → All Tags
After losing their home at Orleans Arena, the Wranglers teamed up with the Plaza to bring minor league hockey to Downtown Vegas. First, the plan was to erect a tent on the Plaza's pool level. That was soon scratched for a tent in the parking lot. Then, both sides apparently realized that neither had the funding to pull it off.
The High Roller is open and has forever changed the Vegas skyline. With this new addition comes a new crop of Las Vegas tourists eager to get a good view of the new attraction. While it can be seen from many parts of The Strip, readers are asking which hotel rooms have the best view of the world's tallest observation wheel.
So far, VegasChatter reader strong2us has reported that the rooms in the back of Harrah’s (touted to have “mountain views”) have a clear line of sight to the High Roller. Another VegasChatter reader, Al D., reported having a great view from the 25th floor of Harrah’s. Here are the daytime and nighttime shots he sent as proof:
It sure sounds weird doesn't it, an NHL team in Las Vegas. Yet professional sports teams have been eyeing Vegas as a potential expansion city for a few years. Now, the NHL seems determined to be the first in line.
To some, this might sound completely bonkers. "Hockey in Vegas? That's not going to sell!" This writer won't argue that statement one bit, however, it might become reality. There is, of course, the 20,000-seat arena that MGM Resorts is building behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo. Could it be the home of a professional sports franchise? Or, what about the new stadium just announced for the land between SLS and Fontaine-Bust?
OpenThread / Gambling / Video Poker / Blackjack / Craps / Mississippi Stud Poker / 3 Card Poker / Penny Slots / Slot Machines / → All Tags
Trips to the casino are filled with ups and downs. Sometimes, there's a winning session and, sometimes, there's a losing session. The casino has a few percentage point advantage on every game so losing a little isn't really a surprise. We can deal with losing by small percentages. It's part of the territory. The sessions, however, where there's no winning at all is what really grinds this writer's gears.
On a recent trip to the casino, I couldn't shake off a cold streak. I played every game to see if I could change my luck and nothing worked. The first session started out at the tables with 3 card poker where I was actually up for a little before losing. Later, I played craps and that was a loser, too, mostly on my rolls. Gasp! I switched to Mississippi Stud Poker and that was a loser. The only win was $10 while killing time on a penny slot before dinner. After the break, the losing continued with blackjack, video poker, higher denomination slot machines and Mississippi Stud Poker (again) before I just gave up.
Ever since this writer was a child I’ve always been early. For everything. It’s a blessing and a curse. In Las Vegas, that’s usually a curse because nobody is on time, but I digress.
A couple weeks ago, I arrived about 20 minutes early to brunch at Mandalay Bay. Like any gambler, I decided to kill time gambling and dropped $20 in a .25 cent Top Dollar slot machine. Top Dollar is probably my favorite slot machine, but I usually play the $1 game. Twenty minutes after the machine took my $20 bill, I walked over to brunch with a voucher worth $130. Brunch at Border Grill was delicious and the bill was exactly $130. Coincidence? Maybe. I asked the waitress if I could pay for everything using the $130 ticket from the Top Dollar machine. To no surprise I wasn’t able to, but since the bill was the exact amount of the winning ticket I decided to pay for brunch.
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.
When it comes to places to stay in Vegas, the competition is pretty steep. And, the cool thing about Sin City is how different each hotel is, even within the same price point. We think it's fair to say that choosing where to stay in Vegas is more exciting than any other city in the world due to the range of options and amenities at your disposal.
But, how does one decide? There are many platforms upon which to make a decision: the aforementioned personality/design, the location, the price, the casino, the restaurants/bars, the nightlife, vibe, comfort... the list goes on.
We want to know what you look for in a Vegas hotel, and what criteria you use to make your decision. We're sure it's a combination of the above, as even we like to balance price with personality and to mix it up, too! Drop us your thoughts in the comments below!
(PHOTO: Demont D. on Foursquare)