Tag: Vegas ObservationsView All Tags
Vegas Observations / Free Vegas / Treasure Island / The Mirage / Bellagio / Wynn / Caesars Palace / Flamingo / Circus Circus / Monte Carlo / Blue Man Group / → All Tags
During its original ten year run, the swashbuckling performance served as one of the greatest examples of the city’s family friendly era. Its more recent rendition, full of scantily-clad women and poorly crafted jokes, could be viewed cynically as a representation of the party pits and 6:5 blackjack payouts that many Strip casinos are now known for. With one of Vegas’ most iconic attractions no longer in action, we thought it an appropriate time to check up on the remaining free Las Vegas Strip shows.
Construction / Attractions / Treasure Island / TI / Sirens of TI / Phil Ruffin / Vegas Observations / Rumors / Senor Frog's / → All Tags
As we begin to learn more about the new shopping venue on the way at TI, the demolition out front continues to change the resort’s appearance. When the lagoon went dry last month, the pirate-inspired rock façade began to come down. While it seems that a decision has been made to leave the upper portions intact, we were surprised to walk by recently and see the lower jaw of the facade's craggy skull was missing. Even worse, we found a solid wall behind it. Where’s that cavern full of looted gold? Here's a before and after:
Vegas Observations / Treasure Island / TI / Kahunaville / Restaurants / Dining / Eating / Drinking / → All Tags
When we last checked in at TI, we found that the party seemed to be missing at party bar Kahunaville. The lack of crowds, paired with the barrage of offers for discounted frozen drinks, suggested to us that the 13-year-old restaurant and flair bar may be on its way out. We’ve since heard from the owners, who insist that Kahunaville is here to stay.
Kahunaville suggests that its Island-style casual atmosphere is lacking elsewhere on The Strip. The island theme may be unique (assuming you've never made it over to Margaritaville), but other party bars like Rockhouse and Carnaval Court, both just across the street, aren’t exactly upscale. On competing with Senor Frog’s, TI’s new and similarly themed party restaurant, Kahunaville chooses to focus on the increased traffic moving through the doors. If guests at TI are, indeed, doing some in-house bar-hopping, then the arrangement may be mutually beneficial.
We can see a show and have a nice dinner just about anywhere in the world. A major part of what makes Las Vegas a great destination is the fact we can do those things and then walk out into the casino and do a little gambling. You can’t do that in New York (for now), Los Angeles or any other large city.
Since 1999, spending in Las Vegas casinos has skewed towards non-gaming activities. The casino floor is changing and now there is data to prove what we’ve all seen. According to Vegas Inc., casino floors are becoming more intimate with less gaming areas. There are less table games and slot machines than any point in the past 10 years. Vegas Strip casinos at the end of 2012 had 13,000 less slot machines than they did in 2000 and 5,000 less than 2005.
If you're like this writer, you just bounce. But, some folks do want a full accounting of their hotel stay before they depart so, when you can't (or don't want to) check-out through your TV, the alternative was to stand in line to speak to a front desk agent. But, MGM Grand is offering another way to go about things: a self-serve kiosk.
Vegas Observations / Downtown Grand / Blackjack / Video Poker / Gambling / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
Things change in casinos. That’s why VegasChatter exists. Things changed for the worse while Downtown Grand was still in their soft opening phase and don't look like they'll change for the better any time soon. When we first walked through the casino on the opening day, we found good returns on blackjack, but not much elsewhere. 3-4-5 craps odds aren’t bad, but they aren’t good, either. When we checked, video poker the Bonus Poker game was 7/5 (pays 7-1 for full house, 5-1 for flush). Again, not the worst, but not good, either.
As the days past, we read a few Facebook and forum posts about Downtown Grand changing the pay tables on their video poker games, but we didn’t see before and after pictures to confirm these reports. When we checked the video poker at Downtown Grand for a second time, the pay tables were, indeed, changed. The same Bonus Poker video poker pay tables that used to be 7/5 were downgraded to only pay 6 for a full house and 5 for flush.
Resort Fees / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Golden Gate / The D Hotel / Vegas Observations / Hotel Rooms / → All Tags
The ‘No Resort Fee’ era of Downtown Vegas came to an end over the summer when Golden Gate and The D introduced $20 a night charges. CEO Derek Stevens didn’t sugarcoat the decision, explaining it was necessary in order to compete on third-party travel search engines that sort hotels by price. Competitors like Plaza, who were already using resort fees to make their nightly rates appear lower than they really were, have been consistently outranking those hotels that don’t charge such fees. Golden Gate and The D took the if you can’t beat ‘em, join 'em approach and introduced their own fees, while lowering their displayed rates, in August.
While we hate the resort fee game, it clearly makes a difference for hotel operators. Since tacking on the $20 upcharges, both The D and Golden Gate have slashed their room rates and are now dominating listings on travel sites like Priceline and Orbitz. We checked Priceline for the cheapest room we could find next week and The D came out on top. Its $11 advertised price will actually be closer to $35 once the resort fee and taxes are added on.
Drinking / Downtown Grand / Beer / Art Bar / Furnace Bar / Mob Bar / Pizza Rock / Bars / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
Downtown Grand celebrated its official grand opening yesterday. But, with a soft opening on October 27, we've already spent a lot of time there.
Depending on your game, the odds in the casino are hit (blackjack) or miss (video poker) so we decided to take our excitement to the bars. Every bar at Downtown Grand is beautiful and feels very comfortable. However, this beer drinker had a few chuckles with the offerings available at Art Bar (shown above) and the newly relocated Mob Bar. Here’s the bottled beer menu from Art Bar
as viewed through beer goggles:
Vegas Observations / Events / Festivals / Life Is Beautiful / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / → All Tags
We spoke pretty highly of downtown's Life is Beautiful festival last week, but now that the streets are cleared and everyone has gone home, we can focus on what should be kept and what should be tossed for the return of the already confirmed festival next fall.
Keep It: A Widely Varying Line-Up
By featuring a wide array of bands of different genres, LIB was able to draw a purported 30,000 people a day to the festival. From Indie Rock and Old School Hip-Hop to EDM and Folk, most genres were represented. This writer would have liked to see a punk or metal band or two, but was still (mostly) satisfied.
VegasChatter Reviews / Vegas Observations / Bally's / Jubilee Tower / Renovations / Hotel Rooms / → All Tags
When Caesars Entertainment announced that they were rebranding and renovating the south tower at Bally’s into the Jubilee Tower, it was easy to be skeptical. The remodeled the Flamingo FAB rooms aren’t much more than lipstick on a pig with a 20-year-old bathroom that went untouched. The change from Imperial Palace to The Quad included renovations of everything except for (now?) the hotel rooms. Thankfully, Caesars treated the Jubilee Tower renovations with a little respect. The entire tower has been remodeled from the hallways to the bathrooms.
None of the signage on the casino floor points to “Jubilee Tower” yet so don’t forget this tower is also known as the “South Tower.” After a long wait for the elevators, you walk out to new carpeting throughout the room corridor. Everything feels fresh and crisp. This is how all hotels should feel -- new or
Comedy / V Theater / Miracle Mile / Planet Hollywood / Las Vegas Live Comedy Club / VegasChatter Reviews / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
Dogs doing tricks, naked zombies, mind reading, hypnosis, stripper class, country music impersonators. What doesn't the V Theater inside Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood have? How 'bout a comedy show? The new Las Vegas Live Comedy show puts a check in that box. The comedy club debuted about a month ago and features a rotating cast of comedians from across the country.
The show begins with a "host" (not very good up-and-coming comedian) who introduces two established comedians. When we visited as part of a media invite, the comedians were both excellent despite being about 10 notches dirtier than we every expected.
Newly opened Downtown Grand is making a great first impression by offering service over and above what's expected. After only a handful of visits, this writer began to be noticed and greeted by valet attendants who only knew me by what I drove and not what I do. (No, not a little red Corvette. A gunmetal gray Crosstour is how I roll these days.) On the other hand, I was Foursquare mayor of PRESS at Four Seasons for weeks (meaning, I was there a lot), but received no recognition at any time. (I still heart you, though, PRESS. The venue.)