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This VegasChatter writer has never been inside of a wax museum. But, I have read more comic books than, well, books. I knew a bit about Madame Tussauds, though, and -- after hearing about a new Marvel Comics experience -- I figured I would check it out for myself.
Upon entry to Madame Tussauds, you’re greeted by Joan Rivers. It fooled me. At a glance, even knowing that I was in a wax museum, I thought Joan Rivers was actually in the museum. In retrospect, her wax doppelganger is probably holding up better than the real deal.
Thus began the fun.
Drinking / VegasChatter Reviews / Whiskey Down / MGM Grand / Bars / Lounges / Openings / → All Tags
As part of MGM's self-declared "Grand Renovation," we've seen the launch of Hakkasan as well as the closure of Tabu Ultra Lounge. That closure left the door open for what has become one of this writer's new favorite spots. And, not for the reasons I had initially thought.
A 24-hour bar, lounge and gaming room, Whiskey Down -- which opened in late August -- really drew me in with its wide-open concept more than its marquee attraction. A big change from the walled off Tabu lounge, Whiskey Down gives patrons a feeling of being a part of the casino floor. The space features lounge seating as well as video poker machines and six blackjack tables. (Interested gamblers should note that, on most of my visits, the table minimum for blackjack was $100 or more.)
VegasChatter Reviews / Downtown Grand / Lady Luck / Name Changes / Renovations / Openings / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / → All Tags
In part one of our review of Downtown Grand, we spent four nights in a 450 square-foot corner "Premium" room on the top floor of the Casino Tower. Now it's time for a review of the property's more 'basic' offering, the 350 square-foot "Deluxe" room. And, spoiler, we definitely had a preference between the two.
After this writer took an overnight excursion to Primm, it was back to Downtown Grand for another two nights. This time, I’d booked through Hotels.com for a nightly rate of $37 plus tax and an $11 nightly "Grand Experience" fee. I had no delusions that I’d be getting a premium room once again. Even a tight Mr. Olympia tee and a bit of flirting with the familiar desk agent didn’t help get an upgrade from deluxe. Darn! I mean "yay, my review is now a two-fer!"
Once on the eighth floor, it was deja vu again, but this time for a different reason. The carpeting in this corridor looked very familiar.
VegasChatter Reviews / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Downtown Grand / Lady Luck / Hotel Rooms / Resort Fees / Renovations / Openings / Name Changes / → All Tags
Remember the old Certs commercial? “It’s two (click) two (click) two mints in one!” Here at VegasChatter, we’re going retro and doing the Certs version of Downtown Grand room reviews. Two opinions from back-to-back stays (with a one-night break in-between to recharge our objectivity). And, just like that breath mint, the former Lady Luck is now as fresh as a mountain spring and as yummy as the tastiest candy. But, is that enough to lure people away from the beer-and-onion breath (if you will) of Fremont Street? Let’s take a peek behind those guestroom doors and find out. First, a review of the hotel-casino's Premium rooms. Tomorrow, we'll check out the Grand's Deluxe guestrooms.
We’ve been spending a lot of time at the Downtown Grand, both in person and by way of our site. If you’ve been reading our updates, you’d think we haven’t yet stayed. That’s not the case. We've actually spent a lot more time there than we'd planned to, especially this particular writer thanks to an unpleasant flu/cold/fever thing that kept me in bed for much of my stay. And, when you’re feeling miserable, you’re especially aware of your surroundings, no? Thank goodness the first four nights of my visit were in a 450 square foot corner Premium Room on the top floor of the Casino Tower. (Cue the deja vu music to remind you of my review of the corner petite jacuzzi suite at Eastside Cannery just a few weeks ago.)
I’d like to think it was my dazzling smile and always irresistible Brut 33 splash that got this writer moving on up from a bottom-tier room to a dee-luxe corner room in the sky. (Hey, it’s worked before.. maybe..) But, more than likely it was the fact I’d received a special media rate for a VegasChatter meet-up and they were hoping to make a good impression. After a slight delay coupled with a pleasant and unexpected greeting by the VP of Operations, my reservation agent escorted me to a elevator banks where I was whisked to the top floor of the Casino Tower (room 1802, to be precise).
VegasChatter Reviews / Music / Events / Hard Rock / Metalachi / Vinyl / → All Tags
This writer loves Mariachi music.
I just can't help it. After reading a book by Elijah Wald called Narcocorrido some years back and, subsequently, diving into the history and culture of Mexican music, I somehow hooked myself.
For a guy who came up on a steady diet of midwestern punk rock and heavy metal, this is a bit unorthodox. Maybe, it was the years working in restaurant kitchens that sparked the interest. Recently, after being offered a chance to review Hard Rock's new(ish) Monday night act, Metalachi, and looking them up on Google, I couldn't say “yes” fast enough.
VegasChatter Reviews / Comedy Shows / Broadway Rat Pack / Groupon / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Four Queens / Phat Pack / Rat Pack / → All Tags
Mix one part Rat Pack Is Back, two parts drunken karaoke, an equal amount of community theater and a scoopful of moldy cheese. Sprinkle with some of your annoying uncle’s bad jokes. Then, dump the whole concoction onto a stage. What do you get? Why, The Broadway Rat Pack at Four Queens, of course.
When we first heard about the opening of “The Broadway Rat Pack” in downtown’s Canyon Club our initial reaction was…. why? Did Vegas really need another “Pack” show? Wasn’t the Rat Pack Is Back at Rio still going strong? Wasn’t downtown's Plaza about to lower the curtain on their own Phat Pack which had replaced Rat Pack Is Back in the same showroom? Hadn't Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack already closed in multiple Vegas venues before finally hitting the road? What could this version offer to justify its existence? And, why was “Broadway” in the title? Unfortunately, those queries were about to be answered with another. “Why did we ever ask?”
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.
Off Strip / Eastside Cannery / Boulder Highway / Suites / VegasChatter Reviews / Budget Vegas / → All Tags
One of the great thrills of flying into Las Vegas is a nighttime landing. The lights and scenery are breathtaking. And, if you approach from the east, the first wonderful sight you’ll take in is the ever-changing color show of the Eastside Cannery hotel tower. Since September 2008, its unique design and saw-tooth roofline have drawn many eyes in its direction. But, due to its Boulder Highway location, few tourists are likely to visit. And, even fewer actually consider staying there. Which is why we were compelled to give it a try.
Having become overly familiar with the Strip and downtown (as well as our disdain for the clubbing crowd and the skeevies on Fremont Street), we’ve been searching for ways to keep our visits fresh. A great offer on Booking.com for an Eastside Cannery Petite Jacuzzi Suite caught this writer's attention. The Cannery’s own website promised plenty: a 650-square-foot corner room with two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, pillow-top king bed, luxurious oversized jacuzzi with multiple massage settings, panoramic views of the entire valley, and much more. Three weekday nights for $179 plus tax, no resort fee and free WiFi as well? Count me in (while leaving some room in the back of my mind for possible disappointment).
VegasChatter Reviews / Heritage Steak / The Mirage / Tom Colicchio / Steakhouses / Restaurants / Eating / Dining / → All Tags
There isn’t much that excites this writer than the prospect of finding a great new steak. That steak may be located on the Vegas Strip in a fancy steakhouse or in Downtown Vegas at a regular restaurant that may be as famous for their chicken parmigiana as their steak.
Even before Heritage Steakhad a name, my excitement was high for a new restaurant from Tom Colicchio. Then, Colicchio tweeted with us and things got a little swoony. Eager as I was to try Heritage Steak, it took me a while to get to The Mirage. But, a couple of beers into a conversation and a check of the OpenTable app and I had a reservation. Turns out that was a good thing:
VegasChatter Reviews / LVH / Shimmer Showroom / Shows / Entertainment / Family Friendly Vegas / Show Reviews / Comedy Shows / Comedy / Off Strip / Openings / Vegas Residencies / → All Tags
Well, that didn’t last very long. Just a week after we brought you details on LVH’s The D*Word, the show went dark. Now, LVH is bringing in acts with broader appeals to sell seats in its Shimmer Showroom. First up is Mo5aic, an a cappella vocal group that is music to our ears.
Also new on the roster is clean comedian Carlos Oscar, a “comedy treasure” according to the legendary Bill Cosby. As we made our way towards the LVH showroom last Friday night, posters reminded us of Mr. Cosby’s opinion over and over again. Inside, we took note of the abundance of children and families in the audience and recalled that this is the same theater that was once home to Andrew Dice Clay.
VegasChatter Reviews / Openings / Celebrity Chefs / Cafes / Downtown / The Light Group / Restaurants / Downtown Vegas / MTO Cafe / → All Tags
Downtown recently added another small restaurant to the mix, but it isn’t on Fremont East. It only serves breakfast and lunch, but is isn’t EAT. The chef is a proven draw, but he won’t be scowling or shouting at you. One of its founders is formerly of The Light Group, but dont expect a celebrity DJ with your eggs. In fact, the new MTO Cafe goes for a retro comfort feel (think Hollywood diners of the 50s), and had us thinking of our Grandma’s specialties during a media preview last Tuesday, October 22. That hasn’t happened in a long time.