Vegas Report – Thursday – Palace Tower Petite Suite at Caesars Palace

…After a nice cab ride to Caesars Palace we walk into the main check in area.  I tend to always over pack, so I was lugging around a 40+ pound suitcase and a laptop.  We look around, but cannot find Diamond Check In.  We were shown the way by a very nice employee on her way toward the Augustus Tower.  I haven’t seen the gaming area yet, but already realize how big this place is.  Diamond Check in and the Augustus Tower are pretty far from the rest of the casino.  Check in was a breeze and I was upgraded to a petite suite in the Palace Tower as opposed to the Augustus Tower room I reserved.  I love hearing the word suite!

After what felt like a 20 minute walk through the casino we found the Palace Tower.  After a day learning the grounds it wasn’t so bad.  The good news is that it’s right by the pools.  Only 3 of the 5 pools are currently open.  Here is the view of the pools from my room.

cp-pools

Now for a photo tour of the petite suite.  Open the door to the nice entry hall filled with huge closets to the left and two bathrooms and a vanity to the right.

entry

If I were to nitpick I would mention that the TV was too small and did not have HD programming.  The actual decor of the TV area was very nice.  However, I had to chuckle at the $6.50 bag of kettle chips that cost $1 anywhere else.  Truth be told, I would have eaten them if I was drunk and hungry.

tv-area

The room was pretty spacious and, again, decorated very nicely.  The general room decor is modern.  I’ve mentioned before how much I like and prefer clean line design.  Doubling back we head to the bathrooms.

toiletbidet

The larger of the two bathrooms included a single sink with a granite top, a water closet (shown above) with a bidet and toilet as well as a huge jacuzzi tub (not shown).  The smaller of the bathrooms had just a sink water closet.  No complaints with that, just not exciting enough to take a photo.  The bathrooms were connected by jack and jill style showers.

showers

Since the showers have glass doors my friend and I couldn’t both use the bathroom at the same time if one of use was using the shower.  I’m not sure that this was the best design idea, but it was ok.  Having a double shower was pretty cool.  The shower was huge.

neverending-hall

Overall, I was pretty happy with the room.  The bathroom design was semi-dated but kept with the roman theme of the hotel while the main space of the room was spacious and modern.  The room was almost all the way at the end of the hall, which felt like a long haul on the first day but wasn’t really that bad.

Next up:  Time to get up and go…

Vegas Report – Thursday – Departure

Last week I ventured off to my favorite destination in the United States – Las Vegas.  I’m going to recap the trip in a number and variety of posts.  I’ll be jumping from “I” and “we” as I took the trip with a good friend, but we weren’t always together.  We’ll begin the journey from my house.

I’ve always been a nervous airplane traveler.  I tend to get to the airport 2+ hours before a flight just to be safe – especially when going out to Vegas for fun.  My flight was scheduled for 1pm.  My car service was about 15 minutes early so I gladly departed at 10am.  I upgraded to first class and check in was a breeze.

There was about 2 hours until boarding so we got a quick bite at McDonald’s.  I haven’t had a McDonald’s breakfast in a while.  I’m happy the meal was uneventful.

I remembered I passed a Wine Bar so I wandered back towards the gate and decided to give it a shot.  I try not to go to the bathroom mid flight so I don’t tend to drink much before a flight.  I decided on a flight of California red wines while I caught up with work before I took off.  The wine bar was nice and relaxing.  One of the wines was a pinot noir that was perfect.  I could enjoyed the rest of the bottle if I had time.

The flight out was overbooked and Continental offered a nice package to those willing to wait on their flight – $300 voucher + food vouchers + first class on the next flight + (I think) access to the captains lounge during the wait.  This was quite an offer, but not enough for me to delay my trip to Las Vegas by 7 hours.

First class on this airplane was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  I believe that the plan was a Boeing 757.   Leg room was insane.  I couldn’t reach the seat in front of me with my feet.  The seats reclined more than any other seats I’ve had before.  There was a foot rest that popped out when reclined and lumbar support.  There was an individual entertainment center located in each seat.  It had TV shows, video games, movies and music.  I thought only Virgin Atlantic had something like this.  It was awesome.  I knew my coach flight back would suck.

1stclass

Surprisingly, I didn’t bother with the entertainment center.  I had my ipod and tried to fall asleep with a few more glasses of wine.  When that didn’t work, I had a Grand Marnier.  I knocked off for a little while after my burrito lunch and then it was on to skyy vodka and club soda.  I felt nice by the time I got to Las Vegas and didn’t even care that I was 20 minutes late.

One perk of being in first class is that checked bags come out very quickly.  After gathering our bags it was off to the “Taxi Line.”  I hate this line, but it wasn’t so bad.  I’ve stood in a line 3 times as long.  Once in the cab I told the driver we were off to Caesars and to please don’t take the tunnel.  He sighed about that and went on to explain that taking the tunnel is how he makes his money.  Too bad – not my money.  We talked about the fight a bit and he asked who I was rooting for.  I told him Manny would probably win, but I just want a good fight.  The driver revealed that he was Filipino and rooting for Manny.

On to Caesars Palace next….

Vegas Trip Notes

I’m back from Las Vegas and had a great trip.  I stayed at Caesars Palace which was pretty nice but very big and a little mellow.  Below are the notes I took during the trip.  A lot of these were tweeted during the trip.  Full review coming in the coming days.  

Thurs

Car early
McD’s breakfast
Wine bar – Flight of CA reds. Awesome.
Plane overbooked – $300 + first class + food. 
First class – most leg room individual tv/game/movie unit. Wine, sky/soda, grand marnier, sleep.
20 mins late.
CP huge
Diamond check in on one side. Upgrade to petite suite in palace tower. 15-20 min walk from check in.
Room nice and big. Location not bad.
3 of 5 pools open.
Mesa grill – awesome salad.
Explore CP -$20 vp – loss.
Room – game 6 bulls/celts. Great game
Palazzo – club grazi. $50 sign up.
Nice casino. Machines were broken.
Bar $20 VP. Loss. 
Carne Vino – Awesome. PH for 2.
Downtown
Freemont exp – kiss.
Golden monkey @ golden nugget -$20
Mini pai gow – about 8 kettel/soda +$100
CP 3CP -$300
$5 JOB -$300
Sleep 3 something AM.
Awake 7am. Blech. 

Fri

Up @ 7.
Room for a while.
Coffee & croissant
Various penny slots. +
Crepe madam. Pretty good.
Back to room. Relax.
No Zappos visit
To MGM.
Weigh in packed. told we couldn’t get in.
Played penny slots. -$20
8/5 VP +5
3CP + 400
Closed circuit @ MGM sold out. Told to go to NYNY. Told it’s sold out. Buy CC tix @ Mirage.
Back to room. Change. To Bellagio.
Dinner @ Prime. Kobe strip. AWESOME. Sit outside.
3cp +$400 
To palms
A lot to drink.
3cp +$300
To Gold Coast
Now has TGIFridays. Couple apps. Pai gow -$100
Fun cab to CP
Sleeeeeeep!

Sat

Coffee and croissant
-$100 VP
-$700 various $5 slots
-$50 penny slots
Room. Relax. Shower.
Lunch @ Augustus cafe. Shake + grilled cheese. Not bad.
Diamond lounge. Nice. no buffet. Nice staff. Good drink. Watched kentucky derby. 
To mirage for for CC fight tix
3cp +$200
Explore mirage.
Fight is far away from casino. There’s some kind of miss viet nom thing lots of hotties.  Also some military ball.
Drink + 3 play VP +$24
Time for fight.
Nice set up. Banquet style round tables. GA. Sold out or closed to it. Many VIPs. Not me.
About 65/35 toward hatton.
manny destoys. Place goes nuts. Brits wimper out.
After most leave. We walk out with terry fator show ending.
Dinner @ Samba.
Still many ppl, not many gamblers. $5 BJ and 3cp. Open with seats.
To HRC
Packed
Rearranged floor since last trip. Go-go stage. More slots.
$5 3cp -$100
Lots of DB’s
Caesars. “Early crash”

Sun

Payards croisant/coffee/again/messy
gamble
5c Top dollar slot -20
Sports book
VP 9/6 BP -80
Hawks -5.5 +100 poor wager. Wanted 2 bet more.
Reds + cards parlay +$37. Cards rained out
Sports bar many drink 9/6 VP -20 25 c top dollar -20
Some 7’s slot +7. confused. left.
Forum shops nice
Cheesecake fact – sliders – eh
$5 9/6 job -300
$5 Top dollar +300
$1 WOF +150
Nap
Diamond lounge packed hot food
Craps -400
5 c top dollar -100
Augustus cafe grilled cheese & shake again
PH – rocking
Go go dancers
1c WOF wack -20
3 play VP @ Heart Bar -20
CP – rockin
$1 WOF +75
Crash

Mon

Late rise
Pack
See host – all charges gone
augustus – bacon chz omlt. Good
$1 WOF +75
$1 diamond slot even
Cashier got bitchy when I cashed tickets
Room to relax
Airport
Flight delayed 2 hours
Chilis
Can’t sleep

MGM Stocks Halted On Stock Market

Trading of MGM Mirage stocks were halted at the end of the trading day today.  This sent many Las Vegas watchers into a frenzy – myself included.  The news wasn’t as interesting as the chatter.  Straight from the horses mouth.

MGM MIRAGE (NYSE: MGM) and Dubai World through subsidiary Infinity World, 50/50 joint venture partners in the CityCenter project, today announced that the companies have reached an agreement on a revised joint venture agreement and also reached an agreement with CityCenter’s lenders on a comprehensive plan to fully fund the completion of CityCenter for its scheduled opening later this year. 

This is a bit of good news for MGM Grand.  If City Center is able to be completed as planned MGM Mirage shouldn’t have to divest any more properties to finish the project.

Station Casinos Holding On. For Now.

Last night Las Vegas’ mostly locals casino chain, Station Casinos, announced that they were given an extension on their deadline to file for bankruptcy by their lenders.  The extension is for 30 days and doesn’t mean that Station Casinos is in the clear just yet.

The May 15 deadline gives holders of $2.3 billion in bonds more time to consider Station Casinos’ offer to buy back investors’ bonds and exchange them with new, discounted notes with extended maturity dates, potentially reducing the company’s debt by $1.7 billion.

The extension postpones a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Station, which anticipates filing for bankruptcy protection regardless of whether bondholders approve the exchange.

Filing for Chapter 11 isn’t always the death of a business.  In this case it could allow Station Casinos the ability to restructure, pay off debt and stay in business.  

As I’ve mentioned before, I like Station Casinos and think there is a place in the market for them.  I, almost always, make it a point to stop off at the Gold Coast.  I have plans on doing that again on my next trip.  The Gold Coast was on of the places where I honed my gambling chops and I hope things stay in tact.

Las Vegas Building Timeline

There has been a lot of building stoppages and delays in Las Vegas.  Vegas Tripping has created a nice visual representation of what and when each project is scheduled to be completed.  There’s also a nice little trash can to note which projects have been shelved.

timeline-vegas08-14-v3-lg3

A lot of projects have been pushed back or postponed.  I haven’t been to the Golden Nugget in a few years so I’m looking forward to seeing the new changes when I visit.  I love seeing a visual perspective on things like this.  Thanks Vegas Tripping.

Station Casinos to File For Bankruptcy

It has been a rumor for a while that Station Casinos would either sell some or all of the company or file for bankruptcy protection.  Much like most rumors in the casino business this one is now true.  Station Casinos will file for bankruptcy protection by April 15.

Station had its attorneys file court papers Monday opposing a motion for a court injunction sought by a bondholder who is seeking to block the debt-exchange, a key part of Station’s plan to file a pre-packaged bankruptcy petition that would keep its business operating and includes a cash infusion of $244 million by Station owners the Fertitta family and Colony Capital.

Boyd Gaming is still moving aggressively to buy Station Casinos, but they’ve not been able to get that done.

“Station employs over 13,000 people and plays an important social and economic role in the local community. There is no reason to needlessly jeopardize the economic health of this company and its various constituencies so that a single bondholder can pursue spurious claims outside of the established restructuring process.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  I really like Station Casinos because of their local flavor.  They’re always a nice change of pace from the strip casinos.  Nothing will effect my next trip to Las Vegas and I hope Station is able to fight through this.  This kind of feel like a fight for the little guy.  Go little guy!

M Resort – Las Vegas’ Newest Shining Star

There has been a lot of hoopla over the opening of M Resort, located at the south end of the Las Vegas strip.  Vegas Rex too a walk through the casino on opening night.

My first impression from afar is that I like the new modern design of M Resort.  To no surprise there were a TON of people walking around for opening night.  With that being said, I didn’t see many gambling.

Hunter from Rate Vegas reported back that the Video Poker pay tables he found were 8/6.  For a detailed account of his visit head over to Two Way Hard Three.

***UPDATE: Most JoB machines seem to be 8/6 in all denominations.  Blackjack pays 6:5 except in the salon where it pays 3:2.  Salon table minimums are $50.  Goodbye M Resort.  I hardly knew yee.


Caesars Palace Expansion on hold

I just got the official press release from Harrah’s with confirmation that Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has put a hold on the construction of Octavious Tower.  Here’s the release in it’s entirety.

LAS VEGAS — Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. said it is delaying plans to open 665 new rooms at a sixth tower it has just built at Caesars Palace until there is stronger demand for hotel rooms.

The 23-story Octavius Tower was scheduled to open this summer as part of a $1 billion expansion at the casino resort.

Harrah’s said that other parts of the expansion will open on schedule, including 110,000 square feet of meeting space, an expanded pool and garden area, and three 10,000-square-foot luxury villas. Strong advance bookings warranted finishing the new meeting space, Harrah’s said.

With the economy in the middle of a recession and room occupancy low, there really isn’t a reason to go forward with completion at this point.  It’s better than firing people.  The addition is just about complete so if there’s a need to increase capacity, they’ll be able to move quickly.

For details and pictures head over to Vegas Today and Tomorrow.

$20 Trick – Las Vegas

I was advised to take a look at Front Desk Tip after my last trip to Las Vegas.  The premise is simple.  Slip the front desk person $20 at check in and ask for an upgraded room.  We all like upgrades!

Here are instructions from the site:

Why tip $20 at the front desk?
This gives you an opportunity to get an upgraded room/suite for cheap. This has become a common practice at hotels across the world.

Any tips on tipping?
In general people seem to have a better success rate with males 25-35.
It’s also advised to go at a later time (~10pm) because hotels tend to overbook and by this time, they should know which rooms are available.

How should I tip?
There is no secret sign or password. You basically tip the front desk and ask for a complimentary upgrade.

1. When you go to the front desk to check into a hotel, they will ask for a credit card or driver’s license.
2. Put a $20 bill between or under your driver’s license and credit card.
3. Ask the clerk if there are any complimentary upgrades.
4. Most clerks will know to give you back the money if they cannot offer you the upgrade.

If it fails?
It can be embarrassing. You can come down later to talk to another clerk for a different room or just enjoy your time.

I’ve never done this because I haven’t had to, but it seems worth it.  The success rates seem pretty good, and if you don’t get the upgrade all you lose is $20 and a little pride.

I’m not sure if I’ll do this on my upcoming trip since I’m Diamond @ Caesars and use VIP check in.  I’ve never needed to bust out extra cash for a nice room.  Any advice would be great.  Below is a screenshot of Front Desk Tip.

fdt2