6 Second Room Tour At The D Las Vegas

Here’s a quick 6 second room tour of my hotel room at The D in Downtown Vegas from last week. I love these quick little vine videos that can highlight a hotel room so quickly. Moving forward I will be making these 6 second overviews for every hotel room I stay in. I’ll have a more detailed room tour with video, pictures and comentary from this stay at The D soon. This video hits almost all of the things I felt were important in the room.

There weren’t many negatives about this hotel room at The D. If I cared about having a view then I’d be upset that the wrap around the building completely knocked out any potential view. Here are my quick notes for one of the best $40 hotel rooms I’ve had in Las Vegas.

  • Nice Decor.
  • Nice TV signal but maybe a bit small.
  • Sweet picture of casino chips.
  • Size was big enough to have a seating area.
  • View of El Cortez negated with wrap.
  • Lamps with outlets (Most useful hotel technology in years).

If you follow me on twitter or tumblr you may have seen photographic highlights from my night away. I haven’t done a one night get away in a while and need to get back to taking these little trips.

In Vegas It’s Hot In The Sun

Las Vegas Weather

Talking about the weather is a funny thing. I was tweeting about this a few weeks ago when a friend had similar, unrelated, thoughts about talking weather. Usually weather is a topic just to fill awkward moments of silence. When I told friends I was moving to Las Vegas they all asked me about how I’ll deal with the weather. Truth is that there’s 4 months of sweltering heat in Vegas while there’s up to 6 months of cold and snow back east. I win the battle of bad weather.

Still, it’s hot in Vegas. Today will be the second day the temps reach 100 degrees this year. 100 degrees is hot but it’s not obscenely hot. That happens when the temperatures reach 115 and above. There’s no humidity in Las Vegas and that makes a huge difference. There really is something to there being “dry heat”. 100 degrees with zero humidity feels better on the skin than 90 with 100% humidity in New York City.

Last summer some friends were in town and we met up in downtown Vegas to play craps and Sigma Derby at The D among other games at other places. We joked that the weather was fine as long as we stayed under the canopy on Fremont Street. We joked about it until walking all the way to Mob Bar for a drink.

While it was fine being outside on Fremont Street the 115 degree temperature on that 1 block walk to Mob Bar was nasty hot. I woke up early this morning and decided to watch Channel 8 news and the weather person mentioned that it’s 15 degrees hotter when you stand in direct sunlight as opposed to the shade. Today’s 100 degrees will feel like 115 degrees and the temperature in July will feel like 130 when we walk to Mob Bar from The D.

Now we have a number to prove that it’s hot in the sun in Vegas. If you follow me on twitter you’ll notice me reference “closest _____ with covered parking” pretty often this summer. That’s my trick to avoid the extra 15 degrees. It’s also a good excuse to visit a casino since they have covered parking.

The heat is normally fine when you’re in the shade but you may want to stay out of direct sunlight if you don’t like the heat or you’re physically sensitive to it. Wether you’re covered or not it’s always a safe bet to drink water.

PS: On a side note it will be interesting how The Linq and MGM Park complex will deal with the sun and heat.

The Best Weather Of The Year In Vegas Begins Now

I was sitting outside yesterday afternoon, drinking the last of my Snow Day Winter Ale from New Belgium brewery and taking in the sun when I looked at the weather report and noticed that the temperature is heading into the mid 80’s this weekend. Las Vegas is heading into the best weather of the year!

As a visitor April and May were my favorite times of the year for Vegas weather. As a resident of Las Vegas (remember Vegas and Las Vegas are different) that has extended into March. March is when the weather begins to warm up and while it reaches perfection all the fun begins now. Outdoor drinking and dining have just started and soon I won’t be as dependent on sunlight to keep warm.

It’s officially pool season and the high temperatures are only in the mid 80’s. The low temperatures don’t feel as drastic as other times of the year and are in the 60’s which is almost perfect for the nighttime. In the next couple of months those highs will creep into the 90’s and begin to touch 100’s.

100 sounds brutal but it’s not. Zero humidity makes 100 degrees much more pleasant than anyone living in humidity will understand. The dry heat myth isn’t a myth.

The summer has its nice days but it gets a little too warm for my taste and even though I rarely get cold I can’t enjoy the winter days outside like I can in the spring. Sure the fall is nice too but that seems to last only a couple of weeks. Vegas has 2 more months of perfect weather ahead.

This is the best time of the year to live in or visit Vegas.

Cheap Hotels On The Vegas Strip

Las Vegas lost almost 300 cheap hotel rooms when Bill’s Gambling Hall closed in February. The plan was to replace it with a ultra-cool-young-hip-celebrity-friendly boutique hotel. Caesars Entertainment did that by partnering with Gansevoort and Victor Drai for the new Gansevoort Las Vegas.

As with every new casino Gansevoort Las Vegas will open with prices starting at the top of the market, currently $249, and why not? Last year at G2E a rep from MGM Resorts said that across all of their properties room occupancy is at 90% or more. Cosmopolitan says that they’re regularly almost at 90% capacity. Room rates will continue to rise with increased visitation. Last year I wrote about that the low rates at luxury hotels in Las Vegas were nice while they lasted but things are changing.

Don’t worry there are still plenty of hotel rooms on the Vegas strip (let alone downtown and off strip) that can be had for as low as $20 a night. Of course, you get what you pay for. Here are the least expensive hotels on the Vegas strip.

  • Bally’s
  • Best Western at Casino Royale
  • Circus Circus
  • Excalibur
  • Flamingo
  • Luxor
  • The Mirage
  • Monte Carlo
  • New York New York
  • The Quad
  • Stratosphere
  • Treasure Island
  • Tropicana

There are almost as many luxury hotel rooms on the Vegas strip as there are non-luxury hotel rooms. Las Vegas hotel room rates will continue to rise as demand increases with the better economy. The excess room supply that hurt Las Vegas during the recession will allow overall room rates to remain relatively stable in the future.

For the most part you get what you pay for in Las Vegas and you won’t get the same quality amenities at these hotels as you would at new and/or luxury hotels. This list is a great place to start if you’re looking for hotels with less expensive prices on the Vegas strip. If you’re looking to save even more money look away from the strip. Check out the list of cheap places to stay in Las Vegas.

For now…VIVA LAS VEGAS!

Photo: Las Vegas Guide

Bill’s To Become Gansevoort Las Vegas

Bill’s Gambling Hall closed in February so that Caesars Entertainment could renovate the property. The talk was that the property would cater to a younger, club going crowd and it seems like that will be the case with Bill’s becoming Gansevoort Las Vegas. Here’s the info straight from a Caesars press release I just received.

Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced today the collaboration with New York-based luxury hotel brand Gansevoort Hotel Group and nightlife impresario Victor Drai to launch a never before seen Las Vegas experience creating an intimate urban resort at the location of Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon. 

As the only standalone boutique resort, perfectly situated at the center of the Strip, Gansevoort Las Vegas’ exceptionally high standard of style and service will redefine the boutique hotel experience. Glitterati and everyday guests alike will receive the ultimate in VIP treatment and unique social experiences.

Gansevoort Las Vegas will be the fourth installment of the luxury hospitality brand following the recent success of Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York. Following a $185 million renovation, Gansevoort’s iconic style will completely reimagine the hotel experience in Las Vegas, creating the only intimate property among the Strip’s towering skyscrapers.  Gansevoort Las Vegas will feature 188 Parisian apartment-style guest rooms including 19 suites, designed by Tandem Las Vegas. An intimate lobby space will welcome guests upon arrival, with a redesigned lobby bar, ultra-lounge, retail outlets, and 40,000 square-foot casino providing a unique upscale energy. A destination restaurant overlooking the Strip will round out the guest experience.

Caesars Entertainment hasn’t created anything original in years so it’s no surprise that they would partner with a company (actually two companies with Victor Drai) to bring some sort of celebrity cool to their Las Vegas portfolio. USA Today was the first to report that the Gansevoort partnership was happening last week and I’m not very impressed with the initial renderings.

Of course, they are just renderings but the Gansvoort website looks like a 1990’s real estate website which is equally unipressive. I guess the “glitterati” don’t really care about that. Vegas Chatter has some useful information on Gansvoort Las Vegas:

  • Rooms will start at $249
  • Gansvoort Las Vegas will be part of Total Rewards (Bill’s wasn’t)
  • Beyonce, Prince, Brangelina are customers of Gansvoort

$249 seems to be the new price point for luxury hotels with Cosmopolitan and the Nobu Tower at Caesars Palace both charging prices in that range. Total Rewards players usually get better pricing so if you’re a gambler expect a small discount.

Gansvoort Las Vegas is exactly what I expected Bill’s to become and I’m curious to see how it develops.

Photo: USA Today

Beautiful Lunch At Red Rock Canyon (And Lots Of Pictures)

Recently I’ve decided to embrace my proximity to Red Rock Canyon. This is no small feat for this city guy. A couple weeks ago I grabbed a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee and a donut (yes, that’s lunch sometimes) and drove into the desert to clear my head and get away from things. I’ve only driven into Red Rock Canyon a couple times even though I’ve lived nearby for almost 2 years (2 years!).

About 5-10 minutes driving into the canyon area I found a scenic overlook. I don’t remember this being here before but it was a nice area. There are picnic tables (some covered) if you decide to actually bring your food out for a meal. There’s a helipad if you don’t have the patience to drive 30 minutes from the Vegas strip. Bike riders were the only people making use of the rest rooms. Last but not least there is no Verizon data access so there are no emails, texts, tweets or Facebook to disturb you from the tranquility of the desert and the rocks.

Nearby there’s a 13 mile scenic drive that will allow you to drive closer to the mountains where you’ll probably see some rams and burros. The drive costs $5 and has areas to pull off so you can take pictures. That seems like a good deal for $5 but I’m not sure I need that. Driving in the middle of nothing for 13 miles isn’t quite up my alley. While it’s still nice out (and not 115 degrees) I’ll continue my lunches at the scenic overlook. It’s calm, pretty and very different then what I’m used to. I dig it.

I took a bunch of pictures of the scenic overlook picnic area and the scenery. You’ll get to meet Big Red somewhere in this slideshow. Enjoy.

North Vegas Strip May Be Coming Back To Life

Fontainebleau Las Vegas
Fontainebleau

Yesterday it was announced that Resorts World Las Vegas would open in 2016. The renderings show a very impressive complex when construction is complete. The construction is supposed to be done in phases so don’t expect the casino to look like the renderings on opening date.

In February I mentioned that the SLS Hotel may have begun construction on the land where Sahara once lived on the Vegas strip. SLS Hotel is scheduled to open in 2014I still haven’t seen or heard a peep about construction progress and remain skeptical but they did make this snazzy sales video.

The Fontainebleau (above) remains a shell of a hotel today with no plans of opening. Since the bones of construction are completed I have to imagine that once construction is visible at both SLS Hotel and Resorts World we’ll begin to see movement on Fontainebleau.

That movement may with Fontainebleau be in the form of a sale first but the revitalization of the north Vegas Strip looks very real. The development of the north Vegas strip may be 10 years in the making but there is reason to believe that the Vegas strip will, once again, continue beyond Wynn.

Photo: Wikimedia

Caesars Entertainment Confirms Resort Fees

Thursday, Caesars Entertainment came forward and confirmed that they will, indeed, be adding a resort fee to the price of their hotels in Las Vegas. No big surprise there. Read their quote below to find the surprise from Gary Thompson, Caesars Entertainment’s director of corporate communications. His job is to spin every message to the media so that it’s seen as a positive.

This is in response to the increasing demand from our guests to provide a package price instead of the inconvenience of separate fees,” Thompson said in a statement today. “We continue to do all we can to provide our guests with the best value, best products and best experiences in Las Vegas.”

According to Mr. Thompson, Caesars customers asked for the resort fee to be added on to their room fee. How about that?! Has a customer ever asked to pay more for something? No. I’m surprised that Caesars statement to upset customers would be a lie like this. If it’s not a lie, I’d like to see proof.

I don’t get bothered by resort fees because I care more about the bottom line on the room fees. Any business has the right to charge what they want for their product or service. I also have a right not to buy that product or service. If I don’t like the final hotel room prices at Caesars properties I’ll book elsewhere. It’s not like Caesars owns all of the hotels in Las Vegas.

I don’t appreciate Mr. Thompson lying about why Caesars added resort fees but I’m more offended by the poor housekeeping at Caesars hotels. Don’t forget, if you’re offended by resort fees but still want to stay on the strip there’s always Casino Royale.

 

How To Find The Cost Of Your Las Vegas Hotel Room

Las Vegas is like no other place in the world in every way for better and worse. Now that Caesars Entertainment has added resort fees to their hotel rooms it means that all but hotel one Vegas strip hotel has a resort fee. As I’ve said for years I’m more concerned with the final cost of my hotel room than a resort fee. With that in mind let’s look at the anatomy of what a hotel room will cost in Las Vegas.

  1. Room Fee – This is what is advertised as a your Las Vegas hotel room cost.
  2. Resort Fee – This is hidden and not part of the advertised fee. Sometimes you’ll only see this when you make final room reservations (This happened to me recently at the Silverton…THE DAMN SILVERTON!).
  3. Taxes – Vegas strip hotels add 12% tax to your bill.

In order to get the actual price of staying a night in Las Vegas you’ll have to add the advertised room fee + resort fee x .12 for taxes. Here are resources to find out what you’ll be paying for your next Las Vegas hotel room.

I love me some math! Enjoy!

Photo: Mathspig

25% Of Las Vegas Cab Drivers Ripping You Off

Taxi drivers in Las Vegas have been ripping people off for years. It’s not really a secret and it looks like the government is finally going to do something about it. Last week they set up check points to see how many taxi drivers were long hauling passengers from McCarran Airport and here’s what they found.

About one-fourth of the 48 taxi drivers that passed this point on Thursday were given long-hauling citations

It’s a small sample size and that number is less than previously estimated. Most people that were pulled aside for this didn’t want to press charges against these crooked taxi drivers. They just wanted to get to their hotel. They’re on vacation…in Las Vegas…who wants to waste more time in a taxi? I wouldn’t.

That’s where the taxi drivers get you. They know you want to go have fun and you want to get to it as quick as possibly. If you’ve never been to Las Vegas before you won’t even know that 3-5 minutes is being added to your drive and if you’ve been to Las Vegas before you likely won’t care about the extra few bucks because you just want to go have fun.

If you find that you’re overcharged by a taxi driver and don’t feel like dealing with it at the moment because you’re on vacation, that’s fine. Just do two simple things and deal with it when you get home.

  1. Take pictures of your taxi and your driver.
  2. Submit a complaint to the Nevada Taxicab Authority

The more complaints that are submitted the sooner the government will do something about this. Think of this as paying it forward so someone else doesn’t get ripped off by these crooked taxi drivers.

Believe it or not there’s actually good news from this sting on taxi drivers overcharging customers. Last year estimates on Las Vegas taxi drivers long hauling were much higher than 25%.

Some drivers put the percentage of long haul rides at 50 percent or even 70 percent.

The truth on Vegas taxi drivers ripping you off is probably somewhere in between the range that were caught last week (25%) and the estimates from last year (50%-70%). That doesn’t make this problem better. It just makes it, potentially, less worse.

Note: Not all taxi drivers in Las Vegas are crooked so treat the good drivers well so we can keep them.

Photo: Wikipedia