Spirit Airlines May Be Awful But This Airplane Is Awesome

Las Vegas Spirit Airplane
ZOOM! VEGAS!

I was skimming through twitter one day last week and came across a post for Spirit Airlines earnings. The first quarter earnings didn’t capture my interest because I’ll never fly Spirit.

The picture of the airplane above got me a little excited about Vegas. I was so excited that I got dressed and headed out to Monte Carlo for some coffee and horrible wifi (more on that later).

Wifi Is Most Important Amenity For Hotel Guests, Mini Bar Is Least

Mini Bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Mini Bar at Cosmopolitan

I love a good survey when done by a reputable company. Trip Advisor is a pretty good representation of the American traveler as their users include everyone from the person that travels weekly for work to the person that takes just one trip a year.

TripAdvisor just released a survey that looks at the hotel amenities travelers can and can’t do without.

Most Important Hotel Amenities for U.S. Travelers

1.      Free In-Room Wi-Fi (89%)
2.      Free Parking (89%)
3.      Free Breakfast (84%)
4.      Free Personal Care Items (72%)
5.      Free Lobby Wi-Fi (71%)

Least Important Hotel Amenities for U.S. Travelers

1.      Mini Bar (21%)
2.      Spa/Beauty Treatments (23%)
3.      Business Center (34%)
4.      Laundry Service (39%)
5.      Free Pool-Side Wi-Fi (42%)

I didn’t realize that so many hotels offer free breakfast that so many people would want that. I’ve never considered that an amenity, but of course I usually travel to casinos. Beyond breakfast I’m in line with much of this list.

I must be the last person that uses the mini-bar. Last week I had a Red Stripe in a can from the mini-bar at Cosmopolitan. I don’t know what I would have done if I had to wait 15 minutes for my friend without that beer 🙂

What amenities do you want in your hotel room?

Photo: Flickr

Free Wifi Slowly Coming To Downtown Vegas

Downtown Vegas will be getting free wifi this year. You know I’m stoked. If there’s one thing you probably know about me is that I’m a wifi hog and always want access to wherever I go.

Jace Radke, city spokesman, said free Wi-Fi would be activated in two phases: The first phase will include an area bound by Charleston Boulevard on the south, U.S. 95 to the north, Interstate 15 to the west and Eighth Street to the east. Phase two will add an area bound by Charleston to the north, Wyoming Avenue to the south, Las Vegas Boulevard to the east and Main Street to the west.

Most of the combined area is populated by businesses and law offices but also included are four high-rise residential buildings.

Well, this first phase seems pretty useless for most people. The only major public space in that area is the World Market Center where people aren’t hanging out to use wifi. There are some small restaurants in the area but this isn’t really the part of Vegas I, or anyone I know, is hanging out. Now that I think of it the doctor’s office at the Lou Ruvo Clinic (above) has an atrium with a coffee shop where you can get some work done.

I’m hoping the second phase opens up free wifi to the Fremont East area. There are bars and restaurants where you can set up a laptop and do a little work.

Resort Fees Give Every Hotel Room On The Vegas Strip Wifi

Resort Fees are bad. Nobody will disagree with that but there is something that’s not awful that will come with every hotel on the strip adding a resort fee. When Caesars Entertainment adds a resort fee to all of their Las Vegas hotels next month it will mean that every room on the Vegas strip (besides Casino Royale) will now include wifi.

Not that everyone needs wifi on vacation but it’s nice to have the access. I’m a bandwidth hog and want it all the time. I travel with a laptop and smartphone and sometimes my awesome iPad mini. I get that not everyone is like me but more and more people are depending on wifi access. Many of them (for some reason) are travelling with children that expect wifi wherever they go and will be louder and more obnoxious when they don’t get what they want.

This isn’t to say that resort fees are good but, if nothing else, they’re bringing more internet access to Vegas hotels and that’s not a bad thing. Again, I’m looking for a bright side to resort fees.

On a related resort fee note, if you book a comp room at a Caesars hotel with your Total Rewards account you may not have to pay a resort fee. We’ll know for sure in a couple days but that’s how it’s worked for me at The Venetian and MGM Grand. Most people I know that stay at Caesars properties stay there because they have easy access to comp rooms and for them these resort fees may be moot.

 

MGM Resorts Offering The Coors Light Of Wifi For Free

I like a little girth to my beer and tend to drink darker beers. Coors Light is the beer I’ll drink when I want the flavor of beer but not feel the full effect of a real beer. A couple weeks ago MGM Resorts announced that would be offering free wifi across all of their Las Vegas properties. At first I was stoked…you know me, I love free wifi. Here’s the headline:

Eight MGM Resorts offer free Wi-Fi on the Las Vegas Strip

Great! I spend a lot of time on the Vegas strip and offen grab free wifi to do a couple hours of work. Unfortunately the free MGM wifi is like a light beer and may not be so useful for people like me.

Basic internet access is available with the system for anyone located in public areas such as the lobbies, pool areas, casinos, and restaurants at the named resorts. Use of the internet service will not require a password. Hotel guests will get an upgraded service as part of their stay, and convention attendees or others in need of more bandwidth can upgrade to top internet speeds for a fee.

The new system is expected to be up to 30% faster…

The free wifi service being offered by MGM Resorts is a throttled wifi service. The MGM Resorts free wifi for the public will be 70% of the speed that hotel guests or convention attendees will get with their resort or convention fees. If you’re just stopping by one of the MGM properties you’ll be relegated to the slower speed.

The free MGM wifi isn’t useless. The free wifi at MGM Resorts properties will be good for checking email at speeds quicker than 3G but not for people that are wifi bandwidth hogs like me. I’m a multi-tasker that often has multiple tabs open on a web browser while instant messaging, uploading photos, downloading a podcast, etc. so the throttled speed isn’t perfect.

The wifi speed will be sufficient for most people using mobile web or email but I don’t see the MGM wifi bringing me into their properties to grab a lunch and do a little work. It’s unfortunate, because I’m always looking for an excuse to spend time at Bellagio. I’ll stick with the hotels that offer full access to their wifi connection like The Venetian.

If wifi at 70% speed is enough for you then you can access it at BellagioMandalay BayMirage, and MGM Grand right now with New York-New YorkMonte CarloExcalibur, and Luxor coming on board later this year. I believe Aria has been offering free wifi since it opened.

 

Lucille’s BBQ and Other Changes At Red Rock Casino

Gather around…it’s story time!

You may or may not know that I live in Las Vegas now. When I moved to Vegas I visited the casinos in the area (Suncoast, Rampart & Red Rock) and decided to choose one as my “Home Casino” to focus my play so I could maximize comps. Red Rock Casino won. In fact, I’m writing this blog sitting the the food court at Red Rock Casino. See…

Red Rock Food Court

Before I moved to Vegas my first visit to Red Rock Casino was shortly after it first opened for one reason and one reason only – to visit the Vegas outlet of one of the best BBQ joints in America, Salt Lick BBQ. My friends and I were OK paying the $60 cab ride from the strip for what we expected to be the best BBQ we could find in town. Well Salt Lick BBQ wasn’t good. In fact, it was so bad that it closed pretty quickly after that visit.

A bad meal isn’t the worst thing for people that like to drink and gamble. It’s easy to over-eat BBQ and get food coma. We didn’t have that problem with Salt Lick. That gave us room to rumble in the casino. We loved Red Rock Casino and played for longer than we expected before returning to the strip.

I’m happy to have Red Rock as my home casino and I’m stoked for some of the upcoming changes.

Lucille’s Smokehouse

Life comes somewhat full circle as BBQ returns to Red Rock Casino with Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ coming next summer.

Lucille’s is a small chain of BBQ restaurants on the west coast. There are 16 restaurants in the chain and their Henderson location is said to have the best BBQ in Las Vegas. As much as I like BBQ, I haven’t made it there and probably never will with this location opening. I tend to stay away from Henderson. More on that another time.

Red Rock Cabo

Lucille’s will be taking the place of , Cabo, a Mexican restaurant and the only restaurant I’ve never been to at Red Rock Casino. I’m sure there’s some kind of deep meaning to that but I’m not going figure out what it is.

Cabo is already closed. The press says that Lucille’s is set to open in summer 2013, but I’m told it should be finished before then. Hopefully that means it opens sooner too…gimme some BBQ for football season!

Lucky Bar

Lucky Bar is the center bar at Red Rock Casino. If you’ve played blackjack or any of the tables, it’s the bar that the tables surround.

Lucky Bar has been closed for a couple of weeks and is currently being renovated. I’m told that the new feel to Lucky Bar will have more of a lounge atmosphere than a normal. Lucky Bar should be open soon. Hopefully they keep the video poker bar.

I’ll do some more digging on the video poker because Cabo also has video poker. I believe both are hooked into the progressive jackpot.

Free Wifi

On my most recent visits to Red Rock Casino I’ve noticed an option for free wifi throughout the casino. It was previously only available in the lobby. I checked in with Station Casinos to see if free wifi at Red Rock Casino was permanent and it is!

In fact a handful of the Station Casinos properties already have free wifi and the rest will come on board soon!

You probably know that I’m stoked for free wifi. I rarely work at a desk and I’m always in need of being connected so this gives me another excuse to spend time and money at the casino. Actually, it probably gives me an excuse to use more comps on iced coffee from Starbucks.

With so many people being owning smartphones and tablets and wanting to be connected at all times I find it silly that every hotel in Las Vegas doesn’t offer offer free property-wide wifi. In a shrinking business hotels should do everything in their power to keep the customer on site.

 

Tips On How To Get Free Wi-Fi In Your Hotel

I like standup comedy and I watch pretty much every special on Comedy Central. Todd Barry isn’t a comedian I particularly love but he’s funny, intelligent and dry enough for me to enjoy enough to spend time watching. I watch a lot worse TV, that’s for sure.

On his last special, “Super Crazy”, Todd Barry discusses how a friend gets free wifi in hotels and I figured I should share. I am always on the lookout for free wifi since I work in various places. Thankfully, Vegas Chatter has a pretty good list of where I can get free wifi in Vegas.

Enjoy the money saving trave tips below from Todd Barry.

**Note: There is sarcasm here.

Guest Blog on Vegas Chatter!

I’m so stoked to have contributed to Vegas Chatter that I need to share!  It’s an update on my free wifi findings on my last trip to Las Vegas.

Today, we have a special guest post from EastCoastGambler who details his harrowing WiFi experience on a recent trip to Vegas. Enjoy!

I love contributing to other blogs and hope to do so again.  You may recall I was lucky enough to contribute to Solo Friendly last year, talking about how I roll solo.

Optional Resort Fees at Venetian

My trip to Vegas has me splitting time between Planet Hollywood and the Venetian.  I started my stay at Venetian last night and woke up at 4am (again) this morning.  I was bored so I decided flip on the laptop and see what was going on in the world.  Low and behold a screen popped up asking if I wanted to pay the $12.99 wi-fi fee.

I was flummoxed (10 points please) as wi-fi was included in the resort fee when I stayed at Palazzo in April.  I called down to the front desk to get the scoop and was way too confused for 4am.  Resort fees are optional for some, but not all, invited guests who are tripping on comps of for tournaments (like me).

So, I could either pay the $17.99 resort fee and get everything included or I could pay $12.99 for wi-fi in my room or I could go down to the food court and snag free wi-fi.  Guess what I chose…

So, if you’re keeping track on wi-fi at the Venetian here’s the deal.

Free wi-fi is available in the lobby, the food court on the casino floor and the Canal Shops as well as the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at the shops.  Wi-fi will cost you something in your room, but depending on who you are it will be either $13 or $18.

If you’re hoping the resort fee may go away, forget it.  The hotel is figuring out how to make it mandatory for everyone.