Category: Travel and Gamble

Las Vegas Acommodation Options part I

Las Vegas is one of America’s most popular travel destinations and remains a strong favourite even in the face of the ongoing recession. Nearly everything in this city revolves around tourism and customer service, so visitors don’t need to work hard to arrange all the details of a fun getaway to Sin City.

With more than 130,000 rooms in Las Vegas, it’s rare to have trouble booking a room in the hotel of your choice. The Strip certainly fills up during big holidays like Memorial Day and New Year’s Eve or whenever a major prize fight or business convention comes to town. But the rest of the time, it’s a buyer’s market, especially as overall visitor numbers continue to slump.

The recent trend in the Vegas lodging sector over the past couple of years is low rate package deals and freebies. To try and keep their thousands of rooms occupied, the major hotel resorts go out of their way to woo tourists with complimentary show tickets, meal coupons and credit in their casinos. There are good savings available on multiple-night stays as well, so be sure to ask what special offers are available when making a booking.

Las Vegas accommodation is one of the biggest components of any visit to Sin City. The terms resortand hotel are used interchangeably among the big names on the Strip, but all of them boast some entertaining attractions and plenty of fun. As a general rule, a resort is a luxury, all-inclusive environment while a hotel primarily offers rooms along with basic amenities like restaurants, shows and gambling.

Choosing the best casino in Las Vegas and the right place to stay is something to carefully consider when planning a trip here. Location, budget, amenities and proximity to specific entertainment venues should dictate your choice. The majority of the world’s top 10 largest hotels are located on the Strip, which is undeniably the most entertaining and convenient part of Las Vegas to stay at. First-time Vegas visitors should not consider staying any place else.

At the top end of the budget scale are resorts like Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Encore, Aria at City Centerand the Bellagio. Even standard rooms at these immaculate properties go for hundreds of dollars a night. But they’re well worth it considering the level of luxury, attention to service and world-class amenities. You will find incredible spa facilities, fitness centres, restaurants and nightclubs in these resorts, all of which thankfully are open to anyone willing to pay for the privilege.

 

Categories: Travel and Gamble

Las Vegas Acommodation Options part II

Few people can realistically afford five nights at the Wynn Las Vegas, but it’s definitely worth setting some extra cash aside for a meal or a couple of drinks in one of the restaurants or bars of one of the posh resorts. The casinos in the top-end resorts are light years ahead of the gambling dens of the cheaper hotel, but the tables have pretty high minimum bets. If nothing else, plan to spend some time exploring the luxury resorts on the Strip to admire the beauty and style.

Most of the leading hotels and resorts on the Strip are clustered towards the southern end of the four-mile street. Every one has a theme, from the urban setting of New York New York to the Roman chic at Caesar’s Palace. The majority of mid-range accommodation on the Strip is upwards of US$100 a night. It’s good value considering the central location, which offers easy walking access to most of the attractions. Budget rooms are best found at hotels like Circus Circus, but you’ll have to settle for a location at the very end of the Strip, far from the action.

If staying right on the Strip isn’t a priority, there are plenty of off-Strip hotels just a block or two back that offer excellent value. Massive casino hotels such as the Hard Rock, the Rio and the Palms are great properties that offer a full range of amenities with slightly less crowds and at slightly lower prices. Many repeat visitors to Vegas choose to stay off the Strip.

Downtown Las Vegas offers another cluster of accommodation with a completely different atmosphere. This is the original gambling centre of Vegas, so its hotels are noticeably older and far less flashy. That’s not to say they are bad, dirty or dangerous. In fact, a lot of frequent visitors to Vegas prefer the Downtown district because it has a more authentic local feel and not nearly as much fluffy overt tourism as the Strip. Room rates here are significantly lower than on the Strip, yet it’s still a breeze to get back to the Strip in minutes using the public buses or taxis.

Adventurous travellers or culture junkies may be interested in the last bastion of small motels that hides away between the behemoth resorts along side streets between the Strip and Downtown. Cheap and usually a bit shabby around the edges, these old-school motels are where the real characters hang out. These neighbourhoods are a bit seedy and even potentially dangerous after dark, so caution is advised.

Categories: Travel and Gamble

Las Vegas Entertainment part II

One of the positive changes in Vegas’ attitude towards shows is a substantial increase in live music and bands, especially rock and indie. Nearly every band and singer on tour in the US will make a stop at Sin City, playing at the Sam Boyd Stadium, the House of Blues or one of the larger resort theatres. While headliners still sign on for two-year engagements, it’s now common to find bands rolling through for a couple of nights.

In fact, many shows in Vegas are overtly sexual and not really suitable for kids. Be sure to check into this before bringing your 10 year old to Treasure Island’s Pirate performance. Sexy shows aren’t limited to male audiences in affirmative action Las Vegas. Adonis-like men and their ripped abs remind us what we’ll never have in shows like Thunder Down Under from Australia.

The Cirque du Soleil shows, although expensive, are worth every penny. The Bellagio’s O and MGM Grand’s KA are both absolutely stunning productions featuring impossible acrobatics and surreal musical themes. There are five other Cirque shows with a focus on music, sexuality and circus acts.

Magicians and comedians are another mainstay of the Las Vegas show circuit and performing here is something of a right of passage for any self-respecting entertainer. Illusionists like David Copperfield are still regular features, though Criss Angel’s Believe at the Luxor is impressive. For a more classic magic show, you can’t beat Lance Burton at the Monte Carlo.

The jokes roll out every night around the Strip, from the intelligent comedy of Penn and Teller at Rio to the magical leanings of Mac King at Harrah’s. You’d almost expect to see superstars like Cher and Bette Midler playing Vegas, and indeed these two divas are in long engagements at Caesar’s Palace.

At the fringe of Vegas showmanship are unique performances like the Blue Man Group, currently at the Venetian, and Broadway-style shows like the Lion King at Mandalay Bay. Jersey Boys and Phantom are two other long-lived popular musicals still running at the Venetian.

There are a handful of afternoon shows, mainly showcasing magic and comedy with a youthful and elderly audience in mind. These early shows are cheaper than evening performances but are just as good. Check out the magic of Dirk Arthur at the Tropicana or the illusions of Nathan Burton at the Flamingo.

Categories: Travel and Gamble

Las Vegas Entertainment part I

It’s never a problem finding a show in Las Vegas. The only concerns are whether it’s already sold out and whether you can afford a ticket. This is a city that literally plugs itself in after dark and doesn’t even shift into third gear until after midnight. If you’re not a night owl, you had better take a nap in the afternoon so that you can really experience the fun side of Vegas.

Taking in a show is a fundamental component to any Las Vegas holiday. There are dozens to choose from all along the Strip and around town, ranging from major headliners to struggling lounge acts. Entertainment is the fuel that keeps Vegas running, so you’ll never have to worry about boredom after dark.

Every hotel in town has at least one dedicated lounge that usually hosts live music of some kind. But the free-wheeling days of Sinatra and Sammy are long gone, and the hotel lounge has been largely relegated to the bottom drawer. Occasionally you’ll stumble across a decent singer or act but for the most part, this is free entertainment. Hunting for the worst lounge act can be a fun adventure in itself, as kitsch is still king in Vegas.

The current trend of Las Vegas shows is away from home-grown talent and towards major stars and big-time productions. Any show worth seeing is going to have a recognisable headliner and a production like something from Broadway or the movie lot. Unfortunately, this means ticket prices are accordingly expensive. While it’s still possible to catch a decent show for a reasonable price, the cheap shows pale in comparison to the surreal magic of the likes of Cirque du Soleil.

The shows in Las Vegas offer assigned seating or have a maitre d’. It’s highly suggested to make reservations or purchase tickets well in advance of any show, especially if it is a weekend night or one of the more popular productions. A tip for the maitre d’ is the best (and perhaps only) way to get a really good seat if not pre-arranged. You can easily find the details of every show in town online.

 

Categories: Travel and Gamble