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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12th, 2016
  • Did You Know?

    • • LV's McCarran International (LAS) is the 8th busiest Airport in the U.S. and number 23 in the world, with 41.7 million passengers
    • • 79 percent of McCarran's departures and 82 percent of arrivals are on time, the average departure delay is 52 minutes and arrival delay is 50 minutes, and cancellations are at 0.6 percent
    • • McCarran Airport is only two to four miles southwest of most Las Vegas Strip hotels
    • • Metered taxi fares to major hotels on the Strip cost approximately $15–$25. A consolidated car-rental center is three miles from the terminal and is accessed by shuttle bus. ScottyVegas always rents a car.
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January 2014 Trip – Reviewed – Old and New Again

With our January 24, 2014 Vegas trip fast approaching I can’t help but find myself getting excited. Leading up to each trip I always try to loosely plan out things I want to see and do. Here’s what I have planned this time around, I guess you could call it, old and new again.

O’Sheas

osheas

The new O’Sheas, after being closed for over a year and a half it has reopened and from the sound of it better than ever. I’m really looking forward to drinking an Irish beer in this dark stained wood casino.

Flamingo

For this trip our new hotel to stay at is the Flamingo, yeah I’ve wrote bad things about this hotel in the past but this time around I have high hopes for their newly updated FAB rooms. They look great from the pictures and for the price at $26 per night just couldn’t be beat. Well not so fast, they now add an $18/night resort fee but overall still a FABulous deal.

Last time we stopped in the Flamingo it was absolutely hopping with a surprisingly younger crowd. Maybe it’s the Jimmy Buffet “casino” that’s doing it, whatever it is I’m looking forward to staying and playing here.

Downtown: Downtown Grand and Container Park

fabulous-downtown-las-vegasThe Downtown Grand  opened in late 2013, noted as the first new hotel to open downtown in 30 years, this off Fremont Street, former part Lady Luck Casino looks great from the pictures. On paper this place sounds like a winner though early reviews suggest otherwise. From what I’ve read gaming is less than stellar with poor video poker and black jack odds and slots tighter than a hungry boa constrictor, never the less I am eager to see for myself.

Downtown Container Park opened in November 2013, personally I’m not a shopper or remotely interested in shopping but this unique idea sparks my curiosity enough to go check it out. Located on Fremont Street, kiddy corner from El Cortez Hotel Casino, is the new 34 outlet style mall made up of all steel prefab shipping containers, some even stacked three tall.

To be honest I’ve never been a fan of downtown, but I’m starting to have a change of heart. With so many improvements going on, better video poker odds and lower table game minimums than the strip plus an overall fun atmosphere I foresee myself spending more time in this forming, much improved, playground.

Cirque du Soleil

ZumanityShow selection for this trip was an easy one, we are seeing Zumanity at New York New York. Simply could not pass up the fantastic deal we got from MyVegas.com, $53 (tax included) + 4k in MyVegas points for TWO tickets. Zumanity will be our 4th Cirque show and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Tip: Have a Facebook account? Play MyVegas.com and earn REAL points

We had a GREAT trip, here are my REVIEWS

Zumanity

Best Cirque du Soleil show ever? No, but it was truly enjoyable. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, and Zarkana, all of these share commonality. Zumanity the edgy side of Cirque is well… that. Unlike other Cirque shows where sitting a little farther back is better, Zumanity is intimate so sitting closer is a plus. Nudity, profanity, sexuality, yes all here. In bad taste? Well that’s subjective. Sitting in the front row was an elderly (late 70’s/early 80’s) couple. I kind of watched them to see their reaction and from what I saw they held hands, laughed, and enjoyed the show along with everyone else.  

If you’re easily offended or prudish choose another Cirque show otherwise buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Tips: The stage was small as was the theater itself. The best seats are definitely surrounding the stage. Get a drink before you enter the theater, but ask for it in a cup, yes they let you bring it in.

Click to EXPAND FULL REVIEW

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Review: Palazzo Resort Hotel and Casino

luggage

When I plan a trip the dates we go are usually dictated by when I receive the cheapest airfare. Once airfare is secured I go looking for a hotel, car, etc.. Well for our January 7-12, 2010 trip I booked airfare in May of 2009! (Round trip ticket, including taxes and fees, $100 each).

When I started to look for a hotel I quickly realized we were going during the largest convention in Las Vegas, CES (Consumer Electronic Show). Because of the convention hotel rates usually go through the roof. So when I received a great deal from Excalibur I jumped on it. A couple months before our trip I received a post card from Palazzo/Venetian for $49/night, Sunday – Thursday and slightly more for the weekend. I called and inquired about the deal, they said the room was available for $49 that Sun and Mon. But then the person said that I had an offer available for 2 to 4 nights complimentary and he wanted to know if I was interested. Interested? Hell yes! I said. I then asked about that Friday and Saturday he told me that they were booked because of the convention, of course I thought. The only charge was the mandatory resort fee of about $15 per night. This covered internet, gym access and a few other things. Also I had the choice between either The Palazzo or Venetian properties. I selected the Palazzo because it’s newer and I prefer that casino. Further research confirmed I made the right choice as The Palazzo continuously receives better review ratings.

Sunday, January 10 just after noon we drove to valet to try to check-in early (normally check-in is at 3:00pm). As soon as we drove up we were treated like VIP’s, even though we were driving a rented bright blue Ford Focus. The valet personnel were very friendly as several of them greeted us even before we reached the doors. The registration desk was close by the entrance. The line was kind of long but there were plenty of registration staff on hand to move the line quickly. No surprise that the entire process was a breeze and everyone, and I mean everyone, greeted us like royalty. Elevators were across the casino but were directly off the casino floor. This is always a definite plus in my book. Security is located just before the elevators and they request to see your room key before allowing you to pass. This was a minor inconvenience but worth it I guess as there are some shady characters in Vegas.

Our room 47-727 was on the 47th floor overlooking the Northeast side of the valley and the Wynn golf course.

Check out this walk through VIDEO!!

Both my wife and I thought the room was outstanding. The decor and layout gave it a real “homey” feeling and not that of a hotel room. They did a great job dividing the room into sections without using walls. When you first walk in the spacious bathroom was on the left and included a nicely sized and conveniently located LED TV. As you enter the main room the king size bed was on the left and a 40 some inch LED on the right. Separating the bed area from a sitting area was a thigh high bench partition. The sitting area included a comfy wrap around couch with a good sized coffee table with another LED TV sitting on top of the snack station. In the same area was a small table with a couple of chairs and a desk for working which included an Ethernet cable for internet access, telephone, pen and paper, and a multi-function printer with USB hookup for continence.

Both the Palazzo and Venetian are upscale properties in a great area of the strip they are next store to the Wynn and across the street from TI (Treasure Island). Between the two properties are many dinning and shopping choices to choose from and browse.

The Palazzo and Venetian casinos are among my favorite places to gamble on the strip as they offer and wide variety of slot, VP, and table games. Their slot selection is a good mix of new and classic style machines. I always seem to be able to play here and consider it a good value for my dollar.

I rarely have problems with drink service here. Top shelf drinks are available and cocktail waitress ratio to patrons is good. Another plus is I find that their waitresses engaged and very friendly which is always a plus in my book.

Club Grazie is the name of the player’s card. Their comp program is competitive.

Tip: American Casino Guide – 2010 Edition, the annual guide to casinos across the United States, has many valuable coupons in the back of the book. One of the coupons is good for $25 in free slot play at either the Palazzo or Venetian for new club members. Even though I was already a Club Grazie member I inquired about the coupon and the hostess gave it to me AND my wife, that’s $50 just for the asking! Combined with the other coupons we used the cost of the guide was well worth the $13 we paid.

Tip: I am not a “High Roller” when it comes to gambling. But the Palazzo treated me like I was. It’s my understanding that if you cycle $50 through their machines you will start receiving 2-4 night complementary stays. I have received several, very tempting, postcards announcing this promotion since my trip.

In summary, our stay at the Palazzo was fantastic! We didn’t have a single complaint. Because of this we believe the Palazzo deserves 5 out of 5 Scotty Vegas Chips.

Pawn Stars in Las Vegas?

Now in its second season Pawn Stars is The History Channels reality based show that marries the Antiques Roadshow, with history of antiques and their values, and Orange County Choppers, macho personalities and a doofus (sorry Chumlee) for comic relief.

The format of the show is simple, people bring in various items to sell or pawn. Experts are usually brought in to inspect the item for authenticity, give a history lesson, and place a value on it. Once that’s done the shop employee haggles with the sometimes quirky seller over price. Much like OCC the personalities of the shop employees are interwoven into secondary plots collectively making for a fairly interesting and entertaining show.

The Pawn shop is an actual business that’s been in operation for the last 26 years called Gold and Silver Pawnshop. It’s located right on North Las Vegas Boulevard, about five blocks south the Fremont Experience on the East side of the street.

Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
713 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89101 – (702) 385-7912

During our January 7 -12 trip I decided to check it out. It was around 10am that Friday morning when I talked my wife into going. I thought there would be a good chance that they might be filming since it was right after the holidays, their second season just started, and it was a weekday. Sure enough as we walked in there was a doorman you said “we are filming, feel free to look around but do not look at the camera”. So we looked around and slowly migrated in-line with the camera view. Some guy was selling/pawning a painting or something. It was hard to tell as I was trying to get on camera without looking directly in that direction. I was just getting my pose on when they stopped to take a break. We saw all the regular show “characters” except Corey. These guys are just everyday people with a sweet gig, which I believe adds to the appeal of this show.

So if you are looking for a free diversion from gambling or have something to pawn or sell, stop by and check it out. Oh and don’t forget to mention ScottyVegas.com for a special surprise.

By the way, in the Detroit area Pawn Stars airs on Monday nights at 10:00pm EST on the History Channel. Check your local listings for channel and time in your area.

Vegas Trip: January 22 – 25, 2009

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas

Air Carrier: Spirit Air, $38.50 per person (taxes and fees included), round trip, non-stop through the Spirit Air’s $9 club.

Tip: If you are a Spirit Air MasterCard holder you can board the plane with first class regardless of zone. This is handy as overhead storage fills up quickly and by boarding early it almost guarantees you storage over your seat.

Rent a Car: Dollar Rent a Car, $10/day, $46.95 Total for trip (taxes and fees included).

Tip: Dollar Express member (Free membership) allows you to avoid the long lines at the counter. Basically get in the car and drive.

Hotels:

  • The Wynn Hotel, Thursday, January 22, 2009, $119 (with taxes and fees) received $150 in free play. Direct email promotion from Wynn.
  • New York New York, Friday and Saturday, $69/night or $150 total with taxes, received $25 in free play, 20% off select restaurants. Direct email promotion from New York New York.

Thursday

This time around, my wife and I had a night flight. We departed Detroit Metro at 8:10pm and arrived in Vegas at 9:50pm (Vegas time) in the rain, yes rain. After we picked up our car (Dodge Caliber) we drove directly to the Wynn Hotel to check in. Thursday night we basically hung out at the Wynn and went over to the Encore (opened 12/2008) to check it out. Both properties are fantastic! It’s amazing how everything is so well thought out. Self parking is right off of Las Vegas Blvd, Registration was a breeze and very fast. The elevators to our room were right off the casino floor, always a huge plus in my book. Drinks at the Wynn are great some of the best in Vegas.

Check out our $109 room, YouTube.com Video:

Friday

Don’t ask me why, but for us, Vegas isn’t about sleeping in and chilling out. It’s all go time, we were up and out by 7:00am, even though we just went to bed at 3:00am. First thing we did was pick up a couple of overpriced coffees at a shop in Encore.  We played at Encore and Wynn for awhile then headed for the Strip. We went directly to the Palazzo (next door to the Wynn). No sooner did the last drop of coffee go down did a Corona appear in front of me, magic? No, Vegas baby!!  Next was The Venetian. I must say these four properties are my favorite on the strip. They are all in a row, have great drinks, good music, and beautiful surroundings!

We checked out of the Wynn at approx 11:00am and headed to New York, New York where we spent the next two nights. Once again check in was very quick and easy, no line what so ever, staff was not as friendly as the Wynn’s. The elevator was conveniently located between the parking garage and the casino floor making it very easy to get to the car or the casino floor. The room was disappointing, apparently not a newly refurbished one. In hinds sight I should have asked for another room but we were eager to get out and get going. Time is precious in Vegas when you only have three days. The remainder of the day was a blur. We literally covered the entire strip walking every step of the way. Let me tell you it all became a little ridiculous after a while. We returned to the hotel around 9:00pm to get ready for the night.       

Tip: After a long day coving the strip don’t lay down before getting ready to head out for the evening. Odds aren’t in your favor for making it out again.

Tip: Remember, Vegas is a marathon, not a sprint. If you start early pace yourself or you will miss the night. Lessons learned!

Saturday

Got up early and headed out to visit some off strip properties. The following list is the order we went in.

Silverton CasinoSee review from 11/14 – 11/17 2008 trip

Southpoint Casino  See review from 11/14 – 11/17 2008 trip

Red Rock Casino – Wow!!! I was very impressed by Red Rock Casino as I was the whole area. Red Rock is about 15 miles East of the Strip. The Casino is laid out nicely with plenty of clubs and restaurants. As usual with Station Casinos there is a mini food court, full movie theater, arcade, and bowling alley on the premises. The pool looks great as we went out and looked around. Drink service was good, waitresses were friendly, and drinks were tasty. This place just has a good vibe about it. Oh, did I mention I came out with more money than I went in with? I will definitely go back..

Red Rock CanyonClick to see review

Aliante Casino – Aliante Hotel Casino opened in November of 2008 and is also a Station Casino. It’s located about 10 or so miles north of the Strip. The review for Red Rock Casino can apply to Aliante as they are very similar in style and amenities. Station casinos were good to me as I also left with more money than I came in with thanks to a deuces wild multi-hand video poker machine and four deuces.

Observation: Locals Casinos offer amenities that cater to the surrounding communities with theaters, bowling alleys and arcades. It’s weird to being playing a game, drinking an adult beverage and smell popcorn. When you look up you see a line with families going to the show. Or in sports books you see friends and neighbors gathering to watch a game like they would at a local bar.

Downtown – Now I hate to diss anything Vegas and I am sure many people love it here, but I have determined that the Fremont Experience is NOT for me. The casinos are old, cramped, in need of repair, and are very smokey. The description given to the casinos can also describe many of the patrons, it’s basically your flea market crowd, not that there’s anything wrong with that. With that said, you can get some good value there. Table game minimums are low and food deals are plenty, however, I didn’t stick around long enough to sample neither.

Tip: The Golden Nugget offers one very cool feature, a salt water aquarium in the middle of the pool with large sharks swimming in it. It even has a transparent water slide that runs through the middle of it. 

After Downtown we headed back to the strip where we made rounds to Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo, Paris, and Planet Hollywood. The Miss America pageant was going on at Planet Hollywood that night. After the event the girls were walking around with their sashes. It was interesting to see but wow what a bunch of prima donna’s. Finally we headed back to New York New York where we promptly passed out.

Sunday

And then there was Sunday. Oh how time flies while in Vegas. Well at least we have the whole day because of the red eye home. We stayed mostly on the strip visiting our favorite casinos. Planet Hollywood is a fun place, the music is good, service is spotty but drinks are decent. The whole feel of the casino is like a club. Towards the end of the day my wife sat at a machine that was paying off, I came over and we had fun playing for awhile. It’s always good to hit when you are about to leave.

Departing Vegas at night kind of puts a damper on the whole day as you know you will soon be returning back to reality in a matter of hours. The flight was smooth and fast but I was not able to sleep much. We went straight home and passed out, again!

Trip Summary

Once again we went during the Chinese New Year. There was a noticeable difference compared to last year. Casinos were busy for the weekend but I didn’t notice as many Chinese people as we did in 2007 and Vegas wasn’t as decorated for the New Year either. Let it be known that January is an unpredictable month to visit. We experienced many different types of weather on this trip. Raining when we arrived even poured for awhile but temps were mild. Friday it was much cooler with off and on showers and overcast skies, but it cleared in the evening. Saturday was the best weather day. The sky was mostly sunny and temps reached 70 degrees, this was our best day. Sunday, the clouds returned and it was very windy, temps were cool and the wind made it feel even cooler, very uncomfortable. Once again we both contributed to the Las Vegas economy, but loses were kept to a minimum. Overall it was a good time and I eagerly await my next trip to Las Vegas!

Vegas Trip Report: November 14 – 17, 2008

Departed Detroit Metro airport at 6:05am Friday morning (Flew SpiritAir $44/person roundtrip taxes/fees included), we arrived in Las Vegas at 7:15am (Vegas time). On this trip I went with a couple of buddies and stayed at the Riviera. We stayed at the Riviera because we got a great deal though TripRes.com with an average rate of $38 per night (Thur, Fri, Sat). The Riv casino is a shithole but the room was newly remodeled with a flat panel TV and an awesome bed, pillow, and blanket. Seriously one of the best beds I’ve ever slept in, what a total surprise!

Tip: Currently the Riviera is offering a free Breakfast or Lunch buffet when you sign up for their players card and if you show them proof that you flew there. They also give free play of $1 – $500, I got $2.

Warning: The Riviera buffet is barely worth being free. Do NOT pay for this buffet!

Warning: During time of this trip the Riviera was surrounded by construction making it very difficult to walk to any other casino other than Circus Circus (Dump).  We had a car which made it easy to travel (Dollar Rent a Car $10/day).

We visited a lot of off strip casinos this trip. Here is a run down:

South Point: This casino is about 5 miles south of the strip right on Las Vegas Blvd. The Casino/Hotel is large and offers many perks. I would definitely think about staying here. Great Sports book, $5 minimum on table games, a large variety of new slot machines, and a very good and very reasonably priced buffet. Breakfast is $6.99, Lunch $9.99, Dinner about $14.99 check the website for details, prices slightly higher on the weekend.  Breakfast was GREAT! I highly recommend this casino.

Terribles: Just off the strip, cheap tables, very smokey, and horrible waitress service. My friends did not like Terribles one bit they thought it was a real dump and I have to agree.

Silverton Hotel and Casino: Wow! The Silverton is just west of Las Vegas Blvd, south of the strip. We saw it on the way to South Point and thought we would check it out and I am glad we did. The casino offers $5 table games, good variety of slot machines, but it does not have a good sports book. This casino is a “locals” casino. When you walk in you are greeted with a very large saltwater aquarium with sharks, stingrays, and schools of fish. There is also a Bass Pro Superstore attached to the casino.

Green Valley Ranch: Interesting casino about 10 or so miles from the strip in I think Henderson, Nevada. The Casino looks good, has average waitress service, decent selection of slot machines but something is just not right with this casino but I can’t put my finger on it. This casino has a food court right on the casino floor with a good variety of items to choose from. New club members get $5.00 in free play when they sign up. I probably wouldn’t go back here as it doesn’t offer anything unique.   

Tuscany: About two blocks east of Bally’s on Flamingo. Small casino that is only five years old but looks like it’s twenty. It kind of reminds me of someone’s basement with slot machines and table games in it. However, this little casino offers some unique perks like very good waitress service. New club members get between $5 and $500 in free play when you sign up for their players club. And now for the best part, $3 minimum blackjack tables with an option to surrender half of your bet on the first 2 cards. To surrender you actually have to draw a line on the table (sand) for the cameras. No thrills casino but good blackjack odds just off the strip.

Scam Alert: Beware of con men approaching offering free tickets to events because they have to get out of town and don’t want to waste tickets. They will have you call the Bellagio concierge office and reserve them in you name. This is all very convincing, don’t get taken, just say no thank you!

In my opinion the best drinks in Vegas is hands down The Wynn Hotel and Casino, followed by Palazzo and The Venetian.  The Bellagio has the best Strawberry daiquiris, try one, you won’t be disappointed I promise.

November is a great time to visit, tempatures were in the mid seventies during the day and high fifties during the night.

We sadly departed Vegas at 8:20am Monday morning and arrived in cold rainy Detroit at around 3:15pm. I am eagerly awaiting my next Vegas trip.