Archive for the ‘Vegas’ category

New Las Vegas Strip Resort is Finally Opening

September 16th, 2009

City Center - Las VegasThere is a new super-mega resort on the Las Vegas Strip that is finally ready to open – some of it, anyway. If you’ve been to Vegas in the past couple years you may have noticed the giant construction project on Las Vegas Blvd between Bellagio and Monte Carlo.  That pit has risen to become the new CityCenter complex. I can’t figure out why MGM-Mirage would pour more than 8 Billion Dollars into a new resort and name it with such a bland, meaningless name. It inspires no vision, no imgaination, and for those of us who already live in cities, why would anyone long to vacation in a “city center” resort? Names like Caesars Palace, Rio, Bellagio, even Wynn all conjure images consistent with an experience that is out of the ordinary. But CityCenter sounds like Wall Street or some giant convention complex.  Not even a whiff of experience – whether luxury, exotic, or even party. 

Anyway, it is finally opening several of its core buildings including Aria (better name than CityCenter!), Crystals shopping, Vdara and Marndarin Oriental hotels.  MGM issued a video press release extolling the virtues of CityCenter, but it since has been taken down.

The complete press release with detail on each  can be found at PRnewswire, and as follows:

» Read more: New Las Vegas Strip Resort is Finally Opening

I feel the tug

June 8th, 2009

Caesars Palace offer postcardAbout this time every year, I feel the tug to visit my old friend Las Vegas.  Somehow, the folks at Harrah’s recognize this impulse in me and send me incentives just about every day to visit Vegas on them. Tempting doesn’t begin to describe it. But for now, I guy must have his dreams…

New Mirage Volcano in Las Vegas Opens

December 9th, 2008

The Mirage once again set the standard for Strip-front attractions today as its redesigned signature Volcano premiered to the world. When The Mirage first unveiled The Volcano in 1989 the landscape of Las Vegas was forever altered. This all-new audio/visual spectacle again raises the bar with never-before-seen fire effects and an exclusive soundtrack composed by Grateful Dead drummer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Mickey Hart, and Indian tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain.

Tasked with bringing the latest innovations to the project, WET forged a primal volcanic environment of sound, light, music and heat. WET’s choreographed FireShooters – which send massive fireballs more than 12 feet into the air – were designed specifically for The Mirage using the latest developments in flame-expression technology. The FireShooters punctuate the performances with eruptions of fiery “lava” that flow down the mountain’s fissures in a series of lively flames. As the eruption ignites the surrounding lagoon, the FireShooters bring Las Vegas’ signature blast within feet of spectators.

Celebs and Strippers Hit by the Economy

October 15th, 2008

Norm Clarke writes the gossip column for the Las Vegas Review Journal.  He with his trademark eye patch is the “Kup” of Vegas. I introduced myself to him (and in fact Robyn Leach) at a private screening of the next-to-final eposide of HBO’s The Sopranos series, hosted by Elaine Bracco at the Planet Hollywood resort in LV over my birthday weekend in 2007.  What a specatular experience that was!  I digress.

Norm writes today that the once booming Vegas nightclub & strip club scene is feeling the heat of the Wall Street meltdown:

“Business was down 10 percent before the crash. Now it’s 20 to 25 percent,” said a veteran club operator. Clubs that routinely paid six figures for celebrity hosts during a free-spending three-year run have dramatically cut back, said a club entertainment executive. Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Jessica Simpson will still get $100,000-plus, the source said.

The stripper industry is taking a hit as well, a source said. “Strippers were making five grand a night. Now you’re hearing horror stories from the top clubs. They’re used to making a minimum of $1,000 a night. They’re not seeing as many high rollers coming in.”

Caesars Palace lodging review

July 30th, 2008

I posted this review on of accomodations at Caesars Palace following my Feb ’08 visit to fabulous Las Vegas…

Caesars Palace 2008

Caesars Palace rooms:
I’ve stayed in four of the five towers. Here are comments listed in order of tower preference:

Palace Tower – Opened in 1999, this tower has some very, very nice rooms, all with marble bathrooms and spa (jacuzzi) tubs. Good size, comfortable, but frankly a long walk from the main casino area, restaurants & shopping. Close to pool.

Augustus Tower – Opened in 2005, the rooms are very comfortable with significant money put into the bed & bedding. Baths are marble with spa tub. Even the upper floor rooms (not suites) are on the modest size.

Forum Tower – Remodeled during winter 2007/08 with similar bedding and comforts as the popular Flamingo GO rooms. For whatever reason, they are proud of their electronic “do not disturb” signs and door bells. ?? Rooms are small-ish (except suites) as I believe this tower was built in 1979. My favorite thing about Forum tower rooms is the elevator lets you out right in the middle of the Forum casino, near the Forum Shops. Very convenient. If you want to splurge, check out the Absolute-themed suites.

Centurian Tower – Old, small rooms are what you get when you book & settle for a “standard” room. Centrally located, but I’d rather stay at Flamingo than in a Centurian room.

Roman Tower – I can’t recall if I’ve stayed in the Roman Tower, but see my notes on Centurian rooms for a very similar experience.

Beware – Ceasars will undergo yet more remodeling in 2008 as the Palace (main) Casino pit and all adjacent “low ceiling” areas are re-done with high ceilings to match the lobby and Pussycat Dolls pit areas.

Still, Caesars is Caesars and there is no better oldschool property to get the feel of vintage Vegas while still enjoying the most modern of amenities, restaurants and shopping. The joint was originally built with money from The Boys (Teamsters Central States Pension Fund), but the various owners (now Harrahs Corp) have managed to keep it relevant.

To experience Vegas the way its meant to be, stay at Caesars Palace!

Trader Vic’s

April 9th, 2008

When Trader Vic’s restaurant in the Chicago Palmer House hotel closed a few years ago, it left a void for umbrella-drink consumers throughout the Midwest. Known as the originator of the Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s sure made an awfully good version of their signature drink.  Rumor has it another Chicago location is being sought.

Last fall a new Trader Vic’s location (there are 8 in the U.S., 19 more world wide) opened in the new Planet Hollywood Resort (formerly Aladdin) casino in Las Vegas.  I missed out on going there during my recent to lovely Las Vegas, but I hear they have a patio overlooking The Strip.  Maybe next time…

 In today’s Las Vegas Review-Journal, Norm Clarke (the Irv Kupicnet of Vegas) reveals this tidbit:

 “Hugh Hefner‘s eccentric dining habits were on display over the weekend. Hefner, whose routine includes faxing instructions to his restaurants of choice, ordered his usual at Trader Vic’s on Saturday. A regular at Trader Vic’s in Beverly Hills, Hef ordered chop suey, mashed potatoes, a tall glass of milk and a Mai Tai.”

Read Norm here: