Tag Archives: Lodging

Las Vegas Gamblers Fold ‘Em

Las Vegas visitors reportedly wagered less in 2009 than in previous years- more than $50 less. 

A Las Vegas Visitor Profile released by Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority found the average gambler budgeted about $481 per trip last year. That compares with almost $532 in 2008, more than $555 in 2007 and nearly $652 in 2006. 

Gambling was just the tip of the economic iceberg:  lodging, dining, shows and shopping were also casualties.  The study found hotel spending per night was down 25% in 2009, to about $76; the average cost of a tour package was down 14%, to about $640; and the total spent on restaurants was down 8%, to about $250. Spending on shopping was down 16%, to about $102. Visitors spent an average of about $40 on shows, down 23%.

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New Hotel Rooms Aplenty in Las Vegas Create Buyer’s Nirvana

Recession?  What recession?  Apparently, Las Vegas is being true to its persona- betting heavily that 1,575 new hotel rooms are just what the doctor ordered- if not now, maybe in the future? 

A mere two weeks after the debut of the Aria at the $8.5 billion new CityCenter, two more casino properties have entered the Las Vegas lodging fray in a market already straining to fill the rooms it already has, witnessed by an average mid-80 percent fill rate and drastically declining room rates. 

The 52-story PH Towers at Planet Hollywood Resort have just added 1,201 rooms yesterday.  The rooms are being marketed at $229 midweek and $349 weekends.   And the top four floors will be 16 condominiums for sale, ranging from 6,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet.

Not to be outdone, the Hard Rock Hotel also yesterday added their HRH tower, bringing 374 more rooms that include seven penthouse suites and eight spa villas.  Opening with their tower is the 25,000-square-foot Reliquary Spa, a new parking garage with a porte-cochere and 40,000 square feet of new casino space.  Think it ends there?  Hardly.  A new Hard Rock nightclub, the 14,000-square-foot Vanity, waits opening on Dec. 31, which will also mark lights out for the venerable celebrity hangout, Body English.

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Super Las Vegas Holiday Hotel Deals

The Las Vegas Advisor says some grand deals are to be had this holiday season in Las Vegas.   In its annual December rate roundup, the Advisor found 43 Las Vegas casino hotels with rooms for less than $40, vs. 38 last December. Among them are Strip properties such as Bally’s, Excalibur and Harrah’s. 

The total below $30 was 27, two more than 2008. They include Arizona Charlie’s Boulder; Boulder Station; Circus Circus, El Cortez; Ellis Island Super 8; Fiesta Henderson; Fitzgeralds; Four Queens; Imperial Palace; Lucky Club Ramada; Plaza; Riviera; Sahara; Sam’s Town; Santa Fe Station; Stratosphere; Tropicana; Tuscany; Vegas Club. 

A whopping seven Las Vegas casinos had rates below $20, versus just one in 2008. Texas Station came in lowest ($14.99). Others in the under-$20 club: Fiesta Rancho; Gold Spike; Golden Gate; Hooters; Palace Station; and Wild Wild West. 

Other good December deals found included Luxor ($40), Las Vegas Hilton ($41), Monte Carlo ($46), Hard Rock ($47), New York-New York ($48), Rio ($49), Paris ($55), Palms ($59), TI ($60), Planet Hollywood ($68), MGM Grand ($70). 

The survey used multiple sources available to the public, Advisor publisher Anthony Curtis says, including casino reservation lines and Websites, third-party reselling Websites and the rate search engine Travelaxe. Rates change frequently, and the lowest ones may be sold out. 

Rates are “marginally higher than in July,” Curtis says. So, casinos may have “finally drawn their line in the sand” on lowering prices. “However, I think the low rates will hold for awhile and when they begin to nudge up, there will be tremendous and more targeted (packages).” 

The Advisor (lasvegasadvisor.com), which costs $37-$50 a year, is currently offering a $9.95 special at the Golden Gate downtown for members through Dec. 24.

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Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas has new Rush Tower

Landry’s Restaurants Inc. on Friday opened its $150 million Rush Tower at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. 

The tower features a floating reservation desk for private check-in service, a 75,000-gallon tropical aquarium fish tank, 500 guestrooms that are larger than the Golden Nugget’s existing rooms, four penthouse suites and 70 junior suites. A Chart House Restaurant was also added to the hotel. 

In addition, the tower has a two-level pool, cabanas, lounging areas and The Tank — a year-round outdoor swimming pool and a 200,000-gallon, live shark aquarium. 

A new upscale retail complex has also been added to the Golden Nugget mix.

Rush Tower is part of a $300 million renovation and expansion project that Houston-based Landry’s (NYSE: LNY) is undertaking at the Golden Nugget.

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Historic Boulder Dam Hotel & Museum Closes Today

Say sayonora to the 76-year old historic hotel in the heart of Boulder City, Nevada.  Apparently, there hasn’t been enough political momentum to rescue the hotel from its financial woes and keep the museum  and resturant open. BoulderDamHotel

The two-story, white-brick structure, with 20 rooms, restaurant and museum that originally opened in 1933, two years before the Hoover Dam was complete, served as ritzy lodging and a retreat for such famous guests as James Cagney, Bette Davis and Howard Hughes, is now three months behind on its mortgage and last-minute appeals for money from the local government have failed, leaving the property operators no choice but to shut down operations at midnight tonight. 

The closure will leave 22 workers without jobs and two on-site caretakers will need to take up lodging elsewhere. 

The Boulder City Museum, located inside the hotel, will also close.  Once the depository for Boulder City’s memorable past in journals, photographs, tools and supplies related to Hoover Dam’s construction– the Great Depression-era edifice that altered the flow of the Colorado River, brought electricity and reliable irrigation supplies to much of the desert Southwest and put Boulder City on the map. 

Some independent small businesses and offices inside the property, however, will remain open, at least for now. 

The hotel-museum has about $8,000 in monthly mortgage obligations and the occupancy rate has fallen from about 68 percent to 57 percent since the national economy went into a tailspin last year. 

The historical association sought to raise private money before turning, unsuccessfully, to Boulder City’s redevelopment agency earlier this week to ask for about $135,000. The redevelopment agency deadlocked 2-2 on a vote to provide a loan that would carry it through the summer. 

The group is also seeking grants from the federal government, but now that it is 90 days past-due on the mortgage, foreclosure appears imminent. 

“We can’t compare ourselves to a casino that can give away a room for $9 and make money from other things,” said innkeeper Roger Shoaff of the historic property’s niche in the marketplace. 

However, with any luck, the nonprofit association that owns the property hopes to raise $250,000 by September 10 to reopen the property.

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Las Vegas is a Kid’s Haven?

Traveling to Las Vegas with your children can be a challenging proposition.  Many parents are hesitant to take their kids inside a Strip casino for anything more than a walk through to the indoor mall.  And the idea of staying there with the family is many times out of the question.  Now, a new website makes it easier to find and identify where to go and what to do with your children while in Las Vegas. 

Created by Las Vegas Retreats, Vegas Vacation Village lists most major and minor activities that a great for kids. Along with listings for shows, tours, excursions, and other good kids stuff, you’ll find information about what makes each item kid worthy and general reviews as well. 

Linda Logan, owner of Las Vegas Retreats, says “Being in the vacation rental business, we see parents struggle with the adult nature of our city. We wanted to provide an easy way for parents and their kids to find the best of Las Vegas for families with children”. “We hope that providing this information in a useful kid friendly format, we can encourage parents to bring their families to Las Vegas.” 

The website is set in an illustrated cartoon” style with a Vegas Rocker character for the kids, http://www.VegasVacationVillage.com is also a great source of information on kid friendly lodging and accommodations. 

Useful information regarding lodging alternatives is listed. Popular among these are the vacation homes and condos for rent offered by Las Vegas Retreats. Vacation home rentals are a great alternative to hotel lodging. Guests have their own pools and privacy and aren’t burdened with the expense of constantly eating out and the inconvenience of waiting in line.  

Just imagine- your kids can have plenty of entertainment options while staying safe and sound in their own private Las Vegas digs.

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Big Changes Coming to Tropicana in Las Vegas

The Tropicana’s new ownership group, headed up by former MGM Grand Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Alex Yemenidjian, plans to spend more than $100 million in the next year to ‘”transform the Tropicana to pre-eminence,” says Yemenidjian. 

The new owners, Tropicana Las Vegas Inc., plan to remodel the hotel’s 1,876 rooms, the casino floor, two new restaurants and center bar, the showroom, convention center and the pool areas with a South Beach Miami theme.  

A new sports book, poker room, and replacing the casino’s slot machines and table games are other planned changes.  

Pedestrian bridges from Excalibur and MGM Grand to the Tropicana are also planning to be extended. 

The changes will be introduced with new marketing and entertainment programs. 

The new owners plant to take over the Tropicana’s nongaming opertions July 1, pending Armenco Holding’s approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission, which meets June 18.

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Bravo for Wynn Las Vegas Encore

Travel and Leisure Magazine named the Wynn Las Vegas Encore to its “It List:  45 Best New Hotels in 2009” in its June issue.  The “It List” is an annual list compiled by the magazine. Encore

Travel and Leisure editors said while there are touches of opulence and luxury around every corner, “we fell for the natural touches:  sunlight inside casino and a botanical backdrop of sculpted flower beds, laurel tree, and spotted palms that make the 2.3 million square feet of public space feel downright cozy.” 

The $2.3 billion Encore, Steve Wynn’s latest creation, opened last December in Las Vegas.  It has 2,034 rooms and suites, 72,000 square feet of gaming space, five restaurants and 11 high-end retail stores.

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Las Vegas Room Occupancy Rates Bounce Back

roomsLas Vegas is not going back to their heyday of charging $500 per night room rates.   With ever increasing competition and the growing room inventory, those days are probably gone forever.  

But visitors are now at least starting to return to the bright neon of Las Vegas, lured by the lower relative room rates and successful direct marketing drives by Las Vegas hotels that are filling the weekday void left by conventiongoers whose budgets have dwindled. 

Las Vegas vigorous room marketing efforts are at last starting to pay off.  

With Las Vegas hotel demand and occupancy rates inching upwards, Las Vegas resort executives are rethinking their room strategies and are considering increasing room rates, a move that could contribute to improving their sagging profit margins and contribute to the start of a healthy Las Vegas business rebound in 2010. 

“The weekends are consistently solid now,” MGM Mirage CEO Jim Murren said during a conference call last week to discuss first-quarter earnings.  “Even when we don’t have a major event we are able to occupy rooms at a solid level.” 

In January, MGM Mirage’s hotels had an occupancy rate in the 70s- a respectable statistic for many major cities but ranked poor for Las Vegas, where hotels have historically operated at higher than 90 percent occupancy.  That figures has risen each month this year, reaching 95 percent in March and 97 percent in April, in line with a year ago before business worsened. 

Las Vegas room rates although increasing, are still depressed, according to official figures from earnings reports and tourism officials.  MGM Mirage’s revenue per available room was $102, or 34 percent lower in the first quarter than the year-earlier period. 

Undaunted, Phil Ruffin, who bought Treasure Island from MGM Mirage in March, plans to raise their room rates.  “I’m not going to give rooms away.  That’s a heads-in-beds philosophy,” Ruffin said.  “I don’t want the $50 customer.” 

You can still make money – more money, in fact – by running at 70 to 90 percent occupancy and charging more for rooms, according to Ruffin.

Whether this strategy and others like it continues to work depends on the ongoing reaction of recession-battered tourists that have now tasted sweet vintage hotel price deals in Las Vegas.  

Las Vegas tourism growth, analysts say, will only continue if tourists believe they’re getting a bargain and a good combination deal- not just a good room rate, but meals, shows and drinks as well.

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Las Vegas Travel Web Site Upgrades Customer Options

VEGAS.com has revamped its Web site, enabling the creation of custom Las Vegas travel package for their customers with just one visit to the site. 

The improved VEGAS.com allows consumers to move seamlessly through its many offerings , adding items to their virtual shopping carts and checking out in one transaction after all the trip’s components – travel, lodging, shows and other activities – are  in place.  

Shoppers check on ticket availability for shows and other Las Vegas entertainment options before making their hotel and airline reservations at a package rate. 

It also offers flights from 400 airlines – up from one – and supports making flight reservations to Las Vegas from 1,700 cities, up from 90. 

When combined with the thousands of hotel, show, tour, golf, nightclub and restaurant options marketed by the site, VEGAS.com estimates that it will enable consumers to choose from 207 billion possible combinations of Las Vegas tourism offerings.

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1930s Trailer Living Becomes En Vogue in Las Vegas

What goes around comes around.  Especially in Las Vegas, a city that continually reinvents itself by offering a blinding array of kitschy, hip, and retro alternatives to delight its visitors.  The newest opportunity:  You can plunk down $45 for an overnight trailer stay smack dab on The Strip in an asphalt campground.  It’s not any trailer.  Oh no. Rather, you get to enjoy ol’ time nostalgia living in a 25-foot classic silver-bullet Airstream trailer.  airstream

Airstream has delivered 10 of its snazzy period travel trailers to the Kampgrounds of America parking lot of Circus Circus in Las Vegas.  They’re available for immediate overnight rentals.  Think of it- could even make for a great honeymoon suite. 

With the prices of mid-level and lower-tier Las Vegas resorts plummeting, it could actually be cheaper to stay at a regular hotel.  But is economy what you really want for your vacation (or your honeymoon)? Consider that by staying in an Airstream you’ll have a bevy of gaudy red plastic flamingos hanging out in your asphalt yard.  Kids won’t be running up and down your hallways.  You will have a full galley, so you can cut down your costs of eating out.  And you won’t have housekeepers banging their vacuum cleaners against your door at an ungodly early hour when you’re otherwise predisposed.  

However, if grilling burgers in the rare air of Vegas or the haunting flamingos get too much, just pull the blinds and hole up inside of your Airstream with some Twinkies and Ho Hos and watch some cable-TV on two Toshiba flat screens.  (Yeah, I know, that doesn’t quite go with the feng shui of the 1930s ambiance, but after all it is Las Vegas.) 

The fact is that you may go so ga-ga over the whole experience that you might want to dig deeper in your pocket and pop for $50,000 for one of your own.  Maybe even a full-time abode?

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Big Savings at MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Travel to Las Vegas has never been more affordable – with deep discounts at Trump Tower and more.  One of the most recent to add an on-line special to try and lure you to the city is the MGM Grand.mgmgrand

Take a moment and calculate the costs of your holiday.  Then consider the 30% discount on in-house services you’ll get at the MGM if you use your Mastercard through February 28. 

Room rates, separate from this promotion, are as low as $75/night.  And when dinner is charged to the room in any of their award-winning restaurants, take an additional 30% off.  You can take in the fabulous Cirque du Soleil show KA at 30% off.  Relax at the MGM Grand spa and charge it to your hotel bill, another 30% off.   http://www.mgmgrand.com/holiday/

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Crown Cleared to Buy Two Las Vegas Casinos from Cannery

Crown has won final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for the purchase of two Las Vegas casinos from Cannery Casino Resorts.cannery

A company spokesman said today the approval came late last week and removed one major regulatory hurdle for Crown’s $1.75 billion acquisition of Cannery Casino Resorts.

Regulatory approval for the December 2007 acquisition of Cannery Casino Resorts had been expected by the end of 2008.

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Donald Trump Just Trumped Himself – Super Las Vegas Deal

Unlike Britney Spears, most of us can’t afford the Hugh Hefner suite at the Palms Casino & Resort.  When we travel to Las Vegas we’re looking for room deals at Priceline.com , Travelocity, and other online merchants.   However, the current economic conditions have caused many four- and five-star hotels in Las Vegas to offer deals – steals – that are well worth the cost of many flights.

 Trump Hotel in Las Vegas – one of the newest and most luxurious hotels here – has just announced that they are offering rooms as low as $89 per night, with no minimum stay.  When booking, just ask for their “Suite Escape” and you’ll get to stay in a Studio Suite.  If the gold “T” on your door doesn’t impress you, perhaps the 500-thread count sheets and floor-to-ceiling 14 carrot gold-gilded windows will.  Spending time at the spa is also not as expensive as it was just 30 days ago.   Depending on the package you select, you could get up to a $50 spa credit for any of their services offered.

 And since you’ll be in Las Vegas anyway (here’s hoping), why not consider booking a reservation to see Carrot Top perform at the Luxor?  Book online and take advantage of a 20% discount on show tickets or call the Luxor at 702-262-4000 and arrange for a dinner and show for less than $100 per person.  (Yes, you read that right.)

Talk about going to Vegas on the cheap. . .

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