Tag Archives: Las Vegas lodging

Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Shutters Two of Three Towers

For the first time in recent memory, a Las Vegas hotel is closing rooms in December, just before the New Year’s Eve holiday. 

A representative for the Sahara Hotel and Casino cited weak room demand as the reason it is closing two of its three towers, but said the closing is not permanent and reservations were still being taken. There was no word on whether staff members would be laid off. 

Last week, the resort’s buffet closed due to shrinking sales. A reopening date hasn’t been announced for the buffet or the towers. 

The Sahara’s announcement, coming on the heels of Binion’s closing of its hotel downtown earlier this month in yet another devastating blow for owners of smaller Las Vegas casinos. 

With the Decemeber opening of the 4,004-room ritzy ARIA resort in the $8.5 billion CityCenter, it just could be the result of competition that may be too much for properties that aren’t tied to massive gaming conglomerates. 

The Sahara is owned by Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment, which purchased the resort in 2007.   

When it opened in 1952, the Sahara was among the most famous hotels on the growing Las Vegas Strip, attracting mega-superstars such as Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. 

In recent years, it has become the lone casino-resort at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. Although the Las Vegas Monorail (now facing bankruptcy- previous Las Vegas Backstage Access article) extends to the Sahara, its distance from the resort corridor and a lack of development at the intersection has left it in the shadow of other properties.

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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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Las Vegas Freeze Approaches– 16-Foot Polar Bear Appears!

The Palazzo in Las Vegas is uniquely celebrating the holiday season with artic décor complete with a larger-than-life 16-foot polar bear poinsettia sculpture that raises awareness about conservation of polar bears and Arctic habitat. 

While guests of The Palazzo Las Vegas will enjoy the usual sunny weather for the holiday season, from December 9 through the New Year they’ll also encounter the winter décor display anchored by a special Arctic visitor: a 16-foot tall polar bear mother and 6-foot tall polar bear baby, made entirely of a specially-developed white poinsettia named “Polar Bear.”

The “Polar Bear” Poinsettia is developed exclusively by Ecke Ranch, the largest grower in the world of poinsettias.  The strong white coloration of the “Polar Bear” Poinsettia with its bracts of deep green veining is the perfect topiary fur for the polar bear display. The custom, hand-sculpted and hand-painted heads and paws, constructed by Design Solutions, bring the bears to life.  The mother and baby bear, consisting of approximately 10,000 poinsettias planted in sphagnum moss and weighs in at approximately 5,000 lbs. The bears snuggle on a custom-sculpted ‘arctic ice float’ that hovers over a water feature located at The Palazzo Atrium. 

In addition to the larger-than-life polar bears, The Palazzo embraces the holiday season with Arctic inspired décor elements that combine to create the breathtaking winter wonderland display. The gardens are filled with a variety of unique poinsettias and 25-foot silver tip pine trees; an 80-foot whimsical vine transitions to holiday with oversized pine cones, holiday berries, poinsettias and twinkling holiday lights; over 225,000 cranberries donated by Ocean Spray float above a water feature creating a sea of cranberries and snow will elegantly fall from above the décor adding to the Arctic theme. 

The white “Polar Bear” Poinsettias have an important message to promote awareness of polar bears and the loss of their Arctic habitat due to climate change. Ecke Ranch is donating a portion of the proceeds from each poinsettia cutting sold to Polar Bears International (PBI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of polar bears through research and education.  This event will serve as the official launching pad for Ecke’s “Pay-it-Forward for Polar Bears” campaign which benefits PBI.   

“In a part of the world that never sees snow, it can be challenging to explain why the most important initiative that we can undertake at this time is saving polar bear habitat in the Arctic. Polar bears need sea ice for their survival, and so does the rest of the planet. The Arctic is a key regulator of the global climate system, and loss of Arctic sea ice will impact people and wildlife around the world. So when we save the polar bears, we save so many other species from butterflies to frogs,” said Robert Buchanan, president of Polar Bears International. 

“Currently the world’s CO2 level is at 385 parts per million (ppm) and growing at an average of two ppm per year. Scientists believe that the tipping point in the Arctic is around 400 ppm. Once this level is reached, the domino effect may not allow the summer ice to return for tens of thousands of years. This of course will not only affect wildlife but the ocean currents and humans in the end. This is not an irreversible situation. Individuals can and must make a difference. It can be as easy as packing a reusable bag when you shop, buy carbon off sets for your flights and purchasing products with limited and/or recycled packaging,” continued Buchanan. 

On December 9, The Palazzo will host the unveiling of the Arctic-inspired winter décor display to kick-off the holiday season and raise awareness about conservation of polar bears. The event will take place at 5 p.m. in The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium and the general public is welcome to join in the celebration.

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Mandarin Oriental Provides Las Vegas Step Down to Haute Luxury at CityCenter

The check-in lobby for the Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter in Las Vegas will actually be on the building’s 23rd floor, causing guests to go down to their rooms at the boutique nongaming hotel that offers customers a panoramic view of the Strip and the rest of the $8.5 billion CityCenter through floor-to-ceiling windows inside the property’s Sky Lobby. MandarinOriental

After years of planning, Hong Kong-based Mandarin Oriental is removing the wrapping from the company’s first luxury resort in Las Vegas. The company operates 41 hotels in 25 countries. In the United States, Mandarin Oriental has hotels in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami and San Francisco.

The 47-story Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has 392 rooms and suites, ranging in size from 600 square feet to 3,000 square feet. The building also has 227 residences, which will be accessed by a separate entrance and elevator from the hotel side. 

Hotel rooms will offer numerous technological enhancements including keyless door locks and automated control panels that allow guests to manage the lighting, room temperature and entertainment systems. Mandarin Oriental will have a 27,000-square-foot spa and fitness center and several restaurants and bars. 

The Sky Lobby serves as a sort of buffer zone. The floors beneath the lobby are for hotel guests and the 24 floors above house the residential units. The 23rd floor is also home to The Mandarin Bar, the Tea Lounge, and the property’s signature restaurant, the first U.S. offering from celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire.

One thing Mandarin Oriental lacks is a casino. 

Gaming at CityCenter will be exclusive to Aria, the centerpiece 4,004-room hotel-casino operated by MGM Mirage. That shouldn’t concern Mandarin Oriental’s guests, said Jhingon, who spent five years as the general manager of the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. 

“We’re in walking distance to all the activities at CityCenter,” he said. “Our guests come here for our personalized service and experience.” 

The Mandarin Oriental is scheduled to open Dec. 4.. The property will begin accepting hotel room reservations on Aug. 17. Room rates have yet to be established, but Jhingon said the luxury property will set prices at levels that will be considered reasonable in a market that has seen hotel room prices decline to their lowest levels in over two decades because of the sour economy. 

“I believe it’s the perfect time for us to open,” Jhingon said. “We’re a boutique hotel by Las Vegas standards and we’re very visible. I believe we will be a choice for a lot of people from Day One.”

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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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Barbie Spotted Hanging Out in a Las Vegas Casino!

If you have a lonely $4,000 sleeping in your pocket that’s waiting to be spent, you might consider plunking down the green for a night of nostalgic bliss at the Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas and stay in their new Barbie suite.  Barbie

Sooner or later you’d expect Mattel’s iconic doll-of-a-woman to resurface, but in a Las Vegas casino?  Now, she’s grown up (really grown up) and debuting at the resort’s first redesign of their 2006-vintage Fantasy Suites.  The folks at the Palms have rededicated their former “Pink suite,” transforming it into the new “Barbie suite.”  More than a mere new logo on the floor and a collage-walled entry, there are Barbie-cloth upholstered chairs with lace-up backs and tutu skirts, a Barbie dining set, a vintage-Barbie mirror and art canvases, silver lame ottomans, foil-print wallpapers, Pucci-print pillows.  

If you like pink everywhere and have a lust for the perfect gal, you’ll surely have a nirvana experience like no other. 

Part of a global marketing “celebration” of Barbie’s 50th anniversary, the suite  was decorated by Jonathan Adler, based on the actual “Malibu Dream House” he staged for an event earlier this spring.  

The suite will exist for a year; the management is mum on what will happen to the suite after that.  So, if you’d like to have a grand botox, hair extension, or some other similar party with your girlfriends at someplace that has true Las Vegas kitsch, you best make your reservation early.

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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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