Tag Archives: Las Vegas travel

Economy-Busting $40,000 Motel Rooms in Las Vegas

A library with dark, wood-paneled walls and a bookcase filled with leather-bound books sits adjacent to a regal living room at Caesars Palace’s Octavius Tower. You’d almost forget you were in Las Vegas if not for the tanning pool patrons outside the window. 

The antique-looking books in the library are seldom used, but they add to the villa’s residential illusion. So does the formal dining room that seats 12 and the media room with movie theater-style seating. 

The centerpiece of each villa is the patio overlooking the pool area. The villas opened last fall, but the new Garden of the Gods pool just began to welcome summer visitors. 

The three massive villas are the newest suites at Caesars Palace. With nearly 10,000 square feet of space, they’re some of the most opulent and largest suites on the Las Vegas Strip. The villas are on the second floor of Caesars’ unfinished Octavius Tower and are part of the resort’s long line of over-the-top suites.

 From the private elevator to the 24-hour butler service, everything about the Octavius villas feels exclusive, including the price tag. The cost for a night is $40,000. The price isn’t recession-friendly, but their patrons aren’t exactly struggling in today’s economy. 

The Octavius villas feel more like miniature mansions than hotel suites. Caesars spent about $15 million on each villa – a total of $45 million – to accomplish that goal. The villas are a collection of eclectic furnishings and faux artifacts, giving the feel of a collector’s well-kept home. 

Wilson & Associates designed each suite with an individual identity — an opulent Grecian palace, an Old World Spanish home and a Parisian luxury apartment.

The design firm is responsible for other suites at Caesars, as well as the fantasy suites at the Palms and the rooms and lobby at The Venetian. 

At 9,930 square feet, the Greek-style villa, which Caesars Palace dubs “Constantine,” is the largest of the three. The four-bedroom villa is far from subtle, but it’s subtly Greek with its fake marble columns and terracotta painted vases. 

After stepping off the private elevator into the marble foyer of the Greek villa, guests will find a formal sitting room, a grand Steinway piano and working fireplace. On the other side of the hall are rooms with a pool table, a restaurant-sized bar and a theater. 

Down a long hallway there are four bedrooms, each the size of a large hotel room, with walk-in closets and their own bathrooms. With custom marble and mosaics, no two bathrooms in the three villas have the same stonework. 

Inside the Greek villa, the master suite’s bathroom is almost as large as the bedroom itself. The bathroom is covered in green and beige marble and features his and her toilets, sinks and vanities. It also has a steam shower, towel-warming racks and flat-screen TVs, among other amenities. A marble-topped tub with gold-plated fixtures is the centerpiece of the lavish master bath. 

As trivial as they seem, the toilets are often the talk of the suites.  They’re controlled by remotes, function as bidets, have heated seats and the lid opens as guests approach. There’s never a reason to touch the toilet seat. 

The villas are filled with quirks galore: mirrors that turn into TVs, pianos that play themselves and chairs that massage to the beat of an iPod’s song. A networked system allows the butler to control every device in the villa. 

Though the three villas have different design schemes, they have similar amenities. The French villa is light and airy. The Spanish villa is designed with distressed wood throughout the main rooms. 

Off each living room is the patio that overlooks the pools. Each patio includes a fire pit, dining table and a private Jacuzzi. 

The view of Flamingo Road is less impressive. Those views are reserved for penthouses and other suites higher than the pool level. The resort’s two 10,000-square-foot penthouses in the Forum Tower are still the largest suites at the resort. Caesars Palace now has 11 villas, 11 penthouses and about 200 suites.

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Virgin Atlantic Plans to Increase Flight Service between U.K. and Las Vegas

British air carrier Virgin Atlantic has announced on April 7 it will increase its service between Las Vegas and the United Kingdom next year, launching twice-weekly flights from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas and Manchester in England. 

The additional flights, which will start in April 2011 and are planned to operate on Thursdays and Sundays, will give Virgin Atlantic nine direct flights a week between Las Vegas and England.  

Virgin Atlantic has been flying between London’s Gatwick Airport and Las Vegas since June 200 and has carried almost 2 million passengers on the route.

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Sinners: Worship & Swim in God’s New Garden in Las Vegas

God has a new garden in Sin City?   Yep.  Scantily clad – or wearing nothing at all – Las Vegas sun gods and goddesses have a a whole new worship retreat at Caesars Palace. 

Caesars Palace has just opened its newly refurbished pool area.   Coined “The Garden of the Gods,” the complex has been completely and extravagantly redesigned by Allard & Conversano into three levels of aquatic wonder featuring eight unique and lavish pools inspired by the Roman Gods that encircle a five-acre pool complex. 

The area includes a swim-up blackjack pool, a European style pool, a family friendly pool, and even a guests-only, butler-served pool area. 

Each pool is named for a god or goddess and has its own special bells and whistles. The Fortuna pool, for example, features an 18-foot waterfall and a swim-up blackjack table. The twin Bacchus pools have butler-staffed cabanas which are, alas, for invited VIPs only. For maximum sun exposure, get over to Apollo — it’s strategically positioned to get your tan on.  And, unlike many of the other adult-oriented pools, Garden of the Gods also caters families with its Temple pool designated for young swimmers. 

At one of the pools, chocolate will be available not just as a snack or dessert but in the form of a 30-foot chocolate waterfall (good for dunking strawberries — sold by the bucket) that cascades into a 3-acre pool filled with the stuff only Willy Wonka could dream of. 

The Sokolati pool (greek for “chocolate”) is new to the Las Vegas scene and is the first swimming pool comprised entirely of chocolate. Depending on the season, you may find Sokolati filled with dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or caramel.

There pools are nestled among 44 new luxury cabanas, each stocked with plush furniture, flat screen TVs and wireless Internet. 

Caesars Palace has also added a whirlpool retreat area and garden wedding venue to provide a total pool experience. 

The pool complex is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.. 

Check it out- you may just feel like you died and got a heavenly reprieve.

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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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Go to Las Vegas- and Go Broke?

A careless remark by President Barack Obama about Las Vegas has triggered a furious backlash from Nevada’s cash-strapped gambling mecca and a key Democratic ally fighting a tough re-election battle in the state. 

Speaking about the economy yesterday at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Mr. Obama told Americans: “When times are tough, you tighten your belts. You don’t go buying a boat when you can barely pay your mortgage. You don’t blow a bunch of cash on Vegas when you’re trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.” 

The economy of Las Vegas, the world’s most famous gambling and entertainment destination, is heavily dependent on tourism and Las Vegans were already incensed by a crack from Mr. Obama a year ago that companies should not use federal bail out money for trips to the city.   The city is still reeling from that comment, trying to keep bookings and revenues up on conventions and other events. 

Mr. Obama’s latest remark about Las Vegas prompted a swift and angry retort from Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, who is fighting an extremely uphill battle to win re-election in Nevada, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. – a whopping 13 per cent.

Mr. Obama hurriedly dispatched a letter to Mr. Reid. “I hope you know that during my Town Hall today, I wasn’t saying anything negative about Las Vegas,” he wrote. 

Oscar Goodman, the Mayor of Las Vegas and an independent, also got into the fray, raising his voice and describing President Obama as “a real slow learner” who has a “psychological hang-up” about Las Vegas. 

Mr. Goodman added that this time an apology from Mr. Obama wouldn’t be enough. “I’ll do everything I can to give him the boot.” 

Last year, Mr. Obama apologized for his prior gaffe and during a visit to Nellis Air Force Base outside Las Vegas said that it was good to get out of Washington and “there’s nothing like a quick trip to Vegas in the middle of the week.” 

Repercussions surrounding the current incident are not nearly over.  In a couple of weeks, Mr. Obama is planning another visit to Las Vegas, which surely will cause sparks to fly anew.

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Las Vegas Pops for $500,000 New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show

It must be nice.  Despite record Las Vegas unemployment, layoffs, foreclosures, and other nefarious economic indicators, this evening at the stroke of midnight, somehow $500,000 of fireworks will shoot skyward from the rooftops of MGM Grand, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, The Venetian, Stratosphere, and the brand new entry this year- the top of CityCenter’s Aria. 

In seven minutes and eleven seconds the fireworks extravaganza, dubbed “America’s Party: A Vegas Celebration” will be over and one for the history books. 

For the past four days, 65 pyrotechnicians from the famed Grucci brothers have been rigging the big bangs to delight Las Vegas locals and mesmerize an estimated 315,000 out-of-town partiers. 

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will have every commissioned officer – all 3,200 of them – keeping order in Sin City.  The Strip will be close to vehicular traffic and several on-ramps and exits on Interstate 15 will be shut down starting about 6:30 p.m. 

And if you were thinking on bringing your six-shooter and firing it wildly into the air, think again.  Police are promising to step up enforcement of firearms laws to reduce celebratory gunfire to ring in the New Year. 

Anyone for just imbibing on sparkling grape juice and crackers in their abode?

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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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