Forbes 4 and 5 Star Las Vegas Hotels and Restaurants

Friday, 27 February 2015 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

It’s easy to get spoiled by Las Vegas. Not only are there plenty of good hotel and restaurants options there are plenty of great hotels and restaurants. Every year Forbes Travel Guide releases it’s best hotels and restaurants in each state. These ratings are gathered by their intrepid staff secretly monitoring and experiencing hotels, restaurants and spas across the country.

Hotels and restaurants have a great desire to receive a prestigious high Forbes rating while many consumers use these ratings to choose which establishments they’ll visit on a future vacation. It should come as no surprise that Las Vegas has a lot of hotels and restaurants that have garnered top ratings from Forbes. This list of hotels and restaurants is a great place to start when planning a Vegas vacation.

 

Five Star Hotels

Aria Sky Suites

Encore Tower Suites

Mandarin Oriental

Skylofts at MGM Grand

Wynn Tower Suites

 

Four Star Hotels

ARIA Resort & Casino

Bellagio

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas

M Resort Spa Casino

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

The Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace

Palazzo

The Signature at MGM Grand Las Vegas

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino

Vdara Hotel & Spa

Wynn Las Vegas

 

Many of the hotels above have the highest priced hotel rooms in Las Vegas. If you’re looking for a bargain you might want to visit M Resort. Technically it’s on the Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Blvd.) but it’s 4 miles away from the action you’re familiar with on the Vegas Strip. It’s off-strip location make this the most affordable Four Star hotel on the list.

Aria and Vdara offer some of the most reasonable rates of the Four Star hotels on the Vegas Strip. If you’re a bargain hunter you will find rates starting under $100 before resort fees in the hotel section of Travel Vegas. If you’re looking for a Four Star Freebie you may find complimentary room awards for Aria, Bellagio and Vdara available from MyVegas.

 

Five Star Restaurants

Joel Robuchon

Restaurant Guy Savoy

Twist by Pierre Gagnaire

 

Four Star Restaurants

Andrea’s

AquaKnox

Aureole Las Vegas

barMASA

Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare

Botero

CUT Las Vegas

Delmonico Steakhouse

Julian Serrano

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

Le Cirque Las Vegas

Michael Mina

Mizumi

Picasso

Sage

Sinatra

SW Steakhouse

The Country Club

Wing Lei

 

It should come as no surprise that many of the Four and Five Star rated restaurants by Forbes are located in the Four and Five Star rated hotels. Part of the Four and Five Star experience is the great service and great dining that you’ll find in these restaurants.

Visit Forbes Travel Guide for more information on how the lists are created and similar information for other cities.

 

Music Season In Las Vegas Is Coming Soon

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

Summer is traditionally music touring season for most of the country and Las Vegas is no different. The brutally hot summer temperatures with high temperatures of 110-115 degrees in the shade makes it difficult to enjoy all day music festivals but that doesn’t stop the fun. Music festival season starts earlier and ends later than much of the rest of the country. You may notice that some outdoor summer tours begin and end out west. That’s not by accident. Some of the festivals won’t even begin until sundown is near for safety.

 

Big events like music festivals are always a great excuse to visit Las Vegas. Even if you’re not attending the events it’s a time to hang out with like-minded people or just watch people watch. There’s nothing like spending a weekend in Downtown Vegas when Punk Rock Bowling is happening. The amount of happy-go-lucky beer drinking older punks is a blast. If you’re into that sort of thing like I am. Here’s a look at just some of the variety of music festivals you’ll find in Las Vegas this summer.

 

Electric Daisy Carnival (June 19-21)

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Details: The 3 Day Electronic music festival is one of the largest music festivals in the country with almost 100,000 people in attendance each day. Besides multiple stages for Electronic Dance Music (EDM) DJ’s to perform there are a few rides. The ferris wheel gives you a bird’s eye view of the lights and organized chaos.

More information here.

 

Life Is Beautiful (September 25-27)

Where: Downtown Vegas

Details: This is more than a music festival. Life Is Beautiful is a music, arts and food festival all in one. The music is combination of alternative, rock, hip hop, dance and pop music. Previous performers include Kanye West, Skrillex, Outkast and Kings of Leon. World famous chefs like Rick Moonen, Cat Cora and Hubert Keller helm the booths of the food section of the festival.

More information here

 

Punk Rock Bowling (May 22-25)

Where: Various downtown venues

Details: Punk Rock Bowling is more than just punk rockers bowling. There are punk rock concerts mostly located in venues throughout Downtown Vegas. The main festival show is held outside just off of Fremont Street. Headliners this year include Rancid, Dropkick Murphys and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

More information here.

 

Rock in Rio (May 8-9 and 15-16)

Where: City of Rock (Across the street from SLS Las Vegas.

When: May 8-9, 15-16

Details: The new permanent festival grounds are currently under construction across the street from SLS Las Vegas. Once complete the space, initially called City Of Rock, will host about 10 music festivals a year. The introductory Las Vegas edition of historic Rock In Rio will have a weekend for rock music (May 8-9) and a weekend for pop music (May 15-16). Metallica, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park and Bruno Mars headline their respective nights of the festival.

More information here.

 

Route 91 Harvest Festival (October 2-4)

Where: MGM Resorts Village

Details: Last year was the first year of this very well attended country music festival across the street from Luxor.  Last year was chock full of performers like Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton who could probably headline arenas on a normal night. This year’s lineup hasn’t been announced yet but this might be a good time to plan your next Vegas vacation if you’re a country music fan.

More information here.

 

Vegaschella (April 8-16)

Where: Cosmopolitan

Details: Vegaschella isn’t a music festival. Rather it’s a slew of bands performing at the Cosmopolitan on their way to one of the largest music festivals in America, Coachella. Unless you’re watching a headliner of a music festival you won’t see a full concert from any particular band. During Vegaschella you can catch full sets from Hozier, Interpol, Marina and the Diamonds and more.

More information here.

 

 

Reasons To Stop By Each Downtown Vegas Casino

Monday, 16 February 2015 by Blog Category: Downtown - Old Vegas.

We’ve discussed the Downtown Vegas resurgence ad nauseam over the past year. It’s easy to forget “Old Vegas” with all of the new restaurants, bars and places to shop that have opened. Today, I want to go back to the roots of Old Vegas. Yes, I’m talking about the casinos. Just about every casino, even the new casinos, have a unique reason to visit.

 

Plaza – Go here for massive quantities of the twisted farm food at Hash House A Go-Go. This is a great excuse to visit the Plaza whether you’re hungry, hungover or just looking for a bargain.

 

Main Street Station – Gamblers might want to check out the 20x odds craps game. These are the best craps odds you’ll find in Las Vegas.

 

California – Visit Lappert’s Ice Cream shop for gourmet ice cream that’s probably unlike any ice cream you’ve had before.

 

Vegas Club – There are so many rumors as to the future of the Vegas Club that you might want to check it out now. There’s no telling what its future holds.

 

Golden Gate – If you enter at the Fremont Street entrance just walk all the way to the back. In between the restroom and hotel check in you’ll find a handful of vintage slot machines from the early 1900’s.

 

Binion’s – Check out the original home of the World Series of poker and take a picture with $1,000,000 cash!

 

Golden Nugget – Sports fans might want to hang out at one of the best sportsbooks in Downtown Vegas. If you’re looking for something unique check out the largest piece of real gold in the world – the Hand of Faith.

 

Four Queens – The Patio Bar at 4 Queens is one of the best people watching spots in all of Las Vegas. Grab a drink and have a seat.

 

The D – Head upstairs to the Vintage Vegas casino and play one of two remaining Sigma Derby games in Las Vegas. The game still uses quarters so you’ll have to visit the cashier before playing.

 

Downtown Grand – This casino was built on the bones of the Lady Luck casino. It’s the newest casino to open in Downtown Vegas. Unlike some older casinos downtown, everything you’ll find is new so check it out.

 

El Cortez – The $5 burger and beer lunch special is one of the least expensive lunches you’ll find anywhere in Vegas today!

 

Cosmopolitan P3 Art Studio 2015 Lineup

Thursday, 12 February 2015 by Blog Category: Entertainment.

One of the best ways to save money in Las Vegas is to look at the new art programs as they become available. Many of the art programs you’ll find in Las Vegas are free of charge. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has a fairly extensive, modern and unique art program available right in the center of the Vegas Strip. Besides putting beautiful artistic touches throughout the casino and hotel like the giant chandelier they offer an extensive art program at their P3 art studio.

 

Their art programming this year has already begun for this year and you don’t even need to make your way into the P3 Studio for this one. Along the West End corridor of level two of the hotel you’ll find the year’s first free art installation. Now through February 22 you’ll be able to view part of W magazine’s Shooting Stars exhibition. This display features celebrities as you’ve never seen them before, taking you on a visual journey into an alternative fantasy world through oversized prints by acclaimed photographers. You can see a sampling of the display on the Cosmo’s Facebook page.

 

Here’s a look at some of P3 Studio’s artists in residence.

 

Lia Chavez (Now – February 8)

The Octave of Visible Light: A Meditation Nightclub

Lia Chavez invites guests to an interactive meditation nightclub that incorporates therapeutic planetary harmonics and neurobiological resonance to enable you to observe concurrent frequencies in color, sound and the human brain. Using a technological system she invented in collaboration with Rehab Studio, Chavez can observe the relationships between brainwave oscillations and sound and color of corresponding frequencies. You’ll have the opportunity to ”play” the system and dictate the sonic and chromatic environment of the meditation nightclub with their brainwaves by wearing an EEG headset allowing them to experience the magic of specializing their own interior worlds.

 

PAUSE featuring “I Promise to Love You” by Tracey Emin

As one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Tracey Emin’s moving series of digital neon works, “I Promise To Love You”, is comprised of six artworks around the theme of love. Starting on March 25, 2014, “I Promise To Love You” will take over every LED sign at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for over 3 minutes, including the 65 foot marquee on the Boulevard Pool deck, the 3 signs at each of the Las Vegas Boulevard entrances to the resort and the LED sign inside the northeast entrance near The Henry. “New Friends” by David Shrigley, which has been playing on the Boulevard Pool and pedestrian marquees since late last summer will continue to be showcased on the half hour, but will be expanded to all LED signs as well.

Jesse Smigel

The rest of the year features artist residencies with other unique offerings ranging from Jesse Smigel’s game shows to Kate Gilmore and Franklin Evans’ elaborate Las Vegas inspired art installations.

 

March 11-April 12 – Lucky DeBellevue

April 15-May 10 – Stephanie Hirsch

May 13-June 7 – Amy Gartrell and Patterson Beckwith

June 10-July 12 – Patterson Beckwith

July 15-August 9 – Thomas Willis

August 12-September 13 – Brent Sommerhauser

September 16-October 11 – Shantell Martin

October 14-November 8 – Jesse Smigel

November 11-December 6 – Mikayla Whitmore

December 9-January 3 (2016) – Kate Gilmore and Franklin Evans

 

Admission to the P3 Art Studio is free. The P3 Art Studio is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6p – 11pm.

 

New Year – New Resort Fees

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

The new year in Las Vegas often brings new shows, restaurants, bars and other new ideas for businesses to increase revenue. Unfortunately for visitors to Las Vegas resort fees are a very easy (and sneaky) way for hotels to increase revenue. The extra fees are essentially hidden room rate increases.

 

For the uninitiated, a resort fee is a mandatory nightly hotel room surcharge imposed by hotels. The idea is that this expense will cover the cost of certain amenities for the hotel. Resort fees include amenities like wifi, gym access, free local phone calls, newspaper and more. In theory, you’re receiving useful amenities for your resort fees. In reality you might not be receiving anything you’d want.

 

Increasing hotel room rates happens. Most people don’t flinch at higher room rate versus a room rate that may have been less expensive. The problem with resort fees is that they’re a hidden added charge. When searching for hotel room rates in Las Vegas few people will see the total price of a hotel room. Most will see a room cost per night and have to do the math to include the resort fee and that’s before taxes. Since many hotels have different resort fees this can be confusing. Today’s Las Vegas room fees look something like this.

 

Hotel room cost + Resort fee + Tax = Final hotel room price per night

 

If resort fees were simple and consistent with all hotels there would be less of a problem with the extra fees. There’s a bright side to Caesars Entertainment increasing the resort fee at many of their Las Vegas properties last year. This year resort fees are the same at all of their properties unlike the resort fees at different MGM Resorts. If nothing else it’s easier to compute what you’re actually paying.

 

Not all resort fee increases can be looked at as being the same. When the Cosmopolitan raised their resort fee $5 earlier this year it represented approximately a 2.6% increase in their average daily room rate which is approximately $280 per night. When Golden Nugget increased their destination fee from $5 to a traditional resort fee of $21 that marked a $16 increase on hotel rooms that cost about $100 per night. It’s a bit more difficult to digest a 16% rate increase versus a 3% increase regardless of the final room cost.

 

This year Cosmopolitan, Hard Rock, Golden Nugget, Hooters, Tropicana and Treasure Island have already increased their hotel room prices simply by increasing the resort fees. You won’t see the increased prices when searching for hotel room prices since the increase is hidden in the resort fee.

 

It’s becoming more difficult to avoid these hidden charges. As of the writing of this article Best Western at Casino Royale is the hotel with a casino on the Vegas Strip without a resort fee. It’s a little easier to avoid resort fees when you stay in Downtown Vegas where 4 of 12 casinos don’t charge a resort fee. Currently the California, Fremont, Main Street Station and Four Queens don’t charge a resort fee.

 

Nobody likes increase hotel room rates but they’re easy to deal with since that’s what is advertised. Resort fees are hidden and change often so they’re not so easy to digest. That said if you want to stay in Las Vegas the chances are that you’ll be paying a resort fee. Here’s a guide on ways to make the most out of resort fees. Let’s make lemonade out of these lemons.

 

The Grand Bazaar Shops Las Vegas – Sneak Peek

Monday, 09 February 2015 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

You may have seen construction in front of Bally’s if you’ve been to Las Vegas in the past year. Well, that construction is finally complete and the Grand Bazaar Shops in front of the hotel and casino are about to open.

If you remember, the space in between the Vegas Strip and hotel at Bally’s used to be comprised of lush with greenery and fountains. Well, the greenery and fountains are gone and the Grand Bazaar Shops will bring 120 shops, restaurants and attractions. The yearlong construction brings the much-anticipated retail attraction that will deliver big brand names, intimate boutiques and international flavors, all packed into a two-acre outdoor shopping promenade.

The Grand Bazaar Shops will open to the public on February 26 but you can probably catch a sneak peek at the shopping promenade shortly before the official opening date.

“Grand Bazaar Shops will captivate people looking for something more than what today’s brick-and-mortar retail outlets typically provide,” said Larry Siegel, chairman of Juno Property Group. “This new concept that we are introducing at the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas Strip is truly special and we feel the experiences within it will create a must-see attraction for visitors and locals alike. We are reimagining retail at the crossroads of the busiest intersection in Las Vegas.”

The Grand Bazaar Shops are another move towards catering to new and future visitors to Las Vegas. In the past 20 years or so visitors to Las Vegas have been spending less money on gambling in the casino and more in the non-gaming parts of the hotels. This attraction brings together a dynamic mix of merchants and restaurants in an urban shopping scene rich with culture, fashion, food, and a multitude of engaging experiences. This will be a different shopping experience as you’ll be able to interact with stores where you can design your own sandals, barter for the best prices, observe live artists creating fine art, explore virtual showrooms, and more.

The Grand Bazaar Shops will introduce a host of boutiques with sizes ranging from 150-300 square feet. In addition, a select group of retailers will have a larger presence, with boutiques ranging from 1,000-2,400 square feet. Grand Bazaar will also feature a diverse array of food, bar and restaurant concepts, occupying 26,500 square feet of space, some with second-story views overlooking the Las Vegas Strip.

Reminiscent of world-renowned markets such as Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (note the name of these shops in Las Vegas) and London’s Portobello Road, and newer examples such as New York City’s Grand Central Terminal and San Francisco’s Ferry Building, Grand Bazaar Shops will evoke a sense of discovery with its varied and one-of-a-kind apparel, footwear, eyewear, accessories, jewelry, health and beauty, specialty and electronics offerings.

Popular brands such as Swarovski, Swatch and Uggs & Toms will will have distinctive store models and experiences not found elsewhere. U.S. brands making their Las Vegas debut include Hawaiian fashion and home furnishings retailer Martin & MacArthur and Los Angeles handbag designer Hammitt. Additionally, Grand Bazaar Shops will feature popular international companies expanding their presence in the U.S. like Superdry, a U.K. fashion retailer, Havaianas, a Brazilian footwear company, and Costa Rican jewelry brand AG by Ana Gutierrez Wearable Art.

Central to the Grand Bazaar Shops’ experience will be the Swarovski Crystal Starburst. The brilliantly colored light with sound and video, Starburst soars above Grand Bazaar Shops’ colorful, mosaic-patterned rooftop canopy and will be the star of a nightly LED spectacle. The 14-foot-diameter sparkling sphere, composed of 924 custom-cut Swarovski crystals and more than 1,800 points of light, will be an the focal point of the new retail venue.

You can visit grandbazaarshops.com for a full list of retailers and more information on the Grand Bazaar Shops.

 

 

4 Great Vegas Breakfast Spots

Wednesday, 04 February 2015 by Blog Category: Food.

Waking up in Las Vegas can be different every day. One day you may just need the closest cup of coffee and something to snack on and other days your body may require a full sit down breakfast. Just about every casino on the Vegas Strip has a coffee stand (usually Starbucks) to satisfy the most basic desires. The same can’t be said at Downtown Vegas hotels where you may have to visit their sit down cafe and order coffee and a pastry or whatever to go.

 

When I think about breakfast it’s never about hitting the coffee stand for a quickie. It’s always about those times when only a full meal will do. Here are some restaurants with great breakfast dishes. Some of these breakfast dishes can be enjoyed at any time of the day.

 

DuPar’s (Golden Gate Hotel and Casino)

DuPar’s is both a restaurant and bakery. You can sit down and eat a meal at this diner style restaurant or just get a pie to go. The world famous pancakes at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate in Downtown Vegas are one of the best breakfast’s you’ll find anywhere in Las Vegas. The combination of a great pancake and a ladle of drawn butter makes for one of the most satisfying meals any time of the day from breakfast to a late night snack. Coffee drinkers may want to bring their own cup from the outside. Their brown water isn’t very drinkable.

 

Grand Lux Cafe (The Venetian) 

This tip is specifically for the Grand Lux Cafe at The Venetian. Even though this is a chain restaurant the location at The Palazzo does not prepare this specific dish the same way. The steak and eggs at the Grand Lux Cafe at The Venetian isn’t the $1.99 special you may have heard of years ago in Las Vegas. This is a perfectly grilled New York steak with fluffy eggs, hash browns and toast for $20. This isn’t an everyday meal. It’s too much food in the best way possible and worth every penny you’ll pay.

 

Mon Ami Gabi (Paris Las Vegas)

You can have one of your most civil and Vegasy breakfast’s at Mon Ami Gabi. No matter how long the wait, you should sit outside. The view of the Vegas Strip and Bellagio fountains is unmatched anywhere in Las Vegas. Just about everything you’ll order here is good but their date-glazed bacon is thick and tastes unlike every other slice of bacon you’ll find in Las Vegas. You can order a simple 3 egg dish with bacon, potatoes and toast for $13 which makes this one of the better deals you’ll find for a full breakfast on the Vegas Strip. Add a cup of delicious Intelligentsia coffee for an delicious and energizing start your day.

 

Sambalatte (Monte Carlo)

Sambalatte offers the most traditional coffeehouse experience that you’ll find on the Vegas Strip. Sambalatte roasts the best coffee in Vegas and they have the beans to prove it. You can choose to create your coffee from different beans just about every day of the week. Make no mistake about it, you’re going to Sambalatte for a great cup of coffee. Food here is secondary but if you’re hungry they offer a nice variety of pastry and snacks.

 

Finding The Cheap Drinks in Las Vegas

Monday, 02 February 2015 by Blog Category: Food.

Las Vegas can get expensive quickly if you’re not paying attention. When you’re in a tourist area, no matter what city, prices tend to drift a little higher than you may normally pay at home. That $4 domestic beer at home may be $7 on the Vegas Strip. When you add a $1 tip you’ve now paid $8. When you’re looking in your pocket it’s easy to think you just spent $10 on what’s normally a $4 beer because of the missing big bills. As the night progresses the extra money spent on drinks can add up.

You can get “complimentary” drinks while you’re gambling but these aren’t necessarily free. If you lose your buy-in at the table or machine that you’re playing you have in essence paid that much for however many drinks you’ve had. I’ve probably had as many video poker sessions at the casino bar where I’ve had enough drinks for a weekend that only cost my $20 buy-in as I’ve had $200 blackjack sessions where I lost so quickly that I only had one drink. That’s a $200 beer. Not cool.

“Free” isn’t always free in Las Vegas. However, there are some great options to get your drink on for a lower price. Many of the casual bar/restaurant’s in Vegas casinos has a Happy Hour. Many of these happy hour specials change so check out the restaurants in the hotel where you’re staying and see what kind of drink discounts they offer. You may be happily surprised with what you find.
One little known way to get free or cheap drinks is to head to the casino gift shop. Some casinos offer discounts when you show a players club card. This may make the beers less expensive than you’ll pay at the casino bars.

The Suncoast gift shop has a good beer selection and you’ll only pay a few dollars per beer. On my last visit to the casino I was able to pay for a couple of beers using comp points that I earned from gambling. The beers weren’t exactly free since I had to spend money in the casino to earn those points but it was nice not to dig into my pocket for the extra cash.

Downtown Vegas has undergone a major transformation in the past few years and many of the casinos have built cool bars. Unfortunately many of these bars come with higher price tags on drinks. The casinos have to pay for construction so they just pass the cost on to the customer. There’s nothing shady here. Many businesses operate this way.

Head to the Fremont Casino for 99 Cent margaritas if you’re looking for a cheap drink. You’re not going to get the same hand crafted margarita you would when you pay $10-$15 at other bars but these drinks to the trick for many boozehounds.

If you’re a beer drinker downtown you might want to head to Main Street Station. You can get any of their microbrews for $3.50. If you visit the 777 Bar and Grill during happy hour you’ll pay even less. This is some of the freshest beer you’ll have anywhere in Las Vegas.

As you’d imagine there are even more drink specials when you hit the Vegas Strip since there are more hotels, bars and restaurants. Here are some of the best deals on drinks you’ll find on the Vegas Strip.

Riviera: $3 call drinks, $2 well drinks & domestic beer and $1 rotating specials their casino bar.

Casino Royale – $1 Michelob Bottles & Michelob Light at their casino bar.

Circus Circus – 2 bottles of beer for $5 at the Slots A Fun bar.

Stratosphere – Bottomless Happy Hour from 6pm – 10pm daily has an all-you-can-drink special for $19.99.

 

Quick Serve Restaurants are a Welcome Addition to Vegas Dining

Tuesday, 27 January 2015 by Blog Category: Food.

Quick Serve Restaurants (QSR) aren’t a new trend but it’s one that is rapidly growing across the country. Quick serve restaurants are the next step in the progression of fast food. Quick serve restaurants fit a niche that’s needed by today’s fast paced society. They offer food orders to be filled quickly while also offering a better quality of fast food. The food is closer to what you’d expect at a traditional dine-in restaurant at prices somewhere in between discount fast food restaurants and that traditional dine-in restaurant.

 

The most famous quick serve restaurant is Chipotle. They make full restaurant quality food quickly. Food at Chipotle is constantly being prepared so its fresh, unlike some fast food restaurants we all grew up with. When you visit a 5 Guys Burger restaurant, another QSR, you’ll hear the cashier yell “DROP FRIES” to the cooks every time fries are ordered. Their French fries have become almost as famous as their burgers.

This kind of fresh food continues to grow in popularity across the country and is finally hitting the Vegas Strip in a big way. Casinos are noticing that quick serve restaurants are a great way to offer customers a high quality meal at a more moderate cost than at a coffee shop or a dine-in restaurant.

Caesars Palace recently renovated its food court with some quick serve restaurant options including Smashburger. Smashburger is a growing quick serve burger restaurant chain similar to Five Guys.

Down the Vegas Strip Shake Shack just opened at New York-New York. The burgers are most often compared to fresh fast food chain In and Out Burger. This restaurant offers fresh made burgers, fries and hand crafted ice cream shakes. Everything here is made fresh at a lower cost then you might expect. This is a trend you’ll continue to see as the Vegas Strip continues to reinvent itself from just being a gambling mecca.

Quick serve restaurants aren’t limited to burgers. Earlier this year Harrah’s opened the Fulton Street Food Hall. This isn’t a traditional food court and it’s not exactly a traditional quick serve restaurant. However, it offers speed and pricing in line with both concepts. Fulton Street Food Hall fits into a category of it’s own as it’s part traditional restaurant-part bar-part cafeteria-part food court-part fresh QSR. You can get anything from fresh sushi, sandwiches on fresh made bread to a variety of comfort foods. I hear the chili is some of the best you’ll find in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas hotels tend to add fast food or quick serve restaurants based on brand familiarity. Existing quick serve restaurants are growing across the country and new concepts are opening on a regular basis. While Vegas Strip casino-hotels update their dining options look for more quick serve restaurants to open. This type of restaurant is an easy way for a hotel to create a more upscale food court experience. Upscaling restaurants mean that hotels can charge a little more rent.

In the end the customer has an quick, inexpensive, quality dining option while the hotel operators can make a little more money. This may be a rare win-win. That’s rare in Las Vegas where the house always has the advantage.

Planning an Affordable Las Vegas Vacation in 2015

Friday, 23 January 2015 by Blog Category: Everything Vegas.

It’s a new year and it’s time to start planning the next trip to Vegas! The best way to save money on a trip to Las Vegas is to plan ahead. No matter when you’re thinking of visiting Las Vegas you can save money in advance of your trip.

 

Flights

Booking flights early is probably the most difficult part of planning a trip well in advance. If you book too early you may find prices decreasing if tickets aren’t purchased. Similarly, if you wait too long you can end up paying much more for your airline tickets. Here are a couple of simple tips:

  1. Book at least 14 days before you plan to be in Las Vegas. Prices jump inside 14 days of travel.
  2. Early Wednesday morning is often the least expensive time and day to get airline tickets. This is when all of the unsold discount tickets are released for you to purchase. Different airlines are based in different time zones. Here’s a good reference on when these tickets are released.
  3. Once your airline tickets are booked it’s going to cost money to change them so make sure your plans are firm before booking. Booking cheap tickets is a waste if you have add a change fee to the price.

Hotels

Unlike airline tickets you can cancel most advance hotel room reservations a few days before your planned visit (each hotel is different, check their policy). Hotel room prices are simple supply and demand. If rooms are booked for a specific night then prices are higher. If there are a lot of rooms available prices are lower. This is great for the early planner who can lock in less expensive hotel rooms way in advance. You can always cancel and rebook if you find a cheaper room elsewhere.

If you know that you’ll be visiting during a busy time it’s especially smart to book hotel rooms early. Even if you’re booking a comp room you may have to book early. Comps for the majority of players club members (i.e. not super high rollers) get used early.

Shows

Shows in Las Vegas sell out when it’s busy. Once your flights are booked and your trip is confirmed you might want to secure your tickets. Discount tickets, like those you can get from Travel Vegas, are the first to go. The next to go are full price cheap seats. If you wait too long you might get stuck paying full price for the best seats at a show.

Slow Days

Las Vegas almost always has something going on to attract visitors. If you want to save money you should avoid those times. Here are a few tips on which day you should visit Las Vegas to save money:

  1. Midweek – Sunday – Thursday are usually the least busy days in Las Vegas unless there’s a major conference (here’s a list of conferences for your reference). Hotel rooms are less expensive, discount show tickets are more available and happy hour is available for food and drink.
  2. Right after the Super Bowl – The Big Game is February 1 this year. There are usually a few weeks after where there’s a lull in major events. That usually keeps people away.
  3. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas – The week before Christmas is the slowest week of the year with hotels booking less than half of the rooms. This is a great time to jump in the class of hotel for your budget or to save a few bucks at your favorite hotel.

Events

There are certain dates that are always busier in Las Vegas than other days. These events always bring a crowd to Las Vegas. If you’re looking to spend less money in Las Vegas then you should avoid these events.

  • Super Bowl weekend – Feb. 1
  • March Madness – Opening weekend is March 19-22
  • Cinco De Mayo – May 1-3
  • Rock In Rio May 8-9 and May 15-16
  • Memorial Day – May 23-25
  • EDC – June 19-21
  • July 4th weekend – July 3-5
  • Labor Day – Sept. 5-7
  • G2E – Sept. 29-Oct. 1

You now hold the tools to book a less expensive vacation in Vegas. See you soon!

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