Las Vegas is constantly evolving. Restaurants, bars, shows, hotel rooms and other amenities inside casino-resorts are constantly changing. The main objective is for the properties to keep up with current customer demand. Sometimes the casino operators are looking to offer products and services for the future that we might not be ready for.
The Cromwell opened a few years ago in the building that used to be Bill’s Gambling Hall and Barbary Coast with new technology. Guests had, and still have, the option to use an app for their room key. Over the years many have stuck with the conventional credit card sized keys. Perhaps the introduction of the keyless room locks was too early despite its convenience. However, they might be catching on. More on that shortly.
When we look for bargains in Las Vegas one of the first places referenced is Ellis Island. The casino, hotel, and brewery are technically located one block east of the Vegas Strip on Koval Lane behind Bally’s. However, if you exit Bally’s on Flamingo, it’s more like half a block.
Ellis Island has been open nearly 50 years. The property features a 24-hour restaurant with some of the most famous steak and BBQ specials, a micro-brewery and karaoke lounge. Visit their promotions page to see current deals which always includes a steak dinner for less than $10. In fact, you can always find a full meal for under $10 at Ellis Island. You’ll also find their house-made beer and root beer for under $5 a glass.
July 4th fireworks in Las Vegas have become an annual tradition. However, since Las Vegas is an unconventional city it’s not quite as simple as looking up at the sky when the sun goes down on the 4th of July.
Las Vegas is a bit of a different city. That’s part of the appeal. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Nobody tells Las Vegas when to party! July 4th fireworks in Las Vegas will take place on at least three nights from July 1 through July 4th.
In 2015, the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s replaced the beautiful greenery and an iconic moving walkway that lead visitors from the Vegas Strip into the casino. Those trees and bushes weren’t generating any revenue and had to go! The new shops may have taken awhile for some Las Vegas visitors to get used to but the Grand Bazaar Shops seem to be coming into their own.
Since first opening, the shops have undergone many changes and additions. In fact, the changes are continuing. Eater Vegas recently reported that Vegas Exp will be taking over space previously used by numerous stores. They say to “expect a similar inventory of souvenirs, apparel, beer, wine, liquor and snacks found at the original Grand Canyon Experience.”
Casinos and slot machine manufacturers are gearing up for a busy summer. The next time you walk into a casino you should expect to see a lot of new slot machines. The games feature new and unique themes and the most advanced technology we’ve ever seen in slot machines.
We are in a Generation X slot machine renaissance of sorts. This generation is comprised of people born in between 1965 to 1976. This is the generation between Millennials and Baby Boomers. We grew up in the 1980’s and hit our prime in the 1990’s before settling into adulthood in the 2000’s.
Part of the appeal of visiting Las Vegas is the heat. The dry heat is real and it’s fantastic. Well, it’s great most of the year. It can be a bit too much for some people during the summer months. Sure, hot is hot but it becomes so hot in direct sunlight that you can actually bake cookies inside of a car. Thankfully most casinos have covered parking in Las Vegas.
The hot temperatures can be enjoyable but there’s one thing to always remember. The temperature is hotter when you’re in direct sunlight. Temperatures in direct sunlight can be 20 degrees hotter or more than they are in the shade. The 115-degree afternoon could feel more like 135 degrees when you’re standing in the sun. The dry heat makes most high temperatures tolerable but 135 degree is hot regardless of humidity.
The saying is that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” In Las Vegas, this is half true. The underlying experience may remain the same for many. However, there’s certainly a lot of physical change that you can actually see happening every day in Las Vegas.
You probably already heard the rumor that MGM Resorts was considering filling in the fountains at Bellagio. Well, that was quickly shot down by MGM Resorts reps. Unfortunately, this could happen eventually.
The D and Vegas Golden Knights recently announced a partnership that will make The D the official downtown Las Vegas casino for the new NHL team. The six-year sponsorship is an exclusive deal. There will a slew of events taking place in downtown Las Vegas with Las Vegas’ first major professional sports franchise and The D.
Las Vegas has become one of the most popular culinary destinations in America. There are award winning chefs and restaurants everywhere you look. Beyond the awards there are simply a lot of great restaurants to all over Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, some of the best restaurants in Las Vegas can beyond the budget of some people. Restaurant Week in Las Vegas not only helps Three Square fight hunger in Southern Nevada but it also offers some of the best dining deals of the year.
Parking fees at Vegas Strip casinos are relatively new. MGM Resorts was the first casino operator to change for parking on the Vegas Strip. In 2016, they began charging for both self-parking and valet at Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo, and New York-New York. Self-parking was and is still free at Circus Circus but there’s a valet parking fee..
Less than a year after parking fees were implemented at MGM Resorts properties the company increased all of the parking fees. Other casino operators on the Vegas Strip followed MGM Resorts’ lead and started to charge for parking. Wynn and Encore started charging for valet parking almost immediately. Self-parking at both Wynn and Encore is currently free.
Las Vegas is a special place for many people. There are so many great memories made in Vegas that it’s almost like a gift that keeps on giving. There are so many things that trigger these great Vegas memories.
Music is my trigger. I can hear certain songs and remember exactly where I heard it in Las Vegas. Ludacris, Paramore, Missy Elliott, Britney Spears, and even the Beebz rekindle oddly specific Las Vegas memories.
Music alone is enough to induce enough Vegas memories to give me goose bumps. I actually have them right now writing this article. Not everyone has the same ties to music. However, everyone loves to rekindle their best Vegas memories.
We’re not partial to one casino operator in Las Vegas. However, sometimes certain casino companies have a lot going on. In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a lot happening at the Flamingo. Shows are coming and going while the casino continues to evolve to meet current customer needs.
The bones of the Flamingo may be old but they’re constantly changing the property so it feels modern, contemporary and fresh. The latest upgrade to Flamingo was just announcement by Caesars Entertainment. The national casino operator will be spending $90 million to renovate 1,270 hotel rooms at the Flamingo.
Parking fees continue to spread across the Vegas Strip. MGM Resorts was the first casino operator on the Vegas Strip to charge for parking. Wynn Resorts started changing for valet and Caesars Entertainment has been rolling out the fees slowly at their Vegas Strip casinos.
Despite the negative reaction, the fees seem like they’re here to stay. MGM Resorts says that it hasn’t hurt their visitation. In fact, MGM Resorts increased parking fees twice in less than a year. First they ended free parking for Nevada locals. Most recently they increased the actual parking fees for everyone.
There are many ways to experience Las Vegas. Thankfully the city offers something for every budget. There may be a time when a low rolling trip is fine. Another visit to Las Vegas might need the special touches only the high rollers see.
Personally, I like a trip to Las Vegas that includes a bit of both worlds. Shifting between being a low roller and high roller exemplifies everything Las Vegas has to offer. Shifting gears offers enough intrigue to a visit that always keeps me on my toes.
My summer vacation is on the way and I’m sure there will be one night where we play $5 blackjack and have a happy hour dinner while rushing back to the tables. The next night might slow down and will probably have higher limits at the tables and a more mellow and fancy dinner.
Choosing a hotel often drives the Las Vegas experience. Sometimes a vacation in Las Vegas only needs a hotel room with a clean bed and shower. Other times we might want to splurge and have the nicest room we can afford.
The Palazzo became one of my favorite hotels in Las Vegas because, like sister hotel The Venetian, all of the hotel rooms are suites. The upgrade to a suite only cost a few bucks more than a typical luxury hotel room. If more space is similarly priced than why not try that?
At the time I found Palazzo I wasn’t loyal to a particular casino chain or players club. I would stay wherever I felt most comfortable regardless of affiliation. Not everyone is the same and may prefer to be loyal to one company.
The Total Rewards players club from Caesars Entertainment is one of the most popular in the country any many people are loyal to their hotels. That’s totally understandable as the discounts and complimentary rooms can be great. Today, this can lead to finding great rates on suites.
Caesars Entertainment recently revealed a slew of new hotel suites with prices that begin at $175 per night. Caesars Suites was once known as Anthology Suites. The new name now has more than 2,000 suites and villas and a new website, CaesarsSuites.com, with all of the information. This is a step up from your basic Caesars hotel room. However, Total Rewards member may be able to find these new suites discounted or complimentary.
Over the past year Caesars Entertainment has focused renovating many of their Las Vegas hotel rooms. Planet Hollywood has all newly updated rooms, while Caesars Palace has the new Julius Tower. Caesars Entertainment has announced that they’re already renovating more rooms at their flagship property. The next set of renovations at Caesars Palace will take place in the Palace Tower. From the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017, Caesars Entertainment will have renovated more than 7,000 rooms. Of those renovations, 800 suites have been upgraded.
Caesars Suites offers a wide variety suites. There are renovated suites that can feel like a larger rom, multi-room suites, two-story duplexes and grand villas spanning more than 11,000 square feet. In addition to the rooms, Caesars Entertainment offers multiple perks if you’re looking to step up your vacation even further. Upgrades available include limo transportation to-and-from McCarran International Airport, access to a personal concierge in select suites, and around-the-clock butler service in villas.
At Nobu Hotel inside Caesars Palace, you can take in-suite dining to another level with spectacular creations prepared live by one of the Nobu’s master sushi chefs. The Nobu Villa and Nobu Penthouses are probably the nicest hotel rooms I’ve seen at Caesars Palace. The service at Nobu is second to none at this massive hotel complex.
Caesars Entertainment has focused on improving their hotel rooms over the past year. They’ve needed to and the new rooms all look like great improvements. Caesars Suites is a useful gateway for a Total Rewards customer looking to upgrade their Las Vegas experience without shopping outside of the preferred casino family.
Las Vegas isn’t just a place to visit just to gamble (even though there are plenty of unique places to gamble). Over the years Las Vegas has become a destination for just about every walk of life. Visitors come to Las Vegas for nightlife, shows, concerts, world-class dining, and so much more. There are plenty of one-off events throughout the year too.
There are plenty of resources that focus on concerts and shows for entertainment. I’m always looking for something different and recently came across the Las Vegas Film Festival. It’s understandable that not many who visit Las Vegas do so to sit in a movie theater. However, this is more than just watching a movie (or movies) that you can see anywhere. The movie selection at the festival is unique.
The 10th Annual Las Vegas Film Festival recently announced the initial lineup for the 2017 Festival. This year the festival will be held entirely at Brenden Theatres and the Palms Casino Resort from June 6 – June 11.
This year’s festival lineup includes a mix of feature films and documentaries that have been favorites on the international festival circuit, animated works, shorts, music videos, festival labs and local films that were produced in Southern Nevada or were directed by a local filmmaker.
Each of the feature and documentary films will be followed by a Question and Answer session with the cast and crew. This will provide guests with a unique movie watching experience. A festival pass is $75 per person and allows access to all screenings & festival HQ mixers. The VIP Festival pass is $175 per person and grants access to all screenings, parties, mixers, lounges, and includes early screening rsvp.
Below are some highlights of movies, documentaries, and animations that will be shown at the Las Vegas Film Festival. I attended many animation festivals in the past and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. In fact, I’m so excited by this portion of the festival that I’m going on a deep YouTube dive to find some of the animations I saw back in the day. The descriptions below are from the festival organizers:
10 Days (Director: Nathaniel Katzman)
Estlin and Ellie reconnect on Christmas Eve after nine months of separation. However, they are both wary of jumping right back into a relationship and therefore propose a challenge: they must spend 10 days with each other before a decision can be made. The film is about relationships, the holidays and being young in New York. There’s plenty to laugh, cry, and pull your hair out about.
The 60 Yard Line (Director: Leif Gantvoort)
Based on a true story. Set during the 2009 football season. Ben “Zagger” Zagowski and Nick “Polano” Polano, best friends and co-workers, buy a house in the parking lot of Lambeau Field (home of the Packers), and are forced to pick between a football fan lifestyle and a girl. Lives change. There’s a cow.
Dave Made a Maze (Director: Bill Watterson)
Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. Ignoring his warnings, Dave’s girlfriend Annie leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission. Once inside, they find themselves trapped in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur.
Gook (Director: Justin Chon)
Eli and Daniel, two Korean American brothers, own a struggling shoe store and have an unlikely friendship with Kamilla, a street-wise 11-year-old African American girl. Kamilla ditches school, Eli stresses about the store, and Daniel tries to have a good time. It’s just another typical day at the store until the Rodney King verdict is read and riots break. With the chaos moving towards them, the trio is forced to defend the store while contemplating the future of their own personal dreams and the true meaning of family.
Still/Born (Director: Brandon Christensen)
Still/Born follows Mary, a new mother who lost one of her twins in childbirth. As she struggles with the loss of one of her children, she starts to suspect something sinister is after her surviving child – a supernatural entity that has chosen her child and will stop at nothing to take it from her.
California Dreams (Director: Mike Ott)
From acclaimed director, Mike Ott comes to the new documentary feature “California Dreams,” presenting five unique individuals in pursuit of a big life change. Through auditions set up in small towns across Southern California, the film shows genuine characters with big Hollywood aspirations who, for various reasons, have never had the opportunity to pursue it. No matter what the endgame is, whether it’s fame, love, or a fleeting shot at immortality, this bitingly funny film reveals the strange and entrancingly hypnotic grip that Hollywood has, in some way or form, on everyone.
The Rabbit Hunt (Short) (Director: Patrick Bresnan)
In the Florida Everglades rabbit hunting is considered a rite of passage for young men. The Rabbit Hunt follows seventeen year old Chris and his family as they hunt in the fields of the largest industrial sugar farms in the US. The film records a tradition by which migrant farm workers in the communities surrounding Lake Okeechobee have been hunting and preparing rabbits since the early 1900s.
CINEVEGAS PRESENTS AT LVFF
This year’s Festival will once again include CINEVEGAS PRESENTS AT LVFF, featuring a selection of films curated by the CineVegas team of Trevor Groth and Mike Plante.
Rat Film (Director: Theo Anthony)
Across walls, fences, and alleys, rats not only expose our boundaries of separation but make homes in them. “Rat Film” is a feature-length documentary that uses the rat—as well as the humans that love them, live with them, and kill them–to explore the history of Baltimore. “There’s never been a rat problem in Baltimore, it’s always been a people problem.”
Black Holes (Director: David Nicolas)
Dave is about to lead the first mission to Mars when he’s teamed up with a sentient melon, who claims to be the reincarnation of a fashion designer, upstaging his big moment and driving him to the brink of madness.
LOVE (Director: Réka Bucsi)
LOVE is a short film describing affection in 3 different chapters, through an impact on a distant solar system.
Luscious (Director: Xuecheng Xu)
A 2D motion graphics video looks at human nature, human instinct and the power of imagination. Minimally styled illustrations tell the story of a beautiful woman who achieves satisfaction by having a psychedelic, metaphoric, sensual journey during dinner in 1930s Shanghai.
Pearl (Director: Patrick Osborne)
Set inside their home, a beloved hatchback, Pearl follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love. And finding grace in the unlikeliest of places.
Pussy (Director: Renata Gasiorowska)
A young girl spends the evening alone at home. She decides to have some sweet solo pleasure session, but not everything goes according to plan.
More films should be announced as the Las Vegas Film festival approaches. Visit LVFF.com for tickets and more information.
The Flamingo first opened on December 26, 1946, and is currently the oldest casino on the Las Vegas Strip. This legendary casino-resort is 70 years young! The Flamingo has changed a lot over the years and currently has a 77,000 square foot casino and 3,626 hotel rooms spread out over in two towers. This is one of the most popular casinos on the Las Vegas Strip because of its history, location, room prices, and more.
Being owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment only adds to Flamingo’s popularity by being part of the Total Rewards players club. This inclusion makes it easy for visitors from all over the country to access discounts and complimentary rooms. The Flamingo has been renovated in 1967, 1975, 1977, 1982, 1990, 1993, 2004, and most recently in 2009. However, you’ll often find small tweaks to the casino floor that make the property feel younger. I remember walking into the casino last year and all of the tables were rotated. It made sense for pedestrian traffic but was stunning at first.
Like most Las Vegas casinos, the Flamingo continues to evolve by holding onto what’s popular and adding new amenities with hopes they will become popular. X Burlesque, one of the most popular shows on the Las Vegas Strip, is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary in Las Vegas. That’s 15 years as the as one of the most popular topless revues in Las Vegas. The Flamingo will be rebranding the X Bar and Bugsy’s Showroom and will add some new photos of the burlesque dancing X Girls.
Caesars Entertainment is calling 2017 the “Summer of the Dragon” at the Flamingo. Due to popular demand Piff the Magic Dragon will extend his residency and make the Flamingo his home with more than 40 days of consecutive performances beginning May 22. You may know Piff and his sidekick Mr. Piffles from “America’s Got Talent” on NBC or “Vegas Nocturne” at Rose.Rabbit.Lie inside the Cosmopolitan.
The Flamingo is also stepping up the action this summer at the Go Pool. The weekend pool parties started a few years ago but it appears they finally have a steady flow of action for the summer of 2017.
They’ve already had a handful of Day Beats Saturday afternoon celebrity performances from Aaron Carter, Sisqo and more. The Flamingo recently announced some more afternoon performers at the Flamingo Go pool:
- Friday, May 26 – Coolio(!)
- Saturday, June 3 – Live performance from Mya
- Saturday, June 24 – Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray) hosts
- Saturday, July 15 – Platinum-selling rap duo Ying Yang Twins
- Saturday, July 22 – DJ’s from Mars live set
- Saturday, July 29 – Yazz “The Greatest” (Hakeem Lyon on the Fox television drama, “Empire”)
- Saturday, August 5 – Singer/songwriter Montell Jordan performs
The price is right for these daytime performances. Tickets for Flashback Friday and Day Beats Saturday shows are $10 for Flamingo hotel guests and $20 for non-hotel guests. The Go Pool will also have a couple Night Jams concerts. The first two concerts announced are Sugar Ray on Sunday, June 25 and Everclear on Sunday, July 16. Tickets for both concerts are $33.25. Visit gopoolvegas.com for more information on tickets, performances, and cabanas.
This just in… As we were posting this, Caesars Entertainment announced that they would begin a $90 million renovation of 1,270 rooms.
Don’t forget, the best rates for Flamingo can be found by clicking here.
Not everyone who visits Las Vegas today comes for gambling. The lavish shows, massive nightclubs, five-star restaurants, different sights, golf courses, fantastic bars, shopping, spas and so much more can keep anyone occupied for a day and night.
Many still enjoy gambling in Las Vegas but it’s not the main reason why people visit Las Vegas today. This wasn’t always the case. Gambling used to be the main reason to visit Las Vegas. This was an activity special to Las Vegas and then it wasn’t. Not too long ago, casino gambling was only available to a few states in America. Now you can gamble in almost every state in the country. However, there’s still nothing like gambling in Las Vegas.
Just because you can do something everywhere, doesn’t mean you should do it everywhere. There will always be something special about the casinos in Las Vegas. The variety of casinos cannot be replicated. It’s not everywhere you can gamble with dancing girls and cross the street to gamble under a multi-million dollar chandelier.
Las Vegas isn’t the same kind of outlier it used to be. That doesn’t mean the casinos are square buildings that all look and feel the same. Here are some places to gamble in Las Vegas that are unlike gambling anywhere else in the United States.
Video Poker at The Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan
There may not be a more beautiful setting in the world for video poker players. You won’t find the best odds at these video poker machines. Regardless, this is among the most fun places to play video poker in Las Vegas. Just about everything at the bar is available complimentary while you’re playing video poker at a pace deemed fast enough for the casino. Even their $16 signature cocktails can be comped. The video poker bar is located on the first of three levels under the fabulous chandelier with over 2 million crystals.
Blackjack at The D Las Vegas
There are party pits with loud music and dancers all over Las Vegas. Many of those party pits offer worse rules than other parts of the casino. The house edge in some games may be worse and the minimum bet may be than you might want to play. Almost the entire table game area at The D is a party pit. The music is loud, the drinks come quickly, the minimum bets are low, the gambling rules are fair, and the dealers dance in-between dealing shifts. Blackjack games often start at $10 when the dealers are dancing and pay 3-2 when you’re dealt blackjack, which is better most other party pits. This is one of the most fun environments to gamble in Las Vegas.
Sports Betting at Cosmopolitan
Sports betting is unique to Nevada casinos. This unique environment goes to another level when you visit the sports book at The Cosmopolitan. Once hidden on the second floor, the sports book was moved to the first floor. The sports book has a center bar with a sports ticker and video poker. There are multiple large viewing areas on either side of the bar which also offers free games like shuffleboard, billiards, and foosball. A few steps away is a small pit of blackjack tables. Of course, you can just sit back and watch the games with a wager as low as $5.
Craps at the Golden Gate
This small old school casino-hotel is operated by the same people that operate The D. The casino floor is a similarly fun with dancing dealers. However, the close quarters create a unique energy that isn’t found in any other casino. Forget the dancing dealers and play the most fun craps game in Las Vegas. The minimum bet is $5 and you can place 10x free odds on your bet. The game is so much fun that even the dealers are in on the party.
Gambling At A Pool – All Over Las Vegas
Being inside of a casino all day can get old for some people. The summer is the perfect time of year to head outside to do a little gambling. There are casinos all over the Las Vegas valley that offer some form of gambling outside. You can play $5 blackjack in the shaded bar area at Red Rock Resort where drink service is super fast since there aren’t many tables. You can play poolside craps at the Flamingo and Plaza for a minimum bet as low as $5. If you prefer being inside of a pool and gambling there’s swim-up blackjack at one the many pools at Caesars Palace and Hard Rock.
There’s always something new around the corner in Las Vegas. The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum was founded in 2002 and moved to Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas in 2008. I’d like to think I know everything, everywhere in Las Vegas but I had no idea about this gallery.
Neonopolis is located at 450 Fremont Street and next to the Slotzilla zip line and across the street from the Fremont Street Experience. This three level complex is now home to Denny’s (and the Denny’s Wedding Chapel), Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum, Fremont Arcade, Banger Brewing, Nerd Bar and much more.
If you’re a tourist you might not be aware that downtown Las Vegas is actually synonymous with art. The Arts District in Las Vegas is located in-between Fremont Street and the Stratosphere. There are plenty of art galleries and stores on the Vegas Strip. However, the Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum is the only art gallery located in the touristy area of downtown Las Vegas.
The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum features over 20,000 square feet of exhibit area. The space includes the main gallery, a special exhibitions gallery, and a small works gallery. The non-profit gallery provides exhibit space for local, regional and International artists to display their current work. You can actually donate money to show your own art.
Beginning Thursday, June 1 Cirque du Soleil will have its annual art exhibition at the Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum. The Collective is a collection of artworks created by the company’s performers, technicians, and staff in Las Vegas. This is the 12th year of the art exhibition. Serving as a creative outlet for employees, the exhibit will be on display for a limited time, June 1 – 30 from Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 – 5 p.m.
“Residents will have the opportunity to ‘get to know their neighbors’ as we reveal another side of our employees through their artwork,” said Lou D’Angeli, Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations for Cirque du Soleil. “In hosting The Collective each year, we are able to shine the spotlight on their unique talents, creating an even greater connection between us and the community.”
This art show isn’t just for locals. Tourist will enjoy The Collective display that includes Cirque du Soleil-owned art pieces, props, and costumes from various productions along the Vegas Strip. Among the items featured will be a Jester-patterned aluminum chainmail shirt by Michael Rawlins of “O”, a 3/4 scale animatronics robot by Preston Altree of Michael Jackson ONE and memorabilia from the Cirque du Soleil shows on The Strip. The full list will be announced at a later date.
The full list of items will be announced at a later date. You can visit mglv.org for more information. The Metropolitan Gallery Art Museum entry fee for this show is only $5.
Art isn’t the only thing on display at Neonopolis. Banger Brewing offers free tours of their brewing facilities daily. These tours are limited to 8 people so reserving a space in advance is recommended. Thankfully, you can make reservations online at bangerbrewing.com.
It took less than a year for a Las Vegas casino to offer an all-inclusive(*) package after I recommended someone try it last year. On September 30, 2016, Travel Vegas posted a blog titled “Here’s An Idea: All Inclusive Packages To Las Vegas.” Low and behold, less than six months later the Rio is offering an Eat | Drink | Stay All For One Price deal called “Total Deal.”
In theory it’s an all inclusive deal. Upon further review, it’s not quite a deal but it’s close. Here’s how it works:
Upon arriving at Rio you will receive a punch card to verify beverage purchases and a wristband that will identify each you as being a Total Deal guest. You must charge all food purchases to your room account and provide your server with your Total Deal punch card to receive your beverages. Here’s the catch, you can only eat at select restaurants.
Carnival World and Seafood Buffet, All-American Bar & Grille, Hash House a Go Go, and Sports Deli are the only options open to you. You cannot eat at Voodoo Steakhouse, Royal India Bistro, KJ Dim Sum, Pho Da Nang Vietnamese, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Burracho, Smashburger, or Starbucks. You can’t get coffee at Starbucks. Your food spend at the three restaurants is capped at $250 per day (for two people).
For beverages you can only have well and domestic beverages at Rio’s bars and lounges with the exception of Purple Zebra and Showroom Bars. This is valid for 12 drinks per person each day. No premium cocktails, spirits or beer are offered.
All Total Deal guests will receive access for two for one night at Voodoo Lounge. Spa treatments, shows, attractions and other meals and drinks are extra.
Rio is not responsible if you lose a wristband. In other words, you’re SOL if you lose the wristband. This doesn’t seem outrageous but you should know about it. Finally, gratuity is not included so make sure you have money set aside to tip everyone that you’d normally tip even if your food or drink is part of the package.
Drink caps, dining limits, no transportation and other limitations don’t make this sound like much of an all-inclusive deal. That said, how often is anyone drinking 12 beverages and eating that much food in one casino every day in Las Vegas. According to Vegas Bright the packages start at $365 for two people staying just two nights. The prices will change depending on the dates chosen. My visit to the website today had no available packages.
The price noted above is $182.50 per day or $91.25 per person per day. This deal is a deal if you don’t leave the Rio. You’d have to eat all of your meals at the restaurants mentioned above, max out well drinks (or domestic beer) each a day, and visit Voodoo Lounge. It seems as though this deal is probably close to the appropriate value for what you’re getting. Remember, in Las Vegas, a “deal” isn’t necessarily a discount.
While this isn’t exactly what I had in mind last year, at least they’re trying. Let’s give Caesars Entertainment an A for effort but an E for limitations all over the place. The average of those grades is a C. The “Total Deal” seems like it deserves a C grade. It’s not great, but it’s not awful. If you’re a steak eating booze snob like me, you probably wouldn’t see any value here. However, if you like burgers, buffets, and Buds this might be fine.
You can book your all inclusive package HERE today.
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