There’s no tomorrow without today. The building blocks for life happen one day at a time. The casino business is no different. Casinos don’t look the same today as they did 10 years ago. They certainly don’t look the same as they did 30 years ago. Casino operators are always looking to offer amenities for today’s customer with hopes that something will stick for the future.
If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the past year you may have noticed that your adult beverages have been lacking. Some casino operators mandate that bartenders use less alcohol for mixed drinks than your bar at home. There are also some casino bars that use drink monitoring systems to ensure customers “earn” complimentary drinks. Las Vegas today isn’t the free wheeling and drink slinging town it used to be.
Thankfully, for video poker players the complimentary drinks at casino bars aren’t too difficult to earn. You’ll have to keep up a decent pace of play but the green light stays on or the drink tickets flow as long as you keep playing. Personal experience has shown me that this is more annoying than a serious problem.
The Cromwell is a boutique casino and hotel on one of the busiest corners of the Vegas Strip. The corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd. is home to Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and a lot of cars. The luxury property opened in 2014 using the bones of Barbary Coast and Bill’s Gambling Hall.
Since its inception, this has been one of my favorite casinos on the Vegas Strip. The staff, hotel rooms, rooftop pool, and casino are all great. Caesars Entertainment has made the experience at The Cromwell even better. There are new amenities including an updated casino floor, new technology, and a new restaurant that was sorely needed.
Shopping on the Vegas Strip is booming in more ways than one. Malls have become more than a place to get air conditioning during the dog days of summer. Tourist visiting Las Vegas to shop are spending more money than ever. Shopping on the Vegas Strip has even gone outside.
Casino operators and land owners continue to build more shopping options on the Vegas Strip. Some existing shopping venues are being sold at massive prices. The Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood and Crystals at CityCenter were each sold for more than a billion dollars.
Finding a hotel room bargain in Las Vegas is getting trickier. It’s always been wise to book so that you avoid major holidays, events, and weekends. Those are the busiest days and night in Las Vegas. Saving money isn’t easy when it’s busy. When more people visit Las Vegas there are fewer hotel rooms available and prices usually rise when the supply of rooms decreases.
We’ve often discussed avoiding major conventions when looking for the best hotel room rates. Conventions are often a foil for low mid-week rates. This year there are about 5 – 7 of those large conventions that will affect prices. The hunt for hotel room bargains will be even more complicated in the future.
The least exciting part of tourism in Las Vegas is probably conventions and meetings. We all want to see the newest restaurants, bars, casinos, clubs, and attractions on our own time. However, the catalyst to experience Las Vegas for many people over the years are company conferences, conventions, and meetings.
Casino-resort operators in Las Vegas are planning for even more people to visit Las Vegas for work. All over town the casinos are expanding convention and meeting spaces more than any other part of the property. These convention and meeting spaces can be inexpensive and simple or modern and elaborate.
We’re deep in the heart of summer and you might not be ready for the fall. You know what time it is? It’s time to start getting serious about plans this fall. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, about 14% of people plan their trip to Las Vegas 61-90 days in advance.
The transformation of Monte Carlo to Park MGM started on October 3, 2016. The vision for this area actually started a few years ago when MGM Resorts International started construction on T-Mobile Arena behind New York-New York casino. The Park opened on April 4, 2016, in between New York-New York and Monte Carlo just before the arena finally opened its doors.
The Park works nicely as a restaurant row as visitors make their way to the arena and the Park Theater at Monte Carlo (soon to be Park MGM) from the Vegas Strip. The area with two casinos, an arena, and the park-like area will become one when the transformation of Monte Carlo is complete in 2018. It’s been awhile since we’ve updated you on the progress of Park MGM so let’s get to it.
The large casinos on the Vegas Strip are always upgrading and renovating. Downtown Las Vegas is growing in popularity and that’s showing. Last year the Plaza renovated their rooftop pool deck. The property continues to renovate and upgrade the experience for their customers.
Two other casinos in downtown Las Vegas recently reveals plans to upgrade and expand. The Golden Gate will reveal its new expanded casino in late August. Downtown Grand is just beginning the planning stages of a hotel expansion.
MGM Resorts International recently announced that Samba Brazilian Steakhouse at The Mirage will close on Aug. 31. Samba has been a unique restaurant to be inside of a Las Vegas casino. You’ll find a traditional steakhouse in almost every casino today. However, Samba was one of a kind restaurant only at The Mirage. You will not find an all-you-can-eat Churrascaria rodizio restaurant in on any other casino floor.
The price was right for Samba. It was only $40 for a meal with all the meat you could eat and a salad bar. What made the experience special at Samba was that all of the meats were prepared throughout the night. Unlike a traditional buffet, you would never have to settle for old food that may have been sitting around.
Casino food courts and quick serve restaurants can be a savior when visiting Las Vegas. Not only do these venues offer a variety of food but they’re often the least expensive dining option in and around a casino. Las Vegas food courts aren’t necessarily filled with fast food that’s sitting and waiting for you.
Today, you’ll find plenty of fast casual and quick-serve dining options in food courts all over the Las Vegas valley. This kind of restaurant is faster than a traditional sit-down restaurant but slower than the restaurant you’ll typically find with a drive through.
Finding good and unique food in Las Vegas on the cheap can be a challenge. While they might offer great food, some of the restaurants on the Vegas Strip can be pricey. Finding a delicious and interesting meal for under $15 is nearly impossible. Sure you can grab a quick bite a food court or get a sandwich for under $10, but you can do that anywhere.
T-Mobile Arena behind New York-New York has been open for over a year and seems to be booking more concerts and sporting events every month. When the Vegas Golden Knights begin their first season in the NHL this September there will be more events at the arena each month than ever before. This will continue to increase as Las Vegas continues to offer large “only in Vegas” style events.
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.