Caesars Entertainment is currently in the middle of one of their two semi-annual sales for Las Vegas hotel rooms that they’ll have this year. The discounts used to be anywhere from 10%-40% and were deals that you wouldn’t normally see any time during the year. This time they’re just offering discounted rooms without putting a percentage on the discount. Some of the room discounts are visibly deep while others are similar than you’ll get if you’re a Total Rewards member.
The key to unlocking value in hotel room sales is to know how different hotel rooms rank. You may find that a less expensive hotel room was recently renovated offering a better value than a hotel room that hasn’t been updated in 5 years or so. When I look at the different Caesars Entertainment hotel room prices they usually stack up in the following order for base rooms with no upgrades. (from highest to lowest)
- Caesars Palace
- The Cromwell
- Planet Hollywood
- The Linq
The newest and cleanest hotel room products don’t match the price rankings. Here’s how I rank the base rooms at each hotel with commentary on why I’ve switched the order.
- Nobu – Relatively new rooms with high end finishings. Real luxury in the middle of Caesars Palace.
- The Cromwell - Hotel rooms are only a year old and still fresh.
- The Linq - Most recently renovated hotel rooms in Caesars portfolio.
- Caesars Palace - Base rooms are very old. This is still their flagship property but upgraded rooms are a must.
- Planet Hollywood – Rooms are nice but not kept up very well and not updated since the property was renovated from Aladdin.
- Harrah’s – Rooms were renovated a couple years ago and casino is being refreshed regularly.
- Paris – Base rooms look like they’re from 1992.
- Flamingo – Fab room renovations a few years ago didn’t include bathrooms. Go Room upgrades are a must.
- Rio – All suites are great if you get an upgraded room. Not all rooms are upgraded and property does not receive enough TLC.
- Bally’s – Basic rooms aren’t bad but they’re nothing better than a Comfort Inn.
I think The Linq Hotel offers the best value of all Caesars Las Vegas hotels. Hotel room prices are among the least expensive of the group. The rooms and casino were renovated last year so you have a clean and modern experience. The entire property has wifi unlike the other Caesars hotels. This is great if you’re in Las Vegas for work. The Linq shopping promenade is just outside and you have quick access to a good amount of fairly valued restaurants. The Linq Hotel’s location can’t be beat as you’re dead center in the Vegas Strip.
When booking the lowest rates at Caesars hotels you’re given the lowest quality room available. You may be able to receive a free upgrade or purchase an upgrade at a higher price point. If you want to stay at Caesars Palace, Paris or Flamingo I suggest getting an upgraded room. These recently opened or renovated rooms offer a much better experience than an entry level room.
Sales like this Caesars Semi-Annual sale offer a good excuse to upgrade rooms since you’re paying less than they may normally charge. This also offers a good way to save a few bucks on a base room. Knowing which hotel rooms have been more recently renovated is a great way to get more value for your money regardless if there’s a sale or not.
One last note, sale prices do not reduce the resort fees. You’re still responsible for the full resort fee each night which is $25+ depending on the hotel.
The weekend of May 2nd may seem like an innocuous early spring weekend but it isn’t. The first weekend in May is one of the best weekends to visit Las Vegas. Annually this seems as though it’s the first weekend where you can really feel the weather changing for the summer. It’s finally turning into pool season even if the official kickoff of pool season is still a few weeks away.
The first weekend in May is when Las Vegas often celebrates Cinco De Mayo, even if it isn’t the 5th of May yet. Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage so you’ll find many parties, celebrities, DJ’s, etc. with come kind of connection to Mexico.
Horse Racing fans know that the Kentucky Derby is the first weekend in May. Many of the casinos on and off the Vegas Strip have special parties for the Kentucky Derby. My favorite party is at South Point where they open a 2nd floor ballroom and set up plenty of screens to watch the race and tables for hundreds of people. There are betting stations, bars and cocktail service specifically for the ballroom so you never have to leave. Unlike many of the sportsbooks on the Vegas Strip you may get some drink tickets for your wagers. This is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a few hours during the afternoon watching the big race.
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
Skylofts at MGM Grand
Wynn Tower Suites
Four Star Hotels
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.
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.”
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.
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:
- Book at least 14 days before you plan to be in Las Vegas. Prices jump inside 14 days of travel.
- 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.
- 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.
Las Vegas is undergoing a major metamorphosis right now. The theming of casinos that was so popular in the 80’s and 90’s has given way to more simple, straight forward casino design. The detail that went into the castles at Excalibur have given way to a beautiful but simple chandelier at the Cosmopolitan. The casinos we love are changing with the times. This shouldn’t be too surprising as Las Vegas casinos have always evolved over time.
Imperial Palace was an Asian themed hotel-casino right in the middle of the Vegas Strip. When the property changed names to The Quad that Asian theme slowly started to go away. Late last year the final pieces of Imperial Palace were removed as the pagodas that sat atop the building were taken down. Today the property is known as The Linq Hotel and has entirely lost the Asian theme.
The Linq Hotel now has a heartbeat of its own and doesn’t depend on a the theme from the past for an identity. For better or worse the only theme at The Linq Hotel is sleek and new. There are still a few hotels on the Vegas Strip that are holding onto their themes – for now. If you’re a theme lover you might want to hit these casinos on your next visit to Las Vegas.
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. Creating better wellness is becoming increasingly more popular as a resolution. Not only is it important to have a more healthy life physically but it’s more important to have a sound mind.
MGM Grand has Stay Well rooms where you relax, refresh and rejuvenate your body and mind. Vitamin C showers, aromatherapy, special lighting and healthy menus help sooth the body inside and out. The rooms are a little more expensive than traditional hotel rooms at MGM Grand but they come with a host of exclusive features that you won’t find in any other hotel rooms in Las Vegas.
In 2015 The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas will be offering new fitness and wellness classes for hotel guests and locals. The FITiST Collective has partnered with The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to change the way guests experience fitness and wellness when they travel. This isn’t another run on the treadmill at a hotel gym, this is series of the hottest trends in fitness brings together the best of the best at one of the world’s leading luxury resorts.
It’s an exciting time in Las Vegas. Then again, it’s always an exciting time in Las Vegas. We could use the time to reflect on the year that was but it’s more fun to look forward to what’s ahead in Las Vegas. Things are always changing in Las Vegas and 2015 won’t be any different. There will be new leadership at some of the newer hotels, new hotel room designs, new restaurants and new places to shop in 2015.
Next year won’t be the groundbreaking of a new Las Vegas. That’s already underway. 2015 will be the continuation of the reinvention of Las Vegas you’ve seen over the past couple of years. Unlike 2014 there won’t be any new hotels-casinos opening but that doesn’t mean the existing hotels won’t offer anything new.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was sold earlier this year and there will be changes to the entire property in 2015. Those changes begin at the top as former CEO John Unwin was replaced with William McBeath. The major change you can expect to see at the Cosmo is on the casino floor where the new owners are looking to “reinvigorate” the action. The hotel is planning on adding almost 50 hotel rooms and something special on the top floor of the east tower. Perhaps they’ll be adding a restaurant or new nightclub. We can’t wait to find out.
The holidays are all about giving. The gift of giving doesn’t have to end if you’re spending the holidays in Las Vegas. Since there are a so many ways to save money in Las Vegas you can take a some of that savings and use the money on a gift for someone else.
Our gift to you for the holidays is two fold.
- Below are some tips on free activities in Vegas to do over the holidays to save money. Some of the best things in life are free. That might be a song.
- There are some money saving discounts in Las Vegas that you may not have thought about or be familiar with.
It’s that time of year again when everyone including Las Vegas is advertising the lowest prices of the year. Like anything else not every “deal” is a DEAL but we have found many hotels and shows actually do offer their best rates this week. Below you will find the best Black Friday & Cyber Monday discounts available. We will also continue to update this page as new offers are found and old ones expire.
Experiencing the holidays in Las Vegas are unlike being anywhere else in the world. There’s nothing traditional about the holidays in Las Vegas and there’s always something a little off beat happening. The temperature might have something to do with it but beyond that Las Vegas is never really like any other city in America. There’s just always something different in the desert air. Here are some of the most popular ways to celebrate winter and the holiday season on and off the Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas is in the desert and it rarely snows here. On the rare occasion it does snow the temperatures usually warm up enough above freezing to that the snow disappears quickly. Even though the temperatures are relatively warm Las Vegas offers some cold weather charm. From November 21 through January 4 The Cosmopolitan will offer ice skating – on real ice. Real ice is a big deal as The Venetian used to ice skating on synthetic ice. The synthetic ice rink won’t be opening this year. This year the Cosmo appears as though it will be the only hotel on the Vegas Strip to offer ice skating. There is a charge to skate at the Cosmo. You can find prices, hours and more information on the Cosmo website.
Tuesday, November 11 is Veterans Day. Over the past few years Las Vegas has come to embrace the day for than most people could imagine. Many casinos and restaurants will be offering discounts and freebies to current and former military men and women. It’s a great gesture by these businesses to thank the people who protect and serve(d) this country.
If you are a military person or military family in Las Vegas during Veterans Day you’re in luck. There are a lot of opportunities to save money in a variety of locations. If you’re not a military person these discounts give you a good excuse to pay it forward and take care of a military family’s drinks, meal or show ticket to thank them for their service. Here are a list of just some places located inside casinos in Las Vegas where you’ll find Veterans Day discounts.
I’ve written about The Linq Hotel and its predecessor, The Quad, often this year (here and here) but that’s with good reason. Its inexpensive prices and center of the Vegas Strip location is great for anyone visiting Las Vegas. The property was previously called Imperial Palace and changed to The Quad a couple of years ago. Renovations of The Quad were done in a half mannered way. Much of the casino floor was renovated but the hotel rooms were still old and unappealing. Those $29 a day room rates could only keep people staying at The Quad for so long. Well, that changes as the property has reopened as The Linq Hotel this month.
The Linq Hotel has removed just about everything that you might remember from Imperial Palace. Some of the casino floor renovations from The Quad remain but just about everything on site has been renovated or rebranded as The Linq Hotel. The name coincides with the shopping promenade outside. This make The Linq a more simple destination. The Quad name wasn’t around long enough for many people to know that it existed. When you told people you were at The Quad, it was often followed by “The hotel at The Linq, ya know the place with the big ferris wheel.” Now the destination is a little more streamlined.
While The Linq Hotel, like all Las Vegas hotels, is meant to appeal to many but there is a growing core target of younger visitors to Las Vegas. The Linq Hotel is being positioned as a socially minded resort for the Las Vegas customer, who is seeking authentic and social entertainment experiences that cannot be found elsewhere. In less corporate speak the hotel is hitting all of the notes that millennial travelers seek in a hotel.
Before moving to Las Vegas I used to stick to the Vegas Strip and Downtown Vegas. That’s really what I wanted when I visited Las Vegas. I never rented a car until deciding to move here. I drove away from the touristy areas for the first time on my last visit as a tourist. It wasn’t as much of a great experience as much as it was an eye opening experience. I saw Las Vegas as a town for the first time. It became more than just hotels and casinos that I came to love so much.
I always heard about how inexpensive things were off the Vegas Strip but I didn’t care. I just wanted to drop my bags somewhere and hit the casino. Now that I’m older and more experienced I realize that I missed a great opportunity to save money.
The car rental process in Las Vegas is more streamlined than most other airports around the country. There’s one shuttle for all of the car rental companies and one building for all of those companies. You can get to the rental car desk as quickly for a smaller rental company as you can if you use the most popular companies. The shuttle times at most airports differ based on the size of the company. This streamlined process levels the playing field in a way for the discount rental companies.
One of the largest pet peeves with visitors in Las Vegas are with taxi cabs. Las Vegas taxis are infamous for long hauling customers. Bring long hauled makes for larger taxi fees which doesn’t make any visitor to Las Vegas happy. Here are some tips to save money on taxi fares. Keep those tips handy because you’re going to want them on your next visit.
Las Vegas will soon have the 2nd highest fares for taxis among tourist based cities America. Last week the Nevada Taxicab Authority approved an increase in taxi fares of more than 8%. The board approved a measure that would make taxi rates increase as follows:
1. Rates increase from $3.30 for the initial drop to $3.45.
2. Rates increase 20 cents per 1/13th of a mile to 22 cents per 1/13th of a mile (That’s $2.60 to $2.86 a mile).
3. Wait-time charges of $30 an hour increase to $32.40 an hour.
In an act of kindness the Nevada Taxicab Authority will keep the McCarran International Airport pickup fee at $2. There is no date on when taxi rates will increase so it can happen any time. This is the first taxi rate increase since 2008.
If you’ve been to Las Vegas recently you should have noticed a lot of changes. These changes are meant to keep the city fresh to returning customers and to attract newer and younger customers. Well, the good news for the casino and hotel operators is that the refreshments they’ve made to Las Vegas are working for the younger and, hopefully, future customers.
In the past two years the median age of the average customer in Las Vegas has gone from 50 years old to 44 years old. Simple math would tell you that’s a difference of six years. While six years isn’t exactly a lifetime it is an entirely different life. Nobody is the same today as they were six years ago. Six years ago the people that are now legal age to gamble were just 15.
That 50 year old that may be hitting a midlife crisis today was a relatively spry young 44 years old just six years ago. The change is made more drastic when you realize that a median is the midpoint of a value and not the average. In this case it means that there are many more new young people visiting than older people who continue to visit Las Vegas.
Not everyone that visits Las Vegas is coming to this wonderful town for the same reason. We know this simply by looking around. This is why we touch on different topics with the blog each week. We’re just trying to make sure everyone knows everything happening in Las Vegas. This is no easy task but we’re up for it.
Every year the Las Vegas Visitor and Convention Authority releases a survey of who’s actually visiting Las Vegas. Every year their findings confirm what we see and offer even more information than we could imagine. 64% of first time visitors to Las Vegas are coming to Las Vegas for vacation. That’s almost 2/3rds of visitors surveyed by Las Vegas! They know that they want to visit America’s adult playground but they’re just coming to town to relax and take a load off.
Veterans of visiting Las Vegas don’t realize how many new visitors there are to this city every year. While we’re always trying to offer ideas of new things things to do it’s important not to forget that there are still people who have never seen the classics like the Bellagio Fountains or the “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” Sign. Pro-Tip: Veterans should head past the Stratosphere to grab a pic at the “Welcome To Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas” sign.
We’re always looking out for ways to save money in Las Vegas. There are so many ways to save but some of those discounts, deals and special offers can get confusing. Marketing and advertising people are in the business of deception. Most people over 21 understand that the sandwich on TV never looks the same when they see it in person. We know that what we see isn’t always what we get. This is true anywhere but especially in Las Vegas where all marketing, PR and advertising is embellished to some degree.
Marketing can get confusing when a hotel, restaurant or show is promoting “specials”, “deals” and “discounts”. There’s often fine print with the great offers that we find. Here are some things to consider when you see an offer that seems too good to be true.
There’s a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for most items. Few businesses charge this much. They’ll often sell goods for a price that they think customers will pay, not what the manufacturer says. This discrepancy is what makes guessing prices on shows like The Price Is Right so difficult. When it comes to discounting things in Las Vegas like show tickets and hotel rooms make sure you can an eye on where the discount is coming from. Discounting a hotel room 20% from MSRP may not be as much of a discount than you’ll get from just searching for a hotel room on any travel website or entering your players club information in the casino website.
Las Vegas has a special for just about everything. You can visit a bar who sells a certain brand of beer for $5 a bottle. That same bar may also have a “special” where you can buy a bucket of 5 beers for $25. That’s not really a special. It’s just a commitment to buy 5 beers for the same price per beer as a single beer. The price isn’t the problem but the lack of truth in advertising is a problem. It’s a personal preference that I try to stay away from businesses that practice this kind of deception.
So, you’re in Las Vegas for the first time and you want some memories to take home to friends and family. Your stories of a great time can only have so much of an effect on others. You know your friends will appreciate the thought of an actual gift that they can keep. Like any city built on tourism there are gift shops everywhere to snag something for your friends and loved ones back home. Of course not all gift shops are created the same. In fact, not all gift shops are gift shops. More on that later. Let’s take a look at some places to find a souvenir.
Hotel Gift Shops
If you want a gift specifically branded from a certain hotel-casino in Las Vegas your best bet is to head to the property gift shop. You have the best chance of finding an Excalibur castle shirt at the gift shop on site. Just expect to pay higher hotel prices for the gifts whether you’re in the lobby or a mall at a hotel.
Drug stores are the best all purpose stores on the Vegas Strip. You can get inexpensive drinks, snacks and toiletries and you can also find Las Vegas souvenirs here. You won’t find the branded hotel souvenirs at CVS or Walgreens but you will find a nice selection Las Vegas shirts and other trinkets to bring home. Since these aren’t hotel prices you should expect to pay a little less than you would at a hotel gift shop.