Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Rates Down Double Digits

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week that room rates in town are down double digits on average and upwards of 50% in some cases. As has been the case recently, the higher end properties seem to be holding up better than the mid and low end places. For example, Venetian was down 17% while the Riviera was down 39%. The discounting seems to be working as McCarran Airport is predicting that it may match last year's passenger volume.

This is a continuation of what I have seen in my 2 trips in the past month. People are still coming to town in droves, they are just spending less money while they are there.I noticed that to be the case in many aspects. The lines were a little sparse at the ultra lounges but the casino bars were packed. The gourmet restaurants were less busy but the coffee shops and casual places had waits. This tells me 2 things about the future of Las Vegas. Bringing back the value that made Vegas great in the past is exactly what is needed right now and that once the economy does pick back up, the casino companies stand to take off once again because the people are still coming and they will have fatter wallets in the future. You may start getting worried if we see sharp declines in the visitor numbers.

On a different topic... I would like to add some color to my review of the Hooters room below. I posted it on several internet message boards and quite a few people disagreed with my assessment based on the pics I posted. I want to clarify that it was far from the most disgusting or flithy room I have ever stayed in. I lived in Motel 6s for a month so I have see some scary rooms. My major problem with the room was pretty much everything but the room. The elevators, hallways, view and the general cleanliness of the place. It was just cheesy and depressing and it seriously felt like we were being "warehoused." Even my worst room at the Imperial Palace still felt like I was staying in a hotel. To be fair, I will give the place another try in the future if it remains around long enough for that to happen.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Hooters Bungalow Room Review

First, a little background... Back in July; my brother, some friends and I had a guys trip and we spent a lot of time in the Hooters casino. We originally went there to take advantage of their excellent slot club sign up bonus, $100 in free play and a ticket to see the comedian Bobby Slaton. If you like obnoxious, raunchy humor, the guy is awesome. Otherwise, probably not your cup of tea. Anyway, afterwards we played a little and had a blast. The casino quite fun with the Hooters girls dealing cards and serving drinks. It certainly beats your average zero personality dealer at most places! We ended up back there a few times over the weekend. When I returned home on Monday, I had an email thanking me for my play and offering me 2 free nights in August. What a sweet deal for only minimal play compared to what I normally do. My brother received the same offer. I was planning a trip back to town in August with the wife so I figured if nothing else I would take the room for a night just for the room pictures.

Lisa and I checked in at about 5 PM on a Wednesday and there was no one in line. We were directed to the elevators at the back of the casino to a room on the 3rd floor. We get in the elevator and go up 2 floor, the door opens and we immediately think it must be the wrong floor because the elevator lobby looks like a prison. Industrial gray paint with the trademark pine "accents." After get out, we venture down an equally dreary hallway. It literally felt like it was a housekeeping area or something. We then open the door to what has to be the cheesiest room I have ever had in Vegas. The room had "office building lobby" grade carpeting and the cheap pine molding everywhere. There wasn't even a night stand, just 2 piece of wood nailed to the wall. The desk and armoire where of equal high quality. I have purchased better furniture at Target. The bathroom was the same deal. The only modification to the original 1974 bathroom was the enchanting pine molding yet again.

The quality of the furnishings wasn't even the real problem, the place just had a disgusting feel. From the hallway of horrors to the cheap stained carpet to the overflowing dumpster that was our view, it just was a scary experience. Lisa didn't even want to stay the length of time to get the room pictures! We immediately picked up our stuff, dropped the keys in the express check out and left. Total length of our Hooters stay: 15 minutes check in to check out!

I don't want to totally bash Hooters based on this one experience because these rooms are their cheapo ones. I am hoping the tower rooms are a better experience because I wouldnt wish a Bungalow room on anyone. If you are planning at stay at Hooters, spend the extra $10 a night for a tower room. I would still, however, definitely recommend their casino if you want a fun low-roller place with good drink service.

Click Here for pictures of the Hooters Bungalow room. They don't do this experience justice!!!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back from the another trip...

Just got back from another trip and although the gambling was BRUTAL, that is always expected so I managed to still have a great time. It was 2 nights in a new suites at South Point and 2 nights in a suite at MGM. We did most of our gambling at South Point and the video poker gods did not smile upon thee... It was pretty much an ass kicking from beginning to end. The stay at MGM was more a traditional Vegas Strip stay. A lot of food, pool and a trip to the spa for Lisa. One of the nights, I double booked a room at Hooters through a email offer I got for two free nights for signing up for their slot club. Pictures and a review will be posted in the next day or so but they don't do the room justice. Check back for this plus new property maps, and other nuggets of wisdom!

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Boyd "delays" Echelon Plus New Property Maps!

Boyd Gaming announced today that it was suspending work for "3 or 4 quarters" on its Echelon project where the Stardust once stood. They cited problems in the credit markets as the reason as they couldn't line up financing for their $3.3 billion portion of the the bill. Their partners, Morgans Hotel Group and General Growth Properties, are facing similar problems in raising their parts as well.

There have been a truckload of failed projects in Vegas recently especially in the condo market but this marks the first time one of the major gaming companies have closed up shop. While Wall Street cheered the news to a 20% gain, this doesn't bode well for Vegas long term. Echelon, along with City Center,, which is facing its own difficulties, were being counted on to save Las Vegas' housing market as they were to bring thousands of jobs to town. This delay doesn't help matters. I have regularly harped about the need for the Strip to be more competitive in this environment but I think at this point its not a matter of cheap buffets and free rooms. Nothing gets better in Vegas until the economy as a whole turns around. The myth of a "recession-proof Vegas has been shattered.

All is not gloomy however, Wynn's Encore plus 2 locals places open between now and the end of the year and Fountainbleu looks like it is well progressing toward an 2009 opening followed by City Center in 2010. If nothing else, enjoy Vegas now while the crowds are down and the deals are flowing!

A website update note... I have posted a bunch of new Property Maps from my recent trip. I have maps of Hooters and Suncoast which a brand new additions plus updates for 6 or 7 others. Enjoy!

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