Wednesday, July 28, 2010 Delivered!

Another new feature has been added to the site, the mailing list. Add your name and you will be notified instantly when new updates are made to the site. It's something that is long overdue but I have put off because of people's concern about Spam. With the amount of new things that have been added recently combined with several trips planned in the near future made now the right time. In conjunction with the mailing list, I have also put up a no-BS privacy policy to try to put some of the Spam fears to rest and make it crystal clear that nothing other than the occasional site update email will come from signing up. So join in and look for the best Vegas news, reviews, commentary and pics delivered right to your inbox.

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tropicana Remodel Room Review and Pics

Night 2 of the trip was spent at the Tropicana in a Paradise Tower room on a $40 rate off an email offer from them. The valet is always fast at the Trop and there was only a 2 minute wait at the front desk. Unlike the previous day at the Tuscany, when I arrived to check-in at 1:00 PM my room was ready to go without a hint of charging me for it! That is one trend I really hope doesn't catch on. The Paradise Tower is the one closest to the Strip and has been recently remodeled as part of the Tropicana's $250M expansion and refurb. I was on the 17th floor with a nice view of Excalibur, Luxor and Mandalay Bay. The rooms are brand-spankin' new and the remodel was well done. The orange and ratan look isn't something I would put in my house but works well with the "south Beach" theme they are going with. One interesting thing about this remodel that is different with most others is that it appears that they went as far as to have ripped down walls to rebuild the bath, bringing it up to the standard of new rooms. There was a nice sized flat screen TV with high-def programming and the best feature was large day bed by the window which was perfect to hang out on.

The public areas of the place were somewhat torn up during my stay. They are adding to the front of the building, pushing it out closer to the Strip and the main entrance is a construction zone. One thing that you notice immediately when you walk in the front door is how bright the casino pit now looks. It used to be kind of dark and dingy. Large parts of slot area are still a work in progress and walled off. The pool area, once the best in Vegas, was also supposedly redone but it didn't seem that much different from my stay last summer. Lastly, they are touting a remodel of the Island Tower to be done this summer, which is way overdue. Those rooms were looking rather tired a year ago.

The changes extend to the restaurants as well. The buffet looked closed for the long-term, which isn't a huge loss, while the Steakhouse should be re-opened shortly. They also have closed their 24 hour coffee shop and replaced it was a snack bar, the South Beach Cafe. I ate lunch there and while it certainly wasn't a bad sandwich; it's pricey, the menu is limited and it just doesn't offer what the classic Vegas coffee shop used to. Another Vegas casual dining travesty!

Considering what I paid for the room, I couldn't have been happier with it. $40 for a fresh, new room in a very good south Strip location is hard to beat. I love the fact that the new owners are dumping money into the place, trying to compete with the big boys all around them. Fresh blood is just what the Strip needs to keep the MGM and Harrah's on their toes. The room was well done and the casino looks much improved. They have a huge property to work with that was stolen out of BK so will be interesting to see what the final product becomes. But for right now, if you are willing to deal with a little construction, you will be hard pressed to find a better deal for a nice room on the Strip.

Click Here for Room Pics

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuscany Suite Review and Room Pictures

I spent 1 night of my recent trip in a "suite" at Tuscany Suites on a $19 rate I found by using TravelAxe which I booked directly through the hotel website. It turned out to be a classic tale of "if it's too good to be true, it probably is!" I arrived at check-in at 1:30 PM and was told that check-in was at 3:00. Sure, it always is but I can probably count on one hand the number of times I couldn't check-in at 1:30 and all of those were because the room wasn't ready. I asked the desk clerk if the room would be ready at 3:00 and she said "Oh, its ready now but if you want to check-in early, it will be a $12 charge." That is on-top of the $7 resort fee which paid for virtually nothing that you wouldn't expect for free at any Vegas hotel. At first, I balked at this obvious scam to jack up my bill but realized that an hour an a half of my life, especially in Vegas, was worth the $12! Unhappily, I now paid $38 for my $19 room and was on my way.

Though the rooms are called suites, they are really oversized rooms with a seating area, kitchenette and small dining table. Their website shows a freshly remodeled room but my room was very similar to one I stayed in 5 years ago. Yet another reminder of why I built this website in the first place!!! While the room hasn't been remodeled in a while, it was still in surprisingly decent shape. There were no major stains or furniture damage and the bed was comfortable without any sagging. Like the room, the bathroom was also larger than a normal in Vegas with a seperate shower and bath but only a single sink vanity. The kitchette was more like a wet bar with just a coffeemaker, fridge and sink. The biggest issue I came across was that the walls seemed rather thin and I heard ever door open and close.

Any review of the Tuscany would be incomplete if it didn't discuss the hotel's setup. The place is unlike any other hotel I have stayed at in Vegas as its a series of 3 story building spread over a fairly large area with the casino, restaurants and lobby in a seperate building at the front of the property. The nice part is being able to park very close to your room, if you don't come back after midnight. The bad part is the outdoor walk to the front. It isn't very far even from the back buildings but I ended up having a late dinner at the coffee shop and went the wrong way down a very dark walkway that was definitely a little sketchy. It is also something to keep in mind in the summer and winter because you will definitely be exposed to the elements.

Overall, my feelings on the Tuscany are rather mixed. The $12.00 screw job at check-in and the questionable website pictures didn't start the trip off right but the room was most certainly worth the $38 it ended up costing me. There is also something to be said about the convenience of having your car 30 seconds from your room. Given that, it's decent location and the price, the place definitely has appeal to a certain niche of traveler. However, for the average person looking for the classic Vegas resort experience, it would be a big disappointment.

Click Here for Room Pics

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Monday, July 5, 2010

The New Website Is Here!

After many hours of banging away at the keyboard, the new version of the website is finally here! At first glance, there doesn't appear to be much change but nuts and bolts are completely new; a complete re-write of the code top to bottom.

While the look of the site is largely the same, there are a quite a few cool new features:

  • Hotel Planner - A unique tool to help you pick the perfect Vegas hotel.
  • Restaurant Finder - Another homegrown tool to find a restaurant based on location, cuisine and style.
  • Buffet Info - Links to price and specialty night information for every buffet in Vegas
  • Spa Info - Links to service and price info at many spas across town.
  • Hotel Offer Sign-Ups - Links to sign up to receive hotel email offers.
  • Pool Pictures - Not as extensive as the room pics but still a decent collection.
  • Ask - Read answers to other's Vegas questions and submit your own.
  • Completely updated entertainment and hotel amenity information for each hotel.
  • Consistant look and feel through-out.

Hopefully everyone finds the new features and tools useful additions to the site and as with all things new, there is bound to be a bug or two. Don't be shy... please let me know. As always, thanks for visiting!!!

Visit for the complete guide to Las Vegas Hotels and Casinos. Property maps of every major casino, 100s of pictures and a ton of other info all without annoying ads!