Vegasuncovered’s Weblog

Vegas Uncovered a guide to the Las Vegas Strip

Day Trip from Las Vegas to the Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is only 35 miles South East of Las Vegas and half a day is plenty enough time for a trip. The actual tour of the Dam unless you are a real engineering geek you may well find as boring as hell, engineering freak or not the Dam is well worth a Dam Visit 😉

We left Vegas at about 8am and drove straight out on US93 heading for the Hacienda which is the closest Casino to the Dam, we always stop here either en-route to Dam, Laughlin or on the way back from the Grand Canyon. We had the buffet breakfast its good not great but cheep and filling and then as per usual fall for the trick that the hope you fall for and stick a few dollars in the slots and some of these still use coin so it’s a real old time treat. AS we came out of the Casino we saw a sign saying Helicopter rides from $29, we thought that this would be a nice treat and seemed a good price. When we investigated of course just like everything in Vegas its not really $29 for what you want, the $29 flight only went over Lake Mead to fly over the Hoover Dam was $59 each but we could have the helicopter exclusively, we decided that this was worthwhile so after being weighed and asked if we had any weapons a car took us up a steep hill to get aboard the Helicopter. We both sat in the back and up we went, it was a very unnerving feeling and we seemed to do some “blue thunder” manoeuvres between an electricity pylon and the mountain as we swooped past the new bridge that they are building and on towards the Dam. The view was great we flew over the Dam and then after a another couple of combat loop the loop type manoeuvres we were over lake Mead and on our way back, about 6 minutes after taking off we were safely back on the ground. For me this was one of the highlights of our trip I loved it and it was worth every penny, although I was not completely happy when in the chopper it was going through my mind whether to go on it again 😉

We drove on to the Dam which was only about 15 minutes including the security check and then parked in the car park at the Visitors centre which is just the Vegas side of the Dam. It is $7 to park here and well worth it sure there are a few lay bys on the Arizona side of the Dam but it is hit and miss if you can get a place and also it can become a fair walk to the Dam and gift shop etc. The gift shop is well stocked and reasonably priced but the café I thought was quite expensive and the food not so good, we were pleased we had filled up at the Hacienda.

I think that we spent about 2 hours or so at the Dam this included walking over it and back taking a stack of photos and having a good look round the gift shop and taking a coffee. It’s a good day and the size is something that can not really be realised from photos or the television and I think that it’s worth the investment of ½ a “Vegas” day.

When we had finished at the Dam we carried on to Laughlin for the rest of the day and got back to Vegas about 10pm.

February 17, 2009 Posted by | Casinos, driving, events, grand canyon, Holiday, hoover dam, Las Vegas, national parks, news, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tropicana Las Vegas, my Review

3810 Las Vegas Boulevard South ,
At E Tropicana Ave,
Las Vegas
NV 89190
(739 2222)
www.tropicanalv.com

Location The “Trop” is located on the South Strip surprisingly enough at the junction with Tropicana Avenue; this junction is the busiest in Las Vegas and indeed the whole of the United States. There are bridges to MGM Grand and Excalibur so you can see it is really happening here. Being at the far south end of the Strip transfers from the airport are very quick.

Theme The Tropicana has the theme of a South Sea Island this theme is eminent around the fantastic pool but is not noticeable in the casino but raises its head again in the bedroom.

Attractions There is a small amusement arcade by the entrance to the swimming pool. The Tropicana used to house the “Casino Legends Hall of Fame” this was brilliant and it’s a travesty that it has been shut down. There is apparently a wildlife walk well we never saw it so it must be small. You get free magic shows and shows by the “birdman” outside the Trop. Inside you used to have the Titanic exhibition and BODIES the exhibition, displaying bodies made up from well erm dead people, there are admission charges for both of these but these are sadly now closed with the tittanic exhibition shortly to reopen at Luxor

Pool The pool is amazing a lagoon with little beaches, mountains, waterfalls and in the summer swim up blackjack. In season every Saturday night there is a Miss Hawaiian Tropic competition.

Shows and Entertainment Tropicana is home to the Folies Bergere based on the French music hall of the same name. This is a sexy but fun cabaret (late show topless) with a variety of acts, originally all the dancers came from France but now the Americans have learnt how to dance so use home grown talent. Dirk Arthur a magician performs his cunning tricks here and is now the only act on the Strip to use living big cats. There is also a comedy show and lounge.

Dining Our breakfast we had consisted of a couple of latte’s e which was not bad and a doughnut the quality of the coffee was however surpassed buy the 20 minutes I had to queue to get it. There is no food court as such. We once had the misfortune of eating at the Tropicana buffet, B:$10.99, L:$11.99, D:$15.50 ad Champagne Sunday Brunch $16.25. This is by far the worst buffet I have eaten at anywhere the choice was small and the food had been kept warm for far too long. There was a 241 special on drinks we all drank soda’s (which were free) and still got brought two each time by a crazy waiter that took personal offence to you moving your glass, even to drink from! The Trop has an Italian, a deli , a 24 hour coffee shop and a lobster and steak restaurant after my experience of the buffet I will not be testing any of these

Gaming Cramped, noisy and smoky are the words best used to describe this casino to be fair though there are a great variety of machines and hundreds of nickel ones for cheapskates and low rollers like me. There are about a 45 or so cramped tables. Tropicana advertise having a $5 Blackjack table open all day every day its often only one and very busy $10 is more realistic minimum limit. The roof above the tables is glass looks old and is probably the most attractive feature of this casino. I had a craps lesson here that was both fun and informative, I must add that I did not nor feel that I was expected to bet even $1 of my money on their craps tables after my lesson and indeed I did not. They also have some deal where you pay $20 and get $40 worth of play on “special” machines if you don’t win a jackpot they give you a “valuable” gift steer clear the machines are not as loose as normal machines and the gift is not worth $20.

Drinks service The Depends on the time of day there seemed to be a real shortage of cocktail waitresses in the day and early evening but after midnight they seem to be serving you non stop .

Overall This is the Strip’s little secret; cheap rooms in ta good location but be warned Tropicana has filed for Chapetr 11 protection. The Casino is loud and cramped; the rooms are large but tired. No complaints, as over all you are paying the same as you would at a Motel 6 but getting a full service resort in the heart of the Strip. Stay there whilst you still can as it is one of the last Vegas old school ex mob ran casinos and  it may well be one of the next great casino’s to be turned to a pile of dust.

Good points Great pool, good location and cheap

Bad points The rooms are miles from the check in desk and the casino is between you and the lifts. The Garden rooms are terrible and the casino very smoky. You can now get better rates at Excalibur which is a better hotel.

Top Tips Even if you don’t join them elsewhere join the players club here you get all sorts of freebies that we take home as gifts. At the entrance to the casino by the MGM footbridge there is a big free slot machine you can have a go once a day and win prizes like packs of cards and free show tickets.


December 1, 2008 Posted by | Casinos, entertainment, events, Excalibur, gaming, Las Vegas, Luxor, MGM, news, shows, slots, Travel, Vegas, vegas buffets, vegas comps, vegas shows, vegas tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harrah’s Las Vegas my Review

Harrah’s

3475 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas
NV89109
+1 (702) 369 5000
www.harrahslv.com

Location Harrah’s is right on the Strip; no long walk through colourful gardens or moving walkways here. Harrah’s holds a very central position facing the Mirage and its wonderful volcano, with the Imperial Palace on one side and a short stroll to The Venetian on the other.

Theme Harrah’s used to have a very distinctive theme of a huge Mississippi Paddle Steamer but that has gone in favour of carnival, a cross between Rio, New Orleans, Notting Hill and well, a sort of colourful African village. There are bright lights (unusual for Vegas NOT) loud colours, fountains and plants. It really is a merry and friendly little place with no ideas of grandeur just very comfortable and happy, even the dealers and change people seem to carry this theme inside them. Harrah’s is very relaxed and you feel at ease straight away. This may be part the reason that it is such a big hit with Americans who I think must make up at least 99% of its clientele and whole lots of them repeat customers. I met a lovely American lady from Detroit at Las Vegas airport who was going home after her 45th visit to Vegas and had stayed all but one of them at Harrah’s.

Attractions Well there are loads of performers wandering around with little trumpets and the like in the Carnival Court, which is good fun with a few shops selling junk loosely associated with a carnival. Carnival Court also gives free live performances all day underneath what appears to be a very large and colourful fabric covered may pole with big bar and an always empty dance floor. If you feel the need to do “agado” or relive the 80’s classic “birdie song” dance here is the place to do it.

Pool You do not come here for the pool its a big hole in the concrete its just not nice.

Shows and Entertainment It seems that comedy is the entertainment of choice at Harrahs, aftera long run at New York New York, the lovely inoffensive and very very funny Rita Rudner Headlines at Harrahs, she has been voted best comedian in Las Vegas for 5 years running so I guess it’s not just my opinion. Mac King is another comedian at Harrahs and it’s the home of the long running IMPROV.

Dining Well there is fair bit of choice here which includes the Fresh Market Square Buffet (B$13.99 L$16.99 D$21.99 Sunday Champagne Brunch $19.99) this is a good buffet for the price but the queues can be massive. The buffet is not up to say Mandalay Bay or Bellagio but far better than many others that are higher priced. The garden café coffee shop is great, good value though the coffee is allegedly not the best, as with most other coffee shops its open 24hrs. There are several other gourmet restaurants including; The Range Steak house which supposedly is very good and great value, Asia – Chinese, Asian, Thai, Indian, and Japanese cuisine and Café Andreotti’s – Italian. Toby Keith’s I love this bar and Grill is probably my favourite place to eat at Harrahs.

Gaming When Harrah’s changed the theme in 1997 they increased their gaming space by a third to 103,325 sq ft, it is showing its age now and is ready for new investment. Harrah’s has over 2200 slots, about 60 tables and 8 roulette wheels – one with single zero’s! There is a great range of nickel machines but the table minimums are $5 matching most of the other large casinos on the Strip. Its big, it’s bright and its loud, to add to the brightness all of the dealers are lit up likes the signs you see on the strip. Hollering for wins and shouting at the tables seems to be encouraged. The dealers and change people are a happy, very friendly bunch this is a great place for the novice gambler to ply his trade. It is very easy to relax in this casino.


Drinks service
Good, very good in fact. I had just sat down and was getting my wallet out when the cocktail waitress asked what I wanted. The drink arrived in less than 5 minutes and the second 15 minutes after that.

Overall A friendly place that really tries to put you in the party mood. This, along with a central location makes it a great place to play. For people who prefer a nice and relaxed attitude to gamble in, rather than the more serious affair where winning big bucks is far more important than the fun.

Good points Relaxed easygoing atmosphere this casino is not looking for the high roller market and as a result treats low rollers very well.

Bad points Can be very loud, too loud for some, resort needs some love and investment made to bring it up to date.

Top Tip Sign up for the Harrahs reward card you can use it here and the Flamingo next door, Ballys, Caesars, Paris and Rio.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, Casinos, entertainment, events, Excalibur, flamingo, Holiday, hotel upgrades, Las Vegas, MGM, shows, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas shows, vegas spa | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Monte Carlo Las Vegas – My Review

Monte Carlo
3770 Las Veags Blvd S
Las Vegas
NV 89109
(+1) 702 730 7000
Monte Carlo Las Vegas

Location Great South Strip location next door to NYNY and over the road from the West Wing entrance to MGM Grand. At time of writing there is a large building project going on to the North of Monte Carlo.

Theme Themed on the Mediterranean Rivera principality of the same name. The theme only runs as far as the door and then it all ends. It’s just another casino with a low ceiling and a few candelabras. I can not believe that the interior designers of this casino have ever been to Monte Carlo!!

Rooms The rooms are standard sized and have lovely furniture and fittings, they are meant to look European and they do look classy, these rooms are excellent value for the quality.

Attractions
I have to be honest past the external architecture not much in fact nothing that I can really think of ummm.

Pool The pool is great with a lazy river and machine to create 10 foot waves. Because of the lack of attractions this means not many families stay at the Monte Carlo so the pool does not tend to get too crowded or have many kids in it.

Shows and Entertainment Lance Burton probably the first modern master magician has been the main attraction at the Monte Carlo for years, the show is meant to be one of the best magic shows in Vegas if not the World and is very highly recommended. Monte Carlo also have guest performers in their theatre.

Dining We eat at the food court and this was probably the worst service of any that I have experienced in Las Vegas. There is a buffet (B: $11.95 L: $13.95 D: $18.95 and champagne brunch $18.95) I have not eaten here but the reviews give it a fair marking. There are a handful of up market restaurants and a highly acclaimed Micro brewery. A new and exciting Mexican called Diablo has opened that is meant to be very good indeed.

Gaming 90,000 sq ft of gaming space brightly lit, gold and sparkly and not my favorite on the Strip, I actually think that this area has been reduced in size as more restaurants are added. There are 2,200 machines from a nickel upwards with a fair amount of nickels dotted around. There are about 70- tables and 10 roulette wheels. In Europe there is only one zero on the roulette wheel but in the US there is zero and double zero thus doubling the house’s edge. In a Monte Carlo themed casino surely the single zero applies right? Unfortunately not, they have one or two high stake wheels with single zeros and the rest good old American ones. The casino seems very serious to me, quiet and even cold; some people I guess prefer to play in this atmosphere.

Drinks service I got served quite quickly the first time. After that even when I had been served I seemed to wait ages between placing my order and receiving my drink.

Overall A luxurious casino with a fairly good Strip location; aimed at more sophisticated, slightly older and well-heeled patrons who like to gamble in a quiet atmosphere.

Good points If you like it, in a place where all of the casinos seem to be frantic, Monte Carlo seems calmer, more clinical and better organized. The cost of the rooms here are way beneathe what you would expect to pay for this level of comfort.

Bad points It can be too quiet, I guess this may appeal to some people and whilst I don’t like really noisy places this too quiet for me.

Top Tip Try the beer at the Micro Brewery it’s delicious

MC Winter Special – from $50 2 free buffets, 2 free cocktails, $30 Spa credit and more until Jan 6 2009

October 23, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, buffets, Casinos, entertainment, Excalibur, free drinks, Holiday, Las Vegas, Luxor, Mandalay bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, shows, tipping, Travel, Treasure Island, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas discounts, Vegas Strip, vegas wedding, xxx | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bellagio Queen of the Las Vegas Strip !!

Bellagio Las Vegas, secret rates ;)

3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
at West Flamingo
Las Vegas
NV 89109
+1 (702) 693 7111
Bellagio Las Vegas

Location Center Strip next to Ceasers oppersite Paris could not really be any better.

Theme Well it’s amazing! Theme based on a northern Italian Village on the shores of Lake Como, did I say on the shores? Well they built the lake as well but missed out the usual beaches that you would find in Italy. The theme doesn’t stop at the village you can see across the lake; the shopping arcade has a very Italian feel to it. As does the pool that you would not be surprised to find in a very upmarket Tuscany Villa. The only thing that does not fit in with this theme is the completely over the top luxury, this is just not found in Italian Villages! I must admit though the two themes added together do work well for the well-heeled patrons of the magnificent Bellagio.

Attractions Bellagio is stacked full of attractions all slightly different from the usual ones that are aimed at getting you through the doors of a Strip casino. You will not find a rollercoaster or a fire breathing dragon here, you will however see the Bellagio gallery of fine art holding some of the world’s most expensive pictures in it including Van Gough‘s sunflowers. The biggest, most obvious and voted the best freebie on the Strip is the dancing fountains, these are brilliant. Over 1200 water cannons shooting water 240 ft in the air and “dancing” to a variety of music from Sinatra to Pavarotti. The glass mural roof above the check in desk is not to my taste, but I can see attraction, 3D flowers, which must have cost no small fortune. There is a lovely glass domed conservatory housing thousands of exotic flowers and plants. The displays in the conservatory change with the seasons and seem to get better each year well worth a visit.

Pool
Like everything else at Bellagio the pool is class, no waterslides or fake beaches here but 5 pools in classic Italian style with hand carved stone features. There are 4 whirlpool tubs and also a lap pool for those who feel the need to work off the buffet!

Shows and Entertainment Bellagio is home to Cirque De Soleil’s “O” this was the first Cirque show to come to Vegas and is preformed in water ! “Cirque du Soleil® weaves an aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism and theatrical romance in the timeless production, “O™.” The international cast of world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers and characters perform in, on, and above water to create a breathtaking experience in a magnificent theatre reminiscent of a European opera house.” With names such as Hermes, Rolex, Tiffany and Chanel my wife and I assume many others find the upmarket stores here great entertainment.

Dining The buffet has been crowned king of the strip but at $27.95 going up to $35.95 at weekends for dinner it crowns the pricing as well (B$14.95, L$19.95 and $28.95 for Sunday Brunch with champagne). The no children rule here is strictly enforced ensuring that little fingers are kept out of such delights as crab claws, venison and duck breast offerings. We did not find a food court as such but a very good coffee shop opposite the swimming pool. Bellagio has a host of gourmet restaurants with prices to match; many of these are situated around the lake providing the best possible view of the fountain shows. Bellagio Picasso’s Mediterranean restaurant must be mentioned as it has only original Picasso’s on its walls, they are lesser known works and not anything special but its typical of the Bellagio “money no object” policy.

Gaming It’s big but seems quieter than most other Casinos on the Strip. The tables are canopied and the limits are higher than elsewhere on the Strip with the minimum often $25. There are not as many slot machines here and the ones that there are have the volume reduced on them and the pay out trays even seem quieter. The Bellagio does not have very many nickel machines but a does have a good selection of quarter upward machines. The casino, like the shopping arcade, is over run by security guards.

Drinks service On quarter and nickel slots you are lucky to see a cocktail waitress; once you get on the tables even the $10 tables the service is very good.

Overall
For well heeled patrons who want that ultimate luxury; this is your place. Everything here is the very best that money can buy. Great theme and magical fountains a very different affair from many of her rivals. Though I some say tha Bellagio has lost its crown to Wynn !

Good points The dancing fountains, I could watch them for hours.

Bad points
The secuirity can be a bit snotty and you can feel that some of staff look down their noses at the low rollers such as myself.

Top Tip
Buy a travel mug at Palios coffee shop for $6.49 and refill it for free with coffee, tea or soda for the duration of your visit.

October 11, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, buffets, Casinos, Cirque, cirque de soleil, cocktail waitress, cocktails, entertainment, events, free drinks, Holiday, Las Vegas, Mandalay bay, MGM, Monte Carlo, Travel, Treasure Island, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas buffets, vegas comps, vegas shows, vegas suites, vegas tips, vegas wedding | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paris, Las Vegas – My Review

Paris Las Vegas

Paris-Las Vegas
3645 Las Vegas blvdS
Las Vegas
NV 81909
(+1) 702 739 4111
www.paris-lv.com

Location Centre Strip; attached to Ballys, next door to Planet Hollywood and dead opposite the Bellagio. Should this not be enough for you there is a monorail to the MGM Grand. Location! Location! Location! You had better believe it – this is A1.

Theme Well its Paris and it is probably the best themed resort on the Strip, with a 1/3 scale Eiffel tower and Arc de Triomphe, the Opera House, Parc Monceau and the Rue de la Paix they have done marvels. The themeing does not end at the door, all of the security staff dress as gendarmes and staff will use a couple of French words every now and again. The floors are cobbled and French styled street lamps are present, there are posters that appear not to have been taken down properly, just left on pillars like in France. The only way in which you know that you are not in France is the cleanliness of the place and the friendliness of the staff. The one exception being the Spa where the staff are rude and disorganized.

Attractions Well I guess I have listed most of them above. Just walking through this delightful complex is an attraction on its own, you can go up the Eiffel tower for about $6 but we didn’t want to leave the casino floor.

Pool The pool here gets some bad reviews and I think that this is unfair; it’s a standard type of pool, quite big in the shadow of the Eiffel tower with nice plants. Sure there is no lagoon and no waterslides but I think it’s classy and nice and usually kid free.

Shows and Entertainment The rather unoriginally named “Ooh La La” is a sexy (topless) French style review this is the main show at Paris Las Vegas but its not as good as Crazy Horse Paris . Anthony Cools has a show he is an adult rated Hypnotist this show is quite new and the theater only holds 220 people so you will be close but I don’t know how good it is.

Dining As you would expect the grub here is top notch. There is a brilliant take away coffee shop which we had to queue up for ages but well worth it for fresh pastries and coffee only beaten by the Luxor. There is a first class buffet (B: $13.99 L: $17.99 D: $24.99 Sunday Champagne Brunch $24.99) we looked and drooled but did not eat due to the long queue and my lack of patience. The Eiffel Tower restaurant is one of the most expensive in town, the food is great and the view is amazing, the staff are wonderful and the ambience perfect, this is our favorite Vegas fine dining establishment. There is a very good 24hr café though quite expensive and a further selection of top quality but expensive restaurants. Everything culinary here has good reviews and prices to match.

Gaming With 85,000sq ft of casino space it doesn’t seem as big as many other, smaller casinos; it is easy to navigate partially due to you being able to see one of the legs of the Eiffel Tower wherever you are. All of the tables have wrought iron look canopies and the whole feel around the tables is nice. There are 2,500 slots of all denominations and over a hundred tables with minimums at $5 and plenty of them. There is a very large selection of nickel machines, which surprised me, but they do feel a bit squeezed in and as a result it does get a little cramped when the casino is busy. It is cool being able to play on a slot or at a table and see the legs of the Eiffel tower coming through the roof.

Drinks service Stunning, we got some of the best drinks service here, quick and strong, and they kept flowing and flowing. Helping us to prove what we had secretly always known; gambling and large amounts of alcohol are a great mix.

Overall A well themed luxury casino with a great range of games, good staff and great food. The atmosphere is easy and relaxed; we love it.

Good points The theme, you can get all of the benefits of going to France by coming here and not having to suffer the bits I don’t like.

Bad points The Staff in the spa were terrible and the machines in the nickel section can feel a cramped and everything seemed very expensive.

Top Tip Book if you want to eat at Eiffel its expensive but worth it, you can cut through Ballys to get to the Monorail station.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, buffets, Casinos, entertainment, events, Holiday, hotel upgrades, Las Vegas, Mandalay bay, MGM, MGM Grand, Mirage, news, Paris Las Vegas, shows, Travel, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas buffets, vegas comps, vegas events, vegas pools, vegas shopping, vegas shows, vegas spa, Vegas Strip, vegas suites, vegas tips, vegas wedding | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Britney Spears Las Vegas shows are denied by manager

Britney

Rumours that Britney Spears would be preforming at the end of the year in Las Vegas were put around by the press , after the Britney was spotted dining with Palms Hotel & Casino owner George Maloof Jnr, in Los Angeles.

Her former manager Larry Rudolph – who has made up his differences with the star – has denied reports she is secretly negotiating for a come back in the faboulous Las Vegas.
He tells the Las Vegas Review Journal, “She’s not here (in Las Vegas) and she’s not coming in. I wouldn’t lie to you.

Yesterday a Los Angeles court heard that Britney is still incapable of participating in any legal proceedings, with her attorney telling the court that her doctor hopes to carry out “additional testing in the not-too-distant future”.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | bellagio, Casinos, entertainment, Excalibur, gaming, Holiday, Las Vegas, Mandalay bay, MGM Grand, news, shows, Uncategorized, Vegas, vegas events, vegas shows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment