Sunday, December 30, 2007

CES Las Vegas. From Kevin Costner to Donny Deutsch to Bill Gates

CES Las Vegas is coming up next week and I'll be there covering the world's top tech event. CES takes over Las Vegas for CES and it is remarkable how expensive the motels are during the event. Rooms that would be $100 can go for $400, though usually it looks like the rates about about two to three times the midweek and one to two times weekend rates.

I think Donny Deutsch will be at CES for his "Road to CES" series on his show "The Big Idea"

Kevin Costner will be performing with his band for the CEA awards show, but I'm more exited to see Mary J Blige at Paris Las Vegas for the Monster Retailer party.

And of course Bill Gates will be talking on Sunday about the future of technology.

Clearly, CES is going to be hopping in Las Vegas.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Harrah's is more than just Harrah's

The Harrah's Hotel Corporation runs several major hotels in Las Vegas including Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, and the Rio, home to what many locals say is the best buffet in Las Vegas (and that is saying a lot - Buffets in Las Vegas are generally spectacular, though at about $24 for the Rio Buffet you'll want to stuff yourself silly to make sure you get your money's worth.

Here are the hotels in the Harrah's Las Vegas Empire:

Caesars Palace Check Caesars Deals

Harrah's Las Vegas (budget priced Harrah Deals

Paris Las Vegas Paris Deals

Rio (all suites - often low priced though check for rates) Rio Deals

Flamingo Las Vegas (low priced, good room deals) Flamingo Deals

Bally's Las Vegas Bally's Deals

Imperial Palace (great rates, but be careful on Harrah's side rooms which are *LOUD!* until about 1:30am. Usually they'll move you to a better room if you ask. Palace Deals

At the Flamingo don't miss the Bodies exhibit (unless you are really squeamish). The plasticized full body anatomically exploded human specimens offer an amazing glimpse into human biology.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Plaza Hotel, Downtown Las Vegas

Plaza Hotel, Downtown Las Vegas
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck
This is a shot of the Plaza Hotel at the end of Fremont Street from under the Freemont Street Experience Canopy - a spectacular light show that runs nightly from dark until about midnight.

Downtown Las Vegas is a very different experience from the more trafficked Las Vegas Strip hotels. Downtown the hotels are not the mega-resorts, rather they offer far more modest surroundings and casinos. The advantage is generally much cheaper rates for rooms that are usually fine, and the intrigue of the original Las Vegas venue which is an area of several square blocks bordered on one end by the Plaza Hotel. Unlike the strip, you can visit several casinos in a short time here but don't expect the same level of glamour.

Las Vegas Hilton

Las Vegas Hilton
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck
The Las Vegas Hilton is a nice hotel, but does not offer the splendor of the Bellagio, Wynn, or new Palazzo. Notable for the off-strip location right next to the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Star Trek Experience attraction - a high immersion interactive space adventure , and Barry Manilow's regular performances.

When booking the Hilton pay close attention to offers from hotel consolidators who often have rooms at less than the Hilton Website.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Palazzo Las Vegas

Opening December 28th, the Palazzo Las Vegas promises yet another world class luxury hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The Pallazzo will offer all luxury and better suites. Very high quality rooms. The prices appear to be in the ballpark of the Wynn or Bellagio although as we've noted before pricing in Las Vegas is highly variable.

Room Amenities:

17” LCD in the bath, 32” in the living room, and 32” in the bedroom

Remote control Roman shades and curtains

Oversized terry cloth bath sheets

DVD player and CD/clock radio alarm

Wireless dual-line telephones and wireless Internet connection (coming soon)

Palazzo Luxury-1 King Bed
TOTAL: $279.00

Pallazzo Bella-2 Queen Beds
TOTAL: $309.00

Palazzo Luxury View Suite-1 King Bed
TOTAL: $319.00

Palazzo Bella View Suite-2 Queen Beds
TOTAL: $349.00

Palazzo Concierge Luxury Suite-1 King Bed
TOTAL: $479.00

Palazzo Concierge Bella Suite-2 Queen Beds
TOTAL: $479.00

Palazzo Concierge Luxury View Suite-1 King Bed
TOTAL: $519.00

Palazzo Concierge Bella View Suite-2 Queen Beds
TOTAL: $519.00

The Pallazzo website is working too hard to be glamorous and therefore is not informative enough, but clearly this hotel promises another excellent Las Vegas experience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Las Vegas Links from CES Frommers

Frommer's Travel Guides has a little mini-guide to travel in Las Vegas, produced for the CES Conference. They list a small number of websites they find helpful for travel planning:
Las Vegas Convention site
General local info, reviews, family ideas
General, local info and reviews
Restaurant listings and restaurant information
Funny travel tips

CES Las Vegas - what about downtown?

CES Las Vegas is one of the biggest trade shows in the world and I'm really impressed with the initial flurry of information, contacts, emails, and printed material flowing my way to prepare for the trip, coming up in just under a month.

However I'm surprised how little information there is about the downtown hotels. They are generally not nearly as nice as hotels along the Las Vegas Strip, but those will all be full with this huge conference of some 140,000 people. I assume all the downtown hotels will fill as well.

Recent efforts have focused attention on the Downtown region and the original casinos in the Fremont Street area such as Binyon’s and the Four Queens have brought the spectacular “Fremont Street Experience” to the downtown area. Pictures of Fremont Street

However despite the revival of Fremont, it is still the Las Vegas Strip where most of the action remains, and where you will find many of the world’s largest and most extravagant hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, and, of course, Las Vegas Casinos.

It’s important to note that the Las Vegas Convention Center is not along the strip. The Convention Center and the Las Vegas Hilton are about a mile from the strip via Tropicana Boulevard. The Las Vegas Monorail is a great way to get from the strip to the Convention Center or the Hilton.

Las Vegas - Early History

Friday, December 7, 2007

Links Vegas

Las Vegas - Official Las Vegas Tourism Web Site IMPORTANT: Always check multiple sources for tickets, Hotels, and Flights. is an excellent resource. Also if you are comfortable booking by rating and location rather than the specific hotel. There are not many "bad" hotels in Las Vegas, so you can hardly go wrong even just shopping by price.

Las Vegas Hotels, Shows, Tickets
But again remember that to get best prices always check,, and the hotel itself. If you Some hotels have player club specials, so call them before you book at anything that appears to be a high rate.

Las Vegas Wikipedia entry - General City Information

Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce

McCarran International Airport

Las Vegas Sun : The local newspaper for greater Las Vegas

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Best Cheap Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip

Zeke Quezada at has the best coverage of Las Vegas anywhere. He's a local and writes extensively about the best places to eat and stay as well as shows and nightlife.

This week Zeke profiled several of the best "cheap" hotels in Las Vegas, noting that you don't have to sacrifice a nice room if you want to sleep cheap.

It's also important to note that rates vary enormously in Las Vegas. I'm heading down for the Computer Electronics Show in January and all the hotels know they'll fill up, so rates are about triple the normal price. I stayed at the Hilton a couple years ago for 55 - rooms during CES were 450!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

McCarran Airport, Las Vegas Bus Service

Las Vegas offers bus service from McCarran to the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown Fremont Street area. Depending on where you are staying and how much you value the savings of a few dollars over the Shuttles that leave the airport fairly regularly, this may not be the best option, though I've often found the shuttles to have a wait of 15+ minutes and then a -long- slow trip down the strip. If, for example, you are booked at the Stratosphere I have a feeling the bus would offer a faster trip down there than the Shuttle, which could take an hour or more depending on where the other passengers are heading.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Airfare and four nights: $356

Normally I pay about $320 for the flight and another $300 or so for hotels in Las Vegas. When looking for bookings for the Computer Electronics Show January 7-10, 2008 I started to get worried when I notice that one hotel I'd stayed at before for 55 per night - the Hilton at the Convention Center - was running $456 per night for CES. Yikes! Even some of the clever discount options in Las Vegas like the Best Western Mardis Gras (walking distance to Convention Center, modest but clean and spacious rooms) were running almost three times what I'd paid last year for WebmasterWorld. CES is the biggest tech show on earth and everything will fill up, so the prices go sky high.

Therefore, I was thrilled to find a Flight/Hotel combination at $356 - the lowest price I've ever paid in Las Vegas by far. I will be staying in downtown Las Vegas at the Fitzgerald rather than the strip, but reviews indicate it has been nicely remodelled. This deal was through US Airways.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Welcome to Las Vegas

As one of the world's top travel destinations, Las Vegas offers visitors glamour, gambling, fine dining, superb hotels, and amazing shows. Here, we'll reveiew the newest shows and attractions in Las Vegas, the best restaurants, and much more. We'll feature all the major hotels and offer we'll offer great travel tips for this amazing city.