Monday, July 24, 2006

Why we don't care for these three Las Vegas Resorts

We spend a lot of time recommending Las Vegas resorts to our clients. It seems that "first time visitors" seem to have just two requirements when we ask them where they want to stay at during their next Vegas vacation. It has to meet their budget and it has to be on the strip. After that, it is up to us to make a hotel recommendation. Our clients really have to want to stay at the Stratosphere. Usually those clients have very limited budgets. Not because it is bad place to stay. The rooms are clean. Food is OK. Nothing special though. Gambling above average for the strip. It is just the fact that it is sooooo isolated on the northern end of the strip. Anytime you want to venture anyplace else, you better have a car or hop on the deuce, to get where you want to go. And by the way the surrounding neighborhood is too iffy in our opinion. Especially that across the street hotel from the Stratosphere, name escapes for a moment. Was that gunshots we heard last time we visited the Stratosphere?

And that isolation thing also plays in our recommendation of staying at the Mandalay Bay.
No it wasn't the surely security guard that chased us out of the pool area after hours or the tight, no make that incredibly tight, slot machines at the Mandalay Bay, that soured us on the resort. If you stay at the Mandalay Bay, anytime you want to get anywhere else, be prepared for the long walk through the Luxor and the Excalibur, or the long wait and ride on the free tram to the Excalibur before you get to anywhere else. Why spend the money to stay at Mandalay Bay, when the Bellagio is in the center of everything? Or for that matter Ceasars or Paris or the great pool area at the Flamingo.

And finally the The New Frontier. Destined for the wrecking ball. The New Frontier remains our "number one dumpiest casino on the strip award winner." We stole this one sentence review from the cheapo Las Vegas website. "It's about as ratty as an unwashed prospector." We don't know where the "new" comes from. Nothing new at this casino in many years.

Back to Las Vegas next week. More news to follow.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Crown Princess Accident

A rather neat summary of the Crown Princess listing accident from the Orlando Sentinel including an interactive illustration of what happened. The incident renews a call from various experts for more regulation of the cruise industy. The cruise industry continues to be plagued with various serious incidents including fires, sickness, lost passengers, dead passengers, and apparently a similar "steering problem" on another Princess ship earlier this year. Time to kick in the PR machine. Watch for even more cruise sales as bookings continue to be soft this year. Not entirely the fault of these past incidents.

Find the latest cruise sales from planet travel online

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The winds of a recession

We have been crossing our fingers lately at Planet Travel. Bookings are starting to show an uptick from a very slow first quarter. But now the economists are warning about the possiblility of a recession and identify the current economy as being caught in stagflation. Stagflation is that condition of rising inflation and a slowing economy. What does that mean to the travel consumer? Deals. Already we have seen fall and winter sales at rates that are well off this summer's record high prices. The latest visitor counts in Las Vegas are showed a drop in May 2006. Although, the reason given was fewer conventions, we think higher gasoline prices and sky high strip room rates are having more of an effect than they realize. Already August travel bookings are down industry wide. Wait and see. The sales are coming.

link to Planet Travel. Don't forget to check our daily updated list of hot deals

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Yet another trip to Las Vegas yields two more tips.

We have just returned from Las Vegas leading a Planet Travel client group of 20 and discovered two additional tips to pass along. How we missed them before we don't know. In hindsight they were as plain as the nose on our faces.

After hiking for seemingly miles to the closest monorail station from the Riviera (didn't know before that Donald Trump was once a minority stockholder of the Riviera that had something to do with his ongoing feud with Steve Wynn) we figured that there had to be a better way. The distance between monorail stations in Las Vegas and the resorts they serve will ultimately be the system's downfall. Not well thought out in hindsight. The speed of the monorail doesn't match the long, long, walks, to the stations. We decided to try the local transit system strip bus: the Deuce. Started in October, 2005, you can ride up and down the strip for 24 hours for just $5.00. The cost of just one ride on the monrail. It is a slow trip any time of the day on the very busy strip. And the wait time between busses can be long. It is still the best way to get up and down the strip or get downtown to check out Fremont street.

Here is a link to the deuce's web site

link to more information about the deuce

Walgreens has the cheapest souvenirs on the strip. What do you want? Ashtrays. T-Shirts. Las Vegas Signs. Retro Vegas pictures and posters. Walgreens has them. Cheaper than anywhere else we could find. The proof is the current fav souvenir a desktop flashing light up replica of the Las Vegas sign found on the far south end of the strip. Walgreens has them for $29.95. Everywhere else we found them the price was as much as ten dollars more. Save money to spend on the new shortened to 95 minutes from the original two hours and 40 minutes version of the Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. What is with that anyway? I guess in Vegas anything is possible. Especially when you charge $150.00...twice the amount as the West End orignal version charges for the old original longer version.

link to Planet Travel's Las Vegas Connection with great prices to our favorite destination