Hello From Las Vegas! – We’re thankfully halfway through the hot season, and more thankfully halfway through July. Next week (the weekdays) are going to be over 110F. You’ve been warned. This year, it has certainly lived up to billing as not only the hottest month of the year, but humid (for us) as well.
We call it “Monsoon Season” and this year has not disappointed. Earlier this month, an evening monsoon rolled into town. Before all was said and done, over 41,000 homes and businesses lost power. I knew something was wrong when my power went out, even though the weather was calm. Not a good sign. Within about 5 minutes, the weather at my house resembled the storm at the beginning of Gilligan’s Island!
Fortunately, The Strip was spared power outages. However, a record wind gust of 68 mph at the airport was recorded, and flights were diverted for a bit of the evening.
Members, Members, Members – We’re taking a slight left turn with this issue. Long-time member Tanya wrote a great, lengthy letter a couple of months ago. I’m going to somewhat combine Newkirk’s Notes and Members Mania into one as we run it and I respond to some detail to it.
Just a reminder to paying subscribers: Our new AccessVegas.com Las Vegas Insider Vibe Membership Group is an added perk of your subscription! All you need to do is click on over and click the join request. We’ll compare the email you give us with our subscriber email list and approve you within 2-3 days.
Las Vegas has no shortage of forums and groups devoted to Las Vegas. We know. We follow many of them so you don’t have to! Unfortunately, they can have quite a bit of misinformation. Or, someone will ask a question and get answers that are across the spectrum. Simply because everyone has different tastes, and enjoys Las Vegas in a different way.
I’m in there once every day or two, helping guide people with questions to what is right for them, or clearing up any information people are seeking. As we grow, we’ll be tapping into a host of other Las Vegas experts to also monitor and be helping everyboy out!
If you have a Facebook account but never use it, you can still join! We have the link to the group in ever issue and you can click over at your leisure. If you don’t have a Facebook account because you don’t want to put your life on the internet, and have no interest that your relatives love or hate Trump, you can create an account, make it private, and only use it to participate in our group. Down the road, we may take the concept in-house, but Facebook seems to work for most as we are at the “one thing at a time” growth stage;
Golden Nugget Club Room Review – Member Holly Haskins usually only does Fremont Street for one evening during her visit. However, she recently stayed downtown at The Nugget and posted a really informative review, complete with some great photos. You can check it out, chime in with your own thoughts, or ask her questions on her post I promised to post a review of the club room at Golden Nugget.
Members Mania Letter – I am an avid reader of your newsletter and love the content. I would like to share with you my views on Vegas. We visit about twice a year or at least 3 times every 2 years so we see a lot and have seen lots of changes over the past 20 years. We were married there 20 years ago at the Chapel of the Fountain in Circus Circus (April 10th was our anniversary) and on our wedding night we ate at The Steak House downstairs from the chapel. It was a great meal so we decided to go back there for our 20th and we were not disappointed. In fact, the server was there when we were married. Our meal was fantastic and so was the service. They really know how to make good steaks there.
For the past few years we have been renting a car for the week we are there because we find that (1) we are not completely reliant on the bus service, (2) we don’t waste as much time getting from point A to point B, (3) and since my husband now uses a scooter, it’s just easier than dealing with a bus, (4) we can visit the places off the strip, which we do quite often. We used to just rent at the airport and return at the airport but the costs for doing so went up drastically last year so now we rent at the Downtown D and return there as well and have cut our rental down by 2 days. Much more reasonable in price. And we can still park for free at Planet Hollywood and the lot behind Casino Royale as well as Tropicana. So, the fact that they are now charging to park at most places has not affected us at all.
As for where we stay, we used to stay at Circus Circus because my husband used to like to get up early and go over to Slots of Fun (next door) in the morning and have his coffee and play some slots. But that place has gone downhill and is no longer on our list of places to visit. We then switched to Fitzgerald’s downtown as soon as we got a taste of Fremont Street and that was a much better fit for us….that is until it became The D. Fitzgerald’s was a great friendly place to play , stay and eat. But once it became The D, the friendliness disappeared and resort fees popped up. I do not consider The D to be a resort type property at all. It’s just not a fancy place and nothing like the big resorts on the strip. So, the only thing we do there now is to rent our car. We don’t even gamble there anymore. The dancers on the tables by the table games don’t even look like they want to be there either. No smiling at all.
So, anyway, we have started staying at The Four Queens. No resort fees was the initial draw for us but I have to say that this place is very friendly and they try to accommodate your every wish/desire. We have to have a handicapped room now since my husband drives a scooter and they go above and beyond to make sure that we get one of the 19 handicapped rooms that they have there. The rooms have just been through a complete renovation and are really nice. We had an issue with the a/c in our room on this last visit and they were there within 1 hour to fix it for us. Even the staff that clean the rooms are very friendly & accommodating. And, as far as I’m concerned, Magnolia Cafe has the best prime rib around!
One thing that I have noticed that I really don’t like is the number of CVS and Walgreens stores on the strip. I think I counted 17 from MGM to downtown. Not sure why that many drugstores are needed but, in my opinion, it’s creating an eyesore. And, the thought that they could possibly be replacing the Bellagio fountain with more retail is just ridiculous! There is way too much retail already. I am happy to see that Resort World is back on track and construction is ongoing now. Will also be happy when The Fountainbleau (or whatever it’s gonna be called) is finished as that has been an eyesore for awhile. That end of the strip needs sprucing up if they are going to be successful. Why they destroyed The Frontier and Stardust and Riviera is beyond me. I really liked all of those places, but I know things change and people have to go with the flow. Just wish those empty lots had been converted sooner rather than later.
I have also learned in my twenty years of visiting that you need to take pictures of everything as it may not be there when you get back. For instance, when we visited in August we went to see Cher at the arena right there in front of Monte Carlo so I took a picture of the Monte Carlo sign on top of the hotel. When we were there last month, the sign had already changed to MGM Park. And on this last visit we went to Hard Rock Hotel to take pictures there before Richard Branson changes everything. For awhile, nearly every visit we made we had to go see a newly opened casino on the strip….that hasn’t happened for awhile now. So I’m looking forward to Resort World. The last new casino we visited was the one right off the strip, the Asian themed one (can’t remember the name). I knew as soon as we visited that that place was not going to last very long . It just did not have a friendly vibe to it and the players club employees could not speak English very well at all! I knew it was going to be a “one and done” type of visit.
One new place we went to on this last visit was Jerry’s Nugget. In the 20 years we have been visiting we never really went very far north on the LV Blvd. (the Natural History Museum was as far north as we had gone. So, this time we drove up to the Las Vegas Speedway and we stopped at Jerry’s Nugget on the way. That was a very friendly place and we gambled a bit and walked away ahead a little. And I was amazed at the size of the Speedway. I have never been to a racetrack so maybe I was easily impressed. LOL
I also was disappointed to see a large group of homeless camped out on the sidewalks. I know we all have homeless populations. It’s just sad to see. Not sure what LV is doing to help their homeless population but it’s got to be really hard for them when temperatures reach triple digits there.
We used to stop in at Terrible’s casino to gamble a bit and have dinner (they also have a good prime rib dinner in their cafe upstairs). But we have found that since they changed their name that things just aren’t the same. The service in the cafe is terrible and the gambling just not as good as it used to be.
Since we rent a car when we visit we are not limited in where we can go. We actually drove down to Boulder City this time and I just loved the old town feel of the area. People were very friendly. We have been to the casinos over in Primm as well. They are equally nice.
But one of our favorite places to go is the Pinball Museum! We could literally spend hours there and not play the same game twice! LOL We thought about going to visit Wayne Newton’s place until we saw the cost of the tour! Not sure what all is included but it was definitely not in our budget for this trip.
We have seen most of the big shows in Vegas except for Celine Dion. Was planning on seeing her on this trip until she had to cancel all shows for a couple of months. Hopefully she will be there when we come back on our next visit.
Vegas is my 2nd home. We love it there. We actually lived there for a couple years after Katrina. But my husband got homesick and wanted to come back to New Orleans. He is kicking himself for that now. LOL We should have stayed. Every time we visit we try to see something or do something that is new to us. We have been successful on every trip so far. (Hoping by our next visit that the zipline by The Linq will be finished). Hopefully that will continue. We just know that as long as The Four Queens continues to be a resort fee free hotel, that is where we will stay. We love the free entertainment down there and our favorite casino to gamble is Binions. And, since we can use our comps from there to pay for our hotel at Four Queens it makes it even better.
So, thanks for the great newsletter. Keep ’em coming!
The Circus Circus Steakhouse continues to be highly recommended. The wait staff are true pros, hearkening back to when being a waiter was a highly-traind professional career. People just need to get over the fact that it is in Circus Circus. What is amazing is that they don’t nickel-and-dime you on the sides. (Given that this is in an MGM Resorts property, I find this very shocking. MGM Resorts originated the nickel-and-diming with high resort fees, paid parking, and the like). From the menu:
As always, dinner includes fresh baked breads, Chef’s vegetable and your choice of black bean soup or house salad and garlic mashed potato, baked potato or wild rice blend.Tri-color peppercorn sauce and cheddar cheese sauce are available upon request.
We’ve gone over reasons to rent a car in Members Mania perhaps a couple of months ago, so I won’t belabor it. However, if you can get around the parking issues, it is nice to have the freedom we locals have to get around! And yes, we’ve been one of the few outlets reminding people that Casino Royale continues to offer free parking! Just have the courtesty to go up a couple of floors so that hotel guests don’t have to.
The D gets mixed reviews. The room remodels are nice, and they’ve fixed the elevator issues (or lack thereof). I agree that the dancers often look bored! I don’t like resort fees, and am working with local media to look at how they are upsetting visitors, and even causing some people to visit less. The D does have a pool, but it is about the same as you’d get at a Motel 6. Making it a resort in name only.
Our tip? People who want a pool downtown without a resort fee can also think about the Four Queens if a pool matters and you aren’t going to up the ante and stay at Golden Nugget. Four Queens guests get to use the rooftop pool at Binions’s! Nothing way to fancy, but oh what a view and a fair amount of elbow room.
The pharmacies may not be pretty, but they are HUGE business. I have it on good authority that one of the CVS locations on The Strip is the highest grossing in the nation! Lots more selection and lower prices than the hotel gift shops.
We don’t suggest that people specifically go out of their way for Jerry’s Nugget. However, it is a bit of a hidden gem locals casino. Great complete prime rib dinner (8 ounces) for $14.89 and because they cater to an older very middle-class part of Las Vegas (actually North Las Vegas), they have to be price sensitive in every area, keep the machines loose, and the limits low.
Many of the “homeless” you see in the tourist areas are NOT homeless. Don’t let the gimmick fool you. Years ago, I bought a “homeless” guy downtown a couple of beers to spill the beans. Panhandling is a pretty decent tax-free living. The real homeless hang out a bit north of downtown.
What we suggest is a pre-visit donation to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. I’m a long-time supporter. They do good work. Between private and corporate donations, they have been able to expand their services. They are well rated as a charity where a high percentage of donations go directly to helping people (not management and similar).
Thanks for the great letter.
Hope you are enjoying this issue!
Ted Newkirk, Publisher
Editor, News Researcher, Concerts and Headliners: Amy Rayner-Cooley
Distributor, Member Services: Rick “VegasZiggy” Ziegler
After he finished a long, successful run at the Flamingo in 2014 — around the same time as when he won a $1.3 million lawsuit against the Bellagio for an injury suffered while performing at a private event — George Wallace needed a bit of a break from Las Vegas.
- Spiegelworld Spins Disco With Show Set For Las Vegas Strip – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Gwen Stefani Shares Rockin’ Throwback On Eve Of Las Vegas Residency Launch – Click for Tickets
- Barry Manilow Set For Westgate Residency – Click for Tickets
- Blink-182 Digs Into Las Vegas’ First Punk Rock Residency – Click for Tickets
- The Mentalist Behind The Las Vegas Strip’s First All-Spanish Show – Click for Tickets
- Gwen Stefani Gushes About Blake Shelton’s Support At Las Vegas Show – Click for Tickets
Americans eager to taste the exquisite marbling of Kobe beef might find that the odds are stacked against them — unless they’re in Las Vegas, in which case they’ve hit the jackpot. Only 10 percent of certified Kobe beef is exported outside of Japan, and of that small percentage, an impressive amount lands in Las Vegas
- How Cultural Dining Options In Vegas’ Chinatown Are Evolving – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- 5 Great Kid-Friendly Restaurants In Las Vegas
- Smith & Wollensky Returning To Las Vegas Strip
- Review: Trevi At Forum Shops Las Vegas
- Burger Review: Brunch Burger At Bobby’s Burger Palace – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- 5-Star Cooking Classes You Can Only Take In Las Vegas – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Reborn Las Vegas Resort Offers You Ultra-Luxury Suites, Lavish Rooms, Awesome Steakhouse And More – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Palace Station’s $192M Upgrade Expands Casino, Adds Restaurants – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
A Wheel of Fortune player hit a jackpot worth more than $3 million on June 9 at the Silverton hotel-casino, IGT announced today. The anonymous player placed a $5.00 wager on the Wheel of Fortune Winning Wedges Video Slots to win the $3,225,340 jackpot.
When you’ve had your fill of the bright lights and buzz of Las Vegas, enticements of a completely different nature await. So kiss the Elvis impersonator goodbye, grab your camera and hit the Nevada highway. Within a half hour — a mere 17 miles west — you will step into an existence as far removed from the Vegas Strip as you can get.
- Sin City Smash Offers ‘Destruction Therapy’ In Las Vegas – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Hidden Gem Places To Visit In Las Vegas – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Grand Canyon’s Breathtaking Landscape Captured After The Storm
- Online Passes Available For Grand Canyon National Park
- Arizona Man, 91, Still Relishes Role As Angel Of Route 66
- Las Vegas Monorail Requests Permits For Mandalay Bay Extension – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Police Hunt Burglars Who Bbroke Into Wayne Newton’s Las Vegas Home – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Napping Pods Available On Las Vegas Strip – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- Richard Harrison, ‘The Old Man’ Of ‘Pawn Stars,’ Dies
- Assault Suspect Jumps Off Bellagio Parking Garage And Pedestrian Bridge Before Arrest
- Video Vault | The ‘Family Friendly’ Phase Of Las Vegas
- Is It Safe To Walk The Strip To The Stratosphere Tower In Las Vegas? – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
- 5 Essential Travel Apps – Members: Read Ted’s Take on this story, and add your own comment or question for us
Vegas Videos You’ll Enjoy
Here are the best Las Vegas buffets, restaurants, and dining spots on the Strip that I’ve visited in 2018, including Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Giada De Laurentiis’ Pronto, and the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.
Check out Main Street Station Casino Brewery Hotel with Colin and I. We got to explore the Pullman Conference room and the train car. They also have Winston Churchills’ pool table upstairs. The detail inside this casino is beautiful. We also checked out the buffet.
The Luxor Las Vegas is an older casino/hotel in Las Vegas, but it now boasts a brand new ESPORTS Arena that is something to see. This video looks at many parts of the Luxor Las Vegas today.
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