Hello From Las Vegas – No exclamation point after the “Vegas” this week. I had a huge pile of “need to know” savings, latest tips (Vegas is always changing) and similar. However, this week, the “need to know” is one singular topic: The virus and Las Vegas.
Important Notes – We’re running late with this issue. No, we were not picking our nose! I was hoping that the dust would settle and I could finish with solid updates. That’s not going to happen. So…
1. I’ll be posting updates and answering any questions in our Members Private Facebook Group.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now – Las Vegas is completely shut down. This weekend, plenty of people have been enjoying casinos, walking The Strip, getting their pic taken in front of the Las Vegas sign. Don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself: Earthcam Las Vegas Cam. (Note: Remember time zones and such. If you go to look at 7 AM our time, don’t expect to see anybody out there!)
However, Wynn/Encore and MGM Resorts are closing for a couple of weeks. (Yes, ALL MGM properties). Caesars Entertainment has indicated that they plan to ride it out. As has Venetian/Palazzo. As of this writing Sunday evening.
Buffets and selected restaurants have GENERALLY been closed. This isn’t the end of the world. In fact, many restaurants which are staying open are the kind on our comprehensive list of researched deals in your members area. Just a reminder that we put the phone number with the outlet for a reason! While my staff checks and updates this info at least monthly, call ahead.
Our tap water was, is, and will be safe to drink. (Our water district assured us of this, and the reality is that their day-to-day J-O-B is to treat the water so it has no virus or pathogen or other matter in it which will make you ill!)
Shows are closed. With tours, it varies. The Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock, Zion, Death Valley, Valley of Fire, and all of the natural wonders in this area certainly are open. And, there is no shortage of CHEAP rental cars right now. This might be a fantastic time to plan a trip, use the serious money you save on hotel and airfare, and see all the “Not on Strip or Fremont” stuff you’ve always said you’d check out “one of these days”. While, there is no time like the present!
Maverick Helicopter Tours are still running. Ever wanted to do that night flight over The Strip or do a plane or ‘copter to the Grand Canyon? As noted, now is the time!
By the way, a contributor and friend to what we do happens to be our area’s top tour guide. His name is Mark Anthony. He has some time on his hands due to the slowdown. While he does many 1-4 day bus tours around our region, he also regularly does private tours. Just you and your friends/spouse/group and him.
Whether it is three of you in a rental car, or a small van or bus, he’s your guy and you can probably get a good price on everything from top-to-bottom. No matter if checking out how awesome a private tour of anything from Fremont Street and historic downtown to Grand Canyon would be, click on over to The Vegas Tourist and hit him up!
ALSO, if you are planning to hit Hoover Dam, our exclusive Special Report 09 – How To Have The Best Time On Your Visit To Hoover Dam is a must. And, in your members area.
Casinos remaining open are working as hard as they possibly can to provide a safe experience. Wiping down everything from slot machines to the front desk counters frequently. Casino chips are actually being WASHED! Seriously. Funny side note: 20 years ago, I used to low roller at the Gold Spike Casino downtown. (It is no longer a casino, but a bar aimed at Millenials). Their chips were FILTHY. One night, I came home with a bunch of them in my pocket, and actually tossed them in dishwasher. (By themselves!)
Speaking of, dealers are being mandated to wash up really good both right before and just after they have been dealing. AND, the hotels/casinos have made strick rules about employees staying home if they are not well.
Obviously, whether you want to travel (or not) is a personal decision. I’m not a doctor. Although, a group of home health care professionals did decide to keep their convention dates about a week ago: Conventioneers say healthy habits keep them from fearing coronavirus
If you are sitting at home with 20 cases of water, prepared for the end of the world, no worries. I understand. Everyone is handling this differently. For you, I’d suggest staying home. You would be going around too worried to have fun. Someone sneezes due to allergies (it is very much “springtime” here, temps in the 60’sF most of the time) and you’ll be running away to keep from getting sick. I get it.
If you are someone who has checked with your doctor or nurses line regarding any current health issues, and if you feel that this is basically a flu and you should just wash often and go about your life, Las Vegas is a bargain like we have not seen in a long time. Check your comps. Check how few airline points they want to fly you here (or how low the fares are). If you can live without seeing a show or eating at a buffet, you’ll have a great time and have a fair amount of elbow room.
New Section “On The Business Side” – This is an ominous time to institute a new feature, but this was already planned. I am constantly chatting with colleagues, media, and others about the business side of Las Vegas. We don’t talk much about it in here because you need info that make your trip awesome and save some money.
However, I have gotten feedback that some stuff “on the business side” is welcomed.
This will not be an “every issue” feature. It will appear when there is something to say, something comes up in the news, or similar. Since this is only for those who care about that stuff, it will be the last section when it runs.
Hope you are enjoying this issue!
Las Vegas Shows
‘The Beatles Love’ Is A Hit In Las Vegas
Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you; you answer quite slowly … and it’s Father McKenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear. There are plenty of people near, however, as he is in the midst of a tableau set to the tune of “Eleanor Rigby” during Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE.
Las Vegas Dining
Las Vegas Has A Hidden Bar That Can Only Be Reached Through A Secret Tunnel
If there’s anything we love more than tacos it’s probably got to be hidden spots that only locals know about. If you need the inside scoop on a secret speakeasy in Las Vegas, you’ve come to the right place. The best part? You’ll need to go through a cave tunnel to find it.
Las Vegas Tours and Attractions
Best Things To See In Nevada Aside From Las Vegas Including Red Rock Canyon
When thinking of Nevada, Las Vegas is usually the city that immediately springs to mind. However, it could be time to think again, as the the Silver State has so much more to offer than the excesses of Sin City. While Vegas offers up plenty of glitz and glamour, head beyond the neon and you’ll find vast expanses of rocky desert that drift up to snowcapped mountains and alpine forests.
I am an avid member 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 th 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!
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.
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.
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.
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 Binion’s. 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!
So much great stuff! I’ll run through my comments/thoughts/suggestions:
– Circus Circus Steakhouse is still a gem. Both based on quality and price. New owner Phil Ruffin (who also owns Treasure Island and 1/2 of Trump Las Vegas) has said he’s committed to NOT changing this!
ALSO, Slots of Fun will be getting an upgrade and makeover! Ruffin was very specific that it is a gem that needs to be brought back to a great place to play.
– Thanks for reminding everyone that as long as you don’t mind a little hike (depending on where you are going), especially between Planet Hollywood and Trop, you can find free parking. Also, I noted OYO earlier in my column!
With Casino Royale, we did clarify with them: Just be a customer. Park for free, park on the second or higher floor. Since the garage is split-level, the second floor STARTS on the floor that the second elevator stop is one. Go in, toss a few bucks in a machine. Have one of their really affordable drinks. Enjoy!
– Unfortunately, resort fees are the norm at plenty of places which are definitely not “resorts”. While the new Circa pool downtown will be one of the top in town, The D has a hotel pool which ranks right there with Motel 6 locations!
– Trust me… Startdust owners Boyd Gaming are more sorry than anyone they wrecked the Stardust. Their eyes were too big for their stomach, and we went into the housing bust on top of that.
Toward the end of January, The Drew announced that they were closing in on a $2 billion construction loan which would be confirmed in about a month. Not only is that the last we heard, but (at least temporarily), the current travel “bust” might make those lenders hold off until things look more stable. That is just my educated guess.
– Jerry’s Nugget is a smaller, fun, inexpensive place. Just take it for what is is. (It does not claim to be a 5-star place). Friday and Saturday are steak and lobster (under $20) or steak and shrimp (under $14) complete dinners. Their famous prime rib full dinner starts under $16.
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What We’re Watching!
Vegas Videos You’ll Enjoy
Debbie Gibson – Girls Night Out Official Music Video
(Producers Notes) So excited for you to watch my official music video for “Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young #VegasVibe Remix)! Shot in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Territory – Mesquite
Las Vegas Territory video on Mesquite, NV area and attractions. Just one hour north of Las Vegas (and, on the way to Zion National Park), Mesqite is growing in popularity with those who want a combination of “old Vegas” mixed with a more relaxed, smaller town atmosphere.
The Sahara Las Vegas is Back!
(Producers Notes) Walk with us and explore The Sahara Las Vegas.
New Details – Circa Resort and Casino
(Producers Notes) Circa owner, Derek Stevens, talks with Vegas Revealed about the new resort and casino opening in downtown Las Vegas in December of 2020. Construction is on schedule. Stevens details the resort features, including the massive outdoor pool area and theater that will be open 365 days a year.
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From The Business Side Of Las Vegas…
Sports are cancelled for now, but they will be back. Of interest was that the state of Michigan just made the necessary moves to offer sports betting.
Watch carefully over the next year or so as Derek Stevens (owner of The D, Golden Gate, Circa, and Circa Sports book) becomes the nationwide king of sports betting.
Even though he’s an avid sports bettor himself, it raised a few eyebrows when he decided to take his properties sports book business in-house. The “smaller players” in the hotel game, as well as a fair number of the big corporations, have companies like William Hill operate their sports books. Why? If nothing else, RISK.
Can a sports book win a million bucks on a weekend? Sure. But, if the “public” (majority of bettors) get on a certain side of certain games, and they are not able to “balance the books” with enough wagers on the other side, they can take a bath as well. Does it balance out in the long-run (if they are doing it right)? Yes. However, many of you in states just legalizing it are seeing your governments — who at first thought it would be a cash cow — realize profits on sports betting are comparatively low.
So what is Derek up to? Simple:
Year-over-year, he actually won’t make zillions of dollars off of this.
He’s going to get GAMBLERS to come to his properties.
Don’t be surprised if he has a “bad beat for the house” weekend and gets in front of as much media as possible and says “Ya… the bettors took us for almost $2 Million this weekend”.
Are you kidding me? That is old school. Why? Blackjack used to be “the” game to play because everyone thought is was beatable. Everybody wants to beat the house.
If Circa Sports becomes know as the brand that can be beaten (even if they do win the vast majority of weekends), players will gravitate to them.
This is no different than the huge money wagers Derek placed on Michigan State during March Madness. Who cares if he lost $350k (or whatever it was… right up around there). He got as much, if not more, back in publicity.
Plus, he’s doing Vegas right. Full-Pay blackjack even on the lower limit tables, good drink service, a 24/7 Coney Dog joint that won’t break the bank. Word is he may even be bringing back the world-famous Golden Gate Shrimp Cocktail at Circa when it opens! Although, we’ll forgive him if he can’t offer it at 99 cents, or even $1.99.
Still… I can almost taste that zesty, tangy cocktail sauce they make from the decades-old recipe, that he acquired when he bought Golden Gate!
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