A June 2005 trip
to Las Vegas by LA guy
Quote: Las Vegas is no longer the cheap, tacky place it once was 10 years ago. Now it is a bustling commercial center with upscale shopping, dinning, and entertainment so that one can easily spend days there and still not have seen everything.
Hotel | "Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino"
Check-in was efficient, and we soon were given the keys to our room. As we opened the door to our room, we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw. The room turned out to be a grand suite, which contained a comfy king-size bed, a large living space, a luxurious bathroom, and a large-screen television. It also contained the standard refrigerater, which contained the same overpriced snack and drinks as in every other hotel. The room was very clean and very well maintained. Definitely no problems there.
We then found out that Rio actually provides a free hourly show every night, starting at around 6pm, until 11pm. The shows run for about 10 minutes each and generate quite a bit of energy on the first-floor casino at the Mascarade Village. The show is mostly dance and music; however, the multimillion dollar show doesn't just stop there. As the highlight of each show, the "sky" of the casino becomes a sea of dancing platforms as floats after floats burst out of the casino walls, and ran across the ceiling. There were many dancers on each float and they eagerly worked the crowd by throwing away small plastic jeweries to the crowds. And of course, as the night went on, more and more people gathered there each time the show started, making the village more exciting as the night went on. Definitely worth a visit.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 10, 2005
Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino
3700 W Flamingo Rd.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
Hotel | "Luxor Resort and Casino"
We stayed here on two of our trips and found the place to be quite unique. The first floor is the lobby and the casino. The second floor is the "arcade," which houses the main attractions of this hotel (restaurants, shops, video games, etc). As one expected, the pyramid itself is the hotel, with the hotel rooms stacked on top of one another higher and higher up until they reach the pinnacle of the building. It’s because of this design that the designers of this building came up with the "diagonal" elevator that is capable of transporting guests up and down from their hotel rooms.
Our hotel rooms were unfortunately at the Towers. But we found the rooms to be very tastefully put together. The rooms are of an Egyptian design, with a sense of luxury thrown into the midst of it. They are very clean and very well maintained. We also ate at the Pharoah's Feast and found it to be a high-quality buffet.
There is only one disadvantage with the Luxor, and that is its location at the southern tip of the strip. However, Luxor is connected to Mandalay Bay via a tunnel. It is also connected to Excalibur via a tram. It is definitely worth a visit.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2005
Luxor Las Vegas
3900 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89119-1000
Hotel | "Circus Circus"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 11, 2005
Circus Circus Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
2880 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
We have visited MGM before, so we knew that the amenities at this resort would be just incredible. Inside the resort, there are numerous upscale restaurants (like Rum Jungle and Areola), buffets, gambling, the resident show "Ka," and a gigantic pool to suit everyone's need. Its proximity to the center of the Strip also made touring other hotels much easier. All in all, it is the perfect resort for anyone visiting Las Vegas.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 11, 2005
3799 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
The Lady Luck may have once been the premier hotel in the region, but with the decline of the Old Town, so has it. The hotel itself is just okay. The main casino feels like any other casino, and even a little rundown in some of the areas. The hotel is reminiscent of the Las Vegas 10 years ago. And since it’s a few blocks away from the Old Town, Freemont Street, where most of the excitement happens, its location must have dampened its tourist population greatly.
For our stay, we found that check-in was just alright and the rooms were moderate at best. There are no in-house restaurants, which is inconvenient. If you have traveled all the way to Las Vegas and are looking for an unforgettable trip, this may not be the best place to stay.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 11, 2005
Lady Luck Hotel and Casino
206 North Third Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Golden Nugget is the premier hotel/resort in Las Vegas' Old Town, located right on Fremont Street. We have only stayed in the Old Town once before, at the overpriced, and declining, Lady Luck. Therefore, we had reservations about this hotel/resort when we learned our Hotwire bid placed us there.
But once we arrived, we found the hotel to be very well furnished, with marble floors, a tastefully designed lobby, and excellent customer service, definitely on par with the four-star rating listed on Hotwire. It had two hotel towers, one located on Fremont, the other closer to the parking garage. It contained a decent-sized pool and exercise center, although we didn't get to see either. There is also a quite decent restaurant on-site serving reasonably priced American cuisine. And, as usual, there is the casino floor at the entrance to Fremont Street. Once we stepped into our room, we were again surprised at how luxurious the amenities were. The room looked like it had been recently renovated: two very comfortable and highly decorated queen-size beds, a large (and very clean) bathroom with marble tiles, and in-room cable. If you need to access the Internet, there is also wireless Internet available at $12/day.We only stayed there for 1 night, and from what we have seen, it is defintiely a hidden gem in north Las Vegas.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 15, 2005
129 E. Fremont St.
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Once we stepped in, we were amazed just how extravagantly this place has been designed. In the center is the grand "bar table", which divides the restaurnat into two halves, left and right. Each half is then divided in to three (front, mid, and back) sections by two giant sheet of glasses that ran from the top of the elevated ceiling to the rectangle pools that housed their footing. The glasses were illumintated from inside and with the sheet of water running down both sides, the effect was a shimmering, green glow that radiates throughout the restaurant. Very interesting.
Finally, our server came. As we studied the menu closer, we found that it is generally that of America Cuisine, with the typical pastas, sandwhiches, and the usual entrees (roasted chicken, Mongolian beef). However, what is different was presentation. Each plate is carefully prepared and arranged, that dishes looked more like pieces of art than a plate of food. I ordered a "fancy" rosemary chicken and found the preparation to be of high quality.
Then, as our concert ended, we walked past the restaurant again and was surprised to find that after 10pm or so, this restaurant is turned into a club. We happened to come by when there was a live show going on. And even from outside of the entrance, we could see female dancers dancing on platforms that are suspended halfway in the air, dancing to the high energy and the laser light show of the movement. We didn't have the energy to wait in line to get in again, but if you have the time, definitely eat/club here.
3450 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89118
+1 877 632 5300
Restaurant | "Sunset Station/Feast around the World"
We had never heard of Sunset Station before and found the casino to be quite well maintained. The first floor is that of any typical casino, with lots of games and game tables. We briefly toured the place, then proceeded to the "Feast around the World," as it is called, for our lunch.
We are not particularly fond of buffets in general, but we felt the food to be quite good for the price we paid. There were about six stations, each themed to the kind of food it serves (Chinese, American, Italian, country...), with a central area that serves about 20 kinds of desert. For an estimate, there must have been about 100 dishes served in that buffet. Food ranged from Peking duck, to country fried steak, to penne pasta, to barbequed ribs. We sampled most of the entrées and found most of them adequate. The service is also of good quality.
If you are in the area and looking for a quick, easy, and satisfying meal, this might just be the place for you.
Feast Around the World Buffet
2101 Texas Star Lane
Las Vegas, Nevada 89130
+1 702 631 1000
Grand Cafe is located in the Palace Station a few blocks west of the Strip. We decided to dine here because it was close to I-15, as we were driving up to Utah, and the price seemed great from the billiboards we saw.
The restaurant itself is quite nicely decorated, with high ceiling, several plasma TVs mounted on the walls, and spacious seating. The menu is all the usual, with sandwiches, soups, salads, a few steak/prime rib options. However, with the lower-than-expected price also came a lower-than-expected quality - while everything is perfectly edible, the dishes just lack that extra effort to call it delicious. For a restaurant that's located in a multimillion-dollar casino, I was expecting more than food-chain-type, unexceptional food quality.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on November 20, 2005
Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
Attraction | "Kà"
The theater is very well designed, with a "boat" theme. For pre-show entertainment, multiple performers ran across, dangled from, and jumped down the entirety of the stage, performing little tricks until the show was about to start.
I won't give away the show, but let’s just say that the set is just incredible. It’s a giant floating stage that showcased the numerous acts that follow. A lot of thought must have been given to the design of the stage. Throughout the show, there were many sword plays, battles, acrobatics, and dangerous stunts, as well as a grand finale that left us wanting for more.
It is a different experience than Mystere. As Mystere was more intimate and offered skillful acrobatics as its centerpieces, Ka was more focused on its story telling with acrobatics only serving to bring out the storyline. But, overall, it was quite an enjoyable show.
Cirque Du Soleil-KA
MGM Grand Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada
Attraction | "Cirque du Soleil's Mystere!"
Mystere at Treasure Island
3300 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
Attraction | "O!"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 15, 2005
"O" by Cirque Du Soleil
Bellagio Casino, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
We arrived here late morning and proceeded to drive the 10-mile scenic loop after a brief visit to the visitor center. The first stop turned out to be the best, as we stopped right alongside a huge chunk of red rocks and then hiked down the somewhat steep slope to see it up close.
On the side of the mountain, there was an abandoned limestone quarry and we took a few pictures on top of the blocks of limestone left there. We decided not to embark on the trail that woudl lead us up the hill to the top of the red rock mountain as the day was starting to get hot in the desert.
The rest of the loop was interesting, but not out of this world. There were several picnic area not accessible by car and we elected not to venture into those areas. And towards the mid half of the loop, there is a grand view stop, which gives you an panoramic view of the view, looking back towards the east, towards Las Vegas.
We finished the tour in 1 hour and found the experience to be overall enjoyable. But if you inclined to see the "real" red rocks, proceed to Monument Valley and Sedona for a truly amazing sight.
Los Angeles, California