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Rare 120 at Hard Rock Discount

I love when unexpected discounts pop up.  I was tweeting about an upcoming trip to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas to see Alice in Chains when the tweeter from Rare 120 (steakhouse) caught my attention and made me aware of a pretty excellent discount offer they have.

Click here to view full sizeRare 120 seems as if it’s Hard Rock’s take on an expensive steakhouse.  I’m all for a good steak and I’m all for a little savings.  They offer 30% discounts to all show goers at The Joint with a ticket stub.  This is a pretty substantial discount and enough for me consider changing my plans.

I usually spend about $100/person for a good steak dinner with drinks.  A $30 savings is great and better than most offers I see.  I have $100 dinner plans each night I’m in Vegas, so I’m not sure I’ll partake this time.  I’ll let my friend chose this time.  Who am I to say no?

Follow @rare120 if you’re curious to learn more.  They’re part of Dolce Group which has more restaurants and possibly more to offer.

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Travel Tip: 10 Minute Pack

I’m slightly neurotic and that has it’s upside and downside. It comes in handy when I travel as I plan things pretty well. With a trip to Las Vegas coming up I thought I’d share how I pack in less than 10 minutes.

  1. Send out dry cleaning 2 weeks in advance. This gives ample time for it to be ready and for me to pick up. I usually wear button down shirts, shorts and slacks, so this covers most of my clothes.
  2. Do a load of laundry of only clothes I plan on bringing with me the weekend before I leave. I wash and fold underwear and socks while putting shirts on hangers.
  3. Keep as much clothes on hangers as possible. This minimizes folding time.
  4. Map out what I want to wear by day. I don’t actually follow the map, but this guide allows me to know exactly what to pack. See example below.
  5. Use same toiletries. I just switch this from bag to bag depending on trip.

Here’s an example of my pack list (w/shorthand):

Wed
green golf
black under
blue drawz
cargo
sm sox
red kix

green/blue button
blue shorts
green pants
big sox
shoes

Thur
red golf
ash under
blue drawz
gray shorts
sm sox
red kix

squares button
ash pants
big sox
shoes

All in all, a little preparation goes a long way in packing quickly. Having everything folded and on hangers in advance speeds up the process immensely. I place all hanger items to be folded over once. This limits fold marks too which is nice. I also have multiple phone chargers toiletries so packing goes even quicker for me.

I’m up for ideas on how to speed up the process.

Update: I forgot to mention that socks go inside shoes and that everything not on hangers gets packed the night before. This splits the time to about 80/20 as it takes a few minutes to fold the clothes on hangers.

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Criss Angel Magic Kit

I was flipping channels one night and saw a commercial for the Criss Angel Magic Kit.  I had a chuckle as the commercial was very campy and almost looked like a parody of a real commercial.

There are plenty of people that like Criss Angel, judging by the longevity of his show at Luxor in Las Vegas.

I like sports, not magic so I’m not going to judge beyond this hokey commercial. Evidently he dated Holly Madison, so that’s cool.

If you want to wow your friends at an upcoming Halloween party – getcha Mindfreak on by clicking the image below.

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Plazableau

The Plaza in downtown Las Vegas is using Fontainebleau’s misfortune to help with their upcoming remodel.

When the Plaza’s 1,037 hotel rooms reopen in September 2011, they will feature top-flight wallpaper, carpet, tile, sofas, chairs, desks, dressers, side tables and bed frames courtesy of the Fontainebleau, the stalled luxury property with an estimated $3.5 billion price tag that was designed to compete against Las Vegas’ swankiest resorts.

I’m sure this was a cheap way to get materials that would probably be out of the price range of the Plaza.  I’m sure it will be a nice touch, but as the saying goes you can take the girl out of downtown, but you can’t take the downtown out of the girl.

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NHL is Not a Major Sport

I didn’t realize that today was a holiday until I saw that the Rangers and Islanders were playing a matinee.  That made me ask a question: why are they playing Monday afternoon?  Answer: Hockey is not a major sport and it really doesn’t matter.  It wasn’t that way when I was growing up.  There were four major professional sports; baseball, football, hockey and basketball.

Today is Columbus day, a holiday that’s not really a holiday.  The stock market is open, UPS is delivering, everyone I know is working and so forth.  It’s fitting that the NHL would choose to have a special event on a day that isn’t really special.

There are only 3 major professional sports and most people are fine with that.  Hockey holds a special place in my heart as I grew up enjoying the game.  Like most people, I’ve moved on from it.  That’s too bad, but these things happen.

On the flip side, the lack of hockey passion makes “Slap Shots” only $5 on DVD.  That’s awesome!

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Harrah’s Tries To Best Buffet of Buffets

First Harrah’s introduced the “Buffet of Buffets” where you could gorge yourself on any Harrah’s Las Vegas buffet.  Clearly, this is popular as demand has forced multiple price increases to where this isn’t much of a deal.  I’m not sure the All Stage Pass, where upi can see unlimited shows in 48 hours, will have the same success.

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For $100 you can see all the shows you want in two days.  Show tickets are about $50-60 each, so this could be a really good deal if you are a dedicated show goer.  You could see a matinee and night show for two straight days and save a few bucks.  I’m usually not a show person, so this isn’t for me.

I don’t see this being as successful as the buffet deal because this country likes to eat as much as they like a bargain.  I’m pretty sure they like to eat more than they like to see shows.

Bottom line you can catch Penn & Teller, Peepshow and The Price is Right with this plan and save a few bucks.  Find me at the craps table.

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Seven Stars Insider – October Edition

Here’s the latest edition of Seven Stars Insider.  This is an easy read and an excellent resource for Harrah’s players.  Head over to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  There is lots of information in this edition, so read on for all the goods.

Seven Stars Insider – October 2010

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online.

Donny and Marie To ‘Vacation’ In Atlantic City This Summer?
The rumor mill has it that Donny and Marie Osmond may bring their popular Las Vegas show from the Flamingo to Caesars Atlantic City this summer.  That may be just the ticket to help bolster the declining revenues that the city has been experiencing.  It wouldn’t be the first time Harrah’s has brought its West Coast “team” members to Atlantic City.  Magician Nathan Burton has performed several times, and Penn & Teller are scheduled for performances November 5 and 6 at Harrah’s.

Toll-Free Customer Service
For those of you who play in Atlantic City, here’s a useful number: (800) 542-7724.  Press 1 for account information (then 4 to talk to a “real” person; then 1 for Bally’s, 2 for Caesars, 3 for Harrah’s or 4 for Showboat).  Press 2 if you are having problems with receiving mail.  Press 3 if you want to provide some feedback regarding an experience you had.  Press 4 for a Win-Loss Statement.  The “live” service is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Question Of The Month
I got my Seven Stars card this summer and already earned about 50,000 more tier points by the beginning of September.  I went to [name of casino hotel withheld] for the Labor Day weekend and got treated like “dirt”.  I requested a suite, but was told there were none available.  Instead, my room had a broken lock, only a few towels, no drinking glasses, and every time I opened up the door I faced the area where the housekeeping cart was stored.  And, while I got complimentary tickets for a show that weekend, my seats were in the last row!  I thought my card was going to get me special treatment.  Well, yes, sort of.  Here’s the problem:  In my opinion, Harrah’s sets you (and others) up for such high expectations that many times it just won’t happen.  For example, your room situation.  You may have earned 150,000 tier points in eight months, but the hotel where you stayed has table game customers (who could care less about a Seven Stars card) who probably drop so much money there throughout the year that it’s nearly impossible to get a suite on a weekend, let alone a holiday weekend.  They’re basically all reserved ahead of time for those high rollers.  Same with show tickets and priority seating.  Unless you earned the bulk of your 150,000 points there, you’re not going to get the treatment you thought you deserved.  Another example:  Even someone who consistently earns 50,000 points every year with the bulk of his play at Caesars in Atlantic City is going to be treated better at Caesars (or Harrah’s, or Showboat, or Bally’s) than a Seven Stars who earned his points at Chester (or at a combination of properties).  It’s the same even if you play consistently in Atlantic City, but split your play among the four Harrah’s-owned properties.  You will not get treated nearly as well as someone who plays solely at one casino.  You might get offers for four gifts on a given weekend, but they won’t be as nice as the one gift you may have gotten at your primary property had you just played there.  In addition, you may get the same amount of free play offers, but you’ll have to run around to each casino to play them.  With Seven Stars, about the only things you can count on are the “national” benefits: trip, dinner, gift, etc.  And, depending on where you book your trip, don’t expect a suite or a lot of special treatment unless you’re already a rated player there and/or your host who sets up your trip has some connection at your destination.  (Even that’s not a guarantee because if one of your destination’s big customers comes in, you’ll get “bumped”.)  Of course, you’ll always get priority service with valet parking and use of dedicated lines, but even that has been watered down because so many lines are now “Diamond/Seven Stars”.  How are you supposed to know if the people in front of you are Diamond or maybe another Seven Stars?  Harrah’s puts the onus – and potential embarrassment – on you should you try to go to the head of the line, only to find out that the three people in front of you are also Seven Stars.  (It happened to me once at Bally’s coffee shop.)

Straight, No Chaser
I knew I was “skating on thin ice” when I offered an opinion about the a cappella group Straight, No Chaser.  Interestingly, of the e-mails I received, they were almost evenly divided among those who disagreed with me and those who agreed – and almost totally along “gender lines”.  The ladies loved them; the guys were, well, a little less enthusiastic.  I guess this just proves what we all knew anyway. . .you can’t please everyone.  Hey, thanks for writing. . .it’s nice to know someone’s out there reading the stuff I put out.

Gary Loveman Article
There is an interesting article about Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman online:

Nothing personal, Bally’s, but it’s ‘PERSONNEL’
Apparently spelling is not something taught at Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.’s Regional Employment and Training Center in Atlantic City.  This photo, taken on Indiana Avenue, is one of several warning signs posted at the entrances to a parking lot adjacent to the Center on Pacific Avenue.

At least they spelled “trespassing” correctly.

Flamingo Pool
The GO Pool at the Flamingo in Las Vegas is still for adults only – and, guys, it will cost you, but not the ladies, to get in – but, what was once a “tops-optional” pool, is making women stay fully covered.  Your only Harrah’s option in Las Vegas for a “European-style” experience is at Caesars Palace.

Harrah’s Wichita No Longer On The Table
Without citing any specific reason, Harrah’s Entertainment last month withdrew its proposal to develop and operate a state-owned casino in Mulvane, Kan., about 15 miles south of Wichita.  The plan included a 100-room hotel, several restaurants, a sports bar, retail space, and nearly 15,000 square feet of entertainment and meeting space.  Future plans could have included everything from a golf course and waterpark to a tennis facility, additional hotel rooms and an RV park.

Did You Know. . .
. . .I should have independently substantiated some information I erroneously published last month?  What was once the site of the Showboat bowling alley is now the Mardi Gras Buffet and Mansion Café (not the House of Blues), and it was the Howard Johnson’s Regency Motor Hotel that became the Boardwalk Regency Hotel Casino (which is now Caesars Atlantic City).  It was a Holiday Inn next door that became what is now Trump Plaza’s East Tower.  Here’s a new “historical” fact (courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer):  There once were child care centers in Harrah’s Resort and Trump Taj Mahal.  (They may have closed when management realized the possible negative PR it could cause by making it too easy for parents to gamble while someone else watched their kids.  Sounds like today’s situation at the Parx Casino outside Philadelphia where at least seven adults were found to have left children in parked cars while they went into gamble – some late into the night, many for several hours at a time, and sometimes in 90+ degree temperatures.)

‘Did you attend the Signature Event in Las Vegas last month?’
What were your impressions of the fall Signature Event in Las Vegas?  How did it compare with others you’ve attended?  If you didn’t attend, why?  Send me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com ) and I’ll share your information – anonymously, of course.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher
Seven Stars Insider

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Travel Fashion Trend

There was a day where men and women dressed up for their flights.  There was also a time where they dressed up for a baseball game.  I get it, things have changed and I’m fine with that.  I’m not sure when this became the norm, but on my recent trips I’ve noticed almost every guy under 30 wearing a basketball shorts and flip flops.  This is a little more personal than the last travel trend I noticed.

I’m all for comfort, but I never noticed guys dressing down this much to fly before. Girls were probably dressed similarly, but I’ve noticed Juicy sweats for a while so this hasn’t stood out. I guess guys are catching up (down?) to the ladies.

There is no hate here.  This is just something I noticed.  For what it’s worth my dress for flight is a small step above this.  My “airplane outfit” of my favorite green golf shirt and cargo shorts with plastic zipper so there are no issues at security.  My friends call the shorts my carry-on, since I can fit everything I need for a flight in my pockets.

As I said before, I’m not speaking down about this, I’m just noticing a trend.  How do you dress for a flight?

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No Las Vegas For “The Hangover 2”

This isn’t really new news as it’s been making the rounds online for a while, but producer Todd Phillips producer for “The Hangover 2” publicly stated that the sequel will not take place in Las Vegas again.

The sequel, scheduled to start shooting later this month, will take the bruised and battered pals to climes near and far – and in both cases, no doubt, seriously hazardous. “It takes place in Bangkok and LA,” Phillips told Empire. “There’s gonna be some fucked-up surprises.”

I love “The Hangover.”  Partially because it was set in Las Vegas, but mostly because it’s a funny movie.  Zach Galifianakis was the highlight for me. “The Hangover 2” won’t be bad because it’s not in Vegas.  It will be bad because most sequels are.

With Las Vegas being shunned for Bangkok I’m curious if any local writers decide to take offense to this movie not being film in Las Vegas.

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Planet Hollywood Hollywood Hip Room

My last trip to Las Vegas was my longest and I split duty between Planet Hollywood and the Venetian.  Generally, I love staying at Planet Hollywood and this time was no different.  I love the casino and Miracle Mile Shops.  The rooms are OK.

My thoughts on the Venetian and room weren’t all that great, but I wasn’t totally disappointed.  This was opposite of my stay at Planet Hollywood where I got what I expected – a good time, but not mega-luxurious.  I was prepared for the worst as the last time I stayed at Planet Hollywood my Hollywood Hip was still a mess from the previous guests.  Kindly, I received an upgrade to a Resort room which was huge and awesome.  This time, I wouldn’t receive an upgrade beyond a nice view.

Inside the room was pretty awesome.  As I mentioned on Vegas Chatter I had a “Spaceballs” themed room.  That ruled as I love that movie!  The room was clean and plenty roomy, although the bathroom could be made a few feet smaller to make the main living space a little more roomy.

I was right across from the Cosmopolitan, which is almost finished being built.  Please excuse the filthy windows.  Apparently, Planet Hollywood doesn’t wash their windows on the outside.  Click to view larger images.

Bellagio and Paris were just to the right.  I had a nice view of the water show at Bellagio.

The bathroom was pretty nice, but overall I would rather have some of that room to lounge in as I mentioned above.  The vanity was huge, marble and because I’m sloppy covered with a wash cloth.  There’s also a giant mirror so you can always see yourself.  I’m not so into that.

Like most rooms, there are separate showers, tubs and a water closet for the toilet.

This room must have been bigger than my last trip because there was plenty of room between the work station and the very comfortable bed.

I’m not sure what happened to the rest of the pictures from this trip, but I’m missing the ample room for the work station and sitting area.

Overall, this room seems bigger than the last Hollywood Hip room I had.  I was extremely comfortable with everything and always had a smile with the “Spaceballs” theme.  I’m curious how this room will feel with queen beds and I’ll find that out on my next trip to Las Vegas because I plan on staying at Planet Hollywood again.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas