post

Tweet Of The Week

I guess it’s official!


post

Harrahs Has A Blog

Sometimes I’m not the smartest beer in the 6 pack.  I was (am) going to post info that Harrah’s Total Rewards Magazine is now available online.  While, I was looking through the page I noticed that all of the contact and privacy information pointed to Harrah’s.  I also read the site for the first time where it states the following:

Welcome to the official blog of the Pulse of Vegas casino-resort destinations: Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Imperial Palace, Paris, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and O’Sheas. The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the individual contributors, and not necessarily those of Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc.

It’s kind of tricky that the blog is run separate from harrahs.com, but the disclosure that this is all Harrah’s is nice to see.  I’m not a member of the internet police.  I just look for useful information.

Sure the blog will be promoting Harrah’s properties with only positive information, but since they are not hiding the source I know how to take the information.

Check The Pulse of Vegas Blog

If you frequent Harrah’s properties anywhere in the US the Total Rewards magazine is usually good for one trip to the bathroom or 5 minutes of your time.  Click the cover to read.

post

Porn Peddlers First, Old People Next?

The tough talkin politicians of Clark County are taking aim at one of the core groups that slow down people movement on the Las Vegas Strip – porn peddlers aka porn slappers aka card snappers.

“You can’t restrict those you don’t like and allow those you do, even in a town that sometimes thinks that the Constitution only applies to certain industries,” he (Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel for the ACLU of Nevada) said. “We’re not talking about passing out handbills in front of your home. We’re talking about the Las Vegas Strip — you know, Sin City … ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’ Not my words, the government’s words.”

I don’t know anybody that likes these dudes trying to push hookers and strip clubs on them while walking up or down the strip.  They must prove fruitful for someone because they are still there.

I grew up in New York City and have learned how to easily avoid people in my way.  However, on my last trip to Vegas I was slowed by an inundation of these guys while walking the strip.  I was also slowed by old people, tourists and kids.  If Clark County can get rid of all four of those groups it would be much easier to navigate the strip.

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

post

Planet Hollywood – A Tale of Two Rooms (Part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday my stay at Planet Hollywood was a tale of two rooms.  After walking around and taking pictures of dirty room 1, I went back downstairs to check in to inform them about the room.  Without question and before I could list off all of the dirty items I had a new room.  I think the old man in the scooter yelling about his stay helped me get a nice room. 🙂

I’m pretty sure I was upgraded to a resort room, which I’ll call “Room 2.”  This room was MUCH larger and thankfully cleaner.  There was ample room and options for me to charge my iPhone.  I chose the work area as my charging station.

You can see how big the room is by turning around from the work area.  The TV and wall unit was on the opposite wall with the bed set to the right.  This was a slightly awkward angle to watch TV, but it wasn’t too bad.

There were two big comfy chairs and a table to the left side of the room.  I spent most of my time in the room in one of the chairs.

I may have passed out in the chair after my 3rd tall Grey Goose and Soda, which was proceeded by two drinks in the Diamond Lounge.

Pictures and more after the jump

[Read more…]

post

Planet Hollywood – A Tale of Two Rooms (Part 1)

In addition to my stay at Palazzo, I took a night to explore Planet Hollywood.  I love the casino, but haven’t stayed there in a few years.  I had similar offers to stay at each casino but after your votes I decided to make my home at Palazzo.

My stay at Planet Hollywood was a tale of two rooms.  Check in was packed.  It’s a small area, but there seemed to be hundreds of people.  Luckily for me there was a fast quiet room for diamond total rewards members to check in.

In minutes I received my keys to my first room.  I’m going to guess I had a basic “Hollywood Hip” room, but I’m not sure so I’ll just call it “Room 1.”

Room one wasn’t cleaned from the previous guests and the TV didn’t work.  Additionally, the room was one of the smallest I’ve seen in Vegas.  I can’t imagine how two queen beds could fit in this space and I don’t know that I want to find out.  Of course, I love the casino so I’ll fight with myself about this in the future.

My trusty iPhone charger was the only item that made the trip down the strip with me.  I figured that I’d wake up and head right over to Palazzo whenever I woke up the next day.

Unfortunately, the way the room was laid out there was no obvious place to set my phone for a charge outside of the bathroom.  The work space was a little tight and just about up against the bed.  It’s not easy to see, but there’s a half finished iced coffee by the lamp.

One nice feature is that each room had a newspaper delivered each morning.  The night/morning I stayed at Planet Hollywood I ran into delivery.

The bed itself looked nice.  The bed had cream coverings with dark trim.  I didn’t bother trying out the mattress or coverings, but at least it looked good.

I was standing next to an awkwardly placed chair when I took the picture above.  This was pretty much the only place there was room for a sitting area in the room.  This was the only place someone could sit and watch TV if the TV worked.  The TV didn’t work.  Leftover item #2, a Mountain Dew bottle, is to the left of the TV.

Looking the other direction from the chair was the view outside.  The room had a nice view of the pool.  The pool area isn’t very big, but it looks nice.

More pictures and room information after the jump

[Read more…]

post

Seven Stars Insider – May

Here is the Seven Stars Insider for May.  There are a few interesting notes here.  I’ve read that Atlantic City is no longer giving cash back, but I received a nice sum when I made my last minute trip last week.  Perhaps that’s just leftover from last year.   Go to Seven Stars Insider to sign up for the newsletter.  Enjoy the Insider.

Seven Stars Insider – May 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 at http://sites.google.com/site/sevenstarsinsider/.  You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at www.adobe.com.

Seven Stars Brochure Online

For those of you receiving this newsletter who no longer have Seven Stars status or are interested in attaining it, a copy of the brochure outlining all of the current Seven Stars benefits is now online.  Click here.  New benefits this year include a complimentary cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines (from Miami to the Eastern or Western Caribbean, New York to the Bahamas or Bermuda, or Seattle to Alaska), discounts on private jet services through XOJET, and – after you earn 125,000 or more tier points between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010 – the opportunity to participate in a Seven Stars “Signature Experience”.  (“Level I” experiences start at 125,000 points; “Level V” experiences max out at three million points.)  Follow this link for complete details.  You must book your experience at least 30 days in advance, and it must be redeemed and used by March 31, 2011.

Fall Signature Event

The fall Signature Event has been scheduled for Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.

Property Updates

Pooling Caesars Resources – Caesars Palace has opened its new Garden of the Gods pool collection, debuting five new pools that join the hotel’s three existing pools.  The five-acre Garden features an 18-foot waterfall, swim-up gaming and 45 “technologically advanced” cabanas.

Rincon Upgrades – Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort has revamped its 24-hour Café, but has closed its buffet for a $6.2 million renovation.  It’s scheduled to reopen later this summer.

Margaritaville Still On Hold – A planned spring opening of Harrah’s Entertainment’s Margaritaville Casino Resort has been derailed by the poor economy and remains in limbo.  The Grand Biloxi Web site contains this statement: “The Margaritaville Casino Resort project in Biloxi is currently on hold. Harrah’s Entertainment remains committed to the project, but at this time, we do not have a date for when construction will resume.  Please check back for further updates.”

Email Promotions

More and more casinos (and other businesses, e.g., banks, airlines, etc.) are going this route, but, according to one reader, Showboat has formally announced a policy to no longer send promotional offers by mail – only email.  It’s not clear what happens to folks who don’t have a computer, or don’t want to give their email addresses.  Hopefully, there will be some exceptions.  (Again, look for similar policies from other Harrah’s casinos.)

Question of the MonthI designated my boyfriend for my Companion Card.  He wants to join some of his buddies on a golfing trip to Las Vegas next month.  Can he take advantage of my free room and other offers? He can use the Diamond Lounge, check-in at the Seven Stars reception desk, and go to the head of the line at a buffet, but unless you accompany him, your boyfriend – Companion Card not withstanding – cannot take advantage of your comp room and other offers.  He has to have his own Total Rewards account and offers of his own.  (Companions who have their own Platinum or Diamond cards will have their cards “upgraded” to Companion Cards, but the account number will be theirs.)

Bye-Bye ‘Cashback’

Frankly, it’s not surprising because they don’t want you just to walk away with the money, but all four Harrah’s properties in Atlantic City (Harrah’s Resort, Showboat, Caesars and Bally’s) no longer issue “cashback” slips from its kiosks.  Approximately two weeks after your latest visit you will receive “Express Play” coupons (similar to what they currently send).  Trump and Borgata have similar policies, but with Trump you can take all your cash out from any slot machine (no need for a paper coupon) and with Borgata you can just download your FreePlay/cashback (in increments as little as $1), and keep whatever you win.  (The money appears approximately 48 hours after your trip, and you have three months to use it or lose it.)  Apparently, Harrah’s machines are not set-up to do something similar, because those coupons are a real nuisance.  If you forget them, you’re out of luck; and many times they don’t work and you have to get a replacement.  Also, when they run certain kiosk promotions (as they are did for some players every Sunday in April), you have to get a coupon from the kiosk and then trade it in at the Main Cashier for Express Play coupons.  It’s not that big a deal, but it’s an extra unnecessary step.

Using Comps For Airfare

When you travel to a Harrah’s casino, before you check out, ask a host about using your comp dollars to reimburse you for your airfare.  Not every casino will do this, and decisions are made on an individual basis.  Several Seven Stars cardholders have reported success with this.

Parking At Caesars – Valet Confusing

Several readers report confusion over valet parking procedures at Caesars in Atlantic City.  Both hotel guests and casino visitors drop off their cars at the main entrance, but retrieval locations are different.  At the second floor valet cashier (moved from its former location near the main entrance), once you scan your parking ticket – a service available only to Seven Stars and Diamond players, if you were a hotel guest, return downstairs where you dropped off your car. . .don’t follow the large sign on the second floor near the cashier that shows an arrow pointing toward the garage.  This is strictly for casino visitors.  The problem is that no one tells hotel guests this, and you’re liable to be waiting quite a while for your car up on the second floor of the parking garage.

Nero’s Grill: Organic, Local and Cheaper

Nero’s Grill at Caesars in Atlantic City is trying to purchase as much local organic produce and locally harvested seafood as possible – plus it has reduced menu prices.  Sounds like a winning combination.  The problem with Nero’s – as well as many of Harrah’s casinos’ restaurants – is inconsistency.  Sometimes it’s a totally satisfying experience.  Other times food is excellent and service is bad, the next time service is excellent and food is marginal, and – occasionally – both are bad.

What’s Cooking At Harrah’s

The end of this month, a Viking Cooking School is expected to open at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City.  Located in the former Innovations space in the Waterfront expansion, the school will feature four complete kitchens, including stoves and prep areas, as well as a retail section where students and visitors can buy Viking and other kitchen products.  The school will offer various theme nights, and will appeal to all skill levels, according to Harrah’s Director of Food Service and Executive Chef Edward Batten.  The goal, he added, is to completely prepare a three-course meal from start to finish, and then be able to replicate that meal at home.  Class prices range from $99 to $139, and the fee includes the meal the class created.  Comp dollars cannot be used to pay for these classes – though this policy may change.  (You may be able to get your host to make some sort of special arrangements for you.)

Vegas ‘Buffet Of Buffets’ More Expensive Now

Introduced last month, the 24-hour pass for all of Harrah’s buffets in Las Vegas is already more expensive.  For Total Rewards members it now costs $5 more ($34.99).  Without a player’s card, it’s $39.99 per person.  Harrah’s claims the increase was necessary because response was so great, it was creating long lines, further justifying the increase as a way to “maintain. . .standards of service”.  Comp dollars are accepted for this; however, there are two separate lines at the buffets – one for those paying full price and the other for those who bought the 24-hour pass.  If you’re Seven Stars, you’ll jump to the head of the line in either case, but, if not, be prepared for long waits, according to those who’ve experienced it.

Travel Deals Between New York and Atlantic City

Other than the ACES train (co-owned by Harrah’s and Borgata) where fares start at $29 each way, through May 28 you can ride the Hampton Luxury Liner from Long Island and Manhattan stops to Harrah’s Resort and Caesars in Atlantic City for $50 round-trip.  For $25 more (except on Saturday) you can get a complimentary room at Harrah’s.  Details are at http://hamptonluxuryliner.com/harrahs.html.

New Air Service To Tunica

Starting May 6, Air Tran is beginning direct flights from Atlanta to Tunica.

‘Are You Exclusively A Harrah’s Player?’

Response to this was pretty even.  About one third of the respondents wouldn’t play anywhere but one Harrah’s casino.  These people play primarily in Las Vegas and Atlantic City where there is a choice of Harrah’s properties.  Another third stick exclusively to Harrah’s, even though they have a choice of local casinos – or, again, in the case of Las Vegas and Atlantic City players – other major “chains” (like MGM-Mirage properties in Vegas; Hilton and Resorts, or the three Trump casinos, in Atlantic City).  The rest of the respondents “play around” depending on where they get the best offers.  Several claimed they qualify for two or three top-tier cards (Borgata’s Titanium, Resorts and Hilton’s Ultra, Trump’s Signature) nearly every year.

‘Did You Attend The Signature Event In New Orleans?’

Choosing probably the second largest annual event – after Mardi Gras – JazzFest, Harrah’s hosted its annual Seven Stars Club Signature Event in New Orleans last month (and part of this month).  Did you attend?  What did you think?  Send me an email (sevenstarsinsider@gmail.com) and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course – with everyone in a future newsletter.

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher

Seven Stars Insider

post

Return to The Palazzo

This was a return to Palazzo for me.  Even though I spent one night at Planet Hollywood my main home casino this trip was Palazzo.

I had a good time at Palazzo in December and wanted to relax a little on this trip.  The casino at Palazzo never got too crazy and the environment, in general, was pretty chill so it would make for a nice place to stay.

I also had an offer I couldn’t refuse of three comp nights.  It would be hard to say no.  The rooms are large and comfortable.  Perfect to get away in.

Once again my room/suite didn’t disappoint.  It was clean when I arrived and cleaned daily.  All furnishings were in tip top condition.

I tried the “$20 trick” for the first time and was treated to a high room, near the elevator, with a nice view of the strip.  I’m not normally one to sit by a window and look at the view, but it was nice.  I was more happy to be by the elevator.

more pics on my flickr page

Walking into the room I saw one of my favorite features in the suite – the Master Light Switch.  This controls lights in the bathroom, sleeping and living areas.  It just lessens the amount of lights to turn off/on.  This is a big room!  Not a big deal, but it’s nice to have.

I had the same type of suite as I did in December so I didn’t take many pictures.  You can look at the old flickr gallery to see more.  Having said that, into the bathroom we go.  There was a powerful shower and tub to the left.

The water closet (toilet) is to the right of the bathroom.  I don’t love the high throne and hate that the door automatically slams shut.  I was not sticking my foot in the picture so you could see the toilet. 🙂

The bathroom is huge and set up very nicely.  The only negative is that the water closet door slams shut.

Next up is the sleeping area with huge 42″ HDTV and cool underlit dresser.  Bottle of water not included.

The sleeping area also has a big, comfortable chair to relax and watch TV from.

There are lots more pictures and Palazzo room info after the jump.

[Read more…]

post

Burger Bar and Mandalay Bay

I used to stay at Mandalay Bay pretty often when I used to go to House of Blues to see concerts.

I haven’t gone to Las Vegas to see bands in the past few years so I’ve decided to expand my horizons and have been hotel hopping for most trips.  I still like Mandalay Bay and miss the oatmeal soap in the rooms more than most room amenities.

I decided to spend an afternoon at the opposite end of the strip to see how things have changed.  As I expected, some things changed and some things remained the same.

The Burger Bar is one of my favorite burgers in Vegas.  One thing I remember was how the staff had a holier than thou attitude and that attitude still remains.  Chill out, it’s a friggin burger joint.

I laughed at the hostess after she told me it was 20 minutes for a table for one.  When I started to walk away she alerted me that I could sit at the bar if I liked.  I happily took her up on that offer.

Lunch started with a fantastic pint of Blue Moon.  This glass of beer set things right.  It was the perfect temperature and had a substantial orange wedge.  I’d rather have too much orange than too little.  I’m the same with Corona. The beer lasted just long enough for an awesome bacon cheeseburger to arrive.

The burger was packed with one of two types of “Jack” cheese (I told them to surprise me and I don’t remember which I had) and accompanied by a side of skinny fries.  The burger was prepared medium and was nice and juicy.  The bacon was fantastic and although I’m not much of a fry guy, the fries were nice, crisp and tasty.

I’m sure I need to explore other fancy burger places on the strip, but Burger Bar still holds up as a favorite.

After the burger I went out to explore the casino at Mandalay Bay.  It has definitely changed since the last time I was there.  There is a go-go party pit, new bars in the middle of the casino, a tattoo shop and a zillion more slot machines than I remember.

The bar at the sportsbook seemed different too.  I can swear there used to be a top on the bar that impeded views of the TV’s at the sportsbook. I’m not sure about that as I usually had a few too many when watching football.

This time I had a mediocre and overpriced Grey Goose and soda.  I was also sipping on an iced coffee from Starbucks while I watched a couple of games I bet and waited to meet someone IRL that I’d met on twitter.  The drive-by meeting was kind of funny as it lasted all of 30 seconds.

Back to the games.  I won both.  It seemed like the only thing I could win on this trip were sports bets.  I played and lost $300 in 3 card poker and about another $100 in various slots before decided to leave.

After I decided that I’d lost enough I tried to go back to Palazzo to cash my tickets, but the cab line outside of Mandalay Bay was insane so I decided to take the tram to Excalibur where there would certainly be no line for cabs.  This surely wouldn’t save time, but at least I would be moving.

My guess was right.  There were no people in line for cabs at Excalibur.  I haven’t been in Excalibur since one of my first trips to Las Vegas.  I don’t think I’ll be there again any time soon, but it was nice to walk around.

I had a fun time at Mandalay Bay and wouldn’t mind staying their again.  The people are what I expected.  They were the middle class Las Vegas vacationers.  Somewhere between the type of people I’d see at Harrah’s and Palazzo.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  That seems to be the demographic MGM is marketing the hotel to and judging by the crowd they’re doing a good job.

post

Imperial Palace & Harrahs High Returns

Imperial Palace (IP) and Harrah’s Las Vegas have the highest return on investment for Harrah’s Entertainment says Gary Loveman, CEO.

• In response to a question about what Harrah’s property is most profitable, he said its highest return on investment normally occurs at properties most often considered low-end entries, such as Harrah’s on the Strip and Imperial Palace.

I haven’t thought about the ROI of each casino property, but this makes sense.

While these aren’t the properties with all the big ticket items, they always seem to have steady traffic and don’t need much high dollar investment.  For example, you’ll never see Kim Karshian getting paid $200,000, or whatever, to hang at IP where she, and others like her, will get big money to appear at Caesars for an event.

Recently I learned that Human Nature is doing bang up business at Imperial Palace – selling 85% of tickets to their show.  I’m not much for shows when I’m in Vegas and I don’t know who would pay for that, but go on with your bad selves!

Happy Birthday Kim

post

Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown Time!

It’s time for the Kentucky Derby and the beginning of the Triple Crown of horse racing.  It is supposed to rain all day tomorrow.  I’m not sure what that means for the races, but that usually only favors a few horses.  I’ll do research just before the race and tumble or tweet my picks.  Here are the odds from sportsbook.com.

If you have a real strong feeling and want to go for broke there are odds if anyone will be a triple crown winner this year.  I wouldn’t make a -800 bet, but that’s the odds of no Triple Crown winner and the smart money.

Earlier this week there was an awesome and funny twitter meme #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames.  I know Seinfeld like the back of my hand.  There were tons of funny entries.  Here is a sample, but check out the up to date offerings.

  • calbears96 1. Gipple 2. Mulva 3. Man Hands 4. Eats peas with a fork 5. Stella! 6. Be my latex salesman #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames
  • Coach_07840 @richeisen: Master Of His Domain #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames
  • bonilla_ #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames Hello Newman, No Soup For You, and Master of My Domain
  • dPain119: #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames “Puddy”
  • noel_nitecki Take The Pen #SeinfeldDerbyHorseNames
Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas