Thanks to those who took the poll on Resort Fees. Nobody likes resort fees and it’s understandably. Here are the results. I’m surprised someone would pay the same for a room ($70/no fees) while getting less.
Thanks to those who took the poll on Resort Fees. Nobody likes resort fees and it’s understandably. Here are the results. I’m surprised someone would pay the same for a room ($70/no fees) while getting less.
On my first night of this trip to Las Vegas I had dinner at SW Steakhouse at Wynn. I went into this dinner with plenty of excitement based on feedback from others, but I had a little apprehension as well.
My only visit to Wynn wasn’t very fun as the casino felt stuffy and boring. When I called to make reservations I was told that if anyone didn’t show for my reservation I would be charged $50 a person. I felt somewhat threatened by this, but I understood why that policy might exist. When I called back to adjust my reservation I was told that policy was never used. Very nice.
When my friends and I walked in we were greeted with smiles and had a drink at the bar while we waited for a table. I had a 9:30 reservation because I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to wash up and change after the Thursday night football game (which paid for dinner). I’ve found that a late reservation can be hit or miss with food preparedness. Dinner was a hit on this night and was the beginning of a turnaround on my feelings about Wynn.
Dinner started with fantastic bread that is baked fresh daily on the premises. I don’t like to fill up on bread because I like to try as many different foods that come to the table, but it was difficult to stop eating. I’m happy to say that I stopped at one piece. Even though it was highly recommended I didn’t have a bacon cheddar muffin. The bread was a great sign of what was to come.
The others at table shared a variety of seafood appetizers and they all seemed to like it. I stuck with a Caesar salad that was excellent. We each also had a slice of bacon. I don’t think this is on the menu and it was damn good. A nice salty way to move the evening forward.
I almost always get a NY strip when I’m at a steakhouse for the first time. Because of the lack of fat strips are usually pretty easy to compare.
My strip was fantastic. In fact, it was one of the best I’ve had in a while. The steak was perfectly cooked. There was a nice amount of char on the outside of the steak and the inside was soft and pink as I wanted. I believe the steak was seasoned with just salt and pepper. The salt stood out, but wasn’t overbearing and the meat tasted fantastic.
I don’t recall all of the sides ordered, but the photo above shows that we had parmesan creamed spinach. I’m pretty sure that we also had the truffled creamed corn, butter roasted fingerling potatoes, and steamed asparagus. All of the sides were excellent.
If there was a down part of the meal it was our choice of wine. It didn’t have the body and full flavor I enjoy with steak.
One of the things you’ll read about Wynn is that their service goes above and beyond and the service at SW proved that to be true. Service was fantastic. We had two waiters that handled different parts of service and their work blended seamlessly.
Dinner at SW was fantastic and I would definitely go back again. The food, the service and the vibe were all really good.
If you’re on twitter I recommend following WynnLasVegas for info and tips on dining and everything at Wynn.
That was quick. Harrah’s begins management of Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas at midnight January 16.
In an internal memo to employees today, Planet Hollywood owner Robert Earl said things would be “business as usual” during the transition, though Harrah’s executives from neighboring Bally’s and Paris resorts will assume key roles at the property.
Sure, I’ve had issues with deal happening but I can’t stop it so it’s time for me to look at how I can benefit from Harrah’s taking over one of my favorite casinos on the strip.
First, business as usual sounds good to me. My main curiosity is how Total Rewards will work be worked into Planet Hollywood. I play at the east coast Harrah’s properties pretty often. It will be interesting to see how my future trips to Las Vegas are effected, if at all, by this.
I usually share the Seven Stars Insider when the newest edition arrives. I lost this one over the holidays and am just getting to it now. There is plenty of good information on Total Rewards. This is a great, easy read if you frequent Harrah’s properties.
Question Of The Month
I earned 100,000 tier points shortly before the end of 2009 (and continued to earn more points through December 31), is it true that I will be designated Seven Stars through March 31, 2011, and get all the benefits for two “years”? Yes, if by “year” you mean the one ending March 31, 2010, and the other ending March 31, 2011. As long as you complete your trip and celebration dinner, as well as order your annual gift by March 31, 2010, you can do it all again anytime between April 1, 2010, and March 31, 2011. And that’s in addition to all the other benefits connected with the blue and gray card.
Did You Attend The Signature Event In Atlantic City?
According to our October/November informal survey, the event was a real success – only a few minor quibbles (which is to be expected – you can’t please everyone). Jerry Seinfeld got lots of raves, but Janice Dickinson didn’t fare as well. “She was horrible,” one person wrote, “offering nothing.” A sampling of other comments:
- “I know there were complaints, but for me the fun and pleasure of it way outweighed the flaws that others complained about. All in all I think they did a great job.”
- “The event was definitely worth attending, although locals did get lost amidst the hubbub somewhat.”
- “Some things were really well-handled, others got bungled. Traffic management was hard – so many ‘heavy hitters,’ all, no doubt, with special needs.”
- “There were a lot of nice touches (the taffy and peanuts welcome basket in the room, the notes every night about the next day’s schedule, etc.).”
- “The ‘Dancing With The Stars’ thing [at Caesars] was kind of lackluster entertainment-wise, but the meal was good.”
- “The welcome parties were waaay too crowded and the one at The Pier was particularly bad. . .and the food wasn’t that good or very substantial.”
- “The welcome gift – crystal glasses – was not very practical for people who had to fly home.”
- “The $50 food coupons should have been good any day of the weekend. As it happens, they were only for days when they were already feeding us big time at an event. How much can you eat in one day? I would have liked to use the coupons on Sunday or Monday, but they were not good on those days.”
- “I was disappointed that those arriving on Friday (me!) didn’t get their [free] slot play. . .didn’t seem fair.”
- “Spa appointments were impossible to get, but it was good that the spa coupon was redeemable for merchandise (so I actually did get to use that one).”
- “The fashion show (at least the spillover event at Bally’s I attended) was kind of a bust. The meal was good, but the host – last year’s ‘Project Runway’ winner – wasn’t very comfortable in front of an audience.”
Seven Stars Club At Harrah’s Atlantic City Temporarily Closes Prior To Christmas Many Seven Stars members were surprised – and irritated – to find the club closed for a couple weeks in December, just as it was last year. The same with the Diamond Lounges at Caesars, Harrah’s and Showboat. [Bally’s Lounge operated on a limited schedule to help pick up the slack.] As one reader wrote, “Just one more thing Harrah’s had to do to p***-off its best customers.” How nice if Harrah’s had taken a cue from the Borgata in Atlantic City. A couple years ago while it was expanding its Amphora Lounge – the equivalent of a Diamond Lounge, but with far better food and decor, it offered its Black Card players [a category similar to Diamond] complimentary cocktails and wine in its B Bar, as well as complimentary cocktails and wine to accompany meals at the buffet. All you had to do was show your player’s card and an ID. Though at the bufet there was a $10 per person comp charge levied, and it was limited to the player and one guest, it was a great benefit. Even today, the Borgata offers its buffet – breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch any day of the week – for 10 comp dollars per person, again limited to the player and one guest. And it’s still the best buffet – and with the classiest surroundings – in town. [Unlike the Diamond Lounges and Seven Stars Clubs, the Amphora lounge levies a $10 per person comp charge, and is limited to the player and one guest. Titanium cardholders – similar to Seven Stars – do not have similar restrictions.]
Special Seven Stars Self-Parking Benefits – An Update
In addition to the special Seven Stars dedicated parking on the seventh floor of Caesars in Atlantic City, each of the other Harrah’s properties has a special Seven Stars (and Diamond) express lane when you leave the self-parking lot (Caesars, Harrah’s and Bally’s) or at Showboat when you enter. Several readers noted that Harrah’s Chester [Pennsylvania] has a specially-designated Seven Stars parking area on the third floor, but you need to display a special hangtag from your rear-view mirror; however, because the area is not monitored and no one enforces the restrictions, it’s really not much of a benefit. Several informal “walk-throughs” of the area showed none of the cars or trucks parked there had the aforementioned hangtags, and neither did many of the other vehicles on the floor. [The entire floor is supposed to be reserved solely for Seven Stars and Diamond players.] Until Chester invests in a card-operated gate system like Caesars in Atlantic City or Windsor, Ontario, there are always going to be those who abuse the system. Harrah’s in Reno has the same problem.
Harrah’s & Planet Hollywood
According to several reliable sources, Harrah’s Entertainment is moving forward on their much rumored takeover of the financially troubled Planet Hollywood resort and casino in Las Vegas. The company filed papers with the Nevada Gaming Control Board that would give it permission to acquire the property. The filing will now work its way through various regulatory agencies. “Experts” anticipate a mid- to late-2010 completion of the process. One columnist wrote, “The hotel will most likely keep the Planet Hollywood name but would get folded into Harrah’s very popular Total Rewards players’ club program.”
Rooming alone and not being able to sleep normal hours leads to a lot of things. In this case, it lead me to ordering room service a couple of times when I stayed at Palazzo.
I enjoyed both breakfast and lunch in my room. A couple of general notes about room service. Both meals were delivered in less than 30 minutes and were both hot. The servers were both very cordial and set everything up pretty quickly in the dining area.
I ordered a very simple breakfast one morning: Scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, orange juice and coffee.
As I mentioned in my coffee blog the brew was Starbucks and tasted fine enough for me to finish off the pot. I don’t drink orange juice very often but I was in the mood for it and it was perfect for the morning. It wasn’t the best OJ I’ve had, but it was above average.
Scrambled eggs are not always the easiest thing to have prepared for room service since they get cold quickly and can easily be cooked too much or too little. These eggs were on point and still warm. I was very happy about this. The bacon was nice and crisp which made me very happy. I’m not a big home fry guy and I don’t even remember them. I had sourdough toast which was luke warm, but tasty. I find that sourdough is always better out west then back east.
Overall, breakfast was excellent, but unspectacular and I’m fine with that.
I was beat up one morning and afternoon and needed to sit in the room, breathe and eat some greasy food. I also gave a light hair of the dog beer a chance to fix me and it worked. My lunch order was simple:
Bacon Cheeseburger (cheddar cheese), french fries and Coors light. As you see above the burger was accompanied by a handful of onion rings, veggies and condiments.
The food was still warm when it arrived and the beer was on ice so it was obviously cold. Much like scrambled eggs, it’s easy to over or under cook and mess up a room service burger. Thankfully my burger was prepared medium as I asked for it. Much like the breakfast the bacon was crisp and tasty.
I ate pretty slowly and only nibbled on the fries and onion rings. Both were starting to get cold when I got around to them, but tasted fine. Again, nothing spectacular but everything was good.
The real winner of my room service lunch was the Coors Light! All in all lunch was perfect and got me settled and up and out of the room.
Unlike my trip to Caesars in Atlantic City mid last year there was nothing spectacular about my room service orders but everything was good and warm and did the job. I would not be afraid to order room service at Palazzo again in the future. That’s good for a lazy guy that likes to drink too much sometimes.
I love coffee. If you follow me on twitter, you see me talk about it just about every day. So, with that being said, I always have an eye out for coffee when I travel.
Back in September I was listening to one of my favorite Las Vegas podcasts, Five Hundy By Midnight, when I swear I heard a caller say that there weren’t any places to get coffee at the Palazzo. Needless to say this sent me into a mini tizzy with a trip upcoming.
I’m happy to report that coffee options were good and plentiful!
My first stop and the place I would get coffee from most was The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. There was a location right at the room elevators. Great location. This is just a walk up location so there wasn’t anywhere to sit down. I stopped here at least once per day.
One of my favorite ways to nurse a hangover is with iced coffee. It goes down so easily is very refreshing. They combination of caffeine and ice does wonders.
Of course, my first night in Las Vegas I drank way too much and mixed too many different drinks. I needed more than the iced coffee above.
It took so long for a cocktail waitress to wander over to my where I was playing 5 cent Double Diamond slots that I ordered two cups of coffee. A few notes here:
1. Palazzo cups of coffee are pretty large. I lost my $20 before I could finish the 2nd and 3rd cups.
2. Palazzo coffee is damn hot. Like damn hot. Consider yourself warned.
3. Casino coffee usually isn’t great and these cups were no different.
4. This was the only time I had an extended wait for a cocktail waitress in my 4 days at Palazzo.
One morning I was wandering in the casino and came across Espressamente Illy in the walkway towards the Venetian. I like Illy coffees so I stopped in for a large latte and banana nut muffin. Both were good, but the $11 price tag was sticker shock. That started me off on a bad foot and a losing morning of gambling.
Since I woke up from a nap and lost my friends I decided to wander the Shoppes. That’s where I found Cafe Presse. They provide Lavazza coffees and have a nice selection of muffins and sweets. Cafe Presse is located right outside of the room elevators on the second floor. There are a couple of tables out in the the mall and I believe they get free wifi.
In order to get my head together I had a latte and banana nut muffin. The price was more reasonable than the Illy coffee and the muffin were both fantastic. Unfortunately, this place was out of sight and therefor was out of mind.
The final coffee I had was in my room. No the Palazzo suites do not have coffee makers. I ordered a wonderful breakfast from room service on my last morning.
The Palazzo serves Starbucks coffee with room service. I didn’t expect anything special and this wasn’t. However, it was good enough that I drank the whole pot.
Overall, there are plenty of choices to grab a cup of coffee at the Palazzo and, outside of the casino coffee, they are all pretty good. Being that you’re at a casino don’t be surprised when you are paying more than you normally would pay for coffee.
I like sports betting. It doesn’t matter if I’m in a casino or if I’m at home. You may have noticed the sportsbook.com ad to the right and the posts tagged with sports betting. Needless to say, one of the perks of staying at the Palazzo was the easy access to Legasse Stadium, which is their sportsbook.
Unfortunately, there are no pictures. I’ve been scolded for having my phone out at every sportsbook I’ve been to so I didn’t take a chance. I found some pictures online to add some color.
You’ll notice that I have the layout last here. Describing how the room is laid out was kind of a chore, so I put it at the end. You’ll see.
Legasse Stadium is located in the lower level of the casino. To get to it, you have to walk to the main entrance and take the escalator down and the walk back up a few stairs to the entrance. There is a sportsbook outside, but it wasn’t open on any of the 4 days I went to Legasse. It wasn’t a long walk to get to Legasse, but the location was away from the action of the casino and I didn’t like that.
I have a short attention span and I enjoy other forms of gambling while I’m watching a game. Legasse has this covered in three different ways.
There’s a blackjack machine, like the one below, in one of the Reserved “VIP” areas. There’s video poker in the rear overlooking the “stadium” section. There’s also a small room to the side with two blackjack tables and a craps table. It had the feel of a sketchy back room somewhere, but it wasn’t sketchy when playing.
Unfortunately I didn’t notice the video poker until my last day betting. The side room wasn’t open during the week, but I did enjoy it before the Saturday night. I even won $50 playing blackjack for one shoe. I didn’t play the blackjack machine, but my friends that did lost every time.
In Running Sports Betting
I thought this would be the most amazing thing to hit sports betting but it was not even close. I only tried it once and was bored pretty easily. I bought into a tablet to place bets during the Thursday night game, which was the Colts and Jaguars. Since I was testing it out I made a small deposit of $100. I thought I could bet on every play in every way. I was hoping for a slew of prop bets, but I was mistaken. I could only bet on whether drives would result in 1st downs, TD’s or turnovers.
Odds changed on every play so it was nearly impossible to submit a bet – even if only paying attention to the tablet. That was very frustrating. After getting yelled at by my friends for not getting bets in I passed the tablet off to my friends and had them try. They couldn’t get the bets in either.
After a while we got some help from a very attractive girl who was walking around the casino helping people with in run betting. Of course, she seemed to be the only one that could get bets in.
After a night of frustration with the in running sports betting I cashed out up $1.67. Thankfully the Colts covered and the wings were good so it wasn’t a fruitless afternoon.
Emeril Legasse is a famous chef, so I was looking forward to the food. The menu selections looked pretty good in advance and the food didn’t disappoint. I had buffalo wings on each of my 4 visits. They were crisp and meaty and awesome. I recommend them to anyone going.
I tried the Italian Sausage Arancini too. These rice balls were good, but nothing too special. Friends had the nachos and enjoyed them. They spoke positively, but I was focused on the wings.
Usually sportsbooks have a place to grab a quick bite that isn’t so good so it was nice to have this kind of selection.
It was interesting that a friend of a friend of a friend from Las Vegas said that the locals have been saying that the food wasn’t too good. We only snacked and everything seemed to be above average.
Here is a rough sketch of Legasse Stadium. Details are below the picture.
Legasse stadium is not laid out like most sports books which are mostly chairs/race centers looking at a wall of TV’s. Legasse has multiple sections for a variety of desires. It doesn’t seems as if it was not created for the old man that sits and plays the ponies all day. It feels as is Legasse Stadium was made to house lots of people that want to watch big games.
When you walk into Legasse Stadium you can go straight or left. Straight ahead is the pit area with reserved couches against the right wall. Also against the wall to the right are the restrooms and the gambling room.
The restrooms had the main game piped through the speakers. TV’s would have been great here, but that’s besides the point. The restrooms looked very clean which is a surprise when you have a room with dudes drinking.
The gambling room consists of an area with slot machines, 2 blackjack tables with 2 huge TV’s and a craps table with it’s own room. There’s also a one person restroom back here if you need privacy.
The main sportsbook area that you see on the Legasse Stadium page on the Palazzo site is kind of a pit in the center of the room. It’s lined with white couches arranged in tiers a la stadium seating. The sportsbook is at the bottom of the pit with plenty of huge screens above. There are dining tables to the sides of the stadium seating with three different entry points all around.
There is a bar and video poker machines located behind the stadium seating. The bar was closed when I was there. I’m assuming drinks aren’t free when you play video poker, but I didn’t sit and play so I don’t know for sure.
In the far left corner you can go outside and get some fresh air. There are plenty of couches, tables and TV’s to enjoy yourself in the fresh air of the Las Vegas strip. While exploring I sat outside looked at betting options drank a beer and smoked a cigar. It was great weather outside and I loved it.
When you enter and go to the left you see a bar and more reserved seating and a long bar. The bar is set against the back of the TV’s from the pit area of Legasse Stadium and lined with plenty of smaller TV’s of it’s own. The bartender who worked most nights was smoking hot.
I called in advance for reservations and sat in the reserved seating back in the back. There are couches and modern chairs. Everything was flanked with 20″ (or so) HDTV’s that featured any game you wanted. For example; one night we had the Bruins game to the right, Jazz to the left and football game in front of us. It was awesome and very comfortable.
Like most sportsbooks, Legasse Stadium gets busy when major games and football is on. I recommend calling in advance to reserve a spot. For busy times there may be a minimum depending where you sit, but if you eat and/or drink the numbers are easily met. Drink tickets are given out similarly to a regular sportsbook.
Overall, I had a great time each visit to Legasse Stadium. It was a great place to watch the games with a very different vibe than most sportsbooks. I was super comfortable and the prices were fair.
I’m not sure how I would have felt if I was alone just watching a game and not eating or drinking with friends, but that wasn’t the case for this trip. Legasse Stadium may not be for everyone, but I recommend giving it a try.
As an aside, I think this was the only bar to show any sports at the Palazzo and I didn’t like that. I like being able to sit at a bar and watch a game while I play a little video poker. Especially if I hit a cold streak gambling.
I stayed at the Palazzo on my last trip to Las Vegas. This post is only for the room there will be plenty more reviews and info from my trip.
All of the rooms are suites and I had the basic “Palazzo Luxury” suite. After reading the description of the suite I was stoked for the room. Here are highlights of the specs:
The size of the suite and the amenities are really what set the room apart from other rooms I’ve had in Las Vegas. Yes there are nicer suites, but for a basic room this is the biggest I’ve seen and one of the nicest.
I’m using thumbnails for the room tour because there are a bunch of pictures and I want to keep this as a giant entry, not a “read more” post. My digital camera died, so pictures are low-res. Let’s take the tour!
Upon entry you immediately see how big the room/suite is and that the room is very long.
The bathroom has a grand double door entry that swing out to the main room (left above).
Upon entry to the bathroom you see the detailed marble floor double sinks and granite counter tops. The bathroom was spotless and streakless – something I don’t always see.
One nice thing was that each day after cleaning the room my toiletries on the sinks were placed onto a new, clean wash cloth. A nice bit of housekeeping. (Not shown: a mirror above the sink and TV is in the upper right corner.)
The left side of the bathroom had the shower, tub and mirror. Big soaking tub which I didn’t use and a decent sized all glass shower. Nothing wrong with watching TV while showering, right? I noticed one odd design element; the bath faucet was where you would rest your head to watch TV. That seems awkward.
The right side of the bathroom had a vanity (not shown), water closet and TV. The water closet was dark and the door shut automatically. I didn’t like that the door closed me in. When I’m alone in a giant bathroom I like to enjoy the space – not feel like I’m trapped in a closet. The toilet was high and had a strong flush. Another slight negative here is the phone in the water closet. This may have been a “luxury” item in the 80’s, but their now unsanitary and kind of nasty.
You can see the 20″ TV in the far corner. TV’s in a bathroom rule. I definitely had all 3 TV’s on at the same time. Is that a waste?
The bathroom was nicely designed, clean and spacious. After passing the bathroom you hit the sleeping area which is highlighted by by a 42″ HDTV, the largest of the TV’s in the suite.
The Palazzo Luxury Suite had a king sized bed so there was plenty of room in the sleeping area. The Bella suite features two queen sized beds in the same area to give you an idea of how much room I had.
I didn’t spend much time in the bed, but I slept great for a few hours every night. The closet had a nice surprise inside – a couple of robes. I used one as a snuggie while nursing a hangover one morning (Not to ever be shown).
At the end of the bed there was a bench to sit while getting dressed. The velvet covering made things nice n comfy and was used a couple of times daily. [Read more…] about The Palazzo Suite Was Sweet
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) for 2010 will take place between May 27 and July 17 and once again will be held at the Rio All-Suite Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas. There will be a few additions to the WSOP this year, including a low-limit buy-in tournament.
…Another first at the WSOP this year, the first 5 weekends of the series will feature $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournaments with two starting flights. May 29-30, June 5-6, June 12-13, June 19-20 and June 26-27 will offer No-Limit Hold’em players from the weekend warrior to the most advanced player the opportunity to compete in some of the largest fields of the year for huge prize pools and a gold bracelet. A sixth event on July 1-2, will also offer the same event at the same buy-in level, just days before the Main Event commences.