post

Marriott To Buy Starwood and Invades the Vegas Strip

Marriott

Marriott

Marriott announced that they will be buying Starwood Hotels this morning. This comes on the heels of Starwood announcing that SLS Las Vegas will be a part of their Tribute Collection last week (see article on Travel Zork). Part of the SLS connection is that Starwood would be changing the Lux tower at SLS into W Las Vegas.

A Starwood sale wasn’t a secret but Hyatt was becoming the favorite to buy them (see article on Travel Zork). This deal was made because most of Marriott’s rooms before the purchase were in the United States. About 2/3rds of Starwood hotel rooms are outside of the United States. Marriott now has 1.1 million hotel rooms around the world.

Back to Vegas.

Starwood’s biggest connection with Vegas is through its current affiliation with Caesars Entertainment. The SLS program will begin in December and W Las Vegas will open mid-late 2016. Marriott’s current Vegas Strip affiliation is with the Cosmopolitan. Since the Cosmo was sold last year it’s been rumored that they will eventually join Hilton in some way.

Might the Cosmopolitan become a Starwood hotel?  I know at least one person that will lose his mind if that happens.

Details on the merger of the programs haven’t been released yet. The press release is more financially driven. It’s possible, but unlikely, that Starwood and Marriott will remain separate brands that would keep their individual loyalty programs.

The deal isn’t expected to be completed until sometime in 2016. Unless relationships change these are the hotels on the Vegas Strip that will become Marriott hotels:

  • Bally’s
  • Caesars Palace
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Cromwell
  • Flamingo
  • Harrah’s
  • The Linq
  • Paris
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Rio
  • SLS Las Vegas 
  • W Las Vegas

Marriott would be the hotel partner for almost half of the hotels on the Vegas Strip (12 of 26 or so). That’s kind of a big deal. Look forward to more information to follow next year.

PS: Starwood Hotels and Starwood Capital are not the same company. This old rumor is probably just be a coincidence.

post

Vegas Hotel Rooms Up 15% From 2014, Highest Since 2007

SLS Las Vegas Carpet - Vegas Hotel Rooms

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

Prices for Vegas hotel rooms are booming.

..the month’s average daily room rate of $136.02, up 15.1 percent from a year ago, was at its highest level since the Great Recession.

Strip rates were up 13.1 percent to $145.80 while downtown rates climbed 2.8 percent to $64.62.

Furthermore

Visitation to Las Vegas inched up slightly in January…Monthly visitation hit 3.4 million, just 0.1 percent ahead of January 2014.

2014 had a record number of visitors to Las Vegas and that trend is expected to continue in 2015.

More visitors in Vegas and less rooms available (with Riviera closing) is a recipe for higher hotel prices. (don’t forget to add resort fees, here’s a good list).

Happy New Year!

post

No Kimpton Las Vegas Connection For Now

The Venetian Las Vegas

The Venetian

Sad news for Kimpton hotel fans. There won’t be a Kimpton Las Vegas connection…yet. Shortly after being purchased by Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), Kimpton sent out an email that their loyalty program would remain separate from IHG for the time being.

We’ll continue to offer the same great perks and benefits through our Kimpton Karma Rewards program across our 62 Kimpton hotels and any reward nights you’ve racked up stay perfectly intact. For the time being, the Kimpton Karma Rewards program and IHG Rewards Club will continue to run as separate loyalty programs.

IHG has almost 5,000 hotels around the world including The Venetian and The Palazzo in Las Vegas (you can see the full list here). Neither hotel fits the Kimpton boutique hotel model but that’s okay in the world of reward travel. Any way to use work travel rewards in Vegas is good. Expect the loyalty clubs to merge some time next year.

My one visit to a Kimpton hotel left me somewhat breathless. I loved it. The staff was fantastic and the hotel was great. I was so moved that I made a blog just for the few days I was at Hotel Monaco in Chicago. Enjoy.

post

Caesars Las Vegas Hotel Discounts

Caesar's las vegas hotel discounts

Is This The Real Caesars Palace?

I recently started to work with the Caesars Entertainment affiliate program again. The ads are for other sites and EDGe Vegas will remain ad free with the exception of these Caesars Las Vegas hotel discounts. I’ll add a section to the side bar when there are sales like there are now.

25% off hotels in Vegas ain’t no joke if you pay for rooms at a Total Rewards hotel. If I come across any singulars Las Vegas hotel discounts I’ll probably just share on twitter or Facebook. I don’t want this to become a discount travel blog.

post

Cosmopolitan To Say Goodbye To Marriott

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas At Night

Cosmopolitan At Night

If you’re a Marriott customer and looking to visit to the Vegas Strip you might want to make your reservations for a visit soon.

When Cosmopolitan was sold to Blackstone people with common sense assumed that the new Cosmo would be moving away from some of their current partnerships. Well, that’s the case with their hotel partner.

Say goodbye to a Marriott hotel partner on the Vegas Strip.

Since Blackstone owns HiltonLa QuintaWyndham and the brands beneath them, like Waldorf Astoria, the common thought was that they’d link the Cosmo with one of their existing hotel businesses. #Synergy.

The Las Vegas Sun confirms common sense:

…they will merge one of their hotel investment affinity programs into the Cosmopolitan to reward frequent players and guests.

“We believe that gaming revenues can increase there very quickly by 50 percent,“ I was told. “We have portfolio positions with other leisure travel properties that can be very beneficial to the future of the Cosmopolitan. There will be changes to ensure the property’s profitability in the short term.”

Changing hotel partners won’t guarantee that kind of gaming revenue increase. Even though Hilton hasn’t been named the hotel partner yet the change would be logical as Hilton and Marriott mirror each other.

The Cosmo has some of the highest room rates in Vegas and are often over 95% capacity. The change in hotel partners won’t help hotel revenue much, if any. Are Hilton customers more likely to gamble? We’ll see.

Going full circle, this changeover won’t happen overnight but if you want to use your Marriott Rewards on a free stay at the Cosmo you should book and stay soon.

post

Best Luxury Hotel Bargain In Vegas

The Venetian Las Vegas

The Venetian

Hotel rooms at The Venetian and The Palazzo offer the best prices among luxury hotels in Las Vegas according to the most recent Average Daily Room (ADR) information.

The property’s (Cosmopolitan) average daily room rate of $273 topped other high-end properties. For example, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore reported ADR of $258, while The Venetian and the Palazzo reported a combined ADR of $211.

Hotel room prices in Vegas are very flexible because they fluctuate between prices being advertised to the public and what’s offered to existing customers through players clubs. So you’ll see a wide range of prices for any hotel room in Vegas.

The order of these hotels makes sense if you look at their popularity by younger customers who are a little less discerning when it comes to price. If you’re dropping $1,000 for a bottle of Grey Goose at XS or Marquee why not spend the extra money to crash at those hotels too.

This is good news to me because The Palazzo is one of my favorite places to stay in Vegas for a lot of reasons.

  1. Suites – I love that all the rooms are suites. When I’m on vacation I love the extra room. I feel like I can actually sit in the room and relax as opposed to most hotel rooms which are about half the size. Also, 3 TV’s.
  2. Lagasse’s Stadium – Easily the best sportsbook in the world.
  3. Dining – The options for fine or casual dining are great and between The Venetian and The Palazzo there are almost 10 coffee places.
  4. Casino – The Palazzo isn’t the most popular casino so it’s usually not very crowded. Much like my hotel room, I like having space in the casino.
  5. Atmosphere – While The Venetian is overrun with families The Palazzo isn’t as crowded and there’s enough space where you never feel cramped. It’s one of the most relaxing hotel casino combinations.
post

Cosmopolitan Says Out With The Shoe In With The Dogs

I haven’t been to the Cosmopolitan all year until Easter Sunday (GASP!) so forgive me if this isn’t new. On the second floor between the sportsbook and restaurants towards Wicked Spoon there used to be a giant high heeled shoe that people used to pose inside of and take pictures. On my trip this weekend the shoe was gone and replaced with 6 dog statues in a circle.

The statues are about 5 feet tall and were packed with people taking pictures. Unlike the shoe, which mostly appealed to women there were men, women, boys and girls huddling around the dogs.

I like dogs and I think switching up the art in a playful manner, like this, on a regular basis would be a nice thing to keep people interested. I can hear the complaining visitors now “Ugh, Cosmo still has the same damn shoe from last year on the second floor. Can’t they get something new to take pictures with?”

Woof.

post

Gold Coast Renovations

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast was one of the first casinos I stayed at when visiting Las Vegas and it’s still one of the places I recommend people stay when looking for a cheap hotel rooms near the strip. Gold Coast is about to become a better bargain with new hotel and casino renovations.

Contractors are putting the finishing touches on 400 refurbished hotel rooms at the Gold Coast.

The rooms, which are expected to reopen in the next two weeks, feature new wall coverings, carpets, blackout drapes and furniture, including armoires, dressers and desks.

The next phase of the renovation, scheduled to begin this summer, will include installing new carpeting in Gold Coast’s 87,000-square-foot casino and replacing all of its slot stands and chairs.

Gold Coast has cheap gambling with quick drink service and the renovations to make the hotel rooms more modern and clean this is definitely a great place to crash. There is nothing fancy about the Gold Coast casino but it’s a fun place to play with decent food options.

Gold Coast is owned by Boyd Gaming and its B Connected players club is connected with 6 other Las Vegas hotels and 7 others across the country so playing at Gold Coast will earn comps to use at a lot of different casinos. The B Connected app is an excellent combination of players club and hotel information.

I can smell a low limit Pai-Gow night coming up soon!

Photo: Wikimedia

post

Rumor: LVH May Become Vegas International Casino and Hotel

At the end of 2011 Hilton decided not to renew their license with the casino that’s been known as the Las Vegas Hilton for years. The owners decided to keep continuity with the name by calling the property LVH. Well, the LVH has new owners and may have another new name next year.

Could the casino now known as the LVH wind up with the name Vegas International Casino + Hotel?

American Casino and Entertainment Properties LLC (ACEP), which applied for a trademark for the name and accompanying logo, is in the middle of the month during which outsiders can register their opposition. This standard part of the process ends Nov. 22.

Executives at ACEP, owned by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co., declined to comment on what they would do with the name. “What’s in the public record is in the public record,” said spokeswoman Kathy Topp.

If you’re familiar with Vegas history you might remember that this property was called Vegas International before becoming the Hilton. Back then it was home to a guy named Elvis.He’s kind of a big deal.

Renaming the hotel Vegas International and bringing back Vegas history may help the casino find some identity and a niche with older Las Vegas vacationers. The article mentions that many of the acts already booked at LVH would make sense with this possible vintage rebranding.

If the LVH opts to adopt a version of its original International name, it would fit with an entertainment lineup heavy with acts that gray-haired guests can remember from when they were young. The current lineup includes impressionist Rich Little, the Doobie Brothers, a Rat Pack tribute group and an Elvis impersonator, reprising the hotel’s most famous headliner.

LVH is a filthy lifeless dump of a casino that offers nothing besides a large sportsbook and something to do when taking a break from the Las Vegas Convention Center.

This rebranding, along with a major deep cleaning and new ventilation, could help the casino continue to stay in business.

photo: Elvis Australia (1961 at Vegas International)

post

Nobody Likes Caesars Palace

Yesterday I realized that nobody likes Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas. This is nothing new and not really a surprise to me, but it’s definitely a fact. I’ve been living in Vegas for just over a year now and have a lot of visitors. Some will stay at Caesars properties since they get great rates through Total Rewards but, in generally, nobody chooses a Caesars property to meet for a drink or meal. Since I live here I usually let other people choose where we’re going to meet when they’re in town.

Not once in my 14 months living in Vegas has anyone ever chosen to meet me at a Caesars property.

Most people know I’m Diamond status with Total Rewards (some know that I’ve been Diamond for a few years) and can get free drinks and/or snacks at the Caesars properties but they choose other places to meet even if Caesars properties are all around. I’ve been a supporter of Caesars properties since Atlantic City was my hub for gambling when I was on the east coast. For the most part, they’ve always treated me well.

While you may think people are choosing the new joints (Cosmopolitan or CityCenter), they aren’t. They are choosing places up and down the strip from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere. In the past week I’ve come to Bellagio 3 times. No biggie. I love Bellagio. I’m actually writing this at the sportsbook bar while I wait. Note, there is a pretty big selection of of smaller breweries on draft here. Nice.

Anyway, I love stopping at different casinos to meet people and don’t mind paying for a drink or a meal. I just find it interesting that zero percent of people have cared to visit a single Caesars property when visiting Vegas.

UPDATE: Since I drafted this yesterday, the people I met with let me in on their thoughts (they had no idea about this article). One person was staying at Caesars Palace and said that he didn’t mind staying there when he was alone, but he would never go there with his wife (he had a room in the forum tower that was is major disrepair). The other person was staying at a newer room at Hard Rock and loves the newer room and said he doesn’t visit Vegas unless he’s living it up. Caesars properties don’t do that for him.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas