Opinion

Paris Room Review

Paris Room Review

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Thanks to @heatherwhenever for providing this guest post!

 
ParisBedsLast weekend I was in town for Affiliate Summit 2014, which took place at the Paris Hotel, centrally located on the Las Vegas strip across the street from the Bellagio. I had booked a room there at Paris to stay during the conference and I ended up on the 24th floor after asking nicely to be as high up as possible at the front desk.

I think I would describe the room itself as pretty standard. Upon walking in I found a small hallway with the bathroom immediately to the right, and the main room area straight out in front of me. There were 2 queen beds facing a huge wooden wardrobe with hanging closet space on the sides, a small empty fridge in the middle to store my own snacks/drinks, a small safe, an iron with ironing board, and a gateway to Narnia.

ParisOutside

To the right of the wardrobe was a flatscreen TV mounted to the wall above a small desk and chair. Next to the window were two sitting chairs and a small round table, which had a stack of magazines on it. Most notably was a copy of Vegas Player with Britney on the cover, whom I was sad to be missing on this trip as her show was on break til the 29th (yep a fan of the Britster here). My window faced the rear of the building so no Strip view, but I did have a view of the newly constructed “High Roller”, Vegas’ (bigger) answer to London eye.

The bathroom was pretty spacious but I found the ivy-ish wallpaper to be kinda odd. I did however enjoy the marbled look on the floor, sink, and shower. The tub was separate and standard sized. A hair dryer was mounted on the wall to the left of the sink, and a small coffee pot sat underneath it. The water pressure ended up being pretty horrible.

ParisShowerOverall I thought the room was comfortable enough for the 3 nights I stayed in it. The bed was soft and I had plenty of pillows. I did wake up a few times at night to a loud buzzing coming from the minifridge. I also detected a bit of a smokey smell but it wasn’t unbearable, and could’ve just been me smelling my own hair after spending time at the casino…

The room wasn’t modern or huge but was quiet and clean, The rate was about $100/night plus resort fee. I enjoyed my time in the Paris hotel itself walking the cobblestone paths, trying the restaurants, and getting some great networking time in at the marketing conference.

‘Til next time!

-Heather

PS. A few notes on some eateries there at Paris. Burger Brasserie is a great spot for a burger and to catch a game on TV, I tried the ‘le classique’ burger while taking in the Broncos game and a business lunch (how’s that for multi-tasking?). Think sports bar/grille meets nice French restaurant. La Creperie was a good spot for a quick snack, one afternoon I tried the Shrimp Scampi. In the mornings I grabbed my latte at Cafe Belle Madeleine, an always busy but cute coffee/pastry shop. J’adore caffeine!

My Stay in a Mirage 1 Bedroom Tower Suite

My Stay in a Mirage 1 Bedroom Tower Suite

Over the 4th of July I had the pleasure of staying in a one bedroom tower suite at the Mirage. It was on the 26th floor, also known as floor A and it had a view of Treasure Island and the Wynn. When I stayed at the Mirage for the first time I was not super impressed with the room quality but this trip more than made up for it.

When you first walk in your are treated to a huge living room with floor to ceiling windows. There is a nice bar area with a mini bar full of your standard Vegas items like beer and snacks. Plus there is an empty fridge that you can use yourself.

The living room has a huge TV with a large sectional sofa that can fit six. There is also a dining table for four and plenty of space to lounge out. The one weird thing about the living room is that the curtains are not automated like most of the nice Vegas hotel rooms. The Mirage is a little older so that is probably why but everything else great.

The bedroom has a TV that pops out of a case in front of the bed when you hit the power button. The night stand has an iPod dock and there is a cushy chair next to the bed.

The bedroom opens up into a huge bathroom. There is an awesome shower with great water pressure immediately inside and a tub right after that. There are double sinks so two people can get ready at the same time. Best yet, the towels are much bigger than your standard room towels. If you are used to staying in basic rooms you’ll know what I mean. Inside the bathroom there is a full hallway… no joke a hallway in side the hotel room. It leads to the closet and the bathroom, which has it’s own door.

All in all the one bedroom tower suite is a great choice if you want to stay in a really nice room. It is relatively cheap compared to other suites at around only $200 for a weeknight. And if people don’t mind sleeping on the couch and the floor you can fit a ton of people.

Honeymoon in Vegas

Honeymoon in Vegas

Sorry, there have not been many posts lately. I’ve been busy getting married! And one of the perks of getting married is the honeymoon, which is in Vegas of course.

We will be staying at The Mirage in a tower 1 bedroom suite. I played enough MyVegas to get a Thursday and Friday for 300,000 loyalty points. That took about 8 months to earn and the tower suites have since been pulled down off the offer list. Those two nights are worth $600 so I’m glad I was able to use my points on something awesome. I’ll be posting a video walk through of the room post trip.

Speaking of MyVegas, I’m hoping they will put up the Smashmouth/Sugar Ray concert like they did for Snoop Dogg. That way I can get free tickets and hang out at Mandalay Beach. Of course it just hit record temperatures last week at 117 degrees so perhaps standing outside, even at night, may not be the best idea.

Besides that I am looking forward to getting a goblet at Sugar Factory. Usually we are so full it is hard to drink so much at one time, but we will be there a little longer than normal and should be able to fit it in. On top of that we really want to try BurGR at Planet Hollywood. We have tried quite a few places and trying a celebrity chef restaurant should be fun.

Memorial Day Trip!

Memorial Day Trip!

Finally, I’m heading back to Vegas again for Memorial Day after 4 months of my normal life and I am super stoked. This trip is actually for my bachelor party, so it is going to be a great time. We got rooms in the Octavius Tower at Caesars Palace so look for my video walk through soon after the trip.

My very first trip to Vegas was on Memorial Day weekend 6 years ago but I have not been back during this time for 5 years. I was on Trip Advisor and a lot of people were complaining about the huge crowds, but let’s be honest Vegas isn’t nearly as fun without enough people. If you don’t want crowds come during the week. I remember my last two Memorial Day trips fondly and although the buffet lines are long it is still a great time.

One thing I really am excited to try is the Billionaire Burger at Holsteins in Cosmopolitan. It is a burger with foie gras on top of it! Now, I do feel bad for the animals who are overfed to make delicious foie gras, but if you think about what we do to the other animals we eat it is not that much different (Thanksgiving Turkey anyone?).

Because it is a guys trip, I’m planning on hitting up some buffets of course. Wicked Spoon at Cosmopolitan will be on tap, plus I’m planning on going to Wynn for lunch. I’ve gone for lunch plenty of times but I’m excited to see what they offer for dinner. If it is more amazing than lunch, it might take the crown for best buffet.

Besides that I am just looking forward to enjoying another crazy trip with my buddies!

Boo Caesar’s Entertainment Starts Charging Resort Fees

Boo Caesar’s Entertainment Starts Charging Resort Fees

Unfortunately Caesar’s Entertainment has decided to start doing the very thing they have been proudly advertising they do not do, which is charging resort fees.  In case you are not familiar with a resort fee, it is an additional charge to your nightly hotel rate charged upon check out.  It is not included in your rate and resorts justify charging these fees by giving the customer internet and access to the gym.

Caesar’s Entertainment has fought a long battle against resort fees and have proudly stated that they do not charge them.  This has always increased the likelihood of me staying at their resort or at the very least I calculated the overall price of the room with the fees included.  Apparently this is not the case for everybody as Caesar’s Entertainment resorts have decided to start charging them.  The hotels in the Caesar’s family are Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Flamingo, Bally’s, Harrah’s, Rio, and The Quad.

All of these properties will start charging resort fees for reservations made on or after March 1, 2013.  So to avoid the fees make sure to book your reservation in the next few days.  The good news is their semi-annual sale has been extended so you can get up to 25% off rooms here.

That only leaves one hotel left standing that does not charge resort fees on the main part of the Strip and that is Elara.  Elara is the Hilton Grand Vacations resort, which was originally the Planet Hollywood Towers.

First Trip of 2013

First Trip of 2013

Going to Vegas on MLK day has become a bit of tradition for me and this will be my 4th straight year going on this weekend.  Room ratse are always decent as CES is complete and there is nothing else going on, but the Strip is still decently crowded as it is a holiday weekend for most folks.  On this trip I am finally getting to stay at The Mirage, which has been high on my list for places to stay.  I haven’t stayed there before because the rates have always been around the same price as nice hotels but I was able to get great rates by booking this trip last June.

I have been saving most of my north Strip activities for this trip.  I am finally planning on eating at The Mirage as the only food I have had there in the past is the buffet.  I have heard great things about BLT Burger and am looking forward to checking that out.  On top of that I will also be visiting the Bourbon Room at The Venetian to see how good their drinks are.

I also purchased a Travelzoo deal for The Public House at Luxor for two appetizers, two entrees, and two beers for $49.  That prize is supposedly half off, but $49 seems to be a fair price for these items, but it is Vegas so I’m sure prices are super inflated.

Besides that, I’m sure we will be hitting dueling pianos like usual.  A couple friends are also coming with us on this trip so I’m sure it will be a great time.  Stay tuned for the full trip report, probably a couple weeks after I return.

Thanksgiving Weekend Trip Report

Thanksgiving Weekend Trip Report

For my 5th Las Vegas trip of 2012 I visited this past weekend after Thanksgiving.  My initial thoughts were that the Strip wouldn’t be busy because hotel rates are traditionally the cheapest during this time meaning that casinos have a tough time getting bookings.  According to the internet though, Thanksgiving tends to be crowded.  As it turns out I would say it was definitely one of the slower weekends but not as slow as the middle of the week.

Luck was with me to start the trip.  The plane we were boarding got in 20 minutes early so we boarded early.  We would have left early, but unfortunately 5 idiots got on the plane 1 minute before we were supposed to leave.  I’m not sure who does this or how it happened but I thought the airplane doors were supposed to close 5 minutes before takeoff.  Despite leaving on time we still got in about 20 minutes early, which is win in my book.

We walked into a cab, as they were there waiting in the airport slots.  This is completely not normal.  Even coming in really late on a weekend I have had to go through at least a small cab queue.  The cab ride was going well until we hit a ton of traffic on Flamingo.  So the cab was about $10 more than normal.  As we pull into Caesar’s though there were about average number of people and we were the very next people in line to check in with 4 employees working.

Normally I would try the $20 trick for 2 nights.  The last time I stayed at Caesars it got me a Palace tower room with a great view of the pool instead of the Roman tower.  The reason I didn’t this time was because I paid a little extra for the Forum Tower and I figured if I tried it they wouldn’t upgrade me.  However the guy tried to upgrade me for $50 a night to the Augustus tower, which is their second best after Octavius.  My room was 5330, and the elevators happen to be past the sports book, which is almost to the Forum Shops.  The elevator locations in Caesars are ridiculous but I guess that is what you get for so many towers spread out.  The elevators say floors 50-65 or something but being on floor 53, really meant I was on floor 4.  It was  a pretty crummy view because the Colosseum blocked almost all of it.  At least I could see a bit of Treasure Island and the Flamingo.

The room however was very nice.  The only things worse than the Palace Tower room was the carpet, the dated furniture, and of course the view.  There was a TV in the mirror in the bathroom, which I think my Palace room did not have.  There was a mini bar, a standard safe, and a radio with an iPod hookup.

The first order of business was food.  Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars was too full, so we decided to use one of my perks of being a Pearl Mlife member and use the accelerated line at The Buffet at Bellagio.  This worked out great as there were only two parties in front of us and we sat down in less than 8 minutes.  It was a holiday buffet so it was $45 instead of $40.  I have only eaten at Bellagio for brunch before and while their dinner is better I would say it misses the mark of the best buffets.  The best buffets of course being Bacchanal, Wicked Spoon, and Wynn.

After that we headed to MGM to pre-game because that is were my friends were staying.  After a little whipped cream vodka, and Avion tequila we headed to coyote ugly.  They were charging a $5 cover and it definitely seemed less crowded than normal.  I have only been inside it once for their 2-for-1 drink coupons they pass out but there are not too many bars that cater that kind of crowd so I would think it gets packed most weekends.

My friends were feeling a little sick the next day so my Fiance and I decided to try Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  I have heard good things about it but have never been there myself.  She won $20 dining credit at a spinning wheel promotion outside of Caesars so it made it even more appealing.  It was not very crowded at noon on a Sunday and it was Champagne brunch.  For $30 we got unlimited champagne and a mediocre buffet.  Almost everything was average and the only thing I really liked was the seafood section.  It is definitely better than Excalibur type buffets but it falls near the bottom of the heavy hitters.  I would say it is just below Treasure Island, just because the dessert was very limited.

After losing some money we went to Todd English pub for dinner.  It wasn’t very crowded at all, but I think restaurants in Crystals always have a tough time getting customers.  We picked it because the Packer game was on, which went awful, but the food was good.  After that more spirits were consumed and we went to dueling pianos at The Bar at Times Square in New York-New York.

The last day started out with some more gambling at Monte Carlo.  Then we had the best meal of the trip at Bacchanal buffet.  There was no line, but it took 15 minutes to get seated because the TV crew of House of Lies was there for lunch.  There were at least 100 of them I’d guess and we saw the star, Kristen Bell.

The last day is always my favorite day to gamble because walking around is exhausting and you get to sit down when you gamble.  I always wish I would win a bunch the first day that I can ride out the rest of the trip with but that has never happened and I doubt it will.  So to end the trip we stopped by Cosmopolitan and Bellagio to waste the rest of our money.  Then as usual we had to stop by Earl of Sandwich before leaving.  My new favorite is the All American and I think I am addicted to Turkey Cranberry.

My next trip is in January, assuming the world doesn’t end.  So until then keep stopping by for deals!

I’m Headed to Vegas for Thanksgiving!

I’m Headed to Vegas for Thanksgiving!

It is official, I will be heading to Vegas for Thanksgiving this year… well the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately it will only be for a short period of time as I will be arriving Saturday night and leaving Monday night.  A friend of mine is going, and I was trying to find an excuse to go  as long as it was cheap.  Cheap it was, so I switched my flight and now I get to go to Vegas for my 5th time this year.

At first I thought Thanksgiving would be dead.  All the pools are closed, the temperature won’t be over 100 degrees, and I figured some shows would be dark or have replacements.  Looking around the internet it seems like Thanksgiving is packed.  This makes my trip all that more exciting because more people = more fun unless it involves waiting in line.

I am very curious to see what it is like first hand.  I wish I could be there on Thanksgiving day, but I imagine I will get a good idea of what it is like.  I’m planning on hitting at least one buffet.  I bet they will be more expensive and I hope they don’t just have turkey.  I will be tweeting my disappointment if I step into the line and find out they have three turkey stations.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat Turkey, and the leftovers around Thanksgiving, but why would I eat something so readily available for cheap at a Vegas buffet if I can avoid it.

Although I won’t be seeing any shows, I will be checking out the bars.  I am hoping our favorite piano players will still be playing at The Bar at Times Square at NewYork-New York.  Prepare for a full update through Twitter.

I also managed to bag a Forum Tower room.  I have only stayed at Caesars once before and that was in the Palace Tower.  It is not clear which room is supposed to be better, but I enjoyed the Palace Tower quite a bit so I am hoping this room with be at least as good, if not better.

For now, stay tuned for updates on my holiday weekend in Vegas!

How to Get a Comp with a Service Problem

How to Get a Comp with a Service Problem

Today I would like to discuss an important subject, how to handle problems with your travel booking, hotel stay, or other service issues. You might even benefit from a room upgrade, comped meal, or other free things by bringing something to a companies attention. This advice doesn’t only apply to  Las Vegas, and works well with any service industry.

The best way to handle a problem is to keep your cool and remember that the person you are dealing with most likely did not cause your problem in the first place. They are just trying to do their job the best they can and treating them with respect will take you further than you think.  You might even get a comp or something for free if you are nice enough.

When you have a problem with your hotel room, the best course of action is to visit them at the front desk.  They will know you are serious because your are down there instead of calling from your phone and because you are there in person it will be more difficult for them to send you away.  I’ve heard of great stories where there was something wrong with their room (broken safe, broken TV, plumbing issues) and when the person respectfully notified the front desk they were upgraded to a better room.  This is not a fool proof approach, especially on the weekends when there is much less vacancy, but it is always worth a shot.  At the very least you deserve a fully functional room.

I also ran into a situation where a restaurant had overcharged me.  I called them up and explained the situation calmly.  I was nice and they were understanding.  At the end of the call they gave me their email and said to let me know when I’ll be back so they can give me a comped meal.  I didn’t even ask, I just wanted the money that was owed me, but instead I got both.

Another way to handle service issues is through social media and one of the best parts about Vegas is how fast the establishments have adopted it. Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook and they will address many things you send to them. I recently booked a vacation package at Vdara that came with two free show tickets. I booked on the last day of the deal and the phone number they provided to order tickets was busy all day. Other people were having this issue and were flipping out on Facebook. I wrote a quick message explaining my problem and asked how I should handle the situation. MGM provided an alternate phone number for me to call. There was still a 10 minute hold time, but at least I got my tickets. The morale of the story is, send a polite message to the company on Facebook and Twitter requesting assistance and they will likely get back to you.

Of course if the company doesn’t get back to you, venting your frustration on Twitter may work well for you. I’ve seen angry customers claiming they will never go to The Bank at Bellagio again. Bellagio tweeted back, “What happened, is there anything we can do?” They realize that one person’s opinion can be shared with numerous other people and know you will say something nice about them if they comp you something.

Speaking of social media, follow me @VegasForCheap for the latest Las Vegas deals, discounts, sweepstakes, and opinion.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace Review

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace Review

One of my favorite Vegas activities is eating at buffets.  I wouldn’t say I can eat a ton of food, but I love having the option to get what I want, oftentimes at around the same price as one plate at a mid range restaurant.  My September trip I had the pleasure of trying Caesars brand new Bacchanal buffet twice for lunch.

When eating a buffet I always start with the Asian station.  Bacchanal takes the cake with theirs and they have the best sushi and potstickers I have had at any buffet.  The rest of the food in this category was fairly average, but it is really hard for every dish to be amazing.

The lasagna was delicious

Next, I moved to the pasta station.  There were 4 or 5 dishes, which I think is 1 or 2 more than most places.  The lasagna pictured above was so good I forgot to take a picture of it before eating half.  They took a nod from Cosmopolitan’s Wicked Spoon here by giving individual dishes.  The thing they did not figure out was how to keep the food hot, but the dish safe to pick up.  This one in particular was super hot and I almost burned myself putting it on my plate.  I would suggest adding a wooden handle for these items.

Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Next for an amazing side dish, the sweet potato tater tots.  At first I thought there were too many in the container, but as soon as I ate one I realized why they have so many.  They simply taste amazing.  On a special side dish though I have to give Cosmopolitan the win here with their make your own mac and cheese.

Creme brulee… and chocolate creme brulee???

Last is dessert.  This is where Bacchanal shines above most of its competition.  Only Wynn’s buffet has better dessert and Bacchanal is far superior than Wicked Spoon’s most important course of the meal.  I am a sucker for creme brulee and they blew my mind with the chocolate variety.  They also have your typical cake pops that seem to be so popular now days as well as a gelato station and a make your own crepe station.  They supposedly had chocolate mousse, but it was in a pop form, so if any improvement could be made I would suggest making a mousse dish instead of just a cake pop.

To be fair, I have only been to Wicked Spoon at dinner time and only ate lunch at Bacchanal.  Before eating here I would say Wynn and Cosmopolitan share the top spot for my favorite buffets, With Bellagio and Rio in a close second, and the fact that a lunch buffet is in the running says something.  Because I only ate lunch I will still hold out for the dinner buffet but if you are looking for an all around great buffet in all courses this is the one for you.  It might not have the super shock and awe factor of you must try this item like Wicked Spoon but the number of quality dishes is ridiculous.  Bacchanal is also very large and has more options than any other buffet except the Rio and the atmosphere is a little chaotic with tables seeming to be in any order.  I enjoyed the atmosphere though  and the music is up beat and cool, which I’m sure keeps people moving fast.  If they sit you in the front, make sure you check out the back, it is almost like there are hidden rooms.  If you have been to Caesars Buffet in the past, this isn’t even a real comparison.  The buffet is at least 2 to 3 times bigger and the quality is beyond better.  As an added bonus if you show your total rewards card at dinner you get a few dollars less, which is normally $40.