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If you want to start off 2011 with a bang, there's no better place to do it than Vegas. But even more important, if you're the superstitious type, 1-1-11 will be a lucky day to hit the casinos. So be sure to bring your gambling game.
Just in time for a new year getaway, Vegas.com is slashing loads of hotel rooms by 30 percent.
Where the heck has the summer gone? It's hard to believe that next weekend is the Fourth of July. But you procrastinators still have some time to plan a kick-butt Fourth of July holiday weekend, so book your travel now...
· Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
If fireworks and barbecue aren't your thing, escape the Fourth of July chaos with a trip to Punta Cana. This package includes four nights on the island as well as airfare starting at $585. Your beachfront vacay will be free of hot dogs and loud fireworks, but you'll want to sip a cocktail or two from your chaise lounge. We were just there ourselves recently, so be sure to check out all those special stories loaded with tips here.
Most people have at least a passing knowledge of the famous ESPN SportsCenter ads, where sports mascots work as employees in the SportsCenter studio. Vegas.com is trying to build on that familiarity with a new Las Vegas campaign, except they're replacing franchise mascots with casino characters and the SportsCenter studio with... um...the Vegas.com studio? Maybe? The entire campaign could actually stand to be a little bit more punchy. Also a little bit more funny.
The clips are being posted over at Vegas.com/exposed. After the jump we've put one of the commercials, a spot that plays on the Treasure Island pirates. When we originally found this thing on AdFreak they included it with a clip starring Carrot Top. We obviously like you guys too much to expose you to that.
To save some bucks and see some great desert scenery, road trip it to Las Vegas from California. It's a great last-minute-getaway option instead of paying pricey plane tickets and bag fees, and another perk is that hotels like the Luxor and the MGM Grand offer free self-parking for guests. We recently made the six-hour trek from San Diego and came out better for it, thanks to some tips.
Jaunted's Top Three Tips For Road Tripping To Vegas:
Gold-Mining / Gold Mines / Treasure Hunting / Adventure Travel / Pioneer Travel / Las Vegas / Nevada Travel / → All Tags
It's a whole new type of laid-off travel; gold mining is back with a vengeance and oftentimes, the richest veins are closer than you think. All this week we'll be digging deep into the USA's dirt to uncover the best spots for sifting your way into a small fortune, or at least one month's rent. Any suggestions or questions? Let us know.
Usually folks don't head to Las Vegas anticipating a weekend of sitting quietly by a stream, panning for bits of gold. So that's why, if you do opt to step away from the slots long enough to indulge fantasies of treasure hunting, an LV-based tour company will take out out for it in sufficiently flashy style.
Smack down $200 and pack your Timberlands for the "Off Road Hummer Gold Rush Adventure Tour" from Grand Canyon Tour Company. They'll pick you up at your Vegas hotel in a rough-and-ready Hummer, before driving you out into the middle of nowhere for a 4x4 experience, a visit to the Eldorado canyon, and some panning of your own outside of Savage Mine.
Keep whatever you find, even though you know that it'll end up on the craps table later that evening. And since this is only a day-long tour, no commitment to pioneer living with outdoor toilets and baked beans cooked over a fire needed.
New Routes / Las Vegas / London / British Airways / Airline News / LAS / LGW / Virgin Atlantic / → All Tags
Las Vegas may have a fake Venice, New York and Egypt, but perhaps they should start thinking about installing a replica Trafalgar Square now that British Airways has announced plans for a new non-stop route from London.
Due to go direct from the land of fish and chips to the city of all-you-can-eat buffets starting this fall, the once-daily roundtrips from London-Gatwick to McCarran will join Virgin Atlantic in shipping over the Brits and their pounds sterling to drop in casinos. According to info obtained by the Las Vegas Sun, England is already "the No. 3 provider of foreign tourists to Las Vegas behind Canada and Mexico."
This whole business with the added flights is also about to give "Triple 777s" a new meaning, as BA's arrival on VA's route means that their planes will be going head-to-head for a jackpot win on Vegas supremacy. As if the BA thorn in Richard Branson's side wasn't in deep enough already. And just like everyone else on their way to the "Sin City," all British Airways wants to do is score.
· British Airways to Start Daily Service to Las Vegas [LV Sun]
· Las Vegas Travel [VegasChatter]
· British Airways Coverage [Jaunted]
Are you one of the casualties of the hurtin' economy? We're here to help with Laid-Off Travel, a new series on where to go when you don't have somewhere to go from 9 to 5.
Macy's announced this week they would be trimming 7,000 jobs and 11 stores from its operations throughout the country, citing a recession-induced slowdown in sales. While there won't be a Lehman Brothers-style mass exodus, unhappy former retail-sector workers everywhere need a break -- why don't you try:
Kingdom: Magic Kingdom, that is. Walt Disney World's three-nights-free Orlando resort deal is blowin' up our sister blog HotelChatter (though you have to buy four nights to get three free). We're waffling between the kitschy Pop Century Resort and the un-Floridian Polynesian.
Ka-ching!: We would never recommend spending all your severance at the tables, but a little chunk might be fun. For a more solid investment, try a little retail therapy at the luxury boutiques that can no longer afford to turn you away. Today we pulled a $368 flight/hotel deal for this weekend that would put you on the Strip (albeit in the slightly less splash Stratosphere, Circus Circus or Riviera).
Keuka?!: If your personal unpaid indefinite vacation happened to catch you in NYC, maybe you need a few days to focus on something besides the CNN news ticker -- like brushing up on your wine-tasting skills. The Keuka Lake Wine Trail, starring seven wineries along one of the less well known Finger Lakes in upstate New York, will put the fire back in ya.
· Macy's to cut 7,000 jobs [LA Times]
· Stay Three Nights Free at Disney World Resorts [HC]
· Keuka Lake Wineries [Keukawinetrail.com]
· Wine Travel: Rooster Hill Vineyards [Jaunted]
· Laid-Off Travel [Jaunted]
Las Vegas has long trafficked in excess, doing a brisk business as a destination where it's standard operating procedure to blow your whole wad in a weekend. But what happens to Vegas when people don't have a wad to blow anymore? Is it still worth a visit? The answer is a resounding yes, according to USA Today, which offers a variety of tips on how to have fun in the casino resorts even if all you have in your pockets is some loose change, a bus schedule, and a flask of Early Times whiskey. In fact, Vegas will be glad to relieve you of whatever cash you happen to have left.
A few tidbits: instead of blackjack, play Pai Gow poker, an Americanized version of an old Chinese game. Most hands only cost $10, and often result in a "push," in which you get to keep what you wagered, extending your time at the table even if you will eventually lose it all to the dealer. And there's no need to blow a few hundred bucks on tickets for one of the endless incarnations of the Cirque du Soleil franchise when free entertainment abounds on the Strip. The fountains at the Bellagio are a good bet, with dramatic water shows set to music every day that are visible from the sidewalk. Not to be outdone, the Mirage gets a new volcano on Monday, with flames that do a five-minute dance for free. And of course it doesn't cost anything to walk through the various casino resorts on Las Vegas Boulevard, but it takes some serious will power not to indulge in any of the sybaritic pleasures on display.
My personal suggestion for a good time in Vegas that won't cost a dime: a hike through Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area. Just watch out for those scruffy wild burros. They'll hurt your feelings.
[Photo: USA Today]
What the world looks like when you get off the Palazzo tasting tour.
We were fortunate enough to get invited to the Palazzo Las Vegas last week to check-out the hotel scene. But as with most hotels these days and especially in Las Vegas, the hotel is often not about the hotel. It's about what else is at the hotel.
And aside from the gambling, the Palazzo has a ton of other distractions and ways for you to spend your cash, whether you won it at the blackjack tables or whether you're just burning your paycheck.
While the Shoppes at the Palazzo definitely caught our eye (hello, massive Barneys department store!), there are 12 restaurants to indulge in. We tested a few of them out. Be prepared to leave your calorie-counting ways behind.
You know the economy is going down the hole when Las Vegas needs to do a $12 million advertising campaign to attract more visitors.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has recently approved the "Vegas Right Now" campaign to run through June. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports:
The "Vegas Right Now" unveiling coincided with the announcement of a $20 million campaign by the Vegas.com Web site, called "The Vegas Experts." Those ads feature Vegas.com employees scouting parties, clubs and hotels on behalf of Web site users.
The goal of the campaign is to urge people to take more spontaneous trips to Vegas. As it turns out, arrivals and departures out of Sin City's McCarran International Airport is down, particularly amongst visitors from Southern California, a huge and important demographic. This is a pretty telltale sign that disposable income is not so disposable anymore.
A tourism official said the campaign will touch on the country's economic woes although he did not elaborate.
We say, there's an easier way to get visitors to come to Vegas again: Make hotel rates more affordable. Afterall, how many people can really take time off work during the week just to get the slightly cheaper room rates?
[Photo: HotelChatter Flickr Pool]
Food / Restaurants / Las Vegas / Vintner Grill / Eat-n-Sleep / → All Tags
Today we introduce our Eat n' Sleep feature where we profile a restaurant in a random city and a hotel nearby. It's kinda like that old show "Dinner and a Movie" but you know, with restaurant and hotels. And better jokes.
Everyone has different reasons for visiting Las Vegas--gambling, five-star dining, Cirque du Soleil shows, quickie marriages, topless revues, etc. etc.--but sometimes the Strip is just so overdone.
At HotelChatter we recently hit up the Red Rock Resort & Spa, about 20 minutes outside Las Vegas in Summerlin. Lo and behold, we found out this is where the people of Las Vegas would rather kill their time rather than the madness of this tourist-cluttered strip.
And just because you can't see the tower of the Stratosphere here, doesn't mean there aren't any fine dining options around. For one, there's the Vintner Grill which is the only restaurant in the world to offer an Exotic Truffle Tasting Flight featuring Vosges Haut Chocolat. Haut indeed.
Thinking about getting hitched? Tomorrow may be your lucky day -- if you've planned enough in advance. For people who believe in the number seven, Saturday's date is triply auspicious for gamblers and for the affianced. If you haven't already applied for your wedding license in Vegas, there are 3,000 couples ahead of you, and you may have better luck marrying at home -- or at Six Flags, whose 12 locations will all be hosting weddings (including the metaphorically unlucky top-of-rollercoaster nuptial).
In response to the demand for lucky weddings in Lady Luck-land, Las Vegas' Caesars Palace is holding a mass-wedding at 7PM and is at FULL occupancy for Saturday night, while the Flamingo is holding 77 weddings. And the Little White Wedding Chapel, where Britney Spears tied the knot for the first time and Bruce Willis once wed Demi Moore, is uniting 460 would-be Mr. and Mrs.'s this weekend. "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria even got into the lucky-7 spirit, rushing the planning process for her dream wedding to NBA star Tony Parker so that they could celebrate in Paris on, yes, 7/7/07. (Her civil ceremony was today, but that doesn't count, right?)
Already hitched or not interested? You could try your luck in the Pennsylvania lottery, offering 7,777 prizes on a special $20 ticket. Al Gore's Live Earth concert, originally planned to be broadcast from eight sites, is down to seven after the Rio concert was canceled by the local police force. Fate? Some rap fans also believe Saturday is when slain star Tupac Shakur will return from his allegedly faked death. And perhaps to offset the deleterious effects of last year's 6/6/06, Christians in Nashville or elsewhere are hosting a pray-in. Then again, there's always 8/8/08.