Should You Try To Use Coupons When In Las Vegas?

A recent blog post Playing the Coupon Game in Vegas highlighted various suggestions for using coupons when in Las Vegas. But is this really a wise thing to do? Food for thought:

Many people  forget to factor in the cost of using a coupon. If it is something you were already interested in doing or seeing, more power to you.

HOWEVER, if you are staying at MGM Grand Las Vegas and you have a coupon for something way up The Strip (or off Strip or downtown), you must factor in the transportation cost (or time factor if you are walking) against the cost of redeeming a coupon on something you’d otherwise only find marginally interesting. Even couponing in everyday life can be deceiving. You have a $1 off coupon for Tide, but the store brand (provided it works just as well, and often does) is half the money. Even with the coupon, you are paying more for the Tide.

I realize that some people really get a rush out of using coupons (thinking that they are a really smart consumer and really saving money), but the reality is that you only have so many hours while here on vacation. When you factor in the cost of air and hotel and food, you are spending a pretty penny each hour you are in Las Vegas just to be here!

It is often worth spending a few extra bucks to do and see the things you really want to do in that precious amount of time.  Save the “look how smart I am for saving money” pat on the back for when you are at home.


Ted Newkirk
CEO/Manging Editor
AccessVegas.com

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Hoover Dam Or Boulder Dam? A History Question

If you talk to an “old timer” from Las Vegas (or the child of one who is an area native) and you get the conversation going about Hoover Dam, you’re also likely to find out what side of the political aisle they favor. How so? The dam was originally going to be built in Boulder Canyon on the Colorado River and the construction project was casually refereed to as Boulder Dam. Ironically, it was decided that Black Canyon was a more suitable location (Boulder Canyon has a fault running through it), but the Boulder Dam name originally stuck.

Congress never gave the project an official name, but Hoover’s Secretary Of The Interior Ray Wilbur showed up to break ground on the rail line running from Las Vegas out to the dam (most of which is still in service today), he unilaterally decided to name it Hoover Dam. And so it was… until Roosevelt (who succeeded Hoover in office) Interior Secretary Harold Ickes attempted to revert the name back to Boulder Dam at the dedication ceremony. It never really caught on, and Congress stepped in and officially sanctioned the name Hoover Dam more than a decade later.

Hoover was a Republican. Roosevelt was a Democrat. And some area natives aren’t letting the argument die. In the meantime, you can enjoy a Hoover Dam tour and enjoy this amazing, working piece of history for yourself.


Ted Newkirk
CEO/Manging Editor
AccessVegas.com

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Consumer Reporter Tries To Bash Las Vegas… My Retort

A television consumer reporter from San Francisco evidently hasn’t been here in many years…   but then acts like he knows his stuff. Reference:
Vegas squeezing money for cheap rooms with expensive drinks

Remember when drinks at a casino bar were inexpensive, a buck or less? Those days are now just memories. $6 beers? If you are lucky. $10 cocktail? That is the new normal.

I responded on that blog, but don’t know if the post will be accepted or not. So… here is my response:

With all due respect, the days of the $1 drinks were pretty much gone when I moved here in 1993. (The Plaza downtown was a holdout on that until around 2000).

And… Casino Royale Las Vegas still has $1 bottled beer (varies) and $1 frozen margaritas 24/7 right there on the Las Vegas Strip.

Food and drink specials ABOUND downtown. Just walk around. Want a big pizza and pitcher of beer? $10 at Benny’s Bullpen in Binion’s Las Vegas. $1.99 still buys the huge shrimp cocktail at Golden Gate. $2 Heineken or Corona at Fremont Hotel. Too many more to list.

On top of that, you did not factor in inflation at all. You cite prices from 20 years ago and then are shocked that they have gone up! (Despite the room rates being at 1990 prices in many instances here in Las Vegas).

Plus, the savvy Vegas visitor doesn’t buy his liquid refreshment at the bar. Most hotel sundry shops have a full liquor section (cold beer, wine, hard liquor) and much more modest prices and no tip needed. Also, stores like 7-11, ABC, and other similar convenience stores on The Strip are great places to buy your bottled water, soft drinks, and beer and more realistic prices.

Per a drink costing you more at a video poker machine? Maybe not. If you play properly, you are only giving away (on average) about a nickel per play (at $1.25 a pull). It would take 80 plays to (once again on average) lose the $4.00. Note: Those are averages. Sometimes you may lose quickly. Other times you’ll be up and walk away a winner.

Look… if I vacationed in San Francisco, I’d have to pay the same drink prices you are citing at any decent bar. Oh… except that I’d still be paying through the NOSE for a hotel room. Look at what brand new hotels like Aria, Palazzo, and Encore are charging per night for some of the nicer rooms in the world. Then look at what a comparable hotel in San Francisco (or New York City or Miami) would cost. Not even close.

A Las Vegas vacation is still a bargain with no equal. If you are just not the kind of guy who enjoys Las Vegas, don’t come. Vacation somewhere else (and pay a lot more money)!

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Stratosphere Las Vegas Fireworks July 4’th Las Vegas Fiasco

To those of you who took our advice last Sunday and went to the Stratosphere Las Vegas for the fireworks, we apologize. What a disaster, with a capital D. The Strat teamed with local radio station KOMP and Coors Beer to offer $1 beer all day as well as free admission to the tower. Then starting at 9:00 PM they had live music in the north parking lot until the fireworks at 11:00 PM. While this was the first 4’th of July fireworks on the Strip in recent memory, it was not the first display for the Stratosphere. Between the grand opening, anniversaries, and other occasions, they have done fireworks a number of times.

In the past, the fireworks have shot off from tower in a beautiful 360 degree cascade of fury and color. Not this time. The fireworks were shot off from behind the hotel, and shot so low that you couldn’t see half of them from the parking lot party viewing area! Neither were they visible from anywhere in front of the casino.

As much as we love promoting Las Vegas, do yourself a favor and don’t come here to see the fireworks on the Strip next year if it’s at the Stratosphere. Even if you saw a small-town display, you saw more than we did at the Stratosphere. I have heard great reports about the fireworks in the Summerlin area that were combined with a symphony concert featuring Robert Goulet, and next year we’ll give you as much advance warning as possible if a similar program is scheduled.

You would have had more fun gambling in Las Vegas instead!

This article originally appeared July 7, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

What Is The Best (Kept Secret) View In Las Vegas?

SUNSET IN THE HILLS – Getting your behind kicked in the casino while your rental car goes to waste? When is the last time you saw a spectacular sunset? Because it sits in a valley, Las Vegas has some spectacular views 20 minutes from the Strip. A personal fave of locals is the view from the far east end of Bonanza Rd. in the eastern foothills. Imagine seeing the entire panorama of the Las Vegas Valley at sunset, watching both the Strip and downtown simultaneously go from daylight to neon glow.

Directions are simple. Go north on the Strip to downtown. Just after you go beneath the freeway, make a right-hand turn (east) on Bonanza Road. Drive 7 miles (it’s all paved suburban road — and the farther you go, the better the neighborhoods get). When you reach the end of Bonanza, just make a U-turn.

If that is too complicated, simply program 7051 East Bonanza Road (Las Vegas) into your GPS.

BOOM. Spectacular. I’ve never had anyone take this short detour whom didn’t rave about it. Grab a little take-out on your way — if you time your visit with sunset, you’ll want to relax and enjoy the show.

This article originally appeared June 30, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Should I Bring My Kids Children To Las Vegas?

Bringing children (kids) to Las Vegas has long been an intense debate among both Las Vegas tourists and tourism professionals. In the early 90’s, casinos thought it would be a great idea to build theme parks and try to turn the town’s image from “sin city” to “family-friendly” for the kids in Las Vegas. Then they realized that they GOOFED. Mirage Las Vegas Resorts started instituting “no stroller” policies, and hotels like the Riviera and Tropicana started advertising slogans like “Rollers, Not Strollers”. The word got around that catering to families is stupid because they use the cheap rooms, eat the cheap food, and are too busy with the kids to gamble.

While we aren’t concerned about the casino’s bottom line (our income is derived from booking rooms and rental cars), every trip to the Las Vegas Strip or downtown — made often in this line of work — we see tortured-looking parents with the mommy pushing the stroller and the daddy dragging along the 5 year old, neither of whom should have been subjected to miles of walking through this adult playground.

I’ve seen happier faces on gamblers who just lost 5 straight $100 hands at blackjack than on these parents faces, who undoubtedly have to be envious of all child-free tourist couples whom look like they are having the romantic vacation of a lifetime. And these kids that young won’t remember their first visit to Las Vegas.

If your children are old enough that you feel comfortable letting them run around an amusement park, checking in every few hours, then they will find plenty to do here. Just give them the cell phone, you keep that SkyTell pager, and have a great time. And if they are old enough to perhaps remember a supervised vacation and you can resist the temptation of parking them in the hallway or stuffing in the room while you take just one more pull or play just one more hand (let’s face it, winning seems to always happen when you don’t have the time to keep playing), then you might do fine.

But you will be happiest leaving them with the grandparents for the weekend and really enjoying your stay without your kids in Las Vegas!

This article originally appeared June 24, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas

Ride The Free Las Vegas Tram Between Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur

FREE LAS VEGAS MANDALAY BAY TRAM – The free Las Vegas Mandalay Bay trams connecting the 3 Mandalay Resort Group properties (Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur) run a very interesting configuration worth noting before you hop on board. Running side-by-side, the east tram runs one-way from from the corner of Tropicana and L.V. Blvd. (the Strip) to Mandalay Bay. This tram makes no stop at Luxor and a return trip from Mandalay to the street intersection is not offered at this time (it runs empty).

The westbound tram stops at Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur, but does NOT serve the intersection. In addition, the tram only makes the Luxor stop northbound, which means that a ride from Excalibur to Luxor necessitates riding all the way to Mandalay and staying aboard for the ride back to Luxor.

This crazy scheme was carefully crafted to feed people from the street down to Mandalay Bay and designed to encourage you to use the walkway from Excalibur to Luxor through the (surprise) new shopping areas.

On another Mandalay Bay note, the Las Vegas wave pool is functioning properly now. It is available only to hotel guests at this time, but there is word of pending construction of a second wave pool that will be available to the general public.

This article originally appeared June 24, 1999 in the Access Vegas Insider Vibe

Ted Newkirk
Founder/Managing Editor
Access Vegas