STRIP HOTELS STILL AVAILABLE
Most hotels' CES rates are sold out with exceptions at a few places (Excalibur, Suxor and Imperial Palace). Also, a lot of hotels have rooms available but are just extremely expensive. For instance, the Venetian has rooms for Monday and Tuesday night at $399. The Las Vegas Hilton, which is next to the Las Vegas Convention Center, has rooms for $455.95 a night. And the Wynn has rooms for $699 a night. Indeed, you need Yahoo CEO's Jerry Yang's job to stay here without feeling guilty.
When we did a search on Hotels.com (on Sunday night), we found rooms for $180 at the Stratosphere and for $193 at the Tropicana. There is a shuttle going from Tropicana to the LVCC but not from the Stratosphere.
Similarly, CES rates of $319 are available at Planet Hollywood but there are no shuttles available. (FYI: We found a rate of $299 on Hotels.com so those CES rates might not be such a bargain.)
The Sahara still has rooms for $180 and is serviced by the Las Vegas Monorail which stops at LVCC. One ride is $5 and a 10-ride pass is $35.
Finally if you're really desperate and you can't find a fellow conference goer to shack up with, your up-to-the-minute last minute strip hotel options under $100 include: Wild Wild West Gambling Hall, Howard Johnsons and Palace Station which is not really on the strip, but was the scene of OJ Simpson's recent crimes thus perfect for true crime buffs.
Guest rooms inside the Wynn are laden with high technology such as HDTVs with plenty of HD channels and even HD movies-on-demand. The room phones have touch-screen menus and your key card does double duty as your player's card and your charge card for anything you purchase at the Wynn. And location is king. Aside from being close to the LVCC, the Wynn is also across from the Fashion Show mall where there is an Apple store.
Tons of keynote speeches are taking place in the Venetian's meeting rooms and several booths and series are also being hosted at The Sands Expo and Convention Center adjacent to the hotel. Fortunately, the rooms inside the Venetian are geek-worthy. The newly renovated rooms inside the main tower feature three flat-screen TVs (one in the bathroom) and remote-controlled Roman Shades.
Las Vegas Hilton
There's not much that's technologically forward about this hotel's guest rooms but the Hilton is where some CES booths are displayed and the Industry Insiders Series will take place here. But the biggest attraction is its Star-Trek Experience. One trekkie went there and detailed all for HotelChatter here. We also just discovered that the Star Trek folk can marry you. Straight from Vegas.com:
Hardcore Trekkies can even set their phasers to "I Do" in a wedding ceremony aboard a replica of the bridge of the USS Enterprise 1701-D.
Aside from Trekkie nuptials, the hotel has wireless throughout the property for $12.99 in-rooms and free wireless near the Fortuna coffee shop. Word is if you sit at the high counter along the back wall you will find lots of outlets to plug in your gadgets.
[Photo: Andrew d'Entremont]
Flamingo Las Vegas
Normally, the Flamingo wouldn't make many lists, let alone this guide, but the hotel has redone some of its guest rooms, classifying them as GO rooms. The GO rooms look a little bit like a sorority girl's dream bedroom but these special renovated rooms include plasma TVs, docking stations, electronic drapes, wired and wireless connections, LED chrome reading lights, mirror televisions in the bathroom and sound soothing clocks.
However it is a little bit low-rent technology. The TVs aren't HD and the iPod docking station isn't as sleek as an iHome or a Bose. But we love the glossy look. If you want to book here, you need to select "Go Deluxe" or "Go Luxury" room type when you book online.
[Photo: Omar Omar]
They made us wait a while for it, but the Mandalay's newly renovated rooms are worth it. A 42-inch plasma TV can be found in the bedroom and a 15-inch LCD in the bathroom. The rooms also sport iHome iPod docking stations. But we liked the wireless service the best. You have to pay to play at $11.99 a day but we had four bar signal, fast surfing, no pop up ads, and no obvious site filters. Lastly, we know the Screech sex tape is available on-demand here.
And now, a hotel you will probably want to avoid, the Roman Tower at Caesar's Palace. The bathroom television (shown here) is like the phone Gordon Gekko uses in Wall Street -- looks like a Roman artifact. Someone should hack into it just for fun.
Also, there are no outlets near the room desks. The only outlet is near the beds -- so you will have to prop up the ironing board and use it as a desk and use the end of your bed as a chair if you hope to use your laptop in some sort of acceptable fashion.
Joe Duck has a comprehensive list of CES parties for geeks to attend but most of them are Invite Only.
We say check out the new bar/lounge on the scene--the Eyecandy Sound Bar and Lounge (pictured above) at Mandalay Bay which features interactive touch tables where guests can create visuals, engage in messaging and project images onto a screen above the dance floor.
Some other bars that we think would be CES-approved? Centrifuge at the MGM Grand, I-Bar at the Rio, Revolution at the Mirage, and Octane at Excalibur.