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VegasChatter is THIS many!
VEGASCHATTER WAS BORN! Yup, we went public with VegasChatter five years ago (during a recession mind you) and since then, VegasChatter has been fast and furiously covering the constant changes of Sin City. And boy has this city really changed.
Back in 2009, we were still thinking the Fontainebleau would open (Hat tip to @DenverGambler for pointing this out). Meanwhile, resort fees were still a rarity and if a hotel did have them, the total cost was well under $28 a night.
The Imperial Palace and Bill's Gambling Hall were still around (now they go by The Quad and The Cromwell) and the High Roller had not yet been built. Britney Spears was still somewhere in crisis mode instead of headlining a residency at Planet Hollywood. The Tropicana was just unveiling its major renovations and was not yet a DoubleTree affiliated hotel. And neither CityCenter nor The Cosmopolitan had opened yet (CityCenter arrived in late 2009 while Cosmo came the following December.) Even Downtown Vegas looks completely different with more attractions and new hotels to draw people from The Strip. Oh and the Sahara was still in operation before it closed to transform into the SLS.
And this is just the lint on the surface of the blackjack table. There's a LOT more to discover in Vegas...like this:
For so long, visitors to Las Vegas have been hypnotized by the massive hotel casinos that populate The Strip. With thousands upon thousands of hotel rooms, sprawling casino floors, restaurants for every appetite and nightclubs for every kind of party, Las Vegas has been ruled by the "Bigger is Better" credo.
But when The Cromwell opens at the end of May (in the old Bill's Gambling Hall location), they hope to change what Vegas visitors are used to—switching from massive casino resort to intimate boutique hotel, and perhaps more importantly, from a transaction-based stay to an experience-based stay.
“We’re really more about the experience,” said Karie Hall, general manager of The Cromwell. “In Vegas, you get [the experience] for your best guests but this is our chance to give it to every guest."
Indeed, Hall said Cromwell looked to other boutique and luxury hotel groups like Mandarin Oriental, Standard Hotels, Morgans Hotels, and even SLS Hotels to see what personalized services they offer and to understand best how to deliver on them. (Interestingly, by next year, all these hotels, except the Standard, will have a presence on the Strip.)
As The Cromwell puts the finishing touches on its building over the next month, here are some confirmed experiences that guests will receive just by booking a room, starting with the hotel’s complimentary happy hour.
When Caesars Entertainment closed Bill's Gambling Hall (formerly the Barbary Coast) last year, the decision was clear--the property on the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard was going to be a boutique hotel.
While the initial hotel brand, who shall not be named, didn't work out, and Caesars decided to run the property on their own, they are still determined to offer a true boutique experience with the new The Cromwell Hotel, opening on May 21st. Here's how they'll do it.
For starters, The Cromwell only has 188 hotel rooms. By comparison, the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace has 181 rooms. But Nobu is a part of a massive casino experience and it doesn't have its own entrance (although it does have dedicated Nobu bellmen at the front of Caesars to greet guests.) Because of the limited amount of rooms, The Cromwell can take guests from arrival through check-in and up to their rooms in a much faster time than any other hotel in town.
The Cromwell will also have its own casino (but no sports book) as well as the first-ever restaurant from Giada De Laurentiis and day and nightclub venues from Vegas's after-hours legend, Victor Drai. Specialty F&B and happening nightlife on property? Check and check.
But its the perks that The Cromwell will bestow on its guests that will at last bring the boutique game to Vegas. No high-roller suite needed. Here's what to expect when you book a standard room at The Cromwell:
Room Service / Nobu Hotels / Turndown Service / Viva Vegas / Starwood Preferred Guest / Hotel Services / Caesars Entertainment / Natura Bisse / → All Tags
Here's what greeted us one Saturday morning--green tea waffles ($20), a specialty of the Nobu in-room dining menu, served with an egg and bacon along with traditional maple syrup, Yuzu whipped cream, and a sweet Shiso syrup.
Another thing that's still alive and well at The Nobu Hotel is turndown service which features not only little boxes of chocolates and a properly turned-downed bed but also a special lavender mist from Natura Bisse (they do the bath toiletries at Nobu as well.) Turndown service is in addition to the complimentary Welcome amenity at Nobu which is a pot of freshly made green tea and specialty crackers.
Another nice touch was the Nobu Hotel chapstick, passion-fruit flavored and with SPF 15 too. We wonder if all these goodies will make it inside the Nobu Hotel that's to open soon at the Eden Roc Hotel in Miami. Or maybe they'll put a different spin on it--iced green tea and sushi bento boxes on the beach come to mind.
Viva Vegas / VegasChattter / Sweet Suites / 24-Hour Hotel Stays / Hotel Scams / Hotel Clubs / → All Tags
If you haven't been to Vegas for a few years, then you're going to be blown away by the amount of changes that have happened in Sin City. Heck, even if you haven't been to Vegas in a year or two years, you might not recognize the latest re-incarnation of Fabulous Las Vegas.
Our sibling, VegasChatter is constantly chronicling the changes but if you've got a short attention span (and this is the internet so who doesn't?), here are 5 New Things to Try in Vegas (and 1 Big Thing to Avoid.)
1. THE PALMS' 24-HOUR HOTEL STAYS
We named 24-Hour Hotel Stays the Best New Service of 2013 and now, the trend has hit Vegas at the Palms Hotel and Casino. So if you check-in at 8pm on a Friday, you don't have to leave until 8pm on Saturday. There are some contingencies such as you must book through Palms.com and you must note your check-in time when you make the reservation. You also have to book either a Superior or Premier room, or the Ivory Suite to get the 24-hour stay. But it's totally worth it if it means saving you five hours from hanging around the airport with a nasty hangover. (Read more about it here.)
Loyalty Program News / Loyalty Programs / Viva Vegas / Hyatt Gold Passport / Starwood Preferred Guest / Hilton HHonors / Marriott Rewards / Fine Hotels and Resorts / → All Tags
If you're a frequent hotel guest, then you're probably a member of that hotel's loyalty program. Or you should be, so you can earn and use loyalty points at different hotels across the world.
While using a hotel's loyalty program is pretty straight-forward (find the hotel brand in whatever city you like and book), things work a little bit differently in Las Vegas which is dominated by massive hotel-casino resorts. In past years, you needed to be a member of a casino's players club program to earn rewards like upgrades, dinner comps and free rooms.
But that's no longer the case. Even first-time visitors to Vegas (affectionately called Vegas Virgins on our sister site, VegasChatter.com), can get a free room, a killer view, and more, all through their existing loyalty program membership.
See where your favorite hotel loyalty program can be used in Vegas below!
It's been nearly three years since the legendary Sahara Hotel closed down in Las Vegas and we've been stalking the property's transformation into the SLS Las Vegas ever since. And now, thanks to our super SLS stalker sibling, VegasChatter, we've got an opening date--Labor Day Weekend.
Hotelier Sam Nazarian announced the date on the SLS blog simply saying:
Hello Vegas! It’s been an incredible journey these past few years and I’m proud and humbled by some big news – SLS Las Vegas is officially opening Labor Day Weekend 2014. Looking forward to toasting The Strip’s next chapter with you! We are “back” indeed!
No word on when the room reservations will open or how much they will cost but given that Labor Day weekend is a big weekend in Vegas and this is a much-hyped new hotel and casino, we bet it will be a pretty penny. But we'll do our best to get in there on opening day.
Still interested in attending opening weekend? You can always book the SLS 5th Anniversary Package which includes two tickets to the SLS Las Vegas opening. For "only" $10,000!
Ever since Gansevoort Las Vegas was dismissed as the operator for Caesars Entertainment's new boutique hotel in Vegas (opening in the old Bill's Gambling Hall building), speculation on the new name has been running wild, with most folks, including us and our super sibling, VegasChatter, believing it to be The Cromwell. Lo and behold, today's announcement from Caesars, made moments ago on their website. Here are the details:
With its prime location on one of the busiest intersections of the Las Vegas Strip – one that welcomes more than 20 million passersby each year – The Cromwell will feature 188 rooms and suites, a 40,000 square foot casino, hotel lobby bar, lounge, restaurant by Giada De Laurentiis and day and nightlife venues by Victor Drai.
Indeed, not much has changed from the original Gansevoort announcement, not even the purple-hued logo on the rendering. (Here's what the rendering used to look like.)
Bitcoin / Bitcoin Hotels / Geek Hotels / Viva Vegas / Las Vegas Hotels / Downtown Vegas Hotels / Hotel News / → All Tags
We thought Bitcoin, the open-source internet currency, was over…as far as using it to pay for hotel stays. Indeed, the Howard Johnson hotel in Fullerton, Calif. that we spoke to back in 2011 stopped using it after the Bitcoin market crashed.
But today Bitcoin is back and is now accepted in the one city where money talks--Las Vegas.
Two Downtown Vegas hotels--the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino will begin taking Bitcoins starting tomorrow, including the front desk for each hotel and the D's gift shop. You can even use Bitcoin to pay for Coney Dogs at American Coney Island and steaks at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Here's how it will work:
Bitcoin purchases at the casino hotels will be processed through BitPay, a service that streamlines transactions using tablet and mobile interfaces. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to easily pay for services using their mobile wallets.
Derek Stevens, CEO of the D and Golden Gate, said the hotels began accepting Bitcoin due to "guest demand." Hmm…while we like how Stevens took initiative, guest demands sounds unlikely. After all, do you know someone using Bitcoin? Seriously, do you? Ok, maybe some of you do. But most of us just know about Bitcoin from its Wikipedia page.
Nonetheless, one Bitcoin equals roughly about $822 and considering that rooms at the D start at $22 tomorrow night, if you're in possession of just one Bitcoin, then you can go wild in Vegas.
If we were a betting person, which we really aren't, we'd place some HUGE bets on the new name for Bill's Gambling Hall (which was supposed to be the The Gansevoort Las Vegas until that deal crapped out)--THE CROMWELL.
VegasChatter reported on the rumor on Monday, initially uncovered by Vegas Seven who cited sources as saying "the deed is done." Indeed, when we hit up the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database, we found The Cromwell to be registered to Caesars (So have several websites, according to Vegas Seven.). Everything else planned for the property should remain the same including 188 sexy, boutique-style guestooms, 19 suites, a Strip-side restaurant from Giada de Laurentiis (yes, that Giada) and the return of Drai's nightclub, which will include a rooftop pool and day club.
And now given the news that Caesars' player's club, Total Rewards, has partnered up with SPG we fully expect some new SPG Moments to include a cooking class with Giada and a poolside cabana at Drai's.
We're just wondering how The Cromwell, which is such a staid sort of name, will fare in Sin City. Then again, we thought The Cosmopolitan was silly at first. So the name is not the only game here.
We scoped out the construction site yesterday hoping for some sneak peeks at the rooms or public spaces but the construction crews were still removing parts of the old Sahara and putting in newer foundations. Various parts of the buildings are also trying out some paint jobs and the entire site is wrapped in banner ads for the restaurants, bars and retail coming to the SLS (Umami burger! Fred Segal!)
Still, we won't be able to see much happening on this hotel for another few more months. Don't worry, if something does happen, VegasChatter will be all over it.
You know us. We love to be one of the first people inside a new hotel and that's what we're doing at the just-opened Downtown Grand hotel in downtown Las Vegas. The hotel has been soft-opened for about 10 days but it's official opening in 11.12.13. (See what they did there?)
The Downtown Grand has transformed the old Lady Luck into an "industrial chic" hotel and casino. But perhaps more importantly, DTG has also helped revitalize the block surrounding the property, nicknamed Downtown3rd, adding several restaurants across the street from the hotel. We were so impressed with the hotel's stylish boutique look and innovative eatery options, we almost forgot there's a 25,000-sq.ft. casino here too. This seems to be the way of Vegas these days with revenue from gambling constantly shrinking while revenue from shopping, restaurants and nightclubs keep growing.
But enough about that. Now onto the guest rooms at DTG....