Viva Las Vegas
Over the past 20+ years we have been to Las Vegas about 10 different times together and Jeff has been a couple of more with some old high school buddies. Boy, has Las Vegas changed over the years. It was never more evident than in the past couple of years. You can read our blog about how we manage to actually work while in Vegas here. We spent 3.5 weeks there this year at various times and visited different places including a number of celebrity Chef restaurants. You can read our post on Gordon Ramsay vs. Guy Fieri here. You can also view our post on resort fees (of which Vegas has the most and typically highest prices in the Untied States) here.
The Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip has changed the most (of the three Vegas options you have) over the past 10 or so years but it has never been more evident than this year. The Strip is the Strip and is unlikely to change. Super busy, big crowds, long walks from the sidewalk to reach the casino floors, etc. What we have noticed is some of the free shows are gone or less frequent. Shows like the water show at Bellagio or the pirate show at Treasure Island, staples of Vegas are done, or virtually non-existent anymore. The drinks flow less frequently at the tables or slots. If you do get one, it is in plastic cup (used to be glass) and you can no longer have more than one in front of you. Now they take your current drink whether half full or not before giving you another. It’s become so commercial and quite frankly after this year I think we’ve decided we could take or leave the Strip either way, ever again. There are some good things like the restaurants, but overall the Strip (including the hotel rooms) is not as affordable as it once was. Too bad!
Our biggest beef with the Strip is the gaming at a bar where they have lights on the back of the machines that indicate your play to the bartender. If you are not playing at least $1 per hand and then if you are only every 15 hands or so are you offered a complimentary beverage. Not like the old days!
Old Downtown Vegas
The last two years we have stayed multiple times at the Golden Nugget in downtown (or Old Vegas if you prefer). The Nugget has been renovated over the past number of years and we really enjoy staying there. While one of the bigger hotel ‘hot spots’ in downtown, and a little more expensive, it is a great place to stay. But it’s still more affordable than the Strip for the most part. The 4 Queens and Binions are also still great places to gamble. No minimums, no recording of spending, free pours (with proper, though small, glassware) and many $5 tables. Old Vegas is still a great place to spend time. And the free light show on Freemont Street goes every hour on the hour after dark!
East of downtown (a 5 minute walk), on the way to Container World, are some great new restaurants, pubs and bars. And the pricing is much better than the Strip. If you only have a three or four day trip to Las Vegas we recommend downtown vs the Strip. This area is going through growth spurt which makes it a great option.
Hoover Dam Nevada
Because of our travel schedule we drove past Hoover Dam twice and had to a third time on our way East again. Each time we passed the Hoover Dam Lodge. It is a stand alone hotel tower and casino, really in the middle of nowhere (besides Hoover Dam). It looked like a neat place to try and only 45 minutes from Las Vegas we thought we would give it a go! We were not disappointed. Large, newly renovated rooms, free parking, no resort fee, it was perfect for a one night stop over. As we hadn’t been to Hoover dam in 7 or 8 years we thought we would stay over and check out the dam on our way to the next destination in the morning.
With 5 restaurants (all casual dining) on site, it met our needs for one night. One of the (20 year old Vegas things) that it offered was that no matter what game you played (electronic only, no tables) you got complimentary drinks, no questions asked. And they came in real glassware of a proper size too. They had all the games you could want or to wager on from penny slots to $5 hands. If you have a car and a day to spare we recommend you give the Hoover Dam Lodge a try (it’s a 45 minute drive from downtown Vegas) and is a great place to hike from and to visit Hoover dam.
Pro Tip: Go to Hoover Dam before 10am when traffic is light and park on the Arizona side (free) vs the Vegas side ($10).
Final Thoughts On Las Vegas
The Strip is over rated, over priced, overly busy and not what it used to be (but the machines are looser). Old Vegas (downtown) is good value for money, gaming and drinking (the machines are a little tighter). Hoover Dam was great, but one night is enough (and the machines seem much tighter).
We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf for 9+ years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of August 2016 our life and our business is ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.