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Cheers from Nevada! Last week, we left off in downtown Los Angeles and this week we fly to Las Vegas for a couple of rocking parties! If you want to come along for the ride, then grab your weekend bag and Lady Luck because we're off to Vega$, baby!
I traveled to Las Vegas to attend a Travel Industry Association of America
(TIA) conference. I thought I would drop in and say hi to some of my colleagues and attend some fun parties. I really had no excuse ... I was in L.A. for the week and it's only a forty minute flight, so why not? Unfortunately, I ended up missing most of the conference but I did catch the keynote speaker, Guy Kawasaki, a truly inspiring entrepreneur and visionary. He delivered a great speech on the Art of Innovation. Afterwards, I
attended the Travelzoo Awards
at Mandalay Bay, which, to be totally honest, were disappointingly boring.
But what awards show
is really exciting, anyway? Especially when everyone there is getting an award…except you! The real action
at the Vegas.com/ PJInc party. Now these people know how to throw a soirée! For starters, it was on the top floor of the Palms Hotel and Casino, in the $40,000 a night Hugh Hefner Sky Villa suite. This three bedroom, two-story, 9,000-square-foot suite is modeled after the Playboy mansion. There's even
a heart-shaped bed
and has a mirror above. The Playboy Bunny pool
that juts out over the edge of the hotel offers an amazing view of the Vegas skyline and completes the extravagance of this palatial space. All kinds of travel execs were there (most were from my favorite websites) as well as Palms Hotel owner George Maloof. Sadly, neither Hugh nor his sidekicks were at the party but the party organizers did hire scantily clad kissing bandits to serve snacks and drinks and well, kiss the guests.
This was a last-minute trip and most of the hotels in Vegas were either sold out or ridiculously expensive. I was offered the opportunity to stay at the Flamingo Las Vegas
(formerly the Flamingo Hilton) in one of the newly
renovated GO rooms . It's only an extra $50 on top of your room rate to go from a regular room to a GO suite. The GO rooms are very 60s-retro, with wallpaper that reminded me of a Good ‘N Plenty box of candy, and a big ol' comfortable bed
with a white vinyl headboard. Each room has two 42" flat screen television sets and another smaller one recessed into the
There's no question they're cool but if you ask me, the rooms just aren't big enough to justify two gigantic TVs... unless you're a sports bookie. Ah! No wonder they have two! The remote control blinds added a nice touch and my room had a view
of the mountains and the
There are a ton of places to eat at the Flamingo;
I dined at
The food was good and the service outstanding. For something a lot more casual and less expensive the most popular eatery is Jimmy Buffet's
This one is huge like its on steroids and it's supposedly the top-grossing restaurant in the U.S. The
upstairs is a fine place to get a bird's eye view of the Vegas Strip while snacking on some decent American
What I didn't like about the Flamingo's GO Rooms is that the bathroom
has a frosted, sliding glass door that doesn't close completely and leaves a bit of a gap ... this doesn't leave much room for privacy. So, if you're sharing a room it can be kind of awkward – especially if you're pee-shy, like me. I also found the room walls to be thin ... I was awakened at 7:20am one morning to the sound of a whiny kid pleading with his parents to let him go swimming. Of course, half asleep I yelled, "TAKE HIM FOR A SWIM, WILL YA?" It worked. Another night, I woke up in the middle of the night with cotton-mouth. This happens to me all the time when I'm in the desert or at a high altitude. This time, it was a bad case and my mouth was so dry I couldn't even close it. I frantically searched the room for the over-priced mini-bar but found nothing. I called the front desk, mumbling, "Where the hell is the mini-bar hidden?" I was informed that the rooms don't have mini-bars. Have you ever heard of a Vegas hotel room without a mini-bar? I had to resort to tap water which was so foul, I was forced to put my clothes on and march down to the lobby gift shop to buy an armful of the little 8oz bottles, which to top it all off, cost $2.50 a pop! TIP: Unless you can find a guy selling bottled water illegally on the street for $1 a bottle, it's worth a trip to the supermarket to stock up. Speaking of tap water, the water temperature in the shower didn't get terribly hot. I'm not surprised because it's mind boggling that these mega-hotels even have enough water to begin with to supply their thousands of rooms. I mean, The Flamingo alone has 3,565 rooms.
Obviously, the Flamingo is nowhere near being on the same grandiose scale as the Wynn, Bellagio, Venetian, Caesar's Palace or Mandalay Bay. The Flamingo is old and I will probably never stay there again unless they change their check-in
process, which was by far the worst part of my whole stay. Can you believe I waited 30 minutes (it felt like 2 hours) just to get my room key? Who wants to do that after getting off a flight? When I reached the counter and complained, the clerk said, "Thirty minutes? That ain't bad … it's usually longer." I almost fainted. Room rates begin at $87 (though lower rates can usually be found online). Check-in is at 4pm and check-out is at 11am. WiFi costs $11.99 a day. Flamingo Las Vegas, 3555 Las Vegas Blvd S; Las Vegas, NV 89109; tel.: 702-733-3111, Reservations: 800-732-2111.
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