The former Sporting House space at New York New York which was make vacant back in June when the restaurant closed is soon to have two new restaurants open in its place; The new restaurants due to open by years end are ‘Tom’s Urban’ which last week had a job fair for 200 new employees and a New York import the ‘Shake Shack’ which was also hiring last week. The ‘Shake Shack’ is know in New York for its burgers, fries and custard and should fit in well as a more casual place to eat next to MGM’s $100 Strip makeover between NYNY and the Monte Carlo.

IMAG0027Recently we wrote about the opening of the 2nd Border Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace and they have announced that the location will now be open for brunch on the weekends. The new brunch service runs from 10am to 3pm and features numerous signature items from their menu served in small plates. For $34.99 you can get unlimited small plates and for $10 extra a person you can also add unlimited mimosas. The food is good so this might be a good way to check out some of their items from their menu or if you prefer standard lunch plates are also available.

The Rock N Roll Marathon returns to Las Vegas this week with the marathon and half marathon-taking place on Sunday night. Today and tomorrow at the Las Vegas Convention Center is a free event open to the public related to the marathon a ‘Health and Fitness Exposition.’ The event features 100 exhibitors and offer free samples as well as showcasing the latest in sports wear with of course running gear as well as health and nutritional information. The expo runs today from 11:30am to 7pm and tomorrow from 10:30am to 7pm in hall S1 at the convention center.

Las Vegas Convention Center: 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas 89109

IMG_20140131_083925The company that made a big deal about no resort fees for a time, before introducing them to its properties Caesars Entertainment now has introduced a standard $25 before tax resort fee to all its Las Vegas properties. The new charge means that Caesar’s properties such as the Flamingo or Harrahs have a resort fee on par with such properties as the Bellagio and Venetian which seems crazy. In the past if you were a Total Rewards Platinum member you could avoid the resort fee but now you have to be a Diamond or Seven Stars to avoid the charge. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of the higher end properties to introduce a $30 or $35 resort fee in the new future or early in the New Year to see how high they can go before they get pushback from customers.

SLSSoon after the recent rebirth of the Sahara as the SLS came the announcement that their buffet would only be open weekends and no longer on week days; Now the SLS has announced the buffet will go in to hibernation and be closed with a plan to reopen sometime next year after the slower Winter months. In recent years with the slow economy many resorts have cut hours for things such as their coffee shops especially during the slow months but closing a buffet completely at a new resort may be more of a sign of them not getting the traffic they expected. The SLS plans to revamp the buffet space during the downtime so they can make the space more attractive to locals although at this time no reopening date has been announced or potential hours the new buffet would operate in the spring.

Above is a commercial for the new remodeled and rebranded Linq Hotel & Casino next to the Linq entertainment district on the center Strip. The commercial is interesting because it was made before the remodel on the Quad was finished so what you get is lots of views of the Linq entertainment district but not of the Linq Hotel & Casino.

Over the last few years we have seen many properties downtown doing major overhauls such as the Fitzgerald’s being remodeled and, turned in to the D Las Vegas as well as the long shuttered Lady Luck finally reopening as a remodeled Downtown Grand; The Plaza also was remodeled in to well a new Plaza okay no name change in this case but the property was totally updated. It seems every major downtown property has done something even if it’s just adding a Fremont Street bar to the mix. A big exception to the updates seems to have been the Boyd properties downtown, which are the Fremont. California and Main Street Station. Boyd’s has seemed to be intent to pay down its debt and not make any major changes but that may have changed as they have announced the closing of the once popular Pasta Pirate at the California. Yes casino restaurant closings happen all the time but they happen less often downtown and very rarely at Boyd’s properties downtown. The replacement for Pasta Pirate is said to be an Asian noodle restaurant, which could do well with the Hawaiian and Asian package groups that the hotel brings in.   The footprint for the new restaurant will be larger than the current Pasta Pirate which will also include part of the main casino cage which has been located to the second floor for the moment. I don’t know if this is the start of Boyd’s updating all their downtown properties but any updates to properties are welcome.

Rock band KISS starts a series of concerts tomorrow night at 8pm at the Joint music venue inside the Hard Rock. The shows start at 8pm with a starting ticket price of $49.50 plus fees with more shows scheduled for November 7th and 8th, 14th and 15th the 19th and also the 22nd as well as 23rd. The over the top rock act make up and all should do okay in its mini run as i’m sure there is still a lot of KISS fans around. If you want to get in a KISS vibe the KISS mini golf and shop is located near the Hard Rock.

Above is a video of Chipotle Chicken Avocado sandwich being made at the Earl Of Sandwich this particular location is located inside Planet Hollywood next to the Miracle Mile mall. Ever since this location opened its been a favorite place to stop for great quality sandwiches at a reasonable price, well at least by Las Vegas resort pricing. The company also has a smaller location inside the food court at the Palms if you are closer to that location, either place is worth a stop to pick up a good sandwich.

The former Imperial Palace which as rebranded the Quad while the public areas where under construction has now opened under the new name called the Linq Hotel. The former name was okay but just not that exciting but the new name makes a lot more sense especially since the property is attached to the Linq entertainment district. 

SLSThe new SLS resort on the North end of the Strip made a big deal about its LIFE Nightclub before the properties opening but so far it seems the club isn’t drawing the attention it needs in a crowded Las Vegas night club scene. The properties location away from most of the Strip resorts also doesn’t help the club draw traffic although if they could draw some of the nightclub crowd to come check it out it could find its niche. One way the club is raising its profile is by the recent signing of a resident DJ in this case Steve Angello one of the top electronic dj’s  who will be launching his new concept at LIFE called ‘Reflections’ on November 22nd. The signing of a resident dj is a good move and with the huge Rock In Rio event happening next year across the street from the club could do well in the long run.

 

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The second Border Grill in Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace is now open in the former PJ Clarke’s space. The opening of this location has been looked forward too by many and is open for lunch and dinner and features the popular Border Grill food you may have tried in the other Las Vegas location or in Los Angeles. The restaurant has a demonstration kitchen a private dining room, cantina lounge, ceviche bar and a normal bar as well as great food so you might want to add it to your ever growing list of restaurants to try in Las Vegas.

IMG_20140131_072937Caesars Entertainment said they would hold many events at The Linq outdoor entertainment center and since its opening they have done that; the latest event is 2014 Red Bull Global Rally cross championship finale scheduled for November 4th and 5th. Rally cross if are not familiar with it is an off road auto race with high performance usually small production type cars. The races in Europe where the sport is most popular take place through forests and up mountains on asphalt roads as well as dirt tracks. The Red Bull event returns for the third time in a row to Las Vegas with Andretti Sports Marketing producing the event. The event at the Linq is being held at the properties event lot at Koval and Winnick Avenue and, is most likely to feature a manmade dirt course with lots of jumps.

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MGM Resorts International has announced they have sold Gold Strike their Jean, Nevada property to Jett Gaming a slot route operator. If you are not familiar with Gold Strike its the resort off to the right of the Interstate from California between State Line and Las Vegas. The property was part of the purchase when MGM bought the resorts at State Line which they sold but Gold Strike wasn’t sold as part of that deal. As MGM Resorts has opened more upscale properties the Gold Strike kind of operated on its own with its own players club that wasn’t part of the M Life players card. This may not be a shift to just upscale properties as MGM still operates properties such as Circus Circus, Excalibur  and Luxor and hasn’t shown an interest in changing them; This may be more that MGM is getting rid of a non core property and also one that has been rumored to closed down in recent times so hopefully the new operator will help the property.

 

Downtown GrandThe Downtown Grand offers a complimentary shuttle for its hotel guests to get around Downtown and visit some of the attractions. The hotel offers two lines the blue line starts service at 10:30am and runs about every 30 minutes from the Downtown Grand to the Premium Outlets (north) and then to the Container Park before returning to the property. The blue line service last shuttle leaves at 2:45 and then at 5pm the Orange Line begins service with stops at the same places as well as one stop at the Neon Museum At 6:40pm as well as stopping at the Smith Center For The Performing Arts many times. If no performances are scheduled at the Smith Center then only the 5:00pm service on the blue line will run. For more information on the shuttle service check with the Downtown Grand.

IMG_20140131_084124If you are a fan of white truffles and have more than a travel reporters budget, okay a lot more you might want to check out Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesar’s Palace. The restaurant right now has a six course meal including the celebrated fungi at $420 per person as well as menu items which are available a la carte.

Wicked a different version of the Wizard Of Oz seen in the movie returns to Las Vegas with a run through November at the Smith Center For Performing Arts in Downtown. I have seen the show in Los Angeles and its well worth checking out if you are looking for something a little different than the usual Las Vegas stage shows. (Video Courtesy KTNV Las Vegas)

The large Surrender nightclub at Encore is adding a huge glass dome with solar panels over the pool area at the club. The new dome is costing $2 million and is scheduled to open October 22nd and will help the outdoor area stay warmer so it can operate during the colder Winter months.

The Global Gaming Expo or G2E as its known begins today at the Sand’s Expo and Convention Center and will run through October 2nd. Two highlights of the show are today at 4:30pm when Las Vegas casino owner legend Steve Wynn takes the stage for a keynote; the second highlight is tomorrow also at 4:30pm when Sheldon Adelson another famous Las Vegas casino operator takes the stage in a second keynote. G2E is a trade show for the casino operators and companies producing products that they can sell to them including products such as slot machines, card shufflers, table games etc.

The above video shows the concerts as part of the ‘9th Annual Pure Aloha Fall Festival’ coming to the Rio on Saturday October 4th; Ticket prices for the concert are $30 pre-sale or $38 the day of the event or $100 for VIP, for more information contact the Rio box office. (Video is courtesy of vizzunent)

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The Purple Zebra that is located inside the Linq entertainment district is having a drink special today in celebration of Mexican Independence with their 32 oz specialty drink the ‘Ultimate Zebrita’ on sale for $20. The ‘Ultimate Zebrita ‘is a fishbowl filled with three frozen Margaritas with Patron and Grand Marnier because their is nothing sexier to the opposite sex than a person with their face in a fishbowl okay maybe not.

IMG_20140130_093642Over the last few years the MGM Grand has been undergoing a huge remodel with updated rooms, restaurants, night clubs and even the sprawling casino’s carpet; In recent months the construction and changes have slowed down but one change going on right now is that the longtime stable of the MGM Grand, Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House closed down after the Labor Day weekend on September 2nd for a remodel of the eighteen year old restaurant. But gumbo or fish fans don’t worry the restaurant and menu just go a little face lift with the updated restaurant opening last Friday and the grand reopening scheduled for October.

SLSWhen the new SLS stated that they were going to cater to locals as well as tourists many may have wondered how they were going to do that as locals generally go to their local casino most of the time than fight the tourists and traffic of the Strip; Well one way to market to the locals market is give them specials to draw them to the resort which is what the SLS is doing via its players club called The Code. Locals with the card get $5 drinks property wide from 5 to 8pm Sunday through Thursdays as well as 2 for 1 buffet deals which should draw some locals in to check out the property. The former Sahara was hurt by being surrounded by empty lots but if the new SLS at the same location can draw in more locals in with deals until the surrounding area gets built up over the next few years the property could do okay.

Cosmopolitan TowerAs part of Mexican Independence Day events the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan is holding ‘The Original Margarita Festival’ at 7pm with mixologists showcasing their takes on a Margarita. Some of the mixologists due to take part are from venues such as Vesper, Veleteen Rabit and Herb and Rye as well as many more local bars. The entrance fee for the event is $40 and, apart from unlimited Margarita’s you also get to vote on which ones you like with the top three going on to compete head to head and having to incorporate secret ingredients as they battle head to head. The winner of the event who is judged by Las Vegas drink experts gets an educational tour to Tequila, Mexico. If you plan on attending the event you must be 21 or older with a valid id aand a trip to Secret Pizza at Cosmopolitan first (non very Mexican but oh well) to have something in your stomach before drinking all the Margarita’s might not be a bad idea.

The annual San Gennaro Feast is underway this weekend celebrating Italian culture and runs through Sunday night on Grand Canyon Drive just South of Flamingo. The event has Italian food and drink vendors as well as carnival rides and live music. Entrance for the event costs $9 for adults and for more information visit their website sangennarofeast.com

New Westgate Las Vegas momument sign

New Westgate Las Vegas momument sign

The changes at the former LVH continue as another show has closed at the property as the property becomes the Westgate Las Vegas a timeshare property with a casino; The latest show to close is the Las Vegas Tenors which follows past shows that have closed recently Comedy After Dark and MO5AIC. As of right now that leaves the property with two shows The King which is an Elvis tribute act with Trent Carlini and Raiding The Rock Vault. It will be interesting to see how far the new owners will go in cutting costs and if the two remaining shows remain open, apart from being a timeshare resort the property also does a large convention business because of its location next to the Convention Center. The convention goers might want to see a show when staying at the property so having some kind of show option might be a good idea but running five or six shows might not be worth the cost. As the transition from full hotel resort to timeshare resort we will have to see what other changes the Westgate Las Vegas makes in future months.

Kardasian Khaos the boutique fashion  store at the Mirage has announced it will close on October 30th to make way for a coffee shop. In recent times coffee shops were cutting hours or closing so this is a double win a new coffee shop plus one less place to see the overexposed Kardasian’s. In the video above they talk about themselves of course as well as the soon to close Kardasian Khaos store. (video is courtesy of mlifetv)

El Cortez Front

The El Cortez in Downtown in recent years has been big on free food promotions and the free Klondike ice cream bar promotion is now going on on Wednesdays in September. You have to be a Club Cortez players club member (free to join) and then if you hit a jackpot of $25 or more with the card in you get a free Klondike bar. For more details see the Club Cortez players booth and maybe get something for your sweet tooth.

Rio Tower and Sign

The ‘9th Annual Pure Aloha Fall Festival’ is returning to the Rio and will take over the Rio parking lot between October 3rd through the 5th in a celebration of island culture. The event will include traditional live entertainment as well as concerts every evening and an expected 100 specialty food and retail vendors. General admission to the festival is $8 or $50 if you want the all access pass wrist band which includes midway rides in their carnival area. If you are in town and want to check out the festival the Rio is off Strip but still close to the Strip with the Rio, Gold Coast and Palms nearby if you want to stay close to the festival.

Las Vegas was hit with flight delays yesterday and flooding across Sin City after a series of storms flooded roads across town and as you can see in the video also the Quad garage which always floods during big storms, the above video is courtesy of Las Vegas television station KTNV channel 13.