Friday, October 2, 2009

Vegas Vacation 2009. . . .The never-ending construction:

For almost 20 years, Las Vegas, Nevada has been my home away from home. Without exception, Las Vegas changes dramatically between every visit. During the early 1990’s, I would work one week in Phoenix and the next week in Nevada. I have stayed in almost every notable hotel and casino on and off the strip. I did this routine for over a year. And yes! It did get old after a while.

I suggest you never ever stay at the Imperial Palace. The “Palace” is a “dive”. Some of my former business associates nicknamed it the “Imperial Death Star”. Imagine staying in a room while workers tear up the floor just outside your door. That might have been a long time ago, but I’ll always hold that against them. I have not been there since they sold Hitler’s car. That was the last straw!

I have moved up in the world since those days. I call the Hilton Grand Vacations Resort behind the Flamingo Hilton my vacation home. It’s one of the few residential towers on the strip. The rooms are nice and the TV is big. The only complaint I have is that a room with a retail price of $1000/night (according to the sign on the door) should have more hot water. I really didn’t want to wake up as fast as I did on Wednesday morning. They should have also stocked two-ply toilet paper, but I was willing to give up that luxury for a few nights. The free newspaper delivered to the door was a nice touch.
Vegas Today and Tomorrow

Hilton Grand Vacations
Vacation ownership at Hilton Grand Vacations Club resorts (on the Las Vegas strip) allows you to choose the weeks and seasons you prefer to travel to your home resort. The ever-growing popularity of Las Vegas as a travel destination prompted HGVC to develop it's third Vegas Hilton Grand Vacations Club resort.This project is due-north of Sky Las Vegas on the north end of the Strip. The other two locations are behind the Flamingo (sharing the pools area) and adjacent to the Las Vegas Hilton on Paradise Road.

Tower one and two are now open. The taller, towers three and four have not yet broken ground. Tower three will break ground in February of 2008.

The 3,812-room, 68-floor, 730-foot, Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel/condo-hotel/casino is a $2.9-billion development being built on the Strip (just north of the Riviera) on the 24.5 acres where the El Rancho and Algiers casinos once stood.

The Vegas project will have a condo-hotel element, based on an alliance between Fontainebleau and Turnberry. Construction is under way with a planned opening in fall of 2009
Despite a recession and falling gaming revenues, the building continues. As you can see in my photos, cranes are everywhere. Many of them are currently idle, but none the less, building continues. Change is the only constant in Las Vegas. While walking along Las Vegas Blvd. On Wednesday, I saw a “beehive” of activity. Just remember all of the people that are losing their asses on the market and their 401k’s. Many of those same people are in Las Vegas or at their local Indian reservation spending money they don’t have.

I walked through many of the up scale shopping centers and noticed stores such as Armani and Gucci. I saw very few people carrying merchandise in those fancy designer boxes and bags. Most of the shops were nearly empty. People are out shopping, but they are not necessarily buying.

One of the things I was looking for was a black pull over hoodie. These tend to run around $40 wherever I look. Finally, I found one for just $10.00. Upon paying the cashier, I discovered that the sales tax rate was 8.1%.
I thought it was bad in Arizona before I saw this. Recently, we were jumping all over our governor for wanting to raise our sales tax by ½%. We are all being taxed into the ground.

With cashless gaming, people never actually touch the money they lose. I had to go all the way down to Freemont Street to find a slot machine that still took coins. I won’t name it here, but it was a run down place. The blonde with the fishnets and firm butt cheeks did look good as she was dancing on the bar. I miss seeing all the people running around with cups full of nickels. Penny slots were the most common machines I saw on this visit. The catch is, you have to play 180 coins or better to cover all the lines.

I stopped in at the Hooters Casino (formerly San Remo) just east of the strip on Tropicana. I found a cool looking pirate penny slot and after nearly 30 minutes managed to walk away with $5.00 more than I started with. There were not nearly enough Hooters girls. The funniest slot machine I saw was the “Alien” machine. It featured an “egg bonus” If you remember, there was nothing good about those eggs in the movie. Ripley can testify to that. I didn’t bother to try it at all.
"Actually, I usually told the truth, and as I grew up I admired and respected people who had the courage to be truthful when it was disadvantageous to them... But as I grew up I also learned that life is a complicated business, and that sometimes it isn't easy to decide what is right and what is wrong...." --Dr. William L. Pierce

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