Wednesday 25th May, 2016

The MainEventTravel Guide to Las Vegas

By Mark Valentine

We were sitting at MainEvent Towers a few days ago thinking about Vegas, and we realised that there are several important things that you need to know for this year.

  • Uber – This taxi on-demand app is now serving Vegas (more details in Transport)
  • Resort Fees – DO NOT pre pay these…….EVER! (more details in Hotels)
  • MGM Hotels – They are all now charging for car parking
  • Ceasars Hotels - They now charge for Valet Parking (more details in Transport)

 Obviously there are more than just these three things that you need to know, but these are the ones that we felt were the biggest changes in the last couple of years.

 So, why are MainEventTravel the people that you should listen to when it comes to helpful hints and advice? Well there are a multitude of reasons. Here are a few of them:

Our Team have been visiting ‘Sin City’ since 1997
Our combined total number of trips is 62
The longest consecutive time that one of us has stayed in town is 6 months
Number of hotel rooms we have sold this summer (so far) is over 3,000
The number of WSOP bracelets we have won……. zero

So maybe don’t listen to us on how to win the Main Event, but we can certainly help you get to the Main Event.

HOTELS

As well as being able to offer advice and counsel on where to stay, we can also give you the low down on how to get about between hotels. At MainEventTravel, we not only list almost every hotel in Vegas, we can also advise you on every hotel in Vegas, quite simple because between us we have stayed in:

  • Aria
  • Monte Carlo
  • Planet Hollywood
  • The Palazzo
  • Treasure Island
  • Palms Place
  • The Golden Nugget
  • The Venetian
  • Excalibur
  • New York, New York
  • Bellagio
  • Wynn
  • The Elara
  • Vdara
  • The Cosmopolitan
  • Palms
  • Encore
  • Luxor
  • MGM Grand
  • The Linq
  • Harrah’s
  • The Rio
  • The Flamingo

What is important to know when you book a hotel is that many travel agents and websites (such as bookings.com) DO NOT include basic things like Sales Tax in their quoted price. This tax is 13.38% and guess what, everyone needs to pay it! At Main Event Travel, it is always included in the price we quote you.

Resort Fees are one of the things that we all hate having to pay, and we have spotted a couple of smaller companies offering rates that include Resort Fees. Well guess what, there are ways that you can have these waived from your bill! Last year several of our customers, through gambling in their hotels, were able to level up their player loyalty card level, which meant that in a lot of hotels the Resort Fees are waived. Many of you may already be at the required level to have these fees waived. Our advice here is NEVER to pre-pay these fees, as you may not need to pay them when you leave, but if you pay them in advance, they will not be refunded. At MainEventTravel, we do not add the resort fees to your booking.

TRANSPORT

Rule 1 - if you get in a taxi at the airport (unless you are perhaps staying at Mandalay Bay or Luxor), never ever let a taxi driver take you ‘on the Freeway’, or ‘through the Tunnel’. Going this way will add around $10 to your trip.

Rule 2 – Download the Uber app. This service is now running in Vegas and the vast majority of hotels and casinos now have dedicated pick up and drop off areas for ride sharing companies like Uber. If you enter the code 'uberMET123' when you download the app, you will be eligible for a free Uber ride up to the value of £10.

Rule 3 – If getting a taxi to the Rio for the WSOP, make sure they take you to the Convention Centre entrance. It’s a long walk from the main entrance of the Casino to the Amazon Room.

If you have rented a car, then perhaps Rules 1-3 don’t apply to you, so breathe easy. But beware that a new charge has arrived in Vegas that you didn’t have to pay before. All MGM Resorts locations on the strip (Mandalay Bay, Delano, Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Vdara, Aria, Bellagio, The Mirage and MGM Grand) will charge for parking from June onwards. Charges per 24 hours are up to $10 for self-parking and $18 for Valet Parking, although Mlife members Gold and above are still offered complimentary valet parking. A full breakdown of charges can be found at https://www.vegas.com/transportation/parking-garages/

Places to visit on the Strip:

The Linq Promenade - An outdoor retail, dining and entertainment plaza, The LINQ Promenade offers several different experiences all in one place at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. The focal point is the High Roller, a 550-foot observation wheel -- the tallest in the world -- offering 360 degree views of the Las Vegas valley. This marketplace offers approximately 40 shops and restaurants in a 200,000-square-foot area. Restaurants and nightlife includes: O'Shea's Casino, Chayo, The Haute & Yard House.

Places to visit off the Strip:

Fremont East – Not the old casinos under the light show, but keep walking east and join in the party at The Griffin, Commonwealth, Beauty Bar or grab a bite in the Park. Fremont East is an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and the arts.

Chinatown - Like most large cities, Las Vegas has its own Chinatown. Unlike most large cities, the name is misleading. Businesses are just as likely to be run by Japanese/Thai/Vietnamese/Korean/Mexican people as they are by Chinese locals. The area is made up of shopping centers where the traditional unattractive strip mall architecture is sometimes embellished with Asian touches, but make no mistake, good eats abound.

Best High End Restaurants:

CUT – Ever tried real Japanese Wagyu Beef? We don’t mean from cattle that are ‘home grown’ whose great, great grandmother once sent milk to Japan. CUT serve probably the best imported Japanese beef in the world for you to sample, along with lots of other quality produce. It is in an easy to find location on the walkway between the Venetian and the Palazzo

Rao’s Las Vegas – This legendary New York restaurant is tiny and getting reservations has always been a next to impossible. Fear not, for a taste of Italian food cooked with love, head to Rao’s in Caesars Palace.

Best Regular Priced Restaurants:

Gordon Ramsay Brgr – America’s favourite fast food and the UK’s best known celebrity chef combine inside Planet Hollywood. There are some amazing concoctions that will not only satisfy your hunger, but you can also tick ‘eaten at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant’ from your Bucket List, for a bargain price!

Yard House – With Locations at the LINQ, Town Square and Red Rock Resort, Yard House is a road trip across America with flavours from all around the country. You also can’t forget that they have over 100 beers on tap from all over the globe.

Best Budget Restaurants:

In-n-Out – Pretty much an American West Coast institution. Cheap and tasty burgers from the simplest menu you will ever see. If you want to be adventurous, then look up the ‘Not so secret Menu’ and visit one of their many Vegas Locations including the Linq Promenade.

Hot’n Juicy Crawfish – Pick your favourite shellfish, your favourite flavourings, and they will boil it up in a bag and serve it to you, straight from the bag!

Best Bars:

Commonwealth - Commonwealth is basically three bars in one. There's the main bar that you see when you walk in, a rooftop bar, and a cocktail-only space called the Laundry Room. They tend to refer to the Laundry Room as a speakeasy. But if it openly exists, and you can make a reservation, it's not really a speakeasy, is it?

The Griffin - Despite a giant neon "cocktail" sign in front of the Griffin, there's no cocktail list at the bar. Small fireplaces are scattered throughout the western-meets-medieval space, making it a good choice on those shockingly cold Las Vegas nights (Ok, maybe not in July, but even then it still feels nice and cosy). When it's busy on weekends, a secret room in the back occasionally opens up for dancing and deep house music.

The Velveteen Rabbit - The dark South Main Street bar has velvet upholstered furniture everywhere, but it's the adventurous cocktail list that grabs people's attention. The "No Soup for You" (gin, dry vermouth, veggie broth, sweet potato puree, lemon, celery bitters, and a tomato water ice cube) sounds more like a meal than a drink.

Olive Hookah Lounge - Everything about Olive is weird. It's in a strip mall. It's a lounge. There's hookah. There's an adjoining Mediterranean restaurant. There's live music. What? But the small stage at Olive is where local musicians like to test out some of their new stuff before taking it to larger venues. The weirdly bohemian vibe gives it a coffee shop feel, whether there's a hip-hop act or Latin jazz on the stage. Olive can be found on East Sunset Road, just East of McCarran Airport.

Best Places to Party:

Hakkasan - Home to world-famous DJs Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Steve Aoki and Hardwell, Hakkasan in MGM Grand is one of the most exciting and successful nightlife designs ever conceived. Hakkasan Las Vegas is the bold evolution of the prestigious global restaurant brand into an all-encompassing nightlife experience. The nightclub offers a diverse nightlife experience with a variety of areas and atmospheres, cutting-edge technology and inspired design immersed in three levels of refined decadence.

Stoney’s - Cowboy boots, line dancing' and a whole lot of bull… riding.. Stoney's is back!. Located In Town Square, on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, surrounded by restaurants and a Whole Foods, Stoney's has been rockin' the country scene for years. Live music hits the stage on the weekends as well as dance lessons to turn your 1.5 step into an all-out two. And all of that comes with some of the best deals you'll find in a Las Vegas bar.