Access Vegas Insider Vibe – August 23, 2000

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This Issue: Aladdin Grand Opening

Curious about a restaurant, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:



LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:FOOD TV – is having the “Food Event of the Year.” Live cooking demos by Food Network personalities, samples of a wide variety of dishes from Las Vegas’ hottest restaurants, and a chance to be part of an Emeril TV special that will air Sept. 30 are just a few of the festivities taking place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Sept. 17. Tickets are $30 and available at (800) 949-CHEFREAGAN NATIONAL – America West and National Airlines are both running special introductory fares in conjunction with their new service from Reagan National airport to Las Vegas. Info on these fares at:

America West –
National Airlines –

ELVIS – RCA has now released the three-CD Elvis Presley box set “That’s The Way It Is,” which includes a significant amount of material recorded in Las Vegas. Review is at and it is available from Amazon at discount:

CD Long Box –
CD Box Set –

HOOVER DAM – Mike Kelly of the Toledo Blade wrote a very humorous article about his bus tour to see the “Star’s Homes” and Hoover Dam at It’s a read that most Vegas visitors will appreciate.

LANCE BURTON – The Evansville Courier & Press did a nice story on the now infamous Las Vegas magician at More info on his is available at

MY VACATION – Where do you vacation when you live in Las Vegas? I had an enjoyable week in Destin/Ft. Walton, FL enjoying the white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. This area truly is a best kept secret. A big thumbs-up to the Ramada Resort down there ( ) for their great service and beautiful setting. My condolences to those who regularly have to fly Delta through Atlanta. What a joke, especially the Delta Connection. They own Atlanta and they don’t care. AirTran — please start serving Las Vegas so I can enjoy more of the Southeast affordably!

$25 HOTEL REBATE – Extended to any reservation made in August (for travel any time) — you pick the hotel! Our partners at Hotel Reservations Network are giving you $25 back on any 2+ night stay in Las Vegas or any major city they reserve. Claiming your cash is simple:

1. Go to and print out that page
2. Book a room online at by August 31
3. Send in for your rebate when you get home.

It doesn’t get any easier than that, and you get their low price guarantee to boot!

WINNERS! – Keith B. Stolz of Houston, TX, Matt Tornes of Marietta, OH, Bruce Olsen of Port Orchard, WA and Mark Carrothers of New Philadelphia, OH were the winners of Doc’s 2000 Complete Season Sports Journal.

Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Scenic Southwest Tours – by plane, bus, or even helicopter! You’ve seen the glossy ads in the tourist brochures. You’ve thought about it. You come all the way to Las Vegas — why not see one of the some of the most famous landmarks in the world! Don’t by tricked by web sites & magazines that offer discount tours. Taxes, park fees, permits can almost double the price. Our prices are inclusive – no hidden charges! Best Las Vegas Tours

Quick Concert and Show Notes:See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates atáJERRY LEWIS – has just signed a 20 year deal to play The Orleans hotel (about 7 minutes west of the Strip on Tropicana). There is conjecture whether this is for real, or somewhat of a publicity stunt given the mediocre crowd count at his last run, and the scheduling of his next run during a slower week. But, if this does turn into a permanent run, we’ll review it.

Aladdin – The Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Paul Mercer Ellington Aug. 27, Cassandra Wilson, Aug. 28 -Sept. 2, Peabo Bryson, Sept. 4-9, The Guess Who on Sept. 9, Chick Corea Sept. 11-16, Scorpians w/ Nevada Festival Symphony Orchestra on Sept. 23, Pat Metheny Sept. 25-30, David Sanborn Joe Sample, Richard Bona and Brian Blade Oct. 2-7, Greg Allman Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 13-15, Dr. John Oct. 16-21, Roberta Flack Oct. 23-24 and Oct. 26-28, Afro Cuban All-Stars Oct. 30-Nov. 4, Chuck Mangione Dec. 4-9. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Aladdin discount rooms are available at (Aladdin link).

Hard Rock Hotel – Mary J. Blige on Aug. 26, The Cult on Sept. 2, Robert Cray Band on Sept. 3, John Haitt on Sept. 9, and Culture Club on Nov. 14. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Las Vegas Hilton – Howie Mandel Sept. 1-3, Reba McEntire Sept. 14-17, Kenny Rogers Sept. 22-23, Engelbert Humperdinck Sept. 26 – October 1, Face To Face Sept. 30, Steven Wright Oct. 7-8, Tim Conway and Harvey Korman in their “Together Again” tour Oct. 19-21 (return engagement), Sinbad Nov. 2-4, Jeff Foxworthy Nov. 30 – Dec. 3, and Brooks & Dunn Dec. 4-6. Tickets are available at (800) 222-5361 and Las Vegas Hilton discount rooms are available at (Las Vegas Hilton link).

Mandalay Bay – Duran Duran Aug. 25-26, Isaac Hayes Aug. 25-26, Jethro Tull Aug. 27, Godsmack on Aug. 31, Static X Sept. 1, Third Eye Blond on Sept. 2, George Clinton on Sept. 6, Joan Osbourne on Sept. 8, Savage Garden Sept. 10, Bangles on Sept. 15, Steve Miller Band Sept. 17, Luther Vandros with Boyz II Men Sept. 22, Little Feat Sept. 22, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Sept. 29, Kenny G on Sept. 30, and Tonic on Oct. 6. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

MGM – Rita Rudner now – Sept. 4, Tom Jones Aug. 10-23, Sting on Aug. 19, David Copperfield Aug. 24-30, Tony winning show Cabaret Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, Rodney Dangerfield Aug. 31- Sept. 6, Carrot Top Sept. 7 – 13, Shaolin Monks on Sept. 20-28, Jimmy Buffet on Sept. 29, Frozen Fury 4 pits the L.A. Kings against the Colorado Avalanche on Sept. 30, U.S. Open of Supercross Oct. 14-15, Pearl Jam on Oct. 22, and Tina Turner with Joe Cocker Nov. 18. Tickets available at (800) 929-1111 and MGM discount rooms are available at (MGM link).

Riviera – Tommy Chong & Bobcat Goldthwait Sept. 1,2, and 3, Tony Orlando on Oct. 13 and 14, Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling on Oct. 20 and 21. Tickets at (702) 794-9433 and Riviera discount rooms are available at (Riviera link).

The Orleans – Smothers Brothers Aug. 25-27, The Little River Band on Sept. 1-3, and The Everly Brothers Oct. 25-29. Tickets at (702) 365-7075 and Orleans discount rooms available at (The Orleans link).

Thomas & Mack – Up In Smoke tour featuring Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and Eminem on Aug. 11, Red Hot Chili Peppers with Stone Temple Pilots on Sept. 13, AC/DC on Sept. 14, and Phish on Sept. 29. Tickets at (888) 464-2468. The Hard Rock hotel is within walking distance of the Thomas and Mack and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

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FEATURE STORY: Aladdin Grand Opening

I’m running a little late, but so was the opening of the Aladdin! Thursday night came and went, with the casino not yet passing fire inspection. Upwards of 20,000 people were disappointed as the fireworks were postponed and only the Desert Passage shopping area was open to the public for a few hours. Guests were moved to other hotels, but to their credit, the Aladdin only rented out a few hundred rooms the first night, and increased the number of available rooms by a few hundred each evening as they ramp up.

By midmorning on Friday, the casino was open and the last of the current casino building boom on the Strip was officially over. The Aladdin clocked in at around $1.4 billion with 2600 rooms and the 500,000 sq. ft. Desert Passage — the Strip is now lined with casinos from Mandalay Bay to Treasure Island.

The main gaming area has an incredibly high ceiling, and for once a gaming property put it to good use. Casinos like New York, New York and Paris used the height to build facades, but gave little opportunity to offer a balcony perspective of the gaming area to guests. Aladdin put their lounge up a level on a mezzanine, giving you a nice reprieve from the gaming area, and a wonderful open feeling as well.

In addition, the third level rings much of the casino. This level features a number of high end restaurants and a somewhat intimite bar featuring a fantastic view of the gaming floor. It also features The London Club, a seperate posh high-end casino. A weekday visit showed table game minimums at The London Club starting at $25. A few $1 slot and video poker machines are available, but most are $5 and up. If those limits are your style, treat yourself to a little gaming up here. It truly is a cut above.

Much thought was put into challenging hotel/casino norms to give the guests a better experience. The hotel has an extra bank of elevators, so that you will never be more than 7 doors away from an elevator. And (gasp!) you don’t have to trek through the casino to get from check-in (which is one floor below the casino) to your rooms. Just walk over to the bank of elevators and you can zoom up to your floor.

Other unusual things to pamper guests: The Aladdin has installed high speed internet access in every room, and by this fall every room will be outfitted with it’s own computer, connected to their high speed lines letting you surf the web and check email. If you order room service, get ready to get it quick. They have outfitted two elevators as moving kitchens, with continental breakfast items as well as beverages.

The Review-Journal has done a nice run-down of the 19 new restaurants at We enjoyed the buffet yesterday evening. Lines were short at 6 PM. The atmosphere is standard (my personal favorites in that category are Bellagio and Main St. Station buffets), but the $18.95 dinner was top-notch with unusual offerings like Middle Eastern food, a fantastic compliment of fresh seafood, as well as the standard cuisine featured at most “food station” buffets.

Desert Passage is huge! It has two legs running along both sides of the hotel and circles the entire Performing Arts Center as well. You can enter the Passage directly from the street, bypassing the casino. Bring your wallet: this high-end mall features 130 upscale and specialty stores and boutiques from all over the world. They have brought in performers and entertainers from around the globe to perform free for the public in the Passage. Full story on that at

Two disappointments: The manufactured rainstorm isn’t really much. It takes place every 20 minutes in the area of the mall where wooden planks surround a small body of water. “Lightning” flashes and a much too loud and tinny sounding thunder (put in a subwoofer and turn up the rumble) plays while rain pours down from the ceiling into the water. For best effect, view it from one end or the other so you can really see the sheets of rain. Also, valet parking was a beef with me: if you turn into the parking garage and follow the valet signs, you end up (without warning) in the valet for Desert Passage, NOT for the hotel. The difference? They want $2 (not including gratuity) to park there. Enter the main hotel entrance from Harmon to find the real valet parking.

Those who love Jazz or just good food will applaud the addition of a Blue Note jazz club to Las Vegas at The Aladdin. We have not had a chance to check it out, but two great stories are at and

I’ve placed 4 pages of photos online at These aren’t PR photos, but my “man on the street” photos taken yesterday throughout the property. Please excuse the quality of some of the indoor shots as they suffered from lack of light. If you own a digital camera that performs well in low light (beyond the flash), fill me in at as I’m looking around and would love some suggestions!

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CORRECTION: The address of our Shark Reef review with photos last issue was an error. That review is archived at


Michelle D. from Texas wrote:

>Dear Ted:
>We recently returned from a trip to Vegas.á We had a great time with
>friends, but I must say the four of us that traveled together were
>shocked at the service we received virtually everywhere.
>Our first difficulty was at the Stratosphere.á The woman at the
>entrance insinuated that we would not want to dine in The Top of the
>World restaurant because of the prices.á The woman running the
>elevator was rude and sarcastic.á Our waitress at the restaurant was
>the nicest person in the whole place (her name was Linda).á We won t
>be going back there anytime soon.
>The next was at the Denny s on The Strip next to the MGM.
>Unbelievable!á They were not using the entire restaurant, so they were
>evidently understaffed.á However, that is no excuse for rudeness and
>lack of service.á A person in our party had to go FIND the waitress
>for drink refills.á She did not bring them.á Also, when we got our
>food (one hour after we were seated) it was cold.á Some of the food
>had to be reheated to be edible.á When the waitress did finally come
>to check on us and she asked if everything was OK.á We told her no.
>Her response?á Did we need more napkins?á As I saidáá unbelievable!
>Lastly, at our hotel, (NY, NY) we ate at America our last morning
>there.á Our waitress immediately took the orders for coffee, but the
>two of us not drinking coffee were put off.á She came back to take our
>food order and we told her we d like to order the rest of our drinks
>first.á She had a very bad attitude the rest of the meal.
>We visited Vegas this same time last year and did not encounter these
>problems.á The impression we got from most of the service persons we
>encountered was that they resent tourists.á We decided if that was the
>case, these people are living in the wrong town.á I don t think Vegas
>would be the great place it is, and becoming, without tourists.
>I love reading the AccessVegas newsletter and look forward to it every
>week.á You gave me a lot of good information for our trip.á Thanks and
>keep up the great work!

Thanks for the kind words regarding the newsletter! Interesting you should mention this, as service in Las Vegas was the topic during a Sunday brunch I had with good friends last week, as well as some of the Las Vegas message boards. I regret to say that workers in this town are making so much money, and there is such a pull on the labor market, that good help is hard to find and much of the help that exists doesn’t care.

If you have a negative experience here, I strongly suggest you do two things:

1. Write the hotel immediately when you get home. Detail as specific as possible the problems. Complaint letters have netted me comps for future use. They want you back.

2. DON’T TIP IF THE SERVICE IS BAD! We have valet parking attendants, bartenders, cocktail waitresses, etc., making upwards of $75,000 a year here at the nice places (and some even more). Don’t let them bully you into thinking that their tip is a birthright. Vote with your wallet.

Chris Bunch ( from England which is a small island to the east
of Boston!!á ) wrote:

>I read with horror that you are to do away with the concert listings.
>Where on earth did you do your research?á Have you checked the
>percentage of foreign subscribers ( like myself ) who do not have a
>”local hockey pitch” being constantly visited by touring artists.á We
>definitely do need to be kept informed, in fact after the cheap hotel
>rooms it is probably the second most important item together with the
>restaurant reviews.á I am sorry that a lot of your readers have a very
>short attention span but that surely is not a good enough reason to
>cut out what is a most useful item.á Please don’t make the mistake
>that so many Americans make and believe that the world ends at your
>shores ….. there are quite a few of us out here and we are coming in
>increasing numbers to your city.

I left Chris’ humorous description of where he lives intact! For now, we won’t make any changes. When we do take the concert listings out of the newsletter, we’ll put them on a webpage and link them in every newsletter. One of the things I am very proud of is that we have readers in over 40 countries around the world!

Jean Haka of Waukesha, WI wrote:

>Could you, please, compile a listing OR direct me to an internet
>listing of daily slot tournaments in Las Vegas on the strip.á (Maybe
>later you could expand to include other parts of the city.á .á .á .á .
>.but maybe the locals know where they are already!) Or it you know of
>several main ones, maybe you could list them in your next newsletter
>and then invite others to share what they know.á Thanks.á .á .á hope
>I’m not asking for too big an order here!

Keeping up on that with my resources if prohibitive, but we have linked a couple of lists toward the bottom of If anyone knows of additional web pages with tournament information, please let us know at

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc., if accepted.



FREE CONTESTS:Rules (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest): You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 20’th entry in each contest will be the winner. Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.ALADDIN IMPLOSION VIDEO – I watch the implosions in person, but always have 2 VCR’s running at home to catch the extensive local news coverage of these historic events. I’ll dub off two copies of the full coverage by KTNV and give them away to the 20’th and 30’th entry at (contest closed) I regret that I can’t produce or sell these for profit to all interested. However, there is a great commercial tape including implosions of the Landmark, Sands, Hacienda and the Aladdin available from Amazon at

THE FLYAWAY GETAWAY – BroadcastAmerica.Com and American Airlines are giving away two free round-trip tickets to anywhere American Airlines flies in the United States (this includes Las Vegas)! Includes 7 days and 6 nights hotel accommodations, and $1,000 in cash. Enter at

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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New to the list? Back issues and subscription info can be found on the web at:

Don’t hesitate to forward this newsletter to friends and associates,
but please ask for permission before reproducing the content in any
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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
August 23, 2000
ISSN: 1529-2770

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