Access Vegas Insider Vibe – May 27, 1999 Insider Vibe

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May 27, 1999

Welcome to Access Vegas News and Reviews! This is the newsletter that talks about the Las Vegas attractions, dining, and shows that YOU really care about. This is not spam. If you receive this by mistake, unsubscribe information is at the bottom. Feel free to forward this to friends, but only in it’s entirety.

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This Issue: Robbie Knievel’s Grand Canyon Death Jump
Part II of our Venetian Grand Opening Review

Curious about a buffet, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that look fun but you just haven’t gone out of your way to try yet? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:

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

As many of you may have seen on American TV last, week, “Kaptain” Robbie Knievel successfully set a world record in a “live for television” jump at the Grand Canyon, only to crash once he came off of the end of the landing ramp, breaking a leg and 2 ribs. While no bets were taken, the jump was on many sports book big screens around town.

The craziest thing about this whole event was the fact that just after the landing ramp sat ungraded desert terrain. While the agreement with the local Indian tribe (BLM and National Park Service wanted no part of this) specified upsetting as little of the area as possible, a couple hundred dollars more worth of plywood covering the natural desert would have saved him quite a bit of pain.

Having had to pleasure to see his Las Vegas “Building to Building Death Jump” from one Jockey Club tower to another earlier this year, and then to be present at the after-party at the Hard Rock hotel for Robbie and crew, I can tell you that he and is group are some of the nicest, most down to earth people out there. Of course, when every show could be your last, one is probably more conscious to leave people smiling! The newspaper story (with photos) is available at:


The motorcycle and leather gear from that jump are now on permanent display that the Tropicana Hotel’s Casino Legends Hall of Fame.

All the best in recovery and continued jumps, Robbie.

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Feature Story: The Venetian (continued from last week)

The casino seems small for a property of that size, but it might just be an illusion. This isn’t a casino you are going to get lost in. You don’t feel like you are a rat trapped in a maze. It is not a locals casino, with an emphasis on dollar slots and $5 table minimums on the weekdays. (VP players — 9/6 dollar jacks or better available).

Unlike Mandalay Bay, there is not an overabundance of bars, with only an ornate circular bar toward the center and another one at the sports book. A third is located in La Scena (the lounge area), which showcases top, professional lounge acts from 6:00 PM until 2:00 AM in an upscale upscale atmosphere. Drink prices are in line with other major hotels, running from $2.75 for a domestic bottle to $5.50 and $6.50 for top shelf call drinks. (There may be an entertainment tax surcharge in the lounge — a very common thing here in Las Vegas).

The sportsbook is adequate, but certainly wasn’t built to cater to much more than the hotel guests.

Dining options include an nice food court and a “coffee shop”. The food court has a McDonalds, Subway, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and Baskin Robins … almost. It has generic, slightly upscale version of each with prices running about $2-3 higher than the average above chains. The atmosphere is top notch, with seating facilities more resembling a decent restaurant than a food court. Not a bad place to enjoy a $5 hamburger.

The “coffee shop” is actually a yuppie dining establishment named Grand Lux Cafe, featuring “unique casual global cuisine”. And they aren’t kidding. I’ve seen novels shorter than this menu. Crabcakes to Korean tacos, pastas, chicken, lamb, cajun shrimp, fresh fish provenca, martinis, and significant wine list and much, much more.

The Union — not a lot to say. No picketing, and informal conversation with employees ranging from security to dealers found them quick to volunteer how happy they are with the wages, benefits (that don’t cost them a dime), and the fact that they don’t pay union dues. So, far this has absolutely NOT turned into a “Frontier” type situation.

I’d be remiss without mentioning the cocktail waitresses. (WARNING: Don’t shoot the messenger — I’m just reporting it like it is). Unlike other casinos who were burdened with promoting to their new properties based on seniority, Mr. Adelson took advantage of the fact he was hiring fresh for every position. This includes the cocktail waitresses. On an average swing shift, there is not a waitress who couldn’t walk right out and get a print modeling job. Rumor has it that he “raided” the most attractive ladies from every casino in town. The unique uniforms flatter the ladies in every way, and The Venetian seems to make no apologies for using the waitresses as an integral part of the whole visual feel of the property. They one-upped the Rio.

As mentioned in part one of this article (available at ), there is indication that Steve Wynn may feel concerned about being upstaged. Mirage Resorts was slated to begin construction on their next mega-resort on the site of the Holiday Inn Boardwalk around 2002. Just this last week, they announced plans to start moving on the project in a much shorter time frame. The official reason is that Las Vegas is absorbing all of the new hotel rooms better than expected, but that’s a stretch considering that the Aladdin and Paris both have yet to come online and The Venetian is just now running at full occupancy.

Bottom line in my opinion? Mr. Wynn’s company has the land and the cash flow and he will not rest until he has the most elegant property in town again. If you want to bet on him, Mirage Resorts stock is publicly traded.

We have a full pictorial section on the Venetian at Las Vegas Venetian Hotel Casino Photos

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Your input is welcome. Don’t agree with something we said? Write us a “letter to the editor” at Guest article submissions are also welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc. 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 pull out our own wallet and give you the honest scoop.

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All contents copyright 1999 Ted Newkirk
May 27, 1999

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