Access Vegas Insider Vibe – February 9, 2000

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This Issue: THE ROMANTIC LAS VEGAS CHEAPSKATE by Matt WeatherfordLAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

MICHAEL JORDEN – is among the many sports stars appearing at this year’s ESPY awards this Monday here in Las Vegas and tickets are still available! Other notables appearing are Andre Agassi, Tiger Woods, Mark McGwire, Mia Hamm and Steffi Graf, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Tyra Banks, Martin Sheen, Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd. That list doesn’t include the high profile celebrities who come for the celebration. Stories at and Tickets at (702) 891-7777 and MGM discount rooms at (MGM link).

PRICE GOUGING – KVBC 3 just completed an undercover investigation and found photo developing shops on the Strip that are charging up to $43.00 per roll for one-hour film developing. Story at Even though you are on vacation, you are a customer. Never forget that a store needs YOUR business and ALWAYS ask how much the TOTAL cost for something will be if it isn’t clear. Many tour operators pull the same stunt by not including taxes, airport fees, and more in those glossy ads you see.

Our suggestion for photo developing when on vacation? We bring a bunch of envelopes for those mail-order photo developers with us. is one of many that do this service (not a sponsor, but we use them with no problem regularly). Every couple of rolls, just pop the film in the mail and the finished prints will be delivered a couple days after you get home with no worry about price gouging or losing your photos on the way home.

We also are giving away a Las Vegas Dining guide in our contest section.

THE TILLERMAN – Speaking of fine dining in a great atmosphere, The Tillerman is a short cab ride from the Strip and one of the better kept secrets, until now! Bring a thick wallet for this one, but be prepared for an exquisite setting with food to match. Story at

COMPS – While one should never play for comps, if you are going to play, you might as well scoop up as many of them as possible! Linda E. Bushyager wrote a great article on on getting and using comps at

BRUNCH – is always a nice treat in Las Vegas. Nothing starts off a Sunday morning like a relaxing fine meal. Michael Paskevich reviewed a number of them at

STUCK AT MCCARRAN? – If your flight home gets delayed, you can go work out your frustrations now instead of dropping your winnings back in the airport slots. 24 Hour Fitness has opened an airport location and will even provide you workout clothes for a reasonable fee. Story at

U.S. 93 CLOSURES – if you drive in from Phoenix, New Mexico, Texas or points southeast, note that U.S. 93 is going to be closed for 4 hours at a time intermittently over the next month. You might want to print out the info at and keep it handy. Closures will only be in the middle of the night.

Winner: Holly Carter of GA is the T-shirt winner.

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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 at

DAVID COPPERFIELD – bring his magic to Caesars Palace Feb. 3 – March 2. This time around, they say he’s making the audience disappear! Tickets at (702) 731-7333 and Caesars discount rooms at (Caesars link).

DAVID BRENNER – comes to C2K at The Venetian Feb. 18 – 20. The performance on the 19’th will be broadcast totally live on HBO! Tickets at (702) 948-3007 and Venetian discount rooms at (Venetian link).

BUDDY – the hit musical comes to the Las Vegas Hilton Feb. 22 – March 5. This powerful show traces the life and music of Buddy Holly. Tickets at (702) 732-5755 and Las Vegas Hilton discount rooms at (Las Vegas Hilton link).

TINA TURNER – with special guest LIONEL RICHIE take to the stage at the MGM Grand on Sat. April 29. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and MGM discount rooms at (MGM link).

SPLASH – Michael Paskevich has reviewed the updated version of this Riviera show at and book the show online 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

FEATURE STORY: THE ROMANTIC LAS VEGAS CHEAPSKATE by Matt WeatherfordI am writing this from the guy’s perspective, but all my romantic
tips apply in reverse, too, meaning you girls can dazzle your boys by
following my brilliant advice.

Guys, one thing I am with the ladies is slick. Before I ensnared my
wife in my viscous love-grip, I could practically charm the pants off
of any woman without spending a dime. Now that I am happily married,
it’s time to open the vaults and reveal the secrets that drove the
ladies wild and kept Andrew Jackson and his buddies in my back pocket.

In Las Vegas, you don’t need to be a millionaire to show your partner
you’re got a heart a big as a Buick. Do it on the cheap, all the
while making it so romantic that your special someone never even
catches on.

A popular fantasy is to cruise slowly down Las Vegas Boulevard at
night in a stretch limousine. The twinkling, spinning lights reflect
off the car as it effortlessly glides in the traffic stream, and we
are tucked away behind the dark windows in our romantic mobile
hideaway. Another part of my fantasy is when the driver says, “You
guys were such great customers that I’m gonna let you have this ride
for free.”

In reality, the driver always wants his $35 an hour for the private
limo ride. And that doesn’t include the tip, which quickly tacks on
another 50 cents! To fulfill the fantasy for less, how about a slow
ride down the Strip aboard public transit? The Citizen Area Transit
Route 301 up the Strip is $2 per person, or $4 if you go the extra
mile and pay for your sweetie too. Just like a limo, the buses have
big windows, professional drivers, and move very slowly. Climb aboard
with your squeeze, fight your way through the mob of other romantic
couples to a pair of hard bench seats and get ready for good lovin’
action. Sure, you’re sharing your limo with 50 other people, it stops
at every intersection to load and unload, and the guy next to you is
drooling, but these are the sorts of minor points that will only be
noticed by a woman not in love.

Be sure to have a six-pack of Schlitz on ice back in the room to seal
the deal, because she’s gonna be itchin’ for kissin’ when the ride is
over. One word of caution: keep your pants on while riding the bus.
We have learned they are very strict about this.

If you want to whack your girl over the head with the fat end of the
charm stick, get her a real limo ride right from the airport. For
less than $5 each, you can ride Las Vegas Limo like you would a
shuttle. The catch is that you won’t be alone. The driver packs
people in and drops people off at their hotels. Guys, I suggest
getting a hotel on the North end of the Strip, so you get a few
minutes of private time after he’s dropped off all the people staying
at nice hotels. Once the last of the other folks gets off, lean over
and smack her on the lips!

Very few people come up to me and ask, “Matt, I want to take my gal
someplace classy for dinner. Where do you recommend?” But when
someone does, I have an answer.

First off, breakfast is not very romantic, so don’t think you can cut
corners by splitting the $2.49 steak and eggs at Arizona Charlie’s,
or a 99-cent half-pound hot dog at Slots-a-Fun. On the other hand, if
you’ve found yourself a gal who finds these exciting, run to the
nearest pawn shop and buy the cheapest engagement ring they have:
she’s a keeper!

For the lady of more discriminating taste, I recommend the following
sybaritic delights:

The Peppermill Coffee Shop – don’t let its humble appearance fool
you. This small free-standing coffee shop next door to the Riviera is
the sort of place that brought down Gomorrah. Dark velvets, fake,
silver plants, dim lighting and plush booths make this the perfect
place to act out your role-playing fantasies of being a 70s player,
with your lady being a tough-talking hoochie. Want to be a little
decadent? Have the waffles with fruit for dinner. If you order
carefully, you two lovebirds can get out for less than $20. But,
don’t leave before going to the swank-uluxe lounge where a bubbling
cauldron belches fire and the booths provide more privacy than a
modern condominium complex. The drinks are priced right and strong
enough to intoxicate even the most hardened lover.

Center Stage – The food ain’t so hot, but the view is oo-la-la!
Well-hidden on the second floor of the Plaza Hotel downtown, the
Center Stage has a domed dining room that looks straight down Fremont
Street. If you’re smart, you’ll have a few strong $1 dollar cocktails
downstairs to deaden your tastebuds. A complete meal can be had for
about $10 a person, and you get that much value just out of the
number of waiters and servers who hover around. After dinner, why not
head downstairs and enjoy the awfully good acts in the Omaha Lounge.
It’ll give you a chance to let your dinner settle and then see how
vigilantly they enforce their “No Dancing” policy.

Roberta’s – If your honeybun respects food, then why not take the
romantically dangerous after-dark stroll to Roberta’s at the El
Cortez where the savvy man can let his girl stuff her greasy piehole
until she can’t stuff anymore. Plus, Roberta’s respects food. Why
else would they call the 18-ounce steak “Mr. Porterhouse?” Other
specials include “Mr. Crab” and “Se±or Prime Rib.” All can be had
well below their fair market value. A word of warning, gents, the
task of arriving at Roberta’s is not for the squeamish or anyone
easily deterred by bums or stench.

With the right presentation, just about any meal can be romantic, but
not the buffet. Never the buffet. “Why not?” you might be wondering.
You say, “Last time I ate at Circus Circus with my buddies, it seemed
like the perfect oasis for a late night rendezvous.”

Guys, you’re right, the Circus Circus buffet has exactly the sort of
ambience to set the mood for amore. But it’s not the room that will
mess things up; it’s us. Just when everything is going so well, and
her eyes are glazed over with awe, we always end up talking while our
mouth is full of veal, or sucking Jell-o up our nose with a straw, or
gulping down some of those desserts that make you gassy. Let’s face
it: at the buffet, it’s better to pig out and get your money’s worth
than seduce your girls.

It’s easy to take a friend to the top of the Stratosphere or Paris’
Eiffel Tower, but those costs $6-$8 per person, and that’s money that
could be better spent on a delightful bottle of ripple with dinner.
Besides, the Eiffel Tower observation deck is covered with chain link
and it brings back too many bad memories of my time in the Louisiana
Correctional Facilities.

I say, keep the cash and take your lady to the top of the Rio’s
Masquerade Village. Although it’s only half the height of the Strat’s
observation deck, it’s free. You and your lady will step out onto the
outdoor deck and scan the entire valley, with a great view of the
casinos you will take her to later for some nickel video poker. If
your special someone asks why you’re not at the Stratosphere, don’t
admit that you’re a cheapskate, just say that it’s too crowded and
too “bourgeois.” That word drives the ladies mad. Or say they had an
outbreak of malaria over there and you care too much to let her get
deathly ill. Now, if that doesn’t make her swoon, she’s got a heart
made of corn-cobs.

The Rio’s elevator is in the Masquerade Village area of the casino.
At night there is a dress code, meaning dress pants and collars, and
pants and shirts like that cost money. Plus, there might be a minimum
number of expensive drinks you have to buy. I suggest you take your
girl during the day and wear really dark sunglasses to simulate the

Of course, what I have just revealed aren’t all of my secrets. I have
to keep some of the mystery, after all. They should be enough to get
even the lowliest among us cheapskates to see that romance and
pinching pennies aren’t always mutually exclusive. Good luck and good

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Few know the cheaper side of Las Vegas like frequent visitor Matt Weatherford. Big Empire’s twice monthly newsletter is packed with great travel stories, often about Las Vegas and done with a hilarious tongue-in-cheek twist. We strongly recommend signing up for this one at



>Ted, still enjoying your newsletter very much!á I noted in your Feb
>4th issue that one of AAA’s four diamond rooms included the Las Vegas
>Hilton.á No way!á Not unless they have nicer rooms than the one we
>had.á We were just there the second week of Jan.á Not only was it old
>and ordinary, the carpet was wrinkled in bunches and worn.á We tripped
>over it more than once and that was before any partying.á The only
>redeeming item was the electronic James Bond drapes!á The rooms were
>clean though.
>I believe we were in the North Tower.á It was the one to the left of
>center where each tower splits.á Hopefully they have newer and better
>furnished rooms in one of their other two towers.
>While I’m at it I may as well review the property.á The staff are
>friendly and do a nice job.á The casino is on the small side and their
>location off the strip is less than appealing.á They could use more
>table games especially craps.á The casino hardly ever seemed to have
>many people in it.á It was the second week of Jan.á but the strip
>casinos had action.
>The Star Trek experience is the best thing they have going and I am
>not even a big fan.á It is the best thing they have going because in
>addition to the actual experience/ride they include a fun themed
>restaurant/bar and casino section to go with it.
>We tried this property because we were able to get a good room rate
>($29/night) but I would not stay there again even at that price.
>Location, location…..

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LAS VEGAS 2000 – Las Vegas Dining Guide. Enter at (contest closed)

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All contents copyright 2000 Ted Newkirk
February 9, 2000