Access Vegas Insider Vibe – August 9, 2000

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This Issue: News and Letters

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:

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

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:

ART COMES BACK TO BELLAGIO – The Phillips Collection art museum from Washington, D.C. is bringing an art exhibit to Bellagio starting Sept. 1. Included are works by Picasso, Money, Monet, and Van Gogh. Full story at

RESTAURANTS – Picasso at Bellagio is arguably the finest dining establishment in town and the R-J recently reviewed it at The Pullman Grille at Main Street Station always receives kind words from reviewers, the latest of which can be read at

BRING YOUR LAPTOP! – Treasure Island has placed high speed internet connections in 300 of it’s rooms, The Venetian already offers them in 500 suites, and the Aladdin is reported to offer it similar when they open. Full story at

PLASTIC SURGERY – is a big topic here in Las Vegas, where many jobs depend on looks and we run around in light clothing most of the year. I have heard firsthand that a local casino chain even pays for part of the cost of breast implants for their cocktail waitresses. Las Vegas is second only to D.C. in the ratio of plastic surgeons to population, but surprisingly, more and more people are visiting here to obtain and recover from plastic surgery. “One stop” centers where you can get everything from liposuction to teeth whitening are springing up. Full story at

HIGH ROLLER AREAS – Few know this, but Nevada law prohibits gaming from taking place in private hotel areas that are not available to the public. Granted, they make these exclusive high limit areas very intimidating and often hard to find (no flashing neon sign pointing to them), but you are welcome to stroll through them and take a look (and see how the other half lives). Full story at

THRILL RIDES – Las Vegas is becoming the new Disneyland with a thrill ride at every new hotel, and with that are safety concerns. Rest assured that the thrill rides here in Clark County are inspected and maintained at top levels. Full story at Also, a recent article talks about some of the pros and cons of bringing kids to Las Vegas, and what there is for them to do at Our take on bringing kids here is archived at

UNION PACIFIC’S CHALLENGER – steam locomotive is scheduled to steam through town in a couple of weeks. It will arrive here the evening of Aug. 21, sit here Aug. 22, and leave the morning of Aug. 23. I wasn’t able to get through to the railroad, so if you know where they are planning to park it here, let me know (I’ll keep trying). It leaves Las Vegas at approx. 8 AM on Aug. 23.

I’ll be up the tracks watching it. My advice? Head north out of town on I-15 to exit 58 (the old Las Vegas – Utah highway). Turn left under the freeway and under the railroad bridge. Drive about one mile until you round the bend and end up parallel with the tracks. You can either scope out a good viewing point, or drive along with the train. In 4 more miles, you come to another freeway interchange. If you want to keep pacing the train, get back on the freeway northbound with runs parallel to the tracks for most of the next 25 miles.

DESERT INN NAME CHANGE – Steve Wynn is doing away with another piece of Las Vegas history, not just figuratively, but literally. Unlike the Aladdin which is opening back under it’s previous name, the Desert Inn will get a new name (not yet decided). Story at

$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.

Rental Cars – Don’t pay top dollar! Enter the dates of your visit and compare prices from virtually every major rental car agency (most US cities). Book the lowest price company or your regular agency. Save the hassle and some money – Car Rental Savings Search. Few regret renting a car. Free shuttles and city bus rides can be slow and smelly. Taxis can cost what a rental car costs. Your vacation time is valuable — make the most out of it!

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

Aladdin – Enrique Inglesias on Aug. 19. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Aladdin discount rooms are available at (Aladdin link).

Hard Rock Hotel – K.D. Lang Aug. 11, Deftones on Aug. 13, Jimmy Page plus The Black Crowes on Aug 16, Mary J. Blige on Aug. 26, Robert Cray Band on Sept. 3, and Culture Club on Nov. 14. Tickets at (702) 474-4000 and Hard Rock discount rooms available at (Hard Rock link).

Las Vegas Hilton – “The Dream King” Elvis tribute starring famed impersonator Trent Carlini on Aug. 15-19, 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 – Rollins Band Aug. 11, Unwritten Law Aug. 12, Earth, Wind, and Fire on Aug. 16-19, Ziggy Marley Aug. 19, 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, and Kenny G on Sept. 30. 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, 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).

Paris – Evander Holyfield vs. John Ruiz on Aug. 12. Tickets available at (702) 946-4567 and Paris discount rooms are available at (Paris link).

Riviera – Rich Little on Oct. 6 and 7, 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 – Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell now through Aug. 7 (Fri. – Mon. nightly): one drink min., 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: News and Letters

No review this week. If you are new, rest assured that it is very rare we don’t have a review so hang tight. We are off next week and I wanted to get in all the great news and letters to the editor. Whether you are a new or long time reader, this might be a fun time to head over to and browse the archives.

As noted, we take the week off next week, ramping up for our Aladdin Grand Opening issue in 2 weeks! We are going all out, not just with a full story on this new property, but will have plenty of companion photos online for you to enjoy. We are going opening night Aug. 17 (scheduled 7:00 PM to the public) and then going back the following Monday to see how things are once the madhouse of the initial weekend is done.

Thanks to all for telling their friends, as we are getting new subscribers at about the rate of 1500 a month! Through our partnership with Hotel Reservations Network, we are bringing you the low price guarantee and tossing in the $25 rebate on top of it — at the hotel of your choice (details earlier in the newsletter). We are also negotiating to start a monthly free room giveaway (2 nights at a Strip or Downtown hotel) to our readers.

We are looking to do away with listing concerts. Research seems to show that the longer a newsletter is, the more chance people are overwhelmed and put it aside or just delete it so we want to trim down a bit. We will continue to list headliners because people like Jay Leno generally don’t tour the country and you have to catch them here. But the odds are, you see your favorite touring artist at the hockey arena near your town.

Yes, we are working on the info regarding all the back ways into the casino garages to help you avoid the stop-and-go traffic on the strip. It is taking time because I want it to be 100% accurate and easy to use. And, the first newsletter in Sept. will have chances to win the collectible unused “Viva Las Vegas” show tickets from when the show was at The Sands. If you want to see what one of them looks like, we have a scan of one of them on our shows page at (shown at reduced size online because of space considerations).

One final note: many of you with a sharp eye have noticed that the newsletter is always dated on a Wednesday even though it’s come out late Thursday night. The original intention was to publish it late Tuesday night for Wednesday consumption, and that’s what we are going to start doing.

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NOTE: Thanks to those who wrote noting that the Imperial Palace has balconies. Living here, the amenities of the various hotels are me weak point, which is why I set up the message board at


Jim Clayton wrote:

>Hi, Ted ….á Geese, I’m getting to be an old geezer …á and/or I’ve
>been out in the sun too long!á …á BUT, I swear you did a little
>dialogue some time ago on where to get a good “hot dog” in LV!?!
>Please don’t laugh, but, I swear I read it somewhere…á sigh!á I have
>every piece of ANYTHING you’ve mailed out since April 14th of this
>year (that’s about the date I recovered from my catastrophic system
>crash!) and I’ll be darned if I can find it.á Please either tell me
>I’m starting to suffer from Alzheimer’s or that you DID write such an
>article!á …á If so, I’ll keep looking.á ….á sigh!á ….á Thanks!

I have yet to do a hot dog review, but if someone out there has checked out all the tourists hot dog specials and wants to submit a short report, send it to I appreciate the loyalty, but no need to save back issues. If you go to the newsletter’s main page at, you can browse back issues or do a search of all the archives!

Kendall Guess of Austin, TX wrote:

>Hello.á My husband and I will be in town in early September, and he
>loves video poker.á Is there a magazine or website that would tell us
>where there are 9-6 machines?á Last time the better paying machines
>seemed few and far between.á Thanks!

Casinos are always changing their mix of machines, and often it’s the 9/6 machines (those are the ones that are 99.5% payback with proper play) that go first. I have number of links to some of the best video poker information available at and one of more of those sites is usually highlighting where the good machines are. (I don’t want to single one out, because they are all good sites with good people running them.)

Gerald Speen wrote:

>A lot of things have gone downhill at the Rio and
>they started even before it was bought by Harrah’s.á The prices kept
>going up, the hosts were not as accommodating, and the slot payback
>kept dropping.á We stopped going to the Rio about two years ago when
>they went back on a commitment they made to us (we received a hollow
>apology from a VP, but it was not very convincing.).á We have always
>questioned how they can call their rooms “suites” just because they
>put a couch or love seat in the room.á We have always felt that a
>suite needed to be two separate rooms.á Certainly, the rooms were
>nice, but they are not suites.á We are not surprised that people are
>abandoning the Rio.á It used to be our favorite hotel.á Now, we don’t
>even consider it.á And, of course, we throw away the special offers
>that they send to us.á Again, they are not that great and have too
>many conditions to enjoy them.á It is not clear if it is Harrah’s or
>the Rio management that has made it lose its charm, but they certainly
>turned us off.

Interesting comments. A couple of years ago a CA attorney sued The Rio because (as you noted) the rooms were mostly one big room, not anything resembling a true suite. I don’t recall hearing the outcome.

T.áSmith wrote:

>I are at the carnival buffet in March and it was
>treble.á I had heard on TV that it was the best in town.á Also a cab
>driver told me that it was great.á Of course he went on to say that
>the Rio serves them Christmas dinner.á I should have figured that one
>out.á The seafood buffet may be good, but that was the worst buffet I
>have eaten in Vegas.

A couple of weeks ago, we noted that the quality had improved lately, but you highlight an interesting point: know your source. Don’t get me wrong — cabbies work hard, many working 12 hour days 5-6 days a week. BUT, if you fought traffic for 60 hours a week on the strip, what would you do when you got off work? That’s right — get as far away from it as possible, not hanging out walking around and checking everything out objectively.

Believe it or not, most locals (including cabbies) suggest something as “the best” because they see that commercial on TV until it’s pounded into their head. Obviously, we hope that you make our newsletter and the archives a key part of your research. You can also go to and link to a couple of great, unbiased sources of information.

R. Artho of Dumas, TX wrote:

>We visited Shark Reef on Tuesday, July 11. The aquarium
>is quite nice, and there were helpful guides at every
>point along the way to answer questions. It is an
>impressive undertaking and a beautiful aquarium, but like
>most things in Las Vegas, we felt that the $13 admission
>price was a little too high. You do have the option of
>spending as much time as you want at any point in the
>tour, but there are no places provided to sit and observe
>the fish except in the tunnel leading out of the exhibit.
>A touch pool with human helpers seemed very interesting
>to younger visitors. We rated it as a good aquarium, and
>found it interesting, but not entirely worth the
>admission price.

We agree, and our recent review of Shark Reef is now archived online with photos 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.

ONLINE POLL – “Do you visit Downtown and the Fremont St. Experience when in Las Vegas?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published in two weeks!

Results from last weeks poll “Do you visit Downtown and the Fremont St. Experience when in Las Vegas?”

Never have, and in no hurry. 4%
I get there once every few trips – same old thing. 18%
I like to get down there at least once a trip to eat, gamble, and see “Old Vegas”. 46%
I stay downtown often! 30%


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.

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

FREE VEGAS TRIP – Las Vegas Total Experience Pass Vacation Package from Southwest Air includes Roundtrip air for two to Las Vegas via Southwest Airlines, 2 nights hotel accommodations at the Luxor Las Vegas, and more. 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
form — we would just like to know who you are, that’s all. Thanks!

All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
August 9, 2000
ISSN: 1529-2770