Some readers may know that part of our parent site, RateVegas.com, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.
Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.
In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to RateVegas.com Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.
The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.
Certainly my least favorite question is the most common:
Q: What is the $20 trick and how will it work at <insert swanky hotel name here> on <insert insanely popular date here>?
This question basically has no answer. Sometimes tipping the hotel check-in clerk can result in a room upgrade. Since this is often done with a $20, it's called the '$20 Trick'. This practice is not illegal but many front desk managers frown upon it so it is often done covertly, sliding the folded bill along with the credit card. If this is something you're seriously interested in trying, don't think you can 'find an edge' - this is simply the first bet of your vacation.
Q. Hunter, wow, with the new merger of Caesars into Harrahs, what will we expect to happen! Do you think there will be some hotels and wrecking balls, or new resorts coming up? Or is this just a merger to compete with hotel rates? It will be interesting to follow this and to hear your input on this. Thank you very much, your website is a success and help to us all.
The Harrah's/Caesars merger is quite a different beast than what is happening with MGM MIRAGE and Mandalay. The latter is almost entirely about Las Vegas while the Harrah's deal creates a globally diverse entertainment giant. As far as Caesars Las Vegas assets, the Palace is still under construction but will be completed soon. Paris throws off a lot of positive cash flow and even the aging Bally's is highly profitable. You may see Harrah's re-brand Bally's as a 'Horseshoe' casino and make some interior adjustments. Harrah's saw the MGG/MBG merger and I think were a bit blind-sided. The fact is that Caesars could be run more efficiently than it has been in the past and Harrah's can't afford to be marginalized. [Ed: Interesting to re-read this a year later.]
Q. If you had the option between the Bellagio penthouse suite with full lake view or Ceasar's petite suite in the Palace Tower top floor....which would you choose and why? One other question...What do you think of the pools at the Bellagio as compared to Ceasars pools? Thanks again...I am truly enjoying and learning alot from your website :)
Thanks for the kind words. Pretty interesting question... Ok, here goes. I would go with Bellagio, hands down. While a bit sparsely decorated, the Penthouse Suites at Bellagio are a very nice room product. At over 1,500 square feet, the suite is fairly large (and you can add a second bedroom if you need to). Located on floors 29 and above, a Penthouse Suite with a full lake view means a fantastic look at the fountains and Paris. Beyond that, Bellagio is a better hotel. The service is a notch above Caesars and that's before we even mention that Caesars is still a bit of a construction site. Bellagio has one of the best restaurants in the city (Picasso). In terms of general layout and setup, both pool areas are somewhat similar. Both feature large, open pool areas and elaborate landscaping. Both can be quite crowded so get there early unless you want to rent a cabana. Bottom line: Caesars is a nice hotel but Bellagio is arguably the nicest in the city (some folks prefer Wynn).
Q. Is it possible to get the bread pudding recipe served at the Golden Nugget? It is wonderful! Mirage Resorts buffets (Bellagio, Mirage, Treasure Island, and Golden Nugget) are famous for the bread pudding. The rumor is that it was Steve Wynn's mothers' recipie... Anyhow, I did see a posting that gave the instructions as below:
Serves 12 Yeild One 10" x 12" Pan
16oz Half and Half 8oz Wipping Cream 8 Fresh Eggs 1 1/4 cups Sugar 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Flavor 4 1/2 slices White Bread 1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder 1 tsp Sugar 2 Tbl Raisins Mix Well: Half and Half, wipping cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Arrange bread on bottom of pan. Pour mix over bread. Mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 teaspoon sugar and sprinkle over bread. Spread raisins over top. Cover with foil and bake in water bath at 400 degrees for 75 - 90 minutes.
That's it for this edition of the 'Best Of' RateVegas.com Reader Questions.