My photos are now online. I updated all the various categories but if you just want to see the new photos, use this URL:
There are a load of pictures of the Palazzo model they have up at The Venetian. There's no note at all about what the thing is but everyone that walks by checks it out.
I did get a couple of requests and I tried to fill them. I did peek around the barrier and take Social House photos (not open yet) but they DID NOT come out so I am not posting them. Social House looks kinda neat on the inside, as does Japonais at The Mirage.
Keep reading after the jump for more...
I've also posted some more photos from Motoman in various categories including Wynn Las Vegas, The Mirage and more. Our photo library continues to grow - it's fun to go back and look at older photos to compare to what's happening now. I plan to add some additional display options to the gallery as part of the new RateVegas.com site (keep reading). I'm talking about features like display by date, etc...
As far as my trip goes, we had a really great time. We had a two bedroom Salon Suite at Wynn Las Vegas, sharing it with some good friends of ours, another couple. Dinners at Bartolotta, Delmonico and Okada - all were absolutely fantastic but the standout in my mind this time was Bartolotta. We tried a couple of the full fish entrees and they were absolutely amazing. Truly the best fish I have maybe ever had. The meal was a real standout, even if the mixed green salad costs $14. We had some heavy comp-age this trip so we weren't too worried about the costs.
Saw Def Leppard and Journey at the Mandalay Events Center and while the show was a good time, the acoustics in there are horrible. Keep that in mind if going there to see a large concert. Spent some time at the Foundation Room which impresses me less each time I go there.
Saturday was a spa day and while I've visited the spa at Wynn Las Vegas before, I had never had a treatment. Went in for a massage and it was great. Some of the therapists at spas are so-so and you never really know. I got lucky - she was very good and I left feeling 200% better.
Dinner at Delmonico was good as always and then it was off to Tryst back at Wynn Las Vegas. We had a table out on the side by the waterfall which was good because it was PACKED inside. I like Tryst but I can't stand how they manage the admission process. Since it's down that hallway, there is no way to break apart all the folks just standing in line and the others that have reservations, VIP access, etc... It means major congestion and confusion. They should do something about that, maybe load table reservations via the outside doors to Okada or something...
Sunday was spent shooting photos, doing some shopping and then finally dinner at Okada in the Teppanyaki room. It was absolutely fantastic. I don't eat sushi but the rest of my party does and they were very pleased. After that more gambling and I actually caught a little bit of a streak playing 21, which I never play. The dealer was a bit of a prick (Ricky! What's the problem???) - one of those guys that was very polite and by the book but you can tell from his comments and the way he carries himself that he holds the players risking their money on each hand in much contempt. Sorta a silent jerk. I hate that and maybe he thinks he's clever and people can't tell. We can tell. Anyway, I was on an upswing and at $100/hand I actually covered my losses from the previous two nights pretty well. I cashed out before I died off and then headed upstairs to sleep.
That's pretty much it - we were at the airport by 11am the next day. The trip was a ton of fun and a nice mini-vacation. The friends that we went with travel all over the world and have had the privilege of staying in some very nice places. I was curious what the reaction to Wynn Las Vegas would be and overall it was quite good. A couple of small service issues but they had a good time and want to come back, so WLV is making some folks happy. Okay, enough about the trip...
Back to the Web site stuff, as I mentioned above, I am hard at work on the latest version of RateVegas.com, the parent site of this blog. The new version features a new design, similar to the one we did for our site VegasLists.com. The focus for the new version was to simplify things - make it easier to rate hotels, shows and restaurants. Eliminate options that no one used for the sake of simplicity. That sort of thing. Also, the photos will be better integrated into the site. The biggest job turned out to be going through and re-validating the info in our database about the hotels and restaurants. I wanted to make sure that some of the data hadn't gone stale and I did indeed find places that were out of date. When it launches, the new site should feature accurate data about all the hotels, etc... I also am in the process of writing an 'about this property' for each hotel. Those won't all be finished for the launch but it gives me the chance to write free-form about these places and share some interesting facts, secrets and tips where I can.
I'm excited about the new version and I hope that when you guys see it, you like it. I think you will. Shortly after the launch there are more features that will be going in, such as expanded RSS support and the like. The new site is built on top of a new set of software services that make ongoing support and maintenance easier. New features should be coming on a more regular basis which is a good thing. Also, the URLs are much friendlier than the current site which has very long links for hotels, etc... This might seem like a minor point but having understandable and readable URLs are a very good thing, not just for humans but for search engines like Google.
I'll be able to replace something like:
For a geek like me, that's a very exciting feature. So, expect to see an announcement about a beta version of the site pretty soon. This portion of the site, the blog, isn't changing at this point. We recently made some behind the scenes changes to the software but nothing that's visible. The blog is pretty stable and I think it is working out pretty well.
Thanks for hanging with me through this long post and thanks again for being here. I really appreciate the community that has sprung up around this Web site - it's a ton of fun for me and I hope you guys feel the same way.