Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

May 2, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - May 1, 2010

Posted by detroit1051

"Oasis at Gold Spike". Stephen Siegel has found his niche in Las Vegas. I hope he succeeds.
Oasis at Gold Spike, Downtown


Read archived comments (20 so far)
May 2, 2010 7:06 AM Posted by Paolo

I've been keeping tabs on the Siegel Group for a while now, and I'm excited to see their plans come to fruition. Vegas needs this, now more than ever- small, independent operators getting into the game. The fact that Siegel's properties are not gaming-intensive is a plus. I think there's a real need for small, boutique style properties that don't have a casino- I know a lot of people who this type of hotel appeals to. Here in NYC, boutique hotels are all the rage, and not just for their rooms. They are becoming the hip places to hang out, have a drink or dinner, and socialize. I can definitely see the same thing happening in Las Vegas. The town desperately needs some more low-key, off-strip hang outs for locals. It's nice to see great rooms at a nice price point, too. A lot of us don't feel comfortable in 2,000 room monstrosities.

May 2, 2010 8:56 AM Posted by parchedearth

Give them credit for reopening the Gold Spike. There is nothing fancy about it, but it is clean. I wasn't sure they could make the location work, but it sounds like they have great occupancy numbers. I am not as enthusiastic about the Rumor project. The HRH has a glut of rooms and really low casino room rates. They will also face competition from the nongaming hotels across from the convention center.

May 2, 2010 9:03 AM Posted by atdleft

"I hope he succeeds."

And he probably will. He's already been succeeding in this economy, which is quite the feat. And it seems he knows his customer base quite well, as he upgraded The Gold Spike while not taking it "too upscale" so he can keep prices low. He knows it's still a low-roller's paradise, so he's keeping it affordable while also taking it firmly out of "Worst Dump of Downtown" status.

May 3, 2010 7:16 AM Posted by detroit1051

If the Norm Column's report on Steve Wynn breaking up with Andrea Hissom is true, maybe it's time for Steve to realize that he and Elaine are destined to be together forever. They were married in 1963 and again in 1991. 2010 is a good year to tie the knot again.....IF Elaine would have him.
The sum is more than the parts, and Wynn Resorts needs both Steve and Elaine.

May 4, 2010 11:17 AM Posted by atdleft

Boyd just reported Q1 earnings, and they swung back to an $0.08 EPS PROFIT.

This was largely due to aggressive cost-cutting, but the Las Vegas locals' market does look to be stabilizing and EBITDA there was nowhere as bad as Downtown. It's becoming increasingly clear why Boyd is pursuing Station's assets so strongly.

May 4, 2010 8:17 PM Posted by Ted Newkirk

Given the overwhelming success of CityCenter... I'm questioning how another "not Las Vegas" property will do. Siegal has all but admitted he's taking a short term bath on The Spike.

Siegal has done really, really well renovating rent-by-the-week motels. I wish him all the success in the world, but Rumours is a great departure from what he's done in the past.

May 8, 2010 4:59 AM Posted by detroit1051

LV Sun has finally picked up our months-long discussion of resort fees in Las Vegas. It looks like the fees are here to stay, but good for Harrah's in resisting them.

"And yet, hotels feel pressured to implement them given that some competitors are tacking them on the back end of discounted rates, Sinclair adds. Many hotels — knowing that most people won’t dispute charges even if they don’t like them — are no longer removing charges for disgruntled customers now that business is picking up, he says."

Not totally analagous, but this reminds me of Spirit Airlines which can provide lower base fares by charging fees on almost everything imagineable: 21% of its total operating revenue came from extra fees in 2009, and they've added more fees this year.

May 16, 2010 1:15 PM Posted by detroit1051

Jane Morrison's column in the RJ caught my attention because of its focus on noise levels at Aria and the different approach MGM has taken there compared to Bellagio.

"The music was so loud in the casino and throughout the property that it qualified as noise pollution. It compares poorly with the Bellagio, the adjacent MGM Mirage property."
"MGM Mirage spokesman Alan Feldman conceded the music at Aria is "a bit louder" than at Bellagio.
"At Bellagio the music is intended to be part of the background. At Aria, the music is part of the experience and adds to the energy and excitement that we've worked hard to create," he e-mailed.
Feldman explained Aria has a system throughout the building with "sense mics. The mics are able to read the noise levels in the public spaces and, as there is more activity, the mics sense that and the music levels go up accordingly."
Thus, when the casino gets loud, the music gets louder."

Unrelated to noise, isn't it bizarre that advice is given to park at another property when visiting Aria? Who planned this place?

"Locals are advised it is easier to park at the Bellagio parking garage and take the tram to Aria."

The market will ultimately decide CityCenter's and Aria's success or lack thereof.

May 17, 2010 12:33 PM Posted by mike_ch

It's even easier to park at Monte Carlo's new garage since it doesn't require driving on Las Vegas Blvd and drops you closer to Aria than Bellagio's. The only downside is that the garage is small as most floors are for CityCenter and Monte Carlo employees.

Aside from the Strip driving, Aria's lot is fine. Bellagio requires driving on Las Vegas Blvd as well, and at least the right turn into Aria has a bridge suspending pedestrian traffic so you aren't having to blindly drive into a crowd of people and hope they'll not get themselves run over like you do at the gates of Bellagio.

May 17, 2010 6:36 PM Posted by detroit1051

I really like the photo of the registration area at Aria:

May 21, 2010 12:23 PM Posted by detroit1051

I'll post here since it has nothing to do with TI.
I remember driving out Sahara to the Las Vegas Art Museum in the library complex. It had to be more than ten years ago. What a shame that the city couldn't support it. It's sad that Libby Lumpkin and Dave Hickey are leaving. All cities need interesting, creative people like them to thrive.
I also remember mailing my credit card payments to "The Lakes, NV" and wondering where it was. I found out when I drove west on Sahara. Seems funny, if true, that CitiCards didn't want the payment address to be Las Vegas so got the zip code designated as The Lakes instead. I hope the processing center is still there. I guess there still are some people who use snail mail for bills.

May 26, 2010 9:37 AM Posted by detroit1051

Don't know how I missed the news that Social House is opening at Crystals since it's on their website. I saw it here today:

May 30, 2010 5:56 PM Posted by detroit1051

Has customer service declined in Las Vegas? I can't judge because I haven't been back since 2006. However, when I did go, employees were warm and helpful. It felt good to be weicomed back by bartenders, servers and casino floor people who seemed genuinely pleased to see me aqain. I don't believe it had anything to do with tips or play levels.
Has that changed?

May 30, 2010 6:15 PM Posted by mike_ch

What timing, Detroit. You missed my post in the EBC thread.

Yeah, service is seriously on a decline here. Good service is sporadic and can show up in the strangest places. I never did a Strip Munch on Silk Road, La Burger Brasserie, or BB King's at the Mirage, but you'd be shocked to hear that Harrah's-owned La Burger gave me better service than the two fancier MGM places, so good that I went back and again they were really working for their money,

Silk Road in particular was pretty awful to me. An almost empty room, slow food that arrived barely warm, and service that didn't care. If I had written my review, I was going to begin by mentioning that I have received better service at Circus Circus, since I actually have.

May 30, 2010 6:27 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, I saw your post right after I posted mine. Service is the make or break for me. I remember a server at Kokomo's who was great. I followed her to Olives at Bellagio even though I never cared for Olives. Once, I went back to LV Hilton after three years, and a slot change person came up to welcome me back. After three years! That's service.

May 30, 2010 9:57 PM Posted by atdleft


Surprise, surprise, I have a differing point of view from Mike's. Let me explain.

As I said in the other thread, a number of tourists have unrealistic expectations. They go into grind joints expecting five-star service. They go to cheap buffets expecting gourmet restaurant experience. They go to $50 rooms expecting Four Seasons amenities. Just because there are casinos doesn't mean the hotels can just give stuff away!

Now there are some real customer service problems at some places. I realize that, and I've experienced it. Hell, in 2008 an Imperial Palace employee actually hacked into my dad's debit card and tried to steal his entire bank account!!!! And no one ever apologized for the fire alarms malfunctioning one night to make noise ALL NIGHT LONG AND INTO THE G*DD**N F**KING MORNING! I still have nightmares about that hellhole.

However just months later, I stayed at Encore and had my first experience of real top-notch five-star guest service. All my show and dinner reservations were taken care of. My suite was done by housekeeping as I had requested. The casino workers happily answered whatever questions I had. Again, this goes to show that you get what you pay for.

May 31, 2010 11:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

Atdleft, I disagree with you. I don't believe customer service has anything to do with price or 5-star rating. Someone at Circus Circus should receive the same smile and level of attention as at Wynn. Most of the buffet customers and "grind joint" tourists, as you describe them, don't have unrealistic expectations and are probably more in tune with service employees than the so-called elite at Wynn or Bellagio. I've had service as good as or better than the 5-star places at El Cortez, Sam's Town and others. Granted, the overall experience varies, but Wynn isn't for everyone. A friend won't go into Wynn because she feels intimidated. In her words, "You have to be a snoot to fit in there."
It's a management responsiiblity to insist upon quality customer service by all employees regardless of the property's price point.

May 31, 2010 2:00 PM Posted by atdleft


For me, it has to do with now living here. Have you ever heard of the saying, There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth"? I think this is the case with these customer service complaints. Tourists often hear from other tourists, and this is certainly the case here. However I now have friends and family who work at casinos, from a friend's daughter doing the front desk at Excalibur to my cousin's ex-husband who does security at Venetian. And just as you and others here and that person interviewed for The Sun complain about certain employees, my friends & family working The Strip complain to me about customers who cuss and swear at them for no apparent reason, customers who give make unrealistic demands at them, kids who throw boogers at them, drunk @ssholes who throw beer at them, and more.

Ever since buying my condo in Henderson, I've gained an entirely new perspective on this town. And now that I hear both sides of this equation, I have a more nuanced view of these service issues.

May 31, 2010 10:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Uh, I am pretty sure all of us know people who work in casinos. I have heard wild tales from a former Luxor security guard, as well as know people who work in vendors and have the casinos as THEIR customers. Someone very close to me has spent the entire graveyard shift in casinos doing their bidding, as a matter of fact.

I think all these people still would expect a standard level of service when it's their money, though.

June 1, 2010 10:11 PM Posted by atdleft

Mike C-

"I think all these people still would expect a standard level of service when it's their money, though."

And they'd say they're providing all of that and more to the customers.

Again, there are 3 sides to every story: the customers', the workers', and the truth. I think it's much more complicated than what a few Yelp reviews might suggest.