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Old 02.12.2009, 15:31
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Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Hi there.

I'm thinking about going to Las Vegas over xmas / new year.
Now, i was about to do half a dozen calls to gather the info i need, but i thought someone here already knows LV and the route there from Switzerland and might give me a few hints.

First, does anyone have some experiences regarding hotels?
I know i want:
* One of the big hotels, not one on the edge of town or anything. Those that you see on TV all the time, etc.
* Strip view
* Should be somewhere in the center of town. Or is anything located on the strip basically in the center?
* Even on vacation my work doesn't let go of me, so internet access in the rooms is a must.
* I don't need high-society-like luxus, but the rooms should be clean and rather modern.

Now, about flights. I see that many airlines don't have direct flights from Zurich to LV. What's the best way to get there? Which airlines are generally cheap for that route?

Obviously, i want it to be as cheap as possible. As far as that's possible with the goals mentioned above.

Also, any hints on where to go if i'm not playing in the casinos?
Like, great places to eat, drink, etc.?

Now, about entering the country. What do i need?
Is it true that i need a biometric passport to enter the USA?
What else?

Any pointers are welcome, thanks.
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Old 02.12.2009, 15:42
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

I have stayed in 3 hotels.

Stratosphere - top end of the strip. It is the cheapest one I stayed at. Nothing fancy, rooms were ok. Great view from the top.

Tropicana - near the bottom end of the strip. A little bit more expensive than the strat. Rooms were about the quality maybe slightly better.

The Palms - slightly off the strip, around the middle. Provides a free shuttle to the strip, every hour or so. More expensive than other 2 but rooms were good.

Dont know about internet access as I managed not to think about work at all

If cheap is main priority i would say the stratosphere.
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Old 02.12.2009, 15:57
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Excalibur and Luxor are decent hotels, but are probably considered "old" now.
Avoid New Year's Eve unless you're ready to pay extra.
I think the Tropicana is now Hooters? I stayed in the Trop on my 21st b-day :-)

I might go to LV for the CES which begins Jan 7th.

IMHO - the old strip (covered downtown area) is only worth a 1-2 hour visit.
Don't venture off any dark streets down town!
Meals are CHEAP downtown.

Hotel hopping is fun...

- Treasure Island show + Tigers, Wynn, MGM, Venetian, NYNY, Stratosphere, Circus Circus, Bellagio Fountains

I heard the massive Citycenter will open soon?

Take the bus or tram instead of a taxi to save a few bucks.

Have fun and bet on 18 :-)

John
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Old 02.12.2009, 15:58
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

I was in LV last year for a wedding, of all things. My husband and I stayed at the Mirage... and as long as you get a room at top, you'll have a view of the strip. Our friends stayed at Caesars, which I do think is a nicer hotel, but the basic rooms, which were as much as the higher ends ones at the Mirage, for the most part overlooked the car park. Other friends stayed that MGM Grand but that's right down the south side of the strip and a good 45 min walk from Caesars.

WE also spent a night at the Statosphere, which is at the north end of the strip and by no means as trendy, but much cheaper and in some ways, i thought much nicer. They have a fabulous revolving restaurant and theme park rides at the top of the tower, if you are brave enough. ( but you dont need to be staying at the hotel to visit either things.)

Do you want a themed hotel? there's Treasure Island, or a hotel shaped like a pyramid, there's also a hotel based on New York and another based on England's King Arthur, which are all quite quirky.


I'm sure your best bet will be to look online. Quite often, you'll get an offer of book two nights, get one free. But occasionally, if you call the hotel directly, you can arrange better deals. The Bellagio and Venetian are by far two of the nicest hotels, but of course, you pay for that.

As for what to do other than visit the casinos, you can go and see some of the shows... but be aware that they sell out quickly, you can do a day trip to the grand canyon, or do some climbing, or even go horse riding.
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Old 02.12.2009, 15:59
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Register on matrix.itasoftware.com and run a pre-check for flights from GVA to LAS.

I did a quick check for flights with up to 1 stop around the 30th, coming back on the 6th, and got the following:

Delta Air Lines CHF 1031
United Airlines CHF 1097
Virgin Atlantic CHF 1135
American Airlines CHF 1196
Northwest Airlines CHF 1224
Three airlines or more CHF 1452
SWISS CHF 1540
Air Canada CHF 1582
Continental Airlines CHF 1716
British Airways CHF 1895

However, as this is a little last minute, you really need to play with the dates (prices could vary by hundreds of francs) or you could hit lastminute.com or all those derivative sites to see if they've got something a few days prior to the date you want to be there.
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:01
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

I'm gonning to suggest ether. Hunter S. Thompson seemed to have a good time in Vegas with it.
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:05
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Hey,

Excalibur is a good hotel to stay in. It's the big Disney-like castle, also Luxor, the pyramid. Both of them are on the strip, very well-located !

About the visa stuff, yeah, you need the biometric to enter the US, unless your passport has been issued before a certain date, sorry I cannot recall the date, but something like before 2006 should be fine ! TBC.

When you're there, you want to go to Stratosphere -> amazing sight and flight with a helicoper from Vegas to Grand Canyon, you lend in the middle of it, worth doing it !!!

DO NOT GO THE MC Donald's there !!!

Most important thing to remember: WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS STAYS IN VEGAS !!!!
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:08
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

ive just got back a couple of days ago..

i stayed at the wynn and upgraded so had a nice view of the strip with floor to ceiling windows.

however for the centre of the strip i would recommend the Bellagio or the Paris or the Venetian as they are more central.These are all the higher price range hotels so if you looking for good value Mgm or New york are perfectly good. There arent many bad ones to be honest and ive stayed in most!

you need to complete a visa online in advance of going and then another on the plane

your best bet for booking is to go to expedia and do the hotel and flight together - works out much much cheaper!
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:11
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

entry requirements, based on your lack of information, are impossible and just guesswork.

What you need with regards to a hotel is actually to rock up in a good casino and drop $250'000 playing roulette. Act like you have more and you'll get a suite quite quickly.

For Vegas, I recommend the Montecito - ask for Samantha or Danny and tell them Boxman sent you
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:45
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Hey people, thanks a lot for the hints.

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DO NOT GO THE MC Donald's there !!!
I have to ask: Why?
I don't think i'll want to buy fast food when i'm at a place like that, but you made me curious.

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your best bet for booking is to go to expedia and do the hotel and flight together - works out much much cheaper!
Thanks, i'll check it out. I actually thought i'd just go to one of our travel agencies. But i guess i'll do both and compare.

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entry requirements, based on your lack of information, are impossible and just guesswork.
Well, i'm a Swiss citizen and have never been to the US.
Anything else?

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For Vegas, I recommend the Montecito - ask for Samantha or Danny and tell them Boxman sent you
Heh. Interesting you should say that. I started watching the show again a couple of weeks ago. It's what got me thinking of going there, seeing as i've never been there.
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Old 02.12.2009, 16:55
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Google gave this link:
http://bern.usembassy.gov/niv_waiver_program.html
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Old 02.12.2009, 17:03
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

I went there..um...in 2003 and stayed in the Stratosphere. Nothing fancy and it's at the end of the strip.

It has a couple of "fairground" attraction rides on the roof - one shoots you up and then drops you and, as you can't see the ground, feels and looks like you are falling from a great height.

The more "central" strip places are, obviously, the Cesars Palace, etc. kind of places but it's fairly easy to get around there - some of the hotels have automated walkways line in airports to save you when the baking heat has got to you.

Make sure you check out the "Sirens" show of an evening (at Treasure Island hotel) - cheesy (it is Vegas, after all) but it was a bit of a laugh.

That said, don't spend too much time on the strip - hire a car and see some of the sights around the vicinity.

It's a 5 hour drive (make sure you work out how to use the cruise control first!), but you can go to the Grand Canyon and cross one off your "Natural Wonders of the World" list

Then there's the Hoover Dam, Red Rock national park and a few others. Around late afternoon, somewhere like Red Rock is beautiful. It's quiet (not too many tourists) and everything gets bathed in a red-ish light as the sun goes down.

Then, you can marvel at the cyclists pounding their way along the "scenic route" at high speed in such heats!

I loved Vegas, though. The city is wierd and wonderful in its own theme-park way but the surrounding areas as described above really made it a worthwhile trip.
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Old 02.12.2009, 17:37
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

Don't get mixed up between downtown LV and the strip. YOu want to be on the strip. Downtown is a totally different area.

Hotels:
Stratosphere is a perfectly reasonable tourist class hotel. Yes it is at the end of the strip, but it is a comfortable walk all the way down to the central area. If you are renting a car, you can easily drive to the center and get a carpark. We parked at the Alladin - free valet service.

Tip: Starting your stay or checking in on Friday and Saturday is usually very expensive. Rooms can be up to double the price compared to other days. Sometimes it is cheaper to book the room from Thursday even if you are arriving on Friday because then you would have Thursday's rate for the whole weekend. The price is always changing though...

Shopping
The hotel is also within walking distance to the outlet malls (prime outlets)on the north side of town. There are less but better shops there compared to the ones in the south part.

There are huge malls in the bigger hotels in the center. If you don't mind driving to the other side of town, I found the Galleria at Sunset has all the shops (A&F, Hollister, Victoria Secrets, etc,)minus all the tourists, and with better bargains (eg., huge sports outlet with various goods instead of the overpriced Nike Store)

Food
instead of McDonalds, you must try In-N-Out Burger. It is the best.

Buffets are part of the attraction, but lunch/brunch would usually be half the price of dinner.

While waiting for your table, sit outside the restaurant in the casino and spent a couple of dollars at the slot machines... and you will get free drinks, even if you are unlucky with the machines.

Two particular buffets stand out for me in my last trip (been there 4 times). Alladin for lunch, and Todai for Japanese buffet. Search the internet for the current favourites.


Enjoy your trip!
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Old 02.12.2009, 17:44
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

And check those carefully, and soon. My Swiss wife found that she did not have time to get a U.S. visa before travel - it was easier for her to replace her passport with the latest Biometric version - even though her existing passport was relatively new.
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Old 02.12.2009, 17:54
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

axman - few years since youve been i think?

the aladdin has now gone and been replaced by planet hollywood!

the prime outlets are now rubbish - do not go there as its a little bit out and the shops are terrible - goto the fashion show mall (opposite the Wynn) or to the Premium outlets which is much much better.

also i wouldnt recommend the stratosphere to anyone, given the price of central hotels which are much better and remove the need to hire a car..
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Old 02.12.2009, 18:04
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

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axman - few years since youve been i think?

the aladdin has now gone and been replaced by planet hollywood!

the prime outlets are now rubbish - do not go there as its a little bit out and the shops are terrible - goto the fashion show mall (opposite the Wynn) or to the Premium outlets which is much much better.

also i wouldnt recommend the stratosphere to anyone, given the price of central hotels which are much better and remove the need to hire a car..
Sept.2007? Not that long ago. But wow.

I meant Chelsea Premium outlets, not prime outlets (there is none in LV). But Fashion Show Mall is not an outlet.

Not sure if prices of central hotels are much better but cheaper places in the center are crap compared to Stratosphere. But search and search... the prices are moving so quickly on a daily basis. Save money on the hotel, get a rental car and explore the canyons, desert...
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Old 02.12.2009, 18:10
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Re: Planning a trip to Las Vegas over new years eve

The outlets i liked where a little beyond the bottom of the strip. good selection of shops and prices.

fashion show mall on the strip also a good place to shop.

been almost 2 years since i been, need to go back soon.
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