It’s been a nice week here in Las Vegas. The weather has calmed down and we are running our seasonable temperatures, with afternoons up around 32c (90f) and nightly lows around 15c (60f), with typical sunny skies.
Last weekend seemed to draw some old style music. Both Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks were playing, but at different casinos. And for even older Mitzi Gaynor was here as well, (remember her singing ‘was that man right out of my hair’ from South Pacific?) her first appearance in Vegas since 1978. She was a regular singer back in the ‘good old days’ in town a lot. (OK, can’t resist)
It was also IndyCar racing at the local motor speedway, which unfortunately was halted before it got very far. The Strip was closed ahead of the races as the cars sipped up and down Las Vegas Boulevard in front of Caesar’s and other casinos before large crowds.
One of the Republican debates will be held tonight at the Sands. There is hope that at least one of the candidates will mention the mortgage problems ‘ordinary’ people are having. Last year was rated as better than the year before, with only one housing unit out of eight getting repossession notices, the highest rate in the country. (and 12% was better?). wow. Our unemployment rate is at an official 14%, but admittedly is around 20% counting everyone not eligible for unemployment insurance, or who have used it up.
Business is picking up at the casinos, no big projects planned but many casinos are renovating to make them appear more modern. Wynn just spent $99,000,000 to upgrade their 2,700 rooms (in their five year old building). The Stratosphere spent $20,000,000; Bellagio underwent $70,000,000 in changes; $35,000,000 at the Plaza downtown and $180,000,000 at the Tropicana. Latest to announce remodeling is the MGM Grand, spending $160,000,000 on their 3,570 rooms and 642 suites along with changing the whole casino floor and all other public spaces.
Over at the Venetian there are plans to install a synthetic ice skating rink out front, on top of the Grand Canal, so you can skate while gondoliers row people alongside. This will be for their “Winter in Venice” celebration running from Thanksgiving through New Years. Lots of other entertainment activities are planned for what is usually the slowest month for visitors in Vegas. It won’t be cheap to skate - $19 per half hour. If you get sick of the snow season come on by in December, rates are usually low, shows offer two for one tickets, and though it isn’t too warm we usually average around 24c (mid 70’s f) in bright sunshine. You can still lay out and get a sunburn.
I don’t have any MGM or Venetian photos for you, but here are some from City Center – this is the Aria pool just outside the buffet windows (one of the only buffets in town with windows)
One of their indoor brass trees
And if you want to hit their shopping mall, it’s fairly open and a little different than the others around town