Vegas has something for everyone - and more
Viva Las Vegas turnin' day into nighttime
Turnin' night into daytime
If you see it once
You'll never be the same again.
"Viva Las Vegas"
by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Most of us know a few things about Las Vegas. We know that the house always wins, but so far that has not stopped people from trying to beat the odds. We know that you can get good deals for hotel stays, meals, and shows on the Strip, and even better ones for lodging downtown. We also know that a whole new layer of luxury has been added to the Strip area in recent years, giving you the opportunity to "pay through the nose," as Vegas authority Anthony Curtis put it when he showed me around town a while back. Let's see what's new and different in the capital of gambling, glamour, and glitz.
Test the depth of Curtis's expertise either by subscribing to his newsletter ($5 an issue or $37 a year, with a discount coupon book thrown in) or checking his Web page, lasvegasadvisor.com, for free. For instance, clicking on Today's News I learned about a limited-time freebie or two, the opening of a new kind of Borders bookstore, and what Miss Manners thinks about losing players tipping dealers.
Speaking of new things, Osamu "Fuji" Fujita, master sushi chef of Loews Hotels, has a SushiSKool for youngsters at Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. The one-hour class is designed to teach those ages 5 through teens the basics of ordering, using chopsticks, eating different types of sushi, and that all-important sushi etiquette. The classes, which cost $20 per child, will be held at the Sushi Bar at Marssa restaurant Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. For accompanying mothers, a Mommy Maki add-on includes wine and an assortment of maki rolls ($25 per person with a child in the class).
Call 702-567-6000. For hotel information, visit loewshotels.com.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that Wet Republic, an "ultra pool," is scheduled to open soon at the MGM Grand. The 53,000-square-foot area includes the only two saltwater pools on the Strip, an open-air lounge, and a sundeck that turns into a stage for DJs and entertainers. Rooms at the hotel start at $89 a night and several vacation packages are available.
According to vegas.com, some dining specials are not on the menu and you must ask your server for them. For instance, $7.77 gets you the Gambler's Special at Mr. Lucky's in the Hard Rock Hotel, featuring a steak, three grilled shrimp, a vegetable, and a salad. Another "secret" bargain is the $5.99 half-chicken dinner at the Bougainvillea Cafe at Terribles Casino. As the website notes, prices are subject to change.
Vegas.com also keeps track of free attractions. Among them: the MGM Grand Lion Habitat, where the beautiful beasts are on display; the Piano Bar at Harrahs, where every night at 9 twin piano masters battle it out and the audience picks the winner; Carnivale at the Rio with a parade every hour from 6 p.m. on; and the Fremont Street Experience, a giant light show presented downtown from dusk to midnight daily.
Go to vegas.com/attractions and click on free attractions.
The second annual Gay Days & Nights Las Vegas, with around-the-clock activities and entertainment, will be held July 3-6 and is expected to draw visitors from around the world. Events benefit the Gay & Lesbian Center, Las Vegas Pride, and the Liberace Foundation.
For bookings and more information, visit gaydaysandnights.com.
Orbitz is in the midst of its Sizzlin' Las Vegas sale. Through May 18, customers save $50 when they book a flight-and-hotel package longer than three nights for travel through Aug. 31.
Visit orbitz.com and use the promotion code ORBITZLV50.
The Fairmont Washington, D.C., is thinking spring with its Cherry Blossom Package, available through April 20, roughly the blossom season. Visitors get overnight accommodations for two, complimentary valet parking, and a box of notecards featuring the capital's monuments and cherry blossoms. Rates start at $219 per night.
The Salisbury Hotel Museum Lovers package in New York offers two no-waiting tickets to the Museum of Modern Art along with a night's accommodations for two for $229-$319, depending on the date and day of week. Guests also get a MoMA book and bookmark. The offer is good through Oct. 29, with the lowest rates in summer.
Visit nycsalisbury.com or call 888-NYC-5757.
Up to 40 percent off
The Hawks Cay resort in Duck Key, Fla., is offering discounts of up to 40 percent on newly redesigned rooms and up to 20 percent on two-bedroom villas during April and May. With the discount, rooms start at $225 a night and villas at $255. The resort focuses on family and adventure-based activities on the tiny island in the Lower Keys.
Visit hawkscay.com or call 888-443-6393.
Nantucket in spring
In springtime, Nantucket is relaxing, uncrowded, and cheaper. For instance, a Seaing Is Believing offer at both the Cottages at the Boat Basin and the Jared Coffin House provides significant discounts. From May 1-29, rates at the Cottages begin at $162 a night, compared with $490 a night in summer. In town, the Jared Coffin House has rates starting at $124 a night April 18-June 22.
The Prado and the Ritz
Madrid's Museo del Prado has undergone a $208 million expansion, and its neighbor, the Hotel Ritz, is celebrating with a two-night Cultural Experience in Madrid package. Featured are accommodations in a classic room; entrance to the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Reina Sofía museums; a three-course dinner (excluding beverages) in the Goya Restaurant; a daily buffet breakfast with cava (Spanish sparkling wine); a bottle of cava in your room; afternoon tea in the lounge; round-trip airport transfers in a private chauffeured car; an art guide to the Prado; welcome amenities; and free access to the Wellness Centre. The price is $1,317-$1,476, depending upon the time of year.
Call 011-34-91-701-6767 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about Spain, visit spain.info.
Walking out of turn
Ever thought about walking in Slovenia? Euro Bike and Walking Tours says the country is committed to preserving its natural wonders, and gives you a chance to see them up close with its eight-day Magic of Slovenia tour. The walking begins in the capital, Ljubljana, with its bridges, parks, churches, and distinctive buildings. Then it's on to views of the Julian Alps, underground caves, fiord-like lakes, landscapes of ancient rock and rivers, and valleys decked with flowers. Departure dates are July 12 and Sept. 20. The cost is $3,795, including meals, guides, and just about everything but airfare.
Visit eurobike.com or call 800-321-6060.
For women only, Serendipity Traveler's weeklong Walking in Wyoming trip features Grand Teton National Park, with both walks and guided hikes, as well as a float trip down the Snake River and expeditions with park rangers to see wildlife. The trip is suited to average walkers, but a local guide will lead hikes for the more advanced. Dining will be in the Jackson Hole area. Departure dates are July 19 and Sept. 20 and the cost is $2,495, including accommodations, breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners, and an hourlong therapeutic massage.
Visit serendipitytraveler.com or call 800-975-2357.
When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at email@example.com.