The Long Goodbye

On one of my early blogs I talked about trying to tell people that we were sold out and all the interesting responses I got. Well, they just keep on coming. This weekend may have been the best one yet.

It is EDC weekend and like a lot of the hotels we are sold out (maybe we had a couple suites but they were priced very high).  At 10pm, I had two ladies show up to the front desk and ask about a room for the night.

Guest: We are looking for a cheap room for tonight.

Me: Sorry, we are sold out tonight.

Guest: Well, maybe we could afford something a little more expensive.

Me: Ma’am, we are sold out.

Guest: So you have no rooms available?

Me: We are completely sold out.

Guest: Well we have loyalty cards.

Me: We have no rooms.

Guest: What if we went online and booked?

Me: but how would you do that? We don’t have rooms that can be booked.

Guest: They always have rooms online.

Me: Only if there are rooms to be sold and we are sold out.

Guest: Well we will take any room, even if it just has one bed.

Me: Ma’am, we have been sold out all day. There isn’t a single room left with the possible exception of the A Suite and that is going for $XXX

Guest: Could we get that for $50?

Me: Ma’am, our cheapest room before we sold out was going for $XXX tonight.

Guest: So, no rooms?

Me: No rooms.

(and that was the end of it)

(oh wait, no it wasn’t. They returned 15 minutes later)

Guest: We found a room.

Me: Great to hear. Where?

Guest: Here!

Me: Um, do you have the confirmation number or can I see your confirmation?

Guest: They never sent us a confirmation.

Me: Who didn’t?

Guest: The website

Me: What website?

Guest: Oh, it was like Expedia or Hotels.com

Me: So which one?

Guest: Oh, I don’t know, can we check in now?

Me: we are still sold out and if you can’t provide me with a confirmation number or some sort of proof that you have a reservation, I can’t check you in.

(and that was the end)

(of course, they came back 10 minutes later)

Guest: Ok, we have the confirmation now.

(they hand me their phone)

Me: This reservation is for tomorrow, ma’am.

Guest: It is?

Me: Yes, ma’am.

Guest: Can you change it to tonight?

Me: Ma’am we are sold out.

Guest: Well when is check in?

Me: Tomorrow afternoon.

Guest: could we check in early like in a few hours?

Me: Ma’am we are sold out tonight and won’t have rooms available until tomorrow afternoon.

Guest: Oh, ok, well see you tomorrow then.

Me: Ok, goodbye ladies.

(I don’t know where they stayed that night but it took over 30 minutes to finally get them to leave the front desk area.)

 

Restaurant Review – Lola’s

I have been wanting to go to Lola’s for a long time now. I am a big fan of Cajun cuisine and New Orleans. We went to the Charleston Ave location (their original location). This was at lunch time and we had a wide variety of dishes.

First off, the environment. It very much fits into a “bar-type/tavern” style place. Lots of wood, TV’s around the restaurant. It is on the dark side in some of the corners of the place but a very welcoming feeling. The staff is very friendly and helpful. They were available for all our questions and described menu items very well.

Although we didn’t have any alcohol you could see that they had a good wine and beer selection.  Soft drinks are on the expensive side at $3 but there are unlimited refills.

The menu is extensive and has something for everyone. There are the typical Cajun entrees of Gumbo and Jambolaya, a large selection of Po Boys and several fried items. All fairly priced. Nothing we ordered was over $16.

We started off with the crab and artichoke dip, garlic bread and char-broiled oysters. The garlic bread was nicely grilled. I would have liked a little butter to make it a little richer. The crab dip was wonderful. The smoke of the garlic bread with the sweetness of the crab worked very well together.  The big disappointment was the oysters. They were on the small side and the cheese overpowered the oysters. Not what I expected after having charbroiled oysters in New Orleans.

Garlic Bread 7.5

Crab dip: 9.5

Oysters: 5

Next the entrees. We ordered the Etouffee, Gumbo, BBQ Shrimp, Shrimp Creole and the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad.

The Etouffee was rich and tasty with subtle heat. A great representation of New Orleans. The favorite dish of the meal. The salad dressing was one of the best Caesar dressings I have had in a long time and the chicken was perfectly grilled and moist. The BBQ shrimp had a lot of heat to it. Now this is not your typical BBQ sauce. This is a buttery hot sauce that mixes well with the shrimp. It is served with rice. You get 5 shrimp (add another 3 for $4) with the dish. The Shrimp Creole was plated almost identical to the BBQ shrimp just with a tomato based sauce. Both were very good. My only issue with the Creole was having to pull out the bay leaves from the sauce. The Gumbo was very good but I felt they burnt the roux a bit. It was very good but had a slight burnt aftertaste.

Etouffee: 10

Chicken Caesar: 8

BBQ Shrimp: 9

Shrimp Creole: 8.5

Gumbo: 7.5

We didn’t save room for dessert but we will next time so I can try the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.

Environment: 8

Service: 9

Price point: 8

Value: 9.5

Thank you Lola’s (@Lolas_LasVegas) for a great experience.

 

No place to go

There are a lot of options to stay in Las Vegas but on a weekend like EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) it can be a tad expensive, if there is availability. Rooms that usually run for $200 are now $500, even the cheaper hotels can be over $150. It is also a great idea to plan ahead. Trying to find a room during the weekend without a reservation can be troublesome, but what if you couldn’t plan ahead.

That brings us to last night. Among the glitter faces, unicorn horns, cat ears, furry boots and other interesting fashion choices was one solitary man dressed in slacks and a dress shirt who approached my station.

 

Guest: I need a room for the night. Cheapest one you got.

Me: All we have are suites and they are $XXX for the night.

Guest: Nothing cheaper? I’m a local.

(I am not sure why locals think they would get a discount, is that a thing I don’t know about)

Me: We don’t have a local’s discount. I have to ask. You don’t seem intoxicated or unable to drive. Why don’t you just go home if you can’t afford a room?

Guest: Wife kicked me out because I was cheating one her.

Me: Oh, that’s a tough one man.  How about the other girl?

Guest: She found out I was married, dumped me.

Me: Ooooh, double ouch. At least the sex was good, right?

Guest: Not really.

Me: Well buddy, I really don’t know what to tell you now. Lesson learned I guess. So do you want the room?

Guest: I guess, I have the cash for it.

Me: I need a card for the security deposit. We don’t do cash for that. I can take cash for the room.

Guest: Wife blocked all the cards. No cash deposit?

Me: This really isn’t your night, is it?

(saw the guy after my shift drinking at one of the bars. Hope today is a better day for him)

Restaurant Review… The Peppermill

I am on a little mini-staycation over the next week or so. We have guests in town that have never been to Las Vegas before so less hotel business and more tourist stuff. Although I am working this weekend (EDC!!) so I am sure I will have some more stories next week.

The other morning found us at The Peppermill. I don’t head out to the strip much but for a new person to Las Vegas, this is a place to experience.

We arrived around 10 am and were seated almost immediately. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served 24 hours a day. That is a bonus if you don’t feel like breakfast in the morning. We all did though. The waitress was prompt with the coffee and other drinks. We did have cocktail waitresses stop by a couple times and offer us mimosas and Bloody Mary’s (including the kids at the table… yes, they don’t look 15 or 16 but they definitely don’t look 21).

The average breakfast costs around $12-15. That is a bit pricey but the portions are huge and when you consider that it is less than a buffet and a plate of food fills you up it is a good price point.

The seafood omelette was very good but very rich. It was probably about a 6 egg omelette packed with shrimp and scallops and covered with hollandaise sauce. I would find it impossible to finish.

The Mazzeratti omelette had Italian sausage, mushroom and cheese (maybe some other things) and had red sauce on top. Now you would not think that tomato sauce would work but it does. It makes the omelette something other than just bland.

The other two dishes were very similar. Either French toast or a Belgium waffles covered in fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, melon), whipped cream and blueberry syrup. A giant overwhelming mass of good stuff. Everything was fresh and tasted great. One was finished, the other one made a grand attempt.

The service continued to be acceptable. Drinks were refilled pretty well and the coffee is pretty good.

Definitely give this place a try. It is classic Vegas diner at its core.

Ambience: 8 out of 10, 15 out of 10 for kitch

Service: 8 out of 10

Food: 7.5 out of 10

Price: 6 out of 10

Value: 8 out of 10

 

 

The Check-In Delay

There are a variety of reasons that a check-in can take longer than expected. Some are the guests fault and some are my fault. Some of them can be avoided and some can’t… and some of them are quite amusing.


 

The Bachelorette Party arrives. 10 women, 3 rooms and they are all excited to be in Las Vegas. The leader of the pack is at my station checking in all three rooms. Everything is running pretty smoothly. We have gotten 2 of the rooms done. She is asking me about clubs and restaurant suggestions. I am recording each guest’s name because you just know at least one of them is losing their key tonight and will need a replacement one.

I look over to the group of girls and all of them have party tiaras on and are ready for a fun night… except for one. Sticking out like a sore thumb, is, I assume, mother of the bride. She is the only middle aged woman in the group and is not in a good mood. Our eyes lock, I immediately feel a cold chill down my back. She approaches.

MoB: Is everything alright? Why is this taking so long?

Me: Everything is fine. Just having pleasant conversation and getting the last room checked in, Ma’am.

MoB: Your job is to check us in, not have pleasant conversation.

Me: Actually, it is both but I will do my best to finish up soon.

MoB: Please hurry, I need to use the bathroom.

Me: There are restrooms just over to you left, Ma’am.

MoB: I am not using a bathroom used by someone else.

Me: You do realize that other people have used the bathroom in the room you are getting and you are sharing it with 2 other people, right?

(yes, I know there is a difference between a public restroom and a hotel bathroom, but she is in such a hurry and I would have been done with the check-in had she not come over.)

Mob: Just get it done (she storms off and guest apologizes)


 

A charming woman is checking into the hotel. The room that was preassigned to her is in a “Dirty” status. We are also oversold on this type of room so time to go into the inventory and find an upgrade for her. I engage her with some idle chatter to distract from the fact that this is taking longer than it should. She doesn’t seem to mind but from behind I see the husband approach.

(why is it always the one that has no idea what is going on that needs to have a loud discussion with me… especially when the guest checking in has no issue.)

Hubby: Yo, dude. This seems to be taking a long time. Anyway you can actually speed this up?

(now let me just say that so far the whole process has taken about 3 minutes. Not that long actually)

Me: Well sir, I was just trying to give you and your wife an upgrade but if you would rather I just put you back into the basic room I would be happy to do that.

(wife smacks husband’s arm twice)

Wife: Let the man do his job! Just go sit over there.

Hubby: Yes dear, sorry about that sir, I appreciate what you are doing.

(Hubby walks away)

Wife: I swear that man has no common sense or manners. I apologize, sir.

Me: No need to apologize. It’s all good.

(Hubby comes back)

Hubby: I just want to apologize, sir. I…

Wife: Will you just sit your ass over there while I take care of this. So help me, if he doesn’t give me this upgrade because of this, you are sleeping in the car tonight.

(Hubby walks away again, wife rolls her eyes)

Me: Don’t worry about it. I have you all set up, here are your keys. I hope you have a great vacation.

Wife: Oh. I will have a great vacation… he might not!


 

The fun never stops!

Maybe you need new glasses

You have three basic reactions from a guest when checking them in.

  • They are excited to be here (my personal favorite)
  • They are indifferent to it (It’s Vegas… show some emotion)
  • They are in a bad mood (I am going to try my best to change this)

You change a person’s attitude in various ways. A smile, a joke, some basic verbal interactions. Asking them about their flight, mention that their birthday matches your mother or child just to get some reaction. Anything just to get a crack of a smile or something positive. Then there are the guests that no matter what you try, it doesn’t work. Nothing is their fault and they don’t understand how this could be happening to them.  We had a guest like this last week. I do believe that I am now responsible for the D he got in 6th grade Science because he didn’t see how that was his fault.

 

Guest: I’m here to check in.

Me: Ok sir, I need your credit card and identification to start checking you in.

Guest: I already paid for the room.

Me: There will still be a resort fee and security deposit to be paid upon check in.

Guest: I booked it on covfefe,com, the resort fee is included and it didn’t say anything about a security deposit. So, I don’t see how this is my problem.

Me: The resort fee might be listed on the site but you pay it here upon check in and the security deposit is mandatory and it is listed on the site and was in your confirmation e-mail.

Guest: That isn’t right and is an infringement of my rights.

Me: What right are we infringing on?

Guest: You are deceitful and I don’t see why I should pay it.

Me: Well sir, if you don’t pay it I can’t check you in.

Guest: Fine but I am going to complain.

Me: Ok sir. We have you in our so-so room in our OK Tower for 3 nights.

Guest: I want the better room in the Nice Tower.

Me: Sir, the room you booked was for a Run of the House room. Tonight those rooms are the so-so rooms in the Ok Tower

Guest: I don’t see how that is my problem.

Me: Well you booked that room so  I am giving you that room.

Guest: Again, your hotel is putting me in a room that I don’t want. That is not a me problem, it is a you problem.

Me: Sir, it’s not a me problem. You are assigned to that room.

Guest: You are not LISTENING to me. I have my wife and son with me and you want us to walk all the way over there to get to the room?

Me: Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Would you like to upgrade to a different room?

Guest: YES!

Me: That will be another $20 per night plus tax.

Guest: So you want to charge me for the room that I should have but don’t have. Again, I don’t see how you can do that.

Me: Well, you are in the room you booked. There is an upgrade fee for the room you want.

Guest: Fine just give me some sort of food comp.

Me: For what?

Guest: Everybody gets some sort of comp. This is Las Vegas, don’t you know anything?

Me: Sir, there is no food comp available.

Guest: Well then, give me the AAA discount.

Me: Sire, you booked on a wholesale website and paid your room cost to them already. We don’t add a discount to a room that is already discounted and already paid for.

Guest: I don’t see how that affects me.

Me: Um, well we can’t discount a room that is paid for.

Guest: This is the worst hotel ever. What am I supposed to do, cancel?

Me: Why would you cancel? You have paid for the room already.

Guest: So I am stuck here.

Me: No sir, you can call the wholesaler and we will refund the last two nights but it is past the cancellation point to cancel tonight without penalty.

Guest: and how is that my fault.

Me: Well you don’t have to cancel. You are here, you have a room that is paid for. We just need the security deposit and resort fee paid.

Guest: Fine just check me into the fleabag and I will find something else tomorrow.

(I gave the guest his keys and surprise, he didn’t cancel and actually extended a day. I guess he “couldn’t see” himself leaving the hotel for something else.)

Sometimes 21 doesn’t equal 21

Many years ago I was vacationing in the Caribbean. It was a beautiful all-inclusive resort that included a casino. Our host gave us a tour of the resort and it ended up at the casino. There were plenty of slot and video poker machines and several blackjack tables. The host warned us that the slots were fine to play but that the casino was not actually owned by them but by a local group and that we shouldn’t play the table games. The reasoning being that sometimes 21 doesn’t equal 21… they were either cheating or wouldn’t pay if you kept winning.

Which brings us to today’s blog. To check into a casino resort in Las Vegas you have to be 21. Just like the laws for buying cigarettes and alcohol that doesn’t change the fact that people will try to check in while underage. There are definitely some good fake ids out there that are hard to spot and then there are some of my guests. 🙂


There was the guy who was trying to be really cool by doing the ol’ twenty dollar trick by slipping a $20 between license and credit card. Pretty smooth and it might have worked except he slipped the money in between his driver’s license and his… driver’s license. Yep, he gave me his fake and his real id at the same time. An ‘A’ for effort but an ‘F’ for execution.


 

This one actually got by me. Perfect ID and she acted so cool. I asked her if she wanted to add a name to the room in case of an emergency or a lost key. She said yes, that she was sharing the room with her sister. That’s when they ruined their weekend. I never did well in biology but I do know one thing. Two sisters can’t have a birth date only 4 months apart. The stupid thing was that the other sister was only 2 months away from turning 21 and could have waited that long and she could have made the reservation and checked in.


 

Finally, the Nick Pappagiorgio Award goes to the gentleman who created such a detailed piece of art that you could hardly notice they reversed the birth date and the expiration date. I had to explain to the guy that not only had his license expired 22 years ago but he wasn’t going to be born for another year.


 

There are, of course, others where the brother is going to show up later or they are checking in for their parents.

Kids, you can still check into the Motel 6 and have fun in Las Vegas. Just remember that a casino can suffer severe consequences for checking in a minor or letting a minor gamble so we are pretty diligent about finding fake ID’s… or maybe I am just a party pooper.

 

Thanks again to everyone who is following this blog. It is truly humbling and a treat that you are enjoying reading as much as I enjoy sharing these stories.