Top 10 of Super Happy Joy Joy

=First, thank you for all your responses and messages over the last couple days. You have warmed my heart and made me smile and cry (but it was a good cry). So here is my answer to my own question, now what?

My list of what made me love Vegas and what I enjoy about Vegas. The thing in Las Vegas that I still love doing and going to. This could be restaurants, venues, sites, pretty much anything. Of course, this blog is not only about me. It is about Las Vegas and the people that come to Las Vegas so please send me comments and include your choices. You don’t have to have 10 but let’s limit it to 10. I know some of you can list 50 but try and narrow it down.

So without further adieu, from the home office in David Letterman’s basement…

Vegas Hotel Confidential’s Top 10 Things I Love in Las Vegas

 

Ten

Casa Fuente at Caesars  – I only have one vice, smokingdrinkinggambling. If you do it all at once it only counts as one and this place fits the bill nicely. Very good bartenders and the rest of the staff is knowledgeable and always friendly.

Nine

Nacho Daddy – My favorite bar in Las Vegas, specifically the Fremont Street location. Great food, great drinks and the staff is the best. The prices are very reasonable. Nothing bad on the menu.

Eight

Red Rock Canyon State Park – Nature’s beauty in all her glory. Whether you want to sight see or hike or just a relaxing walk in some fresh air, you will have a great time.

Seven

Fremont Street Experience – This one would be higher up on the list but I can only take the drunk crowds for so long before they wear on me. I love hanging out at Whiskey Licker or the bar at the Four Queens and watching the live bands, especially Alter Ego and Spandex Nation.

Six

House of Blues at Mandalay Bay – My favorite music venue in Las Vegas. Great acoustics, great selection of music acts and great vantage points no matter where you are.

Five

The Peppermill – I love old school Vegas kitsch and I would visit this place even if the food sucked. Good thing the food is great too. If you like people watching, especially hungover people watching, there is no better spot.

Four

The Bellagio Conservatory – Every single display I have seen over the last 20 years has taken my breath away. I wish I had 10% of the creative ability that their designers have. It’s worth the bit of suffering I get from my allergies

Three

Wicked Spoon Buffet at the Cosmopolitan – I have eaten at probably 90% of the buffets in Las Vegas and this one is hands down the best one I have had. The twist on standard buffet fare is impressive. The staff is also tremendous. They make even a solo diner feel special. Well worth the price.

Two

The Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian – I am not sure I have ever bought anything in any of the shops. I have eaten at some of the restaurants and sat in St. Mark’s Square and had an espresso and gelato. Someday I hope I can afford to buy something there but I just find so much beauty walking around. I am a sucker for this kind of architecture.

One

The Bellagio Fountains – I have seen the fountain display over 40 times, I have seen them during the day, at night, from above and they always amaze me. Absolutely stunning. I always tell first timers that if you only have 1 hour in Las Vegas, go see the fountains. You will have had a memorable trip.

 

This was a tough list, a lot of my favorites are gone and I tried to limit the number of restaurants because to be honest 7 of the 10 would have been food related. I think there will be some more top 5’s and 10’s to come.

I hope you enjoyed the list and it inspired you to try a couple things. I look forward to seeing your lists.

Twitter: VegasHC

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So what now…

I really don’t know what to write. I had a blog ready to write last Sunday. I was forming things in my mind and jotting down some notes while at work. Then some hotel guests started coming up to the front desk asking me if I had heard. Did I know anything? Was everything ok? I had no idea. My wife texted me and told me to stay away from Mandalay Bay and come home straight after work. All I knew was there was a shooter and it was not safe.

I spent that night watching the news. Seeing the panic, the sadness, the madness and all in utter shock. 30 minutes turned into hours. Was there one shooter, were there 5 shooters, were they in other hotels, was there a suspicious van outside the Luxor. Even ISIS claimed it was them.

Well, it is now 7 days later. 59 dead, hundreds more injured. I haven’t been able to watch the news for the last 3 days. It just got to be too much. Too many talking heads spouting rumors and thoughts of conspiracies, false ideas, all the whys and hows and maybes. It became too much.

So what now?  Well this is definitely not the time to talk about the drunk girl who forgot what hotel she was in or the guy with no cash but needs a room. There was a time and I hope there will be a time again but it is not today.

A guest talked to me today about how things were 30 years ago. How this was something that you didn’t imagine happening and now it seems how every year things get worse. There are school shootings and club shootings and just a division throughout the country. I am not going to use this blog as a something to spout my views on gun control, race or any of the many other differences that we have that has led to violence. I don’t want the comment section to turn into a war zone. That is not what I am about or this blog. What I can and will do is vent and here it goes.

I love people, I don’t hate people. I dislike some people but I do not hate people. I love Las Vegas and I love my job. I love writing this blog and I love reading the comments you write… but I hate when innocence is hurt. I hate when innocence is lost. I hate that some people feel that justice is served by killing others. I hate that people think that they need to hurt other people. I hate that this man took the lives of so many. I hate that some people are now worried about coming here. I hate that I have let one sick son of a fucking bitch get into my head and into my heart and tore my world up in the last 7 days. I hate that friends and family had to wonder if I was ok. I hate that I had to go on facebook and twitter and declare myself safe. No one should ever have to do that. I hate that guests come in and constantly ask me how I am doing because it is not meant as how are you doing today, it is how are you coping with what happened last Sunday.  I hate that some people are having issues with some of the casinos posting messages welcoming people back to Vegas and wanting them to book  with them. Do they want people to come? Of course they do, they are a business but this isn’t a marketing campaign. This is about rebuilding trust and support for the whole city. I hate that there are stupid people that say if 20,000 fans all had guns that this wouldn’t have happened or would have been stopped sooner because… no!

I have learned one big thing because of this event and I have to say I am grateful. I live in an amazing city. Take away Fremont St, take away the strip, just ignore it for a minute. THIS IS A GREAT CITY and A GREAT COMMUNITY. Our first responders are amazing, our police force stopped a maniac before he could do even more damage. Our doctors and nurses flooded into every hospital whether they were supposed to be there or not. We lost far less than we could. Thank you to all the concert patrons who helped everyone else. Thank you to all the blood donors. We filled our blood banks within hours. Thank you to all the people who have sent in donations, bought shirts and hats and pins. A go fund me page that originally had a goal of $2 million is over $9 millions now.  The motto “Battle Born” is not just words it is an attitude.

I will not let this fucktard beat me. I will be back. I may not be originally from here but I am #BattleBorn and #VegasStrong.

Love to all of you, be strong and thank you for every kind word.

 

@VegasHC

Guest questions

We get asked many questions at the front desk. Most of them are fairly common questions.

  • Where does Uber pick up?
  • Where is the fitness center?
  • Is there a password for the internet?

We get asked them everyday and the answers are easy. Sometimes we get questions that are either hard to answer, the answer is not well received or understood or we have to ask them to repeat the question.


What time can I get for late check out?

Our late check out is time is noon

Twelve noon?

Yes, Twelve noon (as apposed to eleven noon or one noon).


When is the end of the day?

Um, midnight.

No, not the day day but you know the time the day resets.

(now what I eventually figured out was that he was asking what the gambling day at our casino was, when points reset. Most people don’t realize that the casino and hotel are separate entities.)


Do I have to check out at 11 or can I check out earlier?

No you can check out at anytime before 11.

(could you imagine the scene at the front desk if everyone was forced to check out at the same time.)


I’m arriving late tonight, do you have a restaurant open at midnight?

Yes, we have a 24 hour restaurant on site.

Just in case, we are running late will it still be open later?

Yes it will be.

(unless there is a 25 hour day coming up then it will be closed for an hour)


I need to check out at 4am will someone be here at the desk?

We are open 24 hours a day.

Right, but will someone be here at 4am, I don’t want to have to wait.

Yes.

(he must have been having dinner with the other guy that thinks there are 25 hours in the day.)


 

I had a couple readers send me some questions that may be of interest to others so I figured I would throw them in here.

-Things to do before the check-in? (Player cards? Idk…?)

If you are here on a comp, they may want to see your players card or at least need the number on the card. Outside of that, have your ID, credit card and confirmation number handy. Oh, a few days ahead of schedule (if you haven’t gotten a confirmation e-mail, I would call the hotel to confirm).
-Your take on early/late check-in fees

There are a lot of times, we can’t control early check ins, I am not a fan of fees in general, if you get there and the room is ready, I say check you into the room. As for late check outs, an hour, maybe two is not a huge deal unless we are sold out and are in a rush to get all the rooms clean. Now if you are talking more than a couple hours, we need to charge something, maybe not the full night rent but a portion. You are overstaying your contracted time and we are being put behind schedule because of this.

– Belldesk/Concierge etiquette

Be polite, be prepared with your questions and your luggage and tip please. Most of these jobs are low paying and they rely on tips. Oh and a message from my bell people. Please don’t come in with a bunch of loose walmart or garbage bags that are bulky and can rip open. It is a pain in the ass to move these bags and have them stay on the cart. Invest in some luggage.
-Negotiating resort fees (like, upgrading to another room in exchange of them reduced or something like that)

Don’t negotiate fees at check in, a lot of hotel clerks don’t have the authority to do that. Spend money at the resort, visit a host and then see what they can do about the fees. Why are we going to comp things to you when we don’t know what your spending habits are. Stick to trying to get a room upgrade.
-When a complaint is something to complain about vs something that don’t need to be reported

If you feel it needs to be mentioned, then mention it. Mentioning it is not a complaint. If it isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, then complain. Did the maid forget to give you towels, call us an let us know. If 5 hours later, you still do not have towels, then complain. I can’t tell you what is important to you, only you can tell me that. If I don’t have a room service menu, I don’t care because I don’t do room service but if there is no ice bucket in the room, you need to get me that ice bucket.

-Can you explain why occasionally the same room is assigned to different people?

This is a pretty simple reason for this. Someone at the desk fucked up. Most of the time, Yes, there can be a system glitch but rarely. Is it the fault of the clerk that checked you in? Most of the time not. Three main reasons.

  • A clerk previously checked the person in a room but did not fully check them in and so the room was never taken out of inventory.
  • A clerk checked you into the wrong reservation and then forgot to switch rooms when the error was found or not found.
  • A clerk checked you into one room but accidentally gave you the wrong keys.

They also asked me if I have done this to anyone. Yes, anyone that spends enough time in the business has done this. I was lucky, I was the same clerk that checked both reservations in so I knew of the mistake before I checked the second person into the same room.  There are three very easy ways to get fired from the front desk. Check people into the wrong room, steal from the hotel and undercharge guests. We are very careful not to do these things because we know the consequences.

 

WSVHCD?

Did you miss me?

Sometimes you hit a perfect storm of events.

  1. Personal life gets in the way.
  2. there was actually a 10 day span of work where nothing weird happened at all.

 

The 2nd point got me thinking. Is there going to be a time when all the stories will just start repeating themselves? How many people will be unique enough in their drunkeness, complaining, self absorbed ways to keep this going in the long term with 1-2 posts per week?

Originally, I didn’t even think a blog was possible because I didn’t even think I could come up with more than 10-12 stories and then things started to steamroll. It was like I hit the jackpot on weird guests. Now, I am in a drought. I have a few stories that we will get to later this week but I want to know from you, the readership, is there anything else you want here?

We have done some Top 5’s and some reviews. Tackled some questions, which I will continue to do. I have talked more than enough on the $20 trick and resort fee headaches. So what should Vegas Hotel Confidential do (WSVCHD)?

I’m open to suggestion

  • news and opinion pieces
  • more top 5’s
  • more reviews
  • happy just waiting for the next story
  • anything else?

 

 

The Hazards of Wholesale

I understand the idea of saving money. I try to save as much as I can. I am a pretty simple guy. Give me a big TV, a laptop and quality internet and I am pretty much a happy guy. There are a few things that I splurge on because quality and satisfaction are important with those things. I don’t buy cheap cigars, I don’t buy my steaks at Walmart and I don’t buy Boone’s Farm when I want a bottle of wine. I want what I want and I am willing to splurge on those things. I recognize the difference.

When you travel to Las Vegas what is important to you? Do you want a specific room in a specific hotel or do you want a cheap deal? If you want the cheap deal, great, go with a wholesaler. They do what they do, they get you a cheaper room. If you want something specific and are willing to spend a little extra money for it, then do it.

I did a small sampling this past week on check-ins from wholesalers this week. The results are by no means a accurate portrayal of what happens every day or week but it is a trend that I see. Also remember that I have no idea if some of these errors are guest error or wholesaler error but it still is significant.

  • 15% of the guests got the wrong type of room booked for them.
  • 25% claim that the wholesaler never told them about the security deposit or they couldn’t find it in the small print.
  • An airline and a travel agent never sent us the actual reservation so the guest showed up without a reservation.
  • 6 guests had their reservations cancelled by the wholesaler because their credit card declined but never contacted the guest to tell them.

Now I realize that means that the majority of times they got it right but no one cares when it goes right. The issue is when it goes wrong. Do you want to be one of those people when it comes to check in?

The wholesaler just wants to sell the room and get their money. That is when their transaction ends. Not yours. If your reservation depends on saving some money on the hotel, by all means, do that but please, follow up on the reservation. Call the hotel and find out about what room you have or if there are any fees at check in. Make sure any additional people that will be on the room are listed on the room. If you get delayed and someone else is staying in the room might get there before you, they can’t check in if they aren’t on the room.

Also remember that we, at the hotel, can’t change a 3rd part reservation. If you find out that the wholesaler has done something wrong, you will need to call them back. I know, it is a pain, why can’t we do it? They have the information on the reservation, if we change something then our records don’t match and getting payments and commissions will get screwed up.

Oh, and if saving money is an issue and you are gambling, guess what can be done on a reservation done through the hotel. We can comp it or we can discount it. We can’t do that with a wholesaler. They have your money, we don’t.

If you are willing to spend the money, book direct with the hotel. If you need to get the discounted rate, book with the wholesaler but do your follow up.

 

Who’s on first?

I was introduced to classic comedy from a series of cassette tapes in my Grandpa’s den. He had a series of tapes that featured Red Buttons, Red Skelton, Sid Caesar, Lilly Tomlin and my favorite comedy routine, “Who’s on First” by Abbott and Costello. If you don’t know the routine please look it up. I will wait for you.

Welcome back, funny right?

I have always thought about doing stand up comedy but I never realized that I was going to be straight man to a drunk lady doing a version of “Who’s on First” at a hotel.


 

(A lady in her mid 20’s walks up to the desk. She is obviously drunk and seems panicked)

Drunk Guest: I really need some help.

Me: Yes ma’am, how can I help.

DG: I don’t know where I am going?

Me: Where are you supposed to be?

DG: My friend told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Ok, well you are at Hotel XYZ.

DG: but I don’t know where to go.

Me: Did your friend tell you what part of the hotel to meet you at?

DG: Yes, she said to come here but she isn’t here.

Me: She told you to come to the front desk?

DG: Yes… no… she said I need to go to the restaurant.

Me: Which restaurant?

DG: The restaurant.

Me: We have different restaurants.

DG: I think it was the (non-identified) restaurant.

Me: Ok. I can show you how to get there. Go this way and then that way and it will be on the left.

DG: Thank you.

(10 minutes later, she is back)

DG: I’m lost.

Me: Was your friend not there?

DG: I asked the girl there where I should go and they sent me here.

Me: What did you tell her?

DG: I told her I was meeting my friend at the front desk.

Me: I thought you told me you were meeting her at the restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you tell the restaurant you were meeting your friend at the front desk.

DG: She wasn’t there.

Me: did she call you and tell you to meet her here.

DG: Yes, she told me to meet her at Hotel XYZ.

Me: Yes, and then you told me she was at that restaurant.

DG: Yes.

Me: Then why did you come back to the front desk.

DG: I’m confused.

Me: So am I. Did she call you or send a text or e-mail.

DG: She sent me a text.

Me: Have you tried to call her?

DG: There was no answer.

Me: Can I see the text?

DG: Sure, here it is.

Me: Ma’am, it says to meet her by the cage.

DG: Cage? What is that? I thought she said cafe so I figured it was a restaurant.

Me: Let me get a security guard to walk you over to that cashier cage.

DG: Ok, thank you.

(Who’s on first, what’s on second, I don’t know, front desk.)


 

I missed a question on the Q&A so I promised I would cover it here. It is a difficult one because it asks me to stereotype, which I hate doing but I will do my best.

Is there a city, state or country that produces less polite and more polite customers than others?

In general, I really enjoy checking in people from Great Britain and Canada. They just seem really patient and are happy to just be in Las Vegas. I would say that a very minimal percentage are problem guests.

Most foreign guests are great to deal with but sometimes the language barrier is a tough one to deal with. I know some French and Spanish so I try my best.

Midwest, middle aged to seniors are mostly a great experience. They are the ones that give me the most warm fuzzies.

The guests that I have had the most difficulty and it still happens rarely would fall into three groups.

  • Locals who think they should be treated differently because they aren’t tourists. They want discounts, they want special treatment just for the fact that they live here. Don’t like it? Go home.
  • Young guys from California. They are here to gamble, go clubbing and pick up women and they couldn’t care less about listening to what I am saying about security deposits or that they booked a room with one bed for 4 guys. I can guarantee I am getting a callback from the room about what was just charged or the type of room they get.
  • This one is not region specific but definitely has a southern tilt. The (usually) woman who has booked the cheapest room she can find and then complains about how the room is not up to her standard but when asked what she thought she was getting, has no idea what the different room types are. This usually ends up being about getting a food comp or something for free. It rarely has to do with the actual room.

There have been very few guests that I would not want to see again. In the last few months I would say maybe 3-4. In general, most people are either a great check in or at minimum not very memorable. The memorable ones either make me smile or get written about here and the big assholes are usually a faded memory a few days later.

 

Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

Q & A Time

Thanks for all the questions. I hope that I haven’t missed any of the questions. Hopefully we can do this every so often.

 

How often do bed bugs happen? Would they have to close down the hotel?

I did not see the video that you mentioned but yes, bed bugs do happen. They have been around for centuries. There has been a resurgence over the last half century probably due to developing a resistance to pesticides and more international travel. I would say that in my experience we see them maybe once every two to three months. We do not close down the hotel. That would be a financial disaster and really not needed. We close off the room and if the rooms around are not rented we will put them out of order. If they are rented we wait until they are vacated. Most times we haven’t had them spread to the next room but to be safe the exterminator will spray all surrounding rooms just in case.

Have you ever snuck up and took a nap in a room?

No and it really never crossed my mind. However, I have known of an employee that did and they were fired. If you ever think you aren’t being watched in a Las Vegas resort, you are. I had security follow me into an employee only area because I wasn’t wearing my ID and the new surveillance guy didn’t recognize me.

Have you ever hooked up with a customer?

No, I am married and committed to her solely. Have I witnessed it? Yes. Have I been approached? Yes. Is it a bad decision? Yes. We have some guidelines and written and unwritten rules depending on the hotel. It can just get real messy. Something that should be avoided.

Have I took home baby shampoo?

I am going to assume that means, have I taken home hotel property?  I have occasionally used hand moisturizer and sometimes a pen or pad make it into my pocket but stealing is against the law and I am not going to risk my job over some trinkets. If you get a bad name in the hotel/casino business it is hard to get another job.

Do I get free rooms?

Depending on the hotel, you may not even be able to stay in the hotel you work in. I have never been able to get free rooms. Best I can usually get is casino rate. Personally, I like where I live. I don’t see the need to stay in a hotel in Las Vegas. I spend the night on the town and make sure I am sober enough to drive home or have a designated driver.

How does the $20 trick really work and is it as successful as it was before?

I have discussed this before and it is really my least favorite question. Please read my blog, “Dealing with the Front Desk”.  In summary, know what you are asking for as an upgrade, tip for service not for expectation, have realistic expectations and if you want something specific just book it.

Am I less likely to be offered upgrade options if I’m staying for a longer period versus a shorter stay?

Depends on the upgrade and what kind of player you are. Strip view, corner room, near elevator, away from the elevator are easy ones and can be accommodated on longer stays. Want a presidential suite for a week… probably not unless you are a diamond player or we are really slow for the week. Easiest way to get an upgrade, book on a busy time for a cheap room for a few days. Hope that room type is overbooked, we have to put you somewhere and usually it will be an upgrade.

Do celebrities really use fake names when they check in or are they using VIP check in to avoid people?

I have checked in celebrities or famous people and they have used their real names but they are NRG (non registered guest), we don’t tell anyone they are there. Most of the time, their manager and our manager or VIP host have an agreement and they pick up the keys from the office and go to the room. I can’t say that I have checked in any A listers but I have interacted with various forms of famous people and haven’t encountered too many that are pains.

Has your property ever oversold like United, if so what happens?

Yes, we oversell as much as we can within reason and depending on what is going on in town. Very rarely will everyone actually show up. Plans change, deposits get declined, a lot of times, comp rooms no show. On the rare occasion that we oversell and everyone shows up, the left over guest will get “walked”. That means we find alternate arrangements with a sister hotel or another hotel of similar or better rating. We do our best not to move a guest to a lower property. We cover their bill and usually give them some sort of bonus like a food comp or some free play. This happens more in other cities because we do our best to control that situation.

Are courteous  guests likely to get upgrades/comps when available or is it only people who spend tons of cash?

If you are dealing with me and want a comp or upgrade you better be courteous and nice or “you ain’t getting shit!” I will put up with stuck up and entitled guests but you aren’t getting the upgrade or anything from me unless management is telling me to do it. Being nice and interacting with me is a great way to get something if I can do something.

Any really big room bills you have seen from the mini bar or room service?

The people that abuse things like that are usually the guests that are getting comped, in my experience. Then again, I haven’t worked at a 5 star place in Las Vegas either. I did see a couple come in for 2 nights and get $400 in food comps and go over by $200 before they even checked out.

How much harder has it gotten to be you since the advent of the “Third-Party” reservation system? I hate all of them and don’t understand why they are even allowed at some of the better hotels.

Ok, the wholesalers… as an assistance to the hotel, itself is a good thing. To the hotel clerk, it is a bit of a pain.

Most hotels use the wholesalers so that they can save money on paying employees to take reservations and it is easier advertising and comparison shopping with other hotels. So it has value. The hotel saves money and the guest saves money. Btw, the dozens of different sites are primarily owned by the same few companies. Go to hotels.com or expedia.com and you are paying the same company.

Where is goes wrong for us and makes things difficult. A lot of times the wholesaler doesn’t openly display the resort fee, security deposit or other extras as well as they should. They just want the money and don’t care about the check in (my opinion). They also don’t always send us the right information which causes delays at check in. Finally, book through a wholesaler and we can’t change that reservation at all. You have a change, call the wholesaler and then they will contact us to change the reservation.

Ever shown up at a hotel andt hey didn’t have your reservation? I bet you booked with a wholesaler. You see, they have to upload it into our system or send some sort of communication to us for our reservation department to add it (depends on the hotel setup).


I enjoyed getting these questions and answering them. I hope I didn’t miss any.

Thanks again for reading. Your support means a lot.