September 2008 Posts

Brad's Best Hotels in Las Vegas Guide

I’m getting ready to head out to Las Vegas for meetings and was thinking about all the great (and some not-so-great) hotels I’ve stayed at there in the past.   So, here’s Brad’s Best Hotels in Las Vegas Guide:

Best View: Undoubtedly, the Bellagio wins hands-down.  Spend the extra money for a fountain view and you won’t be disappointed.  I must have watched dozens of fountain shows during my last stay. The movement of the water to the music is almost mesmerizing.  Keep the TV channel turned to the music channel and you’ll almost instinctively run to the window each time a show starts.

Best Service: The Wynn takes the top prize, despite being a mega-hotel.  One disclosure on this choice: I was staying at the “Tower Suites” at the Wynn.  It’s basically a separate hotel within the Wynn hotel – separate entrance, check-in area, bellman, concierge, etc.  You pay a premium price for these services, but they are well worth it in my opinion.  Each morning when I walked out the private tower entrance, the doorman addressed me by name and would ask if I needed a ride to the convention center – this even happened with doormen I hadn’t even spoken to before.  This hotel has figured out that communication between staff members to identify and greet guests makes people feel good.

Best Biggest Room: If you want a room the size of a palace, the only place to go is Caesar’s Palace!  Big rooms and big whirlpool tubs in the bathroom are a signature item of this hotel.  My only complaint with Caesar’s is the propery itself is just too big for my tastes.  It’s a trek to go virtually anywhere within the hotel, especially if you’ve got on-site meetings to attend.

Best “At Home” Feeling Room: The Venetian wins this one with their all-suite rooms.  I loved the the couch area with the TV and other amenities in the “downstairs” living room area.  Granted, it’s only about three steps down from the bedroom level, but even this minor elevation difference makes it feel like a truly separate room.  BTW, if you’re looking for a great snack or quick meal, check out the food court at the Venetian.  The Sicilian pizza is fantastic (and inexpensive)!

Best Honorable Mention: My first visit to Vegas was to the Mirage.  That was back in the day when the Mirage was the hottest, most amazing hotel on the strip.  The huge fish tank behind the check-in desk and the tigers in the lobby were elaborate.  By today’s Vegas standards though, they pale in comparison to others on the strip.  This hotel is still worthy of an honorable mention though since it’s a solid, nice property even if it is a bit dated.

Not-So-Great Hotels: No best of hotel list would be complete without a few tidbits of places to avoid.  The Flamingo (pink carpet = way too tacky!)  It may have been legendary back in the day, but that day has certainly passed.  Nice staff that works there and a terrific location on the strip, but I still would forgo the 70’s look and feel for something a bit more modern.  The Hilton (Star Trek theme = no dice for me)!  I stayed there for a convention once because that was the “official” hotel.  Worn-out hotel, mediocre service, a bunch of old men at the tables, and worst of all, a Star Trek theme!  Some may love it, but unless you’re and 80 year old Trekkie, go elsewhere!  Lastly, to finish out the not-so-great list – Treasure Island.  How do I put this eloquently?  It’s a dump!  The Sexy Sirens pirate show is cool out front!  The nightclubs are cool.  The Mystere show is cool.  The service and the rooms however resemble a Days Inn or worse.  One disclaimer:  I was staying on one of the top “premium” level floors.  I can only imagine how much worse it would have been in a “regular” room on a lower floor.  Fortunately, my stay was only one night so I escaped with little more than a rough night’s sleep.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my little unofficial Vegas hotel guide.  Stick with one of the properties I’ve listed above and you’ll enjoy your stay.  Heck, even if you stay at one of the not-so-great hotels, you’ll still have a great time!  After all, it’s Vegas, baby!

Blackberry's Don't Float

Well, I’ve personally confirmed that Blackberry’s don’t float!  My little experiment wasn’t really by choice but rather by a very late night of working and not paying attention as I got ready for bed.

It was about 3am and I was just finishing washing my hands in the sink when my elbow hit the side of my Blackberry 8830 phone clipped (not so securely) to my pants pocket.   An instant later I heard a thump sound which I knew was the sound of something bad… my Blackberry had gone for an unexpected swim in the toilet!  It’s at this moment that I paused briefly thinking to myself – do I just reach in there and grab it?  For those of you who know me, you know the Blackberry is sacred to me so a moment later I reached in and grabbed it to rescue the device from its watery grave.   I immediately pulled the battery and dried it off… but would it work again?   I pushed the on button but no dice – I figured that it was dead already!  Perhaps I shouldn’t have paused for a second before swooping my hand into the toilet to grab it out and the little guy would have made it.

So, the next day I went off to Verizon and shared the results of my exciting experiment with them – it turns out many others have done the same as me so my research was hardly groundbreaking.   About 15 minutes later and I was walking out the door with a brand new Blackberry 8330 Curve.   It’s a great phone and I love the camera and video recorder.  The keyboard is also much better than my previous Blackberry.   Anyway, I’ll leave the review for another time, that’s not the point of this post.  The bottom line is I love the new Blackberry!

But one thing still daunted me in the back of my mind…  could I still revive my old Blackberry?  Not that I’d be using it anymore now that there’s a new kid in town with my Blackberry Curve…  but, it was worth a shot regardless.

The CPR begins!  After doing some quick research online, I found two methods that are known to be good ones for reviving dead phones.  Instead of choosing one or the other, I did both.   First, I soaked my Blackberry in rubbing alcohol.   This is supposed to remove moisture (and also get all those nasty toilet germs off of the keys since it might someday be pressed up against my face again!).   I soaked it for a while and splashed it around a bit too.  I let it dry overnight sitting on top of a cable box which gave it a warm place to rest and recover.  The next day I used the second method I discovered.   I put the Blackberry into a bag of plain white uncooked (very important!) rice.  I sealed it up and let it sit for a few days.  The uncooked rice is supposed to absorb any type of moisture.

The conclusion:  (Drumroll…) I pulled my former Blackberry out of the bag… put in the battery…  on came the red light… then an few moments later… LIFT OFF!   The device started booting up and worked perfectly!  One of the things that makes Blackberry’s great is their ability to survive disasters – whether dropped, thrown, or even drown… they just keep on kickin’ and won’t ever give up the fight to survive!