Monthly Archives: August 2016

Six Tactics to Peacefully Coexist With Las Vegas Timeshare Salespersons

Las Vegas visitors have a love-hate relationship with timeshare salespeople. And by “love-hate,” of course, we mean “hate.”

If you ask the typical Las Vegas hotel guest about their worst experiences in Sin City, they’ll inevitably regale you with a story about running a gauntlet of timeshare salespeople who just wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

Well, we decided it was high time to chat up a timeshare sales expert to get the inside scoop about this mysterious world, and here are six tactics to peacefully coexist with these hard-working and often misunderstood folks just trying to make a living like the rest of us schlubs.

Rio Las Vegas timeshare

How lucrative are timeshare sales in Las Vegas? Rio Las Vegas has a timeshare sales area in the middle of its casino floor.

Interacting with timeshare salespeople doesn’t have to be a hostile or even annoying encounter.

When you’re approached, start by realizing the salesperson’s goal isn’t to annoy you. It’s to make a deal (and make a commission). Their job is to provide you with something a lot of people are interested in, otherwise the job wouldn’t exist. In fact, Las Vegas is the number one place for timeshares in the U.S. Hello, it’s Las Vegas.

The single best thing you can do to avoid being pestered (it’s also called “persistence,” by the way, which often works because in timeshare sales, “no” often means “convince me”) is to help the salesperson disqualify you as a customer.

That’s right. Help them. Talking to people who aren’t customers is a waste of time for salespeople, so help them. How do you do this? It helps to know the code.

Timeshare free slot pull

Beware timeshare enticements like free slot pulls like this one on Fremont Street. Just keep moving, avoid eye contact.

Once you know the right thing to do or say, your interaction with timeshare salespersons will be pleasant, and more importantly, brief.

Here, then, are six strategies to let a timeshare salesperson know you’re a waste of their time.

1. Fly Solo

When you’re walking alone, you’re much less likely to be approached by someone selling timeshares. So, if you’re part of a couple and see timeshare people nearby, split up for a minute. You’ll survive. Interestingly, individuals are still approached on rare occasions. Males, though, who are alone, are virtually never approached. Females are.

2. Say You’re a Local

This tactic is gold. Locals are disqualified immediately as prospective clients, so just say you’re a local. If you don’t like “lying,” use another tactic. But remember, these aren’t “lies,” they’re code. You’re a local.

3. Be Leaving Town Today

Hearing you’re leaving town today is a buzzkill for timeshare salespersons, which makes it an especially effective message to have at your disposal.

4. Be Younger Than 25

If you are younger than 25 years old, say so. If you look 25 or younger, say you’re younger than 25. That’s the cut-off most timeshare salespeople use to decide if someone is a likely customer, so use that knowledge to your advantage if you can.

Westgate

Westgate Las Vegas is a hotbed of timeshare activity. Now, you have some coping mechanisms if you visit.

5. Walk With Someone of the Same Gender

Timeshare salespeople are first-and-foremost looking for married couples. So, same-sex couples are rarely approached. If you’re gay, you meet the “couple” qualification, so there’s still a chance you’ll get hit up. See one of the other tactics.

6. Say You Already Did the Timeshare Presentation

Boom. You’re not interested. Not because timeshares aren’t awesome. Not because you hate timeshare salespeople. You’ve already had the presentation, so the conversation is over. Dead in its tracks. You’re now free to enjoy your vacation. You’re welcome.

There you have it. You’re now fully equipped to interact with timeshare salespeople in a whole new way.

Be friendly. Help them disqualify you as a potential customer, immediately and finally. Know the code, and get back to having the time of your life in Las Vegas.

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Renovated Chandelier Bar Opens at Cosmo With New Cocktails, Comp Drink Voucher System

One of the most stunning casino bars in the world, Chandelier at Cosmopolitan, is now even stunninger following a million dollar renovation.

Yes, “stunninger.” We attended public school.

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan

You sexy thing, you.

Chandelier bar at Cosmo has three levels. The casino level (with two bars) has been overhauled, with additional seating, swanky furniture, more video poker machines (eight at Main Bar, 10 at Side Bar) and a new specialty cocktail menu.

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan

Main Bar sits on Chandelier’s first level with Side Bar. Up a flight is level 1.5, and there’s yet another at the top level. Consider it a liver obstacle course.

The unveiling of the renovated first level of Chandelier is accompanied by a new comped drink voucher system. Rather, it’s new for Chandelier bar, but is already being used in the Cosmopolitan’s Bond Bar, sports book bar and other casino bars in Las Vegas.

Basically, when you sit at the bar and put $20 into the video poker machine, you get a free drink. Vegas, baby.

After that, if you play at least $1 per hand, uninterrupted for 20 minutes, a voucher will let your bartender know you’ve earned another comped drink.

Similar drink monitoring systems are already in place in the lobby bar at Mirage and the sports book bar at Caesars Palace. In the next year or two, it’s likely similar systems will appear in most if not all casinos in Las
Vegas.

Chandelier’s new voucher system seems fair, but don’t take a break or the comp drink countdown clock resets. The good news is Cosmo bartenders can use their discretion to override the automated drink voucher system. Take that, Skynet!

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan

This is how we lounge in Vegas.

The Cosmopolitan has a long-standing reputation for creating exceptional signature cocktails, so guests can look forward to a new slate of drinks during their next visit to Chandelier bar.

Specialty cocktails run $16, but if you’re playing at the aforementioned level, they’re comped.

Signature cocktails include the colorfully-named Afternoon Delight, Keep Your Pansies On, Give Peach a Chance, Becky With the Good Hair, Spritzfaced and Whiskey Business.

There’s also the Mr. Miyagi, pictured below, inspired by a classic cocktail, the Grasshopper.

Chandelier Bar Mr. Miagi

The Mr. Miagi at Chandelier Bar. It wasn’t our cup of tea, but judge for yourself.

Here’s a closer look at Chandelier’s specialty cocktail menu.

While the casino level of Chandelier has been given a facelift, the professionalism and friendliness of the staff remains completely unchanged. Bartenders at Chandelier are outgoing and experts at their craft.

Chandelier Bar

How much is Cosmopolitan trying to woo Asian high rollers? An anagram for Chandelier is “China Elder.” Which is totally not just a coincidence.

No matter which level of Chandelier you choose (ask about signature cocktails specific to each floor), you’re in for an unforgettable Las Vegas lounge experience at Cosmopolitan.

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan

A signature cocktail for your eyeballs.

While we were at Cosmopolitan, we learned another casino bar, Queue Bar, will close Sep. 5, 2016 to make way for an Identity Lounge for loyalty club members. Oh, and possibly some new restrooms. We don’t make up the news, we just report it.

Queue Bar at Cosmopolitan

Don’t cry because Queue Bar is closing, smile because you’re blitzed.

Queue Bar is down to about five video poker machines (most were removed and relocated to Chandelier), so swing by while you still can.

When you’re at Cosmopolitan, make sure to check out the newly-renovated high limit salon. Previously, the room held both slots and table games, but now the slots have been moved to a dedicated space. Apparently, table games players don’t love having slots nearby, and Cosmopolitan is making sure its high-end players are happy.

Cosmopolitan high limit room

Photography isn’t permitted in the high limit room, so, unfortunately, we’re unable to share the gorgeous photo above.

Enjoy more photos of Chandelier bar at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas that don’t really do it justice, but they’re the best we could manage after all the comped drink voucher research, if you get our drift.

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan

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Libertine Social Opens at Mandalay Bay

Libertine Social, a new bar and restaurant, has been unveiled at Mandalay Bay.

Yes, we got some photos. We know how you are.

Libertine Social

Libertine Social sits in the former Shanghai Lily space. Now, it’s a lot more chillable.

A “libertine” is someone devoid of moral or sexual restraints. So, yeah, a pretty good fit for Sin City. Note: In Vegas, restraints cost extra!

All the news releases and articles we read about Libertine Social repeatedly mention the name of “James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain,” as if that should mean something to laypersons like us. We’re going to assume if someone gets an award for their beard, they’re probably good at other things as well.

Libertine Social

A news release says Libertine Social’s “eclectic design captures the abandon of the restaurant.” We actually have a fear of abandonment, but we’re working through it.

While we don’t know their name, whoever did the interior design of Libertine Social clearly knew what they were doing.

The restaurant has two bars, a Main Bar (below) and “more intimate” (translation: smaller) Arcade Bar.

Libertine Social Las Vegas

We dig the Main Bar’s vibe. Enough of this trend of chairs without cushioning, though, Las Vegas.

The restaurant’s Main Bar “features a diverse set of ways to imbibe that celebrate the spirit of partying in Las Vegas with a world-renowned mixologist at the reins.” Psst. There aren’t any world-renowned mixologists, but it’s adorable how people in public relations think there are.

Libertine Social’s now world-famous (he’s appeared in this blog) mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim has created a cocktail menu with “Elevated Shots” (specialty shots with liquors like vanilla bean-infused plantation rum), “Swizzles” (icy Caribbean cocktails stirred with swizzle sticks made from the Quararibea turbinata tree), “Draft Cocktails” (handmade cocktails made “with the efficiency and speed of a draft system”), “Barrel-Aged Cocktails” and “Bottled Cocktails.”

Libertine Social

Arcade Bar. No pinball machines, sorry.

Apparently, ice is a big deal at both of Libertine Social’s bars, “with diamonds, cubes, pellets and spheres perfected for each drink.” When ice pellets catch on in Las Vegas, you’ll know where they got their start.

On the food side of things, the menu aspires to “encompass the social spirit of a house party,” with gourmet toasts and dips, “indulgent flatbreads,” sausage boards and other options “encouraging guests to share and socialize.”

First, we were once expelled from college for showing someone our sausage board.

Second, if we ever have a band, we’re going to call it the Indulgent Flatbreads.

Libertine Social

“We’ll pay for parking at Las Vegas casinos when rabbits fly!” Oh, right.

While we didn’t get a chance to try the food or drink, we’ll definitely be back to Libertine Social.

We might tease them a bit, but the space is unpretentious and welcoming, and is clearly intended to encourage hanging out and mingling. You know, being social. All the kids are doing it. (Libertine Social has, thankfully, spared us the table shuffleboard and cornhole. You’ll live, Millennials!)

Libertine Social at Mandalay Bay is open Monday through Sunday, 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. If you check it out, we’d love to hear what you think.

 

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 24: Pinballs to the Wall, Strip and Downtown Discoveries and More

There’s a little something for everyone in this installment of the highly overrated Vital Vegas Podcast.

For starters, we’ve got an enlightening interview with Larry Galbraith, one of the owners of the new Fremont Arcade at Neonopolis, downtown. Come to find out, there’s more to pinball machines than meets the eye (a metric ass-ton more).

Galbraith walks us through the new arcade to talk about the 16 custom and limited edition pinball machines and other offerings at the new downtown diversion.

Fremont Arcade

We tend to prefer our machines to be of the slot variety, rather than pinball, but Fremont Arcade’s rare, custom machines won us over.

We’ve also got all the latest Las Vegas news, as well as exclusive discoveries on The Strip and downtown, to help you get the most from your next Las Vegas visit.

Get the inside scoop about the renovated Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan (pictured below), the Riviera implosion, Lucky Dragon, Amorino Gelato at Linq promenade, Pete Rose’s exit from the Pete Rose Sports Bar & Grill, the new Game Lodge at Twins Peaks and so much less!

Chandelier Bar Cosmopolitan

Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan has to be one of the most stunning in the world, and we’re not just saying that because we are a Las Vegas blog. We’re saying that because we have eyes.

We also talk Freedom Beat at Downtown Grand, Blue Man Group’s 10,000th performance in Vegas, the closing of “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding” at Bally’s and Paul Zerdin’s “Mouthing Off” at Planet Hollywood, all the shops shuttering at Pawn Plaza and the two-year anniversary of SLS Las Vegas.

Take a listen! It makes us feel like our Las Vegas obsession, resulting in sleepless nights, liver damage and lack of a sex life, is totally worth it.

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Gordon Ramsay’s Fish and Chips is Finally Taking Shape

The long-awaited Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips at Linq promenade is finally happening, and we’ve got the security breach to prove it.

We poked our lens over the construction wall to get a glimpse of the restaurant’s progress, and it appears Gordon Ramsay is ready to give another in-the-works restaurant at the Linq pedestrian mall, In-N-Out, a run for its money.

Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips

Everyone should try a little of the old in-and-out when they’re in Vegas.

From what we can see, Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips is on the petite side, and not much has been done to the interior so far.

The restaurant is described as a “grab-and-go British comfort food venue,” featuring fish and chips and other traditional British food. We expect it to be pretty good in spite of that fact.

Chef Ramsay already has several successful restaurants in Las Vegas: BurGR at Planet Hollywood, Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris and Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.

More to come on Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips.

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A Peek at Downtown Grand’s New Restaurant, Freedom Beat

Construction is well under way at Downtown Grand’s new restaurant, Freedom Beat.

Freedom Beat replaces the resort’s former cafe, Stewart + Ogden, and will take up not only that closed restaurant’s space, but also that of another closed restaurant, Red Mansion.

While Downtown Grand has wisely built its construction walls from floor to ceiling, here’s an exclusive first look at a rendering for the Freedom Beat concept.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

We’re unsure if the “I Love Mom” will stay, but it’s a great excuse for us to say, “Love you, Mom!”

The new restaurant concept is subdued and welcoming from what we can tell, and we can’t wait to take our first bite. Bonus: Freedom Beat looks like it will be Nirvana for solo diners.  The Buddhist one, not the band. Please try and keep up.

Freedom Beat is a collaboration between Downtown Grand and 34th Floor Hospitality, the same folks who overhauled Downtown Grand’s pool scene, Citrus.

Freedom Beat logo

Freedom Beat was also the name of a 1988 anti-apartheid concert in London. About 200,000 people attended the free show.

34th Floor Hospitality was also involved with the recently-closed Inna Gadda di Pizza and Pawn Donut & Coffee at Pawn Plaza, as well as The Pizzeria (“Secret Pizza”) at the Cosmopolitan.

Freedom Beat’s interior design comes from Las Vegas-based Bunnyfish Studios.

The new restaurant is expected to have an entertainment component, although specifics haven’t been announced.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

The aforementioned security breach-thwarting construction wall.

Just today, we spotted “Hell’s Kitchen” season 12 winner Scott Commings at Downtown Grand. He’s being tapped to help create the menu for Freedom Beat, and also serves as executive chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.

Update: We got the first sneak peek at Freedom Beat’s menu.

Freedom Beat menu

We’re hungry. That’s a good sign.

We’re excited to see what Freedom Beat has in store! This blog is a firm believer Downtown Grand is one of the most underrated resorts in Vegas, and despite a number of challenges, Downtown Grand forges ahead.

Downtown Grand recently called off a Zowie Bowie residency due to a lack of attendance. (The contract was originally scheduled to run until October 2016.)

The hotel also quietly pulled the plug on its weekly Taboo Summer Nights events. While the event was a huge draw (about 1,000 people gathered at the hotel’s pool each week), the crowds are rumored to have been unruly, so the series was canceled.

Citrus at Downtown Grand

Downtown Grand’s pool is on fleek. Or whatever the kids are saying now. Trust us, in the time it takes you to read this photo caption, they’ll be on to the next thing. It’s fire. Or lit. Or bae. Let’s just go with those, already.

Onward and upward, and kudos to Downtown Grand for changing things up and continuing to improve its offerings.

Update: We’re hearing the hotel’s Art Bar will soon get an overhaul and rebrand. You heard it here first!

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