Category Archives: Las Vegas WTF

Company Creates Socks That Smell Like Las Vegas

It’s an idea so crazy, it just might work. A company out of Bulgaria, Stinky Socks, has created a line of scented socks intended to remind people of their favorite places, including Las Vegas.

The socks are touted as carrying the scent of “the beach, the mountains and the heart of the city.”

The “city” in question? Las Vegas, of course.

Stinky Socks Las Vegas

No, Vegas casino carpets aren’t garish to “keep people looking up at the slots.” First, they aren’t all garish. Second, the patterns are sometimes busy because it helps disguise stains.

We reached out to Stinky Socks to see what inspired the scent for the Las Vegas socks, and the company’s CEO, named Risto, said, “I would describe it as a mix of old, heavy furniture mixed with air that wasn’t moved a lot.” We are intrigued.

As far as the design, Risto said, “[The socks] were inspired partly from carpets back in the day, mixed with some disco elements from the ’80s.” Read more from Risto.

Longtime casino visitors may see some similarities to the kitschy carpeting at Stardust.

The latest batch of socks from Stinky Socks was intended to appeal to folks staying home during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Here’s a look at a video promoting the fragrant socks.

The aromatic socks cost $14.95. Ours were $24.95 with shipping included. Of course, we ordered some! Do you know this Las Vegas blog at all?

Given the wide, wide variety of smells in Las Vegas, we’re curious to experience these socks first-hand. First nostril? Whatever works.

Vegas fans have long had an appetite for the smells of their beloved casinos. Companies have churned out Vegas-scented candles and aroma machines paying homage to our favorite places to stay and play. Sans the cigarette and cigar smoke, typically.

Find out more at the Stinky Socks Web site. Which is, frankly, a sentence we never imagined we’d be typing in this Las Vegas blog.

City of Las Vegas Coloring Book Sparks Controversy

A children’s coloring book published by the City of Las Vegas is causing raised eyebrows from concerned parents and children’s advocacy groups.

The coloring book highlights a variety of Las Vegas cultural icons, but the accompanying text has kicked up a firestorm.

Las Vegas coloring book

Cue the uproar.

Some parents are suggesting the coloring book’s contents are “irresponsible,” while others are noting “humor” has no place in modern society because “sad things are happening and we should probably just obsess about those all the time.”

Las Vegas coloring book

At all, ever.

While the level of anger is difficult to measure, many question the “value” of a coloring book that seems to teach children the counties where prostitution is legal in Las Vegas.

“If children need to know this kind of information,” an enraged mother Tweeted, “they should ask their fathers. This is a prime example of government overreach!”

Las Vegas coloring book

The real question is how are these not “essential” businesses?

The controversial coloring book from the City of Las Vegas is free to download.

It’s worth noting crayons are not included in the download, which may lead to disappointment for some youths and their families.

Las Vegas coloring book

All due respect.

Not mentioned in the new coloring book is the fact the City of Las Vegas consists of downtown and the northwest corner of the Las Vegas Valley.

Visitors to the Las Vegas Strip are often surprised to learn they’re not in the City of Las Vegas. They’re in Paradise, Nevada, in Clark County.

That means the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign isn’t in the City of Las Vegas, although it’s shown several times in the City of Las Vegas coloring book. If that doesn’t scream “conspiracy,” we don’t know what does.

Las Vegas coloring book

Not to scale. Or anything else, really.

The content of the seemingly innocuous coloring book has also raised the ire of feminist organizations, citing “rampant sexist stereotypes” which “are completely accurate, but that’s not really the point.”

We don’t make up the news, we just report it. Usually.

Dermatologists have also joined the fray in vocal criticisms of the new offering, although we’re not entirely sure why.

Las Vegas coloring book

The Sun wearing sunglasses. It’s like the coloring book version of “Inception.”

While the City of Las Vegas coloring book is raising hackles, its content is fairly sparse and comprises just 10 pages.

Given the fact nobody’s actually read this far, we’d like to take this opportunity to say we’ve never liked the word “comprises.” It’s just weird. “A deck comprises 52 cards.” Who even talks like that? Why hasn’t there been a public outcry about that? The public is always outcrying about the wrong things. Take paper straws, for example. We need a good outcry to get rid of those things in Las Vegas once and for all. The closest beach to Las Vegas is 273 miles away. If we could get moving on this public outcry immediately, we’d appreciate it.

Now, back to the regularly-schedule blog post you’re only skimming, anyway.

Las Vegas coloring book

How is that not an actual thing, though?

Requests for comment from the City of Las Vegas have gone unanswered, possibly because the City is busy approving easements or handling pandemics or whatever.

Las Vegas coloring book

Please lodge all complaints to (702) 555-1212, which is a completely legitimate phone number used in movies.

It’s unclear how images were chosen for the hotly-debated coloring book. Then again, it’s also unclear why the City of Las Vegas seal has the Hoover Dam in it.

Las Vegas coloring book

Joshua Tree National Park is in California. Sunrise Mountain is in Clark County. Please don’t tell the City of Las Vegas. It’s awkward.

The controversy rages on! Because let’s face it, everyone has a lot of free time on their hands to be outraged about things right now.

The City of Las Vegas coloring book can be downloaded here. Warning: The coloring book may not be suitable for sensitive colorers.

Resort Fees Jacked Up at Caesars Entertainment’s Four Mid-Strip Casinos

Somebody didn’t get the memo.

Despite a non-stop cavalcade of Las Vegas visitors griping about resort fees, and rightly so, Caesars Entertainment is bumping up resort fees at four mid-Strip casinos: Harrah’s, Flamingo, Linq and Bally’s.

resort fees

For shame, already.

The resort fees at these casinos will go up to $41.95 a night. That’s $37 a night (currently $35), plus tax. Yes, you’re taxed on resort fees, to make them extra fun.

The resort fee increase goes into effect on March 3, 2020.

Resort fees don’t apply to Diamond or Seven Stars loyalty club members, as that “perk” is included in their tier benefits.

No resort fees rally

That time Caesars Entertainment used “no resort fees” as a marketing tool. It seemed like a good idea a the time.

So, about that memo.

See, visitation to Las Vegas has been flat for two years now. This has been caused by a number of factors, including the legalization of gambling across the country.

What casinos don’t seem to get, though, is people are also not visiting because they’re angry. They’re frustrated by parking fees, CNF charges, venue fees and $20 minibar bottles of Fiji water (looking at you, Aria).

Accurate or not, to many, the perception of Las Vegas has shifted from a value destination to a nickel-and-diming destination.

Where there have been glimmers of hope, including Wynn and Encore eliminating paid parking, most casinos don’t seem to realize their short-term decisions will hurt Las Vegas in the long run.

It’s time to make Vegas a value again. It’s also time for us to share this, again.

make Vegas a value

We made this. It should be a thing.

There are still a lot of great values in Vegas, you just have to know where to look. Our totally unbiased recommendation is read more Las Vegas blogs.

 

Bleutech Park Las Vegas Breaks Bullshit Record With $7.5 Billion Project Claims

This blog loves it some batshit crazy news releases, and this one’s a doozy.

A company called Bleutech Park Properties has announced a $7.5 billion (with a “b”) mixed-use project, Bleutech Park Las Vegas. It’s not happening, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting!

The news release announcing this fanciful project fails to mention where Bleutech Park Las Vegas is supposed to happen, but let’s not get bogged down in details!

The Bleutech Park Las Vegas announcement is easily one of the most buzzword-rich news releases we’ve seen in ages. (Better up your game, The Drew.)

Bleutech Park Las Vegas

Pace yourself, Bleutech Park. You’ve already blown through your 2019 WTF allowance.

Here’s a sample of some of the copious bullshittery:

googie first city in the world to boast a digital revolution in motion, redefining the infrastructure industry sector

googie net-zero buildings within their own insular mini-city will feature automated multi-functional designs

googie autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality, Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, supertrees, and self-healing concrete structures

googie showcasing energy generation and storage, waste-heat recovery, water purification, on-site waste treatment and localized air cleaning

googie introducing a new high-tech biome to the desert valley

googie smart buildings equipped with new, self-healing, energy-generating, and breathable materials

googie we are not making this up, swear

googie with the use of unmanned aerial systems and AI, the construction site will become a living, breathing blueprint

googie flooring systems will capture and reuse the energy of human movement

googie buildings will be connected to a broader highly sustainable network of supertrees allowing a 95 percent reduction in imported water consumption and an opportunity for improved biodiversity

googie able to spring forth the IoT with cutting capabilities and applications

googie there’s no way you read this far, we totally get it

googie photovoltaic glass will be standard in all structures

googie these new technologies could create close to a Super-Workforce of the future

googie robotics will be an essential part of the technology ecosystem providing 365/24/7 security using biometrics and other state-of-the-art technologies

Clearly, this is easily one of the most gloriously guano-filled crackerdog news release in the history of Las Vegas-related news releases.

Bleutech Park WTF

Suck it, lawyers, satire! Or possibly parody. Oh, and if you try to sue us, we’re suing you for ripping off Simon for your logo, so suck it.

This wildly imaginative project is expected to create more than imaginary 25,000 jobs, most of them no doubt involving showing up to a vacant lot wondering how to make coffee out of sand.

Bleutech Park Las Vegas will presumably break ground in Las Vegas in December 2019 and will take six years to complete.

That timeline could changed based upon a number of factors, though, including the availability of certain construction materials essential to this project like “boundless optimism” and “unbridled whimsy.”

As is the way of much of our Las Vegas media, this story is being reported as if it’s a real thing. Awkward.

It’s just deeply stupid, and everyone involved should be forced to read the Bleutech Park Las Vegas news release repeatedly until they lose their equilibrium and walk headlong into the trunk of a supertree, whatever that might actually be.

Update (9/24/19): Miami Herald has confirmed this project is a steaming pile of WTF.

What’s Next: Gift Shop at Excalibur Rolls Out Surge Pricing

It seems like we’re often the bearer of bad news, but somebody has to do it.

A guest of Excalibur has informed us the resort’s 24/7 gift and sundry shop is now using surge pricing. We stopped by to confirm, and it’s true.

Surge pricing, of course, is most closely associated with Uber, the rideshare service. At times when demand is highest, Uber bumps up their prices.

We’ve shared some Las Vegas restaurants and bars use surge pricing, but we’ve never heard about it happening at a hotel gift shop.

Excalibur 24/7 store

The last time we were at 24/7, we were admiring the tiaras. No, really.

There are virtually no prices on the items in Excalibur’s 24/7 sundry shop, including on things like toothpaste, sunscreen, bottled water, Pepto and snacks.

Guests are only informed of prices when they check out. Surprise!

We asked a cashier, “How do customers know how much things cost?” She replied, “They ask me and I tell them.”

No, really.

surge pricing Las Vegas

Enjoy gambling? That’s what you’re doing when you purchase these items, because you have no idea what they cost until check-out.

Employees at the store communicated to one customer prices are based upon demand, specifically, hotel occupancy. The higher the occupancy, the higher the prices.

From what we can tell, this reeks of bean counters (commonly referred to as “consultants”) and MGM 2020. MGM Resorts owns Excalibur, by the way.

MGM 2020 is a massive cost-saving initiative. The plan is supposed to save the company $200 million by 2020 and another $100 million by 2021. Dozens of top executives have left the company, and hundreds of managers and directors were recently laid off, with 1,000 more to be let go in the weeks to come. Read more.

We’ve also shared machines will be replacing service bartenders as part of MGM 2020.

MGM Resorts has been scrutinizing every aspect of its business to increase profits, and we suspect they’ve done market research showing tourists don’t particularly care if their sundry store dental floss is $3 or $4 when they’re on vacation. If they don’t seem to care, why commit yourself to the lower price when demand goes up? (Related: If people still play triple zero roulette, why not make it even more of a thing?)

Excalibur

Has anyone ever actually seen a sundry?

While incredibly annoying, we can’t really fault MGM Resorts for trying to increase revenue and profit, but there’s just something that seems wrong about surge pricing.

It feels like being nickel-and-dimed.

Resort convenience stores have always been a bit of a price gouge, and it compounds the frustration not knowing what you’ll be paying until you check out.

We’ve been beating the drum that visitor perceptions about nickel-and-diming are changing visitation patterns, and in combination with increased competition across the country, Las Vegas casinos are suffering.

It’s unknown if other gift shops at other MGM casinos will being implementing surge pricing (hint: they will).

Update (5/20/19): We’re hearing surge pricing is now common at resort gift shops both at MGM Resorts hotels and Caesars Entertainment. Two hotels mentioned specifically were Flamingo and Rio.

In Vegas at the moment, analytics drive everything. MGM Resorts has said MGM 2020 will include “key investments in technology” which will “lay the groundwork for the company’s digital transformation to drive revenue growth.”

Excalibur surge pricing

The name of this store could be 27/4 or 274, you just don’t know. Visual metaphors for the win!

Surge pricing is all about collecting data and determining what the market will bear, then adjusting prices based upon demand. “Dynamic pricing” is how MGM Resorts referred to this pricing in an earnings call.

It may be smart business, but it’s likely to be perceived as just another way Las Vegas is squeezing every penny from visitors.

There are glimmers of hope, of course. Wynn and Encore recently announced they’re rolling back paid parking (no validation needed). Other Las Vegas resorts are offering room packages that drop dreaded resort fees.

We’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you find yourself in a casino gift shop with surge pricing, let us know.

News Release About The Drew Contains Glorious Amounts of WTF

It’s been so quiet at The Drew, formerly the Fontainebleau, we were delighted to see a news release from the resort’s owner, Witkoff Group.

Our delight didn’t last long, because we actually read the release. Cue the tsunami of WTF.

Tsunami of WTF, we should mention, was our band name in high school.

So, it seems Witkoff wanted to announce it has hired a design architect, Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Which seems dangerously close to math, but we’ll let it slide this time.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is apparently a well-known firm, despite the fact they seem to have misplaced their comma. (Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio are two different people.)

The firm has been tasked with “realizing a fresh vision for the next integrated resort on the north Strip’s emerging luxury corridor.”

So much to unpack, and we’re one sentence in.

First, as we mentioned, The Drew is the former Fontainebleau. Fontainebleau was about 70% complete when it was abandoned in 2009 due to dipshittery.

“Fresh,” then, is a relative term here.

Fontainebleau wrap

The wrap doesn’t really help.

“Emerging luxury corridor” may be stretching it a bit. This is the north Strip. Circus Circus is the hotel’s closest neighbor, with SLS a third of a mile north. Resorts World is emerging, slowly, but that hardly qualifies as a corridor.

Given the area’s string of bad luck (Alon, Wynn West, All Net Resort), “crushing disappointment corridor” might be a more fitting label.

This is where the news release gets epic.

Charles Renfro, lead designer of the Drew, adds, “The team’s design approach was inspired by the multiple ecologies of Las Vegas itself—the dynamic and rugged beauty of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas’ early adoption of modern architecture, and the city’s enthusiastic embrace of spectacle. The Drew will weave these seemingly contradictory conditions into a new quixotic environment.”

Apparently, the Mojave Desert is teeming with peyote!

But wait, there’s more.

“We are incredibly excited about being part of the Las Vegas landscape. Robust demand drivers continue to create an imbalance of hotel inventory supply and demand. The Drew is poised to not only capitalize on this imbalance, but also offer visitors a new marquee luxury resort with a distinctive, compelling concept. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our team and our partners,” shared Steven Witkoff.

We really missed the boat by not naming our band Robust Demand Drivers.

Witkoff

We’re just sharing the logo. You’re on your own with the snark.

All due respect, but Mr. Witkoff clearly doesn’t place much value on clue-having as he seems to believe demand is outpacing hotel inventory in Las Vegas. Las Vegas visitation is down, bro.

If there’s an imbalance, it’s that there’s too much room inventory, which is likely one of the reasons The Drew’s opening has been pushed back two years.

This little gem was tucked neatly at the end of the news release: “With a confirmed opening date in the second quarter of 2022, Drew Las Vegas has also kicked off its sales efforts to group customers. The initial response to the 3,780-room resort has been overwhelmingly positive as groups look for new ideas and a fresh perspective.”

“Confirmed”! Because if you say it in a news release, it has to be true.

There’s so much off-the-wall in this announcement, it’s hard to keep track of it all.

The reality is this project doesn’t have financing in place. That’s because you can’t really get financing unless you have an architect as part of the pre-planning and budget process, and Witkoff just hired this one.

Two years after Fontainebleau was purchased.

Two years.

To hire an architect.

The first thing on a developer’s to-do list.

A story in Bloomberg says, “By delaying, Witkoff will have more certainty about his construction budget.”

Like we said, you can’t get financing unless you know what the budget is.

Fontainebleau wrap

There’s no great angle. We’ve tried.

The thing they didn’t mention in the release is it’s likely this isn’t the first architect Witkoff has hired for The Drew. We’re thinking the first firm drew up some plans, ran some numbers and they didn’t make the cut, so don’t let the door hit you on the way out, architects.

Also not in the release are the specifics of challenges related to giving a makeover to an abandoned building exposed to the elements for years.

The latest cost estimate for making The Drew a thing is $3.1 billion. With a “b.”

Never fear, though. Witkoff says Goldman Sachs Group and Deutsche Bank have been hired to raise additional capital. It’s complicated.

Remember, Las Vegas was built on optimism and whimsy! The Drew seems to have an ample supply of both.

The truth is while we’re more skeptical than ever The Drew will become a reality (we’ve heard the property may still be flipped), we’re rooting for it to succeed.

From the day we broke the story of Fontainebleau being sold, we were onboard for something, anything being done with the hulking blue eyesore.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas

We are obligated to share this fake billboard whenever we talk about this place.

There’s a chance in a few years Las Vegas visitation could warrant thousands of rooms coming online. There’s no denying Drew’s proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center, with its $935 million expansion, could make it more desirable to investors.

We can’t wait to hear from Steven Witkoff when The Drew, with it’s unfortunate name, opens. “Suck it,” Steven Witkoff will say, and we will feel ashamed for ever having doubted him and his comma-challenged architectural firm.

For now, we’ll watch and wait and wonder at how such smart, rich people can read and approve news releases that make them seem so, well, rich.