Category Archives: Las Vegas Hotels

Paid Parking Returns to Cosmopolitan on June 1

It was fun while it lasted, but paid parking is back in Las Vegas, and Cosmopolitan begins charging again for self-parking (for non-hotel guests) on June 1, 2021, according to an internal memo.

Parking has been free at Cosmopolitan since it reopened in June 2020.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

On the bright side, cookies are back in high limit, so there’s that.

A number of Las Vegas resorts, including Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts casinos, kept self-parking free for guests during the pandemic as a way to lure customers back.

Well, they came back and in surprisingly large numbers.

Caesars Entertainment was the first to break the paid parking hymen in Oct. 2020, with proceeds from parking fees going to charity.

The move was less about generating revenue than mitigating the asshattery happening in its garages.

Las Vegas Monopoly

It’s back.

MGM Resorts followed, announcing it would restore paid parking on June 1, 2021. Valet parking returned to Aria, Vdara, Bellagio and MGM Grand on May 25, and will reopen at all other MGM Resorts casinos on June 1.

Cosmopolitan’s return to paid self-parking hasn’t been announced officially yet, but that’s how we roll.

Here’s a look at the parking fees prior to the pandemic.

Cosmopolitan paid parking

“So, basically free.” ~Everyone from Chicago and New York City

There are still casinos on The Strip with free parking, but the number is dwindling.

Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip with free parking are Tropicana, TI, Venetian and Palazzo, Casino Royale, Circus Circus, Wynn and Encore and The Strat.

While parking fees aren’t welcome, given what we’ve been through in the past year, paid parking seems a a small price to pay for a return to normalcy.

In the case of Cosmopolitan, easily one of the best casino resorts in the world, paying for parking is arguably a fair price of admission and also serves as an effective lowlife deterrent.

Did we mention the cookies are back in high limit?

Artisan Hotel Invents Annoying “Utility Surcharge”

Artisan Hotel isn’t a casino resort, so we tend to not care about it too much, but if you hate nuisance fees, gird your loins.

Vegas Unfiltered was the first to share Artisan Hotel has started charging guests a “utility fee.”

Yep, it’s a $3.95 charge, presumably for things like, oh, electricity. In other words, it’s a “charge charge.”

Others think it, we say it.

On the bright side, the Artisan isn’t exactly known as a trendsetter in Las Vegas, so we don’t think this charge will catch on, but you never know.

Fun fact: At Artisan, you can buy out the entire hotel for $8,500. Although, that price may go up given all the publicity resulting from this inane utility fee.

The rates at the off-Strip Artisan are relatively low, but pretty much double once you add the resort fee ($19.95) and taxes.

In Las Vegas, you get what you pay for.

As far as we can see, there’s no mention of the “utility surcharge” on the Artisan Web site.

Third party sites (called OTA, or online travel agencies) are more forthright about the fee.

Here’s the information Expedia provides.

Sites like Expedia rejecting hotels with hidden fees would get their attention right quick.

What is the “utility surcharge” actually for? Good luck with that. They might as well call it a “unicorn boarding fee.”

One possible origin of the fee has been floated by those who say the Artisan is often used for porn shoots: Professional video lighting uses a lot of power. Just saying.

As with most nuisance fees, it’s not so much the actual cost, it’s more that it’s a shady practice, charges guests for nothing and contributes to the perception that Las Vegas is more about nickel-and-diming than value.

Bullshit fees have become increasingly common, including the most recent, a made-up RFF charge at Cafe Americano at Paris.

As mentioned, while we don’t anticipate other Las Vegas hotels following Artisan’s lead, it’s an example of a shady business practice based upon the belief guests are too stupid to notice¬† an irksome fee tacked onto their bill. They actually hope travelers never even realize the fees exist at all.

That’s why you have us. In case you wondered.

Worst Las Vegas Hotels for Bed Bugs Named

A pest control Web site has named the Las Vegas hotels with the worst bed bug problems, and we’re itching to dive into the cringe-inducing results.

Based upon online reviews, the Las Vegas hotels with the highest risks of bed bugs in 2021 include Excalibur, Bally’s Las Vegas and Flamingo.

In the category of “Distinctions You Don’t Want to Hold,” Bally’s is the only top-ranking hotel that received more bed bug complaints in 2020 than 2019.

Las Vegas Strip

Bed bugs are insects from the genus Cimex, which was once a popular computer trade show held in Las Vegas.

The top 10 Las Vegas resorts with the worst bed bug problems (bad to less bad):

  1. Excalibur
  2. Bally’s
  3. Flamingo
  4. MGM Grand
  5. Luxor
  6. Planet Hollywood
  7. Venetian
  8. Rio
  9. Paris
  10. Caesars Palace

Six of the top 10 Las Vegas hotels with bed bug issues are owned or operated by Caesars Entertainment.

It’s worth noting, “Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs).” Learn more.

On the bright side, if there is one, the report from Pest Strategies is based upon 673 online bed bug complaints between 2008 and 2020. Which doesn’t sound like a lot given Las Vegas has more than 150,000 hotel rooms, but for someone discovering bed bugs, once is too often.

About 41% of the total bed bug complaints happened between 2010 and 2012.

The reviews were gathered from Web sites like Tripadvisor, Bed Bug Reports and Bed Bug Registry. Yes, there are Web sites devoted to bed bug complaints.

There are about 47 bed bug complaints a year at Las Vegas hotels, according to the pest control company that compiled the data, PestStrategies.com. (Yes, we know such reports are a Search Engine Optimization strategy, but that doesn’t make the information any less useful or interesting.)

If you’re unfamiliar with bed bugs, they’re insects that feed on human blood. So sexy.

Bed bugs cling to clothing or hide in belongings (like luggage), and can live up to 16 months.

Thankfully, reports of bed bug problems is trending downward over time. The height of bed bug activity in Las Vegas peaked in 2011.

Thanks for bringing fewer of your bugs to Las Vegas.

Given the number of people who visit Las Vegas (more than 40 million in a typical year), bed bug complaints are relatively rare.

Often, guests think they see a bed bug, but it’s actually a silverfish, gnat or ant.

Silverfish are actually adorable once you get to know them.

Yes, we took this photo of a silverfish. Adorable.

If you think your room has a bed bug issue, notify hotel staff immediately (be nice).

The hotel will move you to another room, and get busy addressing the problem.

As mentioned, bed bugs are brought to hotels by guests, so resorts are faced with endlessly managing and mitigating the problem, and the investment of resources to detect and prevent bed bugs and other pests is substantial.

Some Las Vegas hotels even use bed bug sniffing dogs to help avoid infestations.

Other Las Vegas hotels have redesigned their rooms to minimize the number of places bed bugs can hide. Read more.

As an overall preventative measure, guests should keep their luggage zipped and off the floor, away from walls and furniture.

We’ve stayed at dozens of Las Vegas hotels (including those listed in the top 10 with the most bed bug reports) and never encountered any sort of pest, bed bug or otherwise.

Know before you go, but also understand the odds of having a bed bug issue are small, the critters aren’t dangerous and they don’t eat much.

Confirmed: Palms Casino Sold to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

As we were the first to report, the sale of Palms casino to the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has been confirmed.

Thanks for following up on our scoop, every other media outlet!

Also confirmed: Modesty is exhausting.

Palms San Manuel

You knew there was a reason we went to the trouble of Photoshopping this.

The sale price for Palms is $650 million.

The tribe recently created a new entity, San Manuel Gaming and Hospitality Authority, to operate Palms.

In a statement, Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos) said the sale is expected to close by the end of 2021, but we’d say it’ll be closer to 90 days. After that, it’s licensing time, which could take in the neighborhood of six to nine months before Palms could reopen again.

As we’ve shared previously, San Manuel telegraphed its intention to buy a Las Vegas casino in a variety of ways, including advertising at T-Mobile arena, partnering with the Las Vegas Raiders and donating millions to Las Vegas nonprofits and UNLV.

While not reported elsewhere, we have further details about the sale, including that San Manuel plans to keep the Palms name.

In addition, we understand San Manuel plans to reopen Palms as quickly as possible. Anticipate the announcement of a job fair soon.

The existing Palms restaurant concepts are believed to be out, although discussions with Michael Symon’s Mabel’s BBQ are ongoing from what we hear.

The sale of Palms follows on the heels of denials the resort was even for sale. We had some eloquent thoughts on that at the time.

Palms never reopened after the mandatory closure in March 2020. We were the first to share the Palms wouldn’t reopen under its current ownership.

We’ll play nice when the Review-Journal starts giving attribution.

While Red Rock Resorts got a solid return on what it spent to buy Palms, $313 million, the company didn’t come close to recouping its $1 billion (if you include the cost of a major renovation, $690 million).

We’ll put it plainly: Palms was an unmitigated disaster for Red Rock Resorts, a huge financial misstep based upon arrogance (bordering on delusion) and a misguided vision even its own executive team didn’t seem onboard with, according to industry chatter.

And don’t get us started on Kaos, the trainwreckery against which all others are measured.

We have high hopes for Palms under its new ownership, the San Manuel tribe. Its Southern California casino is printing money, and everyone we’ve talked to speaks highly of the operation.

Palms will be the first Las Vegas casino owned by a tribe, although feathers have been popular here for ages, if you get our drift.

While Palms may never return to its mythical “former glory,” it doesn’t have to. It just has to provide a solid, gambling-focused experience, keep locals in mind and (gasp) turn a
profit.

Welcome to Las Vegas, San Manuel. Show us what you’ve got.

Palms Casino Sold to San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

As we reported days ago, Palms Casino has reportedly been sold. Now, we can share who’s buying: The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

San Manuel runs an wildly successful casino in Southern California, but this is the first time the tribe has undertaken a venture in Las Vegas.

This scoop hasn’t been officially confirmed, but you know it will be soon.

San Manuel

Las Vegas is about to get even more tribal.

While this purchase may come as a surprise to many, San Manuel did a pretty good job of telegraphing their intention to get into the Las Vegas market.

The tribe has advertised extensively in Las Vegas, including on the digital billboards at T-Mobile during Vegas Golden Knights games.

While it didn’t get nearly the media coverage it deserved, San Manuel also donated $250,000 to Las Vegas non-profits during the pandemic.¬†The non-profits included Shade Tree, Make-A-Wish, Nevada Public Radio and The Smith Center.

Feel free to start taking our word as gospel at any time.

San Manuel also donated $9 million to UNLV’s hospitality and law schools to expand tribal gaming and hospitality studies.

San Manuel is also a founding partner of the Las Vegas Raiders.

For anyone paying attention, it was pretty clear San Manuel Band of Mission Indians was coming to Las Vegas. Now, you know where.

Station Casinos invested $1 billion in Palms. Let’s just say it went pear-shaped.

Fun fact: The CEO of San Manuel, Laurens Vosloo, was formerly the Exec. Director of Finance for Las Vegas Sands Corp. Vosloo graduated with dual Bachelor of Science Degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Accounting and Management and earned his CPA license in Nevada.

Palms never reopened after the mandatory casino closure on March 18, 2020. The casino struggled following an expensive overhaul, and suffered serious losses with its doomed nightclub/dayclub, Kaos. Read more.

We trust San Manuel won’t make the same missteps as the former owner. All due respect to Cardi B and her 15-minute, $300,000 “shows.”

We’re just relieved the buyer of Palms isn’t a REIT (real estate investment trust) or investment fund. New blood, please.

San Manuel’s purchase of Palms is one of several moves by tribes in Las Vegas. Mohegan Sun currently runs the casino at Virgin Las Vegas, and we’ve shared the rumor the Seminoles are expected to purchase Bally’s.

Details of the Palms purchase aren’t available yet, but we wanted to drop some boom, anyway.

More to come!

Update (4/30/21): As promised we’ve got updates up the yang. We’re hearing the sale price of Palms to San Manuel is in the neighborhood of $660 million. (See below for an update. Sale price is confirmed at $650 million.)

The Palms sale deal with San Manuel is expected to close in about 90 days.

We understand San Manuel plans to reopen Palms as quickly as possible after the sale is finalized, and the resort will keep the Palms name (which makes sense, as it’s still a strong, recognized brand). A Palms job fair in the coming weeks is anticipated.

Early plans do not include a splashy dayclub/nightclub scene, or expensive headliner entertainment, avoiding some pitfalls of the prior ownership.

We assumed none of the existing restaurant partnerships, such as with Michael Symon at Mabel’s, wouldn’t survive the change in ownership, but it appears discussions are being had to carry certain venues over.

The timing of the reopening of Palms is not only contingent upon staffing up, but San Manuel doesn’t currently have a Nevada gaming license. We understand the license approval will be fast-tracked, but it’s unknown when that will be finalized.

Check back again for all the exclusive scoop about the Palms casino sale to the San Manuel tribe! Exciting changes are in the works at this popular off-Strip casino resort.

Update (5/4/21): The sale of Palms to San Manuel has been confirmed. The sale price is $650 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021. Translation: Boom.

Palms Casino Resort Reportedly Sold

We hear reliably and exclusively the off-Strip Palms Casino Resort has been sold.

Yes, we know to whom, and no, we can’t say yet. Half a scoop is still a scoop, so make the best of it.

All we can share is the buyer isn’t currently in the Las Vegas market. Also, it’s not a REIT or private equity fund, a welcome relief.

Palms

What a strange and wonderful journey for Palms. A new fork in the road is just ahead. No, that’s not a clue about who the buyer is, it’s just a lame analogy. Or possibly metaphor.

Palms never reopened after Las Vegas casinos were shut down on March 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Palms was in trouble even prior to the pandemic.

The resort’s owner, Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos), sunk an ungodly amount of money into a renovation ($690 million), then its Kaos nightclub and dayclub imploded right before our eyes, resulting in millions in losses.

Palms was purchased for $312.5 million in 2016.

Mid-2020, Red Rock Resorts CEO Frank Fertitta went public in an attempt to “squash” our rumors about Palms being for sale. We don’t squash easily, so we responded as we occasionally do.

All due respect.

Finally, an official announcement of the sale of Palms resort is close at hand.

No financial details of the sale are available yet, but we’d expect the sale price to be between $800-900 million. Red Rock Resorts was motivated to relinquish Palms, but it’s not a fire sale.

The new owner will reap the benefits of all the Palms improvements, without the burden of misguided decisions about nightlife and restaurants. We trust you weren’t emotionally attached to places like Bobby Flay’s Shark restaurant, as those partnerships aren’t likely to survive the transition.

Still, under new ownership and management, Palms’ best days could still be ahead.

Our usual disclaimer applies: This is an unconfirmed rumor. Things change and not all rumors pan out. Often, they do.

More news soon!

Update (5/4/21): The sale of Palms to San Manuel has been confirmed. The sale price is $650 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021. Translation: Boom.