Aside from home, we spend more time in Las Vegas than anywhere else. Last year we visited Las Vegas almost twice a month, and this year is on track for more of the same. And that's just fine wit us because Las Vegas is a wonderful place for many reasons; for retailers it's a consistent source of inspiration because it's home to so many fine retail establishments.
Next week we will be with some of our favorite people in the world: ACE HARDWARE Retailers, and their trade show is being held in ... wait for it ... Las Vegas! So Ace Retailers, this is for you:
Las Vegas is ... LOVE
If you only have time to see one show while in Vegas, go see “LOVE” the new Cirque du Soleil show at the Mirage. LOVE celebrates the legacy of the Beatles with amazing Cirque-style performances in a state of the art theater that features 360 degree seating, advanced high definition video projections with huge moving images, and a panoramic surround sound system that’s so real you swear there’s a Beatle singing in your ear.
This show is pure magic. And, who cares if Alex, the guy with the cockney accent in 60s garb, who leads you to your seat is really Louie from Brooklyn? This performance is certain to jump start your creativity.
Las Vegas is … Half Price Shows
If a big dollar show is not in your budget or if you want to see them all, you’ll be happy to find two discount same-day ticket outlets on the Las Vegas Strip: Tix4Tonight and Tickets2Nite. These outlets offer the same show tickets available at casino box offices for less. Each one offers first rate Las Vegas shows at 20 to 50 percent off box office ticket prices! Tix4Tonight even has a web site where you can preview what’s on sale each day: http://www.tix4tonight.com/.
The shows offered vary from day to day. The last time we were in Vegas we found discount tickets for La Reve at The Wynn, Jubilee at Bally’s, Folies Bergere at the Tropicana, Rita Rudner at Harrahs', Mystere at Treasure Island and more. The savings are so good you’ll have enough money left over for dinner!
Las Vegas is … Fine Dining
For special night on the town try Olives at the Bellagio. Olives is owned by award-winning chef, author and TV personality Todd English. It’s hard to decide which is better: the Mediterranean menu or the mesmerizing views of Lake Bellagio and the dancing waters. Ask for a terrace table and don’t be surprised if you’re seated next to a celebrity! After dinner visit the Fontana Bar for live entertainment and dancing by the fountains.
Las Vegas is … Dining on the Cheap
Las Vegas may be one of the fine dining capitals of the world, but for our money, you just can’t beat a good buffet. Years ago we offered a suggestion to two of our favorite retailers that turned out to be wildly successful for them. The next time we were all in Vegas together, they invited us to dinner at their favorite place: The Buffet at the Bellagio. Don’t let the name fool you, this is gourmet all the way. We’ve been back every, single time we’re in Las Vegas. And you know our motto: Food is good!
If you’re into people watching and good food at a reasonable price, you can’t beat Trevi at the Forum Shops at Caesars. And if you’re feeling adventurous, venture off the Strip and head over to the Ellis Island Casino & Brewery where you’ll find one of Las Vegas’ most talked about dinners on the cheap: a 10-ounce steak dinner, complete with potato, green beans and bread for the low, low price of $4.95 – and it’s pretty good, 24 hours a day.
Another Las Vegas secret is at Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 located in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Order the “Gambler’s Special” and you’ll be served a steak, salad, grilled shrimp, and your choice of potato or broccoli. Not bad for $7.77, but it’s not on the menu, so you’re going to have to ask your server for this inside deal.
Las Vegas is … Entertainment!
You’ll find all kinds of cool things to do in your down time on the Strip. Harrah’s Carnival Court is a fun place to hang out. Watching the award-winning flair bartenders juggle 14 glasses at the same time while twirling bottles overhead is always fascinating. How do they do that? Watching partiers lug around drinks so large they need to strap them around their necks is fun, too. But the live music at Carnival Court is even better. We like Wonderboogie, a swanky group of 70s playing, polyester wearing guys with afros up to there. Apparently everyone loves Wonderboogie. In 2006 they won top honors in two Best Of Las Vegas categories: Best Local Band and Best Lounge Performer. Just one song and you’ll know why! http://wonderboogievegas.com
We also like the Big Apple Bar at New York-New York Hotel and Casino. The house band, Phoenix, is unbelievably good. Their website describes them like this:"Phoenix is a band comprised of some of the most talented and accomplished musicians and performers in the industry with collective resumés that include Aerosmith; Rod Stewart; Sheena Easton; Billy Squire; Stevie Nicks; Jon Bon Jovi; Kansas; Meatloaf ..." Click here to read more: http://www.phoenix2005.com/
Las Vegas has all kinds of clubs where you can rub elbows with celebrities, but we love the lounges where live entertainment rules. You’ll find great lounges to kick back and relax at just about every hotel. Check out the copy of Las Vegas Magazine in your hotel room. It’s your inside guide to what’s happening, where and when, while you’re in town.
Las Vegas is … Larger than Life
Las Vegas’ motto could be “go big or go home”. The MGM Grand is the largest hotel in the world, the Fremont Experience boasts the world’s largest TV screen; the “World’s Largest Gift Shop” brags about its 40,000 square feet of Vegas inspired memorabilia, and the Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States. You’ll even find the world’s biggest Blackberry at the Nextel store in the Las Vegas Convention Center. You can’t lift it, but finally, it’s a cell phone with numbers we can actually see.
But Pete Vallee, better known as "Big Elvis", is the best “biggest” attraction in town. Big Elvis appears Monday – Thursday at the Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino. Pete’s one talented hunka hunka burnin’ love. He looks like Elvis, sounds like Elvis, and if Lisa Marie ever offers up a DNA sample, he may even prove to be the King’s long lost son. This man’s voice is pure joy. http://www.bigelvis.biz/
Update! The Barbary Coast Hotel & Casino has new owners and a new name. It's now known as "Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon". Good news for Pete Vallee! The Big Elvis Show has been expanded to three shows a day, five days a week! Learn more about Bill's Gamblin' Hall here: http://billslasvegas.com/index.php
Las Vegas is … Fun, Fun, Fun & Free, Free, Free!
Take a stroll down the Vegas Strip and stop in as many of the hotels as you can. Each one has tried to out theme the others, which has resulted in one of the best places to find new ideas and inspirations for your own store. An added plus is the free entertainment they use to lure you into their properties.
It all began in 1989 with the “live” volcano at the Mirage. The earth shakes, molten lava flows, and the volcano shoots flames into the night sky every hour beginning at 7:00 PM. Next door at Treasure Island, you’ll be mesmerized by the Sirens of T.I., a live action battle that’s a combination of music, dance and danger played out on a water filled "stage" the size of four football fields.
At the Rio you’ll find “Masquerade in the Sky” where Mardi Gras floats ride on tracks high above your head. There’s singing and dancing and lots of bead throwing. For $9.95 you can don a costume and ride on a float yourself. After the parade Rio singers and dancers stick around to entertain you with snappy renditions of hit party songs.
Other not to be missed freebies: The Fountains of Bellagio (if you think it’s wonderful from the street, you’ll be blown away by the view from atop Paris’ Eiffel Tower at night); The Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (a wonderful place to get display ideas); the thunderstorm at Desert Passage at the Aladdin; the live circus acts at Circus Circus, the largest permanent circus in the world; and the Atlantis Water Show and Fountain of the Gods Show at the Forum Shops at Caesars where statues come to life. Let the festivities begin!
Las Vegas is … Shopping!
At the 2006 CHA Show (Craft & Hobby Association) we led a bus tour of retailers through our favorite Vegas shopping spots. We’re not doing a formal tour during the Ace Show but we’re always up for an improvised one! You have an event calendar to fill, so put on your best retailer eyes and visit …
The Forum Shops at Caesars, the mall that has grossed more dollars per square foot than any other shopping mall. The sky overhead changes from morning to dusk to the night sky, and then does it all over again. Here, you’ll find items for .99 just down the mall from designer boutiques featuring fashions that sell for tens of thousands of dollars. And in-between, you’ll find hundreds of great ideas you can tweak and use in your own store.
Mandalay Place is located in the sky bridge that connects Mandalay Bay to the Luxor. Inside you’ll find eclectic shops chosen for their uniqueness.
Desert Passage at the Aladdin is undergoing a major change. Its new name will be “The Miracle Mile” and the ambiance will morph from a desert theme to “Los Angeles”, whatever that means. Construction is already underway so if you haven’t been to Desert Passage yet this may be your last chance.
You should also check out the finery at Wynn Las Vegas where you’ll find 75,000 square feet of designer retail shops such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Dior, and Manolo Blahnik. So you’re not in the market for $1000 shoes. You can dream, can’t you?
You'll find two additional articles on things to do while in Las Vegas on our website:
And if you're interested in more, please give us a call. We've stayed at just about every hotel, seen many of the shows and have enjoyed meals in most of the restaurants. Let us be your Las Vegas concierge!