Vegas Knockout: Disqualification of the Priceline Pretenders

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It’s with a sense of deflation that I begin the Winner’s Bracket of Where to Stay in Vegas because so many of these choices appear to be losers. But as my gamblaholic friend says, “There’s always a winner on the board!” Hopefully you are not staying at the following hotels that were lucky enough to make the bracket but not worthy enough for a detailed review.

Recall, only the hotel that is knocked out will receive a review, saving my pen and paper for the more worthy candidates for another day.

(28) Stratosphere vs (5) Mirage: The Priceline Trick: 

A popular trick for landing a great hotel in Vegas is to utilize Priceline’s “Name your price” tool by booking your hotel the day of your reservation. Priceline is a double edged sword leaving you either ecstatic from the value, e.g., “I’m staying at the Bellagio for $100!” or frustrated, “Really, this is a 3.5 Star?”

So how do you get the room you want without conforming to Priceline’s rule that you have to either raise your price or lower your star requirement? The trick is very simple.

First, start off by deciding where you want to stay. For this example, I have chosen the South Vegas Strip. So I check the appropriate box.

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The next menu asks you to pick your star level.

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Note that 1-Star through 5-Star are available. Click 5-Star then select your price of say $150, a steal for a hotel of that caliber.

Follow the prompts and hit reserve. You will most likely receive a message that your reservation was not processed giving you the option to either increase your bid amount, change your star level, or change where you want to stay.

Warning! Do not automatically say, “Maybe $250 is reasonable,” and up your bid dramatically. Nor should you react by saying, “I can deal with a 4.5-Star for the same price.”

So what do you do? The trick is to change where you want to stay. 

“But all my friends are staying in the South Strip, I don’t want to stay in the North even if they have hotels in my price and star range.”

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do so. All you have to do is add another place you want to stay that doesn’t have the 5-Star rating and name your price again, this time slightly higher.

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Look how many areas in Las Vegas do not have 5-Star hotels! That expands your search infinitely.

You keep adding a new place you want to stay one at a time that doesn’t feature a 5-Star hotel and incrementally raise your price threshold. If you do run out of “where you want to stay” boxes before you find the price you want, then it is time to drop your star rating requirements and play again.

In the end, you will get the lowest asking price of a hotel at the star level you desire. This wasn’t the case when I was ended up in a so-called 3.5-Star Upscale Plus room at the Stratosphere because I did not know of this trick. Not only did I skip the reservation for that hotel I’m also skipping writing a formal review.

Sorry, Stratosphere you’ve been knocked out.

Moving along with the Vegas pretenders is the unheralded match up of (23) Treasure island vs (10) Venetian.

Predictably, it’s no contest that Treasure Island falls flat and its face without the need of the Venetian to step into the ring.

I stayed at Treasure Island during the SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) that’s basically a Fast and the Furious car lover’s dream show.

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Louis Vuitton!

Besides being located in the middle of the strip, the hotel has nothing great to offer based on the factors I established for advancing in this tourney.

1. The Location: Great

2. The Fun: Where?

3. The Sportsbook: I didn’t hang around long enough to find it.

3. The Luxury: Nonexistent

4. The Value: Free is the only way you should stay here.

5. The Food: At least it’s near the Fashion Show Mall and Subway.

It’s a dark, dreary hotel with the treasure being the clearly marked exit doors.

Sorry Treasure Island (with sorry being used as an adjective) has been knocked out.

On we go with the first round which thus far has not had that much suspense/positivity.

The final two match ups are (9) Bellagio vs (24) Flamingo and (22) Planet Hollywood vs (11) Mandalay Bay 

(9) Bellagio vs (24) Flamingo

Staying true to their terrible seeding, both Flamingo and Planet Hollywood fail to pack a punch.

What can I say about the Flamingo? It’s got a great location in the center of the strip and for a period of time had a huge spread of Toni Braxton on the outside. However, in terms of amenities, the Flamingo like Braxton could benefit from bankruptcy.

(22) Planet Hollywood vs (11) Mandalay Bay 

Using the Priceline trick, I stayed at Planet Hollywood on a weekend for $50. The room was nice enough, the hotel is modern, and the Miracle Mile Shops are at your doorstep. However, the nightlife is weak, the pool was not happening, and their weekend rate during peak season of $350+ is obscene.

To the two final pretenders that took my money but gave no honey, I say, “Sorry…”

Hopefully my luck of great places to stay will surely change tomorrow and the negativity of being bamboozled by Priceline and bad hotels will subside.

Day 1

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