Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Vegas Girl takes a hike through one of my favorite spots to visit when I’m in Vegas:

On Saturday, I took the team (my son and our dog) to a trail near 13 Mile Campground (also known as Red Rock Campground). We’d decided to climb a small hill there (about 200 feet, according to the topo map, although I thought it looked higher than that). Saturday was cool and windy, which we were glad for not long after we set out.

The trail starts at an abused patch of desert filled with uprooted yuccas and dog droppings, but beyond that the trail leads uphill and into the desert. The land gradually gains altitude with three hills that gently increase in height. At the crest of the first hill, there’s a great view of Red Rock’s cliffs and Calico Basin.

Liberace Museum Closing

End of an era.

One of Las Vegas’ jewel attractions, and a significant part of its cultural and entertainment history, is closing.

The Liberace Museum, which has exhibited the jewelry, pianos, garish gowns and other artifacts owned by the great pianist and showman, announced today it will close effective Oct. 17. The museum opened April 15, 1979.

Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chair Jeffrey Koep informed the staff this morning that all paid positions — full- and part-time — would be eliminated as of closing on that Oct. 17 date, which is a Sunday. A total of 31 employees, including 12 to 14 full-timers, will be let go, Koep said.

The Vegas Disasters

From Richard Abowitz’s Gold Plated Door:

The economy has brought a lot of hardship on Vegas. But hiding with that excuse are those things that were clearly disasters from the outset. Sure blame the economy now, but even in boom times these were bad ideas:

1. Lake Las Vegas: An artificial lake built for rich people 20 miles from Las Vegas. The “lake” is bankrupt. The Ritz-Carlton is closing and so is the casino. Ponder for a moment why no one was laughed off the idea of expending hundreds of millions to build a lake to cater to people who what to live in a desert.

2. The Las Vegas Monorail: I have been going on about how the monorail was destined to fail since almost the day it opened. But Steve Wynn also must have had an inkling as his then being built casino chose not to linkup with a station of its own. Rider expectations that were laughable and officials who were arrogant and quick to respond to criticism with a blizzard of irrelevant facts, but never quite got around to giving me an interview to answer the unanswerable questions about financing. This fiasco is still unraveling.

His post names a few other things on the list. What kills me about the Las Vegas Monorail is how damn expensive it is. Five dollars for a one way ride? If you’re traveling with a friend it’s cheaper and more convenient just to take a cab. (Which is what we did most of the time last week) It’s a hike to get to the Monorail as it is. A cab will take you directly to where you’re going.

Harrah’s Shines Light on “Resort Fee”

Gold Plated Door on hidden fees that some Vegas resorts have been tacking on to your bill.

As the economy worsened last year, Vegas resorts dropped room rates to unprecedented levels in order to keep their hotels full. But those advertised rates were simultaneously undermined at some properties by something called a “resort fee.” These mandatory fees (essentially therefore part of the cost of the room) have become increasingly prevalent in Vegas.

Maybe, public awareness, and common sense will soon reverses this trend. So, Harrah’s press release offers not only good news that Harrah’s is not using these bogus charges, but the announcement also raises the question of which of their competitors are charging a “resort fee”? For now, to get an answer call any hotel in Vegas you are considering staying at to ask about “resort fees.”

So, what is the resort fee? A “resort fee” is a backdoor charge that covers things as silly as being able to make a toll free or local phone calls from your room or a free newspaper in the morning. Essentially a smorgasbord of random stuff thrown together in order to charge this fee that you are forced to pay for every day you stay at the hotel. Remember this charge is added to what you are already paying for the room. The only difference, between this fee and your room rate: you may not know you are paying this added cost for your room until check-in. That is what happened to me. The “resort fee” is meant to be sneaky.

Shooting in Las Vegas Courthouse

From CNN:

Two federal personnel were shot, one fatally, Monday in the lobby of a federal courthouse building in Las Vegas, Nevada, federal officials said.

“A deputy U.S. marshal and court security officer were shot at the Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas this morning,” said U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.

“The gunman was shot by Marshals Service personnel and has been pronounced dead. The deputy U.S. Marshal is in stable condition at a local hospital. Unfortunately, the court security officer succumbed to his wounds and passed away.”

The incident occurred about 8 a.m. PT, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.

Authorities were in the process of securing the building, Carter said.

“We do not know the motive for the shooting at this time, and the investigation into the shooting is still under way,” he said.