Hotel Reviews: The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada

I was in Las Vegas recently, and lodged in a hotel I haven’t been in before. Coming from the Venetian (where I’ve stayed a couple of times), this next hotel had big shoes to fill. We were in Tower 3 of The Signature at MGM Grand. This tower is the newest of the 3 towers, built within the past 7 years. I can’t speak on Towers 1 or 2, but I can say, with this one they did it right. From the gated entry to the friendly staff to the incredible view of Las Vegas, this hotel has a lot going for it.

The first thing you’ll notice is the gated entry which offers a sense of security. The next thing you’ll notice is the valet, which I’m personally not a fan of because I can park the car myself. However, having a valet is convenient and trouble-free. The folks performing the valet service were professional and courteous. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll notice that the towers are a few blocks away from the Vegas strip, which may or may not be a good thing. Being in tower 3, it was a long walk just to get to the MGM casino (I’m guessing half a mile, no kidding), an even longer walk and/or taxi ride to get to the heart of the strip. There is a monorail you can take from tower 2 which is inexpensive and as convenient as taking a monorail can be. What I liked about the towers of MGM are that when you want to sort of “escape” the Vegas lights, these towers offer that kind of feel. A retreat, if you will. And like I said, the views are spectacular and the rooms themselves are quite nice.

I’m a fan of the simple things when it comes to hotel rooms. Give me a good shower, a big bed, and a robe and I’m happy. The Signature at MGM grand did all those things and did them well.
You could essentially come to Vegas, get a room here and have a fantastic stay, without taking part in any of the typical Vegas attractions. The hotel offers a pool, a fitness room, and convenient dining in nearby restaurants. But you don’t come to Vegas to stay in your room, right? That’s the only drawback to this hotel: the distance to Vegas attractions.

All in all, a fantastic hotel that will meet or exceed your expectations and I recommend giving it a go the next time you’re in Las Vegas!

The Bachelorette In 1,000 Words Or Less: Ashley is a JabbaWockee (Episode 2)

This season of the Bachelorette is moving right along. Two hours into the season and we’ve already established the villain (Bentley), the scape goat (Jeff), the guy everyone likes in the beginning but gets annoyed with pretty quick (William), and of course, the guy who wins the season’s final rose (Ryan P.??).

Episode Two begins with a date card for William Holman. If you’re not familiar with the “date card” it’s basically an index card with pick-up lines thought up by Bachelorette interns. William’s date card said this: “Want to make a splash in Vegas? I do.” It was from Ashley (thank goodness) so she picks him up in a convertible Maserati Gran Turismo (retails at $139,700.00). They arrive in Vegas with a montage of casino highlights, which means we saw three clips of non-identifiable casino games and the outside of every popular hotel on the strip. This date included stuff that on any real first date, the guy would never ever ever want see this girl again. They shopped for a wedding cake and rings, followed by an odd test for William: They met with a wedding chapel minister and went through the process of getting married, until Ashley couldn’t say “I do.” Poor William, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. They end up kissing, though, so he’s got that going for him. Ashley admits she’s falling for him. They eat dinner in front of the Bellagio fountains then are serenaded by Colbie Caillat singing “Brighter Than the Sun.”

Ashley: “I want you to be you.”

William: “I am me.”

William opens up about his dad being an alcoholic. Ashey offers him the rose (him, not his dad.)

The next date card arrives for 12 guys: Constantine, Ryan M., Chris, Ben F., Nick, Bentley, West, Lucas, Stephen, Blake, Matt, and Ames.

Date card: “In sin city, boys will be boys,” so the boys fly to Las Vegas to meet her there. They walk into a huge theater where Ashley announces they’ll be split into two teams: “White Guys Can’t Dance” and “White Guys Really Can’t Dance,” both being helped out considerably by the professional dance crew, JabbaWockeeZ. Those weren’t their real team names, but does it matter? “White Guys Can’t Dance” won so they got to eat dinner and have some down time with Ashley. The other team was flown back to L.A. for a night without Ashley.

“I want to throw myself in the engine right now.” (Matt after he and his losing team land in L.A.)

After Ashley and the guys perform with the JabbaWockeeZ, she chats with Blake, then West. West reveals his controversial past (supposedly his deceased wife’s mother isn’t convinced of his innocence in her daughter’s death… dun dun duuuunnnn dramatic music).

Ashley and Bentley have some alone time in a hotel room, Bentley proving more every second that the producers are ratings-hungry. If he wasn’t intentionally planted there by the producers as “the disliked villain,” I’d be shocked. How Ashley can’t see this for herself is beyond me, so of course, Bentley ends up with the group date rose.

The last date was decided by a coin flip between Mickey and J.P. Mickey won so they meet up for a date. He asks when she cried last, she says it was the last time she watched an episode of the Bachelor. Finally I have something in common with Ashley. I have a feeling we cried for completely different reasons, though. The date goes well after many coin tosses deciding each step of the date. He gets a rose at the end of this date… via coin flip.

One of the more dramatic scenes happened when Nick was teaching Ashley line dancing. William stepped in and took her away, completely violating the The Bro CodeIf you already have a rose, you shall not steal the girl away from a fellow bro who does not already have a rose. He chats with her and they kiss.

Jeff chats with Ash in the yellow stairwell and gives her a brief rundown on his life story. She asks why he got divorced. They’d been married for 10 years, she was untruthful about something, so he moved on. He takes his mask off. Her reaction: didn’t happen because Matt stepped in and stole her away. The mask will have to wait another episode, if he gets a rose.

Later she chats with Ben C., which fans are probably referring to as “the other Ben” (Ben F. is a favorite). He actually seems pretty cool.

William goes on and on with the guys about his date with Ash. Tolerance levels are reaching dangerous heights at this point. Who knew William would turn out to be a nuisance? Bentley also gets some time alone with Ashley, even after he said he rather swim in pee than plan a wedding with Ash. He gets her alone and they kiss. I find it hard to believe Ashley’s completely unaware of the producer’s charade with Bentley, so here’s an easy way to figure it out: Ashley is to the Bentley charade as Pakistan is to Bin Laden’s whereabouts. In other words, they all know.

Roses go to: (William, Bentley, Mickey already have roses), West, Constantine, Ryan P., Ben C., Nick, Ames (only one not wearing his suit jacket, just a vest), Lucas, Jeff, J.P., Chris, Ben F., and Blake.

Sent home: Stephen, Matt, and Ryan M.

“Life is definitely not fair.” Ryan M. after being eliminated. Just a note to Ryan M., the worst reason to say “life is definitely not fair” is a Bachelorette elimination.

If you liked this post, check out 10 signs your date was a contestant on The Bachelor.

Hotel Reviews: The Venetian in Las Vegas, NV

(for more hotel reviews, click here)

March 2011

Our plane touched down in Las Vegas Thursday early afternoon. Myself and a few colleagues were in town for a 4-day, 3-night stay in The Venetian Hotel. It was not a vacation, but I don’t know how anyone can go to Las Vegas for any reason and not think it’s some variation of a vacation.

My last hotel review was for The W in Chicago, that hotel not earning many points with me, so this hotel had some ground to make up. We left the airport after haggling with Hertz for longer than anybody wanted (I don’t do car rental reviews, but Hertz would get a 1 out of 10 on this trip). The Venetian started gaining points right off the bat, with free parking. A real nice touch when you expect to be spending money for a space to park. We checked in with no problems. The staff were quite helpful. For those needing internet or access to the fitness room, there’s a daily charge for that, but it was less than $20 per day.
I dropped my gear off in my room expecting to give the whole room a once over, but it was so big I didn’t have time to explore. The smallest rooms (what I was in), there are over 600 sq. feet so you’ll never feel cramped in these rooms.

Over the course of the next 4 days, I weighed the pro’s and con’s of the suite, and the attractive parts far outweigh any drawbacks. Let’s start with the most important offering, robes. Two big thumbs up for two complimentary robes: clean, large and soft.

Rooms: The rooms are large, the smallest suite boasting over 600 square feet. Navigating through the hotel can be a bit difficult due to the number of floors, rooms, and the large casino on the main floor. Expect a day or so of getting acclimated to the layout of the casino and hotel stairs and elevators.

Drapes: Yes. Not only did the drapes effectively block outside light, they were powered by a remote control. Very nice when you don’t want to cross into the second room to close them.

Bed: King-size bed with plenty of pillows. Real good.

Shower: Thumbs up. I like the idea of the shower in The W, but for me it just didn’t work. The shower here was simple, but all that was needed. The restroom also featured a separate bathtub, so that’s a bonus.

To sum up, this is a great hotel and I recommend staying here the next time you plan a trip to Las Vegas. Let’s be honest, if you’re coming to Vegas, you’re not coming simply to find a nice hotel, you’re there for the entertainment. Whether it’s gambling, shows, or people watching, the Venetian is in a prime location. It’s across the street from an affordable casino (The Mirage) or you can spend your time and money in the Venetian casino (general higher minimum bets than the Mirage). The Venetian is also host to restaurant row offering lots of good food choices that aren’t over-the-top expensive. There’s also a 24-hour Walgreens located conveniently between The Venetian and The Palazzo Hotel.

If you’ve been to the Venetian and agree/disagree with this review, please feel free to share your feedback. Thanks for reading! For more about The Venetian Hotel Resort & Casino, check out this blog.

Las Vegas, Jimmie Johnson, The Bachelor, Carrot Top, And More!

“The Bachelor Brad Womack: Women Tell All” episode has more drama than a Las Vegas casino. But a lot less alcohol. I was in Las Vegas recently and went to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If you remember from the group date in episode 5, this race track is where Brad found out about Emily’s past relationship with Nascar driver Ricky Hendrick. At the track, I didn’t notice any lingering effects from the episode. I only noticed fast cars, cool drivers like Jimmie Johnson, and plenty of Kentucky waterfalls. Click here for 10 signs your date was a contestant on the Bachelor.

Jimmie Johnson in the #48 car in Las Vegas.

“The Women Tell All” is a unique episode in that it’s the first time the girls are “in real life” and can talk about the first 9 episodes of the Bachelor… because they’ve been watching each week just like you and me. But before the show gets started, Chris sets up how things are going to shake out in the next two hours. He starts by tossing to an interview he conducted with Brad. Brad talks about the more notably events of the season including Chantal O.’s slap, Ashley H.’s carnival date, Madison’s fangs, and Shawntel’s funeral directing skills.

Brad about Shawntel asking him to lay on a death bed: “It’s a little awkward. It really was.”

Chris Harrison reveals there will be season 2 of “Bachelor Pad” which includes a cast that throws the craziest parties ever. Then we watch a Bachelor reunion party with lots of familiar faces. Ali and Roberto are there. The tattoo guy Kasey is back and still looking for love. Why hasn’t Kasey found anyone to guard and protect his heart? You mean to tell me his heart has been exposed this whole time? Darn. Maybe Roberto and Ali can help fix it, or just show up to be the example of how winners, win. Winning! Duh! What doesn’t mesh together in my head are the comments from past contestants saying they are all like a big Bachelor family and the some highlights we see of them kissing in the pool or in the mansion. Just call it what it is, “The Bachelor: Sodom and Gomorrah” or “The Bachelor: Kiss and Tell” or “The Bachelor: Kentucky.”

Coming back from a commercial, we are reintroduced to Sarah P., Lisa M., Melissa, Alli, Britt, Marissa, Raichel, Meghan, Stacey, Ashley S., Jackie, Ashley H., Michelle, Madison, and Shawntel N. Over half these girls give some kind of butterfly double hand wave. Weird. The girls reflect on the first night, getting out of the limo and meeting Brad for the first time. Cut to highlights, strictly limited to the backstabbing comments the girls made throughout the season. Back in the “live” studio, Stacey confronts Michelle. Other girls chime in, too. Jackie drops the bomb by telling Michelle she’s not funny. Whoa, Jackie, back off. You can accuse her as a mother, tell her she’s two-faced, even admit you gave her the black eye, but how dare you reject her inner Carrot Top.

Carrot Top before and after steroids.

Also check out: Deal Breakers in a Dating Relationship

Melissa takes the hot seat next to Chris Harrison. They discuss her feud with Raichel. Raichel wins the award for alliteration… friends, frantic, frazzled, freaking everyone out. Jackie pleases the audience by calling Raichel out for blaming Melissa. Ashley S. trumps Jackie with a comment about what kind of behavior guys like and don’t like. The crowd grows tired of clapping. But never tired of these verbal slaps.

Michelle is next to take the hot seat. Chris Harrison gives her a hug. She says she’s suffering from the ugly cry today. She’s unsure what the pretty cry is, though. Michelle fights tears through the interview as the scowling Jackie watches along. The gaggle of girls on stage share their opinions of Michelle, who’s still crying. Michelle explains her sense of humor, and how she’s so misunderstood. Chris Harrison calls her sarcasm a self-defense mechanism. Reminds of Kip learning self-defense in the hilarious movie: Napoleon Dynamite.

Kip trying Rex Kwon Do self-defense.

Stacey attacks Michelle then goes in for the kill. Chris Harrison whips out his man card and tells the girls to shut it so Michelle can regroup and finish the hot seat interview. Are you serious Chris? He just said the hot seat Michelle is sitting on is the hottest seat ever. Is anyone else growing tired of Chris Harrison exclaiming that this next whatever is the most whatever ever? Who does he think we are? Growing up I was told that if you have to keep telling people something is a certain way, it probably isn’t that way. It’s like a joke you have to keep explaining. It’s probably just not funny so it’s not a joke.

Here’s how to be funny.

Jackie, Stacey and Sarah P. are hounding Michelle, but hey girls, jealousy is much less attractive than you think Michelle is. Bam! You just got consulted. Britt tells it like it is, says Michelle is funny, no one should’ve thought she was really the kind of person she acted to be. After all is said and done with Michelle on the hottest seat ever, she comes off rather normal, don’t you agree? Well, normal for an actress trying to get her name out there. She knew, like we did, that Brichelle just won’t work. It sounds like Michelle but with nasty chest congestion. Brantal or Bremily for the victory.

Ashley S. takes the hot seat next. Is she wearing a silly band? That’s silly.

Ashley S. about Brad saying she wasn’t wife material: “That was such a dagger to my heart. I can’t tell you how bad that comment almost hurt.”

I’m confused. So you’re not telling us what again? I’m going to find out from Chuck Norris if daggers to the heart hurt. Or better yet, I’ll check with his enemies if they hurt or almost hurt.

Chuck Norris.

A tanning bed and a hair makeover later, Ashley H. is next on the hot seat. Let’s see how many words she adds the letter ‘a’ to… secand, upsat, axit, laft, defanse, knaw, yas, mysalf. Ok, that was almost bearable.

Now the man we’ve all been waiting for, Brad takes the stage with Chris Harrison. He wonders who that girl is over there. Haha, I just made you say overwear. Wait… that doesn’t work. Darn. Anyway, the new girl is the new Ashley H. complete with brunette hair, ruby red lips, white teeth and no more “mom hair.”

Brad talks about his relationship with Ashley S., Michelle, and Ashley H. Has Shawntel said a word yet? It’s time for her to say something. She’s the best one there. I wonder if Brad will talk to her. Nope, Chris Harrison tosses to clips of he and Brad at a school in Africa. They donated some kind of solar generator that gives the kids hot water. Amazing. Chris said it right, “A kid is a kid is a kid no matter where you go in the world.”

Brad talks about his relationship with Chantal and Emily. He’s the happiest he’s ever been with those two girls. He won’t say who he proposes to, but he says, “She’s changed my life.” He’s in love and falls more every day. A nice setup for next week’s season finale. Check back here next week for a riveting review of a rose and a rejection. See, I can do alliterations, too. Bam! Winning! Duh!