Honeymoon in Vegas

Secrets of the Pyramid
Our Honeymoon in Vegas and Luxor! 4/17 to 4/25/98

The AAA guide said that Las Vegas was the number two honeymoon 
destination after Orlando, Florida. Yes, Vegas is definitely the 
Disneyland for adults. We didn't go to gamble (except for the occasional 
slot machine!) but instead for the sights on the strip, shows, dining out, 
and outdoor attractions such as Red Rock Canyon, and the Valley of 
Fire. We had a wonderful time and look forward to the next trip. 

The following is a brief (hopefully) description of the things we saw, our 
experiences and comments. Both my wife, Kathy, and I had been to 
Vegas in the past separately. Kathy had gone in March 1996 to give a 
paper at the Popular Culture Society convention. I had visited for a day 
back in December 1992 and then again for a weekend in September 
1996 for a Star Trek convention that featured William Shatner. Since we 
both loved Vegas for all its tacky glitz and glamour, we decided that it (if 
not the Caribbean which was also a possibility) was perfect for our 
honeymoon. We were enchanted with Luxor, the sleek, black pyramid 
hotel at the south end of the strip, and had wanted an opportunity to 
stay there so that was our hotel of choice. I had always thought it was 
the absolute coolest place on the strip. 

My sources for information on things to do in Vegas such as shows and 
dining, were the usenet newsgroup: alt.vacation.las-vegas; various web 
sites such as Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ) (www.lvrj.com, 
www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/bestoflv/1998), the Las Vegas Advisor 
(www.?.com), Las Vegas Dot Com (www.lasvegas.com, 
www.lasvegas.com/features/showreviews/), and a few links found in the 
newsgroup (I'll be adding these to my web page soon) and some I have 
on my own travel page (http://world.std.com/~zmax/travel.htm  I'll be 
creating a small but separate Las Vegas page there soon.)  Also used 
the AAA Las Vegas Destination guide which was very useful and AAA 
area map. 

As with all Vegas Casino/Hotel's over the top marketing, hype, and 
gimmicks, there is an attraction at Luxor called "Secrets of Luxor" or 
"Secrets of Tutankhamun" or something. Unlike those however, the 
secrets of the pyramid that I will now reveal are free to you and of 
course things any prospective Luxor guest would want to know. 

Overall we really enjoyed our stay at the Luxor. I had always wanted to 
stay there over any of the other theme casinos. Since it was our 
honeymoon we splurged for the Jacuzzi suite. It was really nice to come 
back after a hard day of site seeing to relax in the Jacuzzi with a 
wonderful view of the hills before a night out. I was told that since the 
towers are newer the rooms there are nicer. However, our (second) 
suite was really nice. It had two rooms, two televisions, a fridge, two 
closets, several tables and chairs, a sofa, and other cushion seats. The 
only other casinos that I have seen that I think are really well done in 
their theme are Caesar's Palace and the Forum Shops (what an 
atmosphere!), and New York, New York. 

The hotel has 4 elevators called inclinators that go up each of the four 
angled sides of the pyramid. Each one goes to a different set of floors. 
For example, inclinator #1 goes from floors (1 & 2) to 23 to 30 (the top 
floor) and inclinator #3 goes to floors (1&2) 16 to 22. This brings us to...

Secret #1: The view from floors 16 to 22 is just as good as the views 
from even the top most floor. Which brings us to secret #2.

Secret #2: The rooms get smaller the higher up you go. The usual idea 
of a high room for a view does not apply. It is, after all, a pyramid! If 
you're paying a lot of money like we did for a Jacuzzi suite, why get a 
tiny room on the 30th floor (like we did the first night) when you can get 
a huge suite (or room) 3 times the size on the 17th floor (like we did 
from nights 2 and on) with just as good a view? Our travel agent told me 
that the regular hotel room is 400 square feet while the Jacuzzi room 
was 700 square feet. On the top floor(s) this is not true. This is probably 
the average size of rooms lower down. The largest rooms on the top 
floor are the presidential suites for high rollers (so I was informed by the 
desk) and you can see the large double doors as you pass by in the 

Secret #3: Never stay on the 30th floor. At least, not until they fix the air 
conditioning system.  On our first flight up the elevator with all our bags, 
one of the other guests told us that he had been on the 30th floor also 
but switched to the 29th floor as the air conditioning system was not 
working correctly and it made a lot of noise. This turned out to be true. 
The air conditioning system when it was not on made constant gurgling 
noises. While this would be extremely annoying in any case it was even 
more annoying in a very small room. We got switched to the 17th the 
next day. 

Secret #4: I don't think they wash the Jacuzzis between guests if ever at 
all. In both rooms the Jacuzzis were grimy. I called housekeeping to get 
some cleaner to clean it out. They said they couldn't do that and would 
send someone to clean it but they never did. I ended up cleaning it out 
with a wash cloth and soap aided by the ice bucket. 

Secret #5: Views. This is more of a personal preference than a secret. 
Our initial view was south. This is fine cause you get sun all day 
including sunset although it makes the room hotter when the sun is 
directly coming in. Where there used to be nothing there is now a huge 
golden glassed hotel under construction in the middle of this view. 
When we decided to change rooms I decided on getting a western view 
towards the mountains alone. For several reasons. First, a northern 
view would probably be mostly blocked by the new west tower while an 
eastern view of the strip (over the Phoenix) would mean bright sun first 
thing in the morning. I don't need to wake up to that much sun and if you 
open the shades, unless you put on the air on high, the room will heat 
up very quickly. The western view affords a wonderful view of the 
scenery and mountains without any obstructions; the sun in the morning 
is muted and the view of the hills in the am lit by the ascending sun is 
beautiful. You're probably out most of the day in the afternoon when the 
worst of the sun is there and you can relax in the early evening and 
watch the sunset and lights of the city on that side from the Jacuzzi. So 
we were very pleased with a western view. 

Other Luxor notes:
Room service is extremely expensive. All the food comes from the 
Pyramid Cafe where the prices are less for the same things. 

The Pharaoh's Pheast buffet for the most part is quite good and the 
decor is excellent and creates quite an environment. It's like being at the 
site of an ancient Egyptian archaeological dig.  The buffet is also very 
popular and if you don't get there by 9am for breakfast the line is very 
long. The shortest line was for dinner where one night we only had to 
wait about 5 minutes. 

Like any casino the layout is extremely confusing to navigate. However, 
if you keep the following in mind, it will be a lot easier to get around. The 
main casino floor in the pyramid is set up like a wheel (a circle inside a 
square). You can get around by going around the sides of the square 
although this is longer and sometimes obstructed. The easiest way to 
get around is to orient yourself via the inclinators and by what thing or 
attraction is at which side such as the main entrance being on the south. 
You can't get through the pyramid in a straight line but you can walk up 
the spokes of the wheel so to speak and circle around the hub of the 
wheel and then go down another spoke to get to the other side. That's 
how it is laid out.  There is a walkway to the Excaliber on the north side. 

If you want to go to a convenience store there is one in the hotel but the 
nearest one outside (Arco AM/PM) is next to the Excaliber and down 
and across the street a couple blocks to the south. 

There is an attractions level on top of the casino. There are only two 
entrances which makes it hard to find. The saving grace of Luxor over 
other casinos I think is the food court with inexpensive fast food on this 
level. Like other casinos they have cafe's, delis, and fine dining 
restaurants but if you're in a hurry the fast food is there too. That's why 
Luxor is a 3 star hotel and not a 4 star hotel like the Mirage. But who 
needs 4 stars?!?! The Luxor is a place for "the people" and caters to the 
average and upscale tastes.
Luxor has their own brand of gourmet coffee and coffee shop here too 
and the coffee is quite good. This level also has a 3D-Imax show which 
we went to and is incredible. The 3D glasses are goggles and which 
somehow not only give you 3D but make the screen look smaller so you 
can see everything without moving your head much. This is a must see. 
There is the motion ride which is fun also. King Tut's tomb is interesting 
and there are gift shops galore on every level. 

They have a new nightclub called RA. Like with everything else at Luxor 
they have succeed in creating a nightclub with fantastic scenery and 
atmosphere. While we didn't have time to see it from the inside, the 
outside with its statues and mood lighting is cool. It's also obviously the 
place to be (it was also an LVRJ Place to Dance pick of the year) at 
night as Friday night there was a long line of very well dressed people 
waiting to get in. When it's open, the main entrance has laserlike light at 
floor level and wafts of smoke billowing down the entrance hall like 
something out of S&R.

I noticed that on weekend nights the casino bars are the places to hang 
out as at Luxor and MGM there was many groups of young, beautiful 
20-somethings hanging out and partying. 

The extensive show reviews on www.lasvegas.com and contributors 
comments on the usenet newsgroup were very helpful in deciding what 
to see. 

Siegfried & Roy: We had to go because of the impressive reputation 
and great reviews for this most popular (along with Mystere of course! :) 
of all Las Vegas shows. Most of the illusions are very impressive but it's 
really not worth the money you pay ($89.35). The main reason being the 
ridiculous seating and the other reasons being that I think even if it's a 
good show it's over priced. They should do like Bally's and leave the 
tables and booths for the front and put normal theater seating for the 
rest of the place. Apparently you sit at a table (this is not a problem if 
you get a booth which we did not) perpendicular to the stage. So you sit 
facing another person not the stage. You have to turn your head (and 
body) to see the stage and if you're unlucky, like we were, you'll be the 
third person down (at a table of six, 3 per side) with one or two people's 
head in your way. I don't know about you but I don't think it's right to pay 
$90 for a show to have someone's head in your way. I had to move my 
chair to the outside center facing the stage to get a better view. So while 
there was a head in my way the stage is big enough that I was able to 
see most everything I needed to see. Keep this in mind when ordering 
your tickets. 
For the money you also get a very nice program and two drinks brought 
to you at once.
What I also noticed is that a number of their tricks were ones that were 
revealed in Fox's Magicians Secrets Revealed show. However, I only 
saw the first one (next one is on May) and the ones revealed are the 
simple ones. The really clever and innovative tricks are impossible to 
figure out and quite impressive.

Mystere: Amazing! Incredible! While it took a little while to get into it, 
once I got drawn in, I was captivated for the rest of the show. If you can 
only see one show this is it (and even over S&R!). The program is $7.00 
and not really worthy it since the photos cannot begin to capture what 
you have just witnessed. Neither can the endless array of Mystere crap 
they sell in all the gift shops there. However, the musical score was very 
nice and I bought the CD at an overpriced $22! Listening to the music 
brings back memories of the show that the program photos or postcards 

Jubilee: We wanted to see a traditional Las Vegas showgirl/show type of 
show. This one was slightly higher rated and reviewed than Enter The 
Night or Folies Bergere (our 2nd choice). And to my surprise it was 
really quite good, fun, and entertaining. The costumes were outstanding 
and amazing. Kathy said the guy (Bob Mackie) who does them is the 
same guy who does Cher's dresses at the Academy Awards. Of course 
one of the unique features of the show is the showgirls'....features and 
quite surprisingly many of them were natural as opposed to enhanced. 
But after all this was a show and not a strip club. There were also many 
male specimens in varying degrees of enhancement and decline as 
seen in the Samson and Delilah bit. We thought it was to their credit to 
let people just be their normal selves so to speak. Although it seemed 
the leading ladies (and men) were the ones with the most....prominent 

Again, we got a lot of our dining out information from the web site 
including the LVRJ best picks for 1998 and the Las Vegas Advisor (now 
defunct but there was a link to a Realtors web site with a lot of info and 
that's where I got the info) top ten values.

Arizona Charlie's Steak and Eggs: We got this for $2.49 at the main 
casino on Decatur St. and it was excellent! Not only that but the coffee 
wasn't bad. 

Quark's Bar at the Star Trek Experience -- The food here is not bad. We 
had the seafood pizza which was really good (and shaped liked an old 
style communicator!). The atmosphere is great and authentic. The only 
drawback is the incessant playback of the blaring Star Trek clips video. 
The video makes you dizzy after watching it for a few minutes. It's more 
MTV than MTV.

Andre's French Restaurant: We went here (original 6th St. location) to 
celebrate one month of wedded bliss. It was fabulous. You can't beat 
the decor -- something I imagine a old country French Inn would look 
like. The service was great and the food was very good. It's expensive 

In-N-Out Burger: Great burger place and I wish we had them in Boston 
where I come from. Sure beats McD's and BK. The burgers were like I 
would cook them on a grill with toasted buns, tomato, lettuce, and 
onions. The shakes were made from real ice cream and delicious!
I know that a lot of folks on the newsgroup like Fatburger but we didn't 
get a chance to go there. I ate at one in 1992 and don't recall it being 
much different from McD's. I'd like to know why people in the newsgroup 
prefer it over I-N-O if that's the case that they do prefer it over INOB.

Some of the info I got listed Spago's and Chinois (exclusive and 
expensive gourmet restaurants) as being best of 1998. When we went 
to the Forum shops I noticed that's where they were. I found it odd that 
exclusive restaurants were in a mall. Sure it was mostly an upscale mall 
but it was a mall none-the-less!

Peppermill Fireside Lounge: Another top pick from LVRJ and why we 
went. (Otherwise how would we know to go?!) We were not 
disappointed. This place is great and classic. You can't tell if it's day or 
night from being in there. It really is very romantic and we loved it. Go 
and you'll see why. Kathy had a virgin strawberry daiquiri which was 
delicious and I had a virgin planters punch that was also very good. We 
were fortunate that we went on a weekday night when it was not too 
crowded or smoky. I came up with a preposterous idea that if we lived in 
Vegas we could do "24 Hours at the Peppermill". That's were we would 
spend 24 hours at one of the booths and invite all our friends to join us 
at various times during the day and night. :)

Krispy Kreme Donuts: We would like to have tried them but I left the 
address at home and didn't find them listed in the phonebook nor saw 
them near the strip or wherever we went. Instead we gorged on Dolly 
Madison cakes, donuts, and Zingers which are very hard to find in the 
Boston area and In our Humble Opinion much better than Hostess, 
Drake, Little Debbie, and Tastycake!

Rainforest Cafe at MGM: The theme is excellent and the environment and
decor is fabulous. Too bad the food was not. The juice bar juices were good. 
Neat idea but needs work. Go once for the atmosphere. There's a rainforest
thunderstorm every so often.

Outdoor Sights
Red Rock Canyon -- close to Vegas and very nice. 

Valley of Fire -- about a 45 to 60 minute drive from Vegas on I-15 North 
but larger and far more impressive than RRC. Site #10 on the may, Fire 
Valley is where they filmed bits of the Star Trek film "Generations". The 
parts where Malcolm McDowwel is waiting for the Nexus to pick him up 
and Picard tries to stop him and where Kirk dies. This can be an all day 
trip and once there, there's no food for miles around so bring your own. 
We packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, power bars, and fruit 
(and lots of water and All Sport) to tide us over! 

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden: We overheard people thinking about 
going in complaining about the $10 fee to get in. However since it goes 
for a good cause (maintenance of the wildlife preservation), I don't think 
there is anything to complain about. If you didn't go to Vegas to spend 
money then you shouldn't go! 
If you like seeing dolphins swimming around up close and looking at 
lions and tigers up close especially rare species such as the white tiger 
and snow leopard then go. We enjoyed it. 

Other Sites
Stratosphere: The view is incredible night and day. The roller coaster 
was fun and worth it if only for the incredible view as you whirl around. I 
didn't have the nerve for the big shot. We played some slots and didn't 
see what the big deal was. We got more payoff at the Topcat machine 
at Luxor! (We found the Topcat 25cent slot machine to be the loosest at 
Luxor. It's by inclinator #3 (on the way to our room of course!) and the 
one where you have your back to the casino (there are two others on 
the other side) (Speaking of that, in that section of slot machines I loved 
the ones to the right of Topcat that make so much damn noise and loud 
music! It's like you become one with the machine!) 

Manhattan Express at NY NY: I've ridden all the coasters at Cedar Point 
and this for it's size was one of the most impressive coasters I've ever 
been on. They pack a lot of hills and loops in a short space. At one of 
the very last curves before it ends it was going so fast into a hard curve 
I started to black out (I was sitting in the front during the day). That's 
never happened to me on any other coaster I've been on. 

The Star Trek Experience: We went twice! Now I know what took so 
long to build it. It is so elaborate and detailed and the ride is 
very state of the art and well done. The whole thing is excellent and 
very impressive. I'm a die hard Star Trek fan and both of us loved it. 
Don't miss it! The lines were not long at all and we got to sit in 
the front both times. 

The Forum Shops at Caesar's: The atmosphere they've created for a 
mall is unique and impressive. If not to shop, go for this alone. At the 
main entrance off LV Blvd. is the first of two talking statue shows. The 
first one ($11 million so we were told) is on even hours and the second 
one ($22 million to make) on the other end of the shops is at odd hours. 
We didn't get to see the $22 mil show cause it was broken.

New York New York: Inside and out this is one of the most incredible 
theme casinos I've ever seen. They really did a great job in every detail. 

Volcano outside the Mirage: This is really funny and you just have to 
see it! Every 15 minutes.

Pirate Show outside Treasure Island: to be seen simply for the size of 
this show. It's like being on a soundstage for the filming of a Hollywood 
movie with all the effects. Downside is the tremendous crowd that forms 
1/2 hour before. Don't miss the skeleton head in the rock facade next to 
the show area.

There were plenty of other places we wanted to go, things to do, places 
to go eat, but we ran out of time. We look forward to all that on our next 
trip in the future.


Copyright 1998 David Weinstein, zmax@world.std.com
May be freely distributed across any platform for non commercial 
purposes. Other uses are prohibited under the fair use and copyright 
law of the United States.
Thank you. 

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