Starling Travel

February 22, 2008

Open Letter to The Luxor Hotel and Casino

Filed under: Lodging,Nevada,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 8:48 am

Luxor Offer March 2008: Click to see full sizeDear Luxor Hotel,

I used to really love you, but the Luxor has really gone downhill. Despite all the renovations, I really don’t want to step into a casino with Carrot Top with top billing and EVERY casino has a strip show. Advertising yours (Fantasy) just makes you look pathetic.

You keep sending me these “offers,” but they aren’t appealing in the least. If you don’t have a good show to draw me in (in all honesty, your shows are scaring me away), and you don’t have anything else to draw me in, then the price of the room needs to draw me in and I can beat your price at the Las Vegas Hilton or Imperial Palace every time. Barry Manilow and “Dealer-tainers” are just as scary as 3 Redneck Tenors, but I pay MUCH MUCH less for the room.

Seriously, the Luxor hotel used to be my FAVORITE hotel. I’ve written about it online many times:

I didn’t realize how many times I had written about the Luxor until I looked it up. I even went so far as to call it my “beloved Luxor Hotel.”

I’ve visited since the “new pulse” was installed. Stripping the hotel of the theme was kind of silly, but I understand that you’re trying to make it upscale. A lot of casinos are trying to play down their kid-friendly aspects right now. Of course, that doesn’t explain Ronn Lucas and his puppets. I understand what you’re trying to do, but there is NO WAY that you’ll be able to be upscale if you don’t draw in some better entertainment. And by the way, paying stars to come dance at your nightclub doesn’t count as entertainment.

And don’t even get me started about the billboards plastered on the side of the pyramid. Anubis himself might have come to take down that Absolut bottle if the wind storm hadn’t gotten to it first. Adidas? Since when are you a sports bar? Aren’t you embarrassed that Google Maps shows you with half a sign advertising Motorola from InterOp plastered on your beautiful, black pyramid? You should be.

Satellite shot of the Luxor Hotel from Google Maps

Luxor Valentines offer February 2008: Click to see full sizeWhen your advertising isn’t merely unappealing, it’s downright insulting. For example, take the Valentines Day offer you sent in February 2008. Here was the offer:

  • Complimentary admission for two to Cathouse: This is your restaurant where women in lingerie serve you food right? I noticed you didn’t offer me a dinner there, just admission so I don’t have to pay the cover charge. Do you really think women in lingerie feeding my husband food is romantic? What kind of Valentines Day do YOU celebrate?

  • 2 for 1 Admission to Fantasy: THE STRIP SHOW? What kind of couple goes to a strip show on Valentines Day? Not only that, you expect my husband to pay for himself and I get in FREE? Wow… thanks for the offer… I’m so underwhelmed.

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries (from in-room dining): That sounds nice, I guess…

  • Complimentary admission for 2 to Nuture The Spa: I don’t care what you call it. Nuture The Spa is just a hotel gym with a massage therapist or two. I’ve been there. I know. I love to exercise there, but your admission doesn’t include the cost of a massage, so really all you’re offering me are a few treadmills and a hot soak in a tub. Admission to your spa should ALWAYS be free.

  • Complimentary Deluxe Tower Room Upgrade (based on availability): Have you not figured out yet that the coolest part of staying at the Luxor Hotel is the room in the pyramid with the fun, slanty walls? I don’t WANT to stay in the tower, but if I did, I would be pretty underwhelmed with the lack of promise that “based on availability” gives me.

Really? Is this really the best Valentines Day offer you could make me? Mike and I were in Vegas right before Valentines Day. A really good offer might have made us stay a couple of days longer at YOUR hotel. Instead, you insulted everything about the holiday.

Every time we drive past the Luxor now, my heart aches for what you used to be. How much longer until you dismantle whatever is left of cool that you had? Please, please, please fire the advertising company that you have hired. If you are doing this in-house, STOP IT and hire a good advertising agency. I would hate for the Luxor to suffer the fate of The Sands, Stardust and so many other great casinos that couldn’t compete in this market. You deserve so much more than a burst of fireworks and a carefully timed implosion.

Laura Moncur

February 11, 2008

San Diego, CA: Shabu Shabu at Kazumi Sushi Bar

Filed under: California,Food,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 8:21 am

Kazumi Sushi Bar from Flickr

Shabu shabu is a Japanese broth fondue. You dip thinly sliced beef into the hot broth and it cooks very quickly. Our visit to Kazumi Sushi Bar with friends was a perfect ending to our San Diego trip this year.

They started our night off with a salad and teriyaki chicken skewers.

Kazumi Sushi Bar from Flickr

The highlight of the meal, however, was the shabu shabu. We dipped the frozen meat slices into the hot water and with a swish, swish, we cooked our own dinner to whatever level of rareness we wanted.

Kazumi Sushi Bar from Flickr

Most importantly, the hot pot is a great way to enjoy an evening with friends. You have plenty of time to talk and laugh while you eat.

Kazumi Sushi Bar from Flickr

February 5, 2008

Swami’s Beach, CA: Tide Pool Video

Filed under: California,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

When we went to Swami’s Beach this year, we had an unpleasant surprise. The stairs that I had climbed so often were being refurbished.

Swami's Beach is closed! from Flickr

We parked at a beach south of the tide pools and walked back up. It was worth the trek. Here’s a video of the most exciting highlights of our tide pool adventure:

Click Here To See The Video

Download this video for your iPod

For more information about tide pooling:


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