Starling Travel

January 28, 2010

Say Goodbye to the Imperial Palace

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While we covered the Consumer Electronics Show for The Gadgets Page earlier this month, Mike and I stayed at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Imperial Palace

Because it was so close to the Sands Expo Center, it was a convenient hotel for us. Unfortunately, that’s where the love for the hotel died. Geography and location are important for any real estate property, but CONDITION trumps it in this case.

The Imperial Palace looked like it was waiting for the implosion. From the stained carpets to the inattentive staff, the hotel had an air of resigned finality to it. I took the obligatory pictures of the Hotel SWAG and the room.

We stayed in room 17112.

Imperial Palace Room 17112

Here is the Hotel SWAG:

Imperial Palace Hotel SWAG

You don’t need to pack a hair dryer:

Imperial Palace: You don't need to pack a hairdryer

Each room also has an iron and board so you can smooth out the wrinkles on your suitcase-squashed clothes.

Imperial Palace: You can iron your clothes

I really hate it when a hotel assumes that I’ll steal from them. I know this sign has more to do with the kind of clientele that frequent an establishment than the establishment itself, but I HATE being treated like a criminal for no reason.

Imperial Palace assumes you'll steal

Worst of all, the toilet struggled to flush every time. It was so bad that Mike and I actually bought a plunger just in case. Considering how bad the maintenance was on the property, we had no hope that they would be able to provide us with a plunger if there was an incident. Here is a video of the toilet trying its best to flush.

To be fair, the toilet never plugged up and we didn’t have to use the plunger. However, the toilet wasn’t the only thing having trouble draining. The tub and sink had slow drains as well.

The whole hotel felt like it was just waiting to die. According to Wikipedia, it is:

During a conference call with investors on November 20, 2005, the Chairman for Harrah’s, Gary Loveman, noted that both the Imperial Palace and neighboring O’Sheas “are going to require very substantial modifications or complete tear-downs and rebuilds” in order to make room for a Harrah’s and/or Flamingo expansion on the Strip.[1] However, since then, Harrah’s has invested millions of dollars into refurbishing both the hotel rooms and the casino itself.

In July 2009, Harrah’s announced new plans for the area around the Imperial Palace, O’Shea’s, and Flamingo casinos, confirming that the Imperial Palace will not be demolished at this time.

Since the economy tanked, Harrah’s just seems to be waiting to do ANYTHING to the hotel, even clean the carpets. I liked how close it was to the Expo Center, but considering its tenuous grasp on life, I think I might have to say goodbye to the Imperial Palace.

Update 06-15-11: In July 2009, Harrah’s announced new plans for the area around the Imperial Palace, O’Shea’s, and Flamingo casinos, confirming that the Imperial Palace will not be demolished at this time.

Update 01-03-12: According to Wikipedia, The Imperial Palace has been renamed The Quad Resort and Casino:

On September 17, 2012, Caesars Entertainment Corporation announced that Imperial Palace will be renamed “The Quad Resort and Casino.” The official conversion was completed on December 21, 2012.

Here is a picture of what the new casino should look like:

The Quad Hotel and Casio Las Vegas Nevada Transformation

November 13, 2009

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 9:00 am

Right on the seawall in Galveston, Texas sits the Holiday Inn Express. I love how comfortable the hotel feels. Here are some photos of the hotel swag.

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

Here is the view from the suite rooms.

Galveston, TX: Holiday Inn Express

March 14, 2009

Austin, TX: Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:08 pm

This is the second time we’ve stayed at the Radisson Town Lake. We love it because it overlooks the river and Congress Bridge. Congress Bridge is where the largest urban bat colony in North America live. In the summer, huge clouds of bats leave the bridge every evening at dusk.

This year, however, the bridge is quiet and abandoned.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It’s too cold this year to support the bats, so I suspect they are vacationing a little longer in Mexico. We came to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival, so the bats were a secondary attraction.

The hotel swag, however, was quite enjoyable.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The toilet paper origami left a little to be desired.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The towel origami, however, was beautiful.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I don’t care for Sleep Number beds. They are beds that are filled with air depending on what firmness you want. It took a lot of tweaking to get my side of the bed to feel like a “normal” bed. I guess my sleep number is 45, but I didn’t enjoy finding that out. The Radisson brags about their Sleep Number beds, but I don’t find them pleasant or appealing. It’s more like sleeping on a camping mattress.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can see all the photos for the Radisson Town Lake here:

On the whole, our stay at the Radisson has been enjoyable. They charge ten bucks a day per computer to be online in your hotel room, which I find appalling. I guess I’m used to cheaper hotels that try to attract me with free wireless. I like that I can just walk to the convention center from this hotel. I LOVE the view of the bridge, even though this year it’s bat-free. I even love the TGI Friday’s in the hotel lobby. Sometimes I’m so tired that I just need a quiet meal that is familiar. Someday, Internet connectivity will be free at all hotels just like water and televisions. Until then, it’s hit and miss.

July 17, 2008

Baker City, Oregon: Best Western Sunridge

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Oregon,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 9:41 am

Best Western Sunridge in Baker City, OR by LauraMoncur from FlickrWe stopped in Baker City, Oregon on our way home from Mount Hood this month. This time, we stayed in the Best Western Sunridge. You can see the entire group of photos here:

The hotel SWAG was typical, but nicely presented:

Best Western Sunridge in Baker City, OR by LauraMoncur from Flickr

They were having the Miner’s Jubilee in a few days, so all the windows of the town were painted with this miner, Ma and the mule:

Best Western Sunridge in Baker City, OR by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It was a nice stay at the hotel and we enjoyed ourselves there!

April 23, 2008

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Our snowy stay in West Yellowstone was made more pleasant by our hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in West Yellowstone.

Here are the photos of the Hotel SWAG as it was presented on 04-19-08:

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Here is the coffee setup.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

This Quattro razor was also on the counter. I don’t know if it was included in the SWAG or if we will be charged if we use it. The sign says complimentary, but it’s hard to know.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Here is the keycard.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The Internet connection wasn’t screaming fast, but it was usable. Additionally, there were several open wi-fi networks nearby that were also available.


Where:

Comfort Inn West Yellowstone

638 Madison Ave.
P.O. Box 1050
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-4212 • Fax 406-646-4212
Reservations 888-264-2466

April 4, 2008

A Note From A Previous Guest

Filed under: Hotel SWAG — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Miss Rogue went to BarCampNYC and stayed at the Hyatt Bellevue. Imagine her surprise when she found this note from a previous guest at the hotel:

Awesome note a previous guest left for me to find at the Hyatt Bellevue by miss_rogue from Flickr

Awesome note a previous guest left for me to find at the Hyatt Bellevue by miss_rogue from Flickr

She also took a picture of it with her hotel key card, so you can see it here:

Awesome note a previous guest left for me to find at the Hyatt Bellevue by miss_rogue from Flickr

Awesome note a previous guest left for me to find at the Hyatt Bellevue by miss_rogue from Flickr

I have never stayed at a hotel that treated me like a “king.” I usually choose my hotel based on proximity to the conference or price, neither which are good conductors for being treated like a king. For me, I don’t need to be treated like a king. I just need a place to sleep and good Internet access. Everything else is just icing.

March 27, 2008

Strange Threat On The Back of a Hotel Key Card

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

If you have never read the fine print on the back of a hotel key card, today is the day to start.

Eyes Like Hawks on Flicker

eyes like hawks on Flickr

It reads:

If you find this key Card, please read below. Until 12 o’clock tomorrow, this card is valid in one of 532 rooms or in one of 17 conference rooms at the Clarion Hotel Stockholm. However, if you are a thief do not even consider visiting us, as we have very good security both inside and outside the Hotel and our Front Desk personnel have eyes like hawks.

It almost sounds like a dare to me. From now on, I’m reading ALL the small print if gems like this can be found!

December 12, 2007

Christmas Gifts for People You Don’t Like

Filed under: Hotel SWAG — Laura Moncur @ 10:02 am

Click to see the whole comic on Joy of TechApparently, Hotel SWAG doesn’t make the cut for a Christmas gift. Joy of Tech had this comic of Christmas gifts for people you don’t like and Hotel SWAG was prominently listed.

I’ve come to LOVE Hotel SWAG. I can’t wait to see how it will be presented in the hotel room and what it will look like. If someone were to send me pictures of Hotel SWAG for Christmas, that would be a VERY Merry Christmas indeed.

I can understand why the SWAG from the Super 8 Motel might not be a good gift, but come on, this stuff from the Best Western Clock Tower Inn in Billings, Montana was preemo:

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG from Flickr

Sure, it wouldn’t make a good Christmas present, but I’ve been walking around with that lotion bottle in my purse since August when I got it. It’s so slim and portable and everyone looks impressed when I pull it out. Plus, the lotion smells nice.

Hotel SWAG might not make a good Christmas present for everyone, but for me, it’s a little gift that the hotel gives me every time I stay there.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

November 30, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Las Vegas Hilton 11-27-07 from Flickr

After our horrible stay at Buffalo Bill’s the Las Vegas Hilton felt like a blissful home. We have stayed here many times before and have loved the Internet access (despite the $12 a day charge) and the Star Trek Experience. We ate at Quark’s every night.

Here is the room key:

Las Vegas Hilton 11-24-07 from Flickr

Here is the swag setup with lotion, shampoo, facial soap and shower soap.

Las Vegas Hilton 11-24-07 from Flickr

You can drink this water, but it will cost you four bucks.

Las Vegas Hilton 11-24-07 from Flickr

We had a great stay at the Las Vegas Hilton and I didn’t want to leave it.

November 29, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Buffalo Bill’s Hotel and Casino in Primm, Nevada

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’m never staying at Buffalo Bill’s again, but I wanted to show you the hotel swag from it.

It took three sets of these card keys to get a room where we could sleep. It wasn’t worth the effort.

Card Key from Flickr

Here is the soap for the shower. If you notice, there is water on the floor. We thought that the shower might have leaked, but it turned out that the toilet had overflowed. It was so clogged we couldn’t get it unplugged with the “precious” plunger that they deigned to loan us.

Shower soap from Flickr

It was really hard not to be offended by this little sign telling me of what they will charge my card when I steal from them. Who would want their sandpaper towels? Thanks for trusting me…

Take a little something from Flickr

Here is a closeup of the lotion, shampoo and soap. The second day, they gave us conditioner as well, but it wasn’t included the first day.

Lotion, soap and shampoo from Flickr

Swag, plastic cups, ice bucket and the sign assuming I’ll steal.

Full swag photo from Flickr

Here is the coffee setup.

coffee setup from Flickr

The swag at Buffalo Bill’s was typical, but the hotel rooms were miserable. We left as soon as we could.

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