Starling Travel

March 15, 2015

The Old Sahara Hotel

Filed under: Lodging,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 12:39 pm

Back in March 2012, the Sahara Hotel was closed and we snapped a few photos of it while we drove past on the strip. I thought people might like to see them to remember for old times’ sake.

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

The Sahara Hotel March 2012

In its spot, they now have a hotel called SLS. They really just washed off all the personality and reused the building. They tore out the roller coaster and made everything white and boring. I really miss the Las Vegas of the Nineties and wish they would go back to the kid-friendly thing. Since I’m basically just a grown-up kid, all this “sophistication” is just lost on me…

March 8, 2015

A Beautiful Day at the Luxor

Filed under: Lodging,Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 8:46 am

I found these photos of The Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada in my collection and I thought I’d share them with you.

Beautiful Day at the Luxor from Starling Travel

I don’t know why we keep visiting The Luxor Hotel over and over. There are hundreds of hotels in Las Vegas we could stay at and have a different experience. I guess we like the familiarity of a hotel we’ve stayed at before.

Beautiful Day at the Luxor from Starling Travel

Then again, I don’t know why we keep visiting Las Vegas over and over. Part of it is location. It is close enough to be not too long of a drive and far enough to feel like a get-a-way.

Beautiful Day at the Luxor from Starling Travel

I keep thinking we should visit someplace else, but how can I when Las Vegas is as beautiful as it is time and time again?

March 2, 2015

The Stratosphere at Sunset

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 9:18 am

I ran the Color Run in Las Vegas last weekend. While we were driving to pick up my race packet, the sunset was amazing.

The Stratosphere at Sunset from Starling Travel

I took this photo from the Boulder Highway near Flamingo. It was a beautiful evening and I just had to share it. Sometimes travel shocks us into joy because we see the same sunset that we would see at home with a different skyline.

February 24, 2015

Las Vegas Silhouette

Filed under: Nevada,Photos,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 2:07 pm

I took this photo last August on our anniversary trip to Las Vegas. I have NO idea where I was standing when I took the photo, but I adore how it turned out.

Las Vegas Silhouette from Starling Travel

Sometimes when I feel like I need a vacation, I pull up my old photos and look at them, remembering my good times. It’s usually just barely enough for me to get back to work and perhaps plan a trip in the future.

July 8, 2012

Las Vegas Neon in 1955

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 7:00 am

I love these photos of Las Vegas back in 1955.

Las Vegas Neon in 1955

You can almost imagine going into the Sands Hotel to see Rosemary Clooney (George Clooney’s mother) perform.

Las Vegas Neon in 1955

I just want to rat my hair in a beehive, put on some spiky heels and artificial eyelashes and jump right into those photos. See more after the break: (Continue Reading…)

January 28, 2012

Tahiti Village in Las Vegas, Nevada: Low Price Really Shows

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

While we were working at CES this year, Mike and I stayed at Tahiti Village. It wasn’t the worst hotel we’ve stayed at in Nevada, but it was pretty close. Here is Mike’s evaluation of the place:

We liked the price. Otherwise it was nearly the worst hotel experience we’ve ever had.

Hotel staff was rude and inattentive. Internet didn’t work until we spent half a day talking to 8 different employees, all of whom tried to avoid helping us at all. Heater didn’t work in our room. One lamp had dangerous exposed wiring. Not particularly clean. The room smelled of mildew and the bedspread smelled worse. Staff spent two days noisily cleaning carpets outside our room. The tap water tasted terrible and must have been specially imported to complete the experience, because Vegas water is usually just fine.

He forgot to mention that there was no housekeeping at the hotel and if you wanted the room made up, it was an extra $55 charge! There wasn’t even anyone around to ask if we could get fresh towels.

After the ordeal of trying to get the Internet to work in our hotel (the front desk had failed to enable it in our room and it took that many employees to figure out the problem), I was ready to abandon the hotel, but all the hotels in Vegas were booked solid for the week because of CES, so we ended up staying there.

Aside from living with the mildew smell and avoiding the smelly parts of the furniture, we had no further incidents that week, but the low cost for the hotel room was NOT worth it. Next time, I’ll pay more and stay at a different hotel. There are certainly enough to choose from in Las Vegas.

January 13, 2012

Campfire Cooking at Lake Mead, Nevada

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

I absolutely adore this video of a camper showing his friend how to cook stir fry while camping.

The cameraman is laughing his head off, so I immediately assumed that they were high. The more I thought about it, though, I have found myself being just as silly and laughing over the simplest things while camping at Lake Mead while stone cold sober.

They are using the exact same pan set that Mike and I have. I can’t even remember the brand of those pots, but they have been the BEST for us. It’s obvious that these guys like them as well.

These guys don’t have a huge camp kitchen setup with a table. Instead, they just cook on the ground and put their plates on the cooler. Whenever I am camping, THIS is the feeling that I usually get from cooking, sleeping and just relaxing in the outdoors. It’s so lovely that they were able to capture that emotion on camera and brought it to me in less than two minutes!

GSI Outdoors Bugaboo Camper Cookset at Amazon.comUpdate 02-20-12: I took a good look at my camping pans and they are the Bugaboo set from GSI. I tried to find them on Amazon, but it looks like they’ve been replaced by this set:

It includes cups and plates, which my set didn’t have. It was just a set of six pans (three pots and three frying pans). The beauty of my old set is that they were sized to nest so that they take the space of only one pot. They also sit so that the frying pan can be a lid for the similarly sized pot and vice versa.

Most importantly, they have lasted us for YEARS. The non-stick surface has stayed scratch-free and has not flaked off into our food like a cheap pan from Kmart. I love how the new set nests the pans AND the dishes in one convenient package and I’m tempted to upgrade, but since our pans have lasted so long and so well, there really isn’t a reason to change.

June 15, 2011

Old West Las Vegas

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 1:35 pm

Mike and I found this old photo of Las Vegas in an antique store a few months ago.

Modern Version of the Old West - Las Vegas, Nevada

The caption reads:

Modern Version of the Old West – Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas Studio

The cars in the photo look like they are from the late Forties or early Fifties. The I can see Hotel Apache and its casino, the Boulder Club, Overland Hotel, Hotel Sal Sagey, The Las Vegas Club, and Boulder Drugs.

Seeing the Boulder Club and Boulder Drugs in this photo, made me think that it wasn’t a photo of Las Vegas at all, but rather Boulder City, Nevada. That city, however, hasn’t allowed gambling since 1932, so it couldn’t be a photo of Boulder.

Adding to the mystery is the handwritten note on the back of the photo:

Side Street of Vegas?

It reads:

This must be one of the side streets, as main street has neon the full length and full height of the buildings.

So, even the person who sent this picture to a loved one so long ago didn’t recognize which street in Las Vegas it was. I was able to find an old postcard for the Apache Hotel on Flicker, but it didn’t have an address.


Hotel Apache was most definitely in downtown Las Vegas. In fact, in 1932, when it was built, it was the first building with an elevator in Nevada. You can find out more about it here:

It appears to have NOTHING to do with the current-day Apache Motel that is on Main Street of Las Vegas. The building is completely different.

Apache Motel

To me, the best part of this touristy photograph is the title: Modern Version of the Old West. Eighty years after Hotel Apache was first built, this picture is looking not very modern at all.

February 5, 2010

Winning Big in Vegas

Filed under: Nevada,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

I saw this vintage advertisement and it made me think of Las Vegas.

Winning Big in Vegas

The best way to win it big in Las Vegas is EASY. Here is the secret:


If you go to Las Vegas, stay in a nice hotel for a low price, eat at the fancy restaurants for nearly nothing and enjoy the museums, exhibits and attractions without gambling, then you come out a winner every time.

Photo via: vintage_ads: Winning Big In Vegas

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

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