I’m starting a new series on this blog. I occasionally travel places that I really like, and others I don’t. As a Geek I’m a bit picky on the places I visit – whether that be they have sketchy internet, plugs in the wrong places, or just plain, normal annoyances a geek might have, I decided these things needed to be shared. This thought came to me last week as I stayed at Circus Circus during CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, so I thought I’d begin sharing these adventures as a travelling geek with you, hopefully either inspiring you to visit, or warning you in the event you are visiting and you need to know where to stay. Consider this my first post in the series. We’ll see how this goes.
Circus Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is filled with places to stay. This time of year, many of those places are actually quite cheap. But when staying during an event such as the Consumer Electronics Show, finding an affordable hotel, especially at the last minute, can be quite an adventure!
Circus Circus saved my day at CES. Starting at a price tag of around $29 minimum per night, and $45 maximum per night, I was able to find an affordable place to stay on the strip within just a week from the start of CES. Other hotels on the strip were selling for around $400/night!
The place I stayed was in their newly renovated West Tower building. Previous visits to the hotel landed me and my family in an old, musty hotel room, leaving us wanting. Not this time! My hotel room was brand new almost everything, had a big screen, flat LCD TV, a great view of Las Vegas, comfortable, clean beds. It was an entirely new experience for me at the hotel!
The atmosphere of the hotel you can tell is targeted towards families. The interior is the same old interior you’re used to if you have been at the hotel before, and I admit could probably use a bit of renovation itself. You see the Casino right near the entrance, but if you have kids you can mostly avoid the Casino, ride the roller coaster rides at the AdventureDome, go shopping, and more, all without exposing kids to too much gambling or alcohol or cigarette smoke. If you opt to take them around the Casino, you can also take them up to the second floor where they can play Midway games and win stuffed animals or see the Circus acts and clowns. Even going by myself without the family, this always ends up being much more rewarding than the Casino hall down below, and I get stuff to take home to the kids when I’m done! There’s even a McDonalds on the second floor.
The best part about Circus Circus is its proximity to the Las Vegas Convention Center. If you wanted, you could walk there. As a geek, since often a lot of events happen at the Wynn, you can also walk over to the Wynn, and I found myself doing that a few times. If walking is too much, the monorail also stops somewhere near the Circus Circus (I admit I have not been), so you can always take that as well.
Of course, Circus Circus is still at the end of the strip, meaning if you want to go to the Bellagio or Paris or any of the more traditional hotels further down the strip it’s probably going to be a Taxi or shuttle ride over, or maybe even a Monorail trip. I was driving my own car though so it didn’t matter. One thing to note if you do bring your own car – Valet parking at all the hotels is free, and the expected tip is usually between $1-2, unless you’re feeling generous.
One important part of staying at any hotel for me, as a geek, is the internet, how fast it is, how easy it is to get set up, and how expensive it costs. I plan to include this in each of my future Geek Travel reviews. At Circus Circus, the internet is all wireless. Therefore, if you want to set up more than one computer, it’s going to be around $10 per night, per computer (MAC Address). Unless you have a router that can bridge pretty easily, you’re probably going to be paying if you’re sharing the room with another person. Speed for the internet was acceptable, although not fast enough for my tastes. I was however able to upload about 5 3-5 minute HD videos to Youtube overnight.
The Plug Test
One annoyance of mine at hotels is the proximity of the plugs to the bed, where I often do my work. There were a couple of plugs on the desk, which is fine when I need to sit at the desk. (one on the lamp, and another on the wall) To get a plug for the bed, I had to disconnect the alarm clock to have a place to plug in my laptop. While it works, I think it’s a hack. I don’t understand why hotels don’t just put more plugs on the nightstand!
The Website and Twitter Test
From what I can tell, Circus Circus has no Twitter account. Communicating with them should you have an issue or question during an event will require a (gasp!) phone call or in-person visit. They do have a website at http://www.circuscircus.com, but visiting the site without “www” returns an error. It seems they don’t put much focus in their marketing on the web, which is a bit of a bummer.
Overall, due to the new room, I was quite impressed with Circus Circus! It had all the amenities I needed (Circus Circus, unlike most hotels on the strip, even has vending machines on each floor! ($2 for a Coke)). The rooms were clean. Internet was pretty acceptable. The low prices make it appealing. The proximity to the Convention Center sealed the deal.
If you’re on a trip for a convention in Vegas this year, I highly recommend trying out Circus Circus – bring the wife and kids if you feel like it, but even as a geek on your own I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’ll be considering it for my next stay.
This weekend I’m visiting the Wasatch Back in Utah with my wife, swimming in Geothermal craters, Cross Country skiing, visiting 2002 Winter Olympics sites, and more – the next few articles I write in this series I hope to share some of the wonders that are in Utah where I live should you consider visiting here in the future.