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Sunday, 26 October 2008 19:00

Inside Vegas' Luxor Hotel & Casino

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Okay, I’m going to give you the skinny on the Luxor hotel and Casino from top to bottom. The Luxor is the pyramid shaped casino everyone recognizes and it sits right on the main strip. When I go to Vegas for work or vacation I usually pick my hotel based on three factors: the pool and spa (very important to me because I spend time there every day), the room itself and the restaurant choices.

The Rooms:
So let’s start with the rooms at the Luxor. I stayed in an East Tower room with two queen beds. The Tower rooms are considered luxury rooms and are slightly more expensive than the Pyramid rooms but it is worth it, and I’ll tell you why: They are newer and bigger than the pyramid rooms and have floor to ceiling windows, which let in much-needed light. The Tower rooms have their own check-in desk and VIP services, which save a lot of time checking in and replacing room keys etc. The pyramid rooms seemed to have a really long line for check-in all the time. When I get in tired from a flight nothing would tick me off more than to have to waste an hour or more standing in line to get my room. Also, the Tower rooms have their own bank of elevators - normal straight up and down elevators, not the inclinators that I have heard make people dizzy and again produce wait times to get to your room. The room itself was nicely appointed with a gold color scheme and a very nice sunken bathtub, which I used for bubble baths every night of my stay. Another nice thing about the Tower rooms is that they give you bath amenities from the spa. It’s really nice to have spa quality shampoos, lotions and shower gel to try out each night.


Here’s the bad though - in the picture of the Tower rooms on the Luxor website, the beds appear to have very nice pillow top bedding and down comforters and many pillows just like at MGM Grand, a sister property. The reality was a thin, yucky bedspread, two small pillows and thin scratchy cotton sheets (I had to press housekeeping for more pillows to prop up a bad knee). Now for the price overall, this was a very nice room and I highly recommend it to young people who just need a nice enough place to crash while they party the strip but this one bad bed factor would prohibit me from staying at The Luxor again. When I get to my room after a 15-hour day, I have to have a pillow top mattress and quality bedding to recuperate in.
Luxor Hotel and Casino

The Pool:


The pools at the Luxor were excellent. They are nicely landscaped with lots of sunshine and several pools to choose from. The main pool had several powerful jets that you could stand under and get a really good back massage. If you balance well on a floatie, you can get a full body massage! The waitresses were friendly and the bathrooms clean. My first day there, Luxor headliner Criss Angel sat just a few chairs away from me giving notes to his assistant which was fun to see. The best thing about the pool was the close proximity to our room; instead of a long walk through a crowded casino in your bikini and shorts, I was able to stumble out of bed, take one elevator and literally be outside within three minutes. There were plenty of chairs and cabanas, never any problem finding a nice place to settle even on busy days. At night I like to go out to the pool and relax with a cigarette and the Luxor pool allows this with security patrols and well-lit areas with benches and chairs.

The Restaurants:

The Luxor has several nice restaurants to choose from. Check our review of Fusia, in this issue, which has superb service and delicious seafood and sushi. The Steak house was closed while we were there so they also had several excellent meat dishes to choose from. When I’m in Vegas and not reviewing an upscale restaurant, I have to depend on the less expensive and quicker options they have available. The Luxor really takes care of this by having a clean, nicely lit food court with a lot of choices like pizza and McDonalds. Also, their 24-hour Café is one of the best I have eaten at. It sits right in the middle of the casino so you can watch the action while you eat and it had reasonably priced and well-prepared options like the Salmon Pancake (which had lox served over poached eggs on a bed of potato pancakes), it was always fresh. Also, their homemade chicken soup was really homemade and a meal in itself.

LuxorThe Clubs and Entertainment:

The Luxor has two of the most popular clubs right now. The Cathouse is a really nice, inviting, and surprisingly small venue with cool music and very hot waitresses. The vibe was mellow and funky the night I hung out there and the host was an absolute doll to me- very friendly and welcoming. I didn’t have time to visit LAX on this visit but the lines there were thick with well-dressed twenty-somethings, so it is still very popular and your chance of bumping into a celebrity like Criss Angel or the cast of  “The Hills” who I saw milling around the lobby, are quite high.




Criss Angel and Carrot Top are the resident entertainers and both have excellent shows. Criss Angel is currently counting down to the opening of his new Cirque show “Believe”, which should be a huge attraction and I’m sure a spectacular show like all the Cirque Du Soleil productions.

Check out my interview and arm wrestling match with Carrot Top from last year at www.Buzznews.TV for a taste of Carrot Top’s quirky humor. Carrot Top’s show is regularly sold out with good reason. He delivers a nonstop two hours of solid laughter, a little racy but not gross, and I have only heard people coming out of the show saying great things about how fun it was and how surprised they were at the quality of his humor.

The Spa:
The spa at Luxor was pretty nice and is located right off the pool. The Jacuzzi has some shoulder massaging waterfalls in it and a lovely blue and gold tile décor. The steam room is large and also has gold walls and soft lighting.  I loved the cappuccino machine for a quick wakeup after spa time and the selection of chilled fruit juices and fruit. The one complaint I had about the spa is that the last two hours of operation they shut down the ice towel service and start to shut down the spa. They do charge less if you get there after six, but that’s the only time I can use the spa, between my pool time and dinner time and I would much rather pay full price than have to sit in a hot sauna or Jacuz
zi with no cold towels. I didn’t have time to sample and review their massage service this trip but they do have a nice menu of massages that are not too expensive. Luxor Hotel and Casino

VIP Services:
The VIP services at Luxor were good. One day my associate had a toothache and they were very nice about helping him find a local dentist.
My own fabulous VIP host Director of Hotel Operations at The MGM Grand, Jill Archunde, who originally arranged this review visit for Buzz came in on her day off to help us with our comps and check out.

To sum up, if you are looking for a fun, youthful casino to hang out in, a sunny pool and a basic room to crash each night, The Luxor is an excellent value - one of the best on the strip. If you are a more mature luxury-seeking traveler, you can opt for the high-end suites to get the quality you are seeking while still enjoying the relatively small boutique hotel feel of the Luxor in the midst of young Vegas partiers.


Rick_Springfield As a music and theater critic who makes the rounds of every theater in and around Chicago each week, I already know which venues are the best for sound and comfort quality. I can honestly say that I have had several of my best concert experiences ever at The Northern Lights Theater located in the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee.

Tonight I enjoyed another dynamite concert there by pop star, Rick Springfield, who regularly plays a five-night stint at Northern Lights Theater each year to sold out houses.

To accommodate his fans who come to all five shows, Rick mixed it up a little and did a different set each night including a half acoustic set which really showed off what a great guitarist he is. The Northern Lights Theater, with its glamorous Vegas style booth and table seating is very cozy and intimate, with fantastic sound and great views from every seat. 

Unfortunately, I have not yet gotten the chance to get out to Potawatomi from Chicago early enough to review their buffet or Dream Dance Steak restaurant but for late night and after show dining, The Fire Pit, is a very relaxing place to have a fresh shrimp cocktail, tasty Reuben with lean corned beef or my favorite light, late night fare, the Asian Chicken Salad.

Once I have refueled and caught my breath after a fantastic concert experience I really love wandering the casino and playing slots surrounded by the luxurious and beautifully styled American Indian décor, with soft, golden, lighting effects throughout and a vaulted ceiling that makes the smoking areas seem as fresh and airy as the Sky Lodge, the smoke free casino on the second floor.

I highly recommend checking out the upcoming Summer Events Calendar at Northern Lights, which includes some of my favorites and old friends like Carrot Top, Don Rickles, Debbie Reynolds and popular musicians Mary Chapin Carpenter, Chris Isaak and Willie Nelson.

Make time for playtime at Potawatomi! You and your guests will discover that this property’s high level of visual luxury makes a night at the theater and a bit of gambling into a night to remember.

*(above photo of Rick Springfield at Northern Lights Theater taken by Kim Katz)


For more info, visit http://paysbig.com/

Whether male or female, if you’re ready for your next cut, style, shave or coloring, you should really consider checking out Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. Why? Because Floyd’s is one hip joint. Ok, I’ll elaborate. Music along the lines of The Clash, David Bowie or U2 can be heard overhead loud enough to enjoy, but not obtrusive in which to annoy. At the same time one can enjoy observing the rock gods plastered all over the walls from John Lennon to the Sex Pistols, occasionally getting lost in its nostalgic glory. In short, the ambience is relaxing, the staff is fashionable and professional, the cuts and styles are excellent and, whether you’re watching your pennies or not these days, the prices are very sensible.    

With locations across the nation, you can find two Floyd’s Barbershops right here in Chicago – one in Lincoln Park (2572 North Clark Street) and another in Wicker Park (1409 N. Milwaukee). I happened to stop at the Lincoln Park location, which is managed by Pete Vercellin. With less than a two-minute wait, I was handed over to stylist (or “Rock Star” as their employees are referred to on their website), Jean Hyland, and moments later found myself receiving a relaxing massage shampoo with a hot towel resting atop my face. My hair, being in that awkward middle stage between short and long, I was undecided on what kind of cut I was looking for, so I abruptly decided to cut it all off. However, Jean gave it a once over and suggested to rather clean it up with a trim and such, and, after taking her advice, I was more than happy with the outcome. Directly following the cut and style, I was treated to an invigorating shoulder massage and found myself leaving refreshed, rockin’ and ready to go – all for just $21! Floyd’s 99 Barbershop is a throwback that offers the best in cutting edge fashion. In fact, their slogan “Old School, New Styles” couldn’t be said any better. 

FloydsFloyd’s in Lincoln Park is also very accessible by public transportation with the blue, red and purple lines stopping on Fullerton just a few blocks away. For those who choose to drive, parking couldn’t be easier with a lot located at 645 Wrightwood for just $2. Next time you find yourself bored at the office or are feeling the urge to go online, make a stop at www.floydsbarbershop.com and take a gander at the two Chicago locations. The site is loaded with information including pricing, staff schedules and even employee bios.

Today, tomorrow or in the next month, do yourself a favor and make it a point to experience Floyd’s.

It’d be cooler if you did – Wooderson, Dazed and Confused


The idea of having a prison as the setting of a haunted house is pretty masterful. No one in their right mind ever wants to go to prison especially one that is dimly lit and where the Warden is Satan himself..


Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:02

The Hauntings Continue

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altThe quests for Illinois's best thrills and chills this Halloween season led me to The Dungeon of Doom and Statesville Haunted Prison. Both haunted houses have stellar reputations and I can happily report neither disappointed in their delivery. My review on Statesville will be posted later today.

Monday, 05 October 2009 17:43

The Hauntings in Illinois

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Chicago Haunted HousesMy mission this October is to visit as many haunted house in the area as possible. Like my beloved punk concerts, I feel the need to see as many haunted houses as possible before I become the out- of- place "creepy old guy."..

Its_Vegas_BabyI did have time before the concert to have a wonderful dinner at It’s Vegas Baby. I liked the décor and slideshow of old Vegas performers playing in background. I ordered the coconut shrimp appetizer, breaded in coconut and Japanese panko breadcrumbs with sweet coconut and spicy orange dipping sauces

Horseshoe Casino FloorI recently went to the Horseshoe Casino to cover a celebrity concert at The Venue and was pleasantly surprised by everything about this friendly casino. First, I was astounded by how easy it was to get to.

fangoriademonI arrived at Fangoria's Weekend of Horrors at about 11:30am Saturday morning, shortly after it opened. The Wynhdam O'Hare hotel contained a huge line of horror fans, more than many festooned in the fashion of their favorite scare flick character. Upon my entering, I was overwhelmed by features of creatures and inundated with movie memorabilia. Once inside the event, you are utterly surrounded by its purported essence.

Thursday, 04 December 2008 15:37

McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum

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McCormick Freedom MuseumToday I visited the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum located on Michigan Avenue in the historic Tribune Tower. This is really a wonderful, must see exhibit for young people where “they will be inspired to better understand freedom and value the role the First Amendment plays in protecting freedom for future generations.”

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