Niagara Falls Trip Report: August 2015

View from Skylon looking toward the Clifton Hill area HPIM2053 HPIM2054 View of the newer Fallsview Casino Our hotel, the Hilton Fallsview HPIM2057 HPIM2058 HPIM2059 HPIM2062 HPIM2063 HPIM2064 HPIM2066 HPIM2067 HPIM2068 HPIM2069 HPIM2070 HPIM2071 HPIM2072 HPIM2073 HPIM2074 HPIM2076 HPIM2077 HPIM2078 HPIM2079 HPIM2082 HPIM2083 HPIM2084 HPIM2085 HPIM2086 HPIM2087 HPIM2089 HPIM2090 The flower clock Birthday dessert at the Skylon
Arriving in Niagara Falls, ON:

If you are coming up from the NY area, cross over at the Peace Bridge, much shorter lines, fewer tourists use this bridge. Then take the QEW to 420. Coming back over however, we waited for 30 minutes to enter the USA. Try to stay near the middle of the pack and don’t get caught in the RV line.

Hilton Fallsview:

Hilton—no complaints at all, would not hesitate to stay here again. Be sure to join the Hilton Honors program so you can get the free WiFi and use the Hilton Honors line at the front desk. We were able to bypass a very long line upon checkout. As others have posted, be sure to ask that all VOLUNTARY taxes are removed from your bill at checkout.

We decided to not worry about trying to find the cheapest parking around, we just used the Hilton self-park for $30 per night. Quick, easy, painless, no hassle; sure beat trying to drag our luggage from the casino or some lot down the street.

We booked a room with two queen beds, but upon arrival, we asked about a king bed, and they upgraded us to a Jacuzzi suite. It had a king bed, Jacuzzi tub, shower, in room safe, coffee maker, mini fridge, hair dryer, and a great view of the falls. Our room did overlook the casino and casino parking garage, but we still had a great view of both the American and Canadian falls. Upon checkout, I noticed a $50 upgrade charge that had not been mentioned, but I thought it was well worth it considering the great room we got and chose not to argue about it.

Dining:

Skylon Tower revolving dining room. Biggest lobster tail I have seen in a long time; I had the seafood symphony and Estelle had a surf and turf (New York strip steak and smaller lobster tail). Great service, surprisingly great food for a touristy type of place. Fabulous deserts and of course the view of the falls. I made our reservation at 8pm so later during dinner we could see the falls light up at night.

We also ate at Kelsey’s on Clifton Hill. Had a great time, ate on the patio, listened to live music, had the won-ton nachos. We did not realize it is a Canadian chain of restaurants similar to Applebee’s; we would definitely go back.

We also highly recommend Coco’s near the Skylon and Fallsview Casino. Again, we dined outside on the patio, listened to live entertainment, had great wood fired pizza, and watched people walk by.

Misc:

Clifton Hill area—lots to do, especially for families with children. Reminded us of the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. Sidewalks were very crowded in the evening.

WeGo bus system. Very easy to navigate. Passes for 24 hours are $7 CAD, or you can by a 48 hour pass. You cannot buy just one ride. We got our passes in our hotel gift shop.

Casinos—we learned they are owned by the same company, so if you get a player’s card, it will work at both casinos. The one in the Clifton Hill area is the older one and does not have craps. Alcoholic beverages are not comped if you are gaming like in Vegas. One afternoon at Casino Niagara we had fun listening to an Elvis impersonator.

If you plan on doing the Journey Behind the Falls or the Hornblower (same as Maid of the Mist, only it leaves from the Canadian side) take a tour which includes these attractions. You will be glad you did when you see the long lines that you get to walk right past. We used Viator and it worked out great.

Cell phone use—we had Sprint 3g or LTE the entire time with roaming turned off. WiFi free at the Hilton if you are an Honors Member but not great coverage; in the room, we sort of had to move around the room to find just the right spot to get WiFi connectivity.

General observations:

In my opinion, this area is not a honeymoon destination unless you already have a family. You must love to be around families and children everywhere if you go to Niagara Falls. If you are looking for an adult getaway, this is not it.

Use a major credit card (one that does not charge foreign transaction fees) whenever you can. You will get a much better exchange rate than paying in US dollars.

I knew I shouldn’t have let Estelle drive the barrel.

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The All New Tropicana Las Vegas

Tropicana Las Vegas
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a training webinar on the all new Tropicana in Las Vegas.   This resort recently underwent $180 million in renovations, reviving one of the crown jewels of the Strip.  This legendary landmark is located on the famed “Four Corners” of the Las Vegas Strip and Tropicana, offering guests stunning views of the strip.  This is a great location, across the street from MGM Grand, New York New York, and the Excalibur. 

It may be best known for its legendary entertainment, but the Tropicana Resort and Casino also deserves a nod for its stunning and affordable accommodations.  The property features 1,658 well-appointed, best-in-class guest rooms and suites in its two towers and exterior garden rooms, including theme, Jacuzzi and super suites.  Resort amenities include an extravagant five acres of lush, tropical landscaping with pools, waterfalls, lagoons and even swim-up blackjack tables, a buzzy casino floor, and of course, amazing entertainment.

The historic property is currently transforming itself into a vibrant, South Beach, Miami themed escape.  The revitalized Tropicana Las Vegas will feature a fresh resort atmosphere, bright tropical colors, and a sizzling nightlife scene.  Renovations have included the redesign of every hotel room and suite, the casino, the world-famous pool area, several new restaurants, bars, a new poker room, a new race and sports book, and nightclub.

Here is a link to an E-Brochure

What’s new?

  • New top-of-the-line and ultra-plush Euro-Top Serta mattresses
  • New 42″ plasma flat panel HD TV
  • New 300 thread count linens
  • New iHome clock radio with universal docking station
  • New custom designed furnishings
  • New white plantation shutters
  • New electronic in-room safes
  • New sleek chaise lounges that will hold 17″ laptop
  • Full size iron and board
  • Individual climate controls
  • High speed wireless Internet
  • Newly designed pool area, Nikki Beach, with 4-acres of lush landscape, sleek loungers, luxurious cabanas, bottle service, swim-up blackjack, and sand volleyball

Update: December 2011 (source Travel Agent Central)

The Tropicana’s new $5 million Glow spa, a Mandara Spa, opened the first week of November.  It features two couples’ villas, treatment rooms, hair and nail salon, relaxation lounge, men’s and women’s lockers, fitness center, and a spa menu with over 50 treatments.

Also new is their club, the RPM Nightclub, which will open New Year’s Eve Weekend and from then on will be open Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10:30 p.m.  The nightclub will feature hot stars and top recording artists as well as a variety of DJs, dancers and specialty acts.   In addition to bottle service and three bars, the 16,500 square foot venue offers table games and roulette.

Palace Resorts in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Riviera Maya to become Hard Rock Hotels

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Hard Rock International, having recently teamed with Palace Resorts on Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, will transform Palace Resorts properties in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Riviera Maya into Hard Rock Hotels. These will be “ultimate all-inclusive” properties that bring the acclaimed Hard Rock experience to these popular Mexican tourist destinations.

The new Hard Rock resorts will maintain the same superior quality and exceptional service that Palace Resorts are known for, but now with more rock n’ roll for your enjoyment. Palace Resorts will continue to own and operate each property, just as they do with the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. The transformation process will begin in the coming months, with the first Hard Rock-rebranded hotel in Cancun scheduled to launch in Winter 2012, Puerto Vallarta in Spring 2012, followed by a Fall 2012 first-phase debut of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.