Flamingo Las Vegas - The VegasTripping Review 2006
We visit another joint on the Vegas endangered species list
The Flamingo, a legendary hotel on the Las Vegas Strip and one of the go-to joints for the VT Staff. The price is right, the vibes are cool and the location just cannot be beat. When we last visited the Flamingo in 2004 the norovirus had just sent hundreds of visitors to the bathrooms oozing illness from all manner of entrances and exits. Since that our last visit a lot has changed at the Flamingo, particularly the purchase of Caesars by Harrahs Entertainment. In the short time since Harrahs took the leash of the dirty bird, Harrah's taken on the Flamingo's problems head first and engaged in an aggressive strategy to shore up service issues, invest in new restaurants, integrate Harrahs Total Rewards into the resort - basically an all around shake out of the Flamingo's feathers.
Why would Harrah's enact a pro-active polishing plan when it is apparent that the Flamingo's days are numbered? Harrah's CEO Gary Loveman has mentioned on numerous occasions that an announcement regarding the future of Flamingo/Imperial Palace/Harrahs would take place in mid-2006. Is this just a short term fix before the wrecking ball hits the Bird, or are there other plans for the Harrahs-Flamingo strip.
One theory being bandied by Mark Adams at Vegas Today and Tomorrow is that the IP and Harrah's will be levelled first, while the semi-upgraded Flamingo picks up the slack. By the time the Harrah's / Imperial Palace project is nearing completion, Harrah's will have picked up the valueable Barbary Coast property and have the final plans for the Flamingo / Barbary Coast parcel fleshed out. The Flamingo will be wrecked when the Harrah's / IP properties have been completed. It's a very plausable theory, almost worth a wager. This would mean the Flamingo will be standing until 2010 at the earliest. One thing is for sure, Harrah's announcement will be coming in early Q3 of 2006 (which starts 2 weeks from when this was written.)
Even with the specter of demolition on the horizon, Harrah's has been busy at work optimizing on their Flamingo investment. One of the first things we noticed upon arrival are the services offered to Diamond & Platinum members of Harrah's Total Rewards program. I've never been a big player at Harrah's so my Platinum status surely came from the absorption of Caesars' Connection Card. Platinum or Higher members get special access to everything at Harrah's properties. We immediately jumped into the Platinum/Diamond lane as we valet parked our Vegas Mobile at the Flamingo's back door.
Check in was a snap. We bypassed the standard check-in line and headed into the Diamond/Platinum check-in lounge to no line and friendly service. Our attempt at getting an upgrade to a jacuzzi suite was denied, although the attendant did everything possible to juggle the numbers. We were told that we may be eligible for an upgrade the following day based on our "play." Being lazy drunkards, unwilling and too involved in the heat of the moment to repack our stash and set up a new base camp, we didn't bother pursuing this option.