Economically speaking — to loosely quote Charles Dickens — this may be the worst of times. However, it may be the best of times to take a Las Vegas golf vacation.
Feeling the economic crunch just like the rest of the world, Las Vegas hotels, casinos, hotels and entertainment venues are offering incentives to make sure guests keep pouring into southern Nevada. Whether you're looking for a place to stay, a place to eat, a show to see or any other attraction, it's not hard to find bargains in Las Vegas right now.
Even getting to Las Vegas nowadays is fairly economical. Airfares from most major cities in early 2009 are running about $200 or less. And with gas prices less than half of what they were six months ago, driving from nearby states isn't a bad option either.
The incentives and discounts being offered by resorts are as good as they've been for quite some time, according to John DeMarco, managing director of LasVegasGolf.com.
“In many cases, resorts at all pricing levels have slashed their rates in an effort to attract guests to their properties,” DeMarco said. “Even ‘high end’ properties such as the Bellagio, Venetian and Mandalay Bay have offered amazing room deals to entice guests.”
Indeed, the luxurious Bellagio, for example, as of press time had an online promotion for a free third night after staying two nights, or rates on some nights as low as $129. There's also a Caesar's Palace special for as little as $125 a night, including a $25 dining credit. Or if you wanted to go off the Las Vegas Strip, you could stay at one of the Station Casino properties for $15 off the regular rate by booking online.
Save on green fees, too
Many of these resorts are also offering packages with golf. And depending on the days you want to go, you might be able to strike some pretty good deals.
You can also find packages that bundle courses such as the Lexington and Concord golf courses at the Revere at Anthem together with courses like Silverstone Golf Club and Painted Desert for special rates.
Las Vegas nightlife
After golf, of course, it's time to hit the tables or take in a show or two. Lately, some shows have been offering two-for-one admission or discounted tickets. Hotels also are packaging some shows with dinners. For example, all six Cirque du Soleil shows, including the new Criss Angel Belief show at the Luxor, are offering packages that include dinners at one of the respective hotel's restaurants.
Slideshow: Viva Las Vegas! There is also plenty to do for little or no charge if you are looking to save a little money. In addition to attractions such as the downtown Las Vegas Freemont Street Experience, the Bellagio Fountains show and the Sirens of Treasure Island pirate show, the volcano attraction in front of the Mirage just reopened. The Mirage partnered with Wet Design, which was behind the Bellagio Fountains, for the new show, which features fire shooters and a tribal-themed background beat by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart.
And despite the economic downturn, don't expect the shows to run dry, said Alicia Malone, spokesperson for the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority. Divas Bette Midler and Cher, for example, replaced Celine Dion at Caesar's Palace, the Broadway production of Disney's “The Lion King” comes to Mandalay Bay in May, and ventriloquist Terry Fator, of “America's Got Talent” fame, opens a long-term engagement at the Mirage in March.
“We're continuing to bring in more shows and attractions and will continue to develop the destination even during these economic times,” Malone said.