I ask the bellman at the
Circus Circus how long a walk it is to the Venetian. “About 20 minutes,” he
tells me. “Better get a cab.”
It’s a 20-minute walk from
Circus Circus to the Venetian along Las Vegas Blvd. How hard can that be? I am headed for the Venetian
to attend the annual Versatile dealer meeting which will include several new
product launches. It’s a one-night trip. I am staying at Circus because the
room rate at the Venetian is running $700 a night. Seriously! It seems the
Venetian is pretty full because it is hosting part of the trendy Consumer
Electronics Show – as well as the Adult Entertainment Conference and Awards
ceremony. Big place. No rooms.
The PR folks handling the
Versatile meeting were a little surprised by the rates themselves. They told me
they were asked by the Venetian if they would be willing to give back some of
the rooms they booked for Versatile dealers 6 months ago. They recommended I
try Circus Circus where my room is $91 – AAA rate.
Juan who registered me and
a line of 50 or so other travels couldn’t find a room that fit my reservation
so I was upgraded to a suite on the top floor of the hotel’s tower. When I got
up there, I found the Jacuzzi wouldn’t turn on and the two flat screen televisions
didn’t change channels. But the view is great. Across the way I have a side view
of the Riviera’s billboard ad for an evening with Andrew Dice
Clay. If I flatten against the window I can see up the Las Vegas Strip to about
the middle. The best view is straight out across the desert where the sun was
starting to set and the mountain silhouette was crisp and clean.
The temperature is about
60 degrees Fahrenheit. At first it’s not a hard walk, other than the fact that
the sidewalk ends in construction several times. Across the way the big lights
of the Sahara promote an evening with Andrew Dice Clay. On my
side the vacant lots of the Sands and Dunes which were imploded before the
recession stretch for a while before I get to Trump Tower. The sidewalk makes a twist up to the shops at Fashion Show Mall. As
I get to Treasurer Island resort and see the big Encore and Wynn’s hotels across the way, the
sidewalk blends into an escalator which carries the pedestrians up to a
The foot traffic increases
as I cross over Las
The folks leaving the convention center from the CES all have name badges on a
string around their necks. Most are wearing glasses and dark clothing. They walk
in pairs and speak intently. I just hear a few words as I brush past. “Exclusive,”
“great fit,” “dazzle,” “to me,” “never before,” “rapt” are some of the words I
might have heard. They were very intense. I do remember that.
Across the walk I come
face to face with the Palazzo. One right turn and I should be at the Venetian.
But first the turn for Grande Canal Shoppes. And then the turn for the restaurants like
Canaletto and Zefferino and Taquero. Suddenly I am hungry. It’s about in Ohio and the burger from the airport is running low.
Ignoring the distractions
I press forward and now can see the swimming pool blue of the Venetian’s
artificial canals. That’s when the sidewalk comes to an end. Seriously. I wind
my way to an escalator that takes pedestrians across Las Vegas Blvd. to Madame Trusaudes Wax Museum on the other side. I cut back across the traffic and finally find
myself at the front doors of the Venetian. Not an easy walk. Maybe should have taken
I go to the concierge and
ask for the Versatile dealers meeting. She says, “Are you with the CES?” and I
say, “No Versatile.” She looks skeptical. Then digs all the way to the back page of the ledger and
finds the listing for the meeting which will be held in Hall D of the Venetian Ball
Room. She pulls out a map which shows me walking down a hallway across the
casino and past the Blue Man theater down another hallway, past another
theater. Down another hallway and right into Hall D.
“It’s a long walk just
keep going all the way across the casino." All the way ends up being longer
than I think and I turn too soon twice. Finally the theaters show up. Then there
it is in between the big signs for the Special Audio Vendors of the CES and the
“Adult Entertainment – It’s a business,” sign of the skin convention, there is
a small little sign with the Versatile insignia. My first concrete clue that there
is a meeting ahead. I walk a quarter mile down the corridor and there is another
Versatile sign pointing me to turn right. I walk another quarter mile and at
the end of the hallway stands a line of Versatile dealers waiting for name
badges at a desk so they can enter Hall D.
I walk up to the line and
a big friendly fellow from North Dakota introduces himself and asks, “Are you staying at the Venetian?”
“No I reply. I’m at Circus
“Can you walk it from
there?” he asks.
“Sure no sweat,” I tell
him, just starting to feel a blister on my heel.