I was planning to take a break at the weekends; at least from writing this diary. The deadline for my TechCrunch column falls on a Sunday, you see, and I wanted to have at least one day away from the snapping dog of a deadline.
I realize now, that's a false economy of time. In the four days since I arrived in Vegas, my email and Twitter inboxes have filled to their respective brims with messages from folks following my ridiculous adventure.
Many of those messages have, naturally enough, covered the same topics: hotel recommendations, questions about logistics and -- overwhelmingly -- complaints that I haven't adequately reviewed the various hotels in which I've stayed. If I tried to reply to each of them personally, it would take all weekend -- and still the same questions would likely arise next week.
Instead, I've decided that each Saturday afternoon I'll throw together a quick weekly round-up column, summing up some of the practical aspects of the previous week and answering a few of the more interesting pieces of correspondence I've received.
(For those who have contacted me via Twitter, I'll include a username. I'll keep email correspondents anonymous unless I have explicit permission to the contrary.)
Why don't you review the hotels you stay in? What kind of journalist are you? (By email)
A deeply lazy, narcissistic one. Unless something happens to me in a hotel, or it's so fantastic or awful that it makes or ruins my day, I struggle to care enough to write a full review. I live in hotels 365 days of every year. As such, I have written every word there is to write about the thread count of sheets or the spunky little bottles of shower gel you get or how minibars with pressure censors are both annoying and ineffective (although, as I write those words, it occurs to me that I'm yet to write a hilarious parody of a heist movie about a gentleman minibar thief who leaves a single velvet glove where once sat a tiny bottle of Jack Daniels and an intimacy kit. So maybe I'll revisit that one).
Still, you make a valid point -- this diary sits in 'HuffPost Travel' and so I should at least make a glancing effort to review the 30+ hotels in which I'll be staying for the next month. So how about a compromise?
Here are my reviews of my past week's accommodations, written in the form of haiku...
Tuesday: The Sahara ($51 per night plus resort fee)
Poor old Sahara
No Rat Pack, just plastic sheets
Time to light the fuse
Wednesday: Circus Circus ($29 per night -- plus resort fee)
70's comfort, style
A great place to bring your kids
'Cept it's in Vegas
Thursday: Bally's ($44 per night -- no resort fee)
The best room so far
Strangers kept wishing me luck
Which was quite creepy
Friday: Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon ($44 a night)
No workin' wifi
Freezin' cold, noisy bedroom
I want to kill Bill
How are you picking where to stay/go/do? - @Ronamurder
For hotels -- it's an inexact science but, generally speaking, I'm visiting Orbitz or Hotels.com every morning to search for the cheapest room rate on the strip for a hotel that I haven't yet stayed in. In theory that should mean my accommodations will get better the longer I stay in Vegas, which is probably a good thing. For shows and other stuff, I'm making it up as I go along.
What if there are no hotels available on a given night? - (By email)
Must be nice when Aol is footing the bill? - @idntfd
So you're booking (and paying for) your own rooms? - (By email)
So far, yes. I prefer it that way as I get to see the hotels as they really are -- including the God-awful room I've just checked into at the Imperial Palace. That said, some hotels offer a 'media rate' for journalists, which I'll probably end up taking advantage of at some point -- and a few PR people have emailed me offering me comps. If I stay somewhere at a media rate, or a comp, or if someone books my room for me, I'll disclose it in the post. (Meanwhile, I would encourage you to read my statement of ethics, here.)
Are you paying for the shows you see? - (By email)
No. Most of them are comps. I mean, I'm not a complete idiot. Nor am I (quite) vain enough to think that they'll make the show better on a particular night just because they know there's a reviewer in the house. Frankly, if they do that, they've earned the good review.
My friends and I are in town next week! Will you come and hang out with us and write about us? - (By email)
Are you nymphomaniac strippers/international jewel thieves/generous high rollers/French foreign legionnaires on the run? If so, definitely. Otherwise, probably not. But you never know.
Hey Paul, please upload some photos of your trip plus the "view" from each room. - @SocialJulio
That's a good idea. I've been taking photos of each room as I check in, but I should start doing the view thing too, and posting it all on Twitter. Tonight's, from the Imperial Palace, won't be pretty though.
Are you gambling? Favorite games? - @retepk2010
No. Liar's poker.
Any temptations in regards to your drinking? Being that Vegas seems to sit on an underground vodka lake? - @Flogleviathan
Not yet. If anything, the sight of a million drunken college kids (SPRING BREAK!), none of whom are as much of a mess as I was during my worst night in Vegas, has made me never want to so much as touch a liqueur chocolate ever again. But the trip is young.
Ok! That's all for this week. See you Monday.