Neat view. I wonder if I could hit the pool from here.....
But now I am in 'Vegas, and staying at one of the poshest hotels in the city thanks to a Microsoft discount deal (I dread to think how much this place would cost if I was paying full price). I'm here to talk at the Microsoft MEDC (Mobile and Embedded DevCon) 2006.
My talk is on Tuesday about casual game development (the games are casual, not the development). My luggage has found me. I gave the case a serious telling off. I went and fetched it from customer services, and was comprehensively snubbed by the chap that I saw in the lift. I think he was of the opinion that anyone actually carrying a largish item of luggage must be staff, and in my case not even very well dressed staff.
My goodness this place is posh. Last time I was in the 'states I had room at a Howard Johnston motel in San Jose. This worked fine for me, although when I was talking to one bloke I mentioned where I was staying and he said "How interesting.." in a way which made me think that I'd just told him I was recently released from prison. However, posh as this place is (and it is very posh – I'll post some pictures later) Howard Johnson does have the edge in several important respects.
Mirrors: the Howard Johnston bathroom contained precisely one mirror, which was easy to avoid. In my current bathroom there are five. Five. That means that when I stagger out of the shower feeling particularly fragile (as I just have) it is impossible to turn so that I can't see the lanky, white, pot-bellied creature which has just emerged. And to make things worse, some of the mirrors are on opposite walls and reflect each other, so that I can actually see hundreds of pasty me's, disappearing off to into the distance. Must do wonders for the recruitment at the fitness spar. Does nothing for me.
Shampoo: in the Howard Johnston there was a single soap dispenser in the bathroom which dispensed a multi-purpose concoction good for cleaning your hands, face, hair and shoes. In the Venetian there are a number of different bottles which contain different lotions, most of which involve cucumber for some reason. However, they are all very similar in colour and all very hard to use. I had to squeeze the conditioner bottle so hard that it flew out of my hands and then proceeded to ricochet around the shower cubical for a few noisy seconds. Later I found I have conditioned my hair with body balm.
Coffee: in Howard Johnston's a room contains a percolator and enough bits and bobs to make a few drinks (it also contains a fridge – which was so efficient in Warren's room that it froze his can of Pepsi rock solid – but we'll pass over that). In the Venetian there is nothing of the sort. Instead there is a well stocked minbar which is squatting in the corner daring me to take something off its sensor laden shelves so that I can make even more money for the establishment. I'm going to make precisely one purchase (a jar of Venetian banded jelly beans ($9.00) on the last day for number one daugher. So there.
WIFI: Howard Johnston had free WIFI. True, I'm not actually sure it was operated by them, but it did work and was free. The Venetian seems to have nothing of the sort. There are a bunch of networks with enticing names but nothing that seems to work. The room guide talks about internet access but no details are available. Then again, perhaps people who come to 'Vegas and then have an urge to surf the web would be regarded by the resort operators as a lost cause from a profit point of view.
Access: I could get to my Howard Johnston room straight from the car park. As could lots of other people I suppose, but at least entry was quick and immediate. To get to my room here I have to use two lifts and pass a bunch of security guards. Actually, I quite like this, as in the HJ I had to put things into the little floor safe all the time, which meant kneeling on the area of carpet which was damp when we arrived and never stopped smelling funny. I did wonder if they had been cleaning off the chalk outline that is drawn around dead bodies in CSI. Or perhaps it was a dropped jar of pickles. Anyhoo, I reckon that the Venetian wins here, as I've looked around carefully but I've found no evidence of such things. Or any pickles for that matter.
However, having said all this, I do really like this room. I just wished I earned enough to be able to afford it properly.