The broader access extends to a handful of nightclubs and lounges where guests with the promotional package get free admission rather than being required to pay often steep cover charges, such as Studio 54 and Tabu at the MGM Grand and LAX at Luxor.
The packages were listed at some rock-bottom prices, starting at $28 a night at Excalibur, $34 at Luxor, and $52 at MGM Grand. Of course, room rates are a constantly moving target, but in general they reflect the discounts that have been the norm in Vegas since the economic recession.
MGM Resorts' approach is part of an ongoing effort to get visitors to think of the company's resorts as an identifiable group.
"If a visitor tries a pool somewhere other than where they're staying, hopefully they'll also try a restaurant or bar at that place, and maybe next time they'll stay at another one of our properties," said Patrick Miller, Mandalay Bay vice president of marketing.
For shrewd vacation shoppers, it would be a bargain to stay at the value-priced Excalibur and still be able to use the swimming pool at the Monte Carlo, which has a lazy river and a wave pool - keeping in mind that Vegas' average high temperatures in April only reach the mid to high 70s.
Some interesting add-ons for hotel packages: At Mandalay Bay, free admission to the usually exclusive House of Blue Foundation Room nightclub; at Monte Carlo, a bar-hopper pass good for five drinks for $20; and at Luxor and Excalibur, $15 off a custom airbrush tan, in case it's too cool for sunbathing. For more information, see www.mgmresorts.com/springbreak.
Ridin', ropin' at the Shore. Atlantic City casinos hope an attraction that's been a perennial hit in Las Vegas does just as well by the sea. For the first time in the Jersey Shore town's history, the rodeo will come galloping in April 1-3, featuring the full lineup of a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association-sanctioned event, including bull riding, saddle-bronc riding, steer wrestling, team roping, and barrel racing.
The rodeo was suggested by new Resorts Casino Hotel owner Dennis Gomes, who worked in Las Vegas and saw the rodeo championship there become a huge annual tourist draw after the late casino owner Benny Binion helped lure the event to Sin City nearly 25 years ago.
"It was at a time of year when there wasn't a soul in town back then," said Gomes of the 10-day Las Vegas rodeo, which is held between Thanksgiving and Christmas. "Now, it's one of the biggest local events of the year there."
The Tropicana in Atlantic City is offering a rodeo room package on April 1 ($195) and April 2 ($310) that includes a buffet dinner for two, two drinks at select bars, and $20 in slot play. At the Trop's adjacent dining and retail complex, the Quarter, there will be a rodeo hoedown 1-5 p.m. April 2, with music and food specials.
While Atlantic City's rodeo may be more modest in scale than the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas, tickets will be easier to come by and a lot cheaper. Start times are 7:30 p.m. April 1-2 and 1 p.m. April 3, with the rodeo running about 2½ hours each day.
Tickets prices are $16, $31, $52, and $102. A family package for $79 includes four $31 admissions, four hot dogs, and four soft drinks. In contrast, tickets for the NFR in Las Vegas start at $60 and quickly escalate into the $100 to $300 range.
Tickets for the Atlantic City rodeo can be purchased from the Boardwalk Hall box office and from Ticketmaster, 800-736-1420.
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