Vegas Past and Present

Las Vegas, June 1954 by Roland Simons

I enjoy Throwback Thursday Vegas style, because you get to see what Vegas use to look like, way back when. In particular, it’s fun to see photos from 1940’s to the late 1980’s. The El Rancho Vegas was the first hotel to spring up on the desert Vegas Strip. It’s grand opening was on April 3, 1941. After came the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in 1945, and just after that, was the infamous Mafia built, Flamingo in 1946 by Bugsy Siegel. 


Las Vegas, June 1954 by Roland Simons.
For someone, like me, going to Vegas for the last 30 years, I’m always amazed how much Sin City has changed. If it wasn’t for Steve Wynn starting the building frenzy in 1989 with his mega-hotel, The Mirage, Las Vegas (a 3,044 room Polynesian-style hotel and casino), I’m not sure if Vegas would have been built on such a large scale, as it is today.

The Mirage, Las Vegas 2003 by Bari Demers

Possible. It just might of taken longer, that’s all. Before the Mirage, Las Vegas opened on November 22, 1989, with its fiery volcano, it was common place to see hotels relative to the size of the Dunes, Las Vegas with 1300 rooms; which I might add, Steve Wynn bought the Dunes for $75 million, imploding it in 1993.    

Before the mega-hotels explosion, Vegas was more intimate, you might say.

The Dunes, Las Vegas 1986 by Bari Demers

Romance was in the air. 

The nostalgic history behind Las Vegas is considered a more romantic time, instead of today’s hustle and bustle, a fury of madness along the Vegas Strip. Looking at Stardust, Las Vegas in 1979 signifies the past when the Mafia had a strong hold on the small desert town. Even though the mobsters were busy skimming their pockets with untaxed cash, they were the first to treat their customers well, lavishing them with the now traditional room and restaurant comps you see today. 

After all, it was good business. 

Stardust, Las Vegas 1979 by Ned Paynter

The prices back then were always considered cheap. As you can see for yourself in the Stardust photo by Ned Paynter, the billboard advertises incredibly low prices : 

Gamblers Breakfast for only $0.99 cents – Wow!

All you can eat Brunch – only $1.95 

And a full Dinner Buffet – once again, All you can eat – only $2.95 

I’m loving the prices back then. I remember getting steak and eggs for $1.99 back in the 1980’s.    Oh how I wish those prices were back today! 

Buffet at Aria Resort and Casino 2014 by Bari Demers

Buffet pricing has increased considerably in the last 37 years. 

MGM International Buffet Prices Today at Aria, Las Vegas : 

Breakfast: $21.99*
Monday – Friday

7:00 AM – 11:00 AM 
Lunch: $25.99*

Monday – Friday

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Brunch: $31.99*

Saturday & Sunday

7:00 AM – 3:00 PM 
Dinner: $36.99*

Monday – Thursday

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Gourmet Dinner: $41.99*

Friday – Sunday

3:00 PM – 10:00 PM

*All day, add $16.99 for unlimited Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, Champagne, Premium Beer and Wine on TAP. See more HERE

Aria Resort and Casino 2014 – Poolside by Bari Demers

To be fair, a lot has happened in 37 years. 

Buffet choices are more elaborate, trained Chefs are now employed and the general food market prices have gone up throughout the world. Each restaurant must have a 33% Food Cost to cover the cost in staff, electrical and heating, bringing the food in and so on. Mind you, with the above prices I’m thinking, their food cost is closer to 25%, which is a good margin. 

The add-ons like the All day Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Beer is likely where they make money, simply because with food in your tummy, drinking your monies worth is hard to do. Even if you can stand to come back the same day.  I actually tried that.  Did my best to come back and get my monies worth, simply couldn’t do it. 

 My full tummy said otherwise.

But, if you put everything into perspective, you’re on holidays after all. It’s easy to loose $20 in the slot machines within minutes, so part of their strategy (I’m thinking) would be to remove $20 from your pocket as fast as they can. 

Aria Resort – Poolside 2014 by Bari Demers

Even going to the pool, the drinks start from $15 – $40 depending on the size of alcoholic drink. My wife and I will spend $80 and maybe more if we have a nice breakfast overlooking the pool.   Of course, let’s put in the equation of PROMOS where one receives promotional items, such as “Free Play”, free buffets, rooms and entertainment. There’s a bunch of different ways to receive PROMOS from Highrollers to playing games on-line. 


So, you see everything must be put into perspective. I really do love Vegas and everything it offers. Even though the nostalgic side of Vegas is gone forever, the brand new Vegas is very much as exciting. That’s why I keep going back. It still is an affordable fun holiday. As always, I hope to see YOU in Vegas

By Bari Demers 

#VegasFun #History #MyVegas #Vacations 


Vegas is a Stress Reliever 

Photo Credit : Bari Demers 

You know, I’m sure glad Vegas exists. It certainly the best spot to enjoy a quick or long vacation, be it with a group of friends, a romantic time with your partner or for the whole family. 

Life has so many ups and downs, Las Vegas is an excellent stress reliever.  

The world class quality from fine dining, the amazing mega resorts, exciting tours and an abundance of entertainment, it’s a no-brainer to head to Vegas. 

Sure. If you gamble, you should exercise control, but overall, Vegas is one of the most accessible and affordable vacation spots in North America. 

It’s also cool to see people from around the world.

Photo Credit : Bari Demers

My goodness, I met a couple from the UK who came up for only 3 days. That’s an amazing flight for only a three day stay. But, after their first visit to Vegas during a lavish wedding, they were hooked on Vegas

It’s obvious Canadians and Americans love Vegas, from the young to the well aged, the first-timers to seasonal Vegas Lovers. It’s a given, once you experience the rush of Vegas – YOU ARE hooked! 

Photo Credit : Bari Demers

Overall, my favorite resort hotels are Aria Resort & Casino, Vdara, Mandarin Oriental, The Venetian & Palazzo, The Wynn including Encore, T.I. (Treasure Island ), Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Bellagio and Luxor. Of course, I’ve yet to experience more resorts, as time and money permits. But you know, when you’ve been treated like a King of Queen, it’s hard to go anywhere else.  

Vegas offers the best in hotels, particularly fashioned for your lifestyle or pocketbook.  Another words, it’s for everyone! 

Photo Credit : Bari Demers 

My wife and I are Vegas Lovers, like you.  

It’s awesome you have taken the time to LIKE my Facebook Page and join us with everyone’s experiences. After all, we are tourists, just like you.  

I gratefully appreciate you for joining us in the FUN with Vegas – Thank you ! 

And to the resorts of Vegas – Thank you for the affordable luxurious comfort, you and your team, who are committed professional staff. They have provided us with the best possible service, from the awesome Chefs, front desk personnel, friendly bartenders, room service, maid and concierge service.  

It’s all an amazing experience! 

What’s your best hotel in Vegas ?  Did I miss some good ones ? 

Have a wonderful week and of course – I will see YOU in Vegas

Photo Credits : Bari Demers

Reference Websites : 

My Vegas Blog 

The Venetian Las Vegas 

The Wynn, Las Vegas 

The Bellagio Las Vegas 

Caesars Palace Las Vegas

Aria Resort and Casino Las Vegas

Vdara Las Vegas 

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

Treasure Island Las Vegas 

Luxor Hotel 

Play Studio


1. Are you associated with any of the above hotels? 

      Answer : Absolutely not ! I’m a tourist like yourself.  I am not related or associated with any business or corporations in Las Vegas.

2. Do you receive payment or monetary bonuses ? 

    Answer : Absolutely not ! Just like you I’m a tourist. I play MYVEGAS (open to everyone!)  to collect points to receive free buffets, rooms or entertainment opportunities. Plus I keep my eye out for the best possible price for my hard working dollar.

3. Do you receive payments for your Vegas articles

    Answer : Not yet. But I hear people do, by clicking on the ads on the side. But, so far, not a nickel. 

4. Why do you do this ? 

    Answer : Seriously, I am a Vegas Lover! Vegas is my home away from home.

5. What do you do ? 

    Answer : I’m a screenwriter and freelance writer and pretty soon retired. Well, I love to write, so that’s not really retirement. 

Going to Mars or Bust ! 

James Montana Scripts 

By Bari Demers 

Vegas Lover

Question : Vegas Lovers – who are we?

Answer: We are a group of people who love going to Vegas, from newcomers to seasonal, going yearly or even 3X a year.  

Essentially Vegas Lovers keep coming back to enjoy the luxury of hotels, entertainment, sightseeing tours, gourmet selections and gambling. 

As a Vegas Lover, before Facebook was ever conceived, I started running a blog giving tips and reviews on hotels in Vegas. Zip ten years later and I look after a Facebook Page called Vegas Reviews.

It’s great Facebook offers free pages and groups to express and share their interest in a particular field or hobby. But in the past week, my FUN Vegas Reviews Page has been plagued by what we all call in this business as “Fake Facebook Accounts”. An annoying nemesis, where some say, are either from kids malicious pranks or questionable adults looking for people’s information. 

Whatever or whoever THEY are, and what their true motive is, will remain questionable.

But, I take these kind of accounts seriously, even reporting them to Facebook administration. And, I swiftly remove and banned them from my followers list. Facebook administration also keeps close eye on these weird accounts. 

As you will notice, my followers list is lower than most conventionally, and for good reason. I have certain restrictions in place, to verify real followers and ban those who are just looking to bully or trash people in general. 

Vegas Reviews is just about FUN.

I try not to think of why there are those kind of malicious people out there. It’s really kind of sad these kids or adults have to express themselves in this way.  

So, as a FUN Facebook Page, I move on.

And on that note, I would like to thank YOU, Vegas Lovers for following my personal blog page, Vegas Reviews. It’s really cool that Facebook allow us to get together, world-wide to share and enjoy the most FUN we are having while in Las Vegas. 

All the mega hotels, such as, Caesars Palace, the Wynn, including Encore, The Venetian and Palazzo, Aria Resort and Casino including Vdara, Treasure Island Resort (T.I.), Planet Hollywood, Mandalay Bay Resort, Cosmopolitan Resort and Luxor, go out of there way to make our stay in Vegas a FUN-FILLED vacation. (These are just a few of many good resorts in Vegas).

I personally appreciate the great service by the professional employees of all these establishments.  Thank you! Thank you! 


I’m a screenwriter with a few screenplays under my belt, but my past time, vacation time, has always been Vegas. Be sure to check out my Vegas Blog for updates, tips and wonderful stays I have had. It helps newcomers and seasonal Vegas Lovers to make an informed choice. 

You can also join me on Twitter: @vegasreviewsvg, including “About Me

If you’re interested in my screenwriting, then check out my James Montana Scripts (be sure to check out all the pages, because my screenplay page is full of short stories).

Also, I just want to emphasize, my personal blog, Vegas Reviews Page is NOT affiliated with, funded, or in anyway associated with Vegas business corporations, hotels, entertainment or restaurants. 

WE and or ME is a tourist, just like yourself. My advantage?

I’ve been going to Vegas since the 1980’s. But most importantly, it’s all about US together, sharing our FUN in Vegas together. 

Thank you for all those who have shared your awesome photos of the fun you have had in Vegas.

It’s super appreciate! 

 And if you like to share your fun experiences or tips, please do at Vegas Reviews. I’ll be sure to pass them along to our Vegas Lovers. Please don’t be afraid to add your photo of Vegas too!

Pass along to your friends who you know love Vegas as much as we do. Of course, real people with a real interest in Vegas. 


All walks of life enjoy Vegas, from teachers, homemakers, engineers, professional trades, film makers, movie stars, producers, screenwriters, music lovers, scientists, lawyers, the much appreciated United States, UK and Canadian Armed Forces, military and veterans throughout the world. 

This is just a small list of hard working friends who all love Vegas.

Vegas is a great resource of affordable long or short vacations. So, let’s all continue having fun with Vegas Reviews and, “I will see you in Vegas!”

Thank you for being apart of Vegas Reviews and I hope to see you there, in real person. I truly appreciate the follow and friendship! 

By Bari Demers 

Hawaii Vacation Enquiry


The above photo is courtesy by my NASA friend Romeo and Mark. .

As a Canadian, any vacation is an expensive adventure, even in our own country. On the average, a two week vacation for a couple in Hawaii will cost between $7500 – $15,000 depending on your life-style.

To me, that’s a big chunk of change. Like any other Canadian, we bite-the-bullet in order to enjoy our stay in Hawaii.

But here’s the thing, wouldn’t you want your customer to come to your resort on a regular basis ?

For example, Las Vegas makes it a lot easier for us to visit Sin City every year with very reasonable prices (excluding gambling) from restaurants, the fashionable resorts and world venue entertainment. A week in Vegas costs a Canadian couple an average of $2000 for room,flight and world class entertainment. If you’re smart and can exercise your gambling restrictions, along with paying closer attention to your food bill, Vegas can be a pleasant stay, taking time to relax by the exotic pools.

So, what is it about Hawaii ?

I would love to go to Hawaii every year if the costs were comparable to Vegas. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Well, for Canadians anyway.

I must admit, I do have some restrictions when traveling to Hawaii. The resort must be beachside, clean clean rooms, good food and friendly service. Cocktail drinks and shops nearby are always a plus to any vacation.

My next trip to Hawaii is well planned in advance, religiously checking out the reviews on Travelocity along with keeping up on the resorts Facebook and webpage.

I have been to Hawaii only twice in my lifetime, due to the overall enormous costs (screenwriters aren’t rich) with our last stay in Oahu. This time we have narrowed our vacation spot along the legendary Ka‘anapali beach within close proximity to Black Rock (preferably). Snorkelling with the turtles and suntanning on the most pristine beach in Maui is my plan.

Most recently, I’ve checked on the reviews with two resorts I’m interested in. One is the Sheraton Maui Resort and the other is the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. But, this doesn’t mean these are itched in concrete, as of yet. Still considering the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui and possibly the Andaz at Wailea along with Honua Kai Resort.

Each resort has their pros and cons.

But what’s really important, I certainly don’t want to wake-up at night to a room full of cockroaches. Apparently one guest had this sad experience with one resort in Maui. Seeing a cockroach scurrying across my pillow would certainly make a big impact on my stay.

So far (touch wood) I’ve never experienced cockroaches and I would like to keep it that way.

Going to Vegas has spoiled me with great service, excellent food and inspiring entertainment since 1989. It’s going to be hard not to expect the same in Maui, specially with the price difference.

My search for a great spot on Maui lead me to my “Hawaii Project” Facebook Page, just to see other responses.

Travelocity reviews usually depends on a persons lifestyle and tastes. Some are ok with a small dark room while others are like me, want a 4 – 5 star resort with exceptional service, food and clean, clean,clean rooms.

Vegas has raised the bar in hospitality requirements when it comes to 5 star Resorts, and now it’s very hard to come down in expectations. My Vegas social Facebook site is all about and only about FUN in Vegas. With over 800 true fans I showcase news worthy information, along with my ONLY pleasant stays at select resorts in Vegas with great videos & stunning photos (well, I try as a amateur photographer). If you enjoy FUN in Vegas, you too can join in on the fun and by all means, share your photos.

The same goes with my Hawaii Project. Come on by, share your experiences in Hawaii. Let’s us know why you choose a particular spot or why you would never go again.

Both Facebook page sites are not at all related to any business or are they selling anything. They are both for pure entertainment and to share your fun experiences. Life is too short, not to have FUN.

With my quest to enjoy our stay in Maui, let me know of your experiences and constructive comments.

My question to you, what’s your fave spot in Maui and why?

By Bari Demers