Wynn Las Vegas website looks like a 1990s CD-ROM

The Wynn Las Vegas is not an old hotel. It opened in 2005 and was last renovated in 2010. It’s an exquisite – and, more importantly for the sake of this post, modern – property. Why, then, is its website reminiscent of a CD-ROM menu from 1994? Everything from the frames to the bullet points to the seemingly generic layout built from a template make the site look like it was made on a shoestring budget by the designers of GeoCities. The single most marvelous aspect of the site, however, is the auto-play video that takes up more than half the screen and features 70-year-old Steve Wynn welcoming you to the website and marveling at the wonders of the internet.

Look, all hotel websites are horrible, and the more Flash they use and music they auto-play, the worse they are. But this? This isn’t even trying. This is either a joke, a tragic mistake or proof that Steve Wynn has spent too much time in the tanning booth.

What the hell is going on here, Wynn Las Vegas? Did you spend all of your money on the Lake of Dreams?

Evolve Guest Controls installs 65,000 wireless switches and thermostats at the Wynn resort

It isn’t often that we cover developments in hotel technology, but a project at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas deserves some special attention. In an installation deployed by Evolve Guest Controls, almost every single lighting and climate control device in the entire 2,600 room hotel was replaced by wireless RF controls. With the new wireless switches, guests can use remote controls to operate lights and climate controls in their room, all without leaving their bed.

Other hotels have installed the Evolve Guest Controls system to reduce their energy costs — the Westin Georgetown deployed the system and saw an immediate reduction in energy usage by up to 40%.

Hotel rooms can be outfitted with special keycard readers, RF enabled light switches, smart thermostats and switching wall outlets, and each component can communicate with the others using Z-Wave technology.

Future expansions to the Evolve system could even include automated drape controls and a centralized management system, allowing the property to save energy for entire floors that are not in use.

Paris Hilton banned from Wynn Resorts Hotels over drug charges

Wynn Las Vegas has made a solid effort to keep itself at a very far distance from the recent Paris Hilton drug charges. The hotel has banned Hilton and her boyfriends from entering or staying at the hotel after the celebrity socialite was busted last week for cocaine possession.

Hilton’s car, a black Cadillac Escalade, was stopped by a motorcycle cop due to what the cop said was a strong marijuana smell. What happened next is still a bit of a mystery, but we know Hilton left behind a Chanel purse (said to be belong to Hilton, but Hilton claims it belongs to a friend) that held cocaine. The driver of the car was Paris Hilton’s boyfriend of late, Cy Waits.

Hilton left the scene, which was mobbed by people and paparazzi, and headed straight for the Wynn Resort, where she was inevitably arrested. But the hotel wants no part of this mess.

Both Wynn Resort Hotels in Las Vegas have banned Hilton and her boyfriends from entering both the Wynn and Encore for the foreseeable future. Hilton denies the charges, but the Wynn is playing things safe (and smart).

Las Vegas, off the beaten Strip

The Las Vegas Neon Museum doesn’t announce itself with flashy lights; you have to find it in less obvious ways. Take a $20 dollar cab ride up to northern edge of Sin City, past the baking asphalt parking lots erupting with weeds and stout pawn shops eager with WE BUY GOLD placards, to the nondescript building the museum calls home. That’s when you’ll see it. Across the street, shimmering in the desert heat like a mirage: a gigantic, rusty-metal pool player. In one hand a cue, cocked, ready to fire, the player’s torso twisted in contrapposto like a billiard-playing colossus. Near this metallic giant lay dozens of gorgeously decorated neon signs – Stardust, Golden Nugget, Silver Slipper – artwork from a bygone era of Vegas history, out of sight and out of mind. Las Vegas is not a city that honors its past. Yet somehow fragments remain, ready to reveal their secrets to visitors who venture beyond the town’s glittering Strip.

Vegas is town forever stuck in the present; a city that appears to have neither a past nor a future: it simply is. It’s a fact borne out by the city’s relentless reinvention, renovation and recreation. On the famous “Strip,” outdated hotels are leveled to make way for the newest mega-resort. Even finding a clock inside a casino is a challenge. All of this suggests a town that ignores the passing of time in exchange for the pleasures of an ephemeral present. Except not all of the Old Vegas has disappeared; it’s simply been shoved to the margins. Venture ten minutes from ageless Las Vegas Boulevard and a different Vegas emerges; a destination of Atomic Era drinking dens, whimsical pinball parlors and a museum harboring a gallery of neon masterpieces.

If you’ve ever wondered what exists in Vegas beyond Roman Strip Malls and Eiffel Tower knock-offs, it’s time to dig beneath the surface. Let’s tour Las Vegas, off the beaten Strip. Keep reading below for more.A Neon Graveyard
If it’s possible for an Inert Gas to symbolize the magnificent highs and tumbling lows of Vegas history, then Neon is it. This strange element has been fueling the glowing signage of Las Vegas ever since mobster Bugsy Siegel dared to imagine this fantasy desert town as the world’s foremost gambling mecca. Though the casinos of Bugsy’s day long-ago met the wrecking ball, some of their signage lives on at the Neon Museum in northern Las Vegas.

For $15, visitors can explore “canyons” stacked with old Vegas neon signage, and imagine for a moment what once was: a place that hummed with a fiery visual energy, full of wildly exotic genie lamps, cocksure cowboys and colorful flamingos erupting like fireworks in the dark. It might not look like the Louvre or The Met, but this is one of the world’s great repositories of art, strokes of neon artistry left to rust and bake in the relentless desert sun.

Drinking in the Past
The Atomic Liquor Store is more than a bar: it’s a temple to long-lost Americana. Reportedly the “oldest bar” in Vegas, this drinking den got its name from the 1950’s nuclear tests that took place only 60 or so miles from its front door. Swanky Vegas cocktail lounge this is not. In addition to its location deep in the heart of seedy Fremont Street, visitors will need to be buzzed in the locked front doors.

But fear not, this historical oddity is worth the trip. From the minute you catch a glimpse of the sturdy decades-old neon sign out front, greeting you like an old friend, to the inflation-proof $1 cans of Busch Beer and molding pool tables, you’ll feel as though you’ve traveled back in time. The bar’s ramshackle decor, killer jukebox stocked with plenty of Springsteen and Mellencamp and a rotating cast of local Sin City characters is guaranteed to provide a memorable night out.

Playing for Keeps
Games are the de facto language of gambling. In Las Vegas, wherever you move you’re sure to encounter these games, the constant gaze of a slot machine or the hypnotic spinning eye of a roulette wheel beckoning you to try your luck. But a very different type of game competes for your attention at the Las Vegas Pinball Hall of Fame. Except instead of one-armed bandits you’ll find 10,000 square feet of vintage pinball and arcade games from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, waiting for you to give them a play.

Whether you’re a fan of Captain Fantastic or Guns ‘n Roses, Waterworld or Pac-man, there’s a childhood memory begging you to relive the past. Drop in a quarter, and a real-life time machine springs back to life. Bells clink. 8-bit explosions foam in your eardrums. A flickering orange glow of enjoyment fills your view. But too soon, your pinball disappears from view and the machine again falls silent; a teasing vision of a Vegas that once was, but is no more.

Travel startup giving away three nights at the Wynn

Want to score three nights at the Wynn Las Vegas? Travel startup company Off & Away wants to put you between those luxurious sheets.

Off & Away hasn’t even launched yet, but it’s willing to offer up a spectacular travel package to a lucky winner: three nights at the Wynn, tickets for two to La Reve, $200 a day in dining credits at the hotel, three days of spa access and a round of golf for two. You’ll also pick up access to the Penske Wynn Ferrari Museum, two 50-minute massages and entry to Blush Boutique Nightclub.

So, what is this company all about? It’s a new travel site (or, it will be) that will focus on “exceptional travel experiences.” Details are thin, but we’ll know more in a few weeks. So for now, take advantage of the contest.

“We are excited to offer this amazing experience with one of our key partners as a sneak preview into the types of experiences you can expect from Off & Away when we launch,” said Doug Aley, CEO and Co-Founder of Off & Away.

The contest is open through May 23, 2010 at Off & Away’s website. Spread the word via Facebook or Twitter, and you could score up to 10 extra chances to win. The winner will be announced on June 30, 2010.


Having seen the comments left by our readers about the viruses, I contacted Off & Away to see what was happening. Following is the company’s reply:

For those who were affected by the virus earlier this morning, please be assured this is something we take very seriously and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure it does not happen again. Off & Away is founded and run by former Amazon.com, Expedia, Alaska Airlines, Orbitz, and Farecast.com employees. We always strive for excellence are committed to providing our customers with the best experiences possible. This was not one of them, and for that, we sincerely apologize.

The site promoting the sweepstakes was compromised. It appears to have started in our hosting environment. We’re still investigating with that firm. Malicious code was entered into our website causing a redirect to the suspicious page people encountered. Since discovering this, we’ve pulled down the sweepstakes on our site, and are rebuilding in a different environment and with a different, more secure host. The new host is the same one we will be using when we launch.

We expect the sweepstakes to be live again in the next few hours once this work is complete. Thanks to our customers for discovering this and for your patience.


Doug Aley and Michael Walton