Discover Erwan's precious advice, who reveals his impressions on the two world gambling capitals. He tells you here everything you need to know before you plan on staying there!
Good morning Erwan, can you please introduce yourself in a few words for the people who don't know you?
Hello, I'm Erwan Mevel, I'm 34 years old. I work as a engineer in the construction industry. Since I was very young, I've always been fond of casino games in general such as Blackjack, Craps or video poker.
I was also interested in poker since 2006.
Can you tell us about the concept of your website "LasVegasjaunt.com"?
One of the website's goals is to provide the best hotel offers of the city with competitive price list. You can therefore find an exhaustive price-list of different rooms of all existing hotels in the capital of gambling.
Note that I'm in no case a travel agency, I content myself with directing readers towards the offers that are, in my opinion, the most interesting, the booking is done on the hotels' websites or tour operators towards whom I steered them.
But that's not all; I also try to guide people through blog articles, advice or tips.
How did you come up with this idea?
As soon as I turned 21, I traveled to the USA to learn English and to do some summer jobs. It's around that period of time that I went to Las Vegas as a tourist for the first time in my life. I directly loved the atmosphere of the city and I went back there every year since then.
Very active on the Club Poker forum, I realized that many players were asking me questions about this destination. Quickly, I thought about combining my passion with my experience of this city through the creation of a website, due to high demand and the fact that some people didn't really know much about Las Vegas.
All of it became a reality and then the French website saw the light of the day in January 2014 followed by the English website in July 2014.
So you seem to know a lot about the city. Would you define yourself as a Las Vegas expert?
I don't know if you can say it like that, but in any case, after 20 trips to Las Vegas, I happen to be well acquainted with the city!
What I think is unfortunate, is that people in general, before they leave, aren't necessarily interested in the destination itself which has a very specific way of operation, especially when it comes to the hotel business. What they do is that they often book flight+hotel packages on Opodo or Expedia without deeply analyzing the offers.
There are some traps to avoid, and, through my experience, you can have a pleasant stay in nice surroundings at cheaper price!
How comes hotels are that "affordable" while they're actual luxury hotels?
I get that question a lot and the answer is really simple: it's their business!
Indeed, as almost each hotel has its own casino, nearly all their revenue is based on gambling. The ultimate goal is that people stay in their rooms and play in their casino. The hotel business can be considered as a "side" activity for those large groups and their index-linked prices on this strategy.
However, you have to be careful that you don't arrive during a big conference or event because prices can easily go up. For example, during the Pacquiao vs Mayweather confrontation this year, the Bellagio's rooms went from $100 to $1,500 in no time at all.
By the way, if we want to enjoy ourselves to the fullest, in which hotel would you recommend us to stay a week? And why?
Even if all this is a little subjective, contrary to what we may think, the Bellagio isn't the most fabulous venue. When I stayed there a few years ago, its rooms looked a bit old-fashioned to me (the hotel, though, just finished doing a total renovation of the rooms in May 2015!) and the prices were more expensive than the average.
The Mandarin Oriental or even the Encore provide a high-quality service while the Aria is one of the most beautiful hotels regarding its ultramodern design.
But if I were to choose just one, I'd definitely choose the Cosmopolitan. By the way, I stayed there during my 4 previous trips. The clientele is pretty young and festive and, unexpectedly, the rooms have a balcony and more than half of them directly give onto the Bellagio's fountains. Pretty nice view, right?
"What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas", is it just an expression or is it usually true?
Yes, it is definitely true! It's still a place where you can let yourself go more easily. Unlike tourists from all over the world, we can see that the Americans often go there over the week-end to make the most of it. It's really, really festive! There are so many nightclubs that you can get lost in there. If I recall, you wrote an article about Las Vegas best nightclubs, am I right?
The city is usually calmer from Sunday to Wednesday, which has an impact on the room price. If you're looking for a cheaper stay, you'll find out that the prices can be 2 or 3 times cheaper on those days of the week.
Beside the Las Vegas Strip, where do you like to go? Favorites or special places you can recommend?
In the city, a stroll on Fremont Street is a must-do, but I don't particularly like staying in this area. The clientele is different and a bit older.
On the other hand, and that's also one of the reasons why I love Vegas, you can take a break for a whole day in great spots, which are just 30 minutes away by car.
There is the Lake Mead where you can board on boats, go jet-skiing, or just sunbathe. The points of view of the Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire are also nearby and they are completely disorientating. If you can ever afford it, I highly recommend you to go on a helicopter ride around the canyon, starting from Vegas. It's something you have to see in a lifetime, it's just breathtaking.
China too has its own Vegas now. By the way, you just got back from Macau, right?
Exactly, I spent 10 days there. It was my first time!
So, tell us how was it?
To be honest, it's disorienting. It's quite calm and you are in China, which really makes the difference. People are only there to play. On the street, you practically see no one while casinos are crowded.
Baccarat is THE game Chinese people love playing. Tables take up more than half the room of the establishments, it's really the central element.
There are quite some surprising stuff, though. For example, there are no bars or music in the casinos, not to mention the scantily-dressed dancers who aren't there either. The Chinese run with milky coffee and tea.
I sincerely think that their one and only goal is to gamble and that they aren't really interested in the perks.
It’s "the new place to be" or Vegas remain the temple of gambling and entertainment engraved in your heart for ever? Is it possible to compare those two?
Honestly, at the moment, it's hard to compare them.
From what I was able to notice when it comes to gambling, the limits are higher there.
As for the atmosphere, there's a huge gap. However, it's more relaxing because there's less noise and you can enjoy the cultural and historical aspects of the city.
Is the hotel and casino offer good?
The complexes are very huge and magnificently equipped, for a price as affordable as in Vegas.
Just like Vegas, which areas would you recommend to gamble and stay?
I haven't gone around yet, but for now my crush is the Galaxy. There is a big water park within the complex with pool, beach, artificial wave and river. It's impressive!
Besides, you can peacefully make the most of your stay because Chinese people are only interested in casinos, the pools are empty all day long!
For the party people, is there a real nightlife or is it limited?
I didn't really get the chance to go to a nightclub but it looks quite calm to me. Lots of hotels don't provide nightclubs within their establishment. I do know that a Pacha (internationally famous nightclub chain) opened at Studio City, there should be more liveliness in that area!
Is the clientele cosmopolitan or mostly Chinese? Cohabitation is going well? Aren't you a little bit shaken culturally-speaking?
I'd say 95% of the clientele are Chinese people. I expected to see a lot more of foreigner than that. There isn't really a thing like sharing with the population, we can't really tell if they're happy to see us or not, but I think it's a cultural thing.
On the other hand, as for the food, you should know that you'll only find Asian dishes. Vietnamese, Thai, Korean or Japanese, but there are not a lot of traditional pizzas or hamburgers.
Did you plan to create a MacauTrip website?
Frankly, I'm actually thinking about it. But the main problem, seeing the clientele, is that I have to directly create it in Chinese. For now, I'm not really qualified to do so and I wait to see how things turn out. Instead, I'm thinking about a project on Atlantic City which has a clientele easier to target since it's close to New York.
Personally, have you had unusual experiences in a casino? You can talk openly, we are adults.
I had many of them, but some are unrepeatable, even between adults!
Concerning gambling, I play Craps with a "don't pass" bet because it's the most interesting bet rationally. Yet most of the players play the opposite bet which is "pass". It happened once while I was playing with friends on a reasonable table, $25 a bet, to see a player come out of nowhere and put $1,000 on the opposite bet. Knowing that in Craps you add bets following the first roll of dice, the player bet $5,000 at the time. When my turn to roll the dice finally comes and that the result works in my favor, it makes me win a hundred of dollars and makes him lose $5,000 by my roll, it's weird of a feeling!
Any anecdote about Macau to tell us?
I don't really have any anecdote but I'd add that we went to see the "House of Dancing Water" show at City of Dreams casino and I recommend everyone to go and see it if you stop by Macau, it's really mind-blowing!