The 2005 Olympia probably has the most changes in the way of changing venues and hotels and expo halls than any other Olympia to date. This is most likely because the Olympia, ever since it has been in Las Vegas, has grown to be an incredible event, with hundreds of booths, thousands of people, and the most incredible competitors of bodybuilding, fitness and figure in the world. With the move to the Orleans Hotel and Arena and the Las Vegas Convention Center from the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Events Center, there was a great cause for concern.
The critics were everywhere. "It is a step back" - "The Orleans Hotel is run down" - "It is off the strip" - were just some of the comments I heard. The answers regarding the hotel, you don't have to stay their. Last year, only 20% of the people attending the Olympia stayed at the Mandalay Bay. The people came from other places to attend the expo, and still more to attend the contest at the Event Center.
But the athletes are staying at the Orleans Hotel, which means that many of the fans, the press, and others will be staying there. So here is an in-depth review of the Orleans Hotel, and the Arena.
After staying on the strip at the Mandalay Bay for the last 5 years, I decided to spend a weekend at the Orleans, as a trial run for the Olympia Weekend. Leaving the airport, and passing the strip, away from the billion dollar resorts and bright lights, we traveled down Tropicana Blvd to the Orleans. Needless to say, the people in my group were not impressed. The way to the Orleans on Tropican had nothing to see, except some graffiti when we went under the railroad tracks, and a few porn places, especially Deja Vu, which is very close to the Orleans. When we finally saw the sign, after about a mile or so, we were very happy.
Entering the lot of the Orleans Hotel, again we were not very impressed. The facade of the hotel reminded us a little of downtown Orleans, except that there was no one outside. The hotel itself is about 18 stories high, so there are about 1,400 rooms total. We decided to valet park, which we had no problem whatsoever.
There are five entrances to the hotel. The entrances all have these cool looking lizards on the door.
Registration area was small, but it went very quick. The staff was courteous, although all my questions did bother him a little. We got an Orleans Fun Book, which has some great coupons for various things.
There are 12 elevators, six for the first half of the rooms, six for the upper half. We had no problem getting an elevator.
These hallways are long, and I guess they had the notion of giving me a room all the way towards the end. A little cardio for me isn't half bad after eating at the buffet.
The standard room looked nice, although the flowery bedspreads just aren't my style. Still, the room had two soft chairs, a table where you can write, and of course, the television. A basic room, and clean. The hotel also has a one bedroom suite, which features a separate bedroom and living room.
The Orleans Arena, as seen from one of the rooms. It looks pretty good, and seats 9,000. This is probably the best arena in Las Vegas, certainly the newest.
The parking lots for the arena, with below it - the long corridor that connects the hotel with the arena.
A closer view of the long corridor - and boy, is it long.
The Orleans Arena entrance from the hotel. We were lucky enough to be let in and get an advanced showing of the arena. Needless to say, everyone's seat here is much better and closer than the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Even the farthest seat at the arena will let you see the competitors in a much better light. Everyone will be happy regarding the Arena.