Frommers Las Vegas 2005

I own a number of travel books on Vegas, and Frommers falls squarely in the middle of the pack. It provides a lot of great information, but it's not quite as comprehensive as some of the other books I own.

Once you get past the generic introductory fluff of "check the web for good prices", we start into the meat of the book. They have the hotels broken down into area of Vegas and then price range. While this might seem OK, I would have much preferred something that actually listed them by things I'd care to break hotels out by - do they have a pool? What restaurants do they have? Are they right on the strip? I do agree that the descriptions of the hotels here are much better than in other books about Vegas, but you still have to dig through that description to draw out what you are looking for and then make your own feature grid. Also, I just have to mention this, the author seems to LOVE making side comments (there seem to be a pair of parenthesis and side comments every third line). While it's cute once or twice it gets really annoying (especially when the side comments are completely meaningless - oh, did I mention that I should get to sleep soon?)

Once you wade through all of the commentary, you do end up with a good sense of which hotels will appeal to you, to go investigate further. However, they could have done a much better job of organizing that up front for you.

Next we move into restaurants which has the same bad/good balance - there are great reviews, but sometimes the tend to drift, and they just aren't organized very well. Then we promptly go into shows - only a few are mentioned - and then unlike the other books, we drift into some pretty strange categories. The book lists out coffeehouses, strip clubs, even wigs and getting married. It hits a number of topics. There's a small section on non-Vegas attractions too.

Really, I find this a great "second book" because of the detail it goes into on the hotels. I find it fascinating that what they CHOSE to tout on the cover is "with insider gambling tips" when really this book has far less info on gambling than many other Vegas books I own. Certainly none of the tips shared seem very insider. Still, I suppose a book has to have a cover that entices people to pick it up. Maybe people wouldn't pick up a book that said "great thorough reviews of hotels in Vegas". But that is really where this book shines.

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