Top Hotels in Las Vegas to Consider For Your Next Vacation

Finding the best place to stay in Las Vegas has always been a hot topic. Before starting a Las Vegas vacation, everybody has one question in mind, What are top hotels in Las Vegas to consider? As in general, vacationers like to stay right on the strip so that they can walk around easily. Hotels on strip being in great demand, there are tons of hotels on the strip. But with little research you can select the hotel that works best for your Vegas vacation. Following list of hotels in Las Vegas have their unique characteristics that make them on my top list of hotels on strip. I usually prefer one of them based on price and availability during my vacation.

1. Venetian and Palazzo Resorts

Venetian and Palazzo Resorts are located next to each other. Venetian has been on the top lists of best hotels in Las Vegas. Palazzo resorts is very well known sister hotel of the Venetian that gives you an opportunity to take advantage of some amenities at Venetian. Overall hotel room rate at Venetian will be higher than Palazzo. These resorts are full of recreation activities including casino which can keep you busy most of the time.

2. Mandalay Bay Hotel

Mandalay Bay is also renowned hotel on the strip. Hotel offers good food, spacious rooms, and great amenities including awesome pool. Mandalay bay hotel features Red Square, where visitors can enjoy drinks and relax. Blues fan can catch a House of Blues show at Mandalay Bay hotel in minutes.

3. Wynn and Encore

Wynn and Encore resort and casino is very well known one of the high end hotels on the strip. Cost of hotel room will not be cheap at this luxury hotel but it is worth spending to have one time experience in life. At Wynn, every visitor gets pampered with special treatment. Wynn resort and casino has earned five diamond, Forbes five-star, Michelin five-star and Mobil five-star ratings those have put the hotel on one of the finest hotels list in the world.

4. Bellagio Hotel

Bellagio has been the center of attraction for everyone. Even though it is expensive hotel, it is always full of visitors. Room prices vary based on the location. Usually rooms facing fountain show are more expensive compare to other rooms. Overall Bellagio hotel is expensive when it comes to food and gambling. Vacationers without any budget limit can have great time at this money burning hotel on the strip.

5. Monte Carlo Hotel

Monte Carlo is the best choice for family with kids. Hotel offers great and convenient facilities along with spacious rooms. Monte Carlo is a great option to stay in Las Vegas with kids if you are planning to avoid Circus Circus. Hotel also offers Spa on the premises. Overall Monte Carlo is one of the mid-priced hotels on the strip.

6. Paris Las Vegas

Paris hotel is located in the center of the strip. Hotel offers spacious nice Premium rooms and good food options. If you are looking for a nice pool then Paris is not the right choice. Small pool area is located on the top of the hotel.

Now as you know the top hotels in Las Vegas, get ready and start planning your next vacation worry free.

Speculating in Hunger – Are Investors Contributing to the Global Food Crisis?

Investment newsletters are now featuring headlines like “How You Can Profit from the Global Food Crisis.” The recommended investments include agribusiness stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that speculate in agricultural commodities. These investments will no doubt do very well in the global food crisis; but before you put your money down, you may want to explore whether you will be helping to alleviate the problem or actually contributing to it. Do you really want to “invest” in starvation? In an April 23 article in the German news source Spiegel Online called “Deadly Greed: The Role of Speculators in the Global Food Crisis,” Balzli and Horning note, “Many investors . . . are simply oblivious to the fact that by investing in the global casino, they could be gambling away the daily food supply of the world’s poorest people.”

Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, has called the exploding food crisis “a silent mass murder.” In an interview in the French daily Liberation on April 14, he said, “We are heading for a very long period of rioting, conflicts [and] waves of uncontrollable regional instability marked by the despair of the most vulnerable populations.” He blamed globalization and multinationals for “monopolizing the riches of the earth,” and said that a mass uprising of starving people against their persecutors is “just as possible as the French Revolution was.”

In some places, in fact, this is already happening. In Haiti, where the cost of rice has nearly doubled since December, the prime minister was fired this month by opposition senators after more than a week of riots over the cost of staple foods. Violent protests over food prices have been set off in Bangladesh, where rice has also doubled; in the Ivory Coast, where food prices have soared by 30 to 60 percent from one week to the next; and in Egypt, Uzbekistan, Yemen, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Italy. In an April 21 Wall Street Journal article titled “Load Up the Pantry,” Brett Arends observed that the food riots now seen in the developing world could soon be affecting Americans as well. Rocketing food prices are not a passing phase but are actually accelerating. He recommends hoarding food – not because he is actually expecting a shortage, but as an investment, because “food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund.” Arends goes on:

“The main reason for rising prices, of course, is the surge in demand from China and India. Hundreds of millions of people are joining the middle class each year, and that means they want to eat more and better food. A secondary reason has been the growing demand for ethanol as a fuel additive. That’s soaking up some of the corn supply.”

That’s the rationale published in the Journal of Wall Street, the financial community that brought us the housing bubble, the derivatives bubble, and now the commodities bubble, producing the subprime crisis, the credit crisis, and the oil crisis. The main reason for the food crisis, says this author, is that the Chinese and Indian middle classes are eating better. Really? Rice has been the staple food of half the world for centuries, and it is hardly rich man’s fare. Moreover, according to an April 2008 analysis from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, food consumption of grains has gone up by only one percent since 2006.

That hardly explains the fact that the price of rice has spiked by 75 percent in just two months. The price of Thai 100 per cent B grade white rice, considered the world’s benchmark, has tripled since early 2007; and it jumped 10 percent in just one week. The fact that corn is being diverted to fuel, while no doubt a contributing factor, is also insufficient to explain these sudden jumps in price. World population growth rates have dropped dramatically since the 1980s, and according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, grain availability has continued to outpace population. Biofuels have drained off some of this grain, but biofuels did not suddenly happen, and neither did the rise of the Asian middle class. If those were the chief factors, the rise in food prices would have been gradual and predictable to match.

Another explanation for the sudden jump in grain prices, not mentioned by this Wall Street Journal writer, is suggested by William Pfaff in the April 16 International Herald Tribune:

“More fundamental is the effect of speculation in food as a commodity – like oil and precious metals. It has become a haven for financial investors fleeing from paper assets tainted by subprime mortgages and other toxic credit products. The influx of buyers drives prices and makes food unaffordable for the world’s poor. ‘Fund money flowing into agriculture has boosted prices,’ Standard Chartered Bank food commodities analyst Abah Ofon told the media. ‘It’s fashionable. This is the year of agricultural commodities.'”

The “hot money” that has fled the collapsed real estate bubble is now moving into the commodities bubble, and that includes food. “Hot money” is an influx of speculative capital in search of high rates of return, quickly moving from one market to another. It moves, however, not because the products are better (the traditional justification for price-setting according to “free market forces”) but because the speculative “spread” is better. Money is invested not in making real goods and services but simply in making more money. Food prices are being driven by speculators, and today that includes ordinary investors like you and me, who can now gamble in agricultural futures through ETFs that have opened up a lucrative market formerly available only to big investment players.

Conventional economic theory says that prices are driven up when “demand” exceeds “supply.” But in this case “demand” does not mean the number of hands reaching out for food. It means the amount of money competing for existing supplies. The global food crisis has resulted from an increase, not in the number of mouths to be fed, but simply in the price. It is the money supply that has gone up, and it is investment money in search of quick profits that is largely driving food prices up. Much of this seems to be happening in the futures market, where fund managers seek to maximize their profits by using futures contracts. Balzli and Horning explain:

“The futures market is a traditional tool for farmers to sell their harvests ahead of time. In a futures contract, quantities, prices and delivery dates are fixed, sometimes even before crops have been planted. Futures contracts allow farmers and grain wholesalers a measure of protection against adverse weather conditions and excessive price fluctuations. . . . But now speculators are taking advantage of this mechanism. They can buy futures contracts for wheat, for example, at a low price, betting that the price will go up. If the price of the grain rises by the agreed delivery date, they profit. Some experts now believe these investors have taken over the market, buying futures at unprecedented levels and driving up short-term prices. Since last August, this mechanism has led to a doubling in the price of rice.”

The authors quote grain wholesaler Greg Warner, who says what is happening now in the grain futures market is unprecedented. “What we normally have is a predictable group of sellers and buyers — mainly farmers and silo operators.” But the landscape has changed since the influx of large index funds into the futures market. “Prices keep climbing up and up.” Warner calculates that financial investors now hold the rights to two complete annual harvests of a type of grain traded in Chicago called “soft red winter wheat.” He calls these developments “stunning” and points to them as “evidence that capitalism is literally consuming itself.”

What about investing in agribusinesses such as Monsanto, which have promoted the “Green Revolution” through the bioengineering of foods and the production of GMO (genetically modified) seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and herbicide and pesticide sprays? Won’t these corporations, at least, help to alleviate the global food crisis? To the contrary, critics say these businesses too are just driving food prices up. Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds have been genetically engineered so that they cannot reproduce but must be purchased every year from the company. Small farmers who have fallen for the hype of greater productivity and subjected their land to these seeds and chemicals have found that not only have their yields been reduced but that the land will no longer bear anything except GMO seeds. Farmers who can no longer afford the seeds are priced out of the market, handing monopoly control over to the agribusiness giants that can then raise prices to whatever the market will bear; and in the case of food, it will bear a lot, right up to the point of slavery. As Henry Kissinger once famously said, “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”

What can you invest in, then, that actually would help relieve the global food crisis? One possibility is local organic farming. “Community-supported agriculture” (CSA) is a model of food production, sales, and distribution aimed at increasing the quality of food and the care given to land, plants and animals, while reducing losses and risks for producers. A variety of CSA systems are now in use worldwide, allowing small-scale commercial farmers and gardeners to have a successful, small-scale closed market while providing their customer-members with a regular delivery or pick-up of healthy local produce. The USDA provides a list of CSA addresses and websites.

That still leaves the problem of speculation in food futures. How can parasitic profits to non-producing middlemen be eliminated while still protecting farmers? The futures market was first created for farmers, who needed to be able to lock in a price today that would cover their costs and return a reasonable profit later. One interesting proposal is to return to the policy of “farm parity pricing” enacted during the 1930s. It ensured that the prices received by farmers covered the prices they paid for input plus a reasonable profit. If the farmers could not get the parity price, the government would buy their output, put it into storage, and sell it later. The government actually made a small profit on these transactions; food prices were kept stable; and the family farm system was preserved as the safeguard of the national food supply. With the push for “globalization” in later decades, farm parity was replaced with farm “subsidies” that favored foods for export over local markets. They also favored large corporate farms engaged in chemical farming over sustainable farming, forcing thousands of family farmers out of business. Farm parity pricing could help, but a complete solution to the problem of global inflation would require an overhaul of the private central banking system that has created one bubble after another for the last century. (See E. Brown, “Market Meltdown: The End of a 300 Year Ponzi Scheme,”, September 3, 2007.)

If you want to invest in the commodities boom without driving up the global prices of food or fuel, buy gold.

Destination Wedding – Why Not?

Are you considering a destination wedding? Are you planning to ask friends and family to attend or participate in your destination wedding? Are you wondering whether it’s selfish to plan a destination wedding? If your answer to any of these questions is “yes,” read on!

If you are like most couples, your wedding is the ultimate celebration and start to your future life together. You expect it to be a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. For this reason, I hope you won’t settle for anything less than your ideal – including your ideal location.

Apart from the obvious lure of gorgeous destinations and the chance to travel to a locale where neither of you has been, you may have practical reasons for planning a destination wedding. First of all, it’s a Darwinian approach to paring the guest list! It may eliminate countless headaches concerning who to invite and who not to invite. Usually, only those who are especially close to a couple will travel a long distance for their wedding. But this is true even for those couples who marry in the country where the majority of their guests reside.

Guests who can’t afford the expense of traveling to a destination wedding often find other ways to participate in the big occasion. Some throw wedding showers and many attend pre and post wedding festivities. You can take special care to make sure those who can’t attend the wedding are involved in other ways. You can also throw an ‘after wedding’ party to celebrate with those who can’t make it to the wedding.

Brides and grooms some times pay for the travel and lodging expenses of those people they especially want in attendance. This might include members of your wedding party, parents, siblings and grandparents. If your wedding is small, and destination weddings often are – these travel and lodging expenses may not be much greater than the costs you would incur by having a large wedding in your hometown.

Some couples elope. In this case, a destination wedding makes complete sense. Eloping omits lengthy, expensive and often contentious wedding planning. It insures privacy and secrecy – if that’s what you want. Under these circumstances, a destination wedding is more likely to be a destination ceremony. Maybe the secrecy of elopement and the destination itself will provide you with the feeling of private celebration you desire. In this case guests aren’t wanted! You can have an ‘after party’ later – when you’re ready to announce your marriage.

There are few occasions in life as momentous as getting married, and there are few celebrations that hold as much meaning as weddings. No couple wants to look back on their wedding day with regret. If you are like most couples, your wedding is an event that you’ve anticipated for a long time. It is an occasion invested with all your hopes and dreams for the future.

Those who care about you will hopefully put their own needs and wishes on the back burner. True friends are those who support you even when it means they have to sacrifice something to make you happy. I choose to believe that those people who show up for destination weddings are true believers. They believe in romance, in marriage and in the union of the two people whose marriage they come to celebrate.

Copyright Johanna Nauraine, 2010

REPRINT RIGHTS Statement: This article is free for republishing by visitors provided the Author Bio and Copyright is retained and the author’s website link remains active.

Status – Cross Cultural Differences

Status exists in all societies but varies in fundamental ways. Cross cultural differences in they way in which we perceive status, gain status and react to status differ from culture to culture.

In this article we examine the cross cultural differences with relation to status and analyse how they manifest in certain areas in the workplace. For the sake of simplicity we identify two types of status; ‘ascribed-status’ and ‘achieved-status’.


Ascribed-status refers to those cultures that base status upon external qualities such as age, wealth, education or gender. If one has the right external characteristics, status is ascribed to them. In such cultures there is little room for others to gain status through actions and achievements.


Achieved-status, as its title suggests, is earned. Internal qualities are valued more than external ones. Therefore, status is achieved through accomplishments such as hard work and contributions to a company or community. In such cultures status is malleable, in that it can be lost as quickly as it is gained and status can shift to other individuals.

Status and Hierarchy:

An area that status impacts within businesses is organisational hierarchies. In ascribed-status cultures there tends to be rigid hierarchies that define roles, practices and processes. For example, employees will tend to focus solely on their own responsibilities and generally not offer suggestions to those above them in the hierarchy, as to do so would be disrespectful. In such organisations, change is very rarely bottom up.

In achieved-status cultures, hierarchies exist but are less formal. The egalitarian nature of such cultures usually means that more value is placed on development and progression rather than respect for status. Consequently, lower level employees would generally feel empowered to make suggestions directly to seniors.

Status and Formality:

The formality of a culture is usually a good indication of the significance of status. The use of names between colleagues is one of the more observable manifestations of status in the workplace.

In ascribed-status cultures colleagues will generally address each other using titles and surnames. Professionals, such as doctors, architects and lawyers, would expect to be addressed by their professional titles. First names are usually only used between family and friends.

In achieved-status cultures, people commonly use first names. This is because individuals will usually feel of equal worth with one another and see no need to demonstrate deference to a more senior ranked colleague.

Status and Management:

A manager in an achieved-status culture will usually take on the role of a mentor. The manager will be a reference point and will guide those under him/her to develop their skills and perform their duties with minimal guidance. Subordinates can and do challenge a manager’s decision.

In contrast, in ascribed-status cultures, the manager is expected to give orders and know all the answers. The manager is seen to be experienced, knowledgeable and able to deal with problems effectively. Rather than a mentor, the manager in such a culture takes on more of a parental role as he/she is expected to take care of employees by ascribing duties and overseeing how they handle them. Manager’s decisions are typically not challenged.

Status and Information:

The flow of information between people in companies and organisations is another area affected by cross cultural differences in status. In cultures where status is achieved, information usually flows easily between ranks. Directly approaching a senior colleague of another department for consultation, advice or feedback will have a certain amount of protocol attached to it, but is commonplace.

Conversely, in achieved-status cultures information flow is a lot less fluid. There are only certain avenues one can take to either relay or gain information. For example, if the scenario mentioned above occurred in such a culture, the senior colleague would probably feel offended. In this circumstance, the correct protocol would be for the lower ranking colleague to approach his/her manager and ask them to approach the manager of the other department for information or feedback.

As we have seen from the few examples cited above, cross cultural differences with relation to status can and do impact upon a business. If a business is multi-cultural, problems can occur where differences in hierarchy, status and protocol lead to poor communication between staff and frustration with colleagues.