ML - Vegas Magazine

2013 - Issue 7 - November

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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Page 129 of 131

Parting Shot Secrets of the Valet CRACKING THE CODE OF VEGAS'S VEHICULAR UNDERWORLD. BY MICHAEL KAPLAN 128 ILLUSTRATION BY DANIEL O'LEARY P eppy, smiling valets are as much a part of Las Vegas's casino landscape as blackjack games and breakfast buffets. If you wonder why the local wheelmen always seem so happy, it's probably because they have one of the city's more desirable service jobs and can earn what are said to be six-figure incomes. Despite those healthy paydays, though, valet parking in Vegas has always been offered gratis—albeit with a gratuity from just about everyone who drives up. Standard these days seems to be $2, but if you're Drew Gleason, who jockeys autos for Mandalay Bay, you once received $100 after treating Floyd Mayweather's luxury ride with kid gloves. For elevated service, $20 is the anticipated bonus. Gleason says that if you don't have an M life Noir or Platinum card—which provide what he calls "first in and first out" service—the double sawbuck can get you jumped ahead in the pickup line or ensure that your car remains up front. "Anyone can get one of those spots," he says, pointing out that it's not based on how hot your car looks or even on whether you break out a 20. "If the space is available, we don't discriminate." In fact, most folks with fancy rides prefer that their vehicles be parked with everyone else's. "Come in with a Lamborghini and you get people lying on it and wanting to be photographed next to it," says Al Delio, who valeted his first car in 1977 and now serves as front service manager at Caesars Palace, where leaving the car near the entrance is not an option. "People usually ask for it to be put in a safe spot. For us, that's near the exit, which also means that you'll get your car quicker." While every valet gets to drive his share of Maybachs and Maseratis, Delio's classiest ride was Andre Agassi's Lambo, which he describes as "a real eye-catcher" that's a little complicated to start. "Various security considerations make Lamborghinis tricky," he says. "You need to do a few different things to get them going." To keep themselves going, valets drink countless bottles of water. The job makes a gym membership moot—Gleason says Mandalay car parkers run five to seven miles per eight-hour shift—and casinos have an incentive to keep their valets happy: They're both the first and last contact with guests. Hence the best valets understand the importance of handling lost tickets, dead batteries, and flat tires with a degree of politeness that you won't experience in the pay-topark garages downtown. While the logistics of valet service remain largely unchanged from the golden age of Vegas, the newest casino on the Strip does things in a more high-tech manner. At the Cosmopolitan, car retrieval is initiated by a ticket-scanning system, and the parking itself is a bit innovative as well: A camera automatically photographs your car as it goes in and out—making it easy to figure out whether or not that ding was there before you pulled in—and car lifts add a second story to each space, doubling the capacity. Some Cosmopolitan guests also have an innovative way of showing their appreciation. "One gentleman asked for my address and sent me a pair of New Balance sneakers and a backpack," says Cosmo valet Jose Reyes. "That was memorable." No doubt those shoes saved him a couple of blisters on the job. V VEGASMAGAZINE.COM 128_V_BOB_Closer_Nov13.indd 128 10/22/13 5:44 PM

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