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10/20-10-25 - Eating Sand

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by vegasvic, Nov 12, 2013.

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  1. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I'll preface by saying the weather was absolutely perfect these 6 days. High of 80-82, no wind, beautiful cool evenings. Vegas weather at it's finest (we noticed that the following weeks forecast when we left was for 60's and very windy). You know it's good when all the locals are talking about how great the weather is :)

    Sunday, October 20 - Flew in on a non evenful Southwest flight, about 3.5 hours. Arrived at 8:45 a.m. This was my girlfriends second Vegas trip (first was with me in April). On that trip we did 6 shows in 4 nights, one night with no show. This time we were going to dial it back a bit, at least in terms of shows. The weather in April was around 70 so no real pool time, this trip we were hoping for warmer weather and pool time.

    I surprised my GF with a limo pick up at the airport. Presidential Limo. Highly recommended. Booked online, they sent immediate email confirmation and then sent me the cell phone number of the driver just in case there were any issues. There weren't. He was waiting in baggage claim, bags came quick and we were in the limo in no time. Waiting there was ice cold champagne and a rose for her. Loved it. Normally I would have had the limo drive us around for awhile but football was starting at 10:00 and I wanted to get some bets down (priorities!). So we went straight to the Rio. Through Southwest Vacations we were able to get the Rio for $25 a night. It was too early even for early check in (which I would have paid) so we checked our bags and off to the sports book. I got in a few bets and we settled in. Football is not my girlfriends thing but I love her for allowing me to indulge each and every Sunday. The Rio is not my favorite sportsbook or even in my top 5 but it had to do on this day. Drink service was quick and frequent. My beloved Packers played late against Cleveland but with only 2 big screens I figured they weren't going to be on one of them. They weren't. The small screens that game was on I couldn't really see from our seats. My girlfriend spotted a couple of seats at the bar behind the sportsbook and the game was on one of those TV's so we moved there to watch.

    As the game wound down she got in line for check in. Initially about 30 people in line but it went very quick, I joined her in line and we checked in. I've done the "$20 trick" many times over the years, a majority of the time successful. This time all I wanted was the Ipanema and a strip/pool view. Shouldn't be a problem on a Sunday-Friday 5 night stay. But for some reason I was completely tongue tied (not drunk either, really!). She took the $20 as I started mumbling and finally she said "just tell me what you want". Eventually I was able to communicate enough and we got the room we wanted, on the 18th floor.

    We got to our room at about 5:00, unpacked, washed up, etc... It was a standard Rio room, nice sized, good view, etc... Hopefully they will do to all their rooms as they did with the Samba suites, they do need updating. But for $25 a night it was a bargain.

    We had tickets for Absinthe that night and took the shuttle over to Bally's. Our experience with the shuttles were great every time. They have one that goes Rio/Bally's and one that goes Rio/Harrahs. They run every half hour so we never had to wait long. The bus was usually pretty full but there was always room for everyone. I would think on weekends that might not always be the case. We walked over from Bally's to Caesars. Absinthe is in a pretty small, but very cool tent. They have heating/AC if needed. You are packed in pretty tight but every seat is within a few feet of the stage. How do I describe this show... fantastic. It's a mix of Cirque like acts (all very good) with extremely dirty, extremely un PC comedy. While it is not everyone's cup of tea I loved it. Extremely funny and highly recommended. Took the shuttle back and called it a night, it had been a long day.

    Monday, October 21

    We had nothing scheduled today but we had some Groupons for food and used one of those every day. Today we slept in and were by the pool a little after 9. So relaxing, beautiful weather, not very crowded. By the time we left around 11:30 there were quite a few people but nothing like you'd see on a weekend. We got cleaned up and dressed, took the shuttle to Harrah's and walked over to the TI where we had a Groupon for Kahunaville. It was probably about 1 when we got there, not crowded at all. It still took awhile for the waitress, took awhile to get our drinks (2 "specialty" drink were included in the Groupon), took awhile to get our food. So don't go here if you are in a hurry. The food was actually pretty good, especially at half price. We had another coupon for a deal on one of their "yard" drinks so we sat at the bar and had that after we ate. They have an oxygen bar near the entrance. No one was at it, we were talking to the girl running it and she said since no one was there we could sit there and "hang out" for awhile. Obviously she wanted someone sitting there to attract other customers. So we did. There were four "aromas" that you could mix/match with your oxygen. Any one, two, three or all four. To be honest, the oxygen didn't do much for me, I noticed nothing different. She also gives you a great scalp massage along with neck and shoulders. So while the oxygen is suppose to give you energy the massage is suppose to relax you. Interesting lol. By the time we left about a half hour later all 7 spots were full so I guess letting us do it paid off. Normally it's $20 for 20 minutes. I wouldn't do it at that price.

    After lunch we went over and hung out at Wynn for awhile. It's her favorite place and I love it there two. Had a couple of drinks. Then we made our way back to Harrah's and caught the shuttle back to the Rio. It was time for some late afternoon craps. They had $5 craps there at all times we were there. Played for about an hour, lost a bit, no big deal. We had had kind of a late lunch and weren't really hungry. We had some snacks up in the room and that was good enough. Then we walked across the street to the Gold Coast, played some craps there, then over to the Palms. It was about 7:00 and we decided to see "Gravity" in 3D on the Imax. It was her idea and I wasn't really up for a movie (I'm in VEGAS! lol). But I'm glad we went. Good movie and Imax makes it very cool. We played some craps after the movie, I really like the Palms, then back to the Rio and sleep.

    Tuesday, October 22

    This was the one day we HAD to get up at a certain time. We had booked an ATV tour via Groupon with Adreneline Tours. They were picking us up at Excalibur at 8:00. We got there about 7:45 and the owner of the company was waiting with his van. There were 11 of us. The guy was great, very interesting to talk to and the 45 minute ride out to the Valley of Fire went quickly. Once there he had his crew ready with the ATV's. Those guys were all great. Some of us had been on ATV's before. many never had been. They split us into two groups, based on experience. Each group had a guide leading the way and someone else in the back of the group just in case anyone had an issue. The experienced group took off first, the others a few minutes later. Spectular views out there, simply great. Stopped after about a half hour just to take it all in. Stopped again later for lunch (nothing fancy, turkey sandwiches, chips, etc). Again, very beautiful area and the ATV's were a lot of fun. I just wish I had brough a bandana or something to cover my mouth. I ate a lot of sand/dirt. But loved it :) All in all I would highly recommend these guys. You are on the ATV's about 3 hours or so. Took the van back to the Excal then back to the Rio to get cleaned up (which took awhile!).

    We had a Groupon for Buzzios Seafood restaurant, which was convenient since it's in Rio. It's an interesting place. They have regular tables and a bar as all restaurants. The kitchen is in the open and there is a bar you can sit/eat at so you can watch them cook. We didn't have a choice as we didn't have a reservation (all the tables were booked) so we sat at the bar and watched them cook. Those guys were hustling, the place was full. One thing I didn't like is one of the chefs was also our waiter. So service was spotty. And when he took a drink order he had to walk over to the bar, place the order and bring our drinks back. Very odd. It would have been MUCH better having a regular waiter/waitress. The food was good, not great. It's not a cheap place and even with the Groupon I thought it was an average value.

    We had tickets for Jersey Boys Tuesday night at Paris. So off on the shuttle and we were at Bally's and walked over to Paris. But first some craps at Bally's. Jersey Boys is great. Franki Valli, in his prime, was before my time but the songs were all great, the cast is talented, the show was a lot of fun. After, took the shuttle back, played a bit more and off to bed.

    Wednesday, October 23
    Another morning of waking up and going to the pool (I never get tired of this). Beautiful weather again. We had some fruit and other snacks in the room, we didn't want much for breakfast, we knew we'd be having a big lunch. Shuttle over to Bally's and then walked to PH, we had a Groupon for Pampas. It was for lunch which I believe goes until 4, we got there about 2. Not crowded, seated immediately. If you've never been to one Brazilian grills are kind of fun. There is a salad bar (this one was ok, not great, it had things other than salad too) and then waiters come around with skewers of various meats and if you want some they'll put some on your plate. You each have a kind of marker with a green end and a red end. If you place it green side up it means you're hungry and the meat guys are suppose to stop at a table. Red means leave me alone. But since it wasn't very crowded the guys stopped every time they walked buy regardless of what our markers said. There was chicken, a couple of kinds of beef (I can't remember exactly now what they were), pork, etc... Our Groupon included Seafood but those aren't on skewers, they just came out with some shrimp and if we wanted more we would have to ask for more. The Groupon also included a drink. This is the kind of place Groupon was meant for, I felt it was a good deal but wouldn't have been worth paying full price. You can eat as much as you wish so we were pretty stuffed when we left.

    Next it was over to Monte Carlo for the Minus Five Ice Bar. It was fun. Very over priced, not something I'd do again but fun for one time. Parka, gloves, boots for her as she had sandals on. I was in sneakers so no boots for me. We both were wearing shorts but that really wasn't an issue. The place is small but it's cool that everything is ice. The bar, the glasses, the tables. Our "package" included two drinks plus they were handing out coupons in front of the place for a free shot. So we each had a shot and 2 drinks. There was one couple there when we got there, another couple came and left pretty quickly. You are not allowed to take pictures and you have to lock your phones/cameras in a locker before you go in (they'd never know if you had one in your pocket but pics aren't allowed anyway). A photographer will take a few pics of you inside and they sell them on your way out. We were suckers and bought 3 (for the price of 2), I thought they turned out great and if you are going to overpay to go in the place you might as well overpay for some pics.

    Stopped at Cosmo and had a drink at the Chandelier Bar. I've not stayed at the Cosmo but I like the place.

    After that it was back to PH for the Sin City Comedy show. Another Groupon, gave us "VIP" seats and a free drink for I believe $15 each. Opening comedian comes out, does about 5 minutes of "jokes", a woman comes out and does a burlesque number, first comedian comes back and does about 15 minutes of stuff, second girl does a burlesque number, headline comedian comes out and it's all over in 60 minutes. Way too short and not that funny. I realize comedians are hit and miss, the headliner had some funny stuff but he only did about 20-25 minutes if that. It wasn't really a rip off just a waste of time.

    Took the shuttle back to Rio and went back to the Palms and gambled.

    Thursday, October 24

    I was a bit sore after my ATV excursion from the 2 days before but nothing too bad. We were again at the pool a little after 9. Glorious. Simply glorious. A couple hours later back to the room and took the shuttle to Harrahs for the 1:00 Mac King show. The regular price is around $40 I think and there are some 2 for 1 coupons all over the place. But you can get in for $14.95 and that includes a drink. Where you get these special tickets can vary, we went to the box office (3rd floor) and were told they were availabe at the Total Rewards booth downstairs. There was a decent line a TR and it was already 12:40 so it was iffy and it looked like we might have to do the 3:00 show. But we made it. You don't even have to be a TR member, just ask for the Mac King tickets and they'll give to you. Then you take the tickets to the Mac King box office. Technically they are "free" and you have to buy a drink. You pay for the drink up front at the box office. It was about $10 plus taxes, etc... it came to $14 something. It's a bigger showroom than I thought for an afternoon show (I believe it's the same one as Million Dollar quartet but I don't know that for sure). The bar is in a separate room. This is a show where a maitre D shows you to your seat. It looked like the more you actually paid for your ticket the better your seat. The ones who got tix like ours were behind the rest. I suppose a tip would have moved us up but no big deal, the place was more than half empty. Mac King put on a fun show. Very family friendly and there were some kids there. He was on a bit more than an hour and was in the lobby after to talk (and sell his books/tshirts). Very nice guy and well worth an hour.

    Our next Groupon was for Toby Keith's at Harrahs. My GF likes him, I'm not a country fan (although I will say he put on a good show when I saw him at Harleyfest a couple of months ago). The food was decent, the place was kind of like a big Applebees, the menu had a little bit of everything.

    We had yet another Groupon for the National Geographic exhibit at Venetian. It was pretty cool, a nice diversion for the hour or so we spent there. Stopped in at Casino Royale for awhile, I like that place, can't believe it's still there. I always enjoyed the old Nob Hill, eating a 99 cent breakfast upstairs and watching the gaming action from the balcony while eating.

    Then it was back to Rio for a night of gambling. There was a math teachers convention going on, a majority of which was women teachers. They were all a hoot. Quite a few of them playing craps at various times. We had a fun evening gambling.

    Friday, October 25

    We had a 2:30 flight back so we had another chance at some pool time. Ate some breakfast and the limo driver was right on time for the drive to the airport.

    Conclusion:

    I've been going to Vegas for many years and it never gets old. There is just such a variety of things to do. I didn't really detail much of the gambling we did. I play mostly craps and also some BJ (won't play 6:5 though, that's b.s.). My girlfriend is now also hooked. We didn't make it downtown on this trip although I usually do. My ex wife never really got into shows and would have never done the ATV thing, I'm loving that I now have someone with more similar interests :)
     
  2. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Nice report! Sounds like you got max value from all the coupons. :thumbsup:
     
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  3. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    Yeah it's funny, I've always used coupons in the local Vegas magazines and I subscribe to Las Vegas Advisor and get those coupons too. I've never been one to do something just because there is a coupon but if there's something I'm interested in AND I can get a discount, why the hell not lol. And although I use Groupons locally sometimes I had never even thought about Las Vegas Groupons until I saw someone talk about it here.
     
  4. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC Low-Roller

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    Glad you found the right one to travel with. You guys sure covered a lot of ground. Congrats
     
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  5. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    When I was single and then when I was married I found I kept settling into a comfortable groove. I had my favorite places to stay and play and that's where I was at 90% of the time. I'd check out a new casino when it opened but that's it. It's fun "rediscovering" Vegas with a newbie, one who likes to try different things while I still get in the amount of gambling that I'm used to. And she's finding out how fun a hot craps table can be (although those were hard to find on this trip).
     
  6. atcmurph

    atcmurph Watcher Of The Skies

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    Nice report, thanks! I did that ATV tour once. So much fun!
     
  7. WHITEJACKET73

    WHITEJACKET73 Low-Roller

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    I stayed at the Rio a week after you did. We did the ATV tour on Oct 30th and had a blast. My son blew a head gasket on his ATV; fortunately it was right before we got back to the parking area. Like you, we were pretty dusty when we got back to the Hotel. We also took advantage of the groupon for Buzios; it was pretty slow when we dined there. Thanks for taking the time to write your TR.
     
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  8. Readingfanman

    Readingfanman Low-Roller

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    Enjoyable TR. How much was the ATV tour? Considering doing it, but not wanting to spend too much on it.
     
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  9. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    You sure were busy and lots of good coupon value! It is fun doing Vegas with a newbie.
     
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