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13th Anniversary (July 8-11 @ Aria)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by hoochiemama, Jul 14, 2012.

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  1. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    First off I’m so glad I found this forum. We’ve been planning this years trip since January and I’ve spent countless hours on here enjoying the posts and learning about new things to try and do! I will point out some thanks along the way that we discovered here. I will make these with (tip)

    My wife and I have been to Vegas (together) about 12 times and 8 in a row. Each year for the past 8 years we have gone for our anniversary (lucky number 13 this year). Some people think we’re crazy, but we both love to eat, drink and gamble so what better place to enjoy ourselves! We are not even close to being high rollers. We usually gamble between the two of us up to $500-1000. If we lose more than $500 combined we get pretty bummed out.

    Over the years we’ve kept some traditions and this trip I think we started a couple more (thanks to this forum). I’ll mention them along the way, but the traditions we’ve kept up for at least a couple years are: Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York, Margaritaville, Improv at Harrah's, Carnival court at Harrah's, Piano Bar at Harrah's (not this time), drink at Parasol Up in the Wynn (but that didn’t happen this time).

    This ended up getting kinda long, so here’s a few highlights:

    • Nine Fine Irishmen, great beer and appetizers
    • Harrah’s Improv was great (again)
    • Aria was good - enjoyed the location and the bed (extremely comfortable).
    • Margaritaville casino was a great fun surprise
    • Lagasse's Stadium was a great find we stumbled upon.
    • Absinthe was awesome!
    • Mon Ami Gabi is now a new tradition for us


    Although not as wild as the guy emptying the uhaul on the strip here’s a summary of the crazier things we came across...

    • A guy getting wheeled out of the harrahs men's restroom on a stretcher
    • A guy throwing a slot machine chair at another guy
    • A guy laying on the floor in Aria with lettuce all over him
    • A cabbie which we later ended up deciding with each was possibly doing another job on the side.


    Anyways let’s get on with it...

    Day 1 Sunday July, 8

    We had a noon flight on Southwest (free flight after signing up for the credit card) which turned out to be a good time (in the past we’ve gone for a 7am flight to get started by 9 but I think we’re getting too old for that ;) ). Up until the last minute I contemplating getting a limo for transportation to surprise the wife (of course was looking at Presidential Limo (tip)). It didn’t happen. While we were waiting in the airport for our flight we started to debate if we should get a rental car or not (they were pretty cheap - it would have been less than $100 for our stay). However, since we don’t tend to spend much our time in a “drivable” condition :)beer:), we decided to just go the taxi route again. Maybe of these times we’ll make it out to the Vegas sign.

    The flight was on time and fairly smooth - we both hate the turbulence. We noticed even arriving on Sunday it was more busy at the airport and taxi line than we’re used to. Even so the taxi line kept constantly moving. We were in a cab within 10 min. Just like clockwork the cabbie (a lady) asked us if we wanted to the freeway (quicker) or surface streets. She of course didn’t mention which one would be cheaper. Again thanks to this forum I knew better and told her without hesitation surface streets (tip). There was not much traffic at all and it worked out.

    We arrived at Aria to be greeted with a pretty long line for check in (again we usually come way earlier so we're not used to it). However it wasn’t bad (there was a lady handing out waters which was nice). We had what I think was a pretty good deal - $99/night (complimentary city view) with a $100 credit. As much as I’ve read about the $20 sandwich (tip) I’ve wanted to try it, but never had enough balls to try it. However, I have no trouble asking if there are any upgrades just in case we get lucky. I casually ask (and mention it’s our anniversary (tip)) if there are any corner suites available. She quickly starts typing and casually mentions that there would be nothing complementary available. She said that the going rate for corner suites was $299 / night and we’d just have to make up the difference. Sorry honey. Maybe next year. They did however send up some yummy chocolate covered strawberries for our anniversary - a nice touch.

    We ended up with a room on the 24th floor. Not bad at all. We did have a pretty good view of the strip even though we noticed that Aria was tucked a bit back away from the strip (tip). But not too far for us not to enjoy the view. We inspected the room and thought it was pretty nice for a standard room. However in years past we used to get rooms comped at the Venetian and we were kind of spoiled by that (especially the size of the Venetian rooms).

    We didn’t have any immediate plans, but while we decided we figured what the heck and grabbed a couple bud lights out of the mini bar.

    Side note: a few years back at Mandalay Bay we did the same thing, except my wife got beer bottle full of water! That was a whole other fiasco turned awesome (since our shower only spit out hot water) we ended up in the the top floor crazy suite bigger than our house!

    Anyways we decided to start out with one of our traditions - getting a Guinness (or two or three) at the Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York in the upstairs bar. Plus it was getting close to 2 pm when happy hour started. Except when we got there we discovered there is no happy hour on Sunday :(. No matter, ordered a couple Guinness, potato basket, and beer ‘n’ cheese dip - all highly recommended. The potatoes are served with some kind of curry for a nice combination. Off to a good start after 3 Guinness. We decide to head down to pick up our tickets at Harrah's for the Improv that night (another yearly tradition). We gambled for a tad (nothing special) and cabbed it down to Harrah's (again, we’re getting older - we used to walk it :) ).

    We were doing ok on time (we still wanted to go back to Aria to shower and change before the show). We decided to do another one of our traditions - get a drink or two at Margaritaville. I usually go for the rum drinks, the wifey gets the Margaritas. We sat at the bar in the back and kept the fun going. It wasn’t too crowded, but still a good amount of people. We skipped the volcano nachos (tip) this time because we were still full from the potatoes and cheese.

    Anyways, we started to make our way to Harrah's to get our tickets and we were pleasantly surprised that the walkway between Margaritaville and Flamingo was turned into a bit of a mini Margaritaville casino! We of course had to stop and gamble for a bit since it looked like so much fun. We both like roulette and it was a decent $5 minimum so we played for a bit. Eventually I ran out of money, but the wifey was still going. I stood behind her and watched. She ended up hitting 13! I managed to get so excited that I dropped about half of my rum runner on the floor, but nobody was impressed by that. Anyways not too long after that (another reason I’m so happy about the Margaritaville casino) the waitress asked if I wanted a drink even though it was very obvious I wasn’t playing. I didn’t hesitate and ordered a gin and tonic. My wife didn’t hear the end of how impressed I was ;). It was starting to get a bit late, so we decided to get our tickets and head back to Aria and get ready for the Improv.

    The Improv at Harrah's has been one of our traditions for some years now. Each year we’ve had a blast. My wife only got us kicked out once :). She wasn’t quite heckling, but she didn’t realize that comics ask rhetorical questions sometimes :). She was warned enough times, but the staff had no choice. I think we ended up somehow getting a refund! Also, coincidentally that was the only year we went to the late/drunk show :).

    Anyways this year we ended up seeing Dat Phan (again). We actually saw him years ago after he won Last Comic Standing. I kind of like the mystery of seeing someone new (we usually buy the tickets long before we know who is going to be playing) so wasn’t sure about seeing Dat Phan again. However, I’ll tell you what he didn’t disappoint. In fact all three comics were great. And as a bonus we didn’t get kicked out!

    Since we kind of had the late appetizers at NYNY, we decided to eat at the Grand Lux in the Venetian after the show. Since we used to stay there a lot, we used to always eat there and enjoy a lot. My wife was craving a rachael sandwich they have. On the way there as we were leaving Harrahs we saw one of the crazy things during this trip that we’ve never seen before. We have no idea what sparked it, but these guys right in front of us seemed to be having some kind of rumble or something and as they were walking out, one guy picked up slot machine chair and threw it at the other guy! We leered a bit, but just kept walking since we didn’t need any black eyes or broken bones. Anyways, the reuben turned out not being so good. However my omelette and pineapple mojito hit the spot :).

    We called it a night. We enjoyed the night view from the room at Aria, we left the blinds open to the lights and the view and went to bed.

    Day 2 - Monday July 9

    We discovered why they invented something called blackout curtains. I woke up thinking it must have been at least 9am. However, it was just an illusion. It was barely 6am! The sun was coming in so bright it was insane. Luckily closing the blinds was just a button away. We ended up sleeping a bit more, but not as much as I would have liked.

    We went down to eat breakfast at Cafe Vettro. It was a very nice place, good service, nice atmosphere. The food was decent, but not great. However, it was still a great experience.

    This day we didn’t have anything planned for night, however we had a “Ceremony of Love” massage planned for Planet Hollywood at 1 pm. We’ve done it before and went for it again this trip. It is quite expensive, however, it is a great experience. First, a bath in a nice big tub (they give you juice and dessert), then a 75 minute couples massage. You are in the same room for the whole deal. The massage is hit or miss. This time, I felt the massage favored the gluteus maximus a little more than I would have liked, but overall it was another great experience.

    I had heard about Rhumbar especially the mojitos so even though it was happy hour (the mojitos weren’t part of happy hour) I got a mojito anyways. It was definitely pretty tasty. The wifey got a pretty good vodka drink at happy hour price. We sat inside and skipped the hookah outside.

    We made our way down to the Palazzo since for some reason I thought Cut had a happy hour. Unfortunately we were left with a little egg on our face when we were turned away. We wandered around a bit and stumbled upon the Lagasse's Stadium. How cool that was! We’re not huge sports fans, but the place was awesome. You could just spread out on a couch with ottomans and chill out. We ended up getting a bucket of beers, some shrimp, and some way too good chili fries. We watched a little xgames and a little bit of some kind of home run challenge or something. We may need to come back here again sometime...

    From there, we cabbed it back to Aria. We didn’t have anything planned that night, however we had the idea to go to the Improv again as we knew there would be a new batch of comedians :). We started to get ready and lollygagged around and eventually it was getting later and later. We had a plan B of just going to Harrah's to go to the piano bar (we’ve had a good time there in the past). Well, plan C happened - we just went downstairs and gambled a bit in Aria :). It turned out being for the best since we later remembered that the Improv is dark on Mondays!

    My wife plays mostly slots (absolutely loves the wheel of fortune) and some roulette. I play roulette, let it ride, some slots. Although this trip I didn’t play any let it ride, however I did try out 3 card poker. I became interested in it online, however found out that Aria wasn’t quite the best place to play - especially with $15 minimum! Money doesn’t last too long with that pace (later, I’ll mention about playing at the Monte Carlo).

    We both finished gambling and made our way for some dessert at Jean-Philippe Pâtisserie. Very highly recommended! I had a lemon crepe with creme brulee gelato. My wife had some sort of ice cream sundae. This was a good end to our second night.

    We still didn’t learn about the blackout curtains - we went to bed with the Vegas strip out our window and again woke up at the crack of dawn with the sun shining in. A little deja vu, closed the blinds and went back to sleep. Maybe next time we’ll learn how to program the timer.

    Day 3 - Tuesday July 10

    Today was our actual anniversary. The only thing we had pre-planned was Absinthe later on. More on this in a bit. It ended up being a pretty busy and fun day nonetheless.

    We decided to head over to Mon Ami Gabi (tip). It was indeed fantastic. This place will become another tradition. We got there about 9 or so and the wait wasn’t too bad. One funny thing I had noticed the sign on the desk which said no sleeveless shirts allowed. Sure enough a guy came in with a tank top. I’ve heard about fancy restaurants having spare sport coats and stuff. But the girl behind the counter reached under and gave the guy a t-shirt so he could still come in :).

    One another thing I definitely wanted to do was to go to Cosmo to take advantage of the $100 freeplay promotion going on (tip). We each signed up for the Identity cards. The ladies were pretty nice and explained the promotion to us. I was planning on trying out a $5 machine, but I first played a little something on a $1 wheel of fortune. Well I ended up winning a bit over $100 and called it quits :). The wifey won some on one machine, cashed in the ticket for about $100, then quickly lost that. Not really understanding the promotion we went back up to the Identity desk and ended up being pretty embarrassed when they told us she had only lost $10. However again the Identity ladies were extremely nice and they all took the time to explain what idiots we were (without making us feel like idiots). At any rate, the wife went back to it and lost an actual $100, went back to the desk and got the freeplay. However, nothing came of it. It was a pretty nice place though.

    Another trip to Margaritaville, Harrah's (Big Elvis - although we only lasted a couple songs). It was quite a different feeling this trip to actually feel young in a place there :). He is definitely a good entertainer though. Off to the Carnival Court for a little Wonder Boogie. Pretty fun band, but didn’t really compare to the Spazmatics we stumbled upon last year (those guys were a hoot!).

    Back to Aria to get something to eat and get ready for Absinthe!

    We decided we would hit up Sage (tip) for the early dining menu. Only thing we couldn’t decide if we should eat first, or go up and get ready first (it was probably about 5:15). We were pretty hungry, but we were also looking pretty shabby after a day out. I was wearing shorts and flip flops. Anyways we went over to Sage and asked the hostess about our attire. She said it wasn’t a problem so we went ahead. We were seated (we only saw one or two other parties there). The waiter came over and we also expressed to him that we were uncomfortable with our attire. However, he made us feel right at home. The only annoying thing was that they brought out the regular menus. We had to explicitly ask for the early dining menu.

    Anyways all the embarrassment and all was well worth it! The food was excellent! The wife had the artichoke/potato soup, and I had the burrata cheese. We both had the chicken which we couldn’t stop raving about. She had the pistachio panna cotta and I had the white chocolate ganache. We also each had the beer pairing which was awesome and unique. The service was great and overall a great anniversary dinner.

    Finally we made the way back to the room to get ready for the show.

    We made our way over to Caesar's for the early Absinthe (tip) show. I had read a lot about it and the only negative reviews I could really notice was people complaining about it being too raunchy and offensive (not a problem for us :) ). I’ll tell you what that show didn’t disappoint. We were both rolling on the floor. I had seen some videos on youtube, but had to stop myself from watching all of them because I didn’t want to spoil anything for myself. I’m glad I did because I still saw some surprises. The only thing I didn’t see which I was looking forward to was the roller skating duo. I knew the original couple moved on somewhere else, but I thought there was going to be another couple. No matter, it was an awesome show, and the wife loved it too which was even a bigger bonus!

    Day 4 - Tuesday July 11

    Time to go home :( We had a late flight (about 6pm) so instead of checking out and leaving our bags with the bell hop we decided to just bite the bullet and pay the half day rate. This while expensive was a great decision because we could just chill out on the last day without having to rush out.

    We decided to gamble next door at Monte Carlo. It was actually a nice break from the more expensive tables at Aria. I played a little more 3 card poker with $5 minimum. They did it different at Monte Carlo. At Aria you don’t even touch the cards. I mentioned this to the dealer and he said that they tried too before, but people stopped playing. I must say it was a much better experience. I managed to win about $40 and leave.

    One last lunch and drink at Diablo (not bad, not great), but a pretty nice ending. Went back to Aria, packed up and checked out. We knew we charged a lot to the room, but we found out how much. The girl behind the counter explained that the $100 credit doesn’t show up on the bill (they just don’t add charges to the bill - for instance we didn’t see any charges for the Cafe Vettro breakfast).

    Off to the taxi stand (no one in line) for our last taxi ride to the airport. Checked our bags, got to the gate and had about 2 hrs to spare. Of course our gambling wasn’t over. My wife played some wheel of fortune, I ended up playing one of those crazy penny machines that can cost up to $3/spin (this one was an EBay machine). I squandered my $20 down to $0.25, hit the cash out button, then a bonus game kicked in! It kept going all on its own (I still don’t understand those things sometimes) until I was up just shy of $100!!! What a way to cash out. Anyways, a couple more spins, ended up with $100.50 and called it a day.

    All in all we lost <$500 gambling between us (although we were down more than that for some time) so we weren’t too bummed out.

    It was overall a great trip. Already looking forward to next year!
     
  2. surfside

    surfside Tourist

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    Lagasses

    Awesome TR!

    I got some good ideas from your report! I have a question though about lagasses..did you they require a minimum order per hour? I will be meeting up with some friends and we are looking for a sports bar. Plan to do a few parlays on some baseball games.. and one of my friends said that you have to spend like 50 each an hour to sit at lagasses! I find that very hard to believe..Did you experience that?
     
  3. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Low-Roller

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    Thanks!
    Nope didn't notice anything like that. However we were there when it was pretty empty inside. Plus, even if there was that kind of minimum we probably met it anyways between the bucket (6 beers) and the food :cheers:
     
  4. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed your report - thanks so much for posting!
     
  5. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

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    Great TR! Glad you had a good anniversary. We were there the same days as you were; we probably crossed paths at some point since we did some of the same things.

    I think they offer up a lot of t-shirts at Mon Ami Gabi, esp at breakfast and lunch. We saw a guy there with one on, too. :)

    I think we'll put Absinthe on our agenda for the December trip. Glad to hear a glowing recommendation.:thumbsup:
     
  6. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

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    Great TR! Glad you had a good anniversary. We were there the same days as you were; we probably crossed paths at some point since we did some of the same things.

    I think they offer up a lot of t-shirts at Mon Ami Gabi, esp at breakfast and lunch. We saw a guy there with one on, too. :)

    I think we'll put Absinthe on our agenda for the December trip. Glad to hear a glowing recommendation.:thumbsup:
     
  7. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    A really fun read. :thumbsup:
    Sounds like you and your wife had a fantastic anniversary trip.
    Nice win there on the penny slot at the end.

    The beer pairings at Sage sound good too. We might have to try that some time.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us. :beer:
     
  8. hoochiemama

    hoochiemama Low-Roller

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    That's too funny! Hope you had as good a time as we did!

    We're both looking forward to seeing it again too. As long as you know what you're in for and not too easily offended, I'd say you can't go wrong.

    That was a lot of fun - it was definitely unique. It was nice since we're not really wine drinkers, but it was cool that there was something for us beer drinkers
     
  9. vegasdrea

    vegasdrea Buckle Bunny

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    I really enjoyed the TR. thanks for sharing! sounds like you two had a wonderful time :) :)
     
  10. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Happy Lucky #13! Enjoyed your trip report.
     
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