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18-25 August - Vdara, low-rolling and beer

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by pd54, Aug 28, 2015.

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  1. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Ireland
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2

    My Trip Report

    Background
    We made our first trip to Las Vegas in August 2014 as part of our honeymoon. We were only there 4 nights, which was 3 full days, so we really wanted to return. Coming from Ireland flights in August of this year were around £720 each ($1,100) so when we saw we could go Belfast - Newark - Las Vegas for £360 each ($555) with United we couldn't resist!
    We stayed in a one bedroom terrace suite in the Cosmopolitan last year, but couldn't justify the price of staying there this year. We got the Vdara deluxe suite for $999 direct with Vdara, including resort fee, for 7 nights. We were really pleased with this deal.

    I spend alot of time reading this forum in advance of travelling, enjoying the trip reports, and learning a lot of things we weren't aware of previously, so thanks for that!

    We also played MyVegas in advance for some 2 for 1s.

    We are VERY low rollers, so had about $80 a day each for gambling. If we got profit the original stake went back in the envelope and the winnings into our wallets. If we lost we lost!
    Our plan was to play roulette, blackjack and video poker.
    I like craft beer, so I wanted to drink a lot of different beers.

    Aims for trip
    Our aims for the trip were:

    Food
    Aria Brunch - MyVegas
    Bellagio Brunch - MyVegas
    Wolfgang Puck at MGM Grand - 2 for 1 Entrée - MyVegas
    Border Grill, Mandalay Bay - 2 for 1 Entrée voucher
    Shake Shack at NYNY
    Ellis Island Casino and Brewery
    Mon Ami Gabi, Paris
    Charlie Palmer Steak, Four seasons hotel, MJ One Tribute Menu

    Drinks
    Verbena cocktail, Chandelier Bar, Cosmopolitan
    Mandalay Bay Casino, craft beer on casino floor
    Mandarin Bar, Mandarin Oriental
    TAG sports bar, The Linq - craft beer video poker
    Whiskey Down, MGM Grand - Whiskey video poker

    Downtown
    Container Park
    Banger Brewing
    Main Street Station Casino, Brewery and Hotel
    Mob Museum

    This probably won't be the most exciting Trip Report ever, but I just wanted to put my Vegas visit out there if the places we visited can be of help to some people, and I'm happy to answer any Q's people might have about the places we visited.

    Tuesday 18th
    We arrived at Belfast International airport for our 11am flight (3am Vegas time) and asked for any complimentary upgrades. We were successful and got upgraded to Economy Plus. WIN!
    Newark has greatly improved since our last trip.

    IMG_7789.jpg

    The flight to Vegas was totally fine, except there are no complimentary snacks anymore. :(
    So happy to arrive in Vegas.

    IMG_7791.jpg

    Got to hotel around 10pm Vegas time. A long day travelling. We got an 'upgrade' to a room with a better view from the second night onwards. As it was our wedding anniversary also Vdara also kindly left a bottle of fizz in our room!

    IMG_7802.jpg

    Went to FIVE50 pizza for a bite to eat and really enjoyed it and played at bit of 802 row video poker!

    Wednesday 19th
    Aria buffet for breakfast with a MyVegas 2 for 1. We enjoyed it. Would recommend it! Put an unsuccessful baseball bet on too before hitting the strip!
    Started in Paris and worked our way up the strip towards $5 blackjack in Margaritaville. Went to visit the flamingos in the flamingo which we hadn't done last time!
    IMG_7820.jpg
    Then went to the TAG bar in the Linq. I loved this place! I had a Joseph James Citra Rye and a Swami's IPA. Both highly recommended. Walked away $20 down from video poker.
    IMG_7826.jpg
    Went out to the Linq promenade, again something we didn't do on our last trip. We really liked it there. Was nice to be off strip and see something new. got a sprinkles cupcake then went into O'Sheas (because it was Irish themed!) and cashed out for $46 having put $20 in.
    We then headed back via the Bellagio, into Cosmopolitan, and down to Shake Shack. It was gooood! And really good value too. Had their Shakemeister ale.
    IMG_7840.jpg IMG_7847.jpg
    From there we went into NYNY and played at Times Square bar (up $9 while drinking Bud Light) then over to MGM Grand for a Woodford Reserve at Whiskey Down ($23 profit from video poker / electronic roulette)

    Thursday 20th
    Bellagio breakfast buffet Vegas 2 for 1. Not good. Would recommend Aria ahead of it. Tired buffet with a poor choice.
    We had two of these 2 for 1s to use this trip. We cancelled the second and purchased an Aria one.
    Got the SDX bus to the North outlets. Some great bargains for us Europeans! We had dinner at the Cheesecake factory, with a lovely Icky IPA.
    Stopped off at the Cosmopolitan for a visit to the lucky cat ($10 for slots won - woohoo!). I put it into the video poker in the ground floor Chandelier bar and walked away even.

    We liked to play the video poker that differentiated between JOB and 2 pairs, as we found we got 2 pairs pretty regularly and at time we were playing the tables where you got the same returns as JOB. I also liked the tables that differentiated between the four of a kinds e.g. four 5's thru kings. I also figured that the multiples were the same across the pay tables, with the exception of a royal flush, and as the chances of getting that were pretty much zero I played $1 hands instead of max bet $1.25 (what's a quarter, but I thought my $20 might go further!)

    Then we went upstairs for the famous Verbena. I asked why it was a secret and was told it wasn't, it was their most popular drink!! It's not on the menu because they forgot to include it when they were being reprinted!
    The buzz sensation was really weird, but then after that we thought we were going to be sick. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, sorry!!
    We got some money off our drinks from points we had accumulated staying in the Cosmo last year.
    Went back to the Aria. We were about to play video poker at the lift bar, but it was minimum $5 denomination ($25 max credit), so we took a seat while there was live entertainment. The guy was called Daniel Park. He was amazing! If he is on when you are in Vegas I would recommend checking him out!

    Friday 21st
    This was our day downtown. We didn't make Container park or the Mob museum.
    We started at 4Queens for their players club. Got the free pack of cards and free ace for first hand of blackjack. Lost $20 very quickly playing $5 blackjack.
    We went next to the D and really liked it in there!!
    IMG_7881.jpg
    Dhiego the barman at the Long Bar was great, and had connections to Belfast, so he enjoyed chatting with us. We were playing video poker. We got talking to a guy on his bachelor party who was good fun. He bought us a round of drinks. Asked us to join him at the craps table (we never played craps) and threw us $20 each to play with him! We had good fun, but didn't win. Bought him a guinness back! Such a good guy and group of friends. Good luck with the upcoming nuptials!
    Then we walked down to Banger Brewing. We were there last year and I really wanted to return. $5 beer 3 - 6 Monday to Friday. Their beers are sooo good!!
    Jalapeno beer, a caramel / hazelnut coffee beer which was a light colour, as well as a randalizer (a column filled with hops that the beer travels through between keg and tap which gives it extra flavour). John the barman was a real nice guy and happy to chat about their beers.
    IMG_7886.jpg IMG_7887.jpg
    I REALLY recommend a trip there for beer lovers.
    After Banger we went to play Sigma Derby at the D.
    IMG_7890.jpg
    I won $33 playing blackjack and roulette in Binions, then we walked up to the Plaza (Back to the Future!), then Main Street Station for some more beer. I was really disappointed with the beer here, as well as our meal in 777.
    Won $30 profit at Golden Gate, then bus back to the strip.
    What a great day downtown. We had a blast!!

    Saturday 22nd
    Started with a quick breakfast at Starbucks in Crystals before taking the bus up to the Venetian. We had lunch at the Anchor Bar, home of Buffalo Wings. Had an Easy Jack IPA with it.
    Then we walked up to the Wynn, via a quick look into Lagasse's Stadium. We had never been in the Wynn before. What a place!
    We had a reservation for the Sunday Jazz Brunch, but it had been cancelled on us as there were renovations. I wanted to check out the Country Club, and see for myself a golf course and waterfall so close to the strip. We had the place to ourselves, it was so quiet. Had a lovely Woodford Reserve bourbon.
    IMG_7939.jpg
    A quick spin at roulette on the way out the door netted a profit of $12.
    We walked back to the Vdara, got changed and headed out for a drink in the Mandarin Oriental bar. What a great place - great cocktails and a great view!
    IMG_7949.jpg
    From there we went for dinner in Bardot Brasserie. We had a lovely meal with perfect service!
    IMG_7969.jpg
    Then we spent the rest of the evening on the Aria casino floor and I lost $100! I did note that at the Sports Bar they were timing how long it was before you got comped your next drink while playing video poker. I had the Pale ale exclusive to Aria, brewed by Sin City, which I quite enjoyed.

    Sunday 23rd
    We started Sunday with breakfast at the Market Cafe in the Vdara with $15 off thanks to MyVegas.
    We spent a few hours at the pool then headed out onto the strip.
    We walked through Caesar's Palace, the Forum Shops then went to check out Gilley's bar. It was quiet, so we walked on through into treasure island and sat at the bar to watch the start of the Cowboy's pre-season game.
    As I said earlier, we liked to play video poker, and when we weren't required to play max bet for comped beer, we didn't. So I played $1 hands while drinking a Sam Adams and, yep, you guessed it, hit a royal flush!! $250 isn't to be sniffed at for a low roller like me, but $1,000 would have been nice! And it was from holding a J and Q of hearts. I promptly cashed out for $267!
    IMG_7983.jpg IMG_7984.jpg
    We walked back down towards the Linq promenade as we really liked this area, and played a bit more at Tag to drink more great craft beer. I had a Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale by Lagunita's and Mirror Pond Pale Ale by Deschutes Brewery. The guys there are always happy to give a recommendation.
    We headed back to Vdara past the Bellagio fountains and back to Five50 for pizza and beer.

    Monday 24th
    Our last full day in Vegas. We started with the Aria brunch. They had all the usual stuff. It tasted pretty good!
    We then headed through Monte Carlo towards Excalibur and Luxor as we hadn't yet been down there. Then we headed back towards MGM Grand for some more sigma derby, then went to Shake Shack for a quick burger. After that we headed to the Pub at Monte Carlo where I had their Private Label Pale Ale.
    I had done a final $5 baseball bet, but the Red Sox let me down :(
    IMG_8027.jpg
    We headed back to the Aria, played some video poker again at the Sports Bar. We had a MyVegas free crepe and a pastry at Jean Philippe and had a last drink in the Aria lobby bar.
    IMG_8024.jpg

    Tuesday 25th
    To airport and home!

    Conclusion
    Fantastic trip to Vegas. Ended up about $40, so can't complain too much!
    Delighted with my royal flush!
    Would recommend the Vdara.
    Pretty much accomplished everthing on our list, with the exception of Ellis Island (we weren't really nearby when we were hungry),the Four Seasons MJ One meal and Container Park.
    We did well with our flights and hotel prices, with our upgrade on the flight out to Newark, the MyVegas 2 for 1s, and I got a text from my mobile phone company 3 there saying I saved over £570 ($880) whilst abroad (they have a 'like home' deal where we can use them in the USA just like we are at home and don't get charged a fortune on roaming charges).
     
  2. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Before I start reading the rest - let me just say I already know I'll enjoy this. You seem to budget the way we do and visit many of the same places.
     
  3. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Nice trip! I haven't done the Mandarin Oriental but that view looks incredible. I love Aria buffet - I'd recommend it for dinner.
     
  4. boxofbirds

    boxofbirds High-Roller

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    Nice report!

    I would KILL for a royal flush!! I can't believe you didn't play max coin! :confused2:
     
    Trip #12
  5. Rodent Pack

    Rodent Pack S.S. Minnow

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    Sounds like a great trip.

    Agree with you about Vdara. Great location and very comfortable rooms.

    Thanks for the report...Cheers :beer:
     
  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the report, I enjoy a concise, all in one TR. Sorry to hear you didn't care for the beers at MSS. They usually get high marks on this board.

    Banger has become our favorite place to sit on the patio, tip a few :beer: and wager on the weight of the people going on the scale next door at Heart Attack Grill.
     
    Christmas
  7. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Thanks for reading my review and providing some comments!

    bs - I'd definitely recommend the Mandarin Oriental for the view alone!

    box - I know! Disappointed I wasn't playing max coin, but I was still delighted with my win!

    Rodent - We would recommend the Vdara. It was nice to be in a non casino hotel and it's a great location.

    Joe - we liked MSS casino and the decor etc, but we weren't feeling it with the meal which I think out me off the beers. Plus I think the Banger beers were so good anything after that was never going to taste better!
     
  8. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Just got to this because I was in Vegas while you wrote it.

    That 4 coin royal. Ouch. In the future anything higher than 1 or 2 coins, I'd suggest max instead. If you really want to save money when playing...5 coins when the bartender is looking/bringing you drinks, 1 coin when he/she isn't. But the good news is, you probably wouldn't have got the royal betting five either.

    And it was you that drank all the Swami IPA from TAG!!! j/k. They were out the 4 days I stopped by there though. They only get limited supply. :(

    I did have a citra rye though and I loved it once again.

    [​IMG]

    Nice report, glad you had a good time!
     
  9. newmans

    newmans VIP Whale

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    Loved your TR! Loved the detail, loved the pics.

    Thanks for posting.
     
  10. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

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    Haven't been on the forum in a while, but I'm starting to miss Vegas again so came back for some trip reports.

    So glad I did my trip report, as it's a good way to remember all the things I did on the trip!
     
  11. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Great TR, pd54! I'm hoping to give Shake Shack a try on our upcoming end-of-the-year trip. The lines were too far out the door each time we went by on our last trip, especially as we had our kids with. I loved my stay at Vdara too. It provided a room just the right distance away from all the action. Thanks for sharing your experiences and observations via your TR!
    -Richard
     
  12. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

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    Thanks Richard. We had no problems with lines thankfully. We found shake shack really reasonable and great value.
    I agree on Vdara too. We thought it was a great spot. A walkway into the Bellagio, a short walk across to Aria casino (which is joined to Monte Carlo which we didn't realise until our final day) and a short walk to the Cosmopolitan too. I know some don't like it because it lacks the casino Las Vegas buzz, but we found that quite refreshing.
     
  13. Tbone3336

    Tbone3336 VIP Whale

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    Great Report PD54! Thanks for all the details and pics. As stated many times they never get old.
     
  14. robron

    robron Tourist

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    Great report! It is nice to read about someone with similar budgets.

    We felt the same way about the Verbena, it took hours to get the taste of that flower out of my mouth, I'll just stick to the redneck slushy drinks, I'm a cheap date I guess!
     
  15. pd54

    pd54 Low-Roller

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    Thanks guys.

    Yeah robron. Glad it wasn't just us that couldn't handle it!
     
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