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29 March - 8 April Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Strudel3460, Apr 11, 2005.

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  1. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    DAY 1
    Our mission for this trip was to try every casino on the strip. It is a long report because we were there a long time.

    After 15 - 17 hours travelling, I finally arrive in Vegas. But, since I'm meeting up with my "Vegas buddy" who is flying in from Canada, I end up waiting 2.5 hours by the Paris airport check-in desk. I watched thousands of people flow through that airport... amazing. I didn't realise her flight was delayed, and having invested all that time waiting already, what's a bit more? I'm out of it anyway, starting to suffer from jetlag. Finally she arrives and we check-in. We have 5 back-to-back reservations in order to best benefit from the Passport to Paris package. What a rip-off that turns out to be... more on that later. Tried for an upgrade, but no luck. We catch a cab, and despite a huge line, it is moving quickly and I am impressed with how they can move people so well.

    Found our room, settled in a bit, then out for dinner. I am recovering from a vicious flu that's been doing the rounds in Europe, so order soup and a salad. This was at the Cafe Ile St Louis in Paris. I swear it still had the tin marks on the soup, it had to be out of a can, thick and disgusting, barely warm. Not impressed. Not a good start. My buddy wants to get in some slot time, so we go pick up our cards, and I vacantly stare at a computer screen while losing some money. Can't remember what I played or how much I lost. Need to remember not to gamble when tired...

    DAY 2
    A day of pampering planned at Mandara Spa. A scrub, massage, facial and pedicure are all planned. Started with blueberry pancakes (a fav when visiting the US), and the Cafe made those well. Went in early to steam and soak off jetlag. Had a body scrub then a deep tissue massage that were heavenly (I recommend Monica to anyone going there!). Then the facial. Missed having warm mitts and booties, and I was very disappointed by that. Mandara's advertising is misleading, and despite complaining, they did nothing. Also, this Passport to Paris thing says it includes a 15% discount off Mandara Spa. What it doesn't say is that it is only for 1 treatment for 1 person and doesn't include packages. I felt really ripped off by this. Pedicure was nice. We then went for dinner at Ah Sin since we had a discount coupon from the Passport package and I'd heard they were good. Got seated in a draft, music so loud I couldn't hear my buddy, ordered a bottle of wine and then was told that the entrees that we had ordered from their entree section didn't qualify for the discount! I was so irritated by this, we got up and left without eating or drinking anything. Went to the hotel manager to b!tch about the rip off coupons the Passport package was, and she credited us a lousy $25 toward a meal. I’m not impressed. Decided to eat at Les Artistes Steakhouse, and had a wonderful dinner there instead. Then headed out in a much better mood to the tables and to use our 2 x $25 in matchplay. I won my BJ hand with it, played and won some more before switching to roulette. Walked away ahead at the end of the evening - about $200 up, which wasn't great but good for an evening’s entertainment.

    DAY 3 - Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Tropicana, Monte Carlo
    Keep waking up early, so headed to the Luxor for breakfast. Walked via Excalibur, and couldn't resist the lure of the Men in Black. Stopped by Krispy Kreme (we don't have them here) and got a pre-breakfast snack to tide us over while we played. Turns out, the Men in Black were an agreeable ATM for me, and I doubled my money. Finally made it to the Luxor and ate at the Pyramid Cafe. It was good and reasonable. Wanted to learn craps, so hung around there for a lesson. Began thinking craps was a name well earned when I lost my stake in 3 rolls. Left for Mandalay Bay. Walked past the shops, and was expecting more, so a bit disappointed by that. Lost in MB, so headed for the Tropicana. Signed up for their card and figured a "free" t-shirt would be good for DH to work around the farm in. So, sat down at Cleopatra for my mandated 30 minutes of play. I slowed my play down, read the pay out board, was whittling my $20 down, when my luck turned and suddenly my money had doubled and my time was up! Bonus. Buddy lost her $20, so I guess the t-shirts cost a bit in the end! Still DH has 2 to work in now. Headed to Monte Carlo (skipped NYNY because DH was coming to join us in a couple of days and wanted to go there for the roller coaster). Ate at Monte Carlo, and was surprised about how good it was. Plus, thought the casino was rather nice - better than expectations. Mind you, I lost there. Then went back to Paris to lose some more.

    DAY 4 The Venetian and the Fashion Mall - plus Harrah's and Caesars Palace as last minute decisions
    Needed a day of retail therapy. So, went to eat breakfast at the Grand Lux. Excellent, as always. As we were walking up there, got lured into Harrah's, and lost on MIB and I Dream of Jeannie. When we walked into the Venetian, it was like we were returning home. Ah. Paris, despite some of the great reviews it has had, just isn't in the same league. Our Paris room was adequate, but we missed the Venetian's luxury. Gambled a bit there, but came away even. I tend to always walk away even when I gamble. Weird. Helped the US economy in the Fashion Mall. Nice shops there. Walked back via Caesars, where I slowly lost on the slots. Ordered a strawberry daiquiri and it came with whipped cream on top and was cloying sweet. Disgusting. Ate in their food court which was surprisingly better than I expected and reasonably priced too. Finally ended up back "home", and spent the evening losing in Paris.

    DAY 5 Casino Royale, Imperial Palace, O'Sheas, Flamingo, Barbary Coast
    Started again with breakfast in the Venetian (we are partial to the blueberry pancakes and fresh raspberries offered at the Grand Lux, best pancakes I've had). Our waiter was a sycophant - not that we are influential or anything - and quite sickening to deal with. Still, the food was great. Set off for our day of casino hopping by first losing some money to that rotten Leprechaun - the luck of the Irish was NOT with me! Started at the Casino Royale and worked our way back to Paris. Gambling in these places during the day has a very different atmosphere. Casino Royale was quite nice, and I won in there. Imperial Palace started badly - followed some escalators up and was in a small room near poker players. Played there a little, and doubled my money on some Unicorn slot, then discovered we weren't in the main casino! Terrible access into the casino IMHO - confusing signs at the entry at any rate. Liked the main casino and tripled my money again at roulette. I like it when that happens! Sat down and my number came up on the first spin. After doing well there, headed to O'Shea's, where I promptly lost what I'd won. Had a lousy lunch in the Flamingo prior to losing there too. The Barbary Coast was no better. Sat by a woman while playing roulette, and they tossed her players card back at her and said to be rated she had to play $25 a spin. She didn't want to count so told them to get stuffed. She definitely played more than $25 a spin overall, and I figured Barbary Coast wasn't doing themselves any favours to treat her so rudely. At least when you play tables in Paris - even the $5 ones - they take your card to rate you without making you feel stupid or a low-roller. Had to get back to the room by 6 to wait for DH to arrive. Just got settled for a rest, and he arrived early, so we went to Mon Ami Gabi for dinner. It was nice. But it is so funny to see such lousy French! Why pretend? Still, it was a good evening, and I won a bit at MIB in Paris, then at the Cops and Donuts. Daylight savings started this evening. That's twice I've had to go through it - it's hard enough just once a year...

    DAY 6 Ballys, Aladdin, MGM, and NYNY (planned)
    Started the day with Ballys, where we gambled before a wonderful champagne Sterling brunch. Fantastic. Great service, lavish food, delicious. Konrad, our waiter, was superb. I highly rate this. Ate so much, I thought I would turn into Mr. Creosote (the exploding guy in Monty Python). What a way to start a day. Mind you, then going casino crawling is hard work! It was an effort to get to Aladdin as we all staggered along through the Desert Passage shops first. Lacklustre shops in there these days it seems to me. An air of not doing well seemed to permeate the place, IMO. Won in Aladdin, then dragged ourselves up to MGM. Stopped in at the M&M shop, and can’t believe people buy this stuff – what a scam, getting people to buy what should be corporate give-aways. Was impressed by the range of colours of M&Ms though, but escaped without losing any money in there. Finally got to MGM. Didn't really like MGM's casino - I expected more and better from them, but met an interesting guy explaining 4-8 poker to us as we watched it being played. Most interesting. I think I may just try poker on my next visit... DH decided NYNY did not seem appealing - his full stomach and the roller coaster weren't a good match, so we trooped back to Paris. All this walking was good for getting those pancakes and brunch worked off us. DH tried his hand at craps and walked away ahead $200. Nice.

    DAY 7 Shopping
    Went to the Outlet Mall at the South end of the strip. Wasn't bad, and we stocked up on great deals for shoes and some casual clothes. It is so much cheaper than here, and then the exchange rate is so much in our favour, so we came away with a lot of stuff. Buddy got Bass penny loafers for only $17! DH got a pair of walking shoes for $15!! Unbelievable. We’d never ever find that here.
    Back in Paris, I had another go at craps, lost half my money before going to roulette and winning it back again.

    DAY 8 Treasure Island, Mirage, Bellagio, Boardwalk
    Started yet again at the Grand Lux for breakfast. They made an order off the menu for DH, and he was so pleased, he tipped the kitchen guy, who came out to introduce himself. Nice guy, good food, good service. A great way to start the day. TI wasn't paying out for me, so we headed to the Mirage. A much nicer place than I expected. Had coffee before heading in. Won a bit at the slots, lost it in roulette. Bellagio next, and went to Olives for a late lunch. We were too late (3 pm), and they wouldn't seat us on the patio, so we decided to make our lunch even later and go back at 5 pm. So, we headed into the casino. I found a craps table with a charming trio of croupiers (I don't know why they call themselves dealers, since no cards are involved...). They taught me how to play. They were so nice to me as they took my money. Left to rebuild my stake on roulette, and returned to try my hand again. Was up about $100, when lupper/linner/late lunch-early dinner was calling. Decided one last bet and lost my advantage... even again. Oh well. A learning experience that didn't cost me anything. Great staff at Bellagio, and the Bellinis recommended on this board were excellent. Olives was very pleasant, great weather, the fountains, wine, and lovely food. Ahhh... we decided to flag going to the Boardwalk as we were tired. We wandered out via their fantastic lobby – that glass flower ceiling is spectacular, and the atrium area they have is a lovely environment. I wonder how Wynn is going to top that? Anyway, we went back to Paris where I ended the day even again. The Cops and Donuts slot game came to my rescue. Paris also serves really great Cosmopolitans straight up. Good service there too.

    DAY 9 Another Spa Day and We Will Rock You
    Went to the Fashion Mall in the morning so DH could get a few things. For a change, had breakfast at the Cafe in Paris. It wasn't bad. Then, went back to the Mandara Spa for a deep tissue massage - thank you Monica! Steamed and soaked, and enjoyed the relaxing afternoon. Then, tried Ah Sin again - but was in the mood to argue this time, so finally got the stupid discount applied to our two entrees. Ridiculous "rules", and the food wasn't as good as expected, but it was okay. Afterward, we went to Le Notre for ice-cream dessert, which was delicious. Then, off to see We Will Rock You, which was entertaining. The main singer, while no Freddie Mercury, was very good regardless. Didn’t think much of the singing of his female counterpart. Emerged to try my hand at craps again. Had the 2 x $25 match play, and bought in at a $10 table. Got set up with the $25 when the roller hit a 7 next roll. Ouch - was heavily invested in the table, so lost half my stake in that roll. Tried again, and this time the new roller got and made his number, thank goodness. He had a good roll, and things were going well. The guy next to me was mediocre, then I was up. I had an unbelievable streak. But it's funny how I began. I was nervous since there were a lot of people at the table, and when I first rolled, I basically flung the dice and they headed for the next table along. Didn't even bounce on our table. Good thing one hit the girl at the other end, which stopped them from landing on the other table. The other die hit the floor, but there was some debate that it may have gone down her cleavage! The whole table groaned at the prospect of my appalling rolling to come... I was mortified! Basically, I proceeded to try and roll without hitting her again. I rolled and made 4 numbers, and in-between rolled lots of point numbers. My horrific start was vindicated by the money that poured into our hands. Just before my 4th roll, I got a craps which caused the guy beside me to cash out - much to his dismay as I went on and on and on before making my 4th number. He calculated that he lost out on another $500 by cashing out too early. The croupiers just kept handing out money every roll. The table was exceptionally happy with me - as was I since I was definitely ahead. I didn't bet on a few numbers, and bizarrely, I kept rolling them, curses. Some people made a few thousand on me, and everyone made at least $500, even the worst betters. Being new to the game, I was stupid and didn't press my bets. Oh well. When my roll finally came to an end, I was congratulated, much to my surprise since I felt a bit guilty that I'd rolled a 7 at the wrong time. And one of the croupiers said I had nothing to feel sorry about - I'd been rolling for over 25 minutes! I hadn't realised. The next roller was also lucky, and we did well from him too, although he rolled for only about 10 minutes. After him, everyone cashed out. Well, all but 2 players! It was amazing, the massive amounts of money being paid out. I was patted on the back, and it was a real buzz. I ended up with $775 with a meager $200 buy-in... and did it all in less than an hour. Time for bed. I saw the croupiers being debriefed afterward by a casino pit boss - I guess the table lost more than they wanted and since it was late, they didn't have a chance to get it back - most of us retired for the night after that.

    DAY 10 Sahara, Circus-Circus, Slots-a-Fun, Westward Ho, Stardust, New Frontier
    Started with a coffee, where I was recognised from the night before! Some very happy campers in Paris. Cabbed it up to Sahara as we figured walking would cut into the day and we may miss our reservation for lunch at Rosemary's on 8125 W Sahara. Doubled my money on the slots in Sahara, then we caught the bus to Rosemary's. An entertaining way to travel, and well worth the $1.25 each. It took 1/2 an hour to get there, and their excellent reputation is well deserved. The waiter was great, and afterward we got to meet the chef, who was charming. It was a lovely time, and we were very relaxed after our wine. Headed back to the strip, and again I doubled my money in Circus-Circus (thank you MIB). Lost it in Slots a Fun. A cheap craps table sucked me in and in hindsight, they were scamming us for more than they should since it was a $3 table. They kept a hefty % by setting it at this level. An obnoxious woman beside me made the whole experience very unpleasant, she was so loud and vulgar. Yuck. I wanted to slap her upside the head at one point or at least whack her hard with my elbow... so I cashed out and we headed to Westward Ho which was much nicer than anticipated. It was quieter, which at this point was preferable, and I didn't mind losing to the slots in there. We were fed up with casino hopping by this point, so we walked back to Paris. Figuring overall I was ahead that day, I decided to see if I could re-create the evening before. I couldn't, and in doing so, lost to craps, went to roulette to gain it back, back to craps to lose again. Oh well. Overall, for the whole trip, I came out even. Disappointing in a way since it would have been nice to win enough to finance the next trip, but better than losing it all I guess. DH did the same, having won in Ballys at craps that night.

    DAY 11 Had to get up at 5 to get to the airport in time for our flight. Long trip home, with fully packed planes.

    But it was a great trip. Learned a new table game (craps), found a few new slot machines (mainly Men In Black) which were fun, and enjoyed my roulette, which has been a staple for years now. Made enough points at Paris to have some comps back, but no where nearly as good as the Venetian was to us on our last trip (2 free nights compared with less than one night from Paris), but this could be because we spread our money over so many casinos. I guess I would return to Paris if I got another good rate - but I think their Passport Package isn't such a great deal - my preference is definitely the Venetian, until I find out what Wynn's is like! Next opportunity for an encore is November, if everything goes well. Here's hoping!
     
  2. ucaclint

    ucaclint Guest

    great report man, wish I had the cash to enjoy an 11 day stay in Vegas! Holy smokes, with a large enough bankroll, that would be amazing!!

    Sounds like you did pretty damn well at the tables.
     
  3. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    Thanks. Roulette is normally kind to me, so it was good to have a way to build up the cash to continue playing elsewhere.

    I only wish my bankroll had been large enough - to do that much casino hopping, I was limited to $20 to spend each session (I usually bought in at a table for $40 and left before I lost my final $20). I agree a bigger bankroll would be amazing! Maybe next time...
     
  4. SweetP

    SweetP Low-Roller

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    Strudel, you must come and roll for me in July! ;)

    11 days in Vegas - and you're still alive! Very impressive. And you're a "pamper whore" like me - love hearing about the spas.

    This was a great trip report. [​IMG]
     
  5. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    SweetP, I would love to come and roll for you (and me!)... alas, the only glimmer of hope is for November, and I've only 5% odds of that coming through... The phrase "pamper whore" is superb - definitely going to add that to my vocabulary!!! Only a month to go before another visit to the spa in Spa (Belgium), only 45 minutes from where we live. It is brilliant and if you are ever over this way, a must-do.
     
  6. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Strudel--where do you live in Belgium?? I spent my junior year in college at UCL in Louvain-la-Neuve--had a wonderful time, LOVED Belgium!!
     
  7. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    I live in the Flemish countryside near a town called Diest. Very pastoral and peaceful, and a wonderful lifestyle (with fantastic trips from time to time to Vegas - who could want more!?!?). I love Belgium too, so I am pleased you agree. Your French must be excellent to have spent a year in Louvain-la-Neuve. I must say, Belgians looked at me funny when I told them I was going to stay in Paris for 11 days for holiday, and that it was going to be a 15 hour trip - given that we live just 1h35 by Thalys from the real Paris...!
     
  8. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Well, my French was excellent when I left LLN but has sadly declined due to non-use in the years since then--I had to do a foreign language proficiency as part of my undergraduate degree (bacheolor of science in foreign service) so most of my classmates studied abroad somewhere. Most of the Belgian students were amazed we chose Belgium--they couldn't understand why--big inferiority complex they had!! We started telling them we chose Belgium for the beer and they laughed and accepted that answer [​IMG] I didn't spend too much time in the flemish part of the country, other than a couple trips to Bruges, though I did have a good friend who was Flemish--he was living in Brussels at the time though. For a 19-20 year old--it was a great place to spend a year because the university was great--not too huge, but big enough and diverse enough to have a nice international contingent, and it was ideally located for weekend travel all over the place. They had great student prices for the trains in Belgium--I think you could get 10 rides for 300 francs? (I know it was a 10-ride pass, I just am absolutely guessing on the price, but I knew it was cheap) So how did you end up in Belgium? Military or govt? Just lucky?

    [ April 13, 2005, 05:41 AM: Message edited by: HoyaHeel ]
     
  9. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    Belgians are always shocked we CHOSE to live here. My company moved me up here from New Zealand, and said we could select whatever country we wanted. For holidays (I get almost 6 weeks a year), benefits, location, social income, and language learning opportunities, it was perfect. Having been here 7 years, there's so much more than just the beer, chocolate, fantastic food in general, etc - we also find the Belgian sense of humour and general lifestyle is great. We have both French and Flemish friends, and while very different from each other, we think they are lovely.

    Prices are reasonable, although in euros these days. The transport here is good, as you mention, and still inexpensive. Maybe we should have a travel2belgium website! Have you been back since? If not, you really should. I could introduce you to a few of my favourite brewers and the best chocolatier in the world.
     
  10. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I've pretty much been stuck in grad school plus working full-time since I finished college--I finally see the light at the end of the "dissertation tunnel", and going to Europe is the top of my "to-do" list--I'd love to take my husband to Belgium and explore again. Of course, I also wanna go to the Mediterranean, explore wine country in Italy, and go back to Vegas loads of times--so you can see I'm a little conflicted :rolleyes: We keep hoping the exchange rate will improve before we make a european trip....We had a favorite chocolate at Leonidas we'd get if we were near one--we called it the "orgasmatron"--it was a pralinee coated with white chocolate, maybe a thin layer of dark chocolate under the white? Don't remember except that yes, it was amazing.
     
  11. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    My sister in law regularly travels to Belgium on business (NATO related) and has brought back chocolates from Leonidas for us (ok, for me) a couple of times, and they are to DIE for!
     
  12. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I know there are a lot of small chocolatiers in Belgium, but Leonidas is easy because they're everywhere (and still quite yummy). I'm now having a fantasy about some mussels...Guess your sis-in-law wouldn't wanna carry any of those back??

    I think I started listening to country music when I lived in Belgium because I could get the SHAFE radio station every so often from my kot (student apartment) and it was just so nice to listen to English being spoken....
     
  13. Strudel3460

    Strudel3460 Tourist

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    Okay, I'll let you in on the best kept secret... he's expensive (54 euro/kg), but you will want to divorce your husband and marry this guy - or at least stalk him. He makes simply THE BEST chocolate in the world. He has a few shops around Brussels, a big one in the Grand Sablon. Pierre Marcolini. You'll never want Leonidas again (albeit, value for money, Leonidas was a favourite), but for orgasmitron chocolates, Pierre is THE man...
     
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