I figured I'd toss in a trip report here.. not my usual thing but maybe my observations can help others out in some way. I'm actually surprised by the recent numbers of TR's from others who have stayed on the MB campus lately.. anyhow.. here goes.. my flight into Vegas was nice... it was first class so it's gotta be nice!! My 3hr flight felt like nothing in those wide seats with extra legroom and continuous pours of wine coming around. Here's a view from the front of the plane.. and a shot of the strip as we were approaching LAS Booked Presidential Limo and my chauffeur was waiting at the carousel and it was a good ride! pitstopped at the liquor store and head to the house that built fame!! aka Planet Hollywood. It was my first time staying there so I was excited for a new experience. Quite surprised as to no bellhop came to the limo to offer assistance with the luggage as they usually run to that. In fact, I didn't even see a bellhop in sight! The check-in line was retarded though. Seriously, only 3 check-in clerks on a sat night at 8pm?!?! 2 for regular check-in and 1 for invited and SPG status guests?! We finally made it to the front after about 25 minutes. My friend (whom already checked in) was telling the check-in clerk to put me on the 9th floor so I can be near his room. I laughed and asked for a high floor or something strip side if anything was left (I knew my chances were low since it was 8:30pm on sat nite but still had to ask!).. low and behold, I'm told I'm getting a suite on the top floor.. A suite that's not found on the website as it's on the penthouse floor and usually blocked off by casino marketing for their guests. My friend was crying like a baby now and wondered how come he didn't get a 51st floor room. lol I tipped the clerk $20 for his great service and having to put up with my friend's whining.. we also both got late 1pm checkouts. Then when he saw I got a coupon sheet for freebies and free slotplay he continued to whine more b/c he didn't get it. LOL I was really happy with the penthouse floor suite. It has a separate bedroom from the living room. High ceilings, probably 12ft or so.. A large wetbar with a built-in mini fridge (no stocked wetbar), and a separate built in icemaker which was a luxury. Really comfortable room that has not been updated to the hollywood hip look as all their regular rooms had. The boring tube tv was the only downside, but there was a mini stereo system with an IPOD dock and the Sheraton Heavenly bed was way comfortable! I didn't mind since it was comfortable and they use upgraded Gilchrest & Soames bath products. The bathroom wasn't really any different from a bathroom in a regular room. Similar to a bathroom in a strip suite. My view was on the backside, so I saw everything from Paris to the MGM Signature towers in my view. Here are some pics: We did some pre-partying in the suite.. and barely made it over to The Palms sat night for table reservations at Moon. We were lit! lol The roof retracted and the party was on!! Eventually we all got split up and lost and made it home our separate ways. haha!! Wake up Sunday morning just fine and finished the last 3 drinks from or bottle and checked out. Overall impressions was that I wouldn't mind returning for a stay at PH. However, I probably wouldn't as I'd only want to be on the top two floors. Why? It's like a frat party in the hallways on a saturday night. I felt like I was in HS again and having friends across the way or a few rooms down.. Music pumped up, yelling down the hallways, and booze everywhere. That was the scene when we went to my friend's 9th floor room. I do like the quickness of the elevators and having separate north towers/south tower helped in that we hardly ever had a wait. Anyhow, we all taxi'd over to THEhotel to check-in. It was shy of 1pm and the line looked long so we left things with the bellhop and went to MB's brunch buffet. We were starving so we chomped down and all was good. Headed back to check-in around 2 and no line. I asked for a V suite and got it. I asked about penthouse upgrades and they were willing to upgrade me to an E suite for only $200/nite. Normally, I'd probably do it, but it was just me! My friends were checking into their own room there. My thoughts on THEhotel and Mandalay. I've stayed here 8 times before so I know it pretty well and have always been happy with the product (the room and property) and service.. Unfortunatly I think service has slipped a little bit inside THEhotel tower. Room service items that used to get picked up rather promptly sat for hours at a time (8-10hrs).. Seemed to be less housekeeping carts in the hallways. With room service the ice no longer comes in an actual ice bucket, it now comes in some cheap small white plastic pail like you would give your kids at the beach. Rollaway beds sat in the hallways after get checkout for longer than usual. Other than that, service was fine all the way around. These factors will come into play when I rebook in a few months.. My thoughts on the crowds. Here is the start of my rant. I've been to Vegas different times throughout the year including the past couple of summers.. This year, I've read the online reports and gripes about kids. I figured it was a one off situation or someone that just had a dislike for kids on vacation. I was in no way prepared for the volume of kids and families I saw. And I'm not talking the two happy young parents with a small child.. I'm talking the griswald families. I saw so many groups of a mom and dad with like 5 or 6 kids in tow! All hours of the night too!! I have never seen so many strollers built for 2 children in use in my life. I seriously felt like I was in disneyland and the casino's just happened to be there as a side attraction to keep the adults occupied. Oh and Mandalay.. Wow.. it was bad.. the pool area was bad.. I went through the turnstyles and immediately turned around and left. Even at THEhotel, i have never see so many kids and families there. Elevators would be full of a single family and their stupid tubes taking up all the space. I've stayed at THEhotel the past few summers and have never experienced this. I booked THEhotel based on my past summer experiences of not seeing large families and groups of young kids.. But that was not the case this summer. Future summer bookings will probably be at Wynn or Palazzo. Or even Planet Hollywood, there were no kids or families there.. it was great! Nothing wrong with summer family vacations, but are other places in the US to go that would provide a better experience for a family with young children. My activities: As previously mentioned, I don't think I can remember the last time I saw Vegas so busy in the summer.. I had 36 hours of the trip solo and I trolled the strip. I took the Monorail for the 1st time in 4 years and I actually found value in it as a solo traveler. Previously I've always thought the monorail as a waste. But for the right person, its wonderful. Got a 1 day pass and rode it from MGM Grand the entire way exiting at the usual stops along the strip. Went to LV Hilton for the first time and did some gaming there. For the heck of it, rode it all the way north to Sahara and went inside for a bit. I also caught the free shuttle from Paris to Rio and Rio to Harrah's. First time on that free shuttle and first time at Rio for me. I hit every single casino between MB and Encore on the strip except for TI. I've never been a big fan of TI's casino and didn't even feel like the short walk there when I was at Mirage and Palazzo.. And I did a lot of walking. My dining activities: Not much unfortunatly.. Mandalay buffet twice, In N Out once, room service once, and a dinner at Stripsteak @ MB. Had the crab and summer corn chowder soup to start which I thought was delicious! The complimentary trio of duck fries came first and they were awesome! I ate about half of them and had to stop. I ordered a 10oz filet and that ranks as one of the best cooked steaks I've had. (I've worked in a steakhouse before and enjoy fine dining steakhouses so it's not as if I'm easily impressed by a prime cut of steak.) For my side, I had the truffled mac and cheese. I was so stuffed, I probably left about 3oz of my filet there and 3/4 of the mac and cheese! The mac and cheese was good, but I was just too full. The restaurants were busy just about everywhere I went by. MGM had some of their restaurants temporarily closed such as Joel Robuchon and Seablue. It was a fun trip for me since I didnt party as much as I usually do.. went to Moon sat night and sun night was chill with hanging out at Mix.. then roaming over to Encore and Wynn.. then finally settling at V Bar at the Venetian for awhile before weaving in and out of other casino's drinking and calling it a night. I was able to go to just about every casino on the strip this visit which seldomly happens. It's nice to see CityCenter buzzing along towards completion. With the Mandarin, Vdara, and Aria exteriors looking complete. I still think the project as a whole is an eyesore when looking at the strip from a distance. Checkout was easy since I had a redeye 1am flight out of LAS. Left THEhotel and 15 minutes later I already cleared security and was just chilling waiting for my flight home. Now I'm planning my return trip in December! ha!