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9/1-9/7 Excalibur and Rio

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by bshowell, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    It's been three years since our last Vegas trip which is horrible since it used to be every six months. Man, we missed "home". This trip was the usual "Trinity" (yes there's four of us - I can count) - me, my sister A, my other sister C, and our friend and adopted "sister" T. It was A's 30th bday on the 2nd so we figured why not use that as an excuse for a trip?

    I left straight from work on the 31st (August has 31 days, right? *counts on fingers*) and took the 7:00 PM Amtrak out of DC to Philly. T ended up on the same Amtrak train out of Baltimore. We got to Philly around 9-ish I think and headed to A's apt. Her and C live in separate apts in the same complex so she was already there. We were way excited and didn't expect much in the way of sleep. Which was a good thing because we had a 6:30 AM flight and any sleep would be more like a nap. Everyone was up by 3:30 or 4 the next morning. We'd decided to use a car service because 4 females and 6 days is a LOT of luggage and no way we would fit that in a cab. Plus the train to the airport wasn't running that early.

    The car arrived more or less on time at 4:30...after my sister had to get on the phone and yell directions to him. Yes he had a GPS but I'm not so sure he understood how to use it . So yes - he eventually got there by which time we were all outside on the sidewalk having lugged 2 suitcases a piece (gotta have one for shoes!) down 3 flights of unnecessarily steep stairs. And that's not counting the outside stairs. So there we were trying to get our pulses back down from cardiac event levels. And around the corner comes a...limo. Um...ok then. Yay Vegas! Thank goodness it was a super stretch. Only 4 suitcases would fit in the trunk and so the rest came inside with us. And we were off in style. In the dark. At 4:30 AM. Whoo us. Let's get this trip sta....WTH?! I don't think the driver even HAD a valid license. I have NEVER been on a limo ride complete with whiplash and nausea from whipping back and forth and sliding across the seats into each other. C and A eventually just gave up and laid down. We made it to the airport in one piece more shaken than stirred and more than a little irritated. Stumbled out at Delta and thank goodness there was curbside check-in. We all divested ourselves of one suitcase and took the shoes as carry-on (damn baggage fees). Headed to security where C was told her carry-on was indeed not, so her and T headed back to check that bag and A and I continued through security. Security was fine and we were waiting as C made it through and T set off the detector. Heh.

    We departed on time on Delta and got to Cincinnati at 8:30. Enough time to grab some snackage (for some reason those pretzels and peanuts with the...Hilton Garden Inn logo just didn't fill me up - and also - why did everyone have different brands of snacks?) and the ever important coffee. We were due to leave Cincinnati at 9:30, so not a bad layover at all. I do have a bone to pick with Delta about those hard ass seats. Ouch. Nap time! I always wake up in time to see the terrain start to change to the desert and mountain prettiness. And about an hour after that, there's the Strat! I love love LOVE watching the Strip come into view as we land. All the familiar sights and some unfamiliar ones now. We unfolded ourselves and got off the plane as fast as humanly possible. WOF! We're home! We headed to baggage claim and there was our driver. I can't remember his name, so we'll just call him Julio. He was a doll, went and got our mannnnnny bags from the carousel for us. Just told us to tell him what it looked like (blue, purple candy stripes, pink w/polka dots, zebra...) and he would get it. We wheeled out to the elevator to the limo and started laughing. Cuz we KNEW what was gonna happen. Last time we took a limo our luggage wouldn't fit in the trunk so they had to tie the lid. And we're like yes we arrive in ghetto style. We were like Julio, you can put some in here w/us. No no that's ok it'll fit. Yeahok Julio, good luck w/that. Since we took Presidential (as always), he gave us our roses and opened our champagne...whether or not to shut us up is beyond me . So we were drinking champagne and laughing and having a good ol' time and it was only 10:30 (it's always 5:00 somewhere, right?)! Julio finally finishes wrestling w/the luggage...and ties down the trunk. HA! We ask him if we have time to go to the Vegas sign so we can get ourselves some welcome back pics. He says if we hurry we can make it. OK good to go.

    We get to the Vegas sign, literally sprint out of the limo, A still holding her glass, and find some non-thief looking tourists to not steal our cameras and take pics of us. Sprint back to the limo and off we go. Happily there's Mandalay and MGM and Luxor and the Cassssstle! We chose to stay there because well, $24 a night in a renovated widescreen room (duh) and also we always see Thunder From Down Under shows there and walking from the room in 5" heels is much better when you're already IN the hotel. Anywho, 2 of us grab our...9 bags and head to the bell desk to get rid of them til later and the other 2 go to check in. All that eventually got done and we were assigned Room 15243 in Tower II. Let us talk about this room, shall we? It looked like the pictures - dark wood, chocolate sueded padded headboard, aqua/turquoise curtains. Then there were the extras...like wtf are those stains on the curtains (dontwannaknowdontwannaknowdontwannaknow) oh and...WTF IS THAT SMELL?! Ok let's breathe (or not). We had to meet someone at Palms at 1 and also pick up massive amounts of Thunder tickets from the box office and eff it we're in Vegas so we left and figured we'd worry about it later. Picked up tickets for various nights and cabbed it over to Palms.

    We found who we were looking for and let the drinking begin! I reaquainted myself w/Mr. Jack and Ms. Coke and possibly also Mr. 151, T decided to try a lava flow, A had her whiskey sour and C decided on gin and tonic. I pretty much stuck w/my stuff and A decided to try a lava flow and C decided to try a hand grenade which in that bar was some malt beverage beer thing. We ribbed her about that one heh. We had some quick McDonald's and then headed off to play for a bit. We eventually left Palms and headed back to the Castle and that ROOM where everyone but me wanted to nap. We had the bell desk bring up our luggage and then I left.

    I decided I wanted to see the new stuff and set off to find Aria. Out the castle, across the pedestrian walkway over to NYNY, down the escalator, around the fountain, down the sidewalk, past ESPNZone, to Monte Carlo oh look there's a sign that says tram. Forgot about that as it was never operating when we were in Vegas last. So I have time to kill so detour into MC. God that scent in the casino is strong I'm just gonna walk right thr...ooh pretty machines! Well I'll just sit and play for a bit. I finish and walk all the way through the damn casino to the shops and head for where the signs say the tram is. I see I have a choice of tram or Aria. Well I'll just mosey on in here and visit. Seriously...what is WITH the scent?! I decide I like Aria's casino despite the scent. I wasn't liking what the whole CityCenter did to the skyline, but I do quite like all the modern dark stuff inside Aria. I hop back up and head into Crystals. What a weird layout. It doesn't go in a circle so to get from one end to the other on the same floor you have to go back the other way. I thought I saw it all, but apparently there's a food court somewhere I managed to miss. Eh well, something to do for next time. The art installations in Crystals are gorgeous, though. Since I'm already on the third floor I hop on the tram to Bellagio. OK what a beautiful view winding through the buildings. OK, CityCenter, I forgive you for messing w/the skyline. I get off and take a quick peek inside Vdara (what's w/that name, though?) and then head over to Bellagio. And walk and walk and walk and...jeez...I end up by the Conservatory and decide to check out the latest display. That's always fun.

    It's almost time to head back now since the Thunder show is at 9 and I want to head back out at 7. So I take the tram all the way back to MC and assure everyone (they're now awake) I'll be back in time. Which I am. We get all fixed up and head on out to the show. We're given wristbands to go to Cathouse at Luxor and for some reason, A and I crap out. Which is not in keeping with how I was feeling about Vegas. Weird. And I have no excuse. So ashamed. C and T head over and eventually come back saying they went to LAX too.

    So here's where I lump everything together because for some reason I can never remember much of individual days. The next day was A's bday. I'd read on various boards that Tableau @ Wynn had a breakfast to die (and possibly kill) for, so we decided that would be our one big meal that we usually do. Our bodies were still on East Coast time, so we had no problem being up and out by 9:30 or so. Tableau is very hard to find but someone had posted directions to head through the casino and toward the villa something or other. Anyway, we found it no problem. Which was great because they don't let you know you're there until you're...there. OMG breakfast was HEAVEN. I'm not a big breakfast person but you can bet I will be back there again. We wanted to go a second time this trip but we ran out of time. Boooo.

    In no particular order we played at Wynn, paid a visit to Harrah's, ignored IP and Flamingo and then to amuse ourselves, we decided to show T the Sahara (we nicknamed it Sahorrible). We decided to take the monorail. A and I stayed there our first trip to Vegas (when it was a one time only once in a lifetime oh we don't like the lights further up the Strip delusion). T was like this is so SAD! LOL. T eventually headed back to the Castle to rest and the rest of us hung out at MGM for a while. That night was another Thunder show.

    The next day I think we decided to do the Buffet of Buffets the HET properties have. We wanted to return to Paris. That line was laughable. We heard it was an hour wait, so we decided to eat elsewhere. A and T didn't want to wait to eat so we split up. They went their way and C and I headed over to PHo to try out the Spice Market Buffet. I hadn't been in there since it was Aladdin because I didn't particularly like the casino. I'll be back - I like the way it looks now. The buffet was pretty awesome. It was the Champagne Brunch so anything with booze works for me. C realllly wanted cotton candy so after we ate, she got her cotton candy for dessert. Afterwards we headed to the Miracle Mile shops because she wanted something else to wear and I was trying to find the V box office so I could pick up American Storm tickets. We got all that done and then headed back out. I showed her around Aria and then we headed back to the room to nap and get ready for the Storm show.

    Back to buffet eating the next day as well as visits to the Conservatory. Somewhere in those days, I made it over to Mandalay to play and eat @ House of Blues - once by myself and once w/A.

    And then we get to what happened one night that we will never let C live down. After another Thunder show we again got wristbands to head to Cathouse. We're not big on clubs (none of us were the "cool kids" in school) but decided since it was free VIP and free booze w/the VIP then we'd go. Just some dancing around and downing vodka soda (me), vodka tonic (A), water (T) and vodka tonic (C) with some champagne thrown in for good measure. The music is finally starting to get good and the place is filling up and we're having a great time. C is up on the little stage dancing. A is up on the stage dancing, too. And dropping it like it's hot (that's what I saw when I came out of the bathroom). We're all laughing and they come down off the stage and...C literally folds over. One minute hahaha the next droop. Then she starts weaving and laughing and we're like oh hells no - time to roll. I was mad cuz I was having a good time. But we couldn't just ignore her (ohhowiwantedto). It was very weird I've never seen someone just go like that. We slink out dragging her and her 5" platforms between us. We drag her out to a settee where she's all the while laughing and we're all . Thankfully there's an elevator cuz there was no way we were getting her down the stairs without pushing her and hoping she didn't hit too many things on the way down. Since we were in Luxor we had to walk all the freakin way through that casino, on two people movers, through the Excalibur shops, down the escalator, through that casino and to Tower II. In that time, I had to take off my shoes so I could more easily support my half of the dead weight, A just got the giggles me and T were NOT amused I was still pissed cuz I was having fun, C was still laughing and swearing we could just tell her the room number and we could go back, and just general head shaking all around. We eventually made it back to the room and C ended up napping on the bathroom floor complete with snoring. Best believe we told on her to mom when we got back .

    Our last night we moved over to Rio. We did that because we'd added on an extra day since it was cheaper to fly back on the 7th. I have never been so glad to get out of a hotel. Sorry Excalibur, we might have to break up. As much as I love South Strip that room was a no. We cabbed it over to Rio and were quite pleased. We ended up in Room 1807 in the Ipanema Tower. So we got the high floor odd number pool view room in the tower we wanted without even asking. Niiiice. Those rooms are friggin' HUGE. With 4 people, it was still huge. We were starving, so we headed to the buffet. It was pretty ok. Except for the desserts. How is it possible to make a dessert taste like literally nothing? I don't understand how you do that to cheesecake, red velvet cake, and pretty much everything else except bananas foster and gelato. Not. Cool. Later on it was our last Thunder show with an excellent time as always.

    Lasting reminders this time around...we kept getting injured. Random bruises no one could remember getting, A ended up icing a swollen knee from dropping it like it was hot and had a cut lip from...something. C ended up w/what we later found out was strep throat (really?). And I badly broke a nail coming off the stage at a Thunder show (still waiting for it to grow out so I can get a new one).

    We had a flight out on Southwest on the 7th at 10:30. We were already plotting our return to Vegas by then, of course. We checked our bags (free baggage tyvm SW) and I'd paid the $10 extra to get A passes so that was all fine and good. We left pretty much on time and made it in to Tampa about 20 minutes late around 6:20 PM. We were a little worried because our connecting flight left at 6:40. We needn't have worried. Really. It was late. Not that late maybe half an hour. Then later (damn hurricane in Texas). Then later. Then it was finally coming in. But at the next gate cuz the jetway suddenly quit working. And then we lined up and got as far as...the plane door. The plane's broken. We can't let you on. You can wait on the jetway. Or maybe on the plane. If we let you on. No. We won't let you on. OK back to the terminal. We're working on a new plane. OK now we can board. We were supposed to get to Philly at 9:15. We got in close to 11, missed the train back to 30th street which made us miss the last train back to my sisters. We took the next train to 30th street then had to take the bus to get back to my sisters. C was busy dying the entire time and then we had to go uphill to get to the apt. We left our bags in C's apt because she's ground floor then headed up to A's apt and crashed. T and I headed out the next day back to Baltimore and DC.

    Almost forgot - checked out Trop & Caesar's too. I like the updates to the casino @ Trop. It was very quiet there but was more relaxing than dead. And I realized I didn't have a card there so I signed up and got freeplay. Works for me! And Caesar's happened on the way walking back up the Strip from PHo. C wanted to check out the spiral escalators again lol. And by then we were so freakin hot we needed to find iced coffee.

    Our return trips are always...eventful. I'd like to not continue that trend next time! Thanks for reading and here's the picture link:

    http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/sharing/shareRedirectSwitchBoard.jsp?token=568262185407%3A1436192066&sourceId=533754321803&cm_mmc=eMail-_-Share-_-Photos-_-Sharee
     
  2. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

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    The suitcases were awesome

    Zebra, pink polka dot, some neon pink stripe thing, but who had the blue ones?

    AT the Thunder shows do you use singles for tips or do you have to use fives and tens in Las Vegas? And which of you four did the most tipping?
     
  3. sailor53

    sailor53 Tourist

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    Excellent times! I really enjoyed reading your report. Excal is not so bad - I've played there a few times. Thanks for posting!
     
  4. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    lol the blue one was T's. And Thunder is a non-tipping show :nworthy:
     
  5. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    sailor, i wouldn't have minded excalibur if the room had been on point. i really like the location most of all. i don't think i've ever actually played there, now that i think about it...
     
  6. justmare

    justmare High-Roller

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    Nice report! Enjoyed every word and the pictures were great!

    Wow, to the luggage! :)
     
  7. sin

    sin VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the tr! I was wondering when we would get another one! You girls and your Thunder...I Love It!
     
  8. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    What was so icky about the Excal room?

    LOVE your report !!!!
     
  9. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Great TR sounds like you gals had a great time , injuries , illnesses and all :)

    nice photo's too :)
     
  10. lithelady

    lithelady Low-Roller

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    You ladies had a LOT of laughs and good times - perfect Vegas vaca!
     
  11. JulieM

    JulieM Low-Roller

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    Great TR....love the luggage & pictures..thanks for posting:beer:
     
  12. Carol1113

    Carol1113 High-Roller

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    Really enjoyed your report.
    And have to say loved the luggage--you sure don't have any problem finding it on the belt at the airport
     
  13. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    1. WHERE did you find the cool types of luggage?

    2. Actually the room looks pretty good in the pictures, but I think you might want to rent the adjoining one next time - for the luggage!!!
     
  14. Carol1113

    Carol1113 High-Roller

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    LOL-just too funny--and have to say I thought I overpacked :evillaugh
     
  15. LakeMinnetonkaRealtor

    LakeMinnetonkaRealtor Tourist

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    Those luggage pics are priceless! It looks like you all are MOVING to Vegas! Great TR, sounds like you had a great time. I like the Excal casino, but I've never stayed there, sorry to hear you had a stinky room.... That happens, I had a real stinker at Flaming one time. You shoulda just asked for a different room..... I've learned to just ask.

    Great TR! Thanks!
     
  16. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Good stuff! I gotta get me some of that luggage. It usually takes me three or four tries to pick out my utterly nondescript navy Samsonite garment bag on the carousel.

    Good pics, too. Be sure to save that one of your friend (C?) on the bathroom floor…you know, for next time you need a favor.:wink2:
     
    Number 50!
  17. TexasLady

    TexasLady Tourist

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    Great TR I laughed through it all.
     
  18. tazdev75

    tazdev75 Tourist

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    Great trip report. Love the luggage.
     
  19. cpochick

    cpochick Low-Roller

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    Loved your report! Thanks for posting really enjoyed your photos!
     
  20. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Thanks for reading, everybody!

    blonde - the room was ok - except for the nasty azz curtains - they had weird stains. and then the bathroom sink smelled like mildew - makes me wonder how long since it had been used. Then on top of that, which wasn't the hotel's fault, one day the water came out forest green/black - there was apparently a water issue (ya think?).

    jgates - had to hit the internet for the luggage. b/t amazon and overstock we got it done! lol.

    LakeMinnetonka - yeah I was like why didn't we ask to change rooms. Really should have. Next time!

    thecarve - lol oh that picture will DEFINTELY be put to good use :evillaugh
     
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