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Anniversary, Liberace, Buffet-A-Palooza Oct. 2-6

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ValerieJo, Oct 7, 2010.

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  1. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Michigan
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    My Trip Report

    This is my first trip report, so please forgive any errors in etiquette (and spelling). I will try to include times and costs in my report. I will also give my opinion of the food/places we ate keeping in mind that food is subjective and I'm not an expert.

    A little background about us. We are a 50ish year old professional couple from Michigan. We are very low rollers (no comps for us). We went to celebrate our anniversary as we had gotten married in Vegas 12 years ago (stayed at Monte Carlo - 1998). We were there again about 9 years ago (stayed at Lady Luck - 2001), so we were way past due for a trip out there.

    I was able for find a half way decent price on airfare and a reasonable package at Harrah's which included the Buffet of Buffet's deal.

    Saturday, Oct 2. - Up at 3:00am EST for a 6:00am flight with a quick plane change in Denver. We arrived in Vegas about 9:30am PST. Yippee! We did carry on so no baggage claim. We went to the shuttle stop to grab the shuttle to the Rental Car Center. We decided to rent a car this trip. I use Enterprise here at work and have a corporate account with them.
    I reserved a compact car with my corporate account in hopes of an upgrade. The compact car for 4 days was $99 total including all taxes. When we got to the rental counter with (my sweetest smile) and stated that my office here in Michigan (where my corporate account is) asked that as a courtesy to me, if they would be so kind to give me a complementary upgrade. Sure, no problem. I was upgraded to an Intermediate Car for the same rate. Score!

    We got in our rental car and headed for the strip. Since it had been 9 years since we'd seen the place we wanted to check it out. I noticed that you couldn't really see down the stip, like we used to. Then it dawned on me that the trees and greenery had grown up so much in that time. Duh! We decided to take a ride down toward the Stratosphere to check things out. We were starving at this point and had heard wonderful things (from this board) about the Peppermill. It was close to noon PST, but our tummy's were saying 3:00pm EST.

    The place was pretty crowded, they took our name and asked us to wait in the bar area. I placed my first bet. A one dollar bill into the VP on the bar top and doubled my money! I was hoping that it was sign of things to come. After about a 15-20 minute wait we were seated. DH and I decided to split a spinach, feta and veggie omelette breakfast that came with hash browns and a toasted bagel. It was plenty for both of us as they make their omelettes with 10 eggs. I have to say, it was delicious. I loved it. Total bill about $12.00 + tip. If you like breakfast, this is the place.

    Next, we headed back South on the strip to Harrah's, which would be our home for the next 4 days. After doing some reserch ahead of time, I knew that there was a sort of by-pass around part of the strip on Koval Street. I also knew this was a great back entrance and parking area for Harrah's. We easily found a parking spot and went inside to register. Our package was for a 4 night standard room and 24 hour buffet package for about $350. I debated on trying the $20 trick, but decided to take a different approach. Since it was our anniversary, I simply asked for an upgrade. I told her is was our anniversary and had heard that sometimes they can offer a complimentary upgrade if they have rooms available. She said she would check. She said she couldn't offer us a suite but would offer us a Deluxe room with a pillow top king bed, flat screen, etc. Score again!

    We were given a room in the Mardi Gras Tower on the 8th floor. Not a great view, but the room had been updated, was clean, quiet and the bed was very comfy. I would have to say the only thing that seems kind of worn, was the hallway. The carpet in the hallway seemed like it needed to be stretched back into place and it seemed to always need vacuuming (not dirty, just kind of messy).

    By this time it was about 2:00 in the afternoon PST and we were tired from traveling and only having about 3 hours sleep the night before. The plan was to take a quck rest/nap and hopefully head to Mon Ami Gabi for dinner before going to see Terry Fator at the Mirage. However, we still had to pick up the tickets at Will Call by 4:00.

    After a little bit of a rest, we got dressed and decided there just wasn't enough time to go get our tickets at the Mirage by 4:00, go to Mon Ami Gabi for dinner and be back at the Mirage by 7:00. Instead, we went accross to the Mirage and picked up our tickets a little after 4:00. Then we decided to try the Ellis Island $6.99 steak dinner deal since it would probably be quicker than the Mon Ami Gabi dinner.

    We got the car and drove over to Ellis Island. We had about a 15-20 minute wait to be seated. Once seated we ordered the steak special. The waiter brought our salads, which were good. I did notice the other tables getting dinner rolls and had to ask our waiter to bring us some. They were warm and good. Soon after, our steak dinners arrived. Both of our steaks were a bit on the tough and dry side. The baked potato was good and the fresh green beans were delicious. Would I recomend eating here? Not really if you are looking for a nice, good place to eat. However, if you are trying to do Vegas on the 'Cheap' then it is fine.

    After dinner, we headed back to the Mirage to go see Terry Fator. It was about 6:30 by now, so we had a bit of time to spare. We had watched him on America's Got Talent and thought he was very good and deserved to win. Our seats were very good (second tier pricing - about $135 for 2 total) Row A, right in the middle. The show opened with a young man warming up the crowd with some music and dancing. He was very cute and everyone enjoyed his routine. Terry's show was very good. Had a little bit of a lull in the middle but really finished with a bang. Very Good Show. Nice, clean entertainment. Terry was on stage for about 90 minutes.

    By this time it's about 9:00pm PST and we knew there was a bike (motorcycle) Oktober/Fright Fest going on downtown. DH wanted to see all the bikes and I wanted see all the bands they had playing. We went to get the car and took a drive down to Fremont, parked in one of the parking decks and headed to the party. Wow, what a great party going on down there. Much more casual/party atmosphere going on with a bit of a older crowd. We had a great time walking around, checking out the bands and watching the light show. Now I remember why we stayed down there last time we were in Vegas. Love it down there. Headed back to Harrah's well after midnight PST (3:00am EST), we've been up 24 hours straight and were getting tired. Time to hit the hay.

    Too be continued with Sunday - Oct 3.
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  2. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Nice report so far. Not to be picky, just a FYI, it is not PST, it's PDT until we change back the clocks on November 7th.
     
    Christmas
  3. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    You're doing great. Hope my first post will be this good:)

    Love Fremont St. We've always stayed on the Strip in our previous visits, but will be staying downtown at the 4 Queens in November.
     
  4. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Continued...Sunday, October 3

    Got up to head to our favorite Breakfast Buffet. Hopped in the car and headed back down to Freemont Street area for Sunday Champagne brunch at Main Street Station. Even better than I remembered and you can't beat the price. We printed off the FSE coupons and used the 2 for 1 coupon. Using the coupon we both had brunch for about $5.50 per person (regular price $10.99 per person - without the coupon) One of the best food bargains in Vegas as far as we're concerned. We ate about 9:30 or so and there was no line. I recommend the warm cinnamon rolls. :licklips:

    After brunch we played in the casino a bit. I immediately lost at some single deck black jack, so I gave that up for the moment. Then I discovered the fun Sex in the City slot machines. The ones at MSS were being pretty generous to the few people playing them. I walked away with a quick $50 to make up for my blackjack loss.

    Next it was on to a few other downtown casino and some $2 Blackjack. I was up and I was down. Finally walked away with what I started with. Went to sit at the bar with DH to watch the Lions lose, again!

    After the game we wandered over to the Golden Gate for our usual $1.99 shrimp cocktail lunch/snack. Not the best, but not terrible either. It's just kind of a tradition for us.

    We decided that it would be an Off-Strip day. Had a 2 for 1 coupon for the Liberace Museum. Really was never a huge fan, but because they are closing in a couple weeks we decided that this could be our only time to see it. Otherwise, we probably would have skipped it. I have to say that if you go with the idea of enjoying the workmanship and details of the costumes, then it is probably something to see one time. Not sure I would have paid full admission, but with a 2 for 1 it was OK.

    Next it was time to drive out to the Silverton to check it out. The casino was very nice and huge. There was just something about it though that I wasn't crazy about. Can't really put my finger on it. The slots were very tight. We checked out the Orange County Chopper bikes that were on display and the fish aquarium was pretty cool. We even got to see the diver in the tank feeding the fish. We didn't go into Bass Pro Shop as we have one close to home. Not sure I'd make the effort to go back there.

    Back to the room about 5:30 to relax a bit before dinner. This night we will head to the Wynn Buffet for dinner. We wandered over the the Wynn about 8:00ish stopping to watch the Volcano show at Mirage and part of the Sirens show at T.I. We wandered around the Wynn a bit. Very pretty casino and hotel as this is the first time we've seen it. Lost money here too. A pattern seems to be developing :(

    On to the buffet. It was a toss up between dinner here or dinner at the Belagio buffet. We hadn't been to either, but the Wynn seemed to be the more popular one on this board. We waited about 5 minutes to be seated and I have to say the food was delicious although there were a few items that were a bit dry and overdone. Although it was very good, it was still a buffet and I'm not really sure it was worth the $75.00 we paid for 2.

    After dinner, we wandered back down the strip and back to our hotel. We were pretty tired by this point and decided to call it a night.

    To be continued.....
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  5. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Continued....Monday, Oct. 4

    Got up Monday and headed back down to Freemont Street again as DH forgot to pick up the Bike Fest t-shirt he wanted from Hogs & Heifers. This time we decided to have breakfast at the Golden Nugget buffet. It was about 9:30 and were able to get right in. I think it was about $20 for the both of us. Breakfast was very good, except the scrambled eggs were a bit odd tasting. Everything else was very good to excellant. The best thing on the buffet was the Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. If I had found that first, I think I would have just eaten several plates of just that.

    Wandered over to find that Hogs and Heifers didn't open until 1:00 so bought a few other T-shirts for the kids. Then headed South on the strip. Passed by Gold and Silver Pawn shop (from Pawn Stars) and the line was a block long. Stopped at the Worlds Largest Souvenir Store, didn't get anything there but just looked around for fun.

    Made the drive down to Mandalay Bay and parked the car so we could check out that end of the strip. Managed to lose money in Mandalay Bay, Luxor and New York, New York. The free People Mover Tram made it pretty easy to get around between those resorts.

    About 2:30 or so we stopped at Dick's Last Resort for lunch. It probably been a more fun place had their been a bit of a crowd there. DH and I split a burger, I had one of the frozen Pina Colada's and DH had a beer. For, one burger and two drinks, the bill was about $35. Kind of pricey for what we had. The burger was good, but nothing outstanding. Wandered around the strip a bit more and hit the M&M store, Hard Rock and a few other places.

    Drove back to our hotel for a short rest. Then it was back down to Freemont again to finally pick up the Bike Fest T-shirt DH wanted. We stayed long enough to see the American Pie Light show. I really think that is the best one. Again, Freemont was a happening place and a nice party atmosphere.

    This was the night we were planning to start our Buffet of Buffet's package that came with our Hotel room. We decided to start with the Rio World Buffet. As we were driving out to Rio up the strip, we again passed the Pawn Stars place. There was no line, so we decided to stop, just so we could say we did. The place was small and kind of dumpy. I bought my son a Chumlee T-shirt that he wanted to get the last time he was in Vegas and wasn't able to get.

    We got to the Rio about 9:00 for dinner. Again, no line and we went right in. Have to say this was the worst meal we had the whole trip. The place was all about Quantity and not Quality. Wish we had skipped this one.

    Again, lost money in the casino then headed back to our hotel.

    Tuesday.....To be Continued.....
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  6. cpochick

    cpochick Low-Roller

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    Great report so far!
     
  7. wetvegas

    wetvegas Tourist

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    Can't wait to read the rest of your trip info..
     
  8. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Tuesday- Oct.5 - Midstrip, Buffet of Buffets and Conclusion

    Tuesday is planned to visit the mid strip and have our Buffet of Buffets.

    We started about 8:00am at Harrah's Flavors buffet for a light breakfast. We planned to keep our meals fairly light today, so we could hit several of the buffets. There was no line and the food was decent. Nothing extraordinary, just a basic breakfast.

    Next it was on to the Imperial Palace next door. I actually won a couple of dollars on the Survivor game. I had two free coupons for the Automobile Exhibit so we thought we'd check it out. If you are a car buff at all, it is definitely worth the trip to check out these beautiful cars. From cars owned by Elvis and Johnny Carson to cars worth over $1million. Some real works of art.

    Then it was on to the Flamingo. We wandered around there a bit then went to check out the Flamingo Habitat. Very nice grounds but a bit smaller than I expected. It was about 11:30 and decided to have a snack at the Flamingo buffet. It was OK, nothing exceptional. Although I did like the chocolate fountain :)

    We then wandered a bit farther down the stip to Bill's Gambling Hall. BIG LOSER there! I lost about $40 in about 10 minutes. The slots this trip have not been very good to me at all. Needless to say, we didn't stay long.

    Next it was over to Paris. I really love this Hotel and Casino. I like the feel of it for some reason. If I stay on the strip again, I think I would like to stay at Paris (since I can't afford Belagio). I like the layout of the casino and the location on the strip. I had a buy one, get one coupon for the Eifle Tower ride and thought we'd give it a try. It was a clear, sunny day so the views would be great. We had roughly a 30 minute wait to go up to the top. Once up there, the views are pretty spectacular, although the area is rather small once you get up top. It's probably something to do once with a coupon. Don't think I'd rush to do it again.

    It's about 2:30 by this time and thought we needed to try lunch at the Paris Buffet. This is the only one we had to wait for the entire trip. We had about a 20- 30 minute wait to be seated. This was definitely the best buffet of the bunch. So wished we'd eaten dinner here the night before, instead of Rio. The food was delicious. Will eat here again for sure.

    After lunch it was time to wander across the Blvd. over to Belagio. We had not been to Belagio before and found it to be a beautiful hotel and casino. I would love to stay here sometime. We walked around a bit, lost some more money :( and found our way through the beautiful hotel lobby to see the breathtaking glass flower light sculpture out to the conservatory. The conservatory was all decorated in full fall colors, complete with huge pumpkins and spooky trees. Once through the conservatory it was on to the amazing chocolate fountain. Wish I had saved room for some of these goodies. They all looked too pretty to eat.

    Next it was on to Caesar's Palace and the forum shops. The place is HUGE. Lost a few more dollars and checked out a few of the shops. Wanted to see the Neptune Fountain show, but had missed it. By this time we were getting pretty tired and are feet were started to ache a bit. Decided it was time to head back to our room for bit of a rest. Got back to the room about 6:00ish and relaxed a bit before dinner.

    About 7:30 we headed over to Planet Hollywood,the Miracle Mile shops and the Spice Market buffet. We had not been thers since it was the Aladdin and liked the changes. There were lots of fun new shops and stores. We went down to the Buffet and were seated right away with basically no wait. The food here was also good. There was quite and assortment of food and it was very tasty.

    About 10:00 we headed back to our hotel to pack and get ready for an early morning flight back home.

    In Conclusion.....(I bet you thought I'd never get here)

    I think the next time we go, we'll probably stay downtown again. It's just more laid back down there. Most likely we'll stay at Main Street Station or Golden Nugget.

    If we did decide to stay on the strip, I think I'd stay at Paris. I like the location, the atmoshphere and the feel of the Casino.

    Don't think I'd get the Buffet of Buffets package again. While it's a great deal for the price, it kept us from trying a few other places I would have liked to eat at.

    Rating the Buffets for Lunch/Dinner
    Wynn = A-
    Paris = B++
    Planet Hollywood = B+
    Flamingo = C+
    Rio = D

    Breakfast Buffets
    Main Street Station = A-
    Golden Nugget = B++ (only behind MSS because of price difference)
    Harrah's = B

    The Gambling
    The slot machines this trip were very tight. I head many people complaining that it was very bad. I really don't mind leaving my money at the casinos if you give me a chance to play a bit. What I really dislike, is to take almost all my money for the day, in the first 10 minutes and not give any play time in return. Lots of grumbling about this from the masses.

    Restaurants
    Peppermill - Thumbs Up!
    Ellis Island (steak special) - Thumbs Down unless you're looking for a bargain.

    Downtown - Always lots of fun and a Must Do as far as we're concerned.

    Rental Car - We love having the car at our disposal anytime. The driving and parking were a breeze. No problems at all. Pickup and Drop off at the airport were very simple as well. Will get a car again next time for sure.


    All in all it was a great and tiring trip. Can't wait to go back. Hope it's not 9 years in between again.

    If you've made it to the end. Thanks for reading.:peace:
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  9. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the rundown and commentary on the buffets.

    I agree on how tight the slots on the Strip have become. When will the corporate honchos wise up to the fact that they are driving people away by sucking all of the fun out of gambling :rolleyes2:
     
  10. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Nice trip report ...lots of detail and sounds like you 2 enjoyed yourselves :)
    I , too, wish the slots were a bit looser!
    great comments on the buffets , too
     
  11. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Low-Roller

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    Nice job for your first TR! Really enjoyed all the details.
     
  12. LAURLUVS2BOWL

    LAURLUVS2BOWL Low-Roller

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    Definitely agree with you on Rio, Golden Nugget, and MSS buffets, and glad to see you got some time downtown! Stayed downtown for the first time my last trip - probably should have rented a car as i spent a ton on cabs, which was extra painful since i too lost big in gambling! Hope you can go back soon!
     
    Lucky trip 21!!
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