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Aria Trip 08/01/14 -08/04/2014

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Goodday eh, Aug 19, 2014.

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  1. This is two weeks too late. I'm impressed with those of you who can do it sooner. I needed that time to decompress before i could hit the boards again, let alone post anything.

    Quick background
    I do these as a thank you for prior reports and to hope to answer all the questions I had before my trip.

    I’ve been to Vegas about 15-20 times, but only 3 or 4 times in the last 10 years. My last few trips were solo or just meeting up with some buddies for a night and having the rest of the time on my own. This was my first trip with my wife and we went with 2 other couples, so I knew it would be different. I had a list of things I wanted to do and see (based on tripadvisor reports and past visits). I am or was a decent gambler and don’t like the distractions when I’m ready to play. Luckily, I can stay awake later than everyone else so it’s not usually a problem. That ended up working out for me.

    My wife and I stayed at Aria. I had Friday and Saturday comped but they charged me $119 for Sunday. Considering that I hadn’t gambled at a Mlife hotel for two years, I was happy to get anything. One set of friends stayed at Monte Carlo and the others stayed at a Hilton near Circus Circus. It was so far north we never saw it. I’ll do full reviews of the hotel after my trip report.
     
  2. Goodday eh

    Goodday eh Guest

    Friday
    Our flight left at 6am from Tampa which meant that we were up by 4am to get to the airport in plenty of time. Never a good start to a Vegas trip when you start a night before with bad sleep. Luckily, that never came into play. Vegas has a way of keeping you awake as long as you want. We arrived at 7:30am and had booked a limo with Presidential to take us to the hotel.
    I booked the limo because we had six people and figured we would need 2 taxis either way and it was Vegas. So, do Vegas. It was great. The driver was there as the luggage was coming out and it was a great way to start the trip. If I went by myself or with just my wife, I would probably do a cab. But, it’s fun to splurge with friends.

    I paid the extra $30 for an guaranteed check in at 9am and we were the only ones trying to check in at 830am. They didn’t have much in terms of room choice but we got a room on the 8th floor and it had a decent enough view of MGM and NYNY. The clerk gave us the option of waiting for a better room, but after that long of a flight we just wanted to put our bags in a room and be done with it.

    We knew we needed some food and the easiest path was the Aria Buffet. It was pretty good and for the price($20 per person), we got our moneys worth. I didn’t eat too much because I knew we’d have an early dinner before our show. After breakfast, everyone hit the pool at Aria and I decided to scout out the way to Belaggio and grab my tickets at will call. I met everyone back at the pool and really liked the scene. I don’t spend time at pools in Vegas, but there weren’t a lot of kids or partying twenty year olds.

    We took a quick nap to make sure we could last the night, then met up with one of the couples at Javiers in Aria for dinner at about 5:30. I really liked Javiers. The margaritas were some of the best I’ve ever had and the food and ambience were perfect. Great food but not as upscale as a steakhouse. I had the short ribs and my wife had the seafood enchiladas.
    After Javiers, we made our way to O at Bellagio. This was my first Cirque show and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. I felt like it was about an hour too long. Visually, it was amazing but I couldn’t follow any story if they had one and it just became repetitive. I like broadway shows, but this wasn’t worth my time.

    After the show, we met up with friends at Cosmo for drinks at the chandelier bar. It’s a cool place, and despite not being that hungry at 11 because of the big dinner, I knew I needed to try secret pizza. It wasn’t much of a secret as there a tons of people walking out of the hallway with slices, but it was still good drunk food.

    We piddled around cosmo and played some craps there for about an hour. We separated from our friends at about 1am, I put the wife to bed and hit the blackjack tables at aria. I went on the best of blackjack runs of my life, but despite that I never really upped my bets and stayed between $50 and $100 a hand for the duration. In about 4 hours, I was up about $2,250. If I had increased my bets like I used to do, I could have done better. But, that’s all hindsight and I was happy to go to bed with some big chips. Went to bed around 5am.

    [​IMG]

    i love seeing the strip from the plane.

    [​IMG]

    view from our room at Aria. We were on the 8th floor. We had the option to have a higher room but we opted to check in early. I was fine with the view as it at least showed some part of the strip.

    [​IMG]

    the same view at night

    [​IMG]

    my short rib at Javier's. It was my best meal of the weekend.
     
  3. hedgehog

    hedgehog Low-Roller

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    How if you only been 3 to 4 times in the last 10 years do you get comped on the weekend @ Aria?
     
  4. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

    Joined:
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    Enjoying your report and photos....keep it coming.
     
  5. Goodday eh

    Goodday eh Guest

    i was surprised i got the offer for a weekend, myself. My previous trip was 2 years earlier and I gambled (lost) a lot, so i figured that helped.
     
  6. Goodday eh

    Goodday eh Guest

    Woke up at 9am. It was noon EST, so I guess I should be happy that I was able to get that much sleep. A little hungover but still excited to be in Vegas. Especially when I showed the chips to my wife who doesn’t gamble at all. We agreed to put $1,500 in the safe and I would walk around with the rest.

    IMG_0019.jpg

    It took us an hour or two to get ready for the day and by that time we were hungry but it was way past breakfast. We met up with our friends at Monte Carlo and then headed back up north on the Strip. I wanted to eat a burger at Mesa Grill. I’m a big Iron Chef fan and a big burger fan, so I wanted to eat a burger the way Bobby Flay thinks it was meant to eat. We bypassed his new burger palace since it seemed like more of a fast food joint.

    We got lucky and were able to see the Bellagio fountains as we walked north.

    IMG_0020.jpg

    I hadn’t seen them since my first visit (about 15 trips ago), since I rarely walk the strip on solo trips. We got to Ceasar’s quick enough, and found Mesa Grill. I was a little disappointed in the burger. I know he doesn’t like to do much with the burger but add salt and pepper then add toppings. I thought mine was a bit bland, but not bad. My wife loved hers, but she got one with queso and chile peppers that probably helped.

    From Ceasars, we walked through the Cromwell, Linq, and then finally back over to the Mirage. I hadn’t been here in about 10 years, and I don’t think they’ve done anything in 10 years to upgrade the casino floor. My wife put down $25 on 17 for a friend of ours. I wanted a picture to prove we did it. They don't like pictures.

    IMG_0021.jpg

    We continued our walk up through the Palazzo and then Wynn/Encore. It was about 5pm, we weren’t hungry enough for dinner and were too far away from our homebase to walk back. So we decided to grab cabs back, freshen up and then grab dinner closer to Aria. Our one “it’s vegas” moment happened on the cab ride back. Two 20something girls in bikinis tried to hop in a cab in front of us that was already taken. When the cab wouldn’t stop, the girls decided to moon them giving us the full show. My friend and I debated if there was room on our laps, but figured that wouldn’t go well with the wives so we told the cabbie to move on.

    We needed a good place to eat and cheap place to gamble, so I recommended NY, NY. We ate at Chin Chins (which was one of my favorite places when we lived in LA 12 years ago), and then hit the tables there. Chin Chins lived up to my memory. It was my first introduction to Chinese food and I’ve had better since. But, it was still good, relatively cheap, and easy to get a table without a reservation. NYNY has great minimums that allowed my friends to play and I tried to show them basic strategy on BJ. It worked for me, but not for anyone else which was definitely noticed. I walked out another $500 up and we all went our separate ways at about 2am. My wife fell asleep in about 2 minutes so I went back down to the Aria floor to pay more. I played for about 3 more hours and grinded out about even. I did find one of the guys I had played with the night before when we couldn’t lose and it’s always fun to find someone like that because it’s like finding an old friend. I went to bed again around 5am.
     
  7. TimLion

    TimLion Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Truth.

    Santé,
    TL
     
  8. Goodday eh

    Goodday eh Guest

    Sunday
    I woke up this morning around 10am and the first thing my wife asked me was how much I won. She won’t gamble but she gets more excited about me winning than I do. I had no idea, so I had to do the empty the pockets, walk of shame. Fortunately, I had another yellow in my pocket with a bunch of reds and a few blacks. I put the yellow in the safe with the one from Friday night and took out the $500 chip. As long as I didn’t invade the safe (which was in the drawer by my wife’s side of the bed), I knew I’d at least walk away with $2,000.

    We took taxis up to downtown and had breakfast/lunch at Hash Hash at the Plaza. I really liked everything about the restaurant. I got the chicken and waffles which I don’t think I even ate 25%. It was so much food. Tasty, but I couldn’t do it.

    IMG_0022.jpg

    On a bathroom run, I did see a 70 year old cocktail waitress in the full getup with fake boobs. It was so comical, I brought everyone to back to take a look. Another, “I love Vegas” moment, I guess.

    We did the walk down Fremont St. and popped into Binions, Golden Nugget, etc. I know I was there at 1pm and not at night, but I just don’t get downtown.

    The wives took cabs to Paris where they had booked a spa through groupon. They said it was great, but I don’t have any other input than that. The guys went back to Aria, then we decided to grab beers at Walgreens and walk over to Planet Hollywood. We ended up buying two 3 packs of 24 oz cans that were sealed together. I can’t recommend doing this enough. The beers stayed cold and were so much cheaper than buying them at a bar in a casino that we started counting every beer we drank as a win. There’s a walgreens right next to PH, so went back in and grabbed two more 3 packs after we were we done.

    We stayed around PH for a while and actually played slots because I think we were too tired and bored to do anything else. Had some fun interaction with some elderly women that obviously play slots a lot and didn’t think we were using proper strategy.

    The wives met back with us at about 8pm and we did more of the same. We had hoped to hit Lotus of Siam for dinner but I could never get them to answer the phone to make a reservation and I wasn’t about to head over there without one. We putzed around for a bit longer and then knew we’d have to find something to eat closer by. We ended up at Pink’s Hotdogs which one of my friends had been obsessing about since he saw it. I knew about it, too, from a food network show where they featured a couple of their dogs. I ended up getting the 2 dog version of the 3 dog night which is 3 hot dogs in a tortilla with chili and cheese. It was perfect drunk food and really cheap. And drunk food should be cheap.

    IMG_0026.jpg

    While we were eating, the skies opened up and it just poured rain. We tried to wait it out, but it wasn’t going to stop. So, everyone either hit cabs home from PH or ran across the bridge to their hotel. It was about 1am, and I was pretty tired and was willing to go to bed. But, after my wife fell asleep, my eyes popped back open and I knew I needed one more night of gambling. I always think my last night on s Vegas trip will literally be my last night ever in Vegas. So, I grab all my chips except for the two yellows that are snug in the safe.

    I go down to the tables and play, and at first I’m just not feeling it all and wondering why I’m even doing it. I lose a quick $500 and that doesn’t help. So, I’m almost on my way out and this friendly Australian guy sits down and we start talking and I’m having fun again. I throw the rest of my chips out and grind for another hour. I’m down to my last $200 and start wondering if I’m going to either raid my safe or do a covert ATM withdrawal, but then as I’m coming back from a piss break I see the line at the ATM and it reminds me that there’s a reason people don’t win in Vegas. It’s because they can’t stop themselves.

    So over the next 20 minutes, I lose the last $200 and make the smart decision to go to bed. It’s about 5:30.
     
  9. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Nice BJ wins. :beer:

    Good report. Thanks for all the pics!
     
  10. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good stuff so far! Sucks you gave back some of the wins on the last night, but hitting a "stop loss" at 5:30am is good in my book! Hell, I typically can't hack 5:30am. :eek:
     
  11. gjzach

    gjzach Newbie

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    Monday
    Our flight back to Tampa was at 11am, so all we did was clean up and check out. I did go down to the mlife desk to see how I did. They upgraded me from the basic level to pearl or whatever, which doesn’t mean much since I won’t be back anytime soon. They also gave me a $25 resort credit and only charged me the dreaded resort fee for Sunday night and not on the comped nights. I had about $25 in express comps that I applied to the bill, but that seemed low, too. I think the problem was that I never increased my bets to the crazy levels I used to and because of that, they rated me low. However, I think that’s why I walked away with money when I used to always blow any of my winnings chasing bigger wins.

    Presidential limo picked us back up and they were nice enough to pick our friends up at Monte Carlo so they didn’t have to lug their luggage over to us. We had a direct flight back to Tampa and were back into reality by 7pm.

    Overall

    I loved the Aria and think it’s my favorite mgm hotel to stay at. Bellagio is a bit crowded and Mandalay just has a crappy location if you’re with a group. Not a problem if you’re solo and like to walk. The bed really is worth the hype. I slept really well when I decided to actually sleep. Our friends were at Monte Carlo next door and the difference between the two was striking. Also loved the size of the casino floor. I felt that it was really small in comparison to others as it was just a crescent shape and there was no way to get lost in a maze of slot machines.

    I’m not normally cheap, but buying extra “walking beers” from walgreens or cvs was a huge win. Can’t recommend that enough.

    We had amazing weather. It was 106 when we arrived, but it never got higher than 85 after that. there was some weird storm that came in, but it didn’t rain until Sunday. And despite the rain on Sunday night, it was worth it. I doubt people get that lucky in August.

    I highly recommend a limo for more than 2 people on arrival. But, it’s not necessary for the return trip. I paid $130 for the round trip for 6 people. Another $40 in tips. A cab for 2 will cost $20.

    I used to love to check out new casinos, but after seeing the Cromwell and others, I realize that there’s really nothing to see unless they have a gimmick. They all just end up looking the same. I'm not sure what was i expecting at the Cromwell, but it just looked like a new casino floor. I lasted less than 5 minutes and figured i saw everything.

    My favorite part of Vegas is the glitz and glamour and that feeling you get being at a 5* resort without paying 5* prices. Downtown just seemed like a local casino. I don’t have fun gambling with people who don’t seem like they can actually lose the money they are gambling.

    my friends had a good enough time that they are already talking about coming back next summer. they'll have a better chance convincing my wife then i will, so i might be back next summer. if not, i'll do a solo trip in the fall. I was burned out in vegas by the time i left and the first 2 weeks since i've been back. But, now i'm ready to hit it again. that didn't take long.
     
  12. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Happy to hear you've got that "Vegas feeling" back. I really enjoyed your report!
     
  13. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Nice report - thanks for sharing!
     
  14. mganut

    mganut High-Roller

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    Great recap...thanks for sharing.
     
  15. Sissyboy_Deuce

    Sissyboy_Deuce Tourist

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    Congrats, nice work making that first night win last so long.
     
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