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August 25 - 29, IP

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by porwokee, Sep 2, 2005.

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  1. porwokee

    porwokee Tourist

    Sep 2, 2005

    My Trip Report

    I've been lurking for a while and got plenty of useful info from others' trip reports, so I figure I owe one :) This will be long and boring, but hopefully someone will get something useful out of it. We kept ourselves busy, and had an amazing time...

    We stayed at IP from the 25-29 for my bachelor party.
    5 of us:
    myself, 27, the bachelor
    H, 28, friend from high school (and before)
    T, 28, my best man (also friend from high school & before)
    N, 28, groomsman (known him for forever too)
    S, 28, friend from university

    We're from Toronto (or area). Only T had ever been to Vegas before, and all of us had been dying to go for years.

    All of us except for S flew out of Buffalo on Continental, stopping in Cleveland. S flew direct from Toronto. I'd never flown from Buffalo before. It wasn't bad. I think as long as I had an extra travel day to kill and the savings were substantial I'd do it again. I find it easier to cross the border in a car, since at Pearson airport (Toronto) you have to drag your luggage through customs on the way into the US, which can be real pain if you are carrying golf clubs or skis.

    Anyway, the flight there was pretty uneventful. We got there super-early in case we'd gotten held up at the border, so we had quite the wait at the gate. Didn't help that our plane was late. Anyway, we made the connection in Cleveland and even my checked luggage made it so it was all good. But the wait was killing us.

    S's flight was scheduled to arrive from Toronto just 17 minutes after hours, but his plane was late, so we waited around for a while and then took off. I'd booked a mid-size car through hotwire.com (turned out to be Avis) for $93 (all taxes/fees in) for the 4 days, so we grabbed that at the airport, and drove up the strip. Stopped and grabbed some beer at a convenience store, and headed to IP. Got there around 11:30 pm I guess.

    Parked in the parking garage and then got lost. We walked down some stairs and then started walking around the outside of the hotel, between the parking garage and some rooms. We had no idea what we were doing. Asked some security guard how to check in and he laughed at us and gave us some directions. Finally made it to check in and S was waiting for us in line. So we ditched T in the line (rooms were in his name) and grabbed some drinks. We were all pretty amazed at the IP casino. Sort of a sensory overload of ugliness. The whole dealertainer thing seemed really bizarre. Anyway, dropped off our stuff in our rooms (deluxe rooms, really cheap... I think ~$63 for the weeknights, $85 or something for the weekends). In my brilliance I'd bought beer that wasn't twist-off so, after wrecking some car keys trying (albeit successfully) to open some bottles, the quest to find a bottle opener began..

    We wandered the strip for a while, just checking out some casinos and stuff. H, (who's really into strippers/prostitutes and stuff) was absolutely *amazed* by the porn slappers and gladly took any cards they'd give him. He kept exclaiming loudly how amazing Vegas was because of these cards. Kind of weird. Anyway, we managed to find some bottle openers, grabbed some more beers, and wandered around some more casinos, drinking. Around 4am we decided to head back to IP to do some gambling.

    T was the only one who'd played craps before but we were all pretty much sold (by him) on the fact that craps would be the game we'd play. So after watching him play for a while at a $5 table, we joined in. Called it quits a couple hours later, N and I were doing the exact same bets as each other and were up $100 each. H and T were up around $60-$80 each. We were happy with the winnings and the free drinks (and the drink service does seem to be pretty decent at IP) and now that I'd been up for over 24hrs I was thinking it was time to crash. H and T disagreed so they headed over to the Spearmint Rhino, while the rest of us went to sleep.

    The report on Spearmint Rhino was that it's huge, the girls are fairly hot overall, but that the dances don't compare to those in Toronto (where virtually anything goes, apparently). Also, they were stuck in pervert's row because the rest of the seats were full, and were pretty annoyed by the fact that just because they were sitting there they were expected to be constantly tipping (also different than in Toronto). H and T were both rather amused by the fact that they went into the strip club when it was dark, and came out when it was light out. That's something you can't do back home.

    Anyway, when S, N and I woke up on friday morning, H an T were still sleeping, so we took off. Headed over to the Bellagio for the lunch buffet. We all thought it was very good value for $18, the food was awesome. Hung around the Bellagio for a while. The sports book looks *amazing* and we agreed that we'd try to spend some time there later in the trip (never did though).

    After lunch it was time to head over to the Liberace museum and Elvis-A-Rama (no I'm not joking). S is a big Liberace fan (or at least claims to be) because like Liberace, he is half Italian and half Polish. Anyway, all I can say is that Liberace is one funny guy. His costumes were pretty crazy. And he sure had some nice cars which he completely ruined by putting pieces of mirror or rhinestones all over. He did have some cool furniture and pianos though. There is some weird stuff for sale in that museum's gift shop. A life-sized (well, maybe not quite) cardboard cutout of liberace in an american-flag-themed hot pants outfit doing a kick might be ideal for a dorm room ($30). If you are looking for a gift for your girlfriend on your next visit to vegas, consider a shirt featuring a photo of Liberace sitting in a bathtub showing off his rings, with the phrase "King of Bling" (only $50).

    Elvis-A-Rama wasn't as big, but also had some funny stuff. Highlights included some of Elvis's pills (with prescription), karate videos of Elvis (where he looks totally uncoordinated and ridiculous despite apparently being an 8th-degree black belt), and a story about how Elvis threated to kill himself (or someone else? story wasn't totally clear) unless his buddy accepted a car from him as a gift (even though he'd already given him one the day before or something).

    Anyway, I-15 S was closed so were were screwed for traffic on the way back.. Took us over an hour. We would have been better off walking from IP. Met up with T & H at IP. Grabbed some salads at the Outback in Harrah's and then it was off to, you guessed it, the LV Hilton to see Wayne Newton (no again I'm not joking). Took the monorail there (in hindsight it would have been faster and cheaper to take a cab). The monorail is cool though. Anyway, grabbed the tickets at the box office and we decided we'll definitely need some alcohol for this show. So we went to Quark's (where we were greeted by a gruff-yet-sexy female klingon) to have drinks with retarded star trek names. The guys weren't that impressed with this place (none of us are into star trek or anything). I thought it was pretty funny. After got our "damage report" (ha ha) we grabbed our seats at Wayne Newton's show.

    Going in, we knew this guy couldn't sing anymore. So we weren't too disappointed by the quality of his performance. As long as you don't expect to hear him sing well, he does otherwise put on a reasonably-entertaining show. The show features Delisco, some winner of a reality TV show ("The Entertainer"?) which I've never seen.. anyway he seems fairly talented but his performance fell a little flat.. Wayne really depends on his backup band, gives them a lot of solo performances, most of which were really good. The negatives (besides that wayne can't sing anymore): Strange off-colour jokes that may have been appropriate in the '60s but sure aren't anymore (stuff about native americans and homosexuals, etc.. "iroqueers?") and a bizarre, somewhat incoherent, rant (which I guess was against terrorism? or as Wayne puts it, "Those who call themselves terrorists") at the end where everyone stood and applauded. Is it worth paying $86 to see a guy who really had hardly any hit songs and who can't sing any of them anymore anyway? I don't know. He *is* wayne newton, and you can't take that away from him. I'm glad we went.

    So after that we headed up to Fremont Street. Didn't find much in the way of really cheap gaming on a friday night, everywhere seemed to be at least $5. So we grabbed some drinks and hung around, waiting for the show on the screen. It was pretty disappointing. It was cool that they had an eagle fly down it. But otherwise seemed pretty uncreative. When it ended we kind of all just looked at each other and were like, WTF was that? Maybe if you're American you can appreciate it more, I don't know.

    After that, we headed into Glitter Gulch for a "Free topless party". Well free with a 2-drink minimum @ $9 per (or something). Pretty good place actually. Very good dancer to patron ratio, and the girls were pretty and friendly. N was talking to one of the dancers, she said the way it works is that she has to pay to get into the club herself ($65 I think?) and then "take care of" the DJ, etc, and then she gets to keep the proceeds (all?) from her dances. She said overall you don't actually end up making much money in a night, and that she had to take a "real job" to make ends meet. I can believe that they wouldn't make that much.. the VIP area is very small and crowded there, and it seems that the dancers are usually just sitting around talking to people. The guys bought me a dance (well, 4 actually) with a ridiculously hot blonde girl, definitely one of the hottest strippers I've ever seen. And it was the first lap dance I'd ever had. It was good, I liked it!

    It was time to head in early that night (about 1:00 when we left the strip club) because saturday morning was golf morning for T, S, and I. H and N headed back to the IP with us and gambled for a couple hours, we went to bed. Turned out later they'd lost $200 each playing craps.

    So the alarm was set for 4:50 and after ~3h 15 m of sleep, we were up and getting ready for our round of golf. The tee time was at Falcon Ridge golf course in Mesquite, for 6:54. We grabbed some coffees and food at the cafe in IP, hit the road at about 5:20, and were at the course by 6:30. Falcon Ridge is a new course. There are a lot of houses being built around it, and some construction still going on on some of the holes, 10th in particular I think. A lot of the cart paths don't seem to be finished yet either. Anyway, green fee was $45 (incl cart), club rentals were $25 (i'd brought my clubs, those guys didn't). The course was amazing. Definitely one of the better courses I've played. It is in a very dramatic setting with the mountains and a mesa in the background and with little canyons everywhere throughout the course. It is extremely hilly, with wide fairways but enough trouble and blind shots that it is a challenge, particularly on the back 9. Would be even more fun after you've played it a couple times so you'd know where to hit on the blind tee shots, etc. I was a little off-- putt really horribly all day, and launched a few drives into the desert, but had a great time. Really an incredible value for $45, I think. I don't know if they'll jack up the green fees once it's really finished. But the course is in great shape right now. I was a little worried about the heat, even teeing off at 6:54, but it was a non-issue. I don't think I'd play 36 a day in that heat, but a single morning tee time is fine. I think the dry air really does help. I've had days of golf that were more uncomfortable in Toronto this summer.

    We were back at the IP by 1:00 or so, and N and H were gone. Turns out they had headed to MGM Grand to play some poker. They ended up playing some no-limit 1-2 (I think) and lost a little bit each.

    S & I decided to check out the IP's auto collection. They hand out free passes to it at the back of the casino (no need to print out the coupon on IP's website). It's definitely worth checking out. nice big collection of cars, some of them are really cool. They are all for sale so it's kind of interesting to see what they are asking for them.

    In the meantime T hung out at the pool. He said later that it wasn't bad. Some hot chicks in bikinis. He said there's a rule that drinks aren't allowed in the pool but that everyone seems to ignore it.

    We met up with N and H back at the rooms. Hung out for a while drinking some beers, surfing the net on my laptop trying to find a hooker for H. Couldn't find one he'd go for. He basically decided he needs to see her first, and that he didn't trust the websites or those cards the porn slapper guys hand out. Anyway it was pretty amusing (for me anyway) surfing those websites and trying to convince him to go for each of them.

    We had a dinner reservation for 9:00 and it was only about 3:00 so we decided to get something to eat. We headed over to "I love this Bar & Grill" (in Harrah's) and just ordered some appetizers and drinks. It was actually really good, and even with just one appetizer each we didn't eat half of the food.

    After lunch it was time to go shoot some guns, obviously. S hung back as he wasn't that interested in it. So the 4 of us jumped in the car and drove to "the Gun Store" on tropicana. Being your typical (I guess) canadians, we aren't that into guns and none of us had ever shot a gun, or even been around a gun being shot, before. We were pretty shocked when we got out of the car and could hear such loud gunfire from inside the building. We were amazed when we walked at the number of guns everywhere. N and H got AK-47s while T and I got M-16s. N and H also got 9mm handguns. In we went and it was immediately obvious to myself that I had no talent for this. I had no clue how to even hold the gun. The Gun Store guy was helpful and tried to tell me, but I just didn't get it. So anyway, on my first burst of shots I manage to hit the wires/string at the top of the target (despite my Osama Bin Laden target being upside down, precisely so that idiots like me wouldn't do this) and the poor guy had to put me in a new stall. He gave me some more detailed instruction about how to aim the thing and hold it, and then things were a little better. It was pretty funny that I'd messed up so bad (at least the other guys thought so) but I wasn't having the greatest time :) I was a bit uncomfortable in the range to begin with. Being around all these tourists who obviously had no clue how to handle guns (such as myself) made me kind of nervous. I had a gun pointed at me at least once. Anyway, the other guys *loved* the shooting range, it was a highlight of the trip for them. They especially loved the handgun and N in particular seemed to be a natural at it.

    After the shooting range we went back to the IP and played some craps for a bit. It was a bad run of luck and we all lost big, around $200 each in about a half hour. Went up to the room and grabbed a beer and got changed, and it was over to the Mirage for dinner at Samba.

    My fiancee wanted to pick up the tab for this one (she enjoyed Samba when she was in vegas for a conference in the spring) so she'd already faxed her credit card info, etc., to the Mirage so we wouldn't have to worry about it, which was really cool of her. It was really good. We were all really tired and not that talkative, and couldn't really eat much, but what we did eat was quite tasty. I think the all-you-can eat was $32 each which doesn't seem too bad to me. Anyway, it's a brazilian steakhouse where it's all-you-can eat meat, they just come around with meat on skewers and give you whatever you want. 9 different kinds of meat I think.

    After Samba, we decided to just chill out for a while to try to digest and get some energy back. We headed into Margueritaville and had a couple each. None of us were that big on the Margueritas though, not because there's anything wrong with them, we're just not that big on tequila. After hanging out there for a while it was time to hit the strip bar again. S and N called it quits and T, H, and I headed on out.

    We took a stretch limo to Deja Vu. It was pretty cool but the driver kept trying to get us to go different places, we didn't really get why. Later on when we were leaveing we talked to the doorman at Deja Vu who explained to us that there's currently a war going on between strip bars, where they keep escalating the amount they compensate cabbies for dropping people off. Deja Vu is only $40 a head while others are at $60 or higher. Pretty interesting. Same deal with massage parlours, $40 a head I think he said.

    Anyway, we got in, and the host/bouncer guy tries to convince us to take a "VIP" booth. $100. Says there's no drinking here, but it comes with "house champagne". We're like, WTF, whatever, yeah, sure. (We weren't in the mood to be cheap at this point in the trip). So we sit down and I give him $100 and he says, "the price is $100 PLUS whatever you want to do for me". I'm like, "what??". He says, "$100 plus whatever you want to do for me". I'm thinking to myself, "you just scammed us into paying $100 (not to mention $75 cover) for a table at the back of the club that's worth absolutely nothing and you expect me to do something for me?" but I was just like, wtf, and gave him another $40 to go away. So they bring us our "house champagne" which as we expected was non-alcoholic. We ordered some orange juice. Luckily H was thinking ahead and had brought a flask full of vodka so we were set for a couple drinks each at least. Anyway, it was a fun night, and those guys bought me I guess 9 dances in total, with 3 different strippers. Hot blonde russian and girl in nurse outfit both highly recommended. Anyway, I was literally falling asleep at the table by the end of the evening (around 4:00 i guess). The evening ended amusingly, with H trying to get the russian dancer to come home with him. I didn't hear exactly what words were exchanged but she kept slapping his hands. She was actually kind of offended I think. She told him that no girl at the club would ever do that. I guess there must be something in their employment agreement preventing them from taking any clients on the side. Anyway it was a bit embarrasing, but rather funny to watch. After that we took off.

    It was an expensive night but H & T both said it was worth it; the look on my face when I came back from my 4 dances with the russian girl was priceless, apparently. They were very proud of themselves for finally getting me to appreciate strip bars (I'd never really gone to them much, at least not in the last 5 years or so, and had never been interested in getting lap dances or anything).

    Alright I'm getting tired of writing (and congrats if you've actually read this far) so I'll finish this off later on.
  2. DNA

    DNA Low-Roller

    Dec 5, 2004
    I think you are doing a great job with your trip report so far. Sounds like you guys did alot and had a blast. Never been to the Spearment Rhino before but i might just have to check it out. Definately have to check out Toronto clubs though. Heres a little trick a bartender out in Vegas showed me for opening beer bottles that aren't twist offs. Hold two bottles in one hand with the top of the cap of one bottle just under the edge of cap on the second bottle. Give the bottom of the lower bottle a smack with your hand and it pops the upper cap right off. Coolest thing. Makes a cork popping sound. I do have to tell you though, on occasion you may break off the top of the bottle and not just the cap. It's only happened to me one time though.

  3. porwokee

    porwokee Tourist

    Sep 2, 2005
    part 2


    Got back from Deja Vu at 4ish and went to sleep. Woke up around 10:00 and decided to check out the Hoover Dam. T skipped out because he'd already been on a past trip, so the 4 of us got in the car and drove down. I'd heard that you need to take a bus because the road gets too busy and it'll take too long if you take a car. In hindsight I don't see how the bus would get there any faster, there only seems to be one road that goes down to the dam. In any case it wasn't a bad drive midday on Sunday. Took us less than an hour from IP's parking garage to the parking lot on the other side of the dam. Walked around for a bit and then went for the tour ($10 each). Skipped out after the first couple tour stops; we'd seen everything we needed to see. The whole trip only took us a little over 3 hours and was well worth it. Pretty impressive and interesting.

    Got back and we were starving so we decided to head over to the Paris Sunday brunch buffet. First off, I was really impressed with Paris itself, it is a beautiful building inside and out. The buffet was really good. $24 I think, including all-you-can-drink champagne. The food wasn't quite as good as the Bellagio lunch buffet, but not bad. Hung out there for a couple hours and had a few glasses of champagne. Stuck around until after the buffet changed over to dinner (at 4:30) which meant they cut us off the champagne but many of the dishes were replaced with different stuff.

    After that we walked up the strip. Wanted to check out the Wynn to see what 2.7 bln dollars looks like. Overall, not impressed. I think the bellagio is a lot nicer. Wynn definitely does win for best cocktail waitress outfits though. On the way to Wynn stopped by the Venetian and grabbed some beers, and I was very impressed by that one. Then headed up to Stardust to check out the sports book there. Didn't make any bets but I just wanted to see what it was like. Definitely the sort of place I could see myself spending a ton of time if I was bored. Not too fancy, just a serious no-frills sort of place.

    We were basically killing time because we wanted to check out the Siren's of TI. We mistakenly thought it was at 7:30 so we missed it, it's really at 7:00 and 8:30. Grabbed some drinks at Tangerine and hung out there for a while. Cost of the drinks aside, really a great place to kill some time. Really nice, good tunes and good drinks. Watched the Sirens of TI, which I thought was an awesome show. I'd heard bad things about it, but I thought it was absolutely perfect. If Vegas isn't all about huge explosions and dancing women in skimpy outfits, what is it about? How many free shows can you see that have a sinking ship?

    Grabbed one more drink at Tangerine and then headed back to IP to change. Earlier in the day I'd bought tickets for Fantasy, at the Luxor, online ($50 each plus $3 service charge & tax), so we cabbed it down to Luxor for the show.

    I was extremely impressed with the Luxor. I'd already thought it was the coolest-looking building from the outside and the inside didn't disappoint. If it was in a better location I'd stay there on my next trip just out of principle, just because the building looks so cool.

    Anyway, our group gave Fantasy mixed reviews. Personally I thought it was really well done. The dancing was really interesting and the comedian was hilarious. I can't see how it couldn't meet one's expectations.

    After the show was done it was time to do some more drinking. We walked through down to Mandalay and it was pretty dead. We asked the doorman where to go and he suggested The Palms. So we cabbed it over, and got rejected at the entrance to Ghost Bar because T was wearing sandals. It was pretty obvious that we weren't going to get in anywhere interesting as long as he had sandals so we headed back to IP so he could but on some shoes. Headed over to the Bellagio to check out the bar there (Light I think?) but the lineup was pretty long and cover was $30 so went over to Caesar's instead. Hung out in Pure for a while. Seems like a good club. Drinks were expensive but really good. Cover was only $10 and it was fairly packed. N and H and T didn't seem to have the greatest time at first, and weren't on the dance floor at all. I asked S about this later and he was like, "well, you dragged them in there kicking at screaming, but I think it's good you did. At least they got to see a wicked club in vegas" which made me feel a bit better. Anyway, we all drank a lot at least.

    Afterward, I felt like getting in a little more gambling before our trip ended, so it was over to Casino Royale to play some $2 craps. When it was my turn to roll, I kept rolling 6 (point was 10) and everyone (except me, I didn’t have any on 6) made a lot of money. Rolled for quite a while and never rolled my 10. Won 9 bucks over about a half hour or so. While T & I were playing, the rest of the guys were over at Teahouse in IP. They said the sandwiches they got (beef dip or something) were amazing and only like 5 bucks. S & I then went to play some $5 blackjack at IP. Bought in for 50, and then if memory serves I won my first hand, pushed my second hand, and lost my third hand. At this point the dealer gave us bead necklaces (“for good luckâ€) and I went on a ridiculous run. I didn’t lose a hand after this. I didn’t get a single blackjack either, but I must have won 11 hands in a row. Tipped the dealer $5 and cashed in my remaining chips for $100, after < 15 mins of play. Not a bad end to the trip. My total gambling losses for the trip were $42.

    Flew home the next morning. Slept the whole way, totally uneventful and painless flight. We were all pretty unhappy to be returning to real life.

    Some thoughts/comments/observations:

    The Imperial Palace, the Good:
    - deluxe rooms at IP have an alarm clock and an iron & ironing board. The rooms were clean. And cheap, considering it was a weekend. And it’s in a great location, obviously. And checking in and out was relatively painless.
    Imperial Palace, the bad:
    - the TV remote didn’t work in either room. The TV in our room was really messed up… the sound was all garbled. Not a big deal but sometimes it’s nice to have it on just as background noise.
    - We got stuck in the stairwell. The door to the stairwell has a sign that says that the door locks behind you and that it exits only to the ground floor. Which is true, but it neglects to mention that if you open that door on the ground floor you sound the alarm. It’s not until you walk all the way down to the ground floor and read the sign on the exit that you learn this. We found this out because the elevator wouldn’t go down any further after letting some more people on on our way down. We volunteered to get off and wait for another because it seemed to be a weight issue (even though there was no more than probably 900 pounds of weight on the elevator total). We waited and waited for another elevator but none came, so we started to walk down. Once we got to the bottom we decided not to sound the alarm (someone else had done the same thing a couple nights earlier and it was really loud and annoying in the casino, and none of the staff did anything about it for a long time) so we went back up to the sixth floor where they, conveniently, have a telephone so you can call and get someone to let you out. Pretty annoying though.
    - The cleaning staff seem to sort of ignore the do not disturb signs. What the heck is the point of the sign if it’s just going to be ignored?

    Overall, I’d say the deluxe rooms at IP are like a half-step above a Motel 6. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there again if it’s just a group of guys, but I wouldn’t bring my fiancée there. You get what you pay for.

    Other observations:
    - vegas was more fun and better value than I thought it would be. I don’t think any of us spent much more than $1000 US including flight and gambling losses (biggest losses were ~$300); everything. Obviously we did some planning ahead of time to try to mitigate the expense (staying at IP, golf in Mesquite instead of Vegas, got a good deal on the rental car with hotwire), but once we were down there it didn’t feel like we were really holding back at all.
    - It’s obvious, but don’t make direct-dial long distance calls from your hotel room. One of us called his girlfriend and got zinged for $165 charge, not a very long phone call (maybe 20 mins or something?) He had his cell phone there but I think it was running low on batteries so he didn’t want to use it or something. Need to bring a mobile phone with charger or a calling card if planning on calling anywhere.
    - I thought I’d spend a huge amount of time in poker rooms, as I’m a poker addict like it seems most guys in their 20s are. Too busy though, never made it into one. I found in general that there’s so much to do and see in vegas that there almost isn’t any time to gamble. Maybe next trip.
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