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August 8 – 12, Gold Coast - Surprise 50th B-day Party

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by LaRae, Aug 20, 2012.

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  1. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Twin Cities/Western Wisconsin
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    My Trip Report

    August 8 – 12, Gold Coast

    This is approximately my 20th trip to Las Vegas, since 2000.

    Preface
    At my grandma’s 98th birthday party in March, we cousins decided to surprise our cousin Steve’s fiancé, Cindy, who turns 50 on August 11, with a surprise birthday get together. Steve & Cindy live in Henderson. None of us needed our arms twisted to have a reason to go to Las Vegas. Steve’s brother from Stillwater, MN, his sister from Cedar Rapids, IA, & another sister from Grand Island, NE, along with their spouses will all meet in Vegas for the b-day celebration. I am traveling solo, as my husband is staying home with our son. But don’t feel too bad for my husband, he will be going to Vegas twice this fall for work. I’m hoping to tag along with him for one of these trips…

    Let’s get this trip planned. I booked my airfare through Sun Country out of MSP Airport. I booked my car through Payless for $145.50 on April 25. After 6 more times of checking their website, cancelling & rebooking, my rental car was down to $87.90.

    Wednesday, August 8 ~ Travel Day
    Woke up, finished packing & said goodbye to my husband & son, who are going to Vikings Training Camp today. I am going to work from 9-12 today. Finally 12:00 hits & I’m free!! I rush to Barnes & Noble to pick up a book that was on hold. I then rush to the Mall of America to redeem my free burger at Ruby Tuesday, as my 46th b-day was August 4. Enjoyed a good burger & a beer. Mall of America is only 10 minutes from Terminal 2 at MSP Airport, so I arrived at check-in 2 hours early. Upon check-in I upgraded to 1st Class for $119. Wow! I am glad I upgraded. This is the longest line for security I have ever seen & it’s only 2:15 on a Wednesday afternoon. The restaurant/bar was completely packed, too. Flight leaves on time at 4:05. Too bad there was a screaming 2 year old in first class. I located a sucker in my purse & had the flight attendant give it to the kid. Silence. Yes! Vegas! Here I come!!

    Arrive at the new Terminal 3 at McCarran. So nice not having to take the tram to get our luggage. Faster getting to the rental car facility, too. For coming home, it was nice as there were shorter security lines & less people.

    Get my dog of a car & arrive at the Gold Coast. I was offered 2 free nights for a premium room. Then another offer arrived for 2 free nights for a premium room. Before I left I was offered 2 more additional nights. 4 free nights work for me. The room was a little worn, but the a/c worked like a gem. It was 78 degrees when I arrived & it remained at 68 degrees for the duration of my stay.

    My cousin Steve calls & tells me he has arrived at the Gold Coast. I go down & find him at a slot. We both got hammered at the machines. In a few hours, I was down $700. Steve was down $500. Ouch! Steve used my player’s card, so we racked up a ton of points. Steve decides to leave. I head over to TGI Friday’s to use my $8 in food coupon. One word, “NASTY!” No flavor to the boneless wings or seasoned fries. Glad I didn’t have to pay for this food. After attempting to eat, I went back up to room & grab another $200. I decided to play 25¢ 4-card Keno. I played 2 cards. My numbers were coming in, & low & behold, I hit 7 out of 7 on one of my cards. W2-G baby! $1,750. Thank God, I am now up for the trip. Wipes away my horrific $700 loss. Of course, I keep playing, trying to hit something else. I decide to go up to bed at 2:30 Vegas time which is really 4:30 for me. Yikes! I am up $770 for the day. Great way to start! 10 minutes into sleeping I am awakened by a leg cramp in my calf. I am screaming, “stop, ouch, are you kidding me?, stop”. I can’t imagine what anyone in the hall would have thought. So, I grab a couple potassium pills & go back to bed. At 3:30AM the alarm clock goes off. I should have known to check it. Nice joke from the last occupant of this room. I sleep on & off for 4 hours.

    Thursday – August 9 ~ 119°
    I get up & I am reminded immediately from my angry calf that I had a bad cramp last night. Wow. That really hurts. I’ll hobble around Vegas if I have to…

    While in the shower, I heard a loud bang in the bathroom. I thought someone had entered my room & had thrown something into the bathroom. When I got out of the shower, I discovered the metal ring around the fire sprinkler had fallen to the floor. The whole thing freaked me out!

    I decide to go to El Cortez downtown to use my $50 in birthday free play. While using my free play, I hit 5 out of 5 on 25¢ Keno. $200. I use this money to play all morning at the El Co. For lunch, I want prime rib at Café Cortez. I use my 50% off coupon & my points to score a free meal. The prime rib is always awesome here.

    After lunch I head to the other downtown casinos. The Plaza looks better. They have a cute cupcake shop. I think the Golden Gate looks great. Downtown was really tight. Time to leave; I have reservations at Benihana at LVH.

    Arrive at LVH and decide to push my reservation back by an hour, as I’m not that hungry yet. It was noticeable; the LVH sure does market the baby boomers. They have older cocktail waitresses & their music is from the 60’s & 70’s. I don’t mind, as I love all music. I end up making $100 between a Sun & Moon Slot & 25¢ Keno.

    Arrive at Benihana & find this restaurant to be beautiful. I discovered the whole experience is much better than the actual food. Thankfully, there were some fun people at my table. I had a $30 birthday coupon to use. My meal ended up being $15, after the coupon.

    Went back to Gold Coast. No notable wins.

    Friday – August 10~ 119°

    Parked at Bill’s so I could walk to Flamingo & get my mom a coffee mug she had requested. Flamingo did a good job updating their fast food area. Margaritaville’s new casino area is nice. The server here nearly lost her tray of drinks, as she was not able to walk in heels. Not all women are meant for heels. I myself don’t even attempt heels.

    Head to Circus Circus. I had a $15 for $30 food coupon at Rock & Rita’s. I ordered a full rack of ribs for $22.99 & a strawberry margarita. The margarita was one of the best I’ve ever had. The ribs were good, but the full rack was only 6 bones. I was full when I left, but in Minnesota, a full rack is 12 bones. I probably wouldn’t spend $22.99 for this meal, as the sides weren’t that exciting.

    I headed over to Slots of Fun. I lasted a long time at 4-card Keno here.

    Go back to hotel to change, as the cousin’s are surprising Cindy tonight at the Orleans. It is so dang hot. It feels like an oven… on broil!!

    Arrive at the Orleans & we all meet at Brendan’s Irish Pub. We waited for an hour for Steve & Cindy to arrive. Not a single bartender or server ever approached our group. The cigar smoke was so bad & the service was even worse, so we decide to go to Coasta Cantina & get margaritas/drinks. The margs tasted like kool-aid. None of us thought there was any alcohol in these drinks. The nachos were blah, too. Just no flavor. Despite the lack of flavor with the drinks/food, we had a good time talking & laughing for a couple hours.

    We all decide to try the slots. Steve used my card again. He has luck this night. He puts $60 in a machine & takes out $400. He puts $40 in a $1 WOF & soon hits a spin for $150. He played a ton of machines on my card. He always plays max credits. Thanks, Steve!

    Four of us grab a drink at the bar & then they call it a night.

    I head back to the Gold Coast. I ran $200 through a $5 slot. No wins. Run another couple of hundos through a slot. Nothing! I have better luck just watching Steve play…

    Saturday – August 11 ~ 116°
    Cindy’s 50 Birthday!

    Went to M all morning. Very tight. I didn’t eat lunch until 2:00. Drove through Jack in the Box by M. O.k., at best.

    Head back to Gold Coast to change for the evening.

    6:00 reservations at the Prime Rib Loft at the Orleans. We had an excellent young server. His name was Rudy. He literally was running for us. Everyone had a great meal/appetizer/drinks. Because of my late lunch, I wasn’t that hungry. I ordered the prime rib slider appetizer for my meal. It was excellent. I think the tab was $321 for 9 people. I tried throwing money in for my appetizer & my cousins said there was already enough money thrown in. Thanks for the appetizer, guys! We had another good night of conversation & laughs. The Prime Rib Loft never disappoints!

    Most of us played craps after supper. None of us did well. We then went back to slots. Surprisingly, Steve had really good luck at the slots again. While playing Monopoly, he was betting $4 a spin. He more than doubled his $100 buy-in & put a ton of points on my card. He made money on Superman & the Dark Night, playing max bet & playing for a long time on each. He doubled his money on video poker, too.

    After saying goodbye to everyone, I decided to play 25¢ Keno on the video poker machine Steve was playing on. I made $100. The pay tables were whacked. For those of you who play Keno, I hit 7 out of 8, which should be $400… oh no, it was only 250 credits/quarters. I was none too happy!! Anyone else experience these poor pay tables or know why?

    There was a great band playing at the Orleans. Listened to them for a while & then decided to call it a night. It was close to 3AM.

    Sunday – August 12~ 114°
    The last day in Vegas is always hard for me. I so hate to see my trip come to an end. I was really missing my husband & son, so I was ready to come home. Melancholy.

    Went to Cosmopolitan. Surprised how busy they were for a Sunday morning. Signed up for a player’s card. The promotion for new members is $5 in free play & a $15 gift card for Zappo’s. I asked if they will be bringing back the $100 free play promotion & I am told if we ask for the promotion they will honor it. The employees themselves cannot mention it. Sweet. I’ll try it. It didn’t take long to lose $100 on the new Life of Luxury slot. No regular bonus or Life of Luxury Bonus in $100. Get my $100 in free play loaded & lose on $1 Keno & a few other machines. I end up with $27. Oh, well, I tried.

    I am hungry at this point, so I head up for a slice of pizza. This pizza was excellent. I have read various opinions about this place, but the slice I ate on this day was fabulous. I would go back, even at $5 a slice.

    Headed over, in the heat, to Planet Hollywood. The traffic was horrendous & there were tons of people on the sidewalks. Good for Vegas. PH was very busy. There were close to 40 people waiting in line at Earl of Sandwich. I have heard positive reviews for this joint. Is it this good to wait this long?

    I played a 25¢ 5-coin WOF machine. For a $100 I got to spin 4 times, never getting more than 25 credits. Thankfully, made up for that loss on another penny machine.

    PH’s music was way too loud. I could not hear my husband at all on my cell phone. Cannot believe in general how many kids & strollers were in Vegas. In PH there were kids crawling around on the carpets. Other casinos, strollers were pushed right up the slots. Aren’t there laws against this? Kids were out late at night, too. STUPID PARENTS!!!

    Walked back over to Cosmo & made a quick $50 on a penny slot.

    Went to Orleans to use my $5 in free food on a birthday promotion. It was only good at certain locations. I used it at Coasta Cantina Express. Not very good food. Glad I didn’t have to pay!

    Flight is at 6:10, so I head to the airport. The guy in front of me snags the last 1st class upgrade. I ended up sitting by a 23 year old girl, who was very talkative. We had a great time. It was fun hearing about the bachelorette party she was there for. We did sit on the tarmac for 30 extra minutes, waiting to take off, & the plane was getting hotter by the minute. Arrived late, but safe, at MSP. I was really missing my family, so I was glad to be home!

    Overview
    I had such a great time with my cousins & their spouses. It was so much fun getting to surprise Cindy for her birthday.

    Having 4 free nights at the Gold Coast really helps the budget.

    Gambling was pretty brutal, except for the first night. I ended up down $700 for the trip. Thanks to Steve, I should continue to receive offers from
    Boyd.

    I only spent $54 in food + tips. No fine dining to report here!
    (If I return with my husband, the food choices will definitely be better)

    I noticed more than ever the vulgar language in Vegas. (Another reason kids should not be in Vegas!) I don’t mind some swearing, but when every 2nd word is an f-bomb, you might want to increase your vocabulary skills a little.

    Hoping to be back this fall with the hubby!
     
  2. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

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    Great report!!! Thank you.

    Was surprised to hear the security lines at Humphrey were so long. Usually it's about 3 minutes thru them!!! Maybe the addition of SW? Headed thru there in 2.5 weeks - I'll make sure we leave extra time!
     
  3. Reed

    Reed High-Roller

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    Sounds like it was a great trip! Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. Vega$nut

    Vega$nut Tourist

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    Finally heading back to Vegas for the first time in 3 years next month and I'm curious to see how many kids are being drug around. I've never seen many in my previous trips. As a parent of two children who are 6 years old and 18 months I couldn't imagine taking them to Vegas. I just don't understand some people.
     
  5. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

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    Sounds like a very fun trip!

    I've never thought of asking about a first class upgrade at the airport. We'll have to get there early next Thursday and give it a shot this time around. For the right price, it would be a nice little bonus for the wedding/honeymoon on a 5 1/2 hour direct flight. Glad I read this thread!

    It probably depends a LOT on the month and time of year you go. Almost every time I've been to Vegas, it was either May or September, so the kids either weren't out of school yet or they had just gone back. No vacations for them at that time, either, so there weren't many young kids around (high school age or below). When I went in August, there may have been a larger number of them as school hadn't started yet and a lot of families seem to book August vacations, but that was a few years ago.

    If you really want to avoid kids in Vegas, I imagine early-mid September would be your best bet since even most college students are back in school at that point, along with anyone high school age or younger.
     
  6. WHITEJACKET73

    WHITEJACKET73 Low-Roller

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    The 1st class upgrade at the check-in counter for Sun Country is a great deal. The $119 price tag is worth it in my opinion. They don't charge you for your checked bag(save $30),free drinks on the plane, you are served a nice meal on the 6 pm flights(the warm cookies are delicious), comfortable seats, restroom for 1st class passengers only, board/deplane first, and they have a special line for 1st class passengers at the security gate(no long lines). I'll be leaving in Sept on those same flights 4 pm going and 6 pm coming back. I am usually able to snag the upgrade in Minneapolis, but I think my success rate in Vegas is only about 30%.

    Thanks for the great trip report. I'll be sitting at the center bar at the Gold Coast in 2 weeks playin 9/6 JOB and downing copious quantities of Bombay Sapphires & Tonic
     
    Winter break
  7. jerseyguy

    jerseyguy VIP Whale

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    You asked about the Earl of Sandwich

    We love it,great for a lunch or snack,very good value. Would I wait a real long time,maybe not but that goes for just about everything.
     
  8. rob889

    rob889 Low-Roller

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    How funny...I was probably in that ridiculously long line if you were there around noon. Sandwiches are good and reasonably priced (think it was $13 for the two of us)...they are definitely well above Subway quality. Never seen it like that before...thankfully the line moved pretty fast. We figured by the time we go get something to eat elsewhere we might as well just wait the 10 minutes in line.

    Enjoyed reading your trip report. Makes me want to give the prime rib at the ElCo a try. Do you remember how much it costs and what all does it come with?
     
  9. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Thanks for the report!

    Re Earl of Sandwich.
    They have a sign on the counter to the left of the cash that says Diamond Line...but I tried standing there once and basically got ignored. But their sandwiches are so good it is worth standing in a really long line for them!
     
  10. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Rob889-12 oz Prime Rib at Cafe Cortez @ El Cortez is $11.95. It comes with soup or salad, choice of potato & veggie. When you sign up for a player's card, every month in the mail, you receive BOGO Free Coupons or if dining alone, 50% off. Great deal! These coupons can be used at Roberta's Steakhouse there, as well.

    Thanks for all the replies.
     
  11. rob889

    rob889 Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the info LaRae :)
     
  12. LindaP

    LindaP Low-Roller

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    I really enjoyed your trip report - thanks so much for taking the time!

    - Linda in TX
     
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