So Iâ€™m back and ready to share my first trip report with all of you! Let me start off by saying that this was BY FAR my best overall trip to Vegas, and much of that has to do with what I have learned from the forum and talking to some of you â€“ so thank you all VERY much! I should also add that after the bachelor party was over on the 27th, I met up with my folks (who got there on the 26th) for 24 hours of good times as well. Including the night before the trip and last night, Iâ€™m working on about 25 hours sleep total over a 5 night span, so yeah, keep that in mind. Keep in mind that even the average Vegas traveler can experience issues like I always do with the excessive amount of walking and heat, so please pack specific toiletries accordingly! This report will probably get a little long, so off we goâ€¦ THE PLAYERS 1st leg of trip Me (aka LS) â€“ female, age 28, â€˜groomsmaidâ€™ Groom to be (aka CG) â€“ age 26 Best Man (aka IF) â€“ age 25, routinely obnoxious even when sober 2nd leg of trip Me (the wonderful daughter) Mom Dad THE BEGINNING We left Houston on Southwest Airlines at 11am and arrived in Vegas by 1230pm. Checked in to MGM at their check in area in the airport baggage claim. This is my 3rd time staying there so I knew the drill. The room wouldnâ€™t be ready right away which we knew, so we took a cab to the hotel, left our stuff, and head out on the town! THE MIDDLE HOTEL MGM is very good for people who like having a nice room and a lot of stuff to do at their hotel. There are easily 20 places to eat at, but unfortunately very few for the casual consumer like myself, and little if no sit-down places that have reasonable prices. The good news is that you have Tropicana and NY NY across the street on the south and west sides, respectively, so that helps in many ways. The Tropicana/LV Blvd intersection is one of my favorite areas of Vegas so itâ€™s no surprise I prefer sleeping at the MGM than the other hotels within walking distance there, especially when Iâ€™m trying to save money (no thanks, Mandalay Bay). Plus, the convenient monorail stop doesnâ€™t hurt! We got adjoining rooms on the 7th floor with a lovely view of HOOTERS. I had a king bed and the boys had two queens. My room featured a lovely couch which I wasnâ€™t used to having (IF even referred to it as a â€˜shrinkâ€™ couch). As usual, plenty of storage space in the room for 1-2 people, and thankfully a safe as well. Also called and got a complimentary fridge which was invaluable when it came to storing water (purchased a cheap 12 pack from Walgreens) to avoid the whole passing out thing. We got a couple drinks at 32 degrees (bar right next to food court in Studio Walk) and went to the pool to have some fun on the lazy river. Definitely need to stay in water when out at the pool during a Vegas summer â€“ way too hot to enjoy lying out anywhere thatâ€™s not in the shade, and even then it can get tiring fast. Have always been amazed by the vastness that is MGMâ€™s pool complex but there are certainly areas that stay packed (the lazy river may as well be called the drunken stream)! Iâ€™m not a big gambler myself at the MGM properties but I do have a players club card and needed to go over to get my slot play (comped with my room promotion) added on to my account. EVERY time we went by there, 10-20 people were in line. There must have been some kind of special contest going on but either way I was immensely frustrated by the situation since I couldnâ€™t get my slot play any other way. Now, my folks got to stay in the Signature for their 2 nights, and I was with them for the 2nd night. Had never stayed there before. They had the most basic suite offered there and even though they had to pay the (absurd) â€˜resort feeâ€™, they still got both nights for a total of under $250, I believe. Amazing room and view! Certainly a schlep from most parts of the main hotel but the moving sidewalks definitely helped and they made sure to request tower 1 (the closest tower to the MGM) and a balcony. Pictures of the suite (right before we left) View attachment 1729 View attachment 1730 View attachment 1731 The view - 37th floor! View attachment 1732 View attachment 1733 View attachment 1734 They also enjoyed eating breakfast at Delights â€“ the cafÃ© inside tower 2 â€“ as well as the small private pool they had access to. All in all, I will continue to stay at MGM though maybe not every time anymore, depending on who I go with. The sheer size of the property has tired me out to the point that I had aching feet and shins by Day 3. Still, by booking under a promotion that allowed us unlimited access to the buffet for the first leg of the trip, Iâ€™m glad we at least saved $ on food this time, though! GAMBLING I decided that for a change I would keep very strict track of where I gambled, how much I spent, and how much I came away with. This, plus playing smarter BJ and VP, paid off HUGE for me â€“ I came home â€˜upâ€™ for the first time, and close to $100 too, which for me is amazing! 2 words about my gambling experience â€“ GO DOWNTOWN! Man alive, what a great experience. I had spent very little time down there but for someone who only likes cheap full-pay Jacks or Better VP and $5 and under BJ tables, I was in heaven. We literally went to almost every casino there over a 2 day period so itâ€™s hard to differentiate each one, but I will tell you that you must play VP at Binionâ€™s (there are at least a handful of full play JOB machines that arenâ€™t exactly hidden away, and I hit 4 of a kind on one), and that BJ at Main Street Station treated me well. View attachment 1722 I also found possibly the only full pay JOB machine at California (hidden away up some stairs from the snack bar) and did well there too. I dug my way out of a big hole from VP at MSS but still finished down there. El Cortez was a disappointment â€“ way too smoky and literally could not find any JOB machines for whatever reason. I played BJ at Golden Gate and Golden Nugget and donâ€™t necessarily recommend either (mainly b/c I lost). Had an interesting GN experience â€“ we were scoping out the BJ tables when one of the pit bosses saw my friendâ€™s shirt with the slogan â€“ â€˜kiss my glorious golden assâ€™! Well, since this was GOLDEN nugget, he said how much he wanted the shirt and I was like â€“ heâ€™ll give you the shirt if you turn this table into a $5 one. So heâ€™s like â€“ oh I will no problem! So yeah, $5 table and my friend kept his shirt â€“ good times!!! i LOVE downtown and will spend most of my gambling time there every trip from now on! Also have to talk about Tropicana â€“ played BJ there 3 times, won big on the 1st, dug out of a huge hole but still lost on the 2nd, and won big again on the 3rd. Was itching to play a 4th time but realized according to the pattern Iâ€™d probably lose (haha) so didnâ€™t go through with it. Definitely pays to know all of the basic strategy, including splits and doubles â€“ my most consistent winnings were on doubles by far. Carried my cheat sheet with me just in case â€“ rarely used it and no one cared that I had it. They probably wish they had one too! Played some video blackjack at NY NY for a change â€“ they have a small area with â€˜Game Makerâ€™ machines (as opposed to Game King, which I think cheats) that I really like and only cost a quarter. Won a few bucks there. Also played $1 BJ as advertised at Sahara â€“ only pays off 1:1 when you bet less than $5/hand, and 6:5 when you bet more, but a dollar is a dollar so I had to play at least a little. Was disappointed that the Trop VP selection is totally different than I remember â€“ full pay only in the â€˜high limitâ€™ area ($1+/hand). Still, the BJ made up for it! ENTERTAINMENT Since this was a bachelor party, beyond CG having more to drink than heâ€™s used to, we hit up 2 of the finest strip clubs Iâ€™d heard about â€“ Sapphire and Spearmint Rhino. Didnâ€™t get to Sapphire til probably just before midnight on Saturday and used their transport (white SUV in our case) â€“ only had to tip the driver $5-7 each and got free cover. We managed to track down 3 seats, and thank goodness we did â€“ standing up there was not gonna be a fun option. There were a TON of women around and if you face a certain way (and arenâ€™t stuck behind the small tables) they will come and sit down in your lap wanting you to buy a dance from them. This happened fairly often for both boys due to the sheer # of women. IF and I bought CG a few lap dances and IF had a couple himself too. It was hilarious to watch everything in action, including the stage performances, which I made the boys go up front to watch. After about an hour and a half we were tired of spending $ so at the recommendation of the driver we walked a block down to a dive bar called Brandoâ€™s for food. It was about 2am then and we walked in on the beginning of a random video poker tourney which IF and I ended up participating in (but not winning, sadly). Ordered cheap pancakes before being told we could have access to the free food spread for the VP players! There couldnâ€™t have been 15 people in the place so it was a good time even though we were exhausted. They also had a raffle which none of us were winning from at first, but I commented that one of us had to win since our group had 3 people (good odds and all). Not 2 minutes later I won a 12 year old bottle of scotch! For someone who never drinks the hard stuff, this was memorable on so many levels. This was after all on Day 1, and by the time we hit the sheets we had been up nearly 24 hours. We went to the Rhino after dinner on Sunday night â€“ very different atmosphere, just as dark but not nearly as big, and still quite a few dancers. We took their transport, which in this case was a stretch limo even with only 3 of us! Once again, tipped driver, cover waived. Lot of women there, different stage layout as Sapphire, same â€˜issueâ€™ of women constantly coming and sitting on you to try to get dances. Apparently we low-rollers shouldnâ€™t sit in prime locations, but the host showed us to this table so what can you do. CG got a dance and IF got one with the â€˜biggestâ€™ woman there (who apparently got that distinction after 3 surgeries)! I also reluctantly agreed to a dance as long as CG came with me â€“ I hadnâ€™t had enough to drink and was scared, plus I do actually prefer men! Not the best dance in the world but certainly enough. One thing I noticed that seemed to be an important distinction between the two clubs was that Rhino seemed to promote far more touching than Sapphire, even though both seemed okay with it. Iâ€™m sure you have to â€˜get permissionâ€™ but still, not what I expected! I didnâ€™t spend a lot of time thinking about what the strip clubs would be like for me since I knew we had to go but wasnâ€™t exactly sure what Iâ€™d be in for. I was really really REALLY amazed by how entertaining the experience was for a straight female watching her male friends have a happy time and would go back if needed. As far as other entertainment, we hit the Eiffel Tower (learned from a prior tripâ€™s mistake and paid extra for VIP to not have to wait in the hour long line at night) plus M&M and Coke world. Went with Mom and Dad to Bellagio conservatory and took a ton of scenic pictures. FOOD Raffles (Mandalay Bay) â€“ ended up here instead of Burger Bar (one of my favorites that had a stupid 45 minute wait for lunch), was very happy with what I ordered â€“ a version of eggs benedict that used smoked salmon and potato pancake instead of ham and English muffin. Prices were a bit high but with our level of hunger it was worth it. Buffet (MGM) â€“ we booked a fantastic deal through the hotel that among other things allowed us to have 3 time a day per person access to the buffet. Since it was my friendâ€™s party though, we knew we didnâ€™t only want to eat there, but we made the most of it by eating weekend dinner and brunch there. I told someone later that I wouldnâ€™t pay $25 to eat either meal there and was glad it was â€˜freeâ€™, but the bottom line is that getting an above average all you can eat meal in a decent space should cost somewhere in that range, so Iâ€™m not complaining. The highlights for me were the tater tot casserole (!), the blueberry pancake â€˜casseroleâ€™ and the waffles w/strawberry sauce. I guess that means if I were you, Iâ€™d get there for breakfast and stay for lunch if you want, but donâ€™t go out of your way to have the non-breakfast food! Mermaids (Downtown) - fried oreos â€“ awesomeness!!!!!! That is all Thankfully Iâ€™d had them before so I knew what I was in for â€“ sweet decadent must-have county fair/rodeo food! Le Burger Brasserie (Paris) â€“ very similar to the Burger Bar but different in some ways. Had choices of meats (beef, lamb, salmon, veggie, turkey, etc) and a large variety of toppings (cheeses, meats, veggies) that reminded me of Burger Bar mostly. I had the â€˜Americainâ€™ â€“ beef w/melted American cheese, mushrooms, and onion rings. It was good â€“ couldnâ€™t believe I finished the whole thing. Fantastic waffle fries we bought to go with it! The waitresses had â€˜interestingâ€™ outfits â€“ apparently everything IS sexier at Paris! Had a coupon for $5 off each entrÃ©e which was nice. Definitely a place Iâ€™d go back to, esp since itâ€™s considered a sports bar so itâ€™d be fun during prime sports season. Village Eateries (NY NY) â€“ we were supposed to eat at MGM buffet again the morning we all checked out, but the line was too long and we figured weâ€™d miss breakfast, so we each ate at a different place here instead. I had some Ben & Jerryâ€™s, IF had a giant thing of chili cheese fries (which he couldnâ€™t finish) and CG had some fish and chips. I only had ice cream b/c a little while earlier Iâ€™d had the most AMAZING thing every â€“ egg & cheese pizza from MGMâ€™s food court (at Studio Walk)! If you like big soft CHEAP slices, go to the Italian place there anytime â€“ you wonâ€™t be disappointed! Il Fornaio (NY NY) â€“ went with Mom and Dad and friends of theirs that they hadnâ€™t gotten to meet up with the night before. Had been here another time and I wouldnâ€™t necessarily go out of my way to keep going here. Iâ€™m not a big fan of their food selection and am still wanting to try an affordable Italian place that is more my taste (pasta is the bottom line)! Good service and atmosphere though, made a reservation but no wait for a 730pm Monday night dinner. La Creperie (Paris) â€“ managed to get there after dinner before it closed â€“ WELL worth it as usual. Had the dessert crepe with raspberries/blueberries/strawberries. Le Village Buffet (Paris) â€“ with a little help from Tix4Tonight dinner reservations (which I HIGHLY recommend as this was my first time using them), we ate lunch here on the last day and saved a few $s between the 3 of us. Awesome experience. Whatâ€™s really nice about this place is the dÃ©cor which you donâ€™t get at Spice Market Buffet (PH) or MGM and donâ€™t really get much of at Bellagio either. Food selection was extensive for lunch â€“ was very impressed they had lamb/prime rib/turkey (?) and crepes made to order at lunch! THE END (SUMMARY) Hotel â€“ wonderful Food â€“ decadent Entertainment â€“ interesting Gambling â€“ spectacular! CANâ€™T WAIT TO GO AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!