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Cinco de Mayo

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by tnkc, May 6, 2007.

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  1. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    We had two free nights at Harrahs, excluding weekend nights though, so we had to find a Saturday night filler hotel. We love downtown so I checked out our options there. Due to the Derby and perhaps the fight, our options were limited. We decided on the Plaza.

    Plaza

    I was a bit concerned based upon some negative reviews here and there. Some of those concerns were confirmed. It wasn’t horrific or anything, but we compared it to El Cortez on the other side of Fremont (without the block walk through rough terrain). The parking garage was an interesting facility. We got the South Tower; 18th floor. The room was actually worse than the tower room we had previously stayed in at the El. We had asked for two queens; got two doubles. The A/C Unit moaned and groaned like a wounded animal. There was a spot on the wall where a picture used to be (did someone actually steal the picture from their room at the Plaza?)…and some torn wallpaper remained where the picture used to be. The small bathroom rumor about the Plaza? Completely true. I think it was originally designed for the cast of the Wizard of Oz. All in all, it is very dated. I’ve heard there are renovated rooms here that are much better. I wouldn’t pay to stay again…if they comped me I might be persuaded.

    The elevators were super quick and there were plenty of them. Never a long wait for the elevator. The 3rd floor check-in was a little inconvenient. We had the buffet for dinner…it wasn’t good. It was Cinco de Mayo and I think they made a futile attempt at Mexican…they failed. It was cheap…with an ACG couple less than $10. So I guess it did the job. We were pressed what to do for breakfast the next morning, and someone told us the breakfast buffet was good. So we gave it another shot. Again, cheap, $6.99 each, but this time the food was much better. Good breakfast. They also had a McDonalds, and one of those Noble Roman pizza joints with the 8 lb hot dog or whatever.

    The gaming was pretty good. There are quite a few continuous shuffle machines on the blackjack tables, but if you look just a little bit you’ll find shoes. Found some decent VP. The sports book was decent. Overall, not too bad of a casino.

    Enough for the accommodations for day #1!

    We spent some time playing blackjack at the Plaza and quickly were down. We wandered down Fremont, and wife decided we should get one of those yards of drinks. We stopped at La Bayou and she got a mudslide and I got a pina colada. Double shots for each. This started the slow decline of the afternoon into a blur! Sometimes those yard drinks are quite weak. This time, they weren’t. We did a little tour of Fremont, shopping a bit here and there. Slowly it turned into taking odd pictures of each other doing things with the various props around Fremont. Wife wanted to go into a shop that didn’t interest me, so I told her I was going into Fitz’s to get a player’s card. Apparently she decided to lay down to rest her spinning head on the sidewalk. Apparently someone told her she couldn’t do that, and recommended a shelter! Apparently she told them “I’m from Kansas City, I don’t need a shelter, I just need to lie down for a minuteâ€. Thankfully she called me on the cell and I was able to come to here aid quickly.

    We shuffled back to the Plaza for dinner, the aforementioned buffet. They were nice in noticing that she was just a bit intoxicated, so they gave us a booth so she could lie down for a spell. Even intoxicated, the food wasn’t the greatest. I talked her into retiring to the room for a nap that took us into the evening.

    We pitched the yard drinks and I stuck with diet cokes for the remainder of the day. We always start out hard charging on day one and wear ourselves out. We stopped in at the Golden Gate, which is one of our favorite blackjack stops. It just seems to be a great atmosphere with the pianos and such. A shame that there isn’t a players club and they don’t really pay much attention to how long / how much you play. But it always seems to attract a good crowd. And we’ve never even had the shrimp cocktail. I lost $100 quick, so decided to stray. Wife wanted to stay.

    I hit all the downtown casinos where I didn’t have a card to make sure I was on the list. We’re trying to get a “hookup†on Fremont because we’re fans of downtown. Four Queens gave me free playing cards in a case, and told me 40 pts would get me a t-shirt. I went right to VP, and in no time I was up and had my 40. The t-shirt is actually a pretty nice embroidered number. I also went to Binions…free poker chip keychain there. Played a good VP game there with progressives for four-of-a-kind. I really like it although I wasn’t a winner.

    Wandered back to wife still going strong at Golden Gate. She was up pretty good. I lost another $60 (will this turn around???). Down my $300 at this point. We went back to the Plaza McDonalds and had a “snack†because we hadn’t eaten much at the buffet earlier. I retired, and the wife played more Plaza blackjack where she lost her Golden Gate winnings.

    That’s day #1! Day #2 is ahead…moving to Harrah’s and the strip and have Tom Jones later tonight.
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Are you comparing Plaza to a previous stay at El Cortez? Just curious, because everyone always assumes the worst about El Co rooms.

    If you're looking for a new "home" downtown, get treated right by the slot club and with decent rooms, I'd say your best bets are probably Boyd properties (Cal, Fremont, Main St Station) or 4Queens or Fitz. Boyd renovated the rooms at the Fremont and seems to treat people well, and the 4 Queens owner has invested about 20 mil into his property.
     
  3. LV Terry

    LV Terry Captain Flop'N Fold

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    Really?! I hadn't heard that! huh!

    Has anyone stayed (or even been inside) there since the refurb?
     
  4. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    You gotta be careful of the yard drinks they can sneak up on you, Can't wait to see how the rest of you trip turned out.
     
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  5. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    Comparing the Plaza to a previous trip last year to the El. Similar in my view.

    Appreciate the tip about the Boyd properties. We loved the Stardust and rec’d great offers from them frequently. Haven’t gotten a thing from Boyd since, but I put in some coin at Fremont so I’m hopeful they’ll invite us back!

    Day two!

    Today we transferred from the Plaza to Harrahs. Pretty uneventful…we were glad to depart from the Plaza…but overall it wasn’t too bad…just not among our faves. I think it is a good deal to spend a day or two each downtown and on the strip…get a taste of both.

    I also like that you can easily park at Harrah’s in the garage and leave your bags without checking them in the bellstand. We always rent a car now in Vegas, as the cab rides add up to the price of a rental pretty quick. It gives us some flexibility, too. We did Hertz this time. Got a nice little Mazda, but it was quite dirty…the first time I’ve gotten a car that was very dirty. I rented with National last time (Emerald Club) and it was the easiest car rental experience I’ve ever had. On that topic…if you haven’t been here for a bit they have a new huge rental car facility that you shuttle from the airport to. Nice facility…but it still takes some time to get out of the airport complex and on the road.

    Anyway…hung around the Harrah’s megaplex for a while. The 6-5 blackjack drives me absolutely crazy. And on some tables, it is denoted by a very tiny placard underneath the rules (it isn’t written on the felt). We played at the Flamingo for a few minutes without knowing! We walked away up some money, thankfully. I just detest 6-5.

    We played a bit at Bill’s…the new Harrah’s old west theme property. It is Harrah’s, but they have their own player’s card. Believe it or not, they had a 3-2 paying 6 deck blackjack table! We did okay there. The casino wasn’t bad.

    It was lunchtime by now so we tried Paris. The buffet line was huge! We decided to go next door to Bally’s and we walked right in. The buffet was outstanding. Food and service were both great.

    Returned to Harrahs for a fairly speedy check-in and a nap. All this in prep for Tom Jones at the MGM during the evening. We woke up and took the tram down to the MGM, where we found plenty of 3-2 paying $10 minimum blackjack tables. We fared very well there before Tom Jones. We ate at the little Café in the middle of the MGM…a little pricey but the food was good. Then on to Mr. Jones’ show.

    The show was pretty good…keeping in mind that this was for the wife and Jubilee the next day would be more for me. So I have to admit that he is a great showman. He has a heck of a voice and is pretty energetic (he is not a young man anymore!). Very little small talk and lots of songs. His musicians are super, and his back up singers are equally outstanding. Extremely cheesy, but he realizes this and plays it up. Let me tell you that there were some women in the audience who I thought might faint whenever he touched his crotch area.

    After the show, back to blackjack at MGM…where we lost all that we had won prior to the show. Then shipped back to Harrah’s via the monorail. Wife started playing that 6-5 blackjack again (argh! I refuse!), so I settled into “Dollar World†with Video Poker. Thank heavens I hit a 4 of a kind and gained back all that has been lost so far…I’m pretty close to even for the trip.

    Tomorrow the plans are to head to Slots-A-Fun, one of our favorite dives, Peppermill for lunh, perhaps some shopping, then Big Elvis (now at “Billsâ€), and then Jubilee before the unfortunate plane ride home Tuesday.
     
  6. mikenhe

    mikenhe VIP Whale

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    Those yards are good/evil… take ya pick. And I can relate to the lying down on the floor during them……


    And the Plaza buffet? :poke:
     
  7. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Nice score on the VP. How'd you like Harrahs?
     
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  8. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    Harrahs is always predictable, in a good way really. It is consistently clean...the rooms are always in oustanding shape. They are also always the same (I've never been in a suite...always just a king room, usually in Mardi Gras tower). The rooms and location are good...the gambling...not so much. Blackjack is poor. VP isn't bad.
     
  9. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    We packed as much into our final day as possible. The day started (late) with a trip to Peppermill, where I had to order my favorite heaping order of Nachos. Great place.

    Then we moved across the street to Slots A Fun...the best low-cost (oxymoron?) gaming spot on the strip. The walk up was a bit sad; all that remians of the Stardust are a couple of signs (with just the stars, not the name :-( ).

    Spent hours upon hours at Slots. Downed plenty of margaritas, pina coladas, and whiskey sours. Wife went down, I went up. It all averages out.

    After Slots, made our way back down to Harrahs to prepare for Jubilee for the evening. Trekked down to Bally's to Jubilee. Quite an interesting show...not sure if there is a way to prepare anyone for it. It was an experience.

    That pretty much wrapped it all up. We underestimated our trip time back to the airport...I'd tack on an extra 15 minutes with the new rental car facility return. It is pretty quick, but it seemed to me to be a bit quicker going to the distinct facilities. We made it with "late check" on our bags, but no problem.

    Overall, a good time. Probably going to be while until we return.

    The reviews:

    Plaza: not overly impressed. I'd try a different Fremont casino first.

    Harrahs: consistent. Always clean. Don't gamble there. Walk away from the Harrahs megaplex for gaming. Good rooms, though.

    Tom Jones: well worth the price of admission.

    Jubilee: worth seeing at least once.

    Have fun everyone!
     
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