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Cosmo and TheHotel 8/11 - 8/17 - Honeymoon Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Check-Raise, Aug 20, 2013.

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  1. Check-Raise

    Check-Raise Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    I'll expand on this a bit more, just don't have the time right now but wanted to get some thoughts down and a general outline. More detail to come!


    After writing a bit here I noticed I'm leaning away from an outline and giving more of a detailed account of my first couple days. This is only because I had a lot to say on the subject and it's all pretty fresh in my mind. I also wanted to add that I'm a generally happy and optomistic person. Every single day I was happy at almost every moment in that day just because I was on vacation with my wife and having a blast in vegas. The negatives I point out throughout this didn't ever ruin my day and I didn't really dwell on anything for too long. But, I think these things were important enough to point out for other travelers. There were WAY more high points than low points :)


    Landed around 2:00PM LAS time after a pretty uneventful flight. I bought four southwest drink vouchers from ebay for just over $10, so my new wife and I both got a can of pop and two little liquior bottles (I opted for wild turkey, she went with dewers). The flight, being under 2 hours, went by pretty fast and we were really struggling to finish the booze before the attendants collected all our stuff but we eventually got it done!

    The cab driver was great, took surface streets and we were at the cosmo for around $12 I believe (just gave her a $20). By the time we were in line for check in it was 3:00PM, our check-in time. We booked the wraparound suite at the Cosmo for the first two nights, booked an airfare for around 2:00PM (for $50 extra each) as opposed to arriving around 6:00PM or later thinking if we are spending $300 a night on a nice room, we're gonna want to be able to enjoy it. We get to the front, the guy asked if we were here for a special occasion, and we dropped that it was our honeymoon (the advice has been to drop this info often :))

    Now, I don't expect something special, a high level room or offer for a strip-view upgrade would be amazing but not expecting it at all. Instead, he proceeds to tell us that the room isn't ready. I asked if there were any wraparound's available, he avoided the question and said that we would really like ours. I get kinda excited and ask when we can expect to access our room, he just flatly says he can't say. Really all I'm looking for here is an estimate, maybe 3:30 or 4:00? Or longer? He can't tell me but says someone will text me when it's ready. So we proceed to have the bell hold our stuff, hit the players club and putz around the casino for a while. After an hour 4:00PM, I'm kinda thinking we should be getting our room soon.. Still nothing. The pool closes at like 6:00 - 7:00 and we really wanted to spend time there but all our stuff is so densly packed for a week it would really be nice to have a room to get our stuff and change into bathing suits.. We wait around another half an hour 4:30PM and get antsy.. At 4:45PM I'm starting to think this is a little ridiculous, we're paying for the room and starting our honeymoon and I'm a little tired of sitting around staring at people, I decide, ok, time to rattle some cages. I hit the bathroom and then get in the check-in line, after about 10 minutes there I get a call saying my room is ready. 5:00PM... 2 hours after we should have been let in our room. But you know what, the guy said we're really gonna like the room, since it's time to head there I can stop being impatient and just enjoy the awesome room.

    First strike.. it's on the 31st floor. Not terrible but by no means great.. Second, it's facing the pool club thing, music bumping past midnight highly audible in every area of our room. Second strike. This room is nice, but the long wait, the expensive cost, the crappy location of the room we were given, I'm not impressed. At least don't sell it to me as "You're gonna love this one" and give me a mid to lower end room, I'm not slow.. On our checkout day it's 10:30AM and checkout is 11:00AM, I still need to get some stuff in order so I call down to get an hour extension or something. She says, "No, I am sorry, we are all booked up and not authorizing late checkouts." Strike three, now I'm pretty much over being patient and I kindly explain that we were not allowed into our room until 2 hours after check-in time and that I would either be expecting a reduction in our rate or 1 hour late check-out and I would be delighted to speak to any manager with at least one ear, a chair to sit in and 30 minutes of free time. She allowed me to stay an extra hour to get out stuff together before kicking us to the curb.

    Have to say, not super impressed with the Cosmo's customer service and the check-in area had a sewage smell to it as well. It was throughout the taxi dropoff area and lingered into the casino as bit as well. I know it wasn't just me because my wife and I were talking about it when another group of people said they thought it smelled terrible too.

    Their casino is fine, the offerings are decent, the drink service is pretty good, the restaraunts are ok, though I have some criticism for Scott Konats (spelling?) place in the Cosmo later. The pool's were good, we liked the boulevard more than the bamboo (less kids). Though one kid tending a little fiberboard podium at an entrance to the boulevard pool gave me crap just after I had checked out and returned my key and was there to pick up my wife. I pointed out to the pre-pubescent power trip that I was a paying customer at the hotel and was simply there to pick up my wife to leave. I also pointed out that his energy would be better spent having a conversation with the creepy guy sitting behind the glass door with a video camera filming the sunbathing girls. That last suggestion was loud enough for people to look up and to get the video camera guy walking on his way. Man, that little kid was pushing me when I was already tired of their customer service, I coulda pushed him in the deep end (4 feet deep I believe).

    *Ohh, just remembered about the Cosmo room, the bed was really comfortable, the pillows were way too soft and hard to sleep on (they flattened when you put your head on them) and the glass on the balcony was filthy. The dirty glass was only really obvious in the day time, not at night and I never spent too much time out there during the day. It was nice to have the balcony at night, though I don't think it's something I would consider all too important when booking my next trip (aka, not a competitive advantage Cosmo, sorry :(.. )

    Next we headed to Mandalay Bay, TheHotel. First impressions, this place was pretty nice. I've been in Mandalay Bay before but didn't really spend much time there, just walked in and around. It had a nice calm vibe, decent ventilation and all the games I like (Poker, VP, Craps, $0.25 and $1 WOF). In the mornings the craps minimum was $5 so that was nice when I just wanted to dink around and not risk much.

    We had the base level suite at TheHotel, 32nd floor (must be our range) and I was impressed with TheHotel in general. The ambiance was quiet and modern and the room had everything we needed, the bed was really comfortable too, pillows were much better. If you looked close you can see some wear on the furnishings but I could hardly notice it and wouldn't have noticed if I didn't go looking for it just so I could report back.

    Being a poker player mainly I was not expecting much from the Mandalay Bay poker room. It wasn't teeming with players at any point and it didn't look like they ever had more than 7 or 8 players for their midday tournament (never signed up for it) but it delivered a relatively steady stream of players with a good variety of play. I don't think there was one session that had excessively slow play and sometimes it really got pretty aggressive. Most sessions I played 2-4 hours, depending on what I had planned. Biggest issue with Mandalay Bay is, I'm sad to jump on this wagon, the distance from the rest of the strip action. The Luxor and Excalibur don't really interest me, nor does NewYork NewYork. I'm a walker, don't get me wrong, I have no issues with walking everywhere, I went from Mandalay bay up to Mirage and back without taking the trams, just to get out and see stuff. But after a while you really get kinda tired of it, you feel almost isolated. When we got dressed up and went out we just took taxi's. I can't wear a suit in that heat and not start to sweat, my wife can't walk up to Bellagio in her nice shoes, it's just the unfortunate fact of the situation. In future trips I could see staying here a couple days with the intention of just staying way south (MGM and MonteCarlo) and then staying somewhere mid strip for a few days.

    P.S. switching hotels in the middle of a trip is awesome, you feel like you're starting a brand new vacation.

    I played poker at Harrah's, PHo, Aria, Mandalay Bay and Bally's. My personal preference was Bally's, lots of players, really soft play. PHo was decent, lots of action, but I wasn't hitting anything so the $16 pre-flop raises with $2 blinds was a bit silly. I managed to get my money back on one hand when I flopped top pair and this obvious mid pocket pair guy kept pushing into me. I cashed out and moved to Bally's lol Overall in poker I made about $700

    I played craps the Harrah's, Mandalay Bay annnnnnnnddd I think Paris? It was fun! Overall in craps I lost about $150, not terrible. I played a couple of those craps machines, they were fine when you wanted $5 limits and everything around you is $15, but obviously I like holding the dice and chips more :) At Harrah's I was playing a $5 table and this guy comes in next to me and buys in for $5k. He was betting about $600-$700 a roll and I eventually found out he was a cherry farmer out of Washington State. When I was rolling next to him, I wasn't even worried about the paltry $60 I was wagering, I was nervous about losing his money! Him and I had some good conversation going to when I went rolling he added another $50-$100 to every bet saying "I believe in this guy!" It really worried me lol I did ok though, hit a point and a lot of middle numbers (he played the whole spread). A drunk guy next to him started calling him Cherry, the heavy betting farmer didn't like that too much and told him to hold his tongue. It was a blast! :p

    I tried out Ellis Island, it was a decent place. I walked around from the PHo side of the block instead of the Bally's side, it was a bit desolate and hot but I enjoy walking most the time. The casino it'self was decent, sorta what I expected. The beer was decent and the service at the bar was pretty good. I would go back there if I had a hankerin for some VP with decent pay tables or wanted to go somewhere a bit more laid back.

    Trying to think about other noteworthy ongoings.. Saw Ka and Zumanity, both were good, and both were very different shows. The Zumanity show I booked ages ago and got front row center of balcony seats. Well, the show wasn't very busy because they closed the balcony and "upgraded" us to around the side of the stage where you couldn't see everything. The show was really developed for people to look straight on and not from the sides. We missed a lot of the action and had a loud drunk guy in front of us who scared away all the interactive parts of the show to other sections. They figured he was loud enough on his own without their encouragement I suppose. That was a bit of a let down, it would have been an entirely different show from the seats I actually purchased so I recommend going on a Friday or Saturday (when it's more busy) so they don't do the same to you.

    We ate at Julien Serrano, Sage, Circo, D.O.C.G. by Scott Conat in the Cosmo, Mix atop TheHotel and another one that escapes me now. Each of these were dinners.
    List:
    #1 - Sage - Best steak dish I've ever had anywhere. In fact, best meal or close to best meal ever. I had the skirt steak with salsa verde and an appetizer of the waygu beef tartare. It was incredible!

    #2 - Mix - I had steak here as well, I had the boneless ribeye. They had 5 sauces I could choose from and let me choose 2 without additional charge. We went initially to the bar to get champagne for the free sunset toast available to all hotel guests. The restaraunt staff told us 8:00, we walked in there at 7:45 and the bar told us they did it 10 minutes ago. Unfortunate... Our waiter asked if we wanted to start with champagne or anything (not free) and we declined but explained the situation with the free champagne toast, he himself said, ohh that's at 8:00, you still have 5 minutes! We told him, hah, tried that! Next time we saw him he had two free glasses of champagne for us. :) We had the blue fin tuna tartare, it tasted great but they had so many different flavors in it, using blue fin was a waste since you couldn't really taste the difference. Wife had the shrimp something and as stated I had the ribeye. Both were great, mine was way better :) The ribeye comes with just a grilled jalepeno and the steak so I got the mac and cheese and the creamed spinach. This was WAY too much food. It was all great but only one side, split by two people is enough. Would go here again for sure!

    #3 Circo - Seems more expensive than the others, but we had an amazing table with great servers. The portions are not as small as I expected, typically you're gonna want an antipasti, pasta, meat and/or fish then desert. I had an appetizer, pasta and then I was way too stuffed to eat any of my meat dish, which was a shame because eventually it just got tossed. Might eat here again but it's only 3rd on the list of places we ate, and it was double the cost of the next most expensive (almost 4x the cost of most meals we ate).

    #4 Julien Serrano - Very good, split a bunch of tapas. Would come here again, only ranked #4 because it wasn't anything spectacular but it was very good and it wasn't terribly expensive.

    D.O.C.G. - What can I say.. I rank this below every buffet I've ever eaten at. Scott Conat is known for being highly critical on the Food Network show Chopped, especially when it comes to something he specializes in. We sat there thinking of all the things Scott Conat would say about this meal if it were served to him, let me get started. The food is mediocre at best, certainly not worth half it's price, the dishes aren't balanced and I'm sorry, but when I'm paying for a meal that amounts to nearly $200, I don't expect to be rushed out in 50 minutes, and I really don't want my entree to be served before we've finished our salad, and with the appetizer already sitting on the table untouched. That's right, within 5 minutes of being served our pretty bland salad (it was spinach, arugula 2 halved figs and drenched in some really weird dressing) we were given our appetizers and then less than 10 minutes later, our entree's.. We hadn't finished our salads, hadn't even touched our appetizers and there was zero room on the table. They were struggling to pile this stuff on the tiny 2 person table.. I was just staring at the waitress when she was trying to do it, she didn't catch on. The appetizer was sad. I live in the Pacific Northwest and I've never seen mussles as small as was served in my appetizer. The broth was good, but the product they used was highly inferior to anything I've ever had. Half the mussles weren't even opened. My wife had the tomato soup, this was probably the only thing that I tried and thought, ohh, that tastes pretty good. Note: PRETTY GOOD, not Good, not Great, not Amazing.. The tomato soup was pretty good.. On to the best part, the entree's. She had a gnocci type pasta with a mushroom sausage sauce. I had the lobster and shrimp something pasta with a red sauce. First flag, they brought me pasta with lobster, red sauce and bay shrimp... Bay shrimp.. These little tiny $0.50 a pound things. When you are selling a dish for $37.00 and you call it a shrimp anything, you need to serve regular shrimp or you need to advertise that it's bay shrimp. This is starting to look like it's worth about $10 max dish (even in vegas). The lobster was probably fine, but the noodles were gummy (Scott Conat would fly off the handle if he were served that), the red sauce tasted ok, if not a little on the bland side, but the most egregious error was the sheer volume of spice in the dish. I love spicey food. This was so spicy I couldn't taste a thing. And it wasn't flavorful spice either, it was just hot as hell, it must have been cayenne pepper because nothing else I know of has that much flavorless heat. It was like someone dumped half a bottle in a sauce pan, shrugged and used it anyway. Seriously guys, it was really over the line spice wise and added no flavor value to the dish. And ugg those shrimp were terrible.. My wife's gnocci with sausage and mushrooms was an identical match, I kid you not, to hamburger helper. The sauce (read: gravy) was indistinguishable from hamburger helper. I kid you not, blind taste test and Scott Conat would call his own dish hamburger helper stroganoff with gnocci. The whole thing left a lot to be desired and I felt like a huge schmuck for paying $150 for that one. I go maybe $15 worth the food, biggest rip off in Vegas. I'm looking for an outlet to share this information with Scott Conat because we were super excited for this restaraunt and all we ended up with was 30 minutes of laughter between the two of us anticipating Scott's reaction to eating food from his own restaraunt. I almost asked the waitress if he's ever been there or when the last time he visited was. I'm sure she didn't have a clue.

    Wicked Spoon was the best buffet
    Aria buffet was pretty good
    Spice Market was really subpar
    Bellagio lunch/dinner buffet on Saturday was good

    I had a hooker sighting at Mandalay Bay which is always a box to check off when in Vegas (just seeing them, not interacting with them lol).

    Video Poker in general kicked my ass. I never had a winning session, just slowly lost money every time, it got kinda boring after a while. I probably lost $300 - $400 to VP.

    I made some sports bets on the superbowl, NCAA College Football and made one baseball bet for a game playing that day, they got crushed and I was nowhere near winning lol But it was the first time I bet and it was fun following the game and rooting for my team.

    On my way out of the Casino on the last day of vacation, I have a ritual where I take $10, hit up a $1 slot machine and try to win all my money back (was actually up about $100 for this trip). I went to a $1 WOF machine, $2 max bet. I bet $2, spun, nothing. Bet again, spun, DING DING hit the spin the wheel feature. As is typically the case in these scenarios, I'm prepared to hit $20 or whatever and totally whiff on the big one. Well, this thing went around and while I don't have a lot of experience with these wheels, it looked like it was coming awful close to the $1,000 mark. As it got closer and felt my muscles clinching and I was biting down on my teeth and I hit! $25! lol I was 1 tick past the $1,000 mark. It was so close, but not meant to be. I played the rest of the $10 through without hitting anything, collected my $25 win and headed to the bell desk to take our taxi to the airport.

    Taxi driver was great again, surface streets, there for I think $13 or $14, gave a $20.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2013
  2. firstkill

    firstkill High-Roller

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    Nice report, glad you had a good time and the gambling wasn't terrible.

    I realize now that I cannot stand Scott Conants restaurants, his famous spaghetti is great, but its just want it is. The rest of the food seems very standard for how cocky he is on TV.

    he also has a minus for not liking raw onions!

    fk
     
  3. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Thanks for your report. I thought it seemed very fair and honest. I like seeing this type of information for places I may be considering.
     
  4. Check-Raise

    Check-Raise Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the responses. I really did have a blast and I'm happy to elaborate on anything people have questions on.

    I was really getting in to those frozen drinks and I decided that Fat Tuesday place in the underground of MGM made the best ones. They are great for drinking when walking around in that 108 degree heat!
     
  5. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    lol, thanks for the "general outline" of your trip and congrats on the marriage.:thumbsup:
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  6. Check-Raise

    Check-Raise Low-Roller

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    haha, I just kept writing and writing. By the time I was half way through I was like, ahhh, what the hell, I'll just try to finish it off.:poke:
     
  7. vegas3

    vegas3 Low-Roller

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    Nice report!

    I must of been at the Wicked Spoon at a bad time because I thought their food was not up to the ratings people give it. I was shocked at the quality. Okay, they had goat and lamb cubans or something like that, but just a few dishes that weren't chicken and beef did not impress. The spicing and flavor just wasn't there for me.

    Sorry about the service issues at Cosmo, hopefully my wife or I will post a trip report and you can compare experiences. We had some issues, but they were resolved by helpful employees. Brandy in Security and Jeff, the manager for the Vitals shop. Two helpful people.

    Oh, and if you were at the Cosmo Friday the 17th, you would of spotted a group of about 8 hookers. Asking all of the men for the time. I will have to save that story though.
     
  8. Check-Raise

    Check-Raise Low-Roller

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    One thing I've noticed is you just have to put things in perspective when eating at buffets. None of them are as good as an average-good sit down meal, it's just how it is. I tried the Bellagio brunch, saturday dinner, the Wicked Spoon, Aria's buffet, PHo's Spice Market, and almost tried the house of blues brunch (wait was too long). Many of these are considered among the best buffets available but I've hardly had a single sit down meal that wasn't better than all of them.

    When you want to just graze and eat a little bit of a lot of things, it's fine. The meat is typically dry, the offerings are normally generic, but that's just my experience. For lunch it works for me, for dinner, I prefer a good sit down :)
     
  9. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Good report. Thanks for the various reviews.

    Conant always seems like the biggest (word that shall not be written on VMB) on Chopped. The raw onion thing is so annoying. Call it schadenfreude but I was actually taking a little pleasure in your review. :evillaugh

    Congrats on the marriage!
     
    Number 50!
  10. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

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    Congrats on the marriage and thanks for the interesting trip report. I think I would have complained to the management about several things - the less than spectacular noisy room at the Cosmo (after the hint of something better), the move to worst seats at Zumanity and the rushed awful meal at Scott Conant's. When you're paying top dollar, you deserve a lot better treatment than you got. And if you let them get away with it, without even bringing it to their attention, they will continue to treat their customers that way. :Þ

    I was really hoping for that $1000 WoF hit for you at the end. But at least you came home with a tiny win. :wave:
     
  11. jmadeley

    jmadeley Newbie

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  12. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    What you described during check-in is similar to happened to use on our anniversary trip but a bit worse.
    The guy behind the counter was a true a-hole.
    After getting back home a letter was sent to the hotel manager with detailed information and we were happy with the results.

    Back to your trip report....
    I have the same feelings at the Craps table when a big money person bets.
    One guy was betting a few hundred in the field and losing his ass.
    Suggested he not bet when I roll. Really wish he took my advice. :eek:
     
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