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dec 14-18

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by chef, Dec 19, 2009.

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  1. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Apr 20, 2002

    My Trip Report

    Having social intercourse with Mr and Mrs Turtleman, seeing CityCenter, flying on $39 Allegiant airfare, catching up with old Vegas friends, running and doing a bit of buffet eating.

    Even though it was a solo trip, I had stuff planned every day with some of the locals I've come to know over the years. Thumbs on that part of the journey.

    CityCenter was visited on Thursday, just hours after its midnight grand opening.
    Coming from the perspective of a typical casino user, I was initially shocked by the difficulty in accessing the Aria.
    I thought a casino did all they could to get you in the doors. Not this place.
    I was across the street on Las Vegas Blvd and could not find a spot that allowed pedestrian traffic for the walk-over. I ended up hoofing it to Tropicana Ave to cross the street. And, once I reached CityCenter, it was a long walk to Aria.
    As I understand it, Aria was not meant to attract the Strip foot traffic, but rather be a self-contained entity supported by the folks living within CityCenter.
    However, all are made to feel welcome once inside. MGM is going all out to provide customer service.
    It just seemed odd compared to the rest of the Strip casinos. I certainly would not go back to gamble, but the property is a must see for any of us touristos.
    I wonder if the casino will eventually become a ghost town, like those at Lake Las Vegas.
    On departing, I took the tram to the Bellagio. That's the way to go.

    That same afternoon, I headed downtown to meet T2V regular Turtleman and his wife for the first time. We had a lovely time conversing at the MSS's 777 bar. Very nice couple. And, Mr. Turtleman knows blackjack as well as anyone I've ever met.

    Not much to report on the buffet front. I hadn't done the Bellagio since last year and after hearing a few grumblings about it, had to check it out.
    In my opinion, it is still among the elite. I did notice, though, that it is getting a bit "tired". There's a sameness to it, while good in some respects, is preventing it from being an interesting place to dine. I got the feel that the employees (both front and back of house) are just going through the motions. Actually, I had better prime rib that week at the Cal Club diner than off the Bellagio buffet. A tasty Kobe sirloin was roasted raw instead of rare.
    I wonder if a new chef is overseeing the buffet operation.
    One plus is that the kitchen will now steam the crab legs. And, for a change of pace, they had some nice grilled quail (simply marinated in salt/pepper/olive oil).
    I did not eat at Aria's buffet, but eyeballed it between the breakfast/lunch changeover. Typical stations, with little Thai and Mediterrean mixed in. They were even making naan (Indian bread) from scratch. It wasn't at the level of Wynn or Bellagio, but not to far behind. Top notch dining room with views of the outside world, including the pool area.

    Weather was above average all week, allowing me to run numerous laps around the Hilton property. One of the reasons I like to stay there is one can run long distances without having to cross streets.

    Gambling was up and down. Anything that was won at BJ was lost at the crap tables.
  2. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

    Apr 23, 2009
    Calgary , Alberta , Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the TR

    I still have yet to try the Bellagio Buffet, I try to avoid buffetts now , just too much food lol , and have only had Paris Le Buffett, Harrahs Flavours, Flamingo's and the IP...... in 6 trips to Vegas ... I did enjoy Paris and Harrahs

    nice you got to meet up with Turtleman and ms Gecko too , thats always a bonus :)
  3. sailor53

    sailor53 Tourist

    Jan 18, 2006
    Pensacola, FL
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report. We were probably both at Aria at the same time. I was there about 8:30-9:30 on Thursday. You're absolutely right about the tram to Bellagio being the way to get there and also to leave in my case. Thanks for posting!
  4. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

    May 31, 2008
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Sounds like a great trip with the City Center / Aria opening, meet-ups and mild running weather (not so much back home).

    From the pictures I have seen the interior looks like the M Resort. I like to walk in Vegas for the most part and from all the reports the Aria is not conducive to walk=up traffic. Few people will be living in this so called city (most units remain unsold) and I'll be surprised if there is any substantial progress on the sales front over the next several years if ever. The HOA fees (I believe $12K / year) alone are enough to chase away most buyers with the means to purchase a condo especially with the enormous glut of condo properties in existence / pending.

    I haven't been to Bellagio's buffet but may try it in March. I earned 5 free buffets at Wynn during a promotion and that is my favorite buffet with Rio's Seafood and Mirage's Cravings (many free trips there via the poker room comps though they raised the hours of play from 4-5 to 8 for a comp) 2nd and 3rd. I want to try the Aria and M buffets in January.

    Welcome back to the snow and cold. :wave:
  5. StickyFingers007

    StickyFingers007 Namer of T2V Gatherings

    Aug 30, 2002
    Edmonton, AB
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Good times Chef! Was there same days, would have been nice to hook up again! Oh well, next time :) Aria was quite the site Wendesday night lol.
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