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December On A Budget!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Shayna G, Dec 28, 2014.

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  1. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2

    My Trip Report

    The highlight of this trip for me was the Suite Holiday Fundraiser. It was the event that I booked my entire trip around. It was NOTHING like I expected it to be and have a feeling it was very very different than it has been in previous years. With the exception of the Venetian (10,000 square foot suite) they were nice suites, but not really what I think is the norm for this event. Small two level suites that had gorgeous views, but otherwise not the type of room I was expecting from his reviews of the event. That being said it was a BLAST and the review will be in depth when I get there.

    Now I am 33 and had a few things loosly planned but as said the Fundraiser was my main event. I got in very late Thursday night and had M meeting me on Saturday morning to join me for the fundraiser.

    But I am babbling. So I will stop now and post the actual TR in responses.
     
  2. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2014
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2
    Pre Trip Drama.

    Now I had originally booked a hotel at the Tropicana but due to a credit card being swiped somewhere questionable leading to it being cancelled and reissued the reservation didn't quite go as planned. Now yes, it is not the hotels fault my card declined (even though it would not have happened if they did now wait a week to charge it) but how they chose to tell me it was declined was ridiculous. They sent me an email that was so unprofessional and ridiculous that I booked a hotel elsewhere. I did contact the hotel first by phone, when that didnt work by facebook, and eventually by phone again as I wanted to know how and why that email was sent. I work in hotel management and if ANYONE at my property sent that message they would be looking for another job that very day. So anyways, in the end I got an apology and was told if I reinstated my reservation I would get an upgraded suite as well as two free tickets to Raiding The Rock Vault. So I rebooked.

    A week before my trip, after reading elsewhere online that the Raiding the Rock Vault show was dark the week im there I called the Tropicana and told them I was confused. I explained what happened and why I was given the tickets but that I see on the website that the show is dark that entire week. "nope, the show is only dark on Tuesdays, you are good". I ask them to please verify this because I can see on the website its not the case. 10 minutes on hold and someone else says "yes, you have tickets on hold in your name for the Sunday show". I ask in that case why it says online its dark. They forward me to a third person in the actual box office and they say yes you have tickets. So I say "oh, so your website is wrong?" They then get a manager who comes on the phone and says "oh, it is dark that day, it just happened." There is no show the entire week im there.

    He traded my tickets for the only show that happens to be there that day (I really dont want to see a magic show) and he has assured me that the show is fantastic. Jan Rouvin Illusions and he put me in the front booth front and centre. So the private booth had a great value as a comp (over $400 had I just booked the four seats myself) but was not what I wanted nor why I reinstated my reservation.

    My flight was supposed to originally be from Winnipeg - Vancouver - Las Vegas. It was cancelled and the flight I got on ended up being Winnipeg - Calgary - San Francisco - Las Vegas. So I started out the trip slightly badly. My tickets for Raiding the Rock Vault apparently didn't exist and I found this out a few days before I left, and now my flight was cancelled! I was hoping this was getting all the crap out of the way so that everything else would be a total blast. I figured if this was the worst of it, I would have a great trip. Essentially that is what happened.

    A few drinks in the bar at the Winnipeg airport started out the trip and were to help rid myself of the "no show tickets to what i wanted and a now 923,228 hour flight" blues. Ok, the flight only FELT like that long. I left Winnipeg at 4pm (2pm Vegas time) and after an hour delay in San Francisco I ended up arriving in Vegas around 2am, so basically 12 hours later. But I was in Vegas, so it didnt matter, right?

    I had no checked bag so it was an immediate beeline for the Taxi stand. I made a not so subtle comment to the driver along the lines of "and I dont even need to say no freeway or tunneling, right?" to which I was assured she would NEVER do that. A $14 cab ride later (gave the driver a $20) and I was straight to the counter. As a Hilton Gold member I can use the invited guest check in line and had no wait. They had no suite available and there was an apology and a room given to me on the 16th floor of the Paradise Tower with a strip view. I personally don't care about the view, though I think a strip view would mean a little more if you were not so far to the end of the strip. We basically got a fantastic view of the MGM. That was about it. But the room was clean. They had put a fridge and Kurig machine in it and I had been informed at check in that they were doing that. So no suite, but again, I do feel a bit had since it was the reason I kept my room there. Otherwise, the room was fine. The bathtub was a small standard tub, unlike the big corner one you get in the Club Tower, and it dripped the entire time, but I would rather be in that tower right off the Casino floor than the 15-20 minute hike I had to the Club Tower last time. So basically, had the room been what I had originally booked it would have been perfectly fine. The beds are insanely comfortable and the shower was hot. Everything else is just gravy to m.

    So at this point its about 230 am and I am both exhausted and starved. I am also in VEGAS! So sleep was NOT going to happen. I took a walk over to the MGM, put $45 in a machine and played it for about 45 minutes to an hour. I had drink service fairly quickly and had a screwdriver and then the most watered down redbull I had ever tasted in that time span and cashed out $17 meaning I was down $28 for this trip already. I am NOT a gambler, and just dont gamble. So for me this was enough gambling for the entire trip, though as you will see from the rest of the report, it didn't quite turn out this way.

    I then made my way back to the Tropicana as I was hungry and tired. I went to the Beach Cafe at the Trop, ordered food to take back to my room and then stopped off at the gift shop on the main floor to get a red bull and diet pepsi. Had the food, and a diet pepsi and was asleep by 5am.
     
  3. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2
    First full Day in Vegas

    My alarm went off at 7 am and I called housekeeping to ask for mouthwash and an extra conditioner to which I was told no problem. 20 minutes later I called back and got a cranky lady who said that there was a 30 minute window for requests. I thanked her and said I was unaware of that. 45 minutes AFTER THAT I got the knock on the door for them. By then I was already dressed and showered. Oh well. I stopped at the front desk, asked if they could put a note on my file asking for a mouthwash and second conditioner daily and I am not sure if it was the $5 left on the bed or what, but boy did I get lots of extra amenities from housekeeping after that!

    I knew I had to pick up my MyVegas ticket by 4pm the day of and since I was unsure if I would be back on the strip in time, I was hoping to do this before leaving for the Hoover Dam. There were no ticketing booths opened at 830 am, but a trip to the concierge at MGM had this done for me in a a few seconds! I then walked back to the tropicana where a friend was picking me up at 9 to go to the hoover dam. I got back to the Tropicana around 845 just as I got the phone call she was in the parking lot!

    The plan was to stop at the Green Valley Ranch and have brunch first (another myvegas comp) and since there were 3 of us, we had 2 of the 2 breakfast/lunch redemptions. We went to the players club table to sign up for our cards (as a Canadian you can not sign up online) and were given our cards and a random amount of freeplay between $3-$500. I obviously got $3 as I assume most people do. We sat down at a bank of machines, myself at an aliens machine and on my first spin I hit a bonus! I cashed out my $3 of free play at $35.30 and that thrilled me! Again, as a non gambler, I dont expect to win anything as if you dont play you cant win. So I was now officially up $7 on my trip. As far as I was concerned gambling was now a success and I could walk away from Vegas happy about my gambling. If you are understanding how happy I am to please in the gambling arena, let me warn you the word jackpot will later show up in this trip report. You can not IMAGINE the level of excitement that got me! We then grabbed breakfast at the buffet. The food was FANTASTIC! Not fancy, or special, just really good everything. Until dessert. The dessert was not good. The pies looked store bought and tasted worse than they looked, The other two girls say the whipped "topping" was gross (they are sure it was not real whip cream regardless of what it was labeled) and the rest just meh. Overall I would rate the buffet very high and just say eat a great meal and skip dessert. For $7.99 with a players card its a fantastic price, and for free with MyVegas, you simply cant go wrong!

    We then drove the rest of the way to the dam, where we simply walked across the bridge. We were fine with that. I think I am fine with no tour, and can now say I saw the Hoover Dam. No need to go back. But glad I went.

    On the way home we stopped at a Walgreens off the strip and I picked up some diet coke (Trop is a pepsi property) and a bottle of wine and some dry shampoo as I ran out of mine in the am. On the way back to my hotel room after this I stopped at the Ticket booth and picked up my VIP tickets to the Illusions show that I had been given instead of the Raiding the Rock Vault that I wanted to see. At this point it was 2pm and I debated going to a meetup that was scheduled for 2 but I was far too exhausted and instead took a two hour nap in my hotel room.
     
  4. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

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    So I woke up at 4 and decided to walk on over to MGM for a free dinner compliments of myvegas. Why I chose this buffet was easy. It was the ONLY dinner available fri-sun. It was loaded on my card and an important thing to note here for everyone is that the MGM does their rewards differently than every other property. Where with the other properties you have to use it the day you load it at MGM you have 30 days from when you redeem it to use it. I didn't realize until I got in line how 100% not hungry I was. I figured it was free, and my only chance I would have so I would go and eat a small bit. The food was terrible. I am not talking about those here who call the luxor or excal slumming it and have ultra high standards. I am talking about dry and overcooked everything, mushy corn, and no salt, seasoning or taste. Seriously was just not good. Which was perfectly ok since I was completely not hungry. A few bites (literally all I ate) was more than enough.

    From there I decided to try my luck at a machine since the last two had gone so well. Well....... that $20 lasted exactly 20 $1 spins and then I was at 0.00. So I am now down $13 for this trip and kicking myself for gambling any of my money. (Yes, I will drop a few hundred dollars on a purse without blinking an eye. And yes, I feel like an idiot if I lose $10 on a slot machine. Just the way I am). So with that I figured I would try to make back my money at the Cosmopolitan. I had flown in on United and united gives you what looks like a deck of cards from the Cosmo and in it, each card is a coupon. My last trip we didn't get them and the lovely girl at the players club booth gave us the b1g1 buffet coupon anyways. Well, since I got mine this time, I got the $25 in free play. It used to be you could use one every 6 months but it has since changed. One time use. Never again. So I used it. And that $25 in free play turned in to $54.85 in actual cash. So I am up $42 bucks and no longer hating on the gambling. Also understanding that I cant win a cent to save my soul with my own money, but with the casinos free play? I cant lose! I will say as much as I love the Cosmo and am always wowed by the property, the bathrooms were disgusting. The ones on the same side as the players club booth but further back were a mess last time I was there, and this time it took 8 stalls until I found one that was not to dirty to go into. I don't know if it has simply been bad luck/timing both times, but it surprised me based on the rest of the property.

    From there I walked over to Aria for my 7pm Zarkana show thanks to MyVegas. Now originally I had booked the 930 showing back in June but I had something else come up for later this night and called to move it. I understood that it was not refundable, exchangeable etc but figured I had to try. And I called them up and said "I know the rules, you were clear, the game was clear, but if you can do ANYTHING and find ANY other seat for the earlier show, I would appreciate it. I know its likely a no, but I have to at least try". They put me on hold for 10 minutes and came back to say that they could move me, but the only seat was a back row of the balcony. I said when I asked I would take any seat so I was not about to complain. She also told me that when I got there I might be able to get something closer. So when I arrived I went to the ticketing booth to see if they could move me. They said no problem. 5th row centre. Said as a single person it was easy. He had to call a manager to reprice my ticket before they could exchange it and within minutes I had a new ticket. So my free ticket ended up being 5th row centre! The show was fabulous and I have no idea how people say it was boring. The juggler lost a ball at one point, but otherwise.... If a guy balancing on a another guy on a ladder skipping rope bores you, we have very different standards! I loved it!

    The show ended around 830 and I had tickets to the Mark & Mercedes Not So Silent Night featuring Train with special guests Better Than Ezra, Matt Nathanson & Andy Grammar. Now I had checked ahead of time to make sure Train and Better Than Ezra were the last two performers as they were who I really wanted to see (well worth the $60 ticket I bought) and I knew I was going to get there very late. I hopped in a cab (about $9 gave him $15) and got there half way through Matt Nathanson's set. I had totally missed Andy Grammar. Since the entire reason I was going was Train and Better Than Ezra that was totally ok. All three acts were AMAZING. After the concert I walked around the property for a bit, and then went to get a cab.

    I guess I should also add here that drinks at the Joint were $9 each which was quite good in my opinion for being at a concert in Vegas. I spent more money that I care to admit though.........

    The cab line was insanely long and took about 30 minutes (which was fine as I had no where else to go) and ended up getting back to the Trop around 130am. The cab was once more $9 and $15 covered it. I then walked around through the Luxor and Excal just taking in the sites, watching a bit of some live country music and was in bed by 3am.

    Since most everything was comped thus far, my only expenses were $20 at walgreens and the $60 ticket thus far for the concert along with some cab fares! Not too bad for day one!
     
  5. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    2nd Full Day

    Now one of the magical little facts of Vegas is that it is absolutely impossible to get a good nights sleep. I was in bed by 3 and had my alarm set for 9, but at 7am, rise and shine! BAH! A hot shower and some lounging around the hotel room and by 930 am I got a call from M saying that she had landed. She chose to take a shuttle to the hotel and was at the property by 10ish. We essentially said hello and then immediately went off to walk the strip and grab food. We did a little tour of the Planet Hollywood shops and I picked up a pair of leggings as I realized I had nothing but skirts and we were going zip lining that night. That was going to make zip lining an entirely different kind of show I had no intentions of providing. We then went to the Spice Market Buffet for brunch with unlimited champagne. I used my TR points to pay (thanks social rewards), and the highlight of this was actually not the never ending mimosa that was never allowed to get below the halfway point but our server Nina. If you go to Spice Market, try to find the server with an eyepatch. She will seriously be some of the best entertainment you will have the entire trip! The food was however good, and she literally had our drinks topped off every 10 minutes. We must have had 6 drinks in the hour we were there. A $20 tip on a $50 meal seems not enough in hindsight for such service. From there, we walked to the fourm shops, almost bought new purses but at the last minute both decided to be responsible. (I however would not stay this responsible) and then it was a long walk back to change and head to the SLS to start the fundraiser. I had been chatting with someone from the tripadvisor board (S) and we had both decided to start there, and as well, it seemed a logical place to start to end up at the High Roller to end off the night.
     
  6. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
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    2
    So the Junior Achievement’s Suite Holidays Tours & Tastings Experiences was from 3:00PM-10:00PM

    I am going to try to be as thorough as I can, but I will be honest. It was basically a big pub crawl just not at pubs. At an average of 3 drinks per property (some literally gave us to go cups for our drinks) by halfway through many of the details get a tad fuzzy. Thankfully there are pictures to help jog my memory.

    To summarize the event for those who have not heard of it, tickets were $125 if bought before the early bird deadline and the price was a downright steal if you ask me.


    Participating Properties:
    Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas- Chihuly Gallery
    Bellagio Las Vegas- Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
    The Cromwell- Suite
    High Roller at The Linq- High Roller Observation Wheel
    Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas- The Edge Lounge on 23rd Floor
    MGM Grand Las Vegas- Suite
    SLS Las Vegas- Foxtail Lounge
    Vdara Hotel & Spa- Suite
    The Venetian Las Vegas- Suite

    The shuttle busses were running in a continuous loop through the properties, leaving each venue every 15 minutes with the exception of the SLS which left every half hour. They ran from 330 through 1030.

    The loop went in the following order: SLS to Bellagio to Vdara to Aria to Mandarin Oriental to MGM to Cromwell to High Roller to Venetian to back SLS then back to back to Bellagio and so on.

    Now the downside of this was that each bus got there as the last bus left and so they sat at each property for 15 minutes. Meaning if you wanted to deviate from the route as we did (we wanted to do the High Roller last) you would have to go back through every property waiting 15 minutes at ever property before it moved on. For this reason, we took two cabs from the Cromwell to Venetian and then we took a stretch limo from the Venetian to the High Roller. I was with a girlfriend, and S was with three of his friends. So we were 6 thus necessitating 2 cabs and also justifying a Limo (hey, its only a few bucks more per person!).

    3PM We start -
    We all (the 6 of us) started at the Foxtail Lounge at SLS. Now you could check in at any facility and there was an abundance of volunteers and employees holding Suite Holidays signs making finding your way very easy. Once you were checked in you got a wristband. You only had to check in once. Since we started at the SLS, that is obviously where we checked in. That property I must say went above and beyond. They gave everyone a wrist band that was separate from the one that identified you as being a part of the event and it let you have access to any of their three nightclubs at SLS from 1030pm-midnight and gave you an open bar there. Since the Foxtail informed us they were normally now only open Monday nights, I can only assume that it was NOT one of the 3 clubs that we would have access to and had we known about that ahead of time, we might have ended there instead of starting there. That being said my gf and I were going ziplining on Fremont street at midnight so we would not have been able to stay there long after 1130 or so. Anyways, yes, they went above and beyond. The wristbands and open bar after the event, and a gift bag for everyone. In each gift bag (a Fred Seigal Shopping Bag) seems to have been a random two of three items. An SLS baseball cap, a womens size small purple SLS tank top/wifebeater or a grey SLS tshirt. I got the two tshirts. This also though meant we all were carrying bags around with us the rest of the night.

    This was a nice little club, massive bird cages that I can only assume usually hold scantily clad women dancing in them hanging from the ceilings and lots of comfy seating. There were very few people when we go there, and found S immediately. The hor dourves being served there were a tuna tartar in what looked like little cones as well as another option. I seem to remember it being a risoto ball, but I may be wrong on that. They were offering a signature cocktail that was a pineapple girly drink and it was amazing. I think we had 2 or 3 each. That started the night. You can see the pictures of the SLS HERE - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/foxtail-night-club-at-sls.html

    Now from the SLS we went to take the shuttle to the next venue. We were told the shuttles left every 15 minutes but when we got to the shuttle we learned it left the SLS every half hour. This led to a lot of wasted time sitting on the bus. We did get to talking to a Channel Four reporter named Randy who might have been (read: he was) the best dressed man in Vegas that night. Based on Randy's recommendations for great Vegas events that are under rated but worth every penny, I am already planning two more trips to Vegas. One for the UNLVino weekend and another for the 3 day life is beautiful music festival.

    Anyways, we eventually made it to the Bellagio. The Bellagio gallery of fine art was kind of disappointing. The vibe in the gallery itself was very stiff and uppity and snooty. We were only a couple of drinks in to the night and were not even being obnoxious or loud yet we got shushed for having a discussion inside. And the minute we walked in a guy sternly looked at us and said 'NO PICTURES!!". We looked quickly at the faberge eggs and hightailed it to the reception outside.

    The reception outside had some fantastic food! There was a foie gras lollypop that did not go over well with anyone in our group, but the prosciutto wrapped asparagus was extremely well liked and ended up being one of the best bites eaten on the tour (or so thought the majority of us). And besides the white and red options for wine, there were too hot drink options too.

    And here are the pictures from the Bellagio. http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/bellagio-gallery-of-fine-art-reception.html

    Back on the shuttle, we headed to the Vdara.

    The suite at Vdara was suite 56.003. It was a Vdara Suite These are one bedroom suites that are 811 square feet of space and are divided between the bedroom, spa-like bathroom, living room and kitchen complete with full-size fridge and cook top. Unique features include an additional guest powder room on the main floor, a pull out queen sized sofa bed in the living room, expansive picture windows, a washer and dryer, and backlit vanity mirrors.

    Now being as this was the first suite we went to, this was a bit of a let down. Dont get me wrong, the food was amazing and the suite gorgeous. But it wasn't what I imagined we would get to see when signing up for the tour. MarkDC hopefully will chime in here, but this was a luxe room, and far above and beyond what i get when I go to Vegas (or anywhere else for that matter) but its not quite a high roller suite if you ask me.

    Once more I failed miserably at photographing the food and drink, but the food was excellent here. Everyone enjoyed it. We were met in the hallway before we even walked in to the suite with a guy holding a tray of drinks. White wine or red wine. And the food. The food was little steak tips on a stick which were enjoyed, and these lettuce wraps which were REALLY enjoyed. And the food kept a coming. Just like the first two properties, we had enough time to enjoy 3 or so drinks here before moving on. And the photos - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/vdara-hotel-spa-suite.html
     
  7. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    2
    Next up The Gallery At Aria Featuring Chihuly

    While a few people seemed unexcited about another art gallery after the disappointing experience at Bellagio, but I was super excited for this stop. I love the blown glass artwork that is iconic of Chihuly! And the gallery here did not disappoint.

    We were immediately greeted by a handsome man offering us drinks. Ok, lets be honest. Any man carrying trays of booze for no purpose other than to serve you is a handsome man! The food might have been the most disappointing here to be fair. The tuna tar tar was not enjoyed at all by anyone (though the tuna tartar at the SLS was not the failure this one was so it was the preparation) and the little beef tips were enjoyed a bit more but still not anything anyone in our group seemed to enjoy.

    And here is the link to all the pictures at the Gallery at the Aria - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/the-gallery-at-aria-featuring-chihuly.html

    Next up was a short little walk over to the Mandarin Bar at the Mandarin Oriental. To the private room in the Mandarin Bar called the Edge. Now this was the sh*t show of the evening. The concept of this was fine, and the bar itself would have been a great place for the private function. But seeing as how it was halfway through the night already, people had been coming and coming and no one was leaving. This tiny spot was totally packed and as you can see from the photos, the entrance to it alone was so tiny it was near impossible to merely walk in. The tables were supposed to be full of food but were completely empty, though they did bring out trays more of food as we were there. The food was liked, though not loved. The glasses of wine were hard to come by as the tiny bar in the entrance was unmanned. I think I got the last glass as we walked in and it was only as we were walking out (which was quite fast as it was so full) did we finally get served (and me get another glass).

    And the pictures of the edge are here - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/the-edge-in-mandarin-bar-at-mandarin.html

    And from there, it was back on the bus to go to the MGM. Now MGM has all sorts of high rolling, fancy, swanky rooms and I was beyond excited trying to guess which room we would see. Would there be a plunge pool for example? Well, the short answer was no. It was not really a fancy room at all. I mean, dont get me wrong. The room was nice. And once more way out of my budget or experience. I am pretty sure this was an MGM skyloft. Now these range in the $800-$1200 a night area of budgets which again, is not something I am EVER going to spend. I would spend that amount if the budget allowed doing a limo for the night and bottle service somewhere swanky and stay in a cheaper hotel myself. Just me. But it was not the kind of experience I was expecting from this event. This is not a complaint, and I had a BALL and I dont regret going at all, but again, it is not what I was expecting.

    So that being said, the drinks were most plentiful here. The cocktails were some fruity thing with a lot of rosemary sprigs sticking out making the taste kind of funky (not in the best way) but we were so far gone by then, it really was not a worry. And the desserts were plentiful (though I am not a dessert person). There was also the most AMAZING apple cinnamon champagne punch and very thoughfully they were offering large plastic cups so that we could take some to go. That apple cinnamon champagne punch was possibly my fav drink of the night!! And you can bet I filled that jumbo beer cup all the way to the top!

    The suite was not much different than the Vdara, though the highlight of the suite at least for me was by far the wrap around balcony. So much room, a large screen tv and amazing views. Pictures from this leg of the trip - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/mgm-skyloft-suite.html

    Next up was back on the Shuttle to go the Cromwell. We were becoming very aware of the time at that point including the dreaded "alcohol stops being served at 9pm" which was thankfully not practiced in reality (at least at the last two properties we were at)., We got to Cromwell, plastered at that point where S's friend H and I spotted Big And Rich walking by. We jogged up to them, determined to get a photo but it did not happen. Rich turned around and apologized but said they were rushing to a meet and greet they were late at as the security guards were half dragging and half pulling them out of the Cromwell. Dejected, we walk back to our group, only to bump in to Guy Fieri. I did however get a picture with him. The Cromwell was at this point the swankiest suite we had seen thus far. Massive and quite fancy. Again, not exactly what I had been expecting based on previous years reviews, but getting much closer!

    We walked in, and were immediately sent by Robin and Randy and company (the news reporter and his friends) to go grab food from the hutch as they till had dinner foods out instead of the desserts that were supposed to be out based on time. I cant say I have recollection of what the food was other than knowing that there we took a picture using breadsticks as swords, so there were breadsticks. There also were two different types of marinis being served. One was a spicy whiskey one that I did not try, but S and M (wow, unfortunate innitals I guess) chose that one. The one I had was an orange one that was still on the spicy side and I must say, had I not been 20+ drinks in for the night already (I am sadly not exaggerating. At the Edge I had had two drinks, but everywhere else it was a minimum of 3-4 drinks and in some places more) I would likely have had one sip and left it. But being as far gone as I was, I had the drink, and then some more.

    The pictures of the suite will tell the story of the property itself, so I will skip that part. The shuttle we decided would waste too much time (it was about a quarter to 9 already) so we decided to cab it to the Venetian so save time and hopefully sneak a drink in before they closed up the bar. Since there were 6 of us, it was two cabs, and at $10 a cab ride (after tip) we were happy with the choice. The Cromwell pictures are here - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/suite-at-cromwell.html

    So I am getting to the end of the fundraiser, I promise. Even though I think I lost everyone who was reading this posts ago. Anyways, cabbed it over to the Venetian, and to the The Chairman’s Suite. This is a 10,000 square foot suite. And this is EXACTLY what I was expecting. Well, this is the type of suite I was expecting. The fact that half the rooms were roped off however, that I was not expecting. This suite included more bedrooms and bathrooms than I could count in my state, The hair salon, massage room and gym were all roped off among other rooms in the suite. Now not quite sure why but the security guards seemed kinda rude and angry and uppity. They came through around 930 and kicked everyone out of all the back rooms very sternly. No reason, no explanation and we werent even being rowdy or inappropriate at that point. Not sure what that was about but it was our q to exit.

    Pictures of the Venetian suite can be found here - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/the-chairmans-suite-at-venetian.html

    At the elevators it was realized that one of our bags (the swag bags we had been carrying since the SLS) was left behind and had H's wallet inside of it. Her boyfriend K ran back and thankfully it was found no problem. We realized at this point one major flaw in the shuttle bus system. Since we had skipped the high roller, and since the shuttle buses only went in one direction we would have to make a loop of all the properties to get back to the linq. And with a 15 minute stop at each property, that would have been an hour and 45 minutes if there were no delays, and the busses stopped running in less than an hour anyways. So a cab it was.

    I figured why not, and inquired in to the cost of a stretch limo, and it turned out to be $75. I suggested this partly because not everyone had been in a limo before, and partly because for $15 each including tip, we could take a stretch limo. S was beyond generous and payed the driver before I could blink and refused to let anyone else chip in for it. The lesson was quickly learned that when he was around, I had to pay the driver quickly. And I managed to do this a few other times though not nearly enough to make up for his generosity here!

    So to the high roller we arrive in style. The limo driver took some photos before we got in, then took some photos at the high roller, and we were off. I had kind of assumed that they would have a private pod on the roller, though thinking about that now, and knowing that they take half an hour to go around once, that would not have ideally worked. What they did do was have everyone check in to the table (there is a JA table at every location though you only have to check in once and then you have your band) even if you have already checked in. There they gave you a ticket for the ride as well as a drink ticket. So it was one drink ticket per person with up to a $10 value.

    We were 6 and the lines were not too long when we got there but the pod in front of us had maybe 20 people on it? I asked the person if we could make it worth his while to put just the 6 of us on. He said no. I said even if I gave him $50? He again said no. But then he put only 10 of us on the pod. So in the end we were basically alone on the pod. And that pretty much ended the event. We got on close to 10 and it was after 1030 when we were done. High Roller Pictures here - http://www.polishjinx.com/2014/12/high-roller-at-linq.html

    Now we had been given bracelets at the SLS that allowed us entry into the 3 clubs there and free open bar from 10pm to midnight but M and I had already made 1215 bookings to go zip lining and any more drinking would have been simply ridiculous on our end, so we took a cab back to the Tropicana to change before hitting Fremont St.
     
  8. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

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    The plan had been to quickly get changed and then to get a cab to Fremont but the cab line was INSANELY long and there were no cabs. We waited 15 minutes where one person got a cab and said to hell with it. We walked in front of MGM and jumped on the Deuce. It took us 45 minutes however to get from MGM to SLS on the deuce and even longer to get all the way downtown. So I am not sure which would have ended up being faster. We got to the zip lining at about 1240 but had had tickets for 1220. They did however let us go late though the wait was INSANE. It was at least 230 before we were riding the zip line. A note for those debating between the lower and higher ones. The $20 ride had maybe 5 people in the entire 2 hours were were up there. Ours had a hundred? If you chose the lower one there would have been ZERO wait and from what I understand that is completely normal. So if you are pressed for time, the lower one may be an option if the $40 one we went on is going to be hours long wait. And that is the wait from the time we get our tickets. We also got lucky as the two girls who rode behind us got literally stuck on the zipline and they had to rescue them. It is apparently not an uncommon occurrence. SO THANKFUL that it was not us that it happened to! We then ended up at the Golden Nugget Cafe for food before cabbing back to the Tropicana. Asleep by 4am. Not so bad.
     
  9. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

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    3rd Full Day

    Now while we were awake by 830 (trust me, not a plan or a choice) we kind of lounged and lied in bed until almost noon. We were out of the room shortly thereafter and made our way (so very slowly) to the Cosmo. Now the one great thing about the 2 hour wait for zip lining the night before was it was a great opportunity to sober up somewhat. We were smashed by the end of the tour. We had averaged 3-4 drinks per property with only the one drink ticket at the high roller. Even with that, 8 properties times 4 drinks is a LOT of drinks. And for 90% of it we were drinking wine and thus there was none of the worry about watering down or going light on the booze in the drink. So when I say were were smashed, we were REALLY feeling no pain at the end. So to not wake up totally hung over was nice. On the way to the Cosmo I stopped and couldnt resist a little purchase so a new Rebecca Minkoff bag came home with me. I already owned one but it really needed a sister to play with. Anyways, thats my story. The guy beside me on the plane had handed me his Cosmo package so I gave it to M. She got her players card and played through the $25 in slot play cashing it out around $40 which was nice for her. While she did that I brought my reciept down to the players desk to get the points put on my card for the purse purchase. I had the option to wait for them to do it at the end of the week, but since I had to go to the desk with M anyways it seemed just as easy.

    From there we did a bit more shopping and I contemplated another new bag at Marshalls, but figured the one bag was enough. I almost did buy the Yitchak Mizrachi bag (gorgeous) later on, but it ended up not being meant for me.

    From there we headed to Paris. We got to Le Village Buffet around 240pm so it was in time to still qualify for the champagne brunch and unlimited drinks, but we got there just as dinner was being put out. The food was ok, though neither of us really loved it. And our waitress was horrible. I did not tip her at all. We had empty glasses minutes in and by halfway through the meal we had to flag down a busser to get more drinks. A $2 tip for him for bringing my drink and we finally had to repeat that to get another drink. At the end, we decided that the $2 each per person we tipped him for each drink he brought us was our tipping for the night. The waitress sat us down, took our orders and then came by at the end of the meal to thank us and smile and offer us a refill (as we were getting our bags). So the tip went to the guy who actually served us and cleared our tables. I am not sure in this instance what the appropriate thing would have been to do according to those on this board, but as far as we were concerned, we tipped the guy who actually earned it. Back to the hotel to change and get ready for the show.

    Back to the Tropicana we had originally planned on S joining us for the show, but his boss last minute wanted to have dinner with him. So it was the two of us. Unsure if we were still joining the others for bottle service, we decided just in case to put on some dresses and fancy up a bit and off we went. I was not at all wanting to see a magic show, I usually really dislike them, but had heard such great things and seen such great reviews I was excited. I dont know what happened. I am sure we must have seen a different show than everyone else. We had amazing seats, fourth booth so first row a private booth just left of centre so the seats were great. But the dancing was not good, he came off kind of creepy at times and while the magic tricks were good, the show just came off as over dramatic and badly danced. A few people walked out the back, and a few people were arguing in the lobby afterwards as to if it was great or terrible (half the party loved it the other half hated it). Both M and I were of the opinion that it was not worth our time, even for free. But hey. You never know until you see a show if you will like it or not and we would not have known had we not gone! That being said, I was also picked out of the audience to go up on stage and be the helper girl to set up the next trick. Maybe it was my little sparkly dress, but either way, call me on stage and you are likely to get a bad review. So maybe that coloured my opinion a tad.

    From there we started to walk the strip a bit and then met up with H (a friend of S's from the night before) at the Luxor. Around 10 S sent me a pm saying he was in the Gold lounge at the Aria and to give his name at the door. So we 5 jumped in a cab and headed to the Aria. H was wearing killer boots that were both totally hot and impossible to walk long amounts in. I was worried about M and I joining them for bottle service as it made 8 of us and bottle service is for 6. But the host just poured us drinks (thanks for the comp MyVegas and especially S!!) and then Cricket (another myvegas player in the MyVegas Rocks facebook group) donated to us her half bottle from HER MyVegas comp! And she also chose the same bottle (greygoose). But for some reason the host there came and grabbed up all our mix and made us empty the bottle in to our cups. So we were all sipping hard! haha. Not sure what that was about. I know they were well tipped beforehand. Who knows?

    From there, us 6 (the same group of us who kept together through the fundraiser the night before) took two cabs to the Stratosphere for reverse happy hour. After midnight drinks are 2 for 1. This does not mean you can buy one get one free, but that you literally have to get two of the same drink. Not a problem, and not a complaint, but a detail that is good to know. Myself and H's boyfriend C were both happily enjoying the peach drink (think it was a margarita, just not a frozen one), H and Slyknyk were sharing a set of drinks, and M and M were drinking the other set. So we paired off great for that! Half price appetizers happen to end right as this starts and the waitress literally ran after the cook who was leaving to get him to go back and make us some apps. So a few plates of apps helped soak up some of the booze. A few picks at the top of the observation deck and a big thank you to M who paid the bill for the night. While I paid our hotel room and most of the cabs, her picking up the tab for all 6 of us was above and beyond. With 3 apps and 16 drinks for the 6 of us though the total was around $200 so you cant beat the price for a night of partying at 107 at the Strat. Come to think of it, I am not even sure how the bill came out as low as it did. The bartender who usually works on the casino floor and not in the club was however another great highlight of the trip as he was the wonderful bartender I had in April who insisted on making me a new drink when I hated the Mango one (seriously it sounded so good! How it could taste so bad is beyond me). He was well tipped that night, and well tipped again this night.

    From there we all took a limo (it was $45 quoted for the limo and would have been $20 each per cab) to Harrahs where someone in the group needed to cash in some chips and titos. Then it was a walk across the street to the Casino Royale. $1 beers, $2 drinks and a new slot promo for new players made this my happy place. Once you lost $10 in the machine, you could activate free play of $10. Now remember, me the non gambler was up $40 and not wanting to mess with that. But I played and lost my $10 in seconds and that activated my free play. I played the max $2 bet and on the 5th and last spin hit a win of a a measly $1. Not wanting to cash out a dollar (hey, not THAT cheap) I reduced my bet and won 8 free spins. Hit the jackpot twice (a little over $100 each time) in those 8 spins and cashed out $280!!!! I was now totally hammered and totally on cloud nine!!!! It paid for my purse pretty much that was purchased earlier in the day!! From there S crossed the street to his home at Mirage and M and I decided to walk off some of the booze and walk back to the Tropicana. This was both needed and simply a nice night/morning to walk. We were back at the hotel around 5am.

    Day 4!

    So we had gotten in at 5am and we had already secured a late checkout for 1 so we were in no rush. We set the alarm for 11am. This would have been great, but it didnt quite work. My understanding from both knowing the Doubletree hotel standards and just past experience was that they would not clean our room until we were checked out and as such, we had not put the do not disturb sign out. Want to piss off a guest royally and insure that the $5 a day you are tipping them (which may not be enough, who knows?) stops? Wake them up at 930 to try to see if they are gone or rush them out of the hotel room. The late check out does not matter apparently here. If you dont have the sign, they are apparently told (this is what the housekeeper said) to start knocking on doors and checking who has left and asking when they will leave at 9am. So yup. Good Morning! GRR!!!

    Anyways, we realized (or I realized) that the bottle of Moscato I had picked up at Walgreens a few days earlier was still not opened. So we proceeded to drink the bottle of wine while getting dressed and ready. By noon we were out of the hotel walking across the street to the Luxor. The to go coffee cups by the Kurig machine came in handy for us and we took the last bit of wine with us as we walked. At noon we went to check in. Asked about an upgrade, was offered a tower room for $20/night or a suite for $35. Our room wasnt ready and we were told we could have a room early for $20. Its funny how paying $20 for an upgrade was a no, yet had she upgraded me I would have happily tipped her $20. Dont ask why or what the difference is because it doesn't make sense to me either. I know its illogical, but I just wasn't going to do it. Anyways, we left our bag at the bell desk and decided to go to Dicks Last Resort in the Excal for lunch. H had just told us the day before how good it was there and how much she enjoyed it. OMG was it an experience! Its a theme restaurant for those who dont know and the theme is that the employees are all dirty rude jerks. Literally. It was hysterical and the food was insanely large portions. The drink M had was bigger than her head was and had 8 shots in it, I had a strawberry and rum fat tuesday type drink. S met us there at the end of the meal and we then walked back to the Luxor. Just as we were walking in I got the text our room was ready (it was a myvegas comp by the way so just the $20 resort fee). The three of us went up to check out the room and then proceed to wait for our luggage.

    For anyone unsure about a room in the Pyramid, the beds are sooooooooo comfortable!! The room was clean, though the sink was cracked, and the baseboards were falling off the wall in the bathroom. But for $20 a night (or even $50=$80 full priced) it was more than sufficient and the beds were so comfy that it would have taken a LOT for me to have complained about anything! Would go back without a doubt.

    Our luggage came and we tore ourselves away from the beds. I had really wanted to see the Rio, Gold Coast and Palms as had never been to any of them before. Our designated tour guide S took us! And at the Rio he slid a bill into a one of the Konami slot machines (dont remember which one it was). About halfway through he hit a major bonus. I think it was 220 free spins? Something INSANE like that. And then in the free bonuses he kept getting more free bonuses. Got so bored (not a massive cash payout in any spin) that with 50 spins left he exited the free spin to take the random credit lump sum. He probably would have won more had he not, but we were all tired of watching the machine do its free spin thing! I think it payed him out about $80 during the bonus, so it wasn't worth mentioning in the monetary way, but it was just something to see. From there we went to Ellis Island (another property that I had yet to see - M had never been to Vegas before so it was all new to her) and then I decided to go off on my own for a bit. They dropped me off at the Marshalls as I was having second thoughts about a bag I had seen there earlier.

    We had agreed to meet at Mirage (I had a 2 buffet dinner comp from MyVegas to redeem) and decided to meet at 7pm. So I slowly started to walk that way (had two hours to kill) and did some shopping and then ended up sitting in Planet Hollywood just people watching. I was at a slot machine but was not playing at all. About 2 minutes after sitting there a cw comes up to me and offers me a drink. I said I wasnt playing. She said she wasn't worried. I gave her a $5 as a thank you (before my drink even came) and she came back not with my screwdriver, but with two. In the 20 minutes I was sitting there she came back 2 more times, each time with two drinks. Each time I gave her a $5. So 6 drinks for $15? No problem!

    I finally made my way to Mirage and had never seen a volcano show so I stopped to watch figuring id be 10 minutes late to dinner. Seems they had the same idea and we met for dinner afterwards. The food was good, interesting though how its all self serve drinks. A wall of drink machines (I had never seen these new fangled coke machines that give you 4,503 choices). For alcoholic drinks they were not only unlimited, there was a full bar in the back of the buffet. And I think wine choices alone there were five. I had Moscato and it was quite good. Overall the food was good and I would go back without a doubt.

    From there we went up to S's room to get an aerial view of the Volcano which was neat. After that we broke off from him and walked to Bellagio. M had never seen a fountain show and so we did that and then followed that with the chocolate fountain and the conservatory so she could see those. I was overwhelmed at just how different the conservatory was. It was a completely different place than it was in April! I loved the penguins popping out of the igloo, the coca cola polar bears, and the entire thing. So glad I decided that M should see it! I likely would not have gone back otherwise!!

    From there it was about 10 and I was both exhausted and just overall not feeling well. I also was leaving at 7am and going straight from the airport to work where i would work straight through until 7am the following day. So I took a cab back to the hotel while M went her merry way. I was in bed and asleep by 11 and she crawled in around 430 after spending the rest of the night with S and some of his friends. The alarm was off at 5 and I was off to the airport.

    And now I am already planning my next two trips for two different events!!!
     
  10. scottydoog

    scottydoog Low-Roller

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    Wow, looks like you had a great time, thanks for the report and photos, these suites are amazing
     
  11. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    What a fun event; is it held at the same time every year? I think I'd like to give it a try next year. Fantastic photos; thank you for posting them. I really enjoyed Illusions at Trop and loved RTRV. Sorry it was dark during your trip.
     
  12. Tpmrwb

    Tpmrwb Tourist

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    Great Trip Report loved the details and all of the great photos!
     
  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    My pics of those suites wouldn't look that good after the 20 drink point. Lol

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  14. Shayna G

    Shayna G Tourist

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    The last 3 years it was held later, closer to xmas. This year it was two weeks earlier than normal which worked best for me. I had heard about it shortly after it happened last year and immediately knew I wanted to do this and sent an email to the Junior Achievement Of Southern Nevada to get a date for this past year. They were great and emailed me months later as soon as dates were confirmed (long before it was posted online) and then again to let me know before tickets went on sale. I will 100% aim to plan another trip next year also around this event.

    I also want to plan a trip for October for the LIfe Is Beautiful and am already booked for this April. So I may have to give up either December or October, but I want to do both! BAH!
     
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