Just got back from a 3 day trip to Vegas with a friend.. a guys trip. Stayed at the Golden Gate on a comp and spent most of my time downtown and made a trip to the Hard Rock Pool and took a day trip out to the desert. Here's a quick overview of the highlights of my stay.. Those who are interested in downtown and might be visiting soon will be most interested in this report. Getting there: Nothing out of the ordinary (flight from BOS->ORD->LAS) except for the fact of the gale force winds at LAS. VERY DICEY landing. Literally white knuckled to stay in my seat from the turbulence and we almost looked like we were going to land sideways at times. It was cold and windy that night too. Very odd for May in Vegas. Oh and i rented a car at Thrifty. They lost my Blue Chip reservation so I had to deal with an agent (exactly why I used Blue Chip in the first place) Hotel: Stayed on a 3 night comp from the Golden Gate. Been many times, but never stayed. At check in we were offered an upgrade to one of the new suites, but it was not a complimentary upgrade so we kept the standard room. He warned us that it does get noisy at night, but it was just a guys trip so I figured who cares.. we'll be out late anyway. Room was sort of updated with new furniture and some paint, but it was still pretty rickety. But it was clean and serviceable.. however... Noise: Wow were we wrong about this. We had room in the front, facing right out front to Fremont. Single pane, very OLD windows. Almost as noise cancelling as a screen window. To add to that, there is a new huge structure in front of the GG (for the longer Slotzilla platform) which also has a stage. There was three levels of "Loud" inside this room. When the stage outside has a band/performer, the volume in the room was about at full 'concert levels' (imagine going to rock club, standing front and center). When at "regular" levels, it was like having a huge party going on downstairs at your house. Loud and annoying but not as bad as the concert. And the 3rd, 'regular' noise level was like having the stereo on in the car in your driveway. Annoying but you could probably sleep through it. We figured, the noise is probably just at night and we'd be getting back to the room at 2/3am anyway. Right? What we didn't realize is that the "concert level" noise was from about 4pm - 2am. the "regular level" noise was about 2am-5am and the less of the three was from 9am - 2pm. Part of my Vegas routine is the afternoon nap, which DID NOT happen this trip. At all. Needless to say, i have a new found hatred for dance/pop music. Yes I could of complained and been moved, but by the time we really were so sleep deprived, it was the last day and we said fuck it and stayed out and didnt sleep. Lesson learned here. Fremont St thoughts: Fremont was pretty busy as always, and the new Slotzilla looks fun. The first night it was closed due to high winds but every other night had a long line. The 2nd and furthest platform in front of the Golden Gate/LVC is almost done. I dont like it though, it blocks the view from Main street (and from the Plaza). I wish they had made less of a footprint. I wonder if people dining at Oscars can see down Fremont anymore. Golden Gate - Busy as always, had my best luck here playing blackjack. Plaza -Deader than a doorknob. No matter how bumping Fremont st and its casinos were, Plaza was dead. It looks nicer than I ever saw it, smelled nice, newer machines, etc. But no one there. That Slotzilla platform might have something to do with it. LVC- How could this place get worse? The back is completely walled off, you can't cut through to the Cal anymore. A quarter of the casino floor is now a cheapo t-shirt store. It had people in it but it was WORN. The lights on the facade outside were half out. They've officially given up on this place. MSS/CAL - Good crowds, lots of Hawaiians as usual. The D - Haven't been since the full Fitzgerald's takeover. Place looks good, the gaming didnt look so good so i just walked around. Binions/4 queens/Fremont/El Cortez/GN - All busy, all about the same as a few years ago. Not many new changes that I noticed. Downtown Grand - Absolutely loved this place, really like what they did here. The staff were friendly, decent gaming and the waitresses almost nagged me for drinks. However it was empty. Even one of the dealers groaned when someone at my table asked her if this was just a soft opening. All the entrances are blacked out so you cant tell if anythings going on. While all Fremont casinos benefit from the open doors, this place is almost suffocating from the closed doors. I hope they can do something to lure people off Fremont. I wish I had checked out the pool during the day. Fremont East - Every time I go there are new things and it looks great. The Commonwealth bar was bumping, I really liked the inside of the Backstage Bar and Billiards for 80's night and places like the Griffin and Beauty Bar were fun as always. Food - Ate at the MSS buffet. They changed this a little, its no longer brunch on the weekends, just normal breakfast and lunch. Prices changed for lunch when we got there. Used a 2-for 1 coupon thanks to a helpful VM'er! Also ate at Du-Par's in the GG with a coupon. I really liked it, better than average diner food. Also at Comida, just off Fremont East, across from the El Cortez. Really great mexican food. Great atmosphere, awesome margaritas and the food was good! Gaming - Lots of BJ, mostly at the GG, but at El Co and DTgrand too. Lots of luck at the Monopoly Legends slot. My friend won $700 on that machine in the GN! I played a bunch of Video poker at the Boyd properties too. Also at the El Co; .25 chip roulette. That was fun for a few hours of messing around. Strip Club - Made a big plan for going to Olympic Garden on the Sunday night. Tried calling for the free limo and admission, which came fast. We figured a 10pm arrival was late enough for lots of action, but beating the crowds a bit. We tipped the driver $25 and figured we'd get free admission. While we technically did, we were forced to pay $25 each to "pre buy" our first two drinks. We used those to buy the most expensive drinks we could use (up to $12 each). 2ndly, place was DEAD. No girls on stage, 2-3 girls sitting around talking to one guy. Music was quiet (quieter than our hotel! hah!) We sat at the bar for an hour and a few girls trickled in but they seemed to disappear. We finally left without seeing any thing / girls whatsoever. Huge bust, never going to OG again. Desert Trip - Drove to Jean, saw the Dry Lake bed, stopped into the Gold Strike (Its actually not bad in there! - kinda reminds me of the MSS, but not as nice). Went to the Pioneer Saloon in Goodsprings, NV.. that was really cool, old biker bar in the middle of no where. Continued on through Sandy Valley all the way behind Mt. Potosi to Red Rock Canyon. Pool - On Monday we went to the Hard Rock pool. It was free, even for non hotel guests (yes i asked, to all you haters out there). However due to other events going on at the hotel, only the small pool in the back was open (i can't remember the pool's name). Still, nice to get to a pool and relax. Found some chairs and ordered some drinks. Unfortunately, I ordered two bloody marys and when they brought them out, they cost $30 each!!! YIKES. The good news is that they were huge (about two pint glasses worth in each) and were made with top shelf vodka. But still..