I have never posted anything before, but I have enjoyed reading the trip reports and wanted to return the favor. We are staying at the Mandarin Oriental. Food and Drink are very important. Gambling and Shopping only slightly less so. I am guessing that this is probably my 20th trip to Las Vegas. I have been for work, for bachelor parties, and for getaways with the wife. This is a getaway with the wife. Thursday – Put the kids on a plane to stay with their Grand Parents. Our plane was scheduled to leave an hour or so later. Flying Southwest out of Love Field on a direct flight. I typically avoid Southwest on any trip longer than 1 hour, but the direct flight from Love sucked me in. Flight was on time. That is about the only good thing I can say about it. I like to sleep on planes. I do not need whacky comedy from the flight attendants, I do not care if someone is proposing, and I definitely can do without constant chatter from the person sitting next to us. As I write this I realize that I sound like kind of an asshole! I am nothing if not self aware. Made it to the hotel, quick shower and then on to dinner. Room layout was really weird. I have stayed here multiple times and this was my least favorite room. Having said that, the Mandarin is a fantastic hotel with some of the best service anywhere. We had a 10pm reservation at Blue Ribbon Sushi at the Cosmopolitan. Had some dumplings (pork and shrimp), Toro sashimi, California roll, and blue crab fried rice. All was good. Went downstairs to play blackjack. Couldn’t find any 3/2 at a $25 table. This was an ongoing problem for the entire weekend. We won a couple of hundred dollars and were hugely entertained by the guy playing with us. He propositioned just about every female that walked by and came up empty. Not even the hookers would give him a second look. Could have had something to do with the fact that his pants were unzipped and he kept yelling for the dealer to “hit him in the back door”. Friday - Woke up earlier than I wanted to. Had a great breakfast at Mozen. Eggs Benedict were great and the service was perfect. Sam Smith and his parents were sitting at the table next to us. I think he was in town for the music festival. We spent the next few hours walking north on east side of the strip. A few observations. There are very few women who should wear shorts that are so short that you can actually see their ass hanging out. I am sure there are some women who can pull it off, but of the 50 or so we saw with this issue, none of them could pull it off. No one was really even close. Disappointing but entertaining at the same time. Ordered a margarita in the Jimmy Buffet casino bar. My bad. Really terrible margarita and the bartender seemed pissed when we did not show the appropriate level of appreciation for his Tom Cruise like bottle juggling skills. Rectified the situation when we had a really good margarita from Chayo in the Linq promenade. The redevelopment of the Linq and the promenade was really well done. A unique concept for the strip. Looked like a good mix of retail and restaurants. Gambled for about an hour at the Palazzo before lunch. Not very impressed with the Casino. Pretty drab and starting to look a little tired. Had a reservation for lunch at DB Brasserie. Sat down, and got up and left. They were only serving a limited set menu as there was a big convention at the hotel?? Wish they would have let me know when I made the reservation. Went to Wolfgang Puck restaurant at Crystals instead. Really good pizza and a great bottle of white wine. The concierge at the hotel picked up dessert as an apology for the DB Brasserie issue. Completely unexpected but appreciated. Wife went shopping at Crystals after lunch. I have no memory of this part of the day as I think my brain conveniently shut down as a defense mechanism. Gambled for a bit at Aria before massage at the spa. The spa at the Mandarin is really nice. Dinner was at L’Altelier Joel Robuchon. Always incredible. We had iberico ham, langoustine, le burger, foie gras stuffed quail, and some thinly sliced raw fish of some sort. All really good. Service was top notch. Watched a couple get pissed off they were seated at the bar and leave. Kind of missing the point of the place. I can’t imagine wanting to sit at a table there. Gambled at the Encore. Lost my ass playing black jack. Thank god my wife was winning. Again, not a $25 table paying 3/2 anywhere. The Encore is a really weird place. Half the people are there for the clubs. The other half are there for the upscale experience. I don’t know how well the two mix. I have been to all of the clubs at the encore and I am definitely past the point in my life where dealing with asshole bouncers, bottle service, and EDM sound like fun. I do enjoy watching them stand in line while I lose at black jack (maybe I was having focus issues). Saturday – Pool day. Pool at the Mandarin is what you would expect. Good food and drink along with very attentive service. May or may not have nodded off for a few hours in the Cabana after a couple of Spa Waters (vodka concoction of some sort). Woke refreshed and decided to order a few margaritas. They were pretty bad. Dinner was 8PM at Sinatra’s back at the encore. We always try and have a drink at the bar at the Mandarin before dinner. I usually end up having a drink by myself as my wife is usually running late. This bar is one of the few places in the world where I am content to just stare out the window. Truly incredible view. Dinner was going great. We sat down, drank a pre dinner cocktail, ate our antipasto platter, and ordered a really nice bottle of red wine when things got interesting. A lady sitting at the table next to us went completely non-responsive. The guy she was with started to shake her and throw water. Nothing. Hotel medical type people showed up and finally got her awake and somewhat coherent before she started vomiting in to an ice bucket. At this point my wife hauled ass to the bar (she has a sensitive stomach) while I sat there dumbstruck. The manager quickly moved us to another table. We finished dinner and refused there offer of a free dessert. Watching a lady almost die then recover and puke is not good for the appetite. I can only think she had some type of allergic reaction, as she was not drunk or even drinking. They got her out of the restaurant and had both our tables filled within minutes. Played some craps and won, played some black jack and lost. Still no 3/2 to be found. Had a drink at Parasol Up before leaving for the night. Nice place. Listened to a couple of 20 something pseudo hippy types solve all the worlds problems. I wonder how different their opinions will be after having an actual job and a family? I am sure I sounded very similar 20 years ago. Sunday – Slept late. Went to Brunch at Bardot at Aria. Great restaurant. Incredible selection of Champagne. If you are in to that sort of thing than I highly recommend. We shared a French Toast entrée for an appetizer. I had the burger and my wife had the short rib eggs benedict. The service and food were all very good. Beautiful restaurant. I will return. In our ongoing quest for a decent Margarita in Las Vegas, we finished the trip off with a really good one at Javier’s. Flight back was better. There was no amount of annoying chatter or general ”southwestiness” that would keep me from sleeping the whole flight. General Thoughts – I am about done with blackjack. The rules suck and while I am sure there are tables with good rules somewhere, I am not going to spend the time to try and find them. We were really impressed with Aria. Will spend more time there next trip. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.