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End of 2009 Vegas Trip Report...in pictures

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mctrees02, Jan 8, 2010.

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  1. mctrees02

    mctrees02 High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    Maybe you'll get lucky and I'll get around to writing up a full report. 6 days/5 nights is a lot of Vegas for those of us not named BeeJay so I might just stick to the highlights/lowlights. For those just wanting to see the images...here ya go!

    http://bit.ly/8pgZoW

    Despite taking all of the necessary photo equipment out to Vegas, I didn't take a lot of shots on this trip and I don't feel like editing/posting standard Palazzo room photos so you're just getting some of my favorite shots. Sorry for the repeat images but I was toying around with some different editing techniques.

    Ok...onto the "bullet points turned paragraphs" review of my most recent trip.

    Highlights
    - Brought home $$. 5 days of gambling and I only finished down $115 (or about 3-4 wagers). When or lose, itt's always nice when you bring home cash.
    - Downtown gambling at the Nugget treated my wife and I very well one evening. I almost tripled up my bankroll 2 shoes of BJ (from $300 to $860).
    - Jerry Seinfeld @ Caesars was awesome. This is a must see show for anybody...especially those that are married. Larry Miller opened (google the name...you'll recognize him) and had a very solid 25-30 minute act as well.
    - Musashi Japanese Steakhouse. Yet again, Tsutomu doesn't disappoint. He prepares a consistently excellent meal with a very impressive presentation and always has something new that he wants you to try. Most importantly, he remembers personal details about us despite having not been in since March and this only being our 4th trip to his restaurant. That level of service will have us coming back every time we are in Vegas.
    - Mandarin Oriental. It's definitely not your typical Vegas but after grabbing a drink in the 23rd floor sky lounge I can't wait to stay there for a weekend.
    - Lagasse's Stadium. This is already my staple place to watch games when I go to Vegas. The food was great, service was outstanding, and being able to lounge on couches while watching sports is awesome. Now pretend I didn't tell you about it so that it's never a problem for me to get a reservation.
    - Employees at Wynn/Encore. Even though we stayed at Palazzo (you'll see more about this in the lowlights), we spent the last few evenings playing and hanging out at Wynn/Encore and reminded ourselves why we don't mind paying to stay there. Every person (cocktails, dealers, pit bosses, shop employees, waiters) that we encountered made us feel welcome and that they genuinely appreciated us spending our time and money on the property. After many recent reports to the contrary I was worried this wouldn't happen. Fortunately...I was wrong!
    - Grand Lux Cafe. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but I really appreciated that being the "all night" cafe at Palazzo. It's one of our favorite places to eat in Dallas (despite only going 2 or 3 times/year) and I appreciated that the prices in Vegas are the same as in Dallas. That was a pleasant surprise. Most importantly, the food and service was consistent.
    - Canyon Ranch Spa. It wasn't otherworld amazing...but it was a serviceable spa that provided adequate treatments. I don't quite understand why their treatment prices are above Qua/Encore...but with a fairly full calendar and experience rooms it's hard to argue with the results. I must also recommend the Canyon Ranch Grill. They have a very smart menu of healthy food items at surprisingly reasonable prices.

    Lowlights
    - Video Poker. While I didn't really lose a lot of money playing VP (I more than made up for it in drinks consumed IMO)...I still failed to hit my first royal despite logging another 20 hours of VP play. By my count, I'm now at 80-85 hours of VP play without a royal. That works out to roughly 40,000 hands w/o a royal. Playing JOB, one should hit a royal every 40,390 hands so it's about damn time I hit one.
    - Palazzo. I came in hoping that it would be a nice alternative to Wynn/Encore but came away very disappointed. The room was fine but the bed was horrendously uncomfortable. It was somewhat firm and very lumpy. We had a king bed with 2 queens in the adjoining room and nobody in our 6 person group slept well. The last 2 nights it was practically a race to see who could claim to the sectional couch for sleeping rather than being stuck tossing and turning on the bed. The auto closing crapper closet wasn't appreciated too much either.

    With regard to the people of Palazzo, other than 2 front desk people who were very helpful, I didn't come across anybody that really cared about the work they were doing. The dealers were run of the mill, lacked personality, and provided a consistently mediocre gaming experience. The pit bosses were standoffish, appeared upset that they were working, and in many cases flat out refused to partake in any small talk or conversation. One person (and I won't name names) would look at you when you said hi or asked a question and then walk away without as much as an acknowledgement. Not once was I or the other players in my group thanked for playing at Palazzo. A girl in our group hit a $1300 jackpot. After being paid, she tipped the attendant $50 who simply took the money and walked away. No thank you or anything.

    Long and short, it was a very frustrating experience. We really enjoyed the peripheral facilities (Lagasse's, Grand Lux, Canyon Ranch) but Palazzo consistently disappointed us.

    - City Center. It's not that I hated City Center...but I certainly wasn't blown away by 37 levels of awesome while taking it all in. Mandarin Oriental is the shining star of the complex. The casino felt rather quiet, dark and dreery. The employees were pleasant which was a plus and good people can go a long way to making a property (see my Palazzo mini-rant). However, I'm marking it as a negative because, IMO, it's just not the game changer that they hoped it would be. Yes it offers a lot of modern architecture and unique design elements that mildly spark the imagination. Unfortunately, I don't see a property that will stand the test of time like a Bellagio, Wynncore, Paris, or MGM Grand. Aria will be ok but will eventually need some modifications as Vegas re-invents itself in the future. Crystals is a borderline disaster. So I guess City Center earns a neutral rating from me. It has it's bright spots but it certainly fell short of the expectations that MGM set for the complex. As a result, I feel compelled to give it a negative.

    - Group trips to Vegas can be tough. Without the right mix of people (and more importantly the right mix of Vegas personalities) 5 nights in Vegas can turn out to be waaaay too long of a trip. If you decide to go on a group trip to Vegas, make sure that everybody has common goals for the trip. Whether that be gambling, drinking, shopping, spa, or golf...make sure nobody is going to be left out from enjoying Vegas in the way that they do.

    I'd love to keep going...but I said I'd try to keep this thing short and I'm having a good day otherwise so why clog it down with negative talk? So...I won't!
     
  2. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I was struck by this line...

    >>Not once was I or the other players in my group thanked for playing at Palazzo. A girl in our group hit a $1300 jackpot. After being paid, she tipped the attendant $50 who simply took the money and walked away. No thank you or anything. <<

    I am going to pass on a tradition I began last year in Vegas. There is simply no excuse for a service employee not saying thank you. When any service employee fails to say it, I clearly and loudly say..."you're welcome". It usually wakes them out of the sea of miserableness they live in.

    Thanks for the TR and pictures...I enjoyed them!
     
  3. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    what kind of camera/lens/editing software do you use for the photos?
     
  4. mctrees02

    mctrees02 High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
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    Nikon D90
    Nikon 35mm f/1.8
    Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
    Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5 (cheap plastic mount broke AGAIN! I'm done with this lens).
    Photoshop Elements 6 for Mac
    Aperture 1.5
    Dynamic Photo (great for HDR's)
    Noise Ninja (didn't run this batch of images through it...more for sports shooting)
     
  5. Rockinthe350's

    Rockinthe350's Tourist

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    lovely photos!
    and how rude not to say thank you! :nono:
     
  6. darnae

    darnae Tourist

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    Thanks for sharing...wasn't aware of Lagasse Stadium!!
     
  7. Debo

    Debo Low-Roller

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    Awesome Pics! I'm just now getting into photography and I am by no means advanced, but I can appreciate your keen eye for framing. Great job!
     
  8. Debo

    Debo Low-Roller

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    Also, I tend to agree with you on the Wynn and Encore experiences. My wife and I normally stay at Wynn until about a year ago when we went with some friends and they always stay at Pallazo or Venetian. It's not that the experience was bad there, it's just that the Wynn is better. I like the smaller feel and more personable service IMO.
    As my sig shows though, I am going to stay at Paris with some buddies for an all guys trip. I had some free nights there and I can't complain about free ever, for the most part.
     
  9. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    nice photos and report, ty for sharing :thumbsup:
     
  10. marcianofan

    marcianofan Low-Roller

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    I also say "YOUR WELCOME!!!" when I don't get A TY. I hate rude people....
     
  11. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    wow!!! those are some incredible pics! I think I found a good motivational work computer background!
     
  12. co21ss

    co21ss Tourist

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    Sounds like a great trip, and thanks for sharing the photos. They are fantastic!
     
  13. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Low-Roller

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    Larry Miller

    Larry Miller played the snarky doorman that irratated Jerry on a episode of Seinfeld. He was also the voice of the Mayor in Seinfeld's Bee Movie. I guess he's making a career of cozying up the Jerry. He always seems to play characters that you love to hate.
     
  14. MikeE

    MikeE The Shah's Slightly Hairy Cousin

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    Fantastic as always. I don't think there's a point in there that I don't agree with.

    As for the pictures, as I said on twitter, you've got probably the single best shot of CityCenter I've ever seen.
     
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