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Golden Gate, Palazzo, Vdara -- 5/3 - 5/10

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by billduhcat, May 15, 2014.

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  1. billduhcat

    billduhcat Low-Roller

    Apr 13, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Hello all.

    I was in LV all last week, from Saturday May 3, to Saturday May 10. Trip report below. Apologies in advance for some sentence fragments, I'm drafting this at work which often makes for choppy grammar.

    Flew into LAS, arriving at around 12:30pm. Took the Bell Airport VIP shuttle to Golden Gate. No issues here, loving the Bell service.

    No room available immediately at Golden Gate, so I dropped off my bag, and headed down to the Downtown Grand to look around and have lunch. Gambled a little bit, and ate at Pizza Rock. Very tasty, and the restaurant space is really neat. Looking forward to heading back there again.

    Noodled around downtown for a while longer, then back to Golden Gate at around 3pm. Checked into my Golden Gate suite; really nice room, on the parking lot side so it was very quiet most of the night.

    Hung around the room for a bit relaxing, then headed out at around 5pm to gamble. Hit the Golden Gate VP bar, Fremont, The D, and 4 Queens over the course of the night. Very much enjoyed Golden Gate and the D. They're probably in my top 5 casinos in LV at the moment. Had a lot of fun at the Free Bet Blackjack @ Golden Gate, upstairs Sigma Derby and VP @ The D, and just really enjoyed the spectacle of downtown LV on a Saturday night.

    Stayed awake until around 11pm, then back to the room. Seems like I stayed on Central time pretty much all week.

    Up at around 5am, and down to DuPars for pancakes. Very good, but need to order them without butter next time. Headed over to Main Street Station for early morning video poker, had a nice hit on an Ultimate X machine, which brought me back to even for the trip. Walked around downtown for a while taking in the early morning "ambiance", then tidied up, checked out, and got the bus to the Strip.

    Arrived at Palazzo at around noon. Checked in immediately, dropped my stuff off, then made my way to Aria to watch the Blackhawks game in their sports book. Walked by/thru the Quad and the Linq; it all seems pretty nice, looking forward to maybe trying some of the new restaurants on the next trip. Stopped at the Aria 550 pizza place for a slice; really enjoyed their pepperoni/sausage; I think this place has potential.

    Watched the game @ Aria for a few hours, then headed off to the Bellagio buffet for a late lunch. Unfortunately wasn't terribly impressed with Bellagio buffet this time around. I've been going there for years, and I think the quality of the entrée items has definitely slipped. Desserts were good, but the meats and sides were kind of "blah" at best. Hopefully they up their game in the future, but it's off my list for now.

    Headed back to Palazzo after lunch. Worked a bit, then got to bed fairly early.

    1st day of EMC world, up and out the door at 7:30am. Palazzo was a great choice for attending the show @ the Sands Convention Center. Relatively short walk from room to show, which came in handy many times over the next few days. At the show/worked until 9pm that night.

    EMC World day #2. Early start again, working, etc. Had dinner @ Society Café in Encore, just a burger and a beer, but it was really good. Bartender was great to talk to, and I'm looking forward to heading back there again. $30 for a burger+beer+tip, so there's that :)

    Won $80 in a Wynn slot machine (whoohooo).

    I had walked through Wynn before, but never spent more than 10 minutes there. I was pretty wowed by the whole Wynncore complex, and would love to do a night or 2 there in the future.

    Show day #3, with work also reaching a crescendo of stupidity. Luckily got everything under control by later that afternoon, as the show party was at 7pm, with a huge spread of food and drinks, and Imagine Dragons playing a mini-concert at around 8pm. Really enjoyed this all around, and the band seemed like really nice guys, and LV natives.

    Did a quick recon of Mirage for my wife, who's attending a conference there later in the year.

    Final day of the show, finishing at around 2pm. Cabbed over to Vdara, checked in quickly, and then relaxed for an hour. Headed over to Hard Rock to gamble for a while and then dinner. Got crushed at Hard Rock, losing around $300 in about 2 hours. It was with a heavy heart that I went into Culinary Dropout.

    Had ribs and too many beers at Culinary Dropout. It was my first time there, but it's rocketed to the top of my list. Food, service, and drinks were awesome, ambiance was great, and live music fired up at around 7pm. The band was a lot of fun; kind of an acoustic cover band; and I really enjoyed drinking an listening after a moderately stressful week.

    Finished at Hard Rock at around 9pm, cabbed back to PHo.

    Up at around 8am. Over to Jean Philippe Patisserie for a dulce de leche brioche. Hung out for a while, and then did a walking tour of the south strip = NYNY, Excal, Luxor, Mandalay, and MGM. Nothing super special to report, still like the casinos I've always liked (NYNY, Mandalay), and dislike the ones I've always disliked.

    Avoided a full lunch in anticipating of hitting American Fish for their happy hour @ 5pm. Went there at about that time, and enjoyed the mac+cheese, lobster roll, and tomato soup+grilled cheese. Everything was excellent, it sucks that they're closing that place. Talked to the bartender, it sounds like it's going to be a pretty extensive remodel of that space = moving the bar location, complete redecoration, etc.

    Walked over to Cosmo after dinner, and played VP @ Book+Stage for about 1.5 hours. Still great drink service, still great people watching. Cosmo was hopping at 6pm, even more so later in the night.

    Wandered up to Holsteins at around 630pm for a burger, as I wanted a bit more to eat. This is still one of my favorites. Great burgers, great beers, awesome crowd.

    After Holsteins I went across the street to Pho, which was hopping by 730-ish. Sat down at a pai gow poker table. I really wanted to get into this, but the game was about as boring as I remembered it. Oh well.

    Back to Cosmo, gambled a little more on some random VP and slots, and then back to Vdara by around 10pm. I know, I'm a lightweight.

    Travel day, up at 7am, hitting breakfast by 8am. Went to the Cosmo buffet, and got a $25 off "comp", which surprise me as I really hadn't gambled all that much the night before. Food was excellent as always.

    Over to LAS on the limo, and flew home.

    The good parts:
    Golden Gate Hotel -- awesome location, very nice suite
    Golden Gate casino -- great vibe, 3:2 blackjack
    DuPars -- Vegas classic
    The D -- slightly larger version of Golden Gate, everyone there seemed to be having fun (including me)
    Pizza Rock -- need to try actual pizza next time :)
    Palazzo -- was expecting a good experience, got a great one. Awesome location for a convention @ Sands. Excellent service, and love the restaurant variety both onsite, and in Wynncore.
    Society Café -- expensive, but delicious
    Vdara -- still my favorite LV hotel, for value, quality, service, and location
    American fish -- RIP at the end of June
    Culinary Dropout -- good food, good beer selection. Loved the live music. Outdoor patio section is awesome in nice weather.
    Cosmo -- Book+Stage is still a favorite. Love what they've done with the Bond Bar, and restaurant service as usual was excellent
    Wicked Spoon Buffet

    The meh parts:
    Proliferation of 3 card BS carney games at CET properties -- not sure how many additional tables of 3 card Mississippi hold em screw you stud LV needs, but CET is going have them for sure
    Bellagio buffet -- Disappointing, hope they do better quality-wise in the near future
    Last edited: May 15, 2014
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  2. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

    Jan 14, 2004
    Boston, Ma
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Good report! i was there at the same time as you!


    Dammmn you!! hahaha :Þ
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