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Group Trip - Does this agenda sound fair?

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by Wanger1969, May 15, 2012.

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  1. Wanger1969

    Wanger1969 High-Roller

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    I'd like to ask for everyone's advice. I'm planning a trip for 14 total travelers, and I think I've decided that less is more.

    This whole trip is for my daughters 21st birthday. However, we are a really close family, so she invited all of my siblings and her cousins to come along as well. (as well as a couple of her and my friends) It turned into a large group of 14 travelers total, 9 are flying, 5 are driving. At this point, I've decided less planning is better. All of my siblings and their significant others are coming, which is just awesome. My brother and sisters are truly my best friends, which I'm told is rare in todays world. Its nice to share this with all of them.

    We don't arrive until 9pm Friday night, so by the time we get the hotel and get checked in, for some the night is almost over. For others its just begun! Here's the schedule I have put out there for the family. Opinions are welcome. Any other planning will just be spur of the moment and will happen while we are there.

    Friday - June 1st
    Arrival at 9pm - cab to the hotel to check in, then everyone is on their own for the evening. (on a side note, I might surprise my family/daughter with a presidential limo ride to/from the hotel)

    Saturday - June 2nd
    AM - on your own time - some plan to go to the Hoover Dam, this is a person by person choice.
    7 PM - meet at Harrah's buffet at 7pm for a birthday celebration dinner
    After dinner - we plan on doing a little casino/bar hopping, everyone is welcome to join. We'll hit up Carnaval Court, maybe head downtown, no TRUE set plans

    Sunday - June 3rd
    Entire day - this is 100% your day to do whatever you've always wanted to do while in Vegas. Have a GREAT day!

    Monday - June 4th
    9am - Breakfast (for those who can drag themselves out of bed or who haven't gone to bed) at the Imperial Palace Buffet
    11:30am - Need to leave for the airport for our 2:30 flight.

    I think my schedule leaves everyone time to make their vacation what they want it to be!
     
  2. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Imperial Palace Buffet - you are truly brave! We tried it about 10-11 yrs ago when we didn't know any better and it really was terrible. There are so many that are much better. If you have a CET TR card and are going to Harrah's Saturday nite for dinner...why not get the Buffet of Buffets pass for $44.99 and eat at different - good CET buffets for the 24 hour period. You could do your Harrah's dinner Saturday nite, a late breakfast Sunday morning (if everyone is going their seperate ways - each could try the one they want)- maybe Paris or PH then do another dinner on Sunday night - just make sure to get thru the line and pay before the time is up. Maybe take the free shuttle over to Rio which is huge.

    I am curious why you chose IP buffet - have you had a good experience there?

    We have traveled with groups as large as 19 and getting everyone together for meals is not always easy but we found that some of the CET buffets work well for a meal together each day.

    Hope all goes well and everyone has a great time!! :)
     
  3. jhpa

    jhpa High-Roller

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    since you asked.....

    What am I missing? It sounds like there really is nothing planned but one dinner.

    I know I am kind of anal about things when it comes to planning. But if there is one thing I absolutley hate on vacation is to get up in the morning with a bunch of people and say : "Ok - what do you want to do today?" You can spend hours hanging around a hotel room trying to pick a place for breakfast or lunch or deciding on a show to see. Vacation time is too precious to waste it like this.

    Why not have a party before you go. Invite people over and talk through what people might want to do. Are there certain clubs you want to see? Certain hotels? Certain restaurants? pick one or two things a day and schedule them in. ANd make reservations. Nothing is more diappointing than going on vacation hoping to see a certain show or eating a a certain restaurant and not being able to get reservations at the last minute.

    To me, half of the fun of a vacation is planning and anticipating it.

    ....but that is just me.
     
  4. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Don't agree with the food choices but I also don't fault the ease of a buffet with a group. As for the catch-as-catch-can quality of it all, that's the only way to do group travel. Dragging more than a few people around Vegas ... it's easier to herd three-legged cats, and not nearly as rewarding.

    We're planning a three-couple trip (not to Vegas) and we have four rules:

    1. House with three master suites and ample common space.
    2. Three rental cars.
    3. We'll do some dinners together.
    4. Everyone do what you want to do and if it includes others, great, if not, great.
     
  5. Nevyn

    Nevyn VIP Whale

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    Well, its up to what your family likes in terms of dining, but not sure if you want to do a buffet for the birthday dinner? Its kind of an eat and go atmosphere and they won't really like pushing tables together for you. With such a large group you might be able to get a party room/separate area in a nearby restaurant. Can't think of a recommendation off the top of my head. Toby Keiths is in Harrah's and has good food, but may be pretty loud and doesn't have a separate room for large parties. There is a cheesecake factory nearby in the Forum Shops but i haven't been to that one.

    And if you did that I'd switch up the breakfast buffet to Harrah's in the morning.
     
  6. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    #4 is my favorite. :thumbsup:
     
  7. bigmoneyvic

    bigmoneyvic Tourist

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    I would definately either book limo transportation from airport or book a large SUV limo to do some casino hopping/sightseeeing with the group after dinner Saturday night. Other than that your agenda is more than fair as it is pretty wide open. Good luck!
     
  8. vegas_or_bust

    vegas_or_bust High-Roller

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    Since you solicited feedback, here is my two cents: I would recommend having some definite plans in mind for Saturday and Sunday. You don't need to mandate that everyone do what you have planned, but I would have something planned nonetheless. I went on one Vegas trip where we didn't plan anything ahead of time, and the group spent a lot of the trip discussing what to do next. Since you planned the trip, folks are going to inevitably look to you to make the plans if the trip stagnates.

    From my experience, what works well in a group setting is announcing ahead of time what YOU plan to do and then letting everyone know that they are welcome to join you if they so desire.

    Lastly, I completely agree with the poster above. I would book a big limo to pick you up after dinner on Saturday night and do an hour tour of the strip at night. I just booked an 18 person super-stretch from Executive Travel for our group trip in June for $155 an hour. That is less than $15 per person, which is a pretty good deal IMO. (You could even have the limo drop you off downtown after one lap around the strip. That would save on cab fare and you mentioned you may be heading there anyway).
     
  9. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    seems like you didn't really plan anything except a buffet one night? it's a good idea to leave a lot of time for people to hang out, but it's a good idea to plan some optional things for people to all hang out together if they want. also, it makes sense to have more than just the one dinner together if you're there for 4 nights. at least 2-3 dinners at a set location that people can come to. otherwise people are going to wonder why they bothered to come for this "party" if they're on your own the entire time.
     
  10. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    I agree to have a couple other options scheduled - like pool day on Sunday, a trip to the pinball or Neon museum - whatever you think people would like, or, more importantly - what your daughter would enjoy, since the trip is for her birthday.

    We did a limo from our hotel, lap of the Strip, to Binion's Range (eh) for my sister's 21st birthday. Was a blast!

    I don't think I would go to the IP buffet.
     
  11. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    We've done several 20-/30-plus-participant Vegas junkets. For the mandatory group event, we always had a cocktail reception in our suite. People can come/go, easy to orchestrate, and for us a better venue than a long table of limited interaction over a tepid meal. Sure some of us would get together for steak or sushi or whatever, but that was all rather free form since what always happens when a group gets to Vegas, the pack rather quickly goes off in multiple directions.

    We always let people know, "If you want to play golf on Friday, let us know and we'll include you with the tee time," or, "We're going to the spa at 3pm on Thursday. If you want a treatment book it and we'll see you in the steam room."

    That's what I mean by doing what we want to do and still having the ability for others to play along. Just don't try to get in the business of trying to orchestrate an agenda for two dozen. Invariably you will have purchased "Mystere" tickets, as an example, and six folks don't show up.

    I'd consider a call to Bootlegger Bistro a couple miles south on LV Blvd. It's a fun place with great Italian fare, and they can easily handle a group like yours.
     
  12. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    I agree 100%. I'm actually planning a similar birthday party later this year and we've kept it open but planned a cocktail party in our suite one night, a birthday dinner one night that we're footing the bill for, a cabana at the pool one day, a spa day for the girls and a day at the sportsbook for the guys to watch football. Of course nobody has to do anything they don't want to, but the options are available so people who like planned activities can have them. And even if you do everything we have planned there's still most of the time available for stuff on your own.
     
  13. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Okay, I admit to being a buffet guy and hopes this doesn't come off as being a cheerleader, but....I applaud the buffet idea.
    Here are my reasons:
    1. In dragging a bunch of people around, there is a not the pressure of meeting a specific reservation time.
    2. Compared to the restaurant menu concept, a buffet generally satisfies all tastes.
    3. One price for all.
    4. Sounds like Center Strip is the home base, thus Harrahs and IP fit the geographic profile. No need to find transportation to get somewhere.
    5. Granted the IP is one of the most-disparaged of all buffets, but going there for breakfast will work fine. Compared to lunch and dinner, quality of ingredients and ambiance is not that big of a factor. Plus, an omelet is an omelet, whether you're eating at the Wynn buffet or the IP. Not a whole lot of variance in an egg.
    6. Harrahs has prime rib and warm crab legs at night. Those two items will more than make up for any regrets over not eating at an upscale sit-down joint.
    7. For a large group, there is much more flexibility in dining at a buffet, including being able to relax and take one's time.
    8. A buffet provides a more casual environment, which is is likely more conducive to the fellowshipping of your group
    9. Not to stereotype your group, but speaking as someone born in Iowa City, I think Iowans are okay with buffets, as opposed to fancy dining.
    10. Good strategy in going from a Saturday to Monday buffet, instead of back-to-back days.
     
  14. Aero

    Aero Low-Roller

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    I think you've got the right idea. I would agree with the change in Buffet choice, but whatever you like. My only advice would be to communicate to each of the other 13 in your party the general itinerary prior to your arriving in Vegas. That gives them the time to plan their trip a bit so they aren't wasting valuable Vegas time. Most of all, I would echo Ken's #4 as the best idea of all. You know what you'll be doing... if anyone wants to tag along, that might be great. I know I will always choose to hang with people who know the city I am visiting rather than finding whatever I wander into not knowing. Ignorance is not bliss in a strange city.
     
  15. Wanger1969

    Wanger1969 High-Roller

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    Group Plans

    Thanks everyone for the GREAT advice and ideas. I'm totally open to any suggestions and appreciate all the feedback. A couple of explanations.

    1. The choosing of the buffets is simply just convenience and making a group happy. Chef is right, its a group of people who are perfectly happy with a buffet. I've been to the one at Harrah's and its one of my favorite mid level buffets, so I know my family will love it. They all love our local casino buffet, so any buffet in Vegas will put that to shame.

    2. The choice of the Harrah's buffet is simply a $$ issue. I was able to call Harrah's and can make a reservation for our group ahead of time. I personally would love to do Wynn or Bellagio, but I'm not footing the bill. I have budgets of others to consider in the restaurant choice, and the $22 cost of the Harrah's buffet fit that well. Plus its close to where we are staying (IP, another budget friendly choice)

    3. The IP breakfast the day we leave is simply convenient. I have actually considered doing Hash House that morning as well, so that plan isn't 100% set. I want our breakfast to be somehwere that's easy for everyone to get outta bed and join us. Any other suggestions of breakfast close to the IP are welcome.

    4. Taking a Limo tour after supper is a GREAT idea, and I'm looking into this. Instead of the limo from the airport, maybe an hour of being escorted down the strip, maybe a stop at the sign, and then eventually ending up downtown would be lots of fun for the group. GREAT IDEA I'm going to pursue!

    5. Including "our" plans and allowing others to join is also a great idea, and I'm going to incorporate this. I just don't want folks to think I'm planning their vacation for them. I have been clear with everyone that although we are here to celebrate Allysons b-day, the trip will leave time for everyone to do their own thing. I promised Sunday as a day for the group to go their own way and enjoy Vegas how they would like to enjoy it! I know some will want to gamble or get in a poker tournament or two, some want pool time, and some may want to just be lazy and do nothing!

    This is why I LOVE LOVE LOVE this board!
     
  16. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    I'm glad you were able to make reservations for the large group at the Harrah's buffet. My biggest concern was 14 people showing up at 7pm on a Saturday night....it will be quite busy then. Plus we diamond and platinums get priority, so it could be quite a wait! But if you have reservations, that's great and you are correct, it is a solid buffet.

    Personally, I recommend you change the breakfast from the IP to Harrah's. It's right next door, and believe me, it's worth the short walk. The Harrah's buffet is my fave CET buffet, the IP is a DISTANT last place.

    Also, there are coupons for 25% off the Harrah's buffet in the American Casino Guide book, I buy these on amazon.com. Lots of good coupons, and you can make the $10 book price back just with these buffets. IF you need more of those coupons, you can trade others from the book in the COUPON section of this board. Folks are always happy to trade and then you get lots of the ones you personally need.

    I like the free-flow style. I probably would schedule a pool or spa time that's optional as well.

    Have fun!
    diane
     
  17. nostresshere

    nostresshere Mr. Anti Debit Card

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    I would agree that doing the buffet is a GREAT idea. Trying to deal with reservations for a large group is a pain in the butt. Then there is the decisions as to where. And, for whatever reason, meals in Vegas are way too friggin expensive. The bill would be massive. I would try to figure out at what time they are generally slower so you do not have a line.
     
  18. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    Are there really that many of you stealing the seats? I'd have thought most people at that level were getting RFB and going to a restaurant than a buffet.
     
  19. Wanger1969

    Wanger1969 High-Roller

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    Updated Agenda

    Not that anyone has been sitting on pins and needles awaiting this but.....

    Saturday during the day, we decided to go with a mini dam tour through the Grand Canyon Tour Company. It was priced right ($29.99) and everyone decided to book it. Picks up at 9:20 and we are back by 3 or 3:30.

    We were able to reserve the Harrah's buffet for 14 Sat night. Payment is up front and includes gratuity, tax, and a $10 drink minimum per person, but its worth it. We get to proceed to the "Diamond" line and not wait in line. This will probably be the ONLY time in my life I get to skip ahead. I might make faces at all those in line. We did schedule it a little earlier than originally, as the Caesars Sales Manager said we could have our "space" for 2 hours. We went with 5p-7p. All the family is happy!

    Saturday night I booked a 16 passenger Lincoln Navigator Limo from NTS to drive us around from 8pm - 10pm. (thanks to the board for this suggestion) The price was comparable. Believe it or not, it was hard to find an available Limo for our large group on a Saturday night! Many were already booked solid. This will work out great, and I've read many good reviews about NTS. We'll catch all the "must see's" on The Strip and then have the final destination be downtown. Any advice on those must see places, outside of the Bellagio Fountains and the "Welcome" sign?

    At the request of the group, I've left Sunday a free for all. Some want to spend the day at the pool, some are going to book a show, some want to see the sights, and some (me included) want to gamble. I think everyone was happy to see a free day, and I'm glad I kept the schedule empty for everyone to make their own plans.

    Monday, we are going to stick with the IP Buffet for breakfast, only at the insistence of my brother. He said breakfast "is just fine" and everyone will like it. I'm trusting him as he's eaten there before. Plus frankly, there won't be a wait, and that's what we need Monday morning before flying home.

    Again, thanks to everyone for all your great suggestions, many of which helped me plan the trip!
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  20. wigwam_salesman

    wigwam_salesman VIP Whale

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    I'd be interested to know how your dam tour goes as it's something we want to do this year. Don't want to be out of Vegas for an entire day though.
     
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