This is my first trip report so please be kind! I keep telling myself I am going to post since I love reading everyone else's reports but it always escapes me. My husband and I were in Vegas September 3 through September 6. We have been going to Vegas two to three times per year for the past 8 years. Prior to that had been there a handful of times. We are in our mid forties and live in California so sometimes we drive (5 hour drive) and sometimes fly (50 minutes). You can usually find us in L.V. in December for rodeo. We love the atmosphere of rodeo. This was our 2nd trip this year as we had gone in February for my nephew’s 21st birthday. For that trip we drove and stayed Friday-Sunday. We normally do not travel to L.V. on the weekends. Too many people and not a lot of deals. We love a deal so we find traveling during the week yields more deals. This trip included my in-laws. We flew on Allegiant which was departed on Monday, September 3 in the afternoon. We did not pay extra to board early, pick our seats, etc. As a result we were in the back 1/3 of the plane and it was fine except for the child sitting in the row behind my husband (I was in a different row with his parents) who was kicking the seat next to my husband. Not a good start for him. Monday, September 3rdArrived at the airport and bags were out about 5 minutes after we arrived at the carousel. We exited and took a shuttle to the rental car facility. Rented through Budget a compact vehicle for 3 days for a total of $63.00. Vehicle was clean with 9,000 miles and was just the right size. First thing we did was head to South Coast for dinner at Shake and Steak. Arrived about 6:30 and waited approximately 10 minutes for a table. Food was good and inexpensive. Everyone had burgers and fries. I split a shake with my husband which was just the right amount. Dinner for 4 was roughly $35 before tip. Good eats. We hung around South Coast for about 45 minutes. Drink service was not great. We did manage to get a drink but it took a while and you had to be in the right location. I played the new Monsters slot machine which gave me a few bonuses while I played. I don’t mind leaving my money as long as I get some play. Left down $30. I think my husband was down $10. Drove over to the Riviera where we had a 3 night comp with breakfast buffet for 2, $20 free play, comedy club tickets and a few other odds and ends. We only planned to stay for a night and a half. We ended up parking in the front off of the strip which is really weird. I could have sworn the hotel check in was in the front of the casino off the strip but apparently it moved. We kept the car in the below ground parking which was just an odd place to park. Do yourself a favor and park in the garage around the back or valet around the back of the Riviera. Hotel check in right off the back entrance by the convention center. I was originally booked for the old tower but asked for a renovated room and receive a room in the Monte Carlo Tower. The tower was down from R Steaks and were on floor 45 (whatever that means) had a partial view of the pool. The room was small was renovated with a nice large flat screen TV on the wall. Bathroom was also small but nicely renovated. The one thing that would keep me from this hotel is the LOUD air condition unit in the room. If I turned it off it was too warm, if I left it on it was too LOUD. Went down to the casino for a bit of gambling and a few drinks. The casino was fairly busy on a Monday night. The casino floor off of LV Boulevard has mainly video poker with a lot of slot machines towards the back of the casino. In addition there are two nooks with slot machines in the walkways toward the back of the casino. Played for a bit and had a few beers. Decent drink service. Played WOZ and had a nice Glinda visit. Also played a WOF and hit the bonus quite a few times. Finally went across the street to Circus Circus. Drink service was non existent. Played Clue, Aladdin, Grease but couldn’t hit a thing. Finally we walked toward the back of the casino and my husband played an old school 99 bottles of beer machine which kept him playing. Drink service in this area was good. Left for Slots of Fun and it was here that drink service was great and games were good. We played WOF in the back of the casino and hit the bonus a few times. Finally moved to High Speed which I absolutely love. Hit quite a few bonuses on the two High Speed slot machines. I believe I started with $10 and went as high as $120. I also played Houdini and also hit quite a few bonuses. Ended up making back all I had lost to so far and had quite a few drinks. We went back to Riviera and my husband had a nice hit on Clue for $65 on a 40 cent bet. Ended the night with most of my budgeted first days money so up to bed around 3 a.m. Did not have a good sleep as the darn air conditioning unit was so loud. Tuesday, September 4 Up on Tuesday at 9 a.m. for a quick bite at the buffet since we had two free passes. There were a lot of Asian folks at the buffet and they had quite a bit of Asian offerings at the buffet. Buffet was okay. You can’t mess up breakfast too badly. The omelet station had a long line but husband said it was good. I only had toast, fruit and coffee as I was feeling a bit queasy (wonder why). Back up to the room to change for the day, played a little at the Riv (no drink service in the nook areas) and off we went to the Cosmopolitan. Used the valet and I must say staff at the Cosmo is super friendly and helpful. Nicest Valet Supervisor I have ever encountered. Walked us all the way to the entrance to ensure the taxis would not run us over. It was almost noon so up we went to the Wicked Spoon. This was another reason I had a light breakfast. I was looking forward to this buffet! It has been on my to do list since it opened. In a word, FABULOUS. Wait was about 25 minutes. The cost was $22 for brunch and included a bloody mary or mimosa. The server got our order wrong so extra mimosa. Father in law doesn’t drink so extra bloody mary. Those were some strong bloody marys. The décor was very nice. A large bottle of water on the table with place mats and nice glass ware. The interesting thing was I only saw one over weight person in the buffet which is unusual. Clientele were the beautiful people. Korean short ribs were wonderful as was the sushi which usually is mediocre in a buffet. Loved the individual serving of fried chicken and shrimp cocktail (in a cute shot glass with cocktail sauce and lemon wedge). Spicy mac and cheese was good. Desserts were absolutely delicious. I was able to try quite a variety as we shared around the table. My husband even suggested that this buffet may become a regular stop for us in Vegas. Loved it! Played at Cosmo for just a bit. Didn’t hang around long enough for a drink. Picked up the car and off we went to Harrah’s to see Big Elvis who was playing in the Dueling Piano Bar. Valet parked and walked all the way to the front. I don’t think they did him any favors moving him. He has no dressing room so he is sitting in the corner with Chuck until his show started. A bit of the star quality was lost. Place was full with lots of people peeking their heads in and stopping during the show. Big E appears to have put on a little weight unfortunately and did not seem to be as agile as in previous shows. Played a little bit after the show and had one strawberry daiquiri. Weird thing is that it wasn’t blended so yuck. Had a nice bonus on the original Gold Fish. During the fish can bonus almost cleared the entire board except for two cans. That has never happened to me before. I’m usually a terrible picker! We went back to the Riviera to pick up our luggage and off we went to the Golden Nugget. We love Freemont Street and my husband wanted a nice pool so we decided on the Golden Nugget for $43 per night. This was our first stay there. Checked in about 5 p.m. There was a bit of a line but it was manageable. The check in staff is very nice. We stayed in the Carson Tower so I wasn’t expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a very large room with a two beds and a vanity area. Bathroom was a little on the small side. Safe in the room along with two robes. The flat screen TV was HUGE and the air conditioning unit was quite. The room appeared to be renovated. There was a Krueg coffee maker but the charge was $10 for 4 individual servings. Didn’t think that was such a good deal and I didn’t think I would finish the 4 servings as hubby doesn’t drink coffee. Because of the buffet we had for dinner, we decided to have something easy for dinner. Went over to the Plaza for Pop Up Pizza. I liked it but my husband who is a pizza connoisseur thought it was just okay. Says he prefers Metro Pizza. Went in to Drink Up, formerly Swingers, to see what the changes were. They took out the miniature golf but added beer pong. There are also nice white couches on one side. The bartenderettes are great. During happy hour (and maybe at other times, not sure) they have 25 cent shots on the hour. Shots are the bartenders choice and she doesn’t give change (so don’t ask)! Very fun atmosphere. Happy hour from 5 – 8 with $2.00 beers and $2.50 Blue Moons. You can’t beat that. We played a bit at the Plaza. Drink service was on the positive side. Mother in law hit a $65 bonus on a 20 cent bet on Kronus I believe or something very similar to that. I don’t think I did too well but I can’t recall. Went up and down Freemont Street only as far as the D I believe. Went over to the D to play Sigma Derby. Lots of fun. The table was almost full and drink service was great. Waitress had to have been in her late 60’s, early 70’s. She was on the ball. Not a lot of personality but sure brought a lot of drinks. Sigma was fun. My father in law, husband and myself each played $10. Hit a few, lost more than we hit and finally we were done with our $10. Except my father in law who cashed out $5. While I was waiting for everyone else I put $20 in a double diamond quarter machine, 2 quarter max. About 5 spins in Double Diamond, Double Diamond, some sort of bar for $90. Made up for my earlier losses. Pressed the cash out button and quarters start to fall. We are talking more than 400 quarters. Goodness. Luckily my mother in law quickly hands me a container and I was able to shove it in the tray and most of the quarters fell in the container. I believe we hit a few casinos on our walk back to the Golden Nugget. I believe we were in Binions being served by the cutest little waitress who had to be in her 60’s with Dolly Parton platinum hair. Great waitress with a great personality. We husband played a new Zorro machine, hit the bonus and at the end of the bonus Zorro throws his sword up and it hit the minor progressive for $60 some odd dollars. We finally head back to Benny’s Bullpen for a small pizza special, $3.95 I believe. Eating at the bar while playing a bit of video poker and I drop RED pizza sauce on my white pants. One of the bartender quickly hands me club soda and tells me to clean it off right away. Thank you very much sir. Played a bit at the Golden Nugget. After that we call it a night. Slept like a log. Love that air conditioner. Wednesday, September 5 – Last Full Day Up at 9 a.m. or so. Got ready to hit the pool. Picked up coffee and a scone at the Starbucks just at the base of the Carson Tower Elevators. The pool opens at 7 a.m. but you can’t get in the water (or get a pool towel) until 10 a.m. We arrive at the pool at 9:40 or so and a security guard at the entrance asks for our room key. They were pretty strict. There are lots of loungers and I never did see a point when they were all taken. There were also nice seating areas with fire pits in the pool area. When the pool opened at 10 a.m. my husband made his way to the 3rd floor to try the water slide. He enjoyed it. Tried it 3 times. I didn’t do it as I did not like the way you fell out of the slide. Everyone came out butt down, feet up. The pool was nice and is heated. The sharks and fish are pretty amazing. Definitely worth doing. Up to the room, cleaned up and headed out to Red Rock. Took Charleston westbound for about 25 minutes. When we arrived the valet was very gracious and helpful. Directed us to the players club and the buffet. Hubby got his card and off we went to the buffet. We were in line before noon. The line was long and slow. There is a separate line for hotel guests and another for diamond or whatever the higher level players club is called. Made for a long wait. Waited over 30 minutes and finally at the cashier. After paying there was still a line. We got a little peeved at the cashier as I paid for a party of four. My father in law was following us but the cashier stopped him and asked for his card. He told her he was with us but she insisted on seeing his card. We finally had to rescue him. Not sure what that was about as I asked her if she needed to see everyone else’s card and she said no. Luckily we jumped the waiting to be seated line because they had tables open for parties of four or more. It was $7.99 for lunch and it was a bit above okay. It was very busy but our waiter was good. The fried chicken was good. The chile verde was dry. Desert was okay. I wouldn’t make a special trip to Red Rock for the buffet. After lunch we played for about an hour. I couldn’t hit a thing. Nothing, zilch. I tried lots of different machines to no avail. No bonus, no nothing. Again, I don’t mind giving up my money as long as I get a little play. Nope, not happening. I finally just quit and waiting for the others to finish. :Þ I think they came out even or down a little. Back to G.N. where my husband and I rested, among other things, for an hour or so and got ready for the start of the NFL season! Cowboys versus the Giants. We made our way to The Drink in the Plaza. Great happy hour specials from 5 to 8 p.m. $2 domestics and $2.50 for specialty beer. They had couches set up in front of the big screen TV. There were about a 18 to 24 people in the place. Good vibe. Funny thing was the manager or whatever his title, was moving couches and setting up a VIP area. With the number of people in the place it seemed odd to have a VIP area. We were there until half time and no one sat in the VIP area. During commercials I went out on the floor and played a few games. Put $10 in Great Wall and hit a bonus for $35. Played it down to $25 on another machine during another commercial. Next commercial I went to the bathroom and on the way back saw a Persephone machine. FYI…Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the queen of the underworld. She carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead and was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. She is also associated with spring and the seeds of the fruits of the fields. Put in my $25 ticket and realize the minimum bet is 60 cents (I’m cheap, what can I say). Well I figure I’ll try it for a few spins. On the 3rd or 4th spin I hit 4 out of 5 bonus symbols which gave me the minor progressive ($25). At least I’ll have that I figure. I get 8 spins and the deal is if any portion of the wild symbol appears on the screen, it will fill the entire reel and locks. On spin number 3 the second reel shows a wild and the entire reel fills up and locks. Nice. On the 4th spin, the 3rd reel shows a wild, fills the screen and locks. Not bad. On the last spin the 4th reel fills with the wild symbol. I also hit one symbol in the first reel and one in the 5th with a high paying character. Total bonus was $189 on a 60 cent bet. With my previous winnings I now had a $214 ticket. I put that ticket in my purse determined to go home with some money! At half time we walked over to Binions to try their hot dog “bar”. I believe it was $5 for a hot dog, beer or soda and chips. They have a condiment bar with just about anything and everything you can think of to top a hot dog with. Game was back on so it was all good. Spent the rest of the night wandering around downtown with stops just about everywhere. Eventually made it over to Freemont where we had some nice hits on a few slot machines. My husband had luck on the Tarzan machine and hit almost $100 on a 50 cent bet. I played a machine with penguins that had a nice “freeze” bonus. I hit a few bonuses and was up over $100 on the machine. At some point my husband decided he needed to eat again so we ate at Tony Roma’s in Freemont. We sat at the bar and had a quick steak meal which turned out to be a good idea considering how much we ended up drinking. We had a great waitress in the Freemont Casino that kept bringing around drinks without us asking. Made a stop at Gold Diggers, the dance club on the second floor of the Nugget. There were a few people there and the music was okay. We hung around for a drink or two but eventually called it a night and went to bed. Up the next morning for our 12:30 flight. Checked out and went over to Ellis Island for breakfast. I had wanted to try the Cinnamon Vanilla French Toast. It was fabulous! Poor hubby couldn’t enjoy it as he wasn’t feeling too well. At $3.99 it was well worth it. I believe we used a 2 for 1 coupon for breakfast. After breakfast we dropped the car off at the rental facility, took the shuttle to the airport and hopped on the plan back home! Overall good trip. Came back with a portion of my bankroll which is always good. Hubby ALWAYS comes back with money because he hits and runs. Next trip is in early December for RODEO!