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Jan. 11-14 Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dave8834, Jan 15, 2015.

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  1. dave8834

    dave8834 Newbie

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    My Trip Report

    While more of a lurker than a poster, I did get a lot of valuable information from this forum before my trip, so want to give back by sharing some of my experiences. Thanks to all who took that route before me.

    First some background. This was both my first trip to Vegas in several years, as well as my first solo trip. In the past, I have made trips with either friends or a girlfriend – probably 8-10 trips over the last 30 years. Since I've never been a frequent visitor, it's always fun to see the changes when I do make the voyage. I am certainly a low roller, and have no interest in the slot machines. I enjoy playing blackjack (especially the social aspect of a good group at a table), can enjoy some video poker for small stakes and short periods, will make the occasional sports bet, but am most entertained by the sights and abundant people watching.

    Sunday, Jan. 11
    I picked the dates of my trip based on low hotel rates, as I wanted to splurge and stay at the Bellagio for the first time. I got a good rate on a Deluxe Fountain View Room and planned for an early afternoon flight arrival. Unfortunately, rain seemed to create issues at McCarren, and my flight out of San Diego was delayed almost two hours. When we did finally take off, I was able to use Southwest's free wi-fi to watch the second half of the Denver-Indianapolis playoff game during the flight, which for a Chargers fan was a very satisfying finish. We arrived in Vegas about 5:00, and the long walk to baggage claim reminded me that distances are always longer than I expect in this town.

    Taxi line moved quickly, and after I responded to my cab driver's plea that "the streets are jammed, is it OK if we take the freeway?" with a resounding "no, take Paradise to Harmon," I got a very silent ride to the hotel :) Check-in was a breeze, with no line and quick service. I politely asked for the nicest view of the fountains I could get, and ended up with a 20th floor room with a beautiful view of both the fountains and the center strip. I also received a $100 F&B credit, which I don't know if it was something standard, but was definitely not mentioned in the room offer that I had purchased. I had joined MLife a few years ago when I stayed at NYNY on my last trip to Vegas, but had never used the card since. The check-in clerk also upgraded my card from Sapphire to Pearl, which she said I could then use as a line pass at the Cafe or Buffet. Again, not sure if this is standard practice.

    After getting settled in, I went downstairs and made my first mistake of the trip, a $50 bet on Oregon in the national championship game. I then made my second mistake. Not wanting a big meal, I thought I would grab a salad at "Snacks" near the sports book. Wow, was that bad. Probably the worst excuse for lettuce I've ever seen on a salad, tomatoes that weren't ripe and overcooked chicken. Yuck. I then hopped on the tram to City Center, where I walked around for a little while to check it out for the first time. Very nice. I got back on the tram and rode on to Monte Carlo, where I thought I would play a little blackjack. I sat down at a $10 table without paying any attention to the fact that it was 6/5 table, but once I realized it, I was enjoying the others at the table too much to leave immediately. I eventually lost $200, popped in to Walgreens for some water and snacks, then took the tram back to the Bellagio. I watched a couple of fountain shows, which were fun and impressive, but certainly lack a little of the romance when you're on a solo trip. Off to sleep.

    Monday, Jan. 12
    Up at 7:30, first order of business was a shower. Being 6'5", it is always a question to see the shower arrangement. Have to say I was very pleased with the whole bathroom. While I didn't use the tub, it might have been a little short for me, but the shower was perfect. Plenty of room to move around, and no need to bend over to get water on top of my head. I then headed down to the buffet. Not being a gourmet, I am usually pretty easy to satisfy, but I have stayed at some Vegas hotels where the buffets disappointed me. I generally only choose a buffet for breakfast, but I ended up eating at the Bellagio buffet all three mornings. I appreciated the convenience of it being close to my room, fresh choices and pretty good variety. I had a great mushroom-tomato-spinach omelette, and lots of great fruit choices. I also enjoyed a tasty bread pudding.

    After breakfast I walked across the street to Bally's, where I found a $10 3/2 game, and was able win back the $200 I lost the night before in about two hours. I walked back across to Bellagio, and played a $10 table there for another hour or so, breaking even, but leaving mainly because I couldn't seem to escape cigar smoke, which I find even more annoying in the morning. I then took a cab to the Palms, where I had once before, the year it opened. On a Monday afternoon it sure was dead compared to my memory of it, but according to the cab driver that's kind of the norm for the hotel now. Anyway, I had gone there mainly to see the movie Selma, and the theatre at the Palms was the closest one showing it. While I know many think it's silly to go to a movie while in Vegas, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a great movie, with several great performances and the Brendan Theatre at the Palms is a nice venue.

    Back over to the Bellagio, I played some VP for a little while, cashing out ahead about $60. I had been planning to head somewhere fun to watch the national championship game, which started at 5:30 Vegas time, but at that point decided to relax in my room to watch it and use some of my F&B credit to order dinner. Dinner turned out far better than the game for me. I had a caprese salad and linguini pomodoro. Both were fresh, delicious and beautifully presented. The 30-40 minute wait I was quoted turned out to be less than 20. Very enjoyable meal... the game, not so much. By early 4th quarter it was obvious I had thrown away my $50, so I headed downstairs to see if I could win it back at the tables. I found a $15 table with a couple of very fun people, and spent a couple of hours with them and a couple of bright, pleasant dealers. It didn't hurt that I walked away up about $270 either. As I walked by the Baccarat Bar on the way to my room. I really liked the sound of the piano player, so I decided to sit down and play a little VP and have a couple of Sam Adams. The beers were fine, but I gave back $100 of the night's winnings before I headed off to bed. I did get a little entertainment out of watching a couple of casino girls ply their trade. After I told one of them I wasn't looking for company, it didn't take them long to find others who were :)

    Tuesday, Jan. 13
    After another good omelette at the Bellagio buffet, along with some pretty good french toast, I decided it was time to stretch the legs a little further. I first walked down the strip to NYNY. Didn't play there, but walked around a little inside. Thought about doing the roller coaster, which I never quite got around to when I stayed there a few years ago, but was told it was down for an hour for maintenance, so walked across the street to MGM and headed out to the monorail station. Bought an all-day pass for $12 and rode it up to Bally's. I like to try to get off the strip at least once during a stay, so I decided to walk over to Ellis Island, thinking I would try out their steak special which I had heard so much about. Unfortunately, when I got there I realized it was still going to be quite awhile before I was ready for a full meal, so I decided to play a little blackjack so the walk over wasn't for nothing. Had a couple of good and a couple of bad dealers (which change more frequently than any other casino I've been to), and broke even after playing for an hour.

    I then walked back to the Bally's monorail station, and rode it to the end to check out SLS, which I had never seen before. While the inside looks does look new (just six months old), it was even deader than the Palms the day before, and I could only find one open blackjack table, so decided to move on. On the way back, I stopped at the Flamingo, where I played BJ for a little while, then across the street to Caesars, which was definitely different than the last time I had been inside there. After playing another hour or so there, I was down about $200 for the afternoon and walked back to my hotel.

    I had a friend recommend the Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan at the MGM, so I had decided to head there for dinner. After a quick power nap and shower, I walked back across to the Bally's station and took the monorail down to MGM. I had a 7:00 reservation, and I always feel a little awkward about eating alone in a restaurant at a prime dining time, but my experience was great, the restaurant was not that crowded on a Tuesday evening, and the food was delicious. I had a Shanghai dumpling and stir-fry scallops, and both were excellent. I stayed to play the tables for awhile, going up and down like a yo-yo, before finally leaving about even. I took the monorail back to the Bally's station and walked next door to Paris. I saw no tables calling my name, but I do enjoy the look of the hotel, and with the tragic occurrences in France last week and since I'm planning a trip there this summer, I felt a little more interest in what I was seeing. I headed back to Bellagio, and walked through the conservatory. The Chinese New Year decor was not nearly as impressive to me as the couple of other seasonal displays I have seen on past trips, but it is still a nice few minutes. I stopped into the cafe for some creme brulee, which I enjoyed there on a previous visit, but found it less impressive this time. I went into the casino and sat down at my first $25 table of the trip. Betting $25 or more per hand is a little out of my comfort zone, unless I'm already ahead, but I managed to play for a couple of hours, finishing down $100. Went up and watched a couple of fountain shows from my room before turning in.

    Wednesday, Jan. 14
    Check-out day is never fun, but I realized on a solo trip, two days is probably enough for me. It was time to head back to home, work and friends. I had a final breakfast at the buffet, and once again found plenty of tasty, fresh choices to start my day. With a 1 p.m. flight and a couple of hours until checkout, I decided I could afford another $200 to risk at the tables. I figured I was down about $300 in gambling money for the trip, and since I had budgeted $1,000, figured I wouldn't be too upset if I went home down $500. Playing at a $10 table, I was quickly down $100 and figured I would be watching daytime TV in my room for an hour after blowing my stake. Things turned around quickly, however, and suddenly I couldn't bust. Knowing I was leaving soon, I began increasing my bets (I know, dumb strategy), and continued to pile up chips. When I realized I was up close to $500 for the session, I made one final $80 bet. It lost, but I finished up $400 for the morning and about $100 up for my gambling on the trip.

    After packing, I caught a cab to the airport and arrived quickly and easily. Checked my bag with the skycap, breezed through security with a TSA pre-check designation, and was waiting at my gate less than 30 minutes after checking out of the hotel. Flight home was also a little delayed, but otherwise smooth.

    Conclusions
    I really enjoyed the Bellagio. I had liked it on the couple of visits I made there in the past to check out the fountains, conservatory or to have a meal, but this time also enjoyed my room, the location and exploring the remainder of the hotel. While I had a couple of very minor hiccups in charges, every employee I encountered away from the tables was friendly, helpful and engaging. Dealers there were somewhat a mixed bag, but definitely more good than bad. I enjoyed all of the food I had (except at Snacks), and the piano players in their two lobby bars. Going at the time I did, meant the hotel was not too crowded, but I can imagine during busy times, this might not be a place I would enjoy as much. I had a good time playing blackjack almost everywhere I went (of course, winning more than I lost helps with that impression). The most enjoyable single dealer I had was at Monte Carlo, but with their low limit tables being exclusively 6/5, I don't think I would go back there. I had plenty to see and do even though I was traveling alone. It certainly gives you the luxury of setting your own schedule, but I think my next trip I will sacrifice some independence for a little more company. Hope this has not been too full of trivia. Thanks again to those who made my planning of this trip easier.
     
  2. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good report! But hakkasan serves food too? Thought that was the night club...
     
  3. D in the D

    D in the D Low-Roller

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    Nice job. Love the solo trips, man. Totally understand the big bet at the end. Outcome wasn't nice but you still finished up on the trip so that's a big plus.
     
  4. NvrSumR

    NvrSumR Low-Roller

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    Nice TR. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself.
     
  5. Iamrice

    Iamrice High-Roller

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    Nice one, coming home up $100 after you thought you'd be down is great!
     
  6. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great report! Thanks for taking the time to write it. I often wonder if I would enjoy a solo trip or not......
     
  7. Mario's Backroom

    Mario's Backroom Low-Roller

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    Nice report! Congrats on the morning victory! I've never had a solo trip, but a solo day at the end of a business trip. It can be very enjoyable, as you just relayed. Maybe I should book one for myself? :ssst:hmmm... Thanks for sharing!
     
  8. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Nice report! Sounds like you had a good trip - solo trips are fun and relaxing as hell when you can move about freely without anyone's schedule getting in the way of what you want to do.
     
  9. dave8834

    dave8834 Newbie

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    Yes, Hakkasan is both a club and restaurant. The club part doesn't open until 10pm or so.
     
  10. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    duplicate ahead
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Thanks for clearing that up. The only views of Hakkasan I've seen are the finely dressed chicks standing outside of it waiting to get in...:evillaugh


    I think this has a lot to do with if your trip with guest(s) coincides how you would handle your trip solo. My only (partial) solo trip...I was missing my g/f a bit on the last day and i was clearly solo for the last few days (I met up with some internet buddies the first few days). And later that last night...hit my only Vegas Royal... and randomly running into a former co-worker...:eek: Weird how things work out like that.
     
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