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July 10-14 / Shuttle, $ Rental, GN, Ho-Dog, Penn & Teller, Mt. Charleston

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buzz2, Jul 15, 2005.

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  1. First of all, please let me say that I hadn't been to this website before this trip (my 10th), but, I'll always return in the future. I found a lot of information and all of it was good to know.

    It's time to post my experiences for anyone looking for info on anything in the title.

    I hadn't taken a shuttle service from McCarran in 10 years and decided I'd give it a try just to check it out since it had been a while.

    I took a company called ODS and since I was staying at the Golden Nugget, the fare was $11.00 round trip. Obviously I forget the price I paid ten years ago when I last took the shuttle, but I do remember riding down the Strip in a mini-bus with about 20 other passengers and the trip taking about 90 minutes. Not a bad sight seeing trip for a first timer but I was hoping to avoid the lengthy trip this time around.

    I'm not sure of who my driver was but he was an older gentleman with white hair who was very polite and informative. This was the first of many positive customer service "experiences".

    This time I rode in a 10 passenger van. There were eight people on board, including myself. We made a stop at a La Quinta, the Riviera and then the Nugget. The entire trip took about 30 minutes. I unloaded on the south side of the building which just happened to be the tower I was staying in.

    If you're in the north tower, you'll have that "dreaded" walk to the north tower that seems - at least to me - to be over rated. It ain't that bad. It's more annoying than lengthy. HOWEVER, if you have more than a bag in each hand, GET A BELL MAN!! And wheeled luggage was made for this trip. Outside of that, the walk everyone talks about isn't that bad. As Dennis Miller says, "Course, that just my opinion, I could be wrong."

    I rented a vehicle at the Dollar location which was located at the south check in desk. I'm not sure if they have a location at the north check in. I dealt with a guy named Keith who was outstanding. More great customer service. He gave me a great deal on the extra vehicle coverage. Yes, I know, you shouldn't bother with this, but, I make the exception in LV. It just seems wise to do that in this city. I rented a Sebring convertible in LV on July 10th. I'm way ahead of you. I know it seems stupid, but, I had never driven a convertible and what better city to start in than LV? Why not drive down the Strip in a roofless vehicle in 115 degree heat? A tip!! - Do it at night when the temp is only 106! The view of the Eiffel Tower when you're looking straight up from a moving convertible is to die for.

    One other north / south issue: The self parking option works out for guests of the south tower. Valet parking is available on the north side. I feel fairly certain that's the way the powers that be meant it to work out, if for no other reason than economic demographics since the south tower is less expensive than the north tower. No matter what side you're staying on, if you rent a vehicle, consider valet parking. It's free except for the minimal $3 tip you should leave at drop off and pick up. Those guys bust their butts in 115 degree heat. It's worth the paltry tip.

    I was actually able to do early check in at 1:00 p.m. on a Sunday. More outstanding customer service (hereafter to be referred to as O.C.S.).

    The rooms at the Nugget South Tower are without a doubt the finest I've stayed in Downtown and I always stay Downtown. The bathroom had a tiled wall where most other hotels would have the shower wall "kit".

    If I have a complaint about the Nugget, it would have to be that the AC just didn't cool enough for me. I will say I'm somewhat of a freak and rarely is a room cool enough for me.

    I ate the Sunday Champagne Brunch Buffet. Nothing wrong with a good meal on an empty stomach with unlimited sweet hooch for $14.00. I ate enough to last me until 10:00 p.m. when I had a cheap, excellent bowl of beans with cornbread at Binion's.

    The next night I took in the Penn and Teller show at the Rio. The worst experience I had during this stay was the bad info given out by the Rio box office. They said since I was staying Downtown I could pick up my tickets at The Plaza. I was told at the ticket kiosk at The Plaza that this wasn't true and hadn't been true in about two years, but, the Rio kept sending "downtowners" to them anyway.

    If you doing Penn and Teller, you can pick up your tickets on the 2nd floor of the Strat if you're downtown and into early pick up. Not a bad move since the will call line at the Rio was about 30 deep at 8:40 on show night.

    I had the seafood buffet at the Rio before the show. It was my fourth visit. I keep coming back to this buffet because I like the idea of all the lobster I can eat even though it's more lobster nuggets than lobster. And let's not kid ourselves here . . . this lobster would hit the ceiling if thrown overhand at the floor. But, it's all the lobster you can eat.

    A note: It's normally a $30 buffet. Clip the coupon located elsewhere on this message board and make it a $20 meal. Then it's definitely worth the price. Better yet, print out multiple coupons and make friends in line.

    Another note: Try trimming the coupon once you print it since the register girl may throw you a dirty look before she makes a production out of having to trim a coupon offer.

    Would that be the second strike at sub par customer service from the Rio?

    Thank God for excellent waiters is all I have to say about the Rio. My waiter was a taller, bald headed gentleman who always had a second glass of tea and an empty "trash" basket available before they were needed.

    A side note: Where are the Rio buffet dumpsters located, how big are they and how large of a stray cat problem do they have?

    On to Penn & Teller: I've read somewhere on a Vegas message board - maybe this one - about how crude Penn is and why doesn't his partner talk and how Penn is going to Hell since he uses the Lord's name in vain, etc. Could I please offer a suggestion to this dilemma? Why would anyone pay $72 + fees for a show they know nothing about? If you're anywhere near familiar with Penn and Teller, it seems to me that it should occur to a "conservative based" ticket buyer that this show might be a stretch if you're a "conservative". Don't buy the ticket if you're not familiar with the performer(s). Turn down the offer if it's a comp if you're not familiar with the performer(s).

    A note: The ushers and bar staff represented O.C.S. to the nines. The highlight of anything Rio - related.

    Another note: Mike Jones, jazz pianist extraodiniare who plays during "load in", is funny as hell with his laid back delivery. You should arrive as early as possible to get the most out of this guy. His partner on stand up bass is pretty good, as well as being oddly familiar to me. I just can't place where I've seen him before. You'll have the same feeling. I guarantee it.

    After ten stays in Downtown LV, I've finally discovered the Golden Gate Casino. All these dealers have O.C.S., except Laeda(sic?) whom I think would've just as soon slit my throat as well as my partner's than throw another hand. I've been through here numerous times to grab a .99 shrimp cocktail, but never played here. I like this place because as far as I could tell, there were no ticketed pay offs at the slots. Just the wonderful sound of coins falling in thin metal pans. And as mentioned before, great dealers, except for . . . her.

    On my third day, I did the typical tourist thing: Drive out to Red Rock Canyon in a convertible about noon and do a mile hike in 115 degree heat. Take about 3 liters of water. You'll need every drop. And be sure to yell and / or clap when you have a huge wall in front of you. The echos are fantastic. In my younger, more hallucinogenic days, the echos could've posed a major problem. I would've stayed waaaaay too long in the heat trying to figure it all out.

    I then drove up to my next address if I ever hit the Lotto . . . Mt. Charleston. This was undoubtedly the highlight of my trip. I had been to LV nine times before and although I knew of this place, I had never made the drive.

    I made note of the time and temp when I turned off 95 onto the Mt. Charleston road. 2:20 p.m. and 115 degrees. When I reached M.C. 30 minutes later, the temp was 79 degrees.

    If any locals are reading this, please tell me your opinion of M.C. Lodge, M.C. Hotel or some place called "Almost Heaven" which I never saw. I think this will be my new summer headquarters. Yeah sure, it's a 45 minute trip to downtown and less for The Strip . . . but it's 79 degrees in mid-July!! Just beware . . . there's no gas stations or grocery stores between LV and M.C.

    On my last day I had to split the gastronomic freak show that is a 3/4 lb. hot dog at The Ho with a friend. We had the Dog, a strawberry shortcake(complete with whipped cream) and two 27 oz. margaritas with an extra shot each for a total of about $8. Where else on Earth can this be found? AND!! I enjoyed the taste of the Dog for the rest of the afternoon. What a bargain!!

    As far as gambling went, I pretty much broke even on BJ. I am absolutely the most unluckiest person ever at slots, but, I did hit a $120 pay off on a $5 investment at a Double Diamond at Slots 'O Fun next door to the Ho. That's my biggest hit ever on a slot. I'm so proud.

    The return trip to the airport after the car was turned back in was a straight shot. No stops and the same excellent driver. This shuttle deal was too good.

    So, after all is said and done, I would have to say that the highlights for me, for this particular trip were, in no particular order except for #5:

    1) The Golden Nugget room

    2) The much improved shuttle service

    3) Penn & Teller

    4) The Golden Gate Casino

    and the absolute highlight

    5) Mt. Charleston. Stop at an Albertsons on your way out of LV and get a picnic lunch. What an outstanding afternoon.

    I can't wait for trip #11.
     
  2. sanonofresurfer

    sanonofresurfer Dude

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    Buzz-
    You write a mean trip report....make sure you wriote another one next time you go.

    Apparently it didn't cool down any in the week between when I went out and you went out.

    I still have yet to try the shuttle service...but then again, it's only a $15 dollar or so cab ride from the airport to the Flaming-O. If I ever fly and stay downtown.....I'll definately give it a shot.

    And what....all that time at the Nugget and no ride on the Grain Train? I'm a little dissapointed in you Buzz....... :(
     
  3. keno

    keno obsessed with countdown timers

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    great trip report! I think we need to add "OCS" as one of the acronyms. I love hearing about OCS as it's what makes my stays in Vegas so wonderful!
     
  4. Skyy

    Skyy High-Roller

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    Nice TR! I enjoyed it. I too had crappy service at the Rio when I stayed there last year. I won't be going back :)
     
  5. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Nicely done and an enjoyable read. Mt. Charleston is a great escape from the summer heat. Plus, it's beautiful up there. I have no personal experience with the lodge or the hotel, but friends have breakfast at the lodge regularly and they enjoy it. I've heard the hotel is nice, cozy and romantic, but it was showing it's age. However, not long ago, I heard it was going to have some renovations done.
     
  6. crvtt771

    crvtt771 Tourist

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    What is OCS???
     
  7. JScott276

    JScott276 Low-Roller

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    This too will be my 10th trip. I too am @ GN. I too have P&T tics. I too am a big fan of downtown casinos.

    You stalkin' me?
     
  8. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Read the trip report and you'll find out--it's clearly stated when introduced.....
     
  9. Buzz2

    Buzz2 Guest

    Oh Yeaaaaaaah . . . the GN Pool

    How could I forget?

    The GN pool is outstanding.

    I love a place where you get a towel, drape it over your chaise, walk about 15 yards, jump in the pool, get out, and because you're already dry by the time you've walked the 15 yards back to your chaise, your towel serves as an "insulator" to keep your skin from peeling off onto the chaise when you get up to have another dip.

    $8 beers are a little steep, but, you get a handy souvenir glass that'll work with more beers once you get home.

    How could I have taken over a week to remember that? Must be that the souvenir glass is doing it's job at home.

    And no stalking for me, JScott! It must be true what they say . . . great minds do think alike.
     
  10. crvtt771

    crvtt771 Tourist

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    Thanks so much Hoya, I'm sure it would have been too much for you to just type Outstanding Customer Service instead.
     
  11. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    Yep, just as difficult as it would have been for you to use the "search this page" feature in Explorer. Hey, some days the cranky pants are on, that's life.....
     
  12. beachbunny

    beachbunny Tourist

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    good times at GN

    Hi Buzz--sounds like you know how to have a really good time in LV--and as often as possible! A man after my own heart....I'm very impressed with your narrative style--no offense to anyone else, but it's a cut above, for sure. Ever think of writing an LV travel book? You could call it "The BUZZ on Las Vegas." You could do a whole travel series. I'd be happy to help you with the editing...and even the research. That's the fun part, anyway, right? Let me know when it's time for number 11....trip, that is.
     
  13. Buzz

    Buzz Tourist

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    Yowsers

    :love: Ok BeachBunny . . . how about next week? Just yokin'. I like this message board already!

    I'll certainly be making the annual trip to Mecca next summer, but, the job is usually good for sending me at least an additional trip each year. Usually in November or February.

    We'll talk agent / publisher / author / percentage deals at that point.
     
  14. beachbunny

    beachbunny Tourist

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    give me the shivers

    Too bad...next week sounds wonderful. But November or February sound good, too--maybe we could find some reason other than 115 in the shade to make us sweat?? I would definitely need someone to keep me warm...the convertible could be fun on cold desert nights! And I'm sure we could find plenty to talk about in addition to percentages...keep me posted, big guy...
     
  15. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest

    Beachbunny,

    Before Buzz gives final confirmation of a rendez-vous, can you hint at which of the below you most closely resemble?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. beachbunny

    beachbunny Tourist

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    stuck in the middle

    Your quote tag is certainly appropriate--are you the clown or the joker? What can I say- except that the Goodfellow and the Princess Bride don't do me any justice. As for the other--well, that's the fun of this kind of communication, right? Where else are you forced to get to know someone first? Oh, and the title of this message does not refer to the pictures....
     
  17. CamelClutch

    CamelClutch Low-Roller

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    Bachelorette #2, same question: On a cold desert night, how would you remind me of Vegas in the summertime?

    Paging Jim Lange...
     
  18. beachbunny

    beachbunny Tourist

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    too hot to handle?

    Now, boys, let's not get ourselves kicked off this message board.... We all know there's a lot about Vegas that's "hot" besides the temperature, no matter the time of year. And the moniker "Sin City" isn't just about the gambling and drinking, right? At the risk of using one too many quotation marks, it's the "anything goes" atmosphere that attracts most of us Vegas-lovers. And I do mean that with the accent on both syllables.... I mean, as fun as it is, you can't drink and gamble all day and night, right? And if you can, then obviously you're not there with the right partner. Who you're there with is just as important as the other travel priorities, right?? Then those cold desert nights are just another way to enjoy Vegas....
     
  19. RamBill

    RamBill Tourist

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    The girl's got a good 'tude!! I think I'm in love! LMAO!!
     
  20. Buzz2

    Buzz2 Guest

    This Thread Seems To Have Taken Another Direction

    Wow . . . trip report to this? Where did we lose ourselves? How did we get to this point?

    AND LEAVE HER ALONE!! SHE REPLIED TO ME FIRST!! WAAAAAAH!! WAAAAAAH!!

    Wait a minute . . . I'm merely assuming she's a she. 'Tude or no 'tude. She COULD be Burt Young. Or even worse . . . Dennis Rodman!

    Run away!!
     
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