1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Not a true TR, but a few thoughts from my recent trip (3/24-27)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by thecarve, Mar 28, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Messages:
    4,386
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    49

    My Trip Report

    I just returned from a three night stay at Aria (3/24-3/27). The trip was mostly for business – I attended the ConExpo-ConAgg show on the 24th and 25th – so most of the trip’s details would be far too boring for a conventional TR. So, I thought I’d just post a few of my thoughts and observations about this past weekend in Sin City.

    Crowds

    Wow, is all I can say. This is what Vegas looked like four or five years ago. Lines were long, walkways were crowded and the strip was hopping. Only once did I walk up to a cab stand and get a cab without a fairly long wait. Usually, the lines were dozens of people deep, and on Saturday night, I saw lines that had to have well over 100 people in them.

    The restaurants were also always packed. Fortunately, we were only three so we were able to walk up and get tables Thursday and Friday. But, Saturday night, we were turned away from Sage, Jean Georges and Union (told that reservations had filled all three restaurants for the night – and no, dress code Nazis, we were nowhere near being underdressed:poke:). We were finally able to get seated at Brand in Monte Carlo after sitting at the bar for well over an hour. Unfortunately, the drop dead gorgeous bartender in the lounge was the only redeeming feature to the meal – I have, quite literally, had far better steaks in about every casual restaurant chain in the US. :vomit:

    I’m not saying that “Vegas is backâ€. After all, I was there during the NCAA tournament, spring break and, according to one cab driver, the second busiest of all Las Vegas conventions. Plus, one thing that I noticed was that even though everything was crowded, the table minimums did not seem to reflect the same level of demand. I noticed nothing out of the ordinary – maybe a few $15 tables were $25 at night, but there were plenty of low minimum (for center strip) tables to be found and plenty of better (again, for center strip) VP pay table games sitting vacant. This observation is certainly backed up by the quarterlies coming out of the MGMs, Wynns etc. of the world.

    While I did find the crowds pretty annoying at times, it was certainly nice to see things going better for folks that have had to endure some tough times over the past four or five years. Everyone from cabbies to bartenders seemed to be in a very good mood.

    Cosmopolitan

    This was my second time visiting the strip’s newest joint. And, I’ve gotta say, I’m still not completely sold on it. It is absolutely beautiful to look at, there is good gambling to be had (so I’m told, I still haven’t found the “good†blackjack tables, but Wizard of Vegas has never steered me wrong in the past) and all the employees that I came in contact with were very friendly and helpful. But, there are just certain shortcomings about the place that bug me. Everything feels really narrow and cramped – I always feel like I’m walking in a hallway. And the overall impression I get is more “mall†(albeit a very hip and upscale mall) than “casinoâ€.

    I’m not going to go so far as to say that I dislike the place, but it just hasn’t “grabbed†me like some casinos do. Of course, I wasn’t immediately smitten with either of the Wynncore places at first and now there is nowhere I’d rather be. So, I definitely think Cosmo will get another chance or two from me before I complete write her off.

    Subtle Changes at Aria

    Over the past several months, I’ve noticed many subtle changes have occurred at Aria in their attempt to respond to some of the more popular criticisms. First they changed the signage to be more visible and clear (good idea). Then they added more lighting to make it less dark and “cave like†(I didn’t like this one). Now, they are removing many of those big brown and silver “columns†throughout the casino. Evidently, folks wanted it to feel more open. Personally, I like the somewhat “compartmentalized†feel of the place, but you gotta give the market what it wants. Frankly, if the construction wouldn’t have been ongoing during my trip (and much of it also finished during my trip) I don’t think I would have even noticed, though.

    Mlife

    This was my first Vegas trip since the full implementation of MGM’s new comp system. I’ve come away from it with somewhat mixed feelings. On the plus side, it is a breeze to use. You can use your card at most shops and restaurants (I was never told I couldn’t use it anywhere I tried) much like the Total Rewards card. I found this to be quite convenient – I never had to call my host or check with the Player’s Club desk to see if I could get a meal comp’d, I just presented my card when paying. Also, checking on, and using, the Point Play that I had accrued was very easy and convenient.

    The downside, IMO, is that they seemed to be stingier with comps, in general. My play for the three nights was (as near as I can tell) as follows:

    10-12 hours blackjack at probably $300 avg./hand (damn booze!:drunk:)
    2 hours craps at $25 pass with full odds and $60 each (placed) on 6 & 8
    1 hour of $.25-1 slots
    4-6 hours of triple play VP, mostly at $.25 with a bit at $1.

    So, I’m guessing that my theoretical losses were somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500 (actual losses, unfortunately, were *gulp* four times that amount:cry:). For that play, I accrued roughly 73,000 tier points, $275 in express comps and probably $50 worth of point play.

    To me, that seems a bit light on the comps. But, the offer I was staying on was for three nights comp’d, $150 in Free Play and 2 tickets to any MGM show (I didn’t use these). So, if I was “working off the offerâ€, then I suppose that this amount was more than fair – particularly if they took into account the high room rates for this past weekend.

    One thing that did annoy me was when I was checking in, I asked the gal if my Mlife tier entitled me to a room upgrade. She said, “if you’re platinum, it doesâ€. So, I told her I was platinum, but had not received a card and could she look it up if I gave her my old MGM card. No dice. I was told I would need to go to the player’s club desk to get my new card to show her. Seriously? There’s no way they can punch my card number in and see what my tier level is? Come on.:rolleyes2: Well, I was in a hurry to get to the convention, so I didn’t bother with it and just took what they gave me. But, since it was so busy she did tell me the only upgrade I would be able to get was a “City View†room, so it wasn’t really a big deal.

    Miscellany

    I really enjoyed Todd English P.U.B. – huge beer selection:beer:, good vibe, good food (the “dirty chips†were ridiculously good) and fairly reasonable prices (I suppose I have to keep saying it: “for the stripâ€). This place may be my new go-to for casual grub or watching a ball game.

    The construction industry has far from recovered from the crash. While the Conexpo was still almost unfathomably huge, the money on display by the Caterpillars, Deeres and Volvos was nowhere near what it has been in the past. The Chinese, however, picked up the slack; moving from just a part of the International Section of the show to being front and center, with Sany having easily one of the biggest and most expensive displays at the show. (Fortunately for me, “construction†is only a small part of my business.)

    My love for Aria is starting to cool. While the rooms are good and the casino is fantastic, the pain in the ass that is navigating one’s way out onto the strip is really starting to get annoying. I’ll be so glad when Bellagio finally decides to move out of the Clinton administration – maybe I’ll have a new center strip home.

    One of the few bright spots to my gambling was the sports betting. My only loss was Ohio State and I had Butler both games and Arizona over Duke – all on the money line, ka-ching! I also had VCU over FSU and Arizona over Connecticut (UConn didn’t cover). 5 out of 6 (with three being upsets on the money line) - not too shabby. If only my blackjack losses didn’t dwarf those wins…

    I probably had the best cabbies ever on this trip. No one ever tried to long haul us – and going to the convention center from Aria, I would think there would be several ways to do it without being too obvious. And, they were all friendly, courteous and um…let’s say “hygienicâ€. I had this one North African cat that was absolutely hilarious and drove like a bat outta hell – which IMO was a good thing as busy as everything was, he probably saved us ten minutes of waiting by weaving in and out of traffic and “butting in†to lanes and roads that would have taken forever for a less aggressive driver. :wink2: We made sure to reward each of them with good tips.

    US Airways can suck it! I return to Charlotte last night at about 9, after having to endure a long, hot flight, a layover in Phoenix, a half hour wait on the tarmac while the person responsible for opening the f***ing door showed up, and with a 2 hour and 15 minute drive home still ahead of me, only to find that my bag had not made the trip. So, this morning I’m left scrounging through my bathroom drawers, desperately looking for an old toothpaste tube that might have a drop or two left… :grrr: I’ll say it again: US Airways can suck it!


    Well, that’s about it. Since this was mostly a business trip and I took an absolute beating on the tables, I can’t count this as one of my better trips. But, that hasn’t stopped me from pondering my next one – it’s Vegas after all.

    I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have.

    Kyle :peace:
     
    Number 50!
  2. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    5,519
    Location:
    Flusherville, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    57
    Thanks for the write-up, interesting observations!

    Cosmomallitan?... I get what you mean about it being mall like.

    Sorry about the beating at the tables.
     
  3. unomas

    unomas Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Messages:
    268
    Location:
    South Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    I originally was to be there for a little trip, but the prices, march madness, and your convention (120,000 extra people) scared me off plus my traveling companion had to back out.
    Thanks for the write up, I now want to to try the Todd English pub!
     
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    4,473
    Location:
    rolling hardways
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    229
    thanks for the write up. I too agree that Cosmo feels very narrow when you walk through it, you can see both side walls very easily walking down the main aisle of the casino - hard to say that about most other casino floors.
     
  5. gwenshack

    gwenshack Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    115
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    75
    Thanks for your interesting observations. :)
     
  6. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Messages:
    4,386
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    49
    Okay, the US Air guy just showed up with my bag. I take back one (but ONLY one) of the “US Airways can suck it!†comments. :thumbsup:
     
    Number 50!
  7. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Messages:
    4,386
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    49
    Hmmm, I just logged onto the Mlife site and my tier points have gone up another 30,000. So, I guess I picked up about 103K this weekend instead of 73K…though what that means in terms of actual comps, I have no idea.:rolleyes2:


    Edit: I just checked again this morning and another 21,000 points have been added...I guess that's a good thing...if only the express comps and point play would keep going up the same way.
     
    Number 50!
  8. sammowhammo

    sammowhammo VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    I appreciated the way you wrote this - lots of great info & very easy to read.
     
  9. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,984
    Location:
    Illinois
    Excellent. Your synopsis is just as good as a trip report.
     
  10. orbit55

    orbit55 Tourist

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2010
    Messages:
    337
    Location:
    Colorado
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Nice TR! I very much agree on your Cosmo opinions but maybe that place will grow on me. For the Wynn, it was love at first sight for me but not so much Encore.

    mlife vs HET (not sure why people say CET)... Ummm, well I had a trip a few weeks back where I lost like $3k almost all at PH. I made sure to show my Total Rewards card the entire time and just got $13 taken off my bill. Not saying this wouldn't happen with the new mlife system but I think Vegas is changing with comps. Obviously Venetian/Palazzo have pulled the plug.
     
  11. Chuppa76

    Chuppa76 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Messages:
    164
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Thanks for sharing your observations!! Very interesting to read! I didn't get to see much of Aria on my last visit, but I did like what I saw! I'm with Orbitz tho, I was completely smitten with Wynn!! But Encore didn't grab me at all!!

    On a side note, orbitz... I think ppl are calling it CET cause Harrah's Entertainment changed their name to Caesars Entertainment.

    Chups :wave:
     
  12. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,790
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Very nice write up. I have a different feel for Cosmo, I can understand the narrow feeling though, but I like it as it helps with the isolated feeling a bit, I do like that the bars open out onto the floor vs Aria, where everything seems enclosed that's not part of the casino.

    I have to agree on the PUB, a nice spot and we had great service on my trip. I did notice on their facebook page too recently they advised they were starting to offer a happy hour with half price pints, pretty solid value for the types of beers they have.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.