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Rio-GN trip 8/6 - 8/10 - pictures added!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by tvon, Aug 13, 2004.

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  1. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I’m still exhausted from my trip as I write this, but here goes!
    Headed out to Vegas Aug 6 to the 10th from Boston. There was 4 of us in our group, 2 guys, 2 gals, all of us in our 20’s. This is my 3rd trip to vegas, my 2nd this year! I just had to get back there again and after looking at all the early august deals that where running, not to mention the cheap airfare, we had to do it. Also this trip I did a lot more gambling than the last trip and it paid (literally) off! [​IMG]

    Getting There:
    We took the MBTA to the airport…got halfway there but the bus being super late put us behind schedule, so I put aside my hatred for cabs and cabbed the rest of the way to Logan. Checking into our Song flight was painless.. Song only has the electronic check in at logan, so its really fast and easy. Getting through security was painless (for once) however one of our friends tried to bring a bullet belt on the plane.. doh! She was actually surprised they wouldn’t let her bring it on, but the security was nice and let her put it in a bag to be checked. The flight to Vegas is always a long one, but especially this flight; not a very “vegas†like crowd. Lots of old sedate people, tons of kids and only a few in the “party†mood. Screaming kids for the whole flight, thank goodness for headphones and the Dish TV service on Song!! The music trivia on Song is great too, it lets you play against others on the plane; a real time burner. .After the flight was over, I was the #1 trivia champ onboard!!! At Mccarron, everyone waited for checked bags, and I went to pick up the shuttle to Thrifty. I must say I was confused as hell getting there, no one at the counter would talk to me, and they would start to help me but then would put me aside to help other customers. Gotta love the “kid†treatment. After about 10 minutes of not knowing what was going on, I grabbed someone and told them I’m a blue chip member. They where like “oh, well just go outside and pick out any economy car and the man in the lot will help youâ€. Great, they could of told me that 15 mins ago!! So I wandered the lot and It was nice I got to pick my own car. Got a 4 door Nissan Sentra with a sunroof and nice stereo (gotta be able to blast tunes on the strip!). $78 for just 4 days, with a few coupon codes added in. I just had to show my blue chip card to the guy at the gate and sign a form and I was off to pick everyone up at the airport! Put on a Rose Tattoo cd and we’re ready for vegas!!! [​IMG]

    Friday Night:
    By the time everyone was picked up it was 10pm. Off to In-and-out burger! I was starving and literally scarfed down my 2 grilled cheese’s animal style, fries, neapolitan shake. Second stop was Super Walmart on W. Charleston blvd. We bought 3 pallets of bottled water, since our last trip we spent half the time looking for bottled water. It turned out to be a wise move, we always had water with us. Also got a few necessities as well, all for super cheap.
    Checked into the Golden Nugget sort of late, and tried the $20 trick. I just put the $20 out on the counter and asked her for an upgrade or something “nicerâ€. She told me she had already hooked me up with a nice room. Maybe she didn’t notice it, but oh well. The room was really nice, but it was in the 2nd tower in the back. We didn’t valet it so we carried our bags from the self parking lot. The walk is NOT far at all, especially if you compare it to the average walk of any strip hotel.
    We had a view of the Plaza’s parking lot and North Las Vegas on the 16th floor. The GN definitely checks keys at the elevators at all hours, but we got 2 room keys so getting 4 of us in the room wasn’t a problem. The GN is definitely a classy place and all the nice touches in the room really wowed me. Of course I usually travel super budget so I’m easy to impress. We got a great rate of $79 a night there, worth every penny!
    Our first activity was hitting Fremont street. Went right over to the LVC, played some roulette.. immediately lost $30, so I went looking for a BJ table. Every table at the LVC uses an auto card shuffler, which bummed me out. I’m not a fan of “pitch†style BJ either (I hate touching the cards), and even if the smaller deck means better odds, whatever. I prefer to play from a shoe. We sort of got split up at that point, so I went exploring over to the Golden Gate. Small place but wow, I love the feel of it. Won back my money lost at the LVC (plus some) at BJ. Great dealers, nice pitboss, got to watch the Sox game on tv too!! After some more looking around on fremont, it was bed time. I had went to work on Friday, and it was already 2am, the equivalent of 5am for me!

    Saturday:
    Woke up pretty early (still on east coast time), hit the GN breakfast buffet. Small buffet but good. It didn’t have a huge selection, but had the basics and it filled me up for a reasonable price. The drink service was very slow however. After stuffing ourselves, we went over to the pool for a few hours. The pool is super nice, but its very finding a seat is difficult. The guy at the pool told me that people usually line up at 9am to get a good spot by the pool. Again, the GN has strict room key access to the pool, but they don’t actually check to see if its active.
    After that we drove around the Strip, and hit the premium outlets. I bought some sneakers and sunglasses and then we headed back to the GN to relax a bit before going out. I went down to play some $5 bj at the GN. Wow, what a mistake. I feel like the $5 player here is really frowned upon because we had a surly dealer who seemed to be glad we lost our money (and we did, some really crappy cards where dealt). I cashed out early and finished up my Bj session over at the Golden Gate once again. I managed to win the money lost at the GN back, plus about $20.
    I hit the In-And-Out burger again while the 2 others hit the Italian place at the GN, they said it was very good.
    For Saturday night we wanted to go to a club or something, but that’s not really my thing and I know almost nothing about Vegas clubs. So we decided that a trip to the Hard Rock would be about our pace. The HR was super crowded, but it made for some interesting people watching. There was a long line for the club there, but we where all impatient, so after an hour or so we decided to see what was going on at Mandalay Bay. At MB, same deal, crowded, lines, so we just walked around the casino and eventually made It to Luxor. We almost waited in line for RA at Luxor, but got impatient again, so we all split up and decided to do some gambling. Luxor was packed with lots of CSM’s at all the tables so I passed. I also saw some 6:5 bj, yuck. Eventually got annoyed at how crowded it was turned in early. Turned out to be a wise move, I was still adjusting to the time shift and I was tired as hell.

    Sunday:
    Everyone woke up early and hit the pool and buffet again, but I went straight to the Golden Gate for some more BJ. Another wise move, as I came back 2 hours later with $75 extra in my pocket. After meeting everyone at the pool, they wanted in on some of the GG action, so we went right back over. Got a great dealer, won $80 easy. After a few hours I went to cash out, the craps table got my eye. $3 min roll and it had plenty of room. I’ve never played craps and been pretty intimidated by it, but I read up on it, and I thought I could handle it. The dealers and other players there where great, helped me and where very friendly. After a few pass line and odds bets, I was up $40! Now that I lost my craps virginity, I’ll definitely be playing some more of it!
    It was time to check out of the GN and head over to the Rio. Used the tv to check out of the GN, very easy. Got a $59/$69 rate for the 2 days at the Rio, but I’d never even been over there before so I didn’t know what to expect. We parked in the masquerade self park lot, boy that was a mistake. We trekked across the hotel with our bags and it was a HIKE. They are doing construction inside the casino area so it didn’t look so hot. Plus the party theme was too over the top, too much going on. Had to wait 30 mins to check in. I asked for any upgrade and they said they gave me a newly renovated room, but I had to wait 3 hours till the room was cleaned. I had to walk back outside to find a bell hop to check our bags in.. I really felt like cattle during this whole process.. I was beginning to worry about my decision to stay at the Rio. We went out to the pool for the next 2 hours, which was very nice. They don’t check keys at this pool, so the pool is fair game to anyone. Nothing special, just had some waterfalls around and places to buy food/beer and stuff; overall it felt very “Disneyâ€. A lot more kids there then the GN, which was sort of annoying. People stop bringing your kids to vegas!!! And if you must bring kids, go to Circus Circus so I can avoid you!!
    After the wait, I went to the “key desk†to find out exactly where they are putting us. He gives us a room on the 7th floor in the Ipanema tower. He says it’s a very nice newly renovated room, and he was right! The whole hallway smelled new and the room did as well. All new décor, a lot different from what I’d seen on the Rio website. Very impressive with a wet bar, personal refrigerator, separate changing area.. very very nice! Our view was over looking the back end of the rio and west vegas, not the prettiest sight – but the room made up for it. Even the bellman complimented us on the nice room we got. Only problem was the refrigerator was broken.. no problem though; they sent up someone to replace it and he was very friendly. The elevators are somewhat confusing to find at the Rio, but it might have to do something with the construction. They also don’t check room keys until the later hours in the night.
    For dinner, we decided on hitting the Rio buffet. We went early so there was no line, and boy was I impressed. My new favorite Vegas buffet. The place is absolutely huge. The food isn’t as gourmet as the Paris or Aladdin, but it has way more variety than either of those. The gelato bar was a very nice touch. Plus the drink service wasn’t horrible for once. I definitely recommend this buffet to anyone, especially the picky eaters because there is something for everyone here.
    SinCityJenn from this board hooked me up with free passes at Little Darlings (thanks jenn, you rock!!!) and was kind enough to deliver them to the front desk at the GN for us, so we decided to use them! They had to be used before 9pm, so we got there around 7pm and the place was dead. We where the only ones there and after 10 mins the girls knew not to ask us for dances ( I guess they could tell we where with girls that might disapprove). The waitresses seemed to avoid us too so I had to go up to the bar and get our sodas. Overall I was pretty disappointed in the girls at the club, especially since im a big Déjà vu fan and usually they deliver. But it was early on a Sunday night. After about 2 hours we left and decided to go out.
    We decided to hit up the Palms and see what the “night scene†is like there. We went up to the Ghost bar, which was pretty interesting. Not very crowded but the views on the top floor deck where fantastic. This place has a super modern look and vibe going on, but its almost too “planned†for my tastes. They do have a big sign by the elevator that says you’ll be asked to leave if you dance, which I found odd.. but I guess it makes sense since it’s a “lounge†and not a dance club. After a few hours we left and decided to do a group Wheel Of Fortune session. Each of us threw in $20, and got a fair amount of spins, but after we cashed in, we only had $6 more than we started with. Oh well – playing this as a group is really fun, I recommend it.
    We left and wanted to hit center strip to look around and maybe find some other fun activity. On the way we saw a Sonic, so I had to stop. Vegas has all the cool fast food chains!!
    After poking around in the IP, the Mirage, Harrahs, and checking out their carnival court, I ended up playing BJ at the Casino Royale. Had an awesome dealer, and I got some great cards. $100 up, and that ended my night! Up over $300 at this point.

    Monday:
    The boys slept in, the girls went to the pool. While they where at the pool I went over to get a look at the Gold Coast. Nice looking casino, but the gaming doesn’t look very good.. only double odds on craps and auto shufflers at their tables. I took this opportunity to have breakfast at in and out, yes! Also got to check out the in-and-out factory store, a must for a die hard in-and-out fan.
    I made it a point for all of us to go to the Stratosphere , because our friend was big roulette player, and the low limit single zero is a must see. After losing $40 (and my buddy winning $200), I hit the bj table for one of the more interesting dealers I’ve seen. He bitched about other dealers the whole time and while dealing would stop to tell some story.. So frustrating!! I won almost my money back and we peaced outta there. .
    By mid day we where off to the Forum Shops at Caesars for the girls. High end shopping isn’t my thing but I did manage to win a few dollars in some munsters slots while I was waiting. After that we went down to the Las Vegas outlets, mainly to hit their levi’s outlet. Its one of the best we have ever seen, a must see for a serious jeans enthusiast. On the way back we stopped at the “Boot Barn†and I bought a sweet western shirt.
    Shopping took a lot out of us, so everyone wanted to nap and cool out at the hotel until going out at night. I, on the other hand wanted some more Golden Gate BJ action. It turned out to be a bad idea, lost $100, but made $20 back at the craps tables.
    That night we hit the Aladdin buffet, still a quality joint – I hope it doesn’t go away when Planet Hollywood takes over. After eating, we decided to walk our food off and took a look at the Monte Carlo. What a dump this place is, maybe it was because I was expecting a classy casino, but its just a lackluster joint. After more walking the south strip, we got in the car to the Green Valley Ranch. It was further out there than I expected, but I had to see what all the fuss was about there. Turned out to be a super nice casino, really good layout and very clean. I managed to lose money on some slots and craps, while my friend won $500 at the roulette table. Nice!
    We didn’t spend too much time out at the GVR, and Vegas was starting to catch up to us, so we headed back to the room. A few of us went back out and I was eager to find some more BJ. After much driving around, we hit the Westward Hole. I was doing ok for a while there, but only ended up $10 up. The people at the table where old and nasty, all blowing smoke into my face. Also we went up to the Sahara, just to see how my old friend was doing. Didn’t gamble but last trip I really had a blast up there.
    Went back to the Rio and hit the sack, about $100 down from the day before.

    Tuesday:
    Last day! The girls got up early and hit the pool, while I toyed with the idea of gambling at the Gold Coast. I changed my mind and hit the pool one last time. Went upstairs, packed up our things and used the tv to check out. After getting everything out to the car, I wanted to go down to the GG again, to see if my BJ winning streak would hold up. No such luck, very cold dealer (the first I saw at the GG) and lost $50 really fast. I decided no more gambling for me on this trip, my luck has run out.
    On the way to the strip, we stopped on this huge thrift store on main st. It had mostly furniture and house wares, but also had a lot of other goodies including records. If I lived in Vegas I’d be at this place all the time!
    After that we went down to check out fat Elvis. Boy was that a sight. He got a 100 year old fan of his on stage and she told the crowd her secret to looking good was “lots of sexâ€. But his voice is amazing, too bad we couldn’t’ get a seat or we would of stayed longer. Definitely check this out if you can, a great free activity.
    We did some more mid strip strolling and went into the Flamingo to see their wildlife habitat. Its nothing too special, but it was neat to see penguins out in the heat. I took a look at the pool, the most kids I’ve ever seen in Vegas (circus circus included). However it looked super nice, lots of slides, waterfalls, alcoves, etc. But they did check for keys so I couldn’t get in there for a closer look. It looked like they had a card swipe to see if it was active too.
    After some more walking around, we hit the Bonanza gift shop up by the Sahara for some souvenirs. That is definitely the biggest souvenir shop I have been too.
    After much debate, we wanted to hit a cheap buffet for our last meal in Vegas. We contemplated for the longest time, driving around.. and finally decided on the Gold Coast since it looked nice on the outside. There was no line, which was nice and we got seated immediately. But everyone was disappointed by this buffet. Very lackluster food, very poor variety and the drink service sucked once again. The desserts where ok however. Oh well, live and learn. We also hit the Bj tables for one last stop, despite the CSM’s. Every time a deck got good, they’d get a newly shuffled deck and my luck would shift once again. I managed to cash out even and decided I really should stop pressing my luck.
    It was time to gas up and head for the airport. One last In-And-Out stop, got a bunch of food for the plane ride and took some orders from friends back home. Also hit up Del Taco and did the same.
    Returning the car was easy, however finding Thrifty was not.. I think I drove through the tunnel 4 times trying to figure out where I was going. Signs, Vegas, Signs!! Even Logan airport is signed better. We had a very nice shuttle driver, very upbeat for some downbeat and tired people. Song check in was a breeze, got there 2 hours early and just chilled out in the terminal until we left. We had the 10pm red eye flight, getting us into Boston at 6am. The song flight was not crowded and I had an empty seat to spread out in. I slept most of the way, and the flight went smoothly. Our friend picked us up at the airport at 6:30am, boy where we tired. And I had to go to work in a few hours! DOH!

    Thoughts
    -Song is a great airline.. super cheap fares, direct flights, on board tv and games. Plus it gives you a map of where the plane is at the moment, very nice for a person like me who likes to know where we are.
    -Golden Gate is my new favorite casino in Vegas, very laid back, very fun.
    -Vegas has the best fast food – In-And-Out, Del Taco, Sonic, etc..
    -Rio renovated rooms and the GN rooms, very nice!!
    -Rio and GN – not impressed by the casinos at either place, especially the Rio.
    -Saw tons of “working†girls in hotel lobbies, always a fun time. Also saw one guy proposition a working girl in Luxor.
    -Never made it to Cheetahs or Spearmint Rhino. Next time I’ll have to.
    -Gotta meet up with Jenn at Little Darlings next time, she’s a doll for hooking me up with those passes!!n [​IMG]
    -Rio Buffet is a must stop for all my future trips to Vegas, very nice!
    -Didn’t sneak into any pools on this trip, but will save my GN key for my next stop [​IMG]
    -4 days is about right in Vegas. As you could probably tell, we where sort of burned out and very tired by the end. I was glad to get back to Boston, but now I don’t wanna be here anymore!!!
    -The humidity in boston (only 70 here) is so much more uncomfortable than 105 in Vegas. The heat didn’t bother me as much as I thought.
    -Came home up about $150, not bad!
    -The rooms and rental car split four ways came out to be $105 each!! [​IMG]
    -I can’t wait to get back!!!


    Ps, pictures to come.. stay tuned.
    Pps, sorry for any grammar or spelling mistakes, im still pooped!

    [ August 23, 2004, 01:45 PM: Message edited by: tvon ]
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Golden Gate: right on. My favorite spot downtown as well, although that craps table whips my A every time. My buddy and I managed to "sneak" into the Flamingo pool, it was more like stumble upon it as we went thru the habitat and just kept walking. Didn't remember a card-checker, maybe that's new.
     
  3. SinCityJenn

    SinCityJenn Newbie

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    Again, sorry I missed and sorry you got a bad vibe from the place. Sundays are usually dead until about 10pm and some of the other waitresses are lazy and bitchy. Next time we'll meet, and I'll be there to help you.
     
  4. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    jenn - yea i realize we went at a bad time, and we wheren't throwing around money because we where with girls. That probably didn't gain us much popularity in the club. However Mika was a super hot dancer, and same with Liz!
     
  5. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    PICTURES!!

    http://photobucket.com/albums/v166/xtvonx/vegas%202/

    photobucket doesn't let me put comments under the pics, but in there you'll find pics of caesars, pics of our rooms and thier view(GN and rio), pics of the food at the Aladdin buffet, view from atop the palms at ghost bar, new Wynn construction (with sign!), Fat Elvis, Flamingo, Both pools at Rio and GN, airplane shot, my music trivia scores on Song, etc..
     
  6. SinCityJenn

    SinCityJenn Newbie

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    Liz..no!! Don't tell me you thought she was hot. [​IMG] I shouldn't be so mean [​IMG] but she's too skinny. Mika...yes. [​IMG] Catch ya next trip. [​IMG]
     
  7. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    well.. one of the girls with us sat with liz for 30 mins talking to her about stuff... shes not so much hot as just very nice and very friendly. shes not the hottest but compared to who was in there that night.. haha ok now im being mean..
    there was also this very tall blonde girl who was a knockout, i tried to get a dance with her but she was in high demand..

    [ August 17, 2004, 09:01 PM: Message edited by: tvon ]
     
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