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Solo Trip Report, Sept. 28, to Oct. 3, 2014

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by pjpeck, Oct 4, 2014.

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  1. pjpeck

    pjpeck Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Just returned from a solo trip. I have been to Las Vegas many times since the late 80's, mostly with my wife, but once a year she let's me go by myself (let me mention again what a great wife she is). I am 60 years young, and diabetic, so no wild drunken adventures, if that is what you are looking for. I will post as a reply, and in sections, as I never keep a day by day diary. Hope you find something of interest.

    pjpeck
     
  2. abrolsma

    abrolsma Low-Roller

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    Looking forward to reliving it along with you pj.
     
  3. pjpeck

    pjpeck Tourist

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    I'm used to posting on TripAdvisor, and my replies are posted immediately. Apparently here, my replies have to be "moderated". So hopefully it will show up soon!
     
  4. pjpeck

    pjpeck Tourist

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    Okay, my "Quick Reply" showed up immediately. I posted my TR with the "Go Advanced" button. I'll try it as a Quick Reply!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Travel:
    Flew Allegiant, left from Cedar Rapids, IA, returned to Moline, IL. We live about halfway in between, and this way I get four full days in Las Vegas, due to the different limited schedules for the two airports. Also caught the best price doing it this way, about $80 (base price) each way. Can't do it this way when traveling together, but when traveling solo, she can drop me off in CR, and pick me up in Moline. Total cost was about $260 with all the add on fees. Still cheaper than any other option locally, and non stop to boot. The flight from CR departed about 90 minutes late, but the return to Moline was on time. Used their cell phone app to check in, and for the boarding pass. Worked fine. No paper to mess with. By the way, Allegiant was using the old “A” gates this time, not the “D” gates they have used every trip I have flown with them before, so no tram to ride.

    Rental Car:
    Made my first reservation about six weeks before the trip, and checked back many times, with four different companies, but never got the price to go down. Gave about $170 all in at Dollar for a compact car, about the highest I've ever paid for a car in Las Vegas. Even at 0100 in the morning, there were at least 50 people in line at Dollar, but of course I walked right by to the Express booth out by the cars, and was off of the lot with my car in less than ten minutes. It's a mystery to me why more people don't use Express, or Blue Chip, or whatever on line advance check in is available at all the car rental companies!

    Got a Chevy Sonic, with about 19,000 miles on it. I was a little apprehensive when I first saw it, but it actually was a nice ride, especially for one person with one bag. The Sonic was loaded, with a back up camera, satellite radio, remote start, and power everything. No race car, but enough power to get around LV, and I was sorry to turn it in. I could easily drive a car like that every day for work.

    Hotels:
    Originally I had planned to stay two nights at the Monte Carlo, on a myVegas comp, then three nights downtown at the “D”, using a mail offer of one night free, then $45 per night for two nights. I had never stayed at Monte Carlo, and hadn't stayed at the “D” since it was Fitzgeralds. Then mail offers arrived from the Cosmopolitan, and Binion's, and plans changed.

    I couldn't pass up two comped nights in a Terrace Studio at the Cosmo, and the resort fees (Grrr!) were about the same as at Monte Carlo. I stayed once at the Cosmo on a comp offer shortly after it opened, but of course my low roller play didn't get me any follow up offers. Until this year, when they seem to be sending them to a lot of people. When I checked in at 0130 AM, there was no one else in line. The only thing I requested was a high floor, and told the clerk I didn't care about the view (I have read online that this is one of the keys to free upgrades, that many people won't even pay for a suite without a view, so often the nicer rooms with no view go empty. So if you truly don't care about a view of the fountains, ask about a complimentary upgrade, and mention you don't care about the view, and your chances will improve). I got a Terrace One Bedroom, on the 62nd Floor, in the East tower facing West, the same kind of room I got the first time. The suite didn't show any wear and tear, and was very clean. Far more room than I needed, but very nice. No noise issues Sunday night, but you could definitely hear the pool party noise Monday night, so if that would be an issue for you, ask for a room not facing West (or East if you are in the West tower). The East tower has easy access to the strip, and both towers have easy access to the parking garage, which is under the hotel. Just park near the elevators for whatever tower you are staying in.

    My plans to stay at the “D” changed when I received a mail offer from Binion's for one night free, and two nights at $25 each, for the Four Queens (same owner as Binion's). The offer also included $40 free play at Binion's, so I canceled at the “D”. No line to check in at 1430 Tuesday afternoon. Only asked for a quiet room, and was given 1117 on the South side of the North tower. I have stayed at the Four Queens several times before, and have always found it to be clean, comfortable, and well kept. This time was no exception. It looks like they have been painting and wall papering in the hallways, and keeping up the maintenance in the rooms. There were several places in the room where if you looked, the wallpaper has been patched, but otherwise, the room looked good. Still no HD programming on the widescreen TV, but really, who cares? They charge for wi-fi, but I didn't try it (no resort fee, don't forget). There is a coffee maker in the room for those think that is important, and a safe in the closet. I never heard any noise from outside my room. The bathrooms at the Four Queens are small, but the one in my room was spotlessly clean, and had fresh caulk around the tub/shower. Good water pressure, and plenty of hot water in the shower.

    The only issue I had at the Four Queens was picking up my car from the valet. One time mid morning, the attendant was chatting on the phone, and let me stand there for over five minutes before he could be bothered to get my car. When I checked out early Friday morning, there was no attendant at the pick up site, so I went back to the front desk, and they said at that time of the morning, pick up was at the drop off site, on the other side of the building. At the drop off site they said to go back to the pick up site. Went to front desk again and pointed out to the desk clerk that they needed to get their act together. She made a call and then told me to go back to the pick up side, and there was an attendant there this time so I finally got my car.

    The Four Queens is not the Bellagio, but is a good value for downtown. Consider, the week before I stayed at the Four Queens for $50 total. I gave $109 for a room for one night at a Country Inn and Suites in Clinton, IA. The room was not that much better than the Four Queens, and was not located in downtown Las Vegas!

    Food:
    Not a foodie, so no fancy eating on my solo trips. But still ate good, and got good value.

    Bellagio Buffet, dinner, myVegas comp. I am not impressed by this buffet, and would feel worse about it if I paid $33, but for free (I have never bought chips on myVegas) it was okay. The prime rib was good, the rest just okay. Maybe if I was into seafood, I would have thought otherwise, and many were eating the crab legs, but it is not my thing.

    M Resort Buffet, lunch, comp received by mail. Better than the Bellagio Buffet, in my opinion. More choices that interest me. Would pay to eat here if necessary, but great for free.

    Green Valley Ranch Buffet, lunch, myVegas comp. Great to have more options to use myVegas points now that they offer Station Casino choices. This buffet is not expensive in the first place, so it is a great value, even if you have to pay. Enjoyed the fried chicken, spaghetti, baked ham, and good dessert selections.

    Cheeseburger Las Vegas, Miracle Mile Mall, breakfast. Here is one answer to the “where can I get a cheap breakfast on the strip” question. $5.99 breakfast special, eggs, sausage, ham or bacon, potatoes, and toast. Also a nice slice of fresh pineapple as a garnish, that was very tasty. Good quality, and a good value if you are in that area (right across the street from the Cosmopolitan).

    Mexican restaurant, Hawaiian Marketplace, breakfast. Didn't catch the name, but they offer several breakfast specials, and the food was good. Had a $7.99 breakfast, eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon, and toast. Another answer to the cheap breakfast question. Just South of the Cosmopolitan, on the East side of the strip.

    Du Par’s at the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino, dinner and breakfast. Dinner was okay, sliced tri-tip, gravy and mashed potatoes. Breakfast much better, pancakes are great. Had two $15 food comps from the Golden Gate, so I didn't pay much. Prices are higher than when it was a generic coffee shop. Go to Binion's Cafe for better food and value.

    Binion's Cafe, several meals, all paid for with slot club comp dollars. They have remodeled, enlarged, and enclosed the cafe, but still the same great cooks and wait staff, and they still have a counter to sit at if you want. Prices are good, and so is the food. The Club Sandwich, with the meat piled so high you can't take it all in one bite, is my favorite. Also had breakfast here, with the giant bone in ham steak.

    Fulton Street Food Hall, Harrah's, lunch. This place just opened recently, and has many choices. Not really a food court, you pay for all at one check out station. I had an all meat pizza for 14.99, that would have been perfect for two people, I ate a little over half. But it was very good. Perfect crust, crisp but chewy. Also had a sinfully rich chocolate chip cupcake for dessert. I think this place will be a hit.

    The rest of my meals were fast food, on the go.

    Gambling:
    Worst trip I have ever had, as far as gambling. I play mostly penny slots, and I know the odds, but usually get some hits and bonus rounds enough to be entertaining. Not this trip! Except for one night at Binion's, couldn't get any hits on the strip, downtown, or in the outlying casinos. Strangely enough, had my best luck on the strip at Harrah's, and New York New York. Even then, nothing big. Most of my play downtown was at Binion's. Great players club, never pay for meals here anymore, and they send good offers to low rollers like me.

    Miscellaneous notes and observations:
    The Linq. I walked through on a Monday afternoon, and there was lots of foot traffic. Lots of restaurants and bars, and some activities, like bowling and the Polaroid Museum. Didn't ride the observation wheel, will wait until my wife is with me to do that. But I think CET has made a good move here, and the Linq will be successful. It certainly was mostly wasted space (except for O'Shea's) before.

    The Linq/Quad/Imperial Palace Hotel. Construction continues toward the back of the casino, but what's done looks great. Good pedestrian flow from Harrah's, though the Linq casino, and on to the Flamingo now. But my god, whoever is responsible for the paint job on the exterior of the Linq/Quad should be fired immediately, if not sooner! It looks horrible, and I cannot believe they will leave it that way for long!

    Westgate Las Vegas Resort. Looks like they are spending some money on the public spaces here, much needed. The old spacequest casino area (outside the former Star Trek Experience entrance) is now the boiler room for selling timeshares (ick!). To get to the monorail, you have to walk out the resort entrance and along the front of the building outside. There was construction noise coming from the old Star Trek area, so maybe something is going in there.

    Timeshare trolls. One of the absolute best things about being solo in Las Vegas is that you are completely invisible to the timeshare sales trolls. They won't even look you in the eye! When I am with the wife, we steer away from them if possible, but alone I purposely walked near them just to enjoy being ignored.

    SLS. Glad someone did something with the old Sahara. Looks very modern, but not aimed at my demographic, though. The casino area is not very big. Should be a hit with the younger crowd, hope they can hang on until some of the planned construction in the area brings more foot traffic. The festival area MGM is planning across Las Vegas Blvd., to the west, should fill up a lot of hotel rooms here, and at Circus Circus and Riviera.

    Fontainebleau. Still can't believe they spent so much money and stopped so close to construction. What a waste! Looks like the glass is being stripped off the North side of the building, so maybe demolition has begun.

    Monorail. Why didn't someone have the foresight or the guts to say lets build this right up the center of Las Vegas Boulevard? They would have had to build new vaults to hold all the money it would have made. The connection to downtown and the airport could have been paid for by the cash it would have brought in. Mostly wasted, as is. Used some myVegas comps to get tickets, and used it one day to ride up and down the East side of the strip visiting several casinos. Parked at Westgate.

    The Strip. Fewest porn card snappers I have ever seen along the strip. Only saw a few one night. Lots of “performers” in costumes looking for tips, though. Some pretty pathetic, and some pretty pushy. Hey, its a public sidewalk, and I have every right to walk through your “performance” area! The usual beggars on the pedestrian bridges. Saw a couple men just plain passed out and lying there! One guy near the entrance to New York New York was openly selling “nose candy” LOL!

    Fremont Street. This area was jumping at night. Big crowds, live bands, even on week nights. Lot's of street “performers” here, too. Some, like the short, fat dude in the thong and pasties, were pretty pathetic. People laughing at him, and not in a good way. Saw some union members protesting in front of the Golden Nugget, but they were not bothering people, only answering questions when approached. Was never hit on by beggars or prostitutes this trip, first time in several trips.

    Slotzilla. I had doubts about this when it was under construction, but now that it is finished, the towers don't really obstruct foot traffic on Fremont Street. Not my cup of tea, but seems very popular, with riders day and night.

    Las Vegas Club. Gets more pathetic every trip. No hotel, no restaurants, and now a quarter of the casino floor taken up by a lame souvenir store. No reason to go in here any more! With downtown coming on, someone needs to buy this remodel or rebuild. The Golden Gate across the street, and the “D” a few blocks on got a new owner, who spent a few bucks on them, and now they seem to be thriving!

    That's all I can think of for now. If you have any questions, post away, I'll answer if I can, and probably fake it if I can't! If I think of anything else to share, I'll add it on.
     
  5. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Thanks for the trip report! I enjoy reading solo trip reports. Looks like you enjoyed yours. Thanks for all the details on your observations, especially the cheap breakfasts across from Cosmo.

    Sorry the gambling sucked, there's always next time, right?:thumbsup:
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  6. Criminole

    Criminole Low-Roller

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    Sorry your gambling was so bad. Glad you didn't stay at the hotel my company owns in Clinton although it would have been funny to see them mentioned on here.
     
  7. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

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    Enjoyed your report. We have a compact at Dollar reserved for next month...wonder if we will see the chevy. We expect the Ford Focus. At the moment we are at $191 for the compact for the week, of course I check daily to see if the rates go down. Rental cars in Vegas have gone up the past few years. Best we ever did was Alamo for $98 for a week.
     
  8. PayTriple

    PayTriple The Cucumber King

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    Thanks for the report, I enjoyed it!
    Sound like you had fun despite the gambling losses.
     
  9. Sissyboy_Deuce

    Sissyboy_Deuce Tourist

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    Great summary PJ. Been solo for one night ahead of the boys, but never for a whole trip. Going to try that at some point over the next couple years. Sorry to hear the gambling wasn't better for you.
     
  10. pjpeck

    pjpeck Tourist

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    The Ford Focus is what they show on the website, so I was a little surprised at the Chevy, also. But it was okay, as I said in my report. The only company that ever showed a cheaper rate was Payless, and due to a bad experience years ago, I won't use them. Besides, it's so great to pass the lines and go right out to your car with the companies like Alamo, Budget, and Dollar/Thrifty.
     
  11. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Lots of good info in your report; thanks for posting!
     
  12. Sam in Ut

    Sam in Ut High-Roller

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    I really enjoyed your solo report. I read it real fast but didn't notice any shows. Maybe I missed it, I'll have to re read it again. Thanks for sharing...
     
  13. pjpeck

    pjpeck Tourist

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    I didn't go to any shows, and usually don't when I am solo. I had actually bought a ticket to "Raiding The Rock Vault", from Groupon, but it closed for a month while moving to the Tropicana, so I missed out on that. Usually save going to shows for trips when my wife is with me.
     
  14. nhcris

    nhcris High-Roller

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    I enjoyed your report very much. Most of my trips consist of a couple of days solo and a few days with friends, so I especially enjoy the perspective of solo travelers :) I have been enjoying Downtown much more lately. So far Main Street Station has been my Downtown home, but I really enjoyed the VP and slot floor at 4 Queens last trip, and hope to use similar offers to yours that I got from 4 Queens and Binions. Thanks for the report!
     
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