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start at the strat-then its all better!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by kitson, May 15, 2006.

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  1. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    about time to start getting this trip report going, 5 days away from home and business, then trying to get caught up while mothers day and kids divisional track meet is going on, let just say we are not rested up yet from vacation. isn't it supposed to work the other way?

    anyway, we got up at 3 am to travel to the airport for our 6 am delta flight, via salt lake, to las vegas. everything on time, arrived before 9 am las vegas time, broke our cheap habit of taking the shuttle to save a few bucks, and took the first of nine cab rides of our trip, down to the Stratosphere where we stayed our first two nights. to save money on our airfares, we buy through a consolidator, and through them you need to book at least two nights hotel. they had the strat for 49 a night, and since we had stayed there twice before, be went for that, knowing that we would get to be moving to free rooms at the rio for our last two nights.

    at the strat about 930 am, tried to check in, lady has us on the computer, but room isnt ready, have to come back at noon. i politely tried to ask about the remodeled rooms in the premier tower, was informed that we were booked in the world tower, thanks to our package, but could upgrade to a suite for 50 bucks a night! no thanks. so we played for a while, had a hard time finding their full pay machines, one set of them were still coin out machines. did not have mcuh luck in our video poker at the strat. quick salad at the deli next to the race book, which is an ok place for a sandwich or salad, and then to the checkin desk, room taken care of already on the package, but had an added 5 dollar a day "resort fee". this was to get to use the pool, observation deck, and to get the funbook. did those not use to be free? not a coupon in there i would use, wasnt even a matchplay on blackjack, so got charged an extra ten dollars for nothing we used.

    up in the room, first thing that happened was that i walked into the bathroom and got my socks wet from the water seep from the toilet base, nice first impression, strat! decided right there that this was the last time we would ever stay there. otherwise, room was clean enough, the bed ok, and really did not notice the towels, other than just having two, until i got out of the shower at the rio a couple mornings later and grabbed one of their plush towels, what a great contrast to the pieces of cloth at the strat.

    back down the elevator, out the door to a cab, no more walking up the strip from that far away for this guy, and up to caesars palace. walking through deciding on forum shops or video poker, the machines were calling us, and though it was impossible to find a good pay table, i had a dollar machine winking at me, and hadnt played more than 40 bucks of my hundred dollar bill through when i got four to the royal, and the ace of hearts filled it out for me for a thousand dollars! credits rang up on the machine, no wait for a hand pay or w2g! cashed out, lots of ez ticket redemption machines all over caesars, cocktail service wonderful and beautiful, i was very impressed and did not see much to suggest a dragdown by harrahs so far!

    out onto the strip to the bellagio, clockwork, a classic rock band, is playing in the fontana lounge at 530, since we were there early, had to split up and go play some more, though i think my wife went to the conservatory and spent her time there??? oooh, plants. anyway, just out front of the fontana lounge, i found a bank of progressive dollar vp, with a jackpot over 4600. while playing at one end of the 5 machine row, a lady came and sat in the middle seat. i heard the machine singing, i looked over and she had 4 of a kind, and had bet 1! so, instead of having 250 dollars, she had 50. few hands later, another 4of a kind for her, this time she had bet 2. i felt sorry for her, on a progressive machine she should be playing max coins, so if the 5 bucks was too much for her, she should have been playing 5 quarters somewhere else. i moved to the other side, but when i saw her get up from the other side, i was over there fast. the lady playing at the other end and i both just smiled and shook our head at her play, i really dont know if she knew what she had passed up, but i know how she would have felt if she had hit the royal and got gypped out of her 4600 by her silly play. anyway, her machine had been hot, and within ten hands i hit 4 aces, without the kicker, for 800 dollars! just in time for the band.

    wife and i went to the fontana lounge, seated right away, perused the drink menu up 1600 or so for the day. despite the 14 dollar price tag, decided this was my best opportunity to try a mojito, since i had heard so much about them on this board. wife had some other fancy drink, 28 bucks for the first round, the second round i just had a really good gin and tonic, so the tab was only 24 for the next round. fountains going off outside, great band playing inside, eagles, fleetwood mac, rush, bad company, my kind of music, great drinks, scenery, and company. only thing that could make it better... besides that...dinner!

    out and across the street to commanders palace. this was our third time dining there, in three consecutive trips. it is that good, and though this time might have been a little off in service vs. the other two times, it was still good. my perception is that it is a little easier for them to give that great service at 6pm, rather than during the crunch of 8 pm, so will give them the benefit of the doubt. tab without wine, we had enough drinks earlier, was about 110. and with a 25 dollar Restaurant.com certificate that cost us 4 bucks, not a bad deal. gator, turtle soup, pecan crusted fish, shrimp and crawfish somethin, good except for the tasting attempt on the crawfish. and then some great coffee and that bourbon bread pudding.

    after dinner, out onto the strip, to the paris, up the side to the cab stand, and back to the strat. straight to the room for the best thing in las vegas, great day, paying cash for everything, and a thousand or so dollars more than we started the day with. actually won just enough the other days to pay cash for everything, and came home 935 dollars up, so this was the big winning day, and set the stage for the rest of the trip.

    coming up, two days at two different trade shows, more vp and some paigow, the bryan adams concert at the hilton with miss july and august from at least two different calendars, the rio and whatever else i remember.
     
  2. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Man!! A royal and 4 aces in the same day? I am SOOOO green with envy!! Way to go!
     
  3. RaleighCat

    RaleighCat Guest

    itsincrediblyfreakinannoyingtryingtoreadatripreportwithoutcapitalletters
     
  4. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    must edit myself, the royal flush that i hit was on QUARTERS, not dollars. excuse me.

    my pet peeves are lack of punctuation, really poor spelling, and pathetic people who are made happy only by finding something really paltry to try to put other people down.

    tuesday was spent at a trade show at Mandalay Bay. found the buffet to be not a bad value for lunch, 36 bucks for the two of us, which i think we would have spent in the convention area food court for the two of us.

    after we were done with business, spent a couple hours in mandalay bay, making a little on the vp, giving it back in the race book. drink service was only fair, although very attractive when it did appear.

    trammed to excal, across the street to nyny, and played some more vp. hit 4 of a kind on a dollar machine just outside of 9 fine irishmen, drink service was nonexistent, but treated myself to a wheat beer, on tap, at the bar in times square. walked on over to Monte Carlo, had a beer and a light dinner in the brewpub, and headed back to the stratosphere. knew it would be our last night, thought we should play a little there. again, no luck, on our way to the room stopped at the players desk, thought our 1200 points would be worth 12 bucks, but they were only worth 3 dollars, so didnt even bother asking about cashing it in.

    that pretty much put the nail in the coffin as far as ever staying at the strat again, it IS a cab ride everywhere from there, it is not really a value anymore, fun book worthless, customer service is mediocre. i prefer downtown at the four queens or just up the strip at the sahara both over the stratosphere.
     
  5. RaleighCat

    RaleighCat Guest

    Ouch, that really hurt. Now you know what's like trying to read a detailed post without caps. And double check my spelling, big fella. I don't think I missed anything.

    I enjoy reading good trip reports- skimming them to find the places/things that I enjoy or am curious about. That's the beauty of trip reports. Unless I know you personally I don't really care about your Aunt Ginnie's run of bad luck on the penny slots, or Uncle Fester's critique of the french onion soup at Paris' buffet.
    You can write anything you want in a trip report, knock yourself out. However, employing that newfangled technology called "Shift-Caps Lock" on some of your letters would make it easier to read. That's all.
     
  6. JoeVegas

    JoeVegas Low-Roller

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    Nice report Kitson. Your report confirms to me why I'd never want to stay at the Strat. Sounds like you had a good time and did pretty well too....which always makes less than desirable accommodations a bit more tolerable.

    Thanks for sharing.

    JoeVegas
     
  7. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    wednesday morning rolled around, this was to be our highlight day of the trip, and i think it was, though all the days were good.

    Wednesday morning rolled around, this was to be our highlight day of the trip, and I think it was, though all the days were good.

    thatjustdidnotdoverymuchmoreformesorrybutithinkitistheendofthe pissingmatch

    checked out of the stratosphere, took a cab over to the rio, and were very graciously checked into our free room in the masquerade tower with a pool view by 8:15 am. grabbed a couple of coffees and pastries from the little shop by the masquerade elevators, and out to our second cab ride of the day over to the las vegas convention center, for their gourmet food and kitchen show. toured the show, placing orders for candies and nuts and salsas and kitchen gadgets to sell in our store, found some great items that will be profitable, and as importantly, these items will be unique to our area and that helps define our store to our customers.

    about 3 pm, we were done with the show, and made our way over to the las vegas hilton, first order of business was to pick up our tickets for the Bryan Adams concert, row 8, center aisle! then, in a las vegas first for us, with time to kill, decided to go down to quarks bar and have one of the star trek theme drinks. never had done it in 20 or more trips, and will probably never do it again, but had some sort of concoction that resembled a long island ice tea on earth, and wife some fruity beverage. did cost us twenty bucks with tip, but that was expected, and now we can say we did it. the decor is cool, and i can see where a trekkie would go nuts over the place. after we beamed up to the main casino, made our way over to the race book, but decided to get a free drink by playing video poker at the bar there by the poker room and race book. put a hundred dollar bill into the quarter machine, and on the first hand hit four deuces, for a hundred dollars! that was fun! it took us a while to get our drinks, the bartender was busy making martinis for a group, and was demonstrating the difference between a paid for martini and a martini made for one of the video poker players to get free.after his demonstration, i opted for a sam adams, thought he couldnt short it, but it did get served in a pretty small glass for a beer! when i had played my machine down to about 160 dollars, and my wife had lost her twenty, we decided it was time to cash out. COINS STARTED DROPPING! until the machine went empty and needed a fill. i was one of the last holdouts, hating the ticket in ticket out systems, but this was just a reminder of how dirty coins are, and how long you wait for fills, and then hauling the buckets of quarters around looking for the change booth. anyway, had a good laugh about looking closer at the bar top machines.

    found an empty spot at a pai gow table with a ten dollar minimum, played for about an hour and won 5 bucks, then off to dinner at andiamos italian restaurant, where we had gotten reservations to while picking up our concert tickets, after not being able to get into the hilton steakhouse. will pick up at andiamos next time. thanks for reading.
     
  8. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    we had not made any dinner reservations, even though we knew we would be at the hilton that evening, because we really did not know when we would finish with the trade show and if there would be time between it and the concert, but since we had the time, tried to get steakhouse reservations,with no luck, and settled for andiamos italian restaurant, which sits back in the same area as the steakhouse, and may share the same kitchen facilities. we had eaten here before, we were not disappointed with it as a second choice.

    both of us had a salad, wife had shrimp with pasta dish, i had a veal t-bone steak, and we had a bottle of penfolds bin number such and such shiraz, for 38 dollars. total tab with tip was 155, service was good and not rushed at all, the place had filled up just a few minutes after we were seated at 6:30. i would return to andiamos again.

    on to the concert, row eight seats were great, we were just about eye level with the floor of the stage, maybe a little higher. this was more than i had ever paid for concert tickets, and with all the fees this show cost just as much as O... having seen bryan adams put on a two and a half hour show at a state fair a few years before, expected song after song, without a lot of theatrics, and that is exactly what this was, although the show lasted a little less than two hours, with bryan explaining that management limits their time, wanting us in the casino.

    when the showroom was filling, people started lining up at the stage, so i was relieved when security made them go back to their seats, still, the idea of a rock and roll concert with a totally seated audience? anyway, when the concert started, two young, large, and totally committed fans of bryan stood up in row 7, luckily about five seats down from us. at the start of the second song, the poor people behind these big girls tapped them on the shoulder and asked them to sit. they shook their heads no, flipped their hair, and faced back forward, clapping and singing every word, standing through the entire concert. the people behind them got up and moved for about 5 rows, and must have found somewhere else to sit, security never asked these girls to sit down. elsewhere in the audience, others stood for a song or two, then sat back down. i enjoyed the view of the people standing in front of us, in about row 5 or so, they sure could dance! if they had been up on stage as back up singers, i probably would have been watching them from a different profile.

    after a while, wife and i decided that a couple of ladies in the second row were miss july and august. they could qualify. the girls over in row 7 were also miss jusy and august, but for the iowa pork producers journal.

    must admit it was fun to watch the crowd, could see bryan and the band enough to not be annoyed, they were playing hit after hit. truly fun to be sitting there watching the audience and their behavior, and to have my wife helping point out the talent in the audience.

    tried to find a table to play at at the hilton after the concert, but that is just about impossible, and minimums had went up, so after a while looking it was back over to the rio for us, a really long day. played a few minutes on a multi strike machine, and hit two 4 of a kinds, but with the cost of playing four hands at once, and getting those quads on the first row and not the multipliers, probably cashed out a hundred up for that few minutes.

    off to bed, love the rio rooms, and the business part of the trip is over, with a full day and most of our departure day yet to go, just to shop and play!
     
  9. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    thursday morning up early and downstairs making the rounds of the progressive machines, both dollars and quarters. no big hits, but did not completely spend a hundred dollar bill at any machine, and would walk away a little ahead or a little behind from each attempt.

    stepped on something as i went to sit down at the machines near the race book, and bent over and picked upa beautiful turquoise and silver bracelet. if those were real stones, somebody would be just sick losing it. i found a security person, and he asked another, and pretty soon they decided to take it to the main security desk. hopefully the person who lost it gets it back. having done my good deed for the day, i thought for sure the vp supreme being would reward me with a royal, but she would only give me 4 legs of it, many times today.

    we went out to get on the shuttle over to caesars just after 10 am. not knowing if we had just missed it or if it would be next, when the shuttle to ballys showed up, we decided to get on it, and then walk from balys to caesars. it was funny, because everyone sitting out there, in three different lines, must have thought the same. even worse were the group with walkers and canes who came out of the casino as the rest of us were waiting for the bus to empty. this bunch had no idea where the shuttle was going, but by gawd they were going to be on it. if a person wanted to kidnap a bunch of senior citizens, a shuttle bus would be the really easy way to do it, they see it, it must be for them! our bus driver reminded me of Roz, on Night Court, and just gave everyong that raised eyebrow look, and said this shuttle is going to ballys, is that where everyone wants to go? apparently so, though i think most of them had not really made a conscious decision.

    off the shuttle, throught he side door at ballys, down through that sunken bar area right in front of the door, who designed that, anyway? right turn, out the door and on the moving walkways out. that is really pretty and well maintained out there, and would not have known how it looks out there if we had waited for the caesars shuttle. i went to the race book at caesars, while my wife, who i thought was going to the forum shops, went playing video poker. each bet i was given a drink card, but there were no cocktail waitresses working the race book, so by the time wife joined me, i had four drink cards. the waitress showed up at noon, and when we ordered coffee with amaretto, started us instead with some baileys, and then the irish car bombs. she was having fun breaking us in on these coffee drinks, and was taking a real liking to my wife, which was very interesting for me! in retrospect, probably should have went and made some more bets, and had some more coffee drinks, but instead decided to head for the forum shops, do our gift buying for the kids, and have lunch.

    by default, would up having lunch at cheesecake factory, as always huge portions, and really the only meal we had all day. a few moments after we had ordered, before the food came, the hostess was trying to seat a party of seven at the 6 spot table next to us. upon seeing the situation, did my second good deed of the day, which really wasnt much, and said, why dont we move over one chair, and you can take this little two spot and slide it over? just made sense, and relieved the very tired party of 7 next to us. the hostess thanked us, and said the dessert was on her! so we were rewarded for a good deed, and i got to have my key lime cheesecake, though i should have had the sense to have the fresh strawberries like my wife did.

    found a way too expensive corvette t shirt for our son at the exotic car shop just outside of the cheesecake factory, and then a pair of shoes for the daughter a little farther down the mall. nailed both gifts, which is always nice, both were very happy with the presents. back through the casino, gambling a little on the way, no big hits but i am enjoying caesars more and more as i get older...

    shuttle to the rio, and another first for us, finally made our way up to the voodoo lounge. another been there, done that for me. i am sorry, but the doorman at the second floor elevator entrance at 5 pm, thats a little overdone. the elevator ride up, with the glass walls, that is a trip, and though i dont like heights very well, was fun. went out on the roof of the rio, had two gin and tonics, 18 dollars for two drinks in plastic go cups. sat on the old furniture they have out on the roof, looked out over las vegas, this really would be spectacular at night, but the roof area itself was not that clean, it was about 95 on the roof, and we were glad to go back inside. inside the voodoo, seating is pretty worn, the a/c was actually too cold, and we just did not want another overpriced drink, so back down we went, it was ok, but was underwhelming to us. when we got off the elevator, both of us just automatically headed for the tilted kilt, making a little joke about wings and breasts, but they did not have the wing special anymore...so we just had a beer, and looked at the decor. wife was trying to decide which female body type worked best in kilts and knee socks, and all i could do is try to help her with her decision and add my input about the little tied off blouses.

    rest of the night was just more vp and a few more drinks, the length of trip was just perfect, did not have to feel like we had to stay out late to get our quota of fun, and probably we were asleep by 11, and not regretting going to bed early.
     
  10. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    friday, up and down to the casino, had a couple amarettos and coffee, hit a trifecta on one of the first races of the day for 194 dollars, and made the last try at the progressives at the rio, with no luck. up to room, check out via the tv. total charges...none. i dont know what our coin in is per day at the rio, but the offers they send us for free rooms make sure that i do play when we take advantage of their offer!

    bags to the bell desk, we have to catch a taxi about 330 for the airport, and then we walk on over to the palms, skipping the gold coast this time. other times, we have played quite a bit at the gold coast, and have never gotten any offer from the coast properties, at all. (am getting some stuff from south coast, because of an internet signup), but never from play.

    walked in the door of the palms, and first table is a 10 dollar pai gow table, so i am there for the next hour and a half. lots of drinks, lots of play, and very little in terms of win or loss, but lots of fun. pai gow is just so social, with everyone pulling for each other to win. just a very good vibe at the palms this trip.

    wife pulled me from the table, and we went and had our meal of the day at the coffee shop. her breakfast, me a patty melt, service ok, price what you would expect for a coffee shop in the newer properties. wife had had some luck at video poker, so i asked her to show me the best machines, and we played some more. i hit a four of a kind on a dollar machine for 250, and had some other little wins, and both of us hit a little on the quarter machines right by the front door just before we left, so ended on a good note.

    cashed in, back to the rio, and sat in the race book for about an hour, counted the cash, and had the same amount as when we had gotten in the room on monday night after the royal and the other 800. so we had played for four more days, paying cash for all meals, drinks, etc. and had covered those costs!

    when we got home late that night, counted up, and came home 935 dollars ahead of where we had left, with only about 70 dollars of kids gifts, and 32 dollars for parking the car at the airport on the credit card. it was one of our nicest trips, and today called the travel agent and started the process for the august markets. we have to buy air early, and probably get at least two nights room with the package, but if we get free room offers in the mail later, we dont have to stay in the booked rooms!

    positive we will not stay at the stratosphere again.

    positive we will eat at commanders palace again.

    positive we will see another show at the hilton, love the hilton theater.

    next trip, hope to play more pai gow, and lots of video poker, and either go see ka, or the new beatles cirque show. part of the fun is the planning, maybe a good concert will get scheduled during our next planned stay!
     
  11. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

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    Seems the VP gods were nice to you. Good job on the trifecta, too. Glad you and wife had a great and profitable trip.

    Is construction complete at the Hilton? I haven't been over there in quite some time... Good to hear you liked the Hilton theatre, I'm planning to get tickets for my mom and I to see Reba in July.
     
  12. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    noticed no construction anywhere at the hilton, things actually looked very familiar in the casino and restaurant row area, they had moved the players club into the box office space and some minor moves, but not really any noticeable change.

    yes, i really do like the theatre. we have seen brooks and dunn, the smothers brothers, and now bryan adams there, the sound is great, the seats are comfortable, in contrast to the seats in the paris where we will rock you was put on, and temperature was comfortable.

    as far as the behavior of concert fans, i sort of have mixed feelings. the younger crowd sees music videos with concert footage and thinks that is the way to act, but when i have paid over 200 dollars for the seats for two of us, i was just glad the two really wide rude girls were not right in front of us. i think there is probably a different set of behaviors for a show in a showroom, vs. at the multipurpose arena at the county fair...
     
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