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Suffering from post-Vegas depression (long)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by kgovegas, May 8, 2004.

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  1. This is my first trip report, so here goes...
    My boyfriend just returned on Thursday from our third trip to Vegas. We live in Michigan and flew Northwest nonstop and arrived on Sunday around 5pm. We stayed at the Flamingo this time. Checked in at the airport (there were only two people in line ahead of us) and the clerk upgraded us to a "junior suite". We received our keys at the airport, so we took a cab to the hotel and went directly to our room, I mean, junior suite. The room wasn't bad at all, especially since we only paid $75 a night. The junior suite consisted of a living room with separate bedroom. It wasn't much bigger than a normal hotel room, but the nice thing about was that there were no windows in the bedroom, which is great for people like us that sleep until noon or later. That's what vacation is all about! The bathroom was really small, with a tub and shower combo. I noticed that there was no plastic liner for the fabric shower curtain, which was a bit odd. They gave us lots of big, fluffy, white towels though.

    The Flamingo was a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be. There was brand new carpet in the hotel hallways with this funky bamboo pattern. The casino was clean, light, bright and not too smoky. Also, it was a short walk to get to the elevators to our room. I did notice that there was a HUGE line at the check-in counter. It must have been at least an hour wait. We were very happy that we checked in at the airport. There was also a long line all week at the Players club counter. They were giving away $20 in free slot play when you become a member.

    So now it's about dinnertime. We got a couple of drinks and started to wander down the Strip. Got drinks and did some gambling at Bally's and Paris and then headed over to Aladdin to hit the buffet we've heard so much about. The buffet was great, especially the sushi and Middle Eastern foods. I loaded up on sushi, shrimp cocktail, lamb and chicken shishkebob, hummus, and yummy peach crepes for dessert. I still think the Paris buffet is the best, but will definitely come back to this one.

    Next day, I hit the pool. The pool at the Flamingo is beautiful, but very crowded. If you have kids or a group of people, get there early or you won’t be able to find chairs together. The temperatures were is the high nineties while we were there, so I couldn’t stay in the sun very long. I did notice they were playing great music and there were plenty of cocktail waitresses.

    We made a big mistake with our dinner plans. We wanted to check out Treasure Island, or TI, because we heard that they had made a lot of changes and their theme has always been one of our favorites, so we decided to go to their buffet and try to catch the pirate show. First of all, what is up with their new sign? The old sign was awesome. Come on, how can you beat a skull and crossbones? And to replace it with a ubiquitous, candy colored sign with a huge video screen? My boyfriend called it “an abhorrent travesty that can not be forgivenâ€. He tends to be a little dramatic, but I had to agree with him on this one. The next thing I noticed was that they have removed the skull door handles from the doors and all other cool pirate style decorations. Two big thumbs down. On to the buffet. This was one of those times that I wish I would have done more research before blowing $20 on a crappy buffet. It was horrible and small. The salad bar consisted of lettuce, cucumber slices, croutons, and dressing, and you had to use one of the heated dinner plates for your salad, which really irritated me for some reason. I scoped out half of the buffet and it was depressing, but I had a whole other half, right? Wrong! It was just a duplicate of the first half. I really could not find anything edible here except for some chocolate raspberry mousse cake type thing (when a buffet is really bad I tend to take 3 or 4 different desserts and eat a little bit of each just to get my money’s worth). We were so upset over the sign and the buffet that we decided not to stick around for the Sirens of TI show.


    Plans tonight are to go to the Las Vegas Hilton to see the Borg Invasion at the Star Trek Experience. It was just okay. The old Klingon ride is actually better than the Borg Invasion. Luckily, you get a ticket to both attractions for $29.99. I did get the tar scared out of me by a Borg that was creeping up behind unsuspecting tourists. We like to stop at Quark’s Bar and get a crazy drink. I had a James Tea Kirk, a version of a Long Island Ice Tea, and my boyfriend had a Pattern Buffer, some sort of banana flavored concoction. Then it was on to some gambling in the Space Quest casino. This turned out to be one of those great nights of gambling that’s hard to duplicate. We sat down at two Big Bang Piggy Bankin machines and played for 5 hours. We had constant drink service from Debbie, and Rickie, the security guard, watched our machines while we went to use the restroom. We were up $500 between the two of us, but eventually ended up leaving with about $250. We had so much fun, though, I really didn’t care how much we left with. The Space Quest casino is cool because it’s small, so you get a lot of drinks, and they play music and videos on a big screen (lots of one hit wonders from the early 90’s, my favorite).

    Tuesday. I didn’t make it to the pool today because I was a little hung over from the night before. Okay, honestly, I didn’t think I was gonna make it for a while there, but lots of water and several Advil later and I was ready for more of the hair of the dog that bit me. We were able to catch the 3:30pm feeding of the tropical penguins in the hotel’s gardens. My boyfriend loves penguins, so it was very cool to have them right there at the hotel. We were going to go to the Tournament of Kings at Excalibur tonight, but because of our horrible meal at TI, we decided to splurge on a really good buffet and go back to the Space Quest casino for more Piggy action. Because almost every review I have read on this website and others says that the Bellagio buffet is the best, we decided to go for the first time. I can easily say that it is the most overrated buffet in Vegas. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe they were having an off night. It wasn’t that good. No, actually, it was bad. The dining room was small, badly organized and sparcely decorated, and completely lacked any intimacy. Also, the whole place smelled like fish. Not in a good way, but in a dirty fish market at the end of the day way. They did have interesting selections. I tried the sushi, prime rib, rack of lamb, mussels, and some different salads. Nothing was even close to as good as the Alladin or Paris buffets. My boyfriend, who’s a little more picky than me, ate fruit and cheese for dinner. We were both overwhelmed by the yucky fish smell. Desserts were so forgettable that I’ve actually forgotten what I had. It was truly awful. I guess I’ve learned that you can’t always trust other people’s opinions on this kind of stuff. Afterwards, we hit the casino, but of course, could not duplicate the luck we had the night before.

    Wednesday. We decide to spend some time at the south end of the Strip. We both woke up starving, so we went to the lunch buffet at Excalibur. We usually try to hit this buffet on every trip. It’s great for lunch because for $10 you can make yourself a big salad and have some dessert and call it a day. They also had some unusual things like a cold cut bar for sandwiches, a hot dog bar, and menudo, which is a Latin American stew made with tripe (and it’s supposed to be a great hangover helper). This food isn’t fancy schmancy, but it’s consistent and cheap. I would eat here before I eat at Bellagio again. We spent the rest of afternoon gambling at Mandalay Bay and Luxor, and ended up getting a slice of pizza at that little place in NYNY for dinner (accompanied by several frozen drinks from Coyote Ugly). We just couldn’t handle another huge meal. I think I like this end of the Strip the best. It seems like there’s more to do and everything’s closer together. There’s nothing worse than having to walk 2 miles back to your hotel after a long night of drinking and losing money.

    Thursday. Our plane leaves at 2:30pm, so we check out of our room and have brunch at the Flamingo buffet before leaving. It was pretty good. They had a great salad bar and lots of fruit, including ambrosia, and a full breakfast bar, smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels, Chinese, chicken fried steak, biscuits and gravy, pasta, a taco bar, and probably the biggest dessert buffet I’ve ever seen. Also, the atmosphere was very nice, overlooking the gardens with the penguins and pink flamingos. We’ll definitely do this one again.

    Now it’s time to leave and I start to get sad. But we had a horrible experience on the flight home. We usually leave at night, so this was our first time flying out during the day. I know the pilot usually circles the city at night so everyone can see the city, but I didn’t know they did that during the day too. So the plane takes off and my boyfriend, who is terrified of flying, realizes he’s forgotten to take his valium. We both notice that the plane is flying really low and seems to be making a circle. My boyfriend, the drama queen, asks me to hold his hand, and that’s when I start to panic too. We are still flying very low, and I can honestly say that this is the only time I’ve ever been scared on a plane. I really thought we were having some sort of major problem. Then, after circling over the city, we started to ascend. It wouldn’t have been so terrifying if the pilot would have clued us in on what he was doing. My boyfriend was sure that we were going to crash. What a hell of a way to end our trip!

    Well, I hope you enjoyed my first trip report. We did a lot more than this over four days, of course, but I tried to include things that might help other people plan their trips. Thanks a lot for all of the great tips and info. The one thing I’ve learned, though, is that you can’t always rely on other people’s opinions to help you plan. Everyone is looking for a different, unique Vegas experience. I LOVE Vegas and hope to visit at least once a year. Now I have to start planning our next trip: February 14, 2005 for my 30th birthday!


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  2. Soreyes

    Soreyes Tourist

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    Nice Trip report [​IMG]

    I have to admit that this is the first time that I have ever seen, Someone rank the Excalibur Buffet over the one at Bellagio. But then no matter how fancy a buffet may be. The odor of bad fish would also make me wonder :eek: :D
     
  3. kgovegas

    kgovegas Guest

    It's all just a matter of taste, I guess. I certainly wouldn't rank Excalibur's buffet over Paris or Alladin, or even Main Street Station or the Orleans. One way I rank a buffet is if they have the makings of what I call a "Vegas salad"-iceberg lettuce, bacon bits, chopped eggs, and ranch dressing. Don't ask me why, but it's something I always crave when I'm in Vegas, especially after a long day/night of drinking. As a side note, I've been a cook for 6 years at a very reputable restaurant in Michigan. I don't consider myself a food snob, though, I appreciate good comfort food every once in a while. I also choose buffets over sit-down restaurants in Vegas because I think they are part of the whole Vegas experience. I am going to splurge on my next trip, however, and eat at more fancy schmancy restaurants. Thanks for the positive feedback!
     
  4. JulieG

    JulieG Tourist

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    Hey what restaurant do you work at? I live in the Detroit area.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Buffet, buffet, buffet... I needed half a roll of Tums to get through this report. ;)

    Seriously, nice report, esp. for the bits on the Trop room and the LV Hilton. Granted Bellagio is one of only two buffets I've hit in Vegas, but I think you must have hit them on an off night.
     
  6. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    This is a first - someone opting for the Excalibur buffet over Bellagio! I don't get it, but that's one reason this board is here, to allow everyone their opinions. We're not all alike in our tastes in food, lodging, entertainment, etc.
     
  7. kgovegas

    kgovegas Guest

    Hey Julie! I work in Ann Arbor at a place called Zingerman's. The Food Network just named us one of the top five delis in the world. We emphasize locally grown, seasonal produce and artisinal cheeses, meats, olive oils, vinegars...You should stop in sometime!
     
  8. LVDreaming

    LVDreaming Guest

    Thanks for the report. Always nice to hear another person's take on Vegas. As far as the show at TI, you didn't miss a thing. I saw it in March and thought it was ridiculous. So did you win a lot?
     
  9. kgovegas

    kgovegas Guest

    I was up $300 for the first 2 days, and then, of course, they got all that and more back from me. I'm glad I didn't miss anything good by missing the Sirens of TI!
     
  10. LearningVegas

    LearningVegas Tourist

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    ....

    About Treasure Island:

    I kind of enjoyed staying there without ever seeing the old skull-and-crossbones sign. I saw a picture of it later in a book, and I was really surprised a major hotel had a sign like that. It carries all kinds of connotations, from poison labels to Nazi death camps, and I would have felt uneasy going in past a sign like that. Just another perspective, possibly explaining some of the reasoning behind their changing the sign...

    I wasn't impressed with the buffet either, but I did find something extraordinary in the dessert section. Ever heard of flan? The Mexican custard topped with caramel sauce? Usually it's served on a plate, but at the Treasure Island buffet it was served in HUGE portions in bowls. I couldn't even tell what it was because it was topped with so much whipped cream, but when I found out what it was I was delighted. As a flan lover, I wouldn't hesitate to go back again...

    [ May 26, 2004, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: LearningVegas ]
     
  11. TonyV

    TonyV Tourist

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    Thanks for your trip report as I'm contemplating on staying at the Flamingo when I go in October.

    Like the others on this board you must of hit the Bellagio buffet on an off night because I've been to both and still think that Bellagio buffet is in the top 5 of all buffets in Vegas.

    Too bad you live so far as I'd say if you're ever near downtown Detroit let me know and I'd like to spend some time with you at one of the Detroit casinos, you sound like a lot of fun. If you can leave the boyfriend at home let me know and I'll meet you at Greektown or MGM.


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  12. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Good Grief!

    Are you effin' kiddin' me? In an earlier post you're exhorting people not to gamble and now you're saying that the Treasure Island skull and bones makes you uncomfortable because it reminds you of Nazi death camps???

    That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but when I read this I dang near fell out of my chair. Do all of the flowers at Bellagio remind you of a graveyard? Do the Centurions at Ceasars remind you of the brutality of the Roman Empire???

    Dude, get a life.

    Mikey
     
  13. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    ROTFL!

    mikey, you made my day, i fell off the chair laughing at your comments.. bravo!

    [ May 28, 2004, 08:34 AM: Message edited by: tvon ]
     
  14. Dougie

    Dougie I am IN!

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    Well, Mikey, I don't very much like the Orleans because my granpappy had his hand eaten off by a crockagator. Never could golf again and the wooden prosthetic kept getting mashed...

    Not to mention the evil clowns at Circus Circus or the mimes at Paris. Boy oh boy don't get me started down that stories road.

    [ May 28, 2004, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: bazootch ]
     
  15. LearningVegas

    LearningVegas Tourist

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    ....

    Mikey, you actually seem proud of either your ignorance or your desensitization. It's probably the former, since I doubt you'd find my aversion to swastikas anywhere near as funny.

    The SS "Death's Head" regiments, which ran the camps, used the skull-and-crossbones symbol. And no one else in history has ever used that symbol with good intentions, except to warn of some kind of danger.

    If that's just a personal concern of mine, I still hope the new sign won't bother anyone, including the original poster. It has an odd shape, but it's a masterpiece compared to most other Vegas signs.


    About flowers, no, they don't remind me of a funeral, because there are other obvious meanings to flowers. H.L.Mencken had an amusing comment that parallels your own, but I won't burden you...


    About Caesars Palace, I find it fascinating for a variety of reasons. I have a compelling interest in Roman history, one of those ridiculous non-gambling interests of mine, so Caesars gets me thinking in lots of different directions. I think a normal person who saw the buildings and statues would think at the very least of power, and perhaps of brutality, but there are other things to think about as well.

    Some of their web literature states that Caesars Palace was built to "evoke the decadence of ancient Rome." Is it permissible to think about decadence there, and perhaps not to emulate it? Or do I just have to shut up, guzzle a beer, and lose more money?


    BTW, I have a life, thank you.


    And thanks to you and Bazootch for some amusing comments. I hesitate to say you guys are great, but I enjoyed reading them. I just can't take them as the last word on anything. I hope you understand.

    [ May 28, 2004, 04:25 PM: Message edited by: LearningVegas ]
     
  16. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Aversion to swastikas?? Are you kidding me? That's what you think of when you see a skull and cross bones?

    Man, I've been to Treasure Island dozens of times...I've never seen any swastikas there.

    I've been to several Jimmy Buffett concerts over the years, raise the Jolly Roger every time I go sailing, and have wandered by the old Treasure Island sign hundreds of times...Perhaps I am desensitized the the skull & crossbones--LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE FRICKIN WORLD!!!

    And since you asked--yeah, we really would like it if you would just shut up, guzzle a beer, and lose some money.

    Mikey
     
  17. YoungGun

    YoungGun VIP Whale

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    The skull and bones symbol or "Jolly Roger" was actually first used by the Knights Templar, a group of French monks. Similarly, the swastika was a religious symbol to Buddhists, Hindus, and Native Americans way before it was used to represent the Nazi party.

    I'm pretty certain that the TI retheming had more to do with MGM Mirage wanting a "hip" casino. I never thought about the Jolly Roger/Nazi SS connection before. Personally, I think that's stretching it a bit since TI was obviously going for pirates rather than Nazism. However, I'm not one to judge since I don't know your situation and why you react to the sign the way you do. That being said, I know that in a lot of cultures a skull and bones would not be considered a sign of good luck. Not because of any association with German facists, but just because it is a reminder of death and our own mortality. So, it could be entirely possible that public pressure had a part in the decision to change the sign. It would not the be the first time this has happened in Las Vegas. MGM changed their lion because it was considered bad luck to walk into the mouth of a giant fake lion in certain cultures. Silly as that belief may sound, if it's costing them customers, why not change it? That's just good ole' American capitalism.

    Anyways, I prefered the old TI sign as well.
     
  18. TSMODIE

    TSMODIE Newbie

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    Ok, I was'nt going to reply, but i feel I have to. My great, great, great, great, great, great, great,great grandfather was Captain Henry Morgan, one of the most powerful pirates to live. At one point he was in charge of over 6000 buccaneers. It is true, he did few "not so nice" things in his life, but we are very proud of him anyways. Every generation, the eldest male would have his right hand removed, and a utensil installed in its place out of the love we had for this man. I was the youngest of three, and both my brothers chickened out, so I steppped up to continue the tradition. Grandpappy was a family man, but did'nt spend a whole lotta time at home. He took care of his family always. He got most of his reputation protecting his ill-gotten booty, or as Hawkeye would say, "ill-booten gotty. He was taken to England from Jamaica after the war with Spain ended, to stand trial for his war crimes, but was instead knighted by the King. Hmmmmmm, did they know something we did'nt? He then was appointed to the highest government position in Jamaica. Way to go gramps. He thouroughly loved his Grog, and I think that was a problem with grandma, because she soon disappeared in Jamaica. If gramps were still alive today, I think he would enjoy Treasure Island in Vegas, ALTHOUGH, he probably would try, and probably succeed, in taking it over. But don't worry, he was very generous with the grog and with his bounty, so it would'nt be like Harrahs. I have tried for 10 yrs to have a boy, but without success,so I am hoping that one of my girls will eventually see to it the tradition is carried on. Actually, we found another of gramps stashes, and i had enough to have my new appendage platinum plated. And my oldest daughter saw it, and commented it would look cool with a little diamond in it. I looked at her stearnly and said, "Real Pirates Would'nt Be Caught Dead On The Strip With A Wimpy Diamond In Their Hook". Geeeessshhh. She then said, "I WOULD". I then a tear rolling down my cheek, though I wiped it quick so no one would see.
    Im soory this took so long to type, but you understand. Just my oppinion, Tsmodie
     
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