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Surprise Birthday Trip 1/21-1/26

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by trentslori, Jan 31, 2010.

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  1. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    This trip started on Christmas Day, when I unwrapped three very special boxes. The first box had a certificate in it good for time-off work that had already been pre-approved by the boss. Second box had a certificate good for round-trip airfare to Vegas! And the third had a certificate good for 5 nights at the Encore!!!! And it was all for my 50th birthday which was fast approaching on January 21st. We were leaving on my birthday! Is that the best Christmas/birthday present ever??? Thank you my wonderful husband!

    It had been several years since we’ve been to Vegas. The last time we stayed at Planet Hollywood when they were still turning it into Planet Hollywood. They had finished remodeling the casino, but our room was still Aladdin. The time before that was almost nine years ago when we stayed at the Venetian and got married at The Little Chapel Of the Flowers. In other words, trips to Vegas had been way too far apart and no where near as plentiful as they should’ve been! :cry:

    Due to job situations, my husband & I are currently living in different cities, so this trip was even more special, we could spend five whole nights together! My husband had made our plane reservations such that we were each flying from our cities at 6am, meeting up in Detroit and flying together from there. “Meet Me In Detroitâ€â€¦.sounds like a romantic movie to me! :kiss: First pleasant surprise of the trip was the Detroit airport. What a cool terminal! Guess I’ve never flown through Detroit before, because I would’ve remembered that.

    Tried to figure out where husband’s flight was coming in, but it was confusing me, since his flight was supposed to be the same one we were taking to Vegas, yet it looked like he was coming in at the exact opposite end of the terminal that we were going out of? How could the same flight arrive and leave from two different gates? Uh, well, that’s how it turned out to be set up. Same flight number. Different planes. Which also meant that our together seat assignments that he had carefully selected when he made the reservation, no longer existed! Not a big deal, I know, but when time together is all-too-rare, every minute counts. Uh, Miss Airline Representative, is there any way you could find two seats anywhere on that big ole Airbus together for us? Please? Actually, we’re overbooked, and looking for a volunteer to take the next flight in 3 hours for a $300 voucher. How about TWO volunteers? Sure, we’ll put you both on the list, and let’s make it $400 vouchers. Score! We were both starving anyway. It’s still early in the morning. We’re thinking, leisurely breakfast, maybe some exciting tram rides around the cool Detroit airport, and make $800 before we even get to Vegas? Sounds like a winning plan to us! We sit and wait, and wait, people keep getting on the crowded plane, fingers crossed. Then, wouldn’t you know it… last second, ON they tell us to go, and no we don’t get to sit anywhere near each other either. Me, a middle seat in row 9. Poor husband stuck with the window seat in the very back row near the bathroom. And, we hadn’t been able to grab something to eat before the long flight, since we’d had to stay by the gate to see if we were getting bumped. Bye-bye $800 worth of vouchers that would’ve come in really handy with us living in different cities right now, but, at least she tried for us, and we thanked her for it. Tried to tell myself we didn’t want to use too much luck before we even got to Vegas! This must mean BIG things were going to happen IN Vegas…yeah, that’s it!
     
  2. KimberlyJ

    KimberlyJ Low-Roller

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    Wow, what a great birthday/christmas present. I can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip!
     
  3. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    WOW that is so cool how he presented the gift in three boxes, it starts out good, gets better and gets EVEN BETTER!!!!

    sounds like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks can play your parts in the movie: "Meal-less in Detroit"....or could it be Clark and Ellen Griswold?!!?!? Were there two empty seats and did he arrive at Encore with a blue pant leg due to his "pen breaking"???:poke:

    can't wait to read the rest!
     
  4. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    Yes kimberlyj...awesome present...I'm a lucky gal!

    And BeeeJay...LOL!
     
  5. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    So, Thursday January 21st, we arrive in Vegas at 10am from the East Coast. I’m happy that I’ll get 3 extra hours to officially turn 50, as I was born at 7:30 at night, so I’m not 50 yet! :nono: Luggage retrieval took a bit of time, but as long as it actually arrives, who is gonna complain? Not me! Out to catch a cab and it is POURING in Vegas. :eek: I don’t think I’ve ever seen rain in Vegas before. They were nice enough to move the cab line, so we could wait under cover. Short wait, and we got a very nice cab driver to take us to the Encore. He told us they were having record rain. More rain that week than they had all of last year! Sure enough, there was deep water on the roads. Felt sorry for others I met later in the day who had arrived a few days before, were leaving today, so it had rained the whole time they were there...how sad!

    Arrived at the Encore, expecting to have to drop off bags and check-in later, but there was no line and they didn’t make us wait to check-in, even though it wasn’t even noon yet. Score! They gave us a room on the 23rd floor, which I know isn’t considered ideal, being a lower floor, but we were just happy to get a room already. Up we go, and the room is gorgeous! No visible clue whatsoever that we were about to uncover a BIG hidden problem! Now, we are not the unpacking kind of people, because our trips are usually short ones, but 5 whole nights in this glorious suite meant hanging things up and putting others in drawers. How nice to have more than just a couple hangars like most hotels. Not to mention they're real hangars, not the strangely-affixed-to-the-rod kind like most hotels. Get everything put away…settling in nicely...

    (cue warning ominous music that I wish we could’ve heard)

    Now, time to check out this killer-looking bed. (I know, I know, this is Vegas, much to do and see, but we haven’t seen each other in 3 weeks). :eek: Pull back the sheets, and hmmmmmmm, does this side of the bed feel wet to you? Uh, yes. Pull up the sheet, and it’s soaking wet! Dear God, let that be from just water, okay? Call Housekeeping. They said someone would be right up. Sure enough, ten minutes later, Kim shows up and confirms that we are not imagining that the whole right side of the mattress is soaking wet. Now, what to do about it? Replace the mattress is her diagnosis. And a new room for us. Talk to the front desk, and we are moved to the 51st floor…room 5120! Score for a better view! Darn though…why did we have to be such fast unpackers? Time to re-pack and move it on up like the Jeffersons! Kim offered to get us help if we wanted it (we declined), and also told us to call her later for turndown service and she would take care of us. What a sweet gal! And kudos to the front desk for whatever magic they were able to pull, so that we didn’t even have to run down and get new card keys. Our room card key worked for our new room.

    Up we went, and what a view! Wow! To the left was the golf course. Awesome view of the strip, and over to the right, snowy mountains! Best view we’ve ever had in Vegas. Time to re-unpack. (but not before making sure this mattress was dry). The suite looked the same as the previous one. Truly beautiful. Gotta love the bedside controls for the lights, drapes, and privacy! Our room was right by the elevator, so we weren’t sure if we would hear much noise, but I’m pleased to report that we heard almost no noise at all our whole stay. It’s an extra good thing that it was such a nice room, because I ended up hanging out in it way more than I expected. But that was days later. Meanwhile, it’s time for some Vegas fun!
     
  6. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    Now the original plan was to go to Mesa Grille for a Bobby Flay burger for my birthday lunch. But with the heavy rain, we decided this would be a perfect day to stay dry and hang out in our lovely home-away-from-homes (plural on purpose as we are living in 2 different cities). Last time we were in Vegas, we had just enough time at Wynn to know we wanted to come back (buffet lunch and a couple hours in the casino), and Encore certainly hadn’t even existed at that point. So it was all new to us! Down we go, pondering why there are no 40 floors in the Encore. Elevator buttons go from 39 to 50. So our 51st-floor-room must be really on the 41st floor? Or are there other missing floors? Does anyone know WHY there are no 40-numbered floors? Is it a superstitious thing that I’ve never heard of? We still do not know the answer to this question, so I would love it if anyone knows!

    Starving, we decide to do the Wynn buffet. Years ago we thought it was great, so with high hopes, we head straight for it. No line at all…is that a good sign or a bad sign? $47 will see! (resort credit that came with the room special covered $25 of it anyway). Loved it! Just as good, if not better than we remembered. Biggest hit for me was a sea bass dish with bok choy topped with a spicy, creamy sauce. Husband really enjoyed the imported meats and cheeses, especially a cheddar that had mustard & beer in it. I think between the two of us, we tried a little bit of almost everything. And those tiny desserts are deceptive. Very filling and rich for such tiny things!

    Stuffed, we moved on to exploring our gorgeous resorts. First stop was to get our Red Cards. We had gotten them on the last trip. Would they be able to find us again? Yep! Unfortunately, that meant we wouldn’t get $10 credit for signing up though, although she did give me $10 credit to use for my birthday! Nice Red Card Gal also pointed out to me that my drivers’ license had now expired. Yikes! I swear I just got it not that long ago.

    Now it’s casino time! Okay, before anyone gets too excited, I must explain that we’re low-rollers. Very low. Sorry! The goal is always to play for as long as possible without losing much, and hopefully winning. (DUH, isn’t that everyone’s goals?) :rolleyes2: I’ve always been a Blackjack gal who plays by three rules: 1) Must be a friendly dealer
    2) Must be a fun table and 3) Must not lose much before moving on

    I also enjoy Let It Ride if I can find a table that has my basic rules, plus one more…4) Can’t have more than 3 other players.

    As for machines, I’ve never had luck with slots, so I usually avoid them. Oddly enough, I had better luck with the slots I did play on this trip then ever, and certainly better then my blackjack or let it ride luck. I had sworn before going that I would learn about video poker and try for some of those quads and other exciting things I hear about here, but I just never got into it.

    Armed with a red card with a bit of credit on it, we checked out the machines. I found a penny Wizard of Oz that looked like fun. Being the slot idiot I am, I couldn’t figure out how to do the credit thing. (you have to put money in for it to work, hmmmm suspicious!) Anyway, a nice guy came over and helped me out, without even making me feel like the slot idiot that I know I am. How friendly is that? :thumbsup: Lady sits down next to me. I get nowhere with my free credit, nor my own money, both of which miraculously disappear down the yellow brick road. So, why did I even keep playing it? Because the lady next to me was getting flying monkeys right and left, and I wanted a flying monkey too! It was my birthday, it only seemed fair. Alas, I give up my flying monkey wish for now, telling myself it was just as much fun to watch that lady win lots and lots right next to me. :rolleyes2: Sigh. That’s okay, I’m really a blackjack gal anyway. :Þ

    One thing we spotted quickly was a sign for the $100,000 giveaway that the Wynn and Encore were doing on Sunday morning. We got very excited about that, since we would still be there Sunday. Surely many people would be leaving that day, so maybe our odds would be decent? So, how to enter it? We found out you had to win to enter. If you got a blackjack, the dealer would give you an entry card to fill out. So, it was time to win! Leaving husband with the slots, I went in search of the right table. Check rules 1, 2 & 3…here’s my first table! Had some good birthday blackjack fun with some fun people. Many thanks to the father with two sons & the other guy who were leaving the next day, had racked up some entry cards, and were kind enough to give them to me! I did win one by myself, but wasn’t having much luck. But I had HOPE. $100,000 Giveaway hope!

    Wish I could say that I ended gambling on birthday day up, but sadly, it was not to be. However, considering how long I played, it was not-badly-spent entertainment dollars, and I now had a good little stack of hopeful giveaway entry cards!

    Later that night, after the Wynn buffet had worn off, and needing something to soak up all the “free†wine I’d had and the “free†drinks Husband had, we went to the Pizza Place between the hotels. They had a special of one slice of pizza with a side of salad or fries for just $7.95. I had salad and he got fries. Very good! Fries had garlic & cheese on ‘em…yum! (calories don’t count on your birthday, or when you’re in Vegas, right?)

    I don’t know if it’s the aging process, the time-zone difference, or a combination, but this Birthday Gal is pooping out early. Much to Husband’s glee, however. There was one comfy suite waiting for us on the 51st (really 41st?) floor!
     
  7. Thor

    Thor Beer Drinker

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    the 40 floors thingy has to do with asian beliefs. i think that the word for four is like the word for death or something similar.

    great report so far!!!:beer::beer::beer:
     
  8. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    I had heard about the "4" thing, but didn't realize it carried over into the forties as well. Interesting. Thanks Thor!
     
  9. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Great TR so far

    marvelous present you received!!

    looking forward to the rest of the TR
     
  10. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    Thanks VegasDiva!
     
  11. trentslori

    trentslori Tourist

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    DAY 2

    Wake up in our beautiful suite…it’s still the beginning of our trip…life is GOOD! Rain has stopped. It’s time to explore! Showers & Clothes and we’re on our way, with a goal of making it by lunchtime to Mesa Grill for the Bobby Flay burger I have been craving for YEARS. It’s still fairly early though, so we stop at the Pizza Place again for a little something to tide us over. The egg/cheese/bacon croissant looked good to us. We order just one to share. I didn’t want anything to get in my burger-lovin’-way later, so I cut a small piece of it for me, took a small amount of the fried tater pieces that came with it, and let Husband have at the rest of it. What a delicate, flaky and delicious croissant…very fresh! With my husband’s giant cup of coffee, and my big glass of iced tea, we’ve got a good caffeine start for the day.

    On we go, and we’re outside for the first time in almost 24 hours. I get to see the Palazzo for the first time. They sure build giant buildings fast around here! Gorgeous! How about that giant Tiger? Best tiger EVER. Through the Venetian shops we go. Italy has always been my dream destination, which is why we stayed at The Venetian when we got married. So, once again, this is as close to Italy as I’ve ever been, so it is fun to do a little shopping. But first, we are about to succumb to the lure of the gondolas. We had wanted to do a gondola ride after we got married, but it was way too crowded and we couldn’t get on. Other trips, we’ve been content to dine on the patio of the Mexican restaurant on the canal, which is right where many of them stop and sing to their passengers. This morning, there’s nobody waiting, so why not? Did we want to pay $64 and guarantee a gondola to ourselves? No thanks, we’ll take our chances, since, uh…no one else is here.

    Sure enough, it’s a miracle! We get a gondola all to ourselves. Daniella is our singer/driver, and she is so friendly and informative and truly has the voice of an Angel! Right before we’re parked back at the gate, she breaks into the most beautiful version of Happy Birthday for me…truly special…it meant a lot! (nice tip for smart Daniella)

    Hint: you can negotiate with the photo people. They do have “dealsâ€. And now we have a bag with a fairly large photo to tote around. Oh well, at least it’s light.

    I am not the shopping-type, but something starts stirring in me. Perhaps there are subliminal messages throughout these Venetian shops? I, who almost never buy jewelry, found myself wearing a new necklace and earrings. Maybe it is because there’s a little Italian kiosk with pretty yet quite inexpensive things? Maybe it is because I’m surrounded by very expensive pretty things that I know I can’t have, so it’s nice to find something I CAN have? Okay, that’s how I end up with a new Italian purse as well. Looking at bag after bag that are hundreds of dollars, and here’s one that’s only $89? And it’s on sale for $68? It’s the last black one you have in that style? I MUST get it then, huh?

    By now, Husband has purchased something from the Magic shop too, so he decides, since we are “so close†to our hotel, that we should run everything back to the room, so we don’t have to carry everything all day. Okay, but I’m not feeling the “so close†factor like you are, Honey. Oh, you’ll run it back for us, while I get to look around these fancy shops some more? Now there’s a PLAN! More brownie points for you, Wonderful Husband! Thirty minutes later he is back, and I have a new inexpensive bracelet on my arm to go with the earrings and necklace. (made good use of my time alone)

    Out of the Venetian we go and onward to Caeser’s Palace, while I try very hard not to notice that Lying-Purse-Kiosk Gal has put out a black purse just like the one I purchased that was “the last oneâ€. I didn’t see that. Really. And if I had, maybe she meant, “last ones of the seasonâ€. Yeah. That’s it.

    We get to Caeser’s Palace and Mesa Grill is hopping on this Friday afternoon! It’s about 1:00, prime-lunchtime. We are told the wait is just ten minutes. Ten minutes is nothing when you’ve been waiting YEARS to get back here! Sure enough, ten minutes later, we’re at our table. Another ten minutes or so later, we get to order our burgers, along with a white peach margarita for me, and diet Coke for Husband. A basket of bread is dropped off at our table, with jalapeno bread, a small corn muffin, and one with raisins in it that I didn’t try. The jalapeno bread is fantastic. Corn muffin is much tastier than the one we’d had years ago, although it still falls apart like that one did.

    My margarita shows up and it is good. Maybe not quite as incredible as I had remembered, but certainly good. No diet Coke yet for Husband.

    Finally! The long wait is over, and we have our Bobby Flay burgers! (I will post a picture if it lets me). Waiter checks in just as Husband is taking a huge bite, so I ask about his diet Coke for him before Waiter runs off. Burger is wonderful and Southwestern fries very good. At some point, I have to sacrifice a bit of bun in order to be able to finish the burger. Needless to say, no room for dessert! It takes awhile to get the check and to pay it, but we’re in no hurry. (not charged for the diet Coke, by the way)

    Stuffed, it’s time to mosey on! Gotta walk off that giant burger! We’re thinking Planet Hollywood is a good place to go. Loved gambling there last time we stayed! My goodness it looks totally different from last time. Much younger feel in here. It’s loud and did I say, LOUD? And LOOK, now THERE’S a way to distract the guys while they’re playing at the tables…put an almost nekkid young thing up on a table dancing! :eek: Wouldn’t want those guys dozing off or paying attention to what they’re playing, now would you? Crap! This is the first time I’m really FEELING 50. I feel too old in here! :cry: Guess it’s a good thing we didn’t run into any of the young Miss America contestants too, or that might’ve done me in! When we stayed at Planet Hollywood a few years ago, it was during Miss America time also. I felt bad for them each time they went through the casino, because they were made to walk in single fashion, in alphabetical order!

    Time to see what all the City Center fuss is all about. Gee, I feel like I should need a cane to get there. On to City Center, and in we go, and the first thing we see is a really cool-looking restaurant. Of course, we’re not thinking about eating again, but we love to look at menus for possible future reference. We could not find the door to this restaurant! We walked all around it, and I’m not kidding, we could not see where people could go in this place! How WEIRD is that? Husband’s assessment of City Center: “I feel like I walked into an art museum where they haven’t hung the art yetâ€.

    So, screw you cool-looking restaurant. We don’t want to see your silly menu anyway. We’ll just go to Aria. It’s Friday afternoon and Aria is PACKED. And it’s LOUD in there. We walk around trying to get drawn into a table or to a machine or something, but neither of us feeling it. Husband said he feels the place is “confusing and disorientingâ€. Not quite sure what he means. It’s dark and loud and I think I would like to explore it more at some point, when it is not so darn crowded!

    For some reason, I kept thinking “New York New Yorkâ€, (see I’m not totally anti-loud) so we head down that way. I don’t believe I’ve ever played blackjack there before, but quickly findd a table that fit my rules, so I sit down and play with a friendly young couple from Ireland who were just learning the game. The dealer was helping them out and they were picking it up quickly. Actually managed to get up a bit, but the friendly couple started losing, so I left shortly after they did. The whole vibe of the table is changing…time to go before I give back what I gained. How fun to finally have a blackjack table I could win a few hands at! Got me a “free†lemon drop, too, which unfortunately is gross and disgusting, and nothing that resembles any lemon drop I’ve had before, but I drink it anyway, because it’s “freeâ€. What in the world did they put in that glass? It’s best not to know.

    Anyway, I have no idea why NY NY was calling to me. Surely it wasn’t for a few hands of blackjack. No machine is inviting me over. Time to keep going. Will never know. Husband wanted to make it to Chris Angel’s store at some point on this trip, and we were certainly getting close, so we hopped the tram to Mandalay Bay. I’ll be darned…another dancing-on-a-table young half-nekkid thing! I have to wonder, is this considered a good job or a bad job? How much does one get paid to do that? And would I have wondered any of these things when I was still 49? Is this what happens????

    Mandalay Bay is not happening today. I’m talking, hardly anyone here! We don’t need crazy loud and packed, but we don’t need desolate either. Let’s walk through the shops to Luxor. By now we’re in need of a sit-down, so happy hour at Giorgio’s has about ten minutes to go, we’ll stop at their pretty bar. Sit down, order a glass of their happy hour chardonnay for $5. Oh my gosh, I do believe it’s the worst glass of wine I’ve ever tried to drink. Rates right up there with the lousy lemon drop. But my Grandma taught me never to waste anything, so I drink the darn thing, thinking I would’ve been better off paying full price for something that tastes good, but at least we’re off our starting-to-get tired feet. Down some water too, to fend off dehydration. Friendly and sweet bartender, by the way…just stay away from that $5 wine! (and I’m used to cheap wine, so that’s not it). We sure are a long way from Encore-home…miles to go, must keep at it! :wave:
     
  12. Billy from TX.

    Billy from TX. Tourist

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    Enjoying the read. My wife and I are the types that have to be "feeling it" as well before we put any money in a machine or on a table, especially on the strip. Sounds like a good time so far. Looking forward to reading the rest.
     
  13. Blondie76

    Blondie76 Low-Roller

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    Enjoyable read. And what a sweet gift the way he gave it to you. I will have to peek at Day 2 later . Encore is so beautiful too. :)
     
  14. Blondie76

    Blondie76 Low-Roller

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    I have read day 2. I am enjoying your report a lot. Looking forward to your next installment. :)
     
  15. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    Thanks for the great report! Interesting look at Aria; I agree it is tough to judge when a place is packed.
     
  16. slotbonuschaser

    slotbonuschaser Tourist

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    I'm loving your review so far. I feel right there with you! We have always had that same philosophy - calories don't count when it's your birthday or in Vegas!!! Can't wait to read more.
     
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