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"Surprise" Trip Report 6/14-6/16

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by SlowRoller, Jun 20, 2007.

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  1. SlowRoller

    SlowRoller Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Sorry, this is long and no pictures. We took the camera but kept forgetting it in the room. Kept thinking "I need pics for a trip report, don't forget it". Doh.

    The story begins Grammy night. My wife is a big Sting fan and she didn't want to miss seeing the Police perform on the Grammy broadcast. We popped into the show about 30 minutes after it started and of course they opened the show with Roxanne. Missed it. So the next day I find it on Youtube and send her the link. Wife's happy so I get a crazy idea that we should go to the Police concert. I've always loved their music and she's got a crush on Sting so why not. Why is this a 'crazy' idea? Well, we've been married for almost 8 years and have never been to a concert together. I actually haven't gone to a concert since the day I met my wife back in 1993. But I got very excited about the idea until I noticed the Oakland show was a) outside (yuck) and b) midweek. We live two hours from Oakland and have a 4 year old and then 7 month old. Midweek would be difficult. Then I notice they were playing at MGM on a Friday night. The light bulb goes on and I had a mission. Oh, I also decided to make the whole trip a surprise for my wife.

    Let's fast forward a bit. I nabbed some tickets, booked a room at Planet Hollywood using a code found on this message board (Thanks, Hoya), booked a car and got some plane tickets. Depart Friday 6/15 and return 6/17. Waaay too short but I knew my wife wouldn't want to leave the young one for any longer. I talk to my wife's boss and get her the day off. All is set except for minor details (research stuff on T2V) and keeping the secret for 2+ months.

    June 14th comes and when my wife gets home from work, I'm home as are my parents ready to watch the kids. Surprise, go pack your bags... we're leaving at 7AM tomorrow.

    June 15th I call US Air when I woke up and got an upgrade to first class. Figured we'd get there in style at least. We head off to the airport and at the check in counter we are asked Vegas or Phoenix. When I said Vegas, my wife said "OMG, we're going to Vegas". Surprise!!! They call out for first class passengers to board, I say "Let's Go"... Surprise!!! She's very excited at this point but she has no clue what's in store.

    Flight's a bit bumpy at the end but no big deal. We get our bags and head to the rental car shuttle. Zero wait for the shuttle and when we sit down I realize the guy sitting across from us is Richard Brodie. See this link:

    http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28096&referrerid=5868

    I tell my wife all about him and his problems with Harrah's and such. She seemed more surprised that some ex-Microsoft gazillionaire takes shuttle buses to rent a car. Anyway, Alamo had a huge line and I booked with a Costco discount that said I had to show my card at the counter. UGH!!! We get in line and I decide to give the kiosk a shot. A few minutes later we're on our way to the parking lot to pick up the car. Phew. That line would have sucked.

    Did valet at PH since everyone here said self parking there sucked. At check in I pulled the $20 trick and asked for a Resort room with a fountain view. She knew the routine and pulled out a binder showing the resort rooms. She tried like mad to get us that fountain view but could only secure us a Resort with a South strip view. We booked up a standard room at $109/night so I accepted the Resort room and thanked her. In hindsight, I think I would have preferred a standard room with that North strip (Bellagio/Paris) view. Oh well, maybe next time. Lunch at one of our favorites, PF Changs, and then hit the Miracle Mile shops for a while. There are way too many sunglass shops in that mall. We watched the indoor rain show in the mall. It was neat once but later we were walking by when it was going and hardly looked over. We get some snacks and sodas at the ABC store and head up to the room to rest before dinner.

    Before leaving for dinner I tell my wife that she couldn't bring her purse. She didn't like that much but all would make sense in time. We head over to Mon Ami Gabi and check in at 5:30. They sat us right in the open doorway on the patio. My wife loves to people watch so she loved this place. Plus the view of the fountains was nice too. We got married at Bellagio almost 8 years ago so having that view was a hit. It was over 100 out but being seated in the doorway allowed enough cool air to roll out to keep us cool while we dined. She had a salad, steak and dessert. I had the mussel appetizer and a steak. A couple sodas, tax, tip and we're out of there for a hair under $100.

    After dinner my wife suggests we take a walk. Great idea since we need to hoof it down to MGM. We head south and in no time we're at the MGM. I suggest heading in for a while. She agrees and we start the long trek to the Grand Garden Arena. Here and there are signs in the joint promoting The Police concert but she either doesn't see them or didn't put 2&2 together. It was sort of obvious that a lot of people were all heading in the same direction. Once we get through the casino she says 'My feet are hurting, do we have a destination." I could have waited a bit longer but I decided it was time to spill the beans. I hand her the envelope with the concert tickets. The look on her face was priceless. She's pretty much speechless and almost in tears. We continue walking and she keep looking at the tickets amazed that we are about to walk into The Police concert. Then she questions the $250 per ticket price which I quickly respond "But you're worth it." In all seriousness she is worth it but hell, I wanted to see this show really bad too. It's been 24 years since this band last toured. After getting off easy with a tee-shirt and program for $55 we watch part of the opening act and during intermission my wife calls her sister and parents letting them know exactly where she is. I inform my wife I specifically got seats on Sting's side of the stage. She said "Don't they move around?" "Yea, a bit but Sting will be on the left side of the stage 95% of the time." Knowing that and making sure to get seats on that side really impressed her. :) After about 45 minutes they finally took the stage and put on one hell of a show. It's early in the tour and there have been reports of friction and under performing but they all seemed to be having a ball performing their two hour set. They were in Vegas after all so maybe that had something to do with it. After the show we strolled back along the strip to Walgreens for a few items and back to PH to crash for the night. Usually I would stay up and play the roll of a degenerate till the wee hours but this trip wasn't about me. (Heading to Reno in 3 weeks for that :evillaugh ) Wife sleeps in her new Police shirt. All is good.

    The next day I wake early and let my wife sleep in a bit. We roll out about 10:30AM and head towards Red Rock Canyon. We stop off near Red Rock Casino for lunch and then do the scenic drive up there. It's a nice diversion, one I'd rather do in cooler weather so we could get out and hike around a bit. We head back to the strip via the southern route and hit the outlet mall for an hour or so. There are way too many sunglass shops in that mall. We wind that up around 2PM and head back to PH. This time we take a gamble and self park. What a joke. I remember when hotels forced you to walk through the casino to get to your room. Now they force you to walk through 1/2 of a shopping mall. Lesson learned. We finally gamble a bit (wife's idea). I hit the crap table and make a quick $270. Wife loses $40 in slots. We sit at a BJ table and she wins $100 and quits. I battle back from down $80 to even and quit. She loses another $60 in the slots and I lost $40 in VP. We cash in or chips and head to the room for a break before dinner.

    Off to the Venetian for dinner at Delmonico and to see the Phantom. I told her before we left the room what we were doing. Still a pleasant surprise for her since she thought the concert was the extent of our entertainment. Dinner at Delmonico had it's highs and lows. Lows was service. Maybe it was our lack of ordering expensive drinks and wine that soured our waiter but he wasn't. We did order a couple sodas which his assistant only brought one. Then he neglected to inform us about specials or the vegetables of the day. Although the specials were listed on a separate insert in the menu, all he asked when coming to take our order is "Any questions?". The table next to us got a whole rundown of how the meat is aged & prepared, info on the specials, vegetables of the day... Exactly what you would expect from such an upscale establishment. His assistants were very good. If not for them we would have tipped less than 15%. Anyway, we started with the shrimp cocktail. This was my wife's choice to split this dish. It was very good. We then each had a salad. We both picked the one with a balsamic dressing and fried mozzarella. This too was very good. A bit heavy on the dressing though. I had the bone-in rib steak, she had the rib-eye. We both agreed, best steak we have ever had. I shouldn't have to put up with mediocre service, but I would just to have that steak again. We chose asparagus and smashed potatoes on the side. Both were very good. We were both stuffed and skipped dessert which we normally never do on vacation. We got out of there for just a hair over $200.

    Gambled a bit. PaiGow poker killed me for $200 and the slots took another $140 from us. Ugh. Saw Barry Greenstein (professional poker player) playing at a $100 craps table alone. Our Phantom tickets said 9PM. Now I don't know about you, but when my ticket says 9PM I expect the doors open around 8:30 and the show to start at 9PM. Well, I never got a straight answer but it appears the time changed and it was moved to 9:30. Many others were confused too. We did have the pleasure of getting swept up in the wave of people leaving the early show at 8:40. We went up and walked around the shops to kill time. Back down to the showroom and into our seats around 9:20. Tick, tick, tick... doors finally close around 9:45 and the show begins. My wife and I have seen Phantom of the Opera multiple times when it was in San Francisco. It's been about 9 years since we've seen it but it's a good thing we had knowledge of the story. The hack job they did on this show to get it into a 90 minute format is a sin. Even with my knowledge of the story I found myself having a hard time understanding the story. I suspect anyone without knowledge of story going in cold will be left scratching their head. This was a Saturday night and there were many, many empty seats and I noticed people in line with tickets from the discount vendors like Tix4Tonight. If you must see this show, make sure to snag tickets at a discount.

    I did plan on gambling a bit back at PH after the show but I ended up playing the good husband and headed up to the room with her after snagging some goodies from ABC once again.

    Up early again. Wife sleeps in a bit but we're both up at 7AM getting ready to leave. 8AM we decide to hit Planet Dallies for breakfast before heading out. Busto. No gas so no hot food at ANY of their restaurants including the buffet. Fire alarm tripped off the gas. Oddly, my mother stayed there over a year ago and they got the exact same story when they tried to eat around midnight one evening. Someone really needs to fix that fire alarm. So I hit the crap table instead and make a quick $65. I would have stayed but the obnoxious drunk girl at the other end of the table yelling "Asian guy, Asian guy, Asian guy..." when these two Japanese guys were rolling was just too much to take.

    We head out at 9AM and it's a breeze returning the car at the consolidated facility. I must say, they have a top notch system in place and move a lot of people quickly. Uneventful flight home. My wife dozed off while I played a round of golf on our PSP.

    Wife is still giddy telling people about her surprise weekend and the concert. It was a smashing success.
     
  2. 7beasley

    7beasley Guest

    What a wonderful surprise trip and a nice trip report. Your wife is a lucky woman!! Sounds like a great time - bet the Sting concert was amazing.

    Thanks for the report!
     
  3. timmysmom

    timmysmom Low-Roller

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    Great trip report. What a wonderful husband you are to surprise your wife with a trip to Vegas and concert tickets to see her favorite group. :)
     
  4. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

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    Wow-- Great trip and great TR! Very impressive what you did for your wife...You da man!! :thumbsup:
     
  5. dili33

    dili33 Tourist

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    Wow Wow Wow...a wonderful and thoughtful surprise for your wife...it must have been so hard to keep it a secret...Thanks for the great report.
     
  6. IllMarty

    IllMarty Orangutan

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    Very cool TR. Hope you got a little, *ahem*, return on your investment. :poke:
     
  7. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Very nice touch:thumbsup:
     
    Back where we belong
  8. Vegas Al

    Vegas Al Tourist

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    Nice

    That was very thoughtful and it has officially made me realize that I suck. I will attempt to be as nice to my [STRIKE]ball & chain[/STRIKE] I mean, my lovely wife as you were to yours. J/k, it did make me start thinking of what I can do special for my wife. So thank you for inspiring me. I don't think my wife could handle not knowing where we were going though.
     
  9. dung bug

    dung bug Low-Roller

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    Nice report.
     
  10. hanoscf

    hanoscf High-Roller

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    I wish you were my husband! Jk, I love mine to death.
     
  11. LVLady

    LVLady Tourist

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    Great report and how sweet of you to book the Police tickets. I booked my flights back in January for the 17th so I missed the show by 2 days and was not happy about that. Had I known I would have made my plans around the concert. My ringtone when my husband calls is Roxanne which is one of my favorite songs!!
     
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