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The Hoyas' Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by HoyaHeel, Aug 3, 2003.

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  1. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16

    My Trip Report

    Golden Nugget 7/24/03-7/27/03

    Best of trip:
    Dinner at Great Moments Room, LV Club
    Massage & spa at Golden Nugget
    Mamma Mia show

    Dane didn't contribute to this trip report, but he said he'd make snide comments in a post if he needed to ;)

    Thursday July 24, 2003
    Wake up at normal time of 6:00 am…..Though our flight doesn’t leave until 10:30. I’m too excited to sleep. Get ready, load the truck, set the alarm and off we go. Since we have so much time compared to our normal 6 am flight, we decide to go to breakfast at Bob Evans on the way to the airport. No trouble parking, shuttle bus comes just after we get to the bus stop—nice timing. Flight time to Cincinnati was an hour and a half, we listened to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on cd and relaxed. I don’t think I had a drink….Arrived on time at CVG, didn’t have to walk far to our departure gate, got out of there on time too. Hubby got the window—he loves to use his binoculars—and I got to sit next to Jimmy the Greek. Not THE Jimmy the Greek, that was just my nickname for him. He kept playing footsie with me because I wouldn’t share the foot space under the chair in front of me—my feelings were, if he wanted foot space of his own then he should put his carry-on in the overhead bin, but I was NOT moving my feet! He was off to meet some friends to play blackjack at Paris; they meet in Vegas every 2-3 months to play blackjack and eat good food. And speaking of—he kept trying to leave the armrest up so he could ease on over and get more space. Nope, not having that either! Heck—if I don’t let my HUSBAND keep the armrest up, am I gonna let some stranger do it? I don’t think so! I get precious little space back in the cargo section, but I paid for what I got and it’s MINE. Get to Vegas on time, 2:00. Find our bags, get a shuttle. I looked for LVL (found out later they’re at a different location) ended up on Bell Transportation. $5.50 each, one way. It was a mini-bus shuttle, nice driver. We went to Las Vegas Hilton, Circus Circus, someplace I cannot remember (it was the rum & Diet Coke and then Chardonnay on the airplane) and then Golden Nugget. Since we went past the Hilton we got to see lots of the monorail track and the newer Turnberry Place towers, fantasized about getting condos there….The shuttle driver told us that Shaq bought a condo for himself and one for his mother—ten floors up from his own, so “she wouldn’t hear him sneaking in late at nightâ€. Interestingly, the shuttle drivers we had were divided in their opinion over whether the monorail would make it to the airport or not. One seemed positive, the other didn’t believe it for a minute.

    The shuttle dropped us off at the South Tower entrance to GN. Of course, that desk wasn’t open so we hauled our luggage over to the North Tower/main desk. Very pretty foyer when it’s empty. However, there was no separation for check-in or check-out, no line ropes or gates, and a large table & flower arrangement smack dab in the middle—annoying to line up around. Of course I chose the slowest line—it’s a talent of mine. We did eventually make it up to the counter to check-in. I booked through www.vegas.com at $204 including all taxes for 3 nights (weekend) so I was fairly happy with that cost. We were in the South Tower, but that was fine. We asked for a non-smoking & king size bed, she asked if we wanted a high floor or a low floor, we said a high floor. I asked for 4 digit room number instead of 5, as I had read on the board that those rooms were better. I told the clerk I didn’t know why they were better though—the clerk explained that they were closer to the elevators, as the room numbers get larger (into 3 digits) as you move away from the elevators. We were in 1882, which was about 3 doors away from the elevators and ice machine. Love that ice machine. It wasn’t loud at all, which was a pleasant surprise to me. We did get a nice coupon book too—the book you get with the “Best†promotion, I think—the tickets said they expired on Feb 28, 2003, but they were accepted.There were two banks of elevators on the ground floor, divided by lower floors & higher floors, and a security officer at each bank asking for room keys. At times throughout the weekend, the South Tower desk near to the elevator bank was open, but not when we checked in or out. The room was nice, though the bathroom is small and the tub is terrible for soaking—it has a straight back, can’t lean back easily. The water pressure was fantastic, though, so the showers were nice. We had a view of the Plaza and the interstate. Dane loved to sit on top of the a/c unit with his binoculars and give me traffic reports and tell me what was going on at the Plaza pool. We also had a nice view of the mountains in the distance, when they weren’t clouded over. It was monsoon season, after all.

    After we unpacked, I was hungry (hubby would say “as usualâ€) so we decided we’d head over to Rio—one of the few large casino/hotels we hadn’t yet checked out in any of our Vegas trips. Got a cab over, hit a little rush hour traffic on the interstate. Cab was $15 plus tip. We signed up for a players card—hubby was in the system but I wasn’t, though I swear I’ve had Harrah’s card (when I was packing, I could not find any of my player’s cards, except for Las Vegas Club. Guess it was an omen). Meandered over to Hamada Asiana sushi bar, sat at the bar. Since it was only 5:00 there weren’t very many people there. We split the sushi combo dinner for $30, then a couple of extra rolls on top of it, and a couple of large Kirins. It was ok sushi, but not a good value. I think our meal was $60 without tip—I know that’s not expensive for good sushi, but alas, this was NOT good sushi…It was closer to supermarket sushi. After dinner we wandered around the casino and played a few slots, waiting for the Masquerade in the Sky to start. Didn’t win anything, the Sky parade was ok but nothing fabulous. The guy twirling metal cages was cool. Dancers were sexy & perky. Didn’t get a good vibe from Rio, not my kind of place (did I mention that no cocktail waitress or Bevertainer came within 3 aisles of me the entire time I was there!!) so I doubt we’ll go back. Grabbed a cab back to Golden Nugget and wandered around Fremont Street a little. Dropped off a little present for Mikey, to see if he was there. Left a voicemail which he apparently never got—good thing the receptionist remembered his name when he checked in! Went over to California, had ice cream from Lapperts—a single scoop sugar cone of Kauai Pie for $2.50, full of chocolate, macadamia nuts and coconut. Yum yum yum. Walked through Main Street Station, the Plaza (finally saw the Sunspots) and then it was time for another snack so we had shrimp cocktail and beer at Golden Gate. Dane won a little on the slots, I don’t really remember where or what I played, so it was time for bed!!

    My Friday morning goals were to pick up water for the room, find a barber for Dane, and eat. I woke up early….Finally got out of bed at 5:30, took the yellow pages into the bathroom to find the 7-11 and a nearby barber. Then I sat in the hallway & read a book, so that I wouldn’t disturb Dane’s beauty sleep. At 6:30 (I know, I know, I’m not patient—and I was STARVING) I woke Dane up. He often likes it when I play “alarm clock†so after a while he agreed to get up and go to breakfast. My goal was the El Cortez barbershop so we headed east on Fremont, didn’t get far because, did I mention, I was STARVING. There was a little yellow Mercedes in the open doors of the Fremont hotel/casino. Lured by the promise of a sexy car, Dane listed to the left, so we went in, got player’s card, ate breakfast, and played $10 in the quarter slots for the car. Dane opted for the breakfast buffet and had a made to order omelet with crab, cheese, and a bunch of other yumminess. I opted for the waffles off the café menu, and in retrospect, the buffet was a better value. But I was fed, so all was good. Sat in the casino a little then moved on towards El Co. Noticed the Walgreens across from Neonopolis that wasn’t there on our last trip, then the neon 7-11, to pick-up drinks on the return trip. Made it to El Co, but the barbershop doesn’t open until 9:00. It was only 15 minutes to wait, but we were a little impatient and remembered seeing a red & white pole outside somewhere, so we wandered outside. Sure enough, across the street the barbershop was open, and they do shaves, so Dane was in the chair & on his back with a warm towel across his face. It was $10 for a straight edge shave, and boy was his face smooth!! The barbershop was on 6th street, across from the police department, and a nice Quebecois gentleman did a wonderful job. Of course, Dane said it hurt to shower later, the shave was so close. Good thing men don’t wax their faces—they’d NEVER be able to handle the pain.

    After the shave we hit the Walgreens for water & soda. Since we have small bottles, we bought 2 large gallon jugs of water & just refilled as needed. A couple of 2-liter bottles of soda as mixers for the minis we had in the room, then back to the hotel to drop it off. We decided we’d go to the pool for a little while. Turns out it was a very little while—about 15 minutes after we got there the monsoon came through, blowing everything around, and everyone went inside. Dane watched a truck flip over on the highway on ramp. We went up to the spa to see if they had any massage appointments available, scheduled an hour each for Saturday at noon. The pool was nice, small and not a "water feature" but there were plenty of chairs and a nice mix of shade & sunny spots available. There is cocktail service, and it was nice & quick--we were able to get our drinks and finish them before we got blown away from poolside.

    Wandered to a few casinos, had lunch at the Hawaiian snack bar at California. Pretty good!! After wandering and gambling here & there, I got tired and we went back to nap a little so I could stay up with the T2V crew and not be called a baby. Woke up, got dressed, trying to figure out where to eat—I’d looked at the menus of the nicer restaurants at the downtown casinos, and we decided to try the Great Moments Room at Las Vegas Club. Walked over, they said they’d have a table at 6:30 (it was 5:45) so we headed back into the casino. Saw a bald guy in a dice shirt so we figured it had to be Mikey and we introduced ourselves. Chatted a while, watched him playing blackjack, until it was time to go eat.

    I had a seafood plate—mahi-mahi, lobster tail, halibut, and another fish I can’t remember right now. I ordered the soup (each entrée comes with the house salad or soup of the day—which was New England clam chowder the night we were there) Dane had the surf & turf—filet and a lobster tail, along with the house salad. We didn’t want to get a bottle of wine because it makes us a little too mellow, and we didn’t want to be tired later, so we ordered a glass each of cabernet ($4) Not a bad wine, but more like a merlot than a cabernet. Dinner was wonderful, and so affordable—I think Dane’s meal was around $30 and mine was about $22-25 (sorry, unlike Mikey, I forgot to take notes the entire time so I forget things) I’d go there again. The ambience was wonderful—small, dark & intimate room, probably only fits 100 people, if that. Semi-circular booths edge the restaurant. Unfortunately I was too full to finish my meal, and definitely too full to go for dessert. Maybe next time….

    It was a little after 8:00 when we made it back out to the casino, so we headed straight for Mikey at the craps table and he introduced us to the other people around the table whose screen names we know. We bought in, settled into spots and I tried to figure out who to listen to as I blithely threw my money in the form of ceramic chips out into the world. I’ve got the pass-line down. I can follow the rolls & know when I need to put a pass-line bet down. I almost know how much I need to back up my pass-line bet with, and I think I’m getting better at come bets. I didn’t worry about anything in the middle of the table. Too confusing, not the best odds, and I didn’t want to worry about it. Since I was standing next to Mikey, I also got good cocktail service from Dora. She couldn’t keep coming up and chatting with Mikey and totally ignore me. The cocktail service I got at the LVC craps table was about 100 times better than the service at video poker or slots—no matter what time of day. Sad. Fortunately, the drinks at the bar are cheap so I’ll go buy them myself if I need to—Corona for $2.50 and those yummy frozen drinks for $5.50 for a huge yard glass. At the end of the run on the table, I was still up a little. I didn’t bet like Mikey, so I didn’t win like him either, but it was an enjoyable experience!! I did learn later on when I hit the table again that if I stand on the other end of the table I throw much better. My first time, I was on the left side of the table, so I had to throw with my right hand. I’m left-handed, and using my left hand from that position didn’t work well. However, if I go to the other end of the table, I can use my left hand much more easily. No dice-setting for me—I have to worry about just getting them to the other end & keeping them on the table. You know, basics. Bazootch bought a round of the yummy frozen drinks (I had a mudslide) and I drank it slowly enough that I didn’t get an ice cream headache. Watched the others play blackjack for a while, wondered around the casino—played a little VP, played a little nickel slots. Played craps a little more (dang, where’s Heathcat’s hubby when you need him??) The rest of the T2V gang wandered off to other casinos or other games, I was hungry again—wanted to have Binions ham & beans, so we headed over to the snack bar but alas, it closes at midnight (I think it was around 1:00 or 1:30 at this point) So we went to Golden Gate and had another couple of shrimp cocktails, then off to bed.

    Saturday I was able to sleep in a little more—heavy drinking the night before may have had something to do with that (though I did take advil before bedtime and drink lots of water) When Dane’s alarm clock finally made him get up, we headed down to the Golden Nugget buffet. We had a 2-for-1 coupon we got in the coupon book at check-in, and it was early enough the line wasn’t long. I think it’s about $6 for the breakfast buffet. Dane had the made to order omelet again, I had a little bit of everything. The bagels were homemade and yummy. The donuts were amazing, and the cantaloupe was perfect—ripe but not mushy. Perfect! After breakfast we went to Plaza to pick-up the keychain with our photo on it we got for signing up for the player’s cards. Gambled a little, headed back to Las Vegas Club. Gambled a little. Just sort of wandered around again and gambled. Headed back to the Golden Nugget around 10:30 and the buffet line was huge. I’m so glad we’re early risers!! Got ready for the spa and headed over around 11:00. The spa is lovely, not huge, but nicely sized. I was promptly offered water or juice, given a locker & robe, shown the changing area, etc. It wasn’t crowded at all—I didn’t see more than 5 women in there at any given time, and it was a Saturday (the beauty salon next door was quite crowded). I sat in the whirlpool for quite a while, tried out the sauna but couldn’t stay in for too long. Peeked into the steam room but I have a hard time breathing in the steam so I went back into the whirlpool. Didn’t want to stay in for TOO long, so I went back into the lounge area, had a little snack & read a magazine until it was time for my massage. I had an hour long massage with Sueko, who moved to Las Vegas from Okinawa 20 years ago. She was wonderful. Could barely move when she finished, of course. Went & enjoyed the shower & all the lotions & potions and got ready for another hour or so, then I figured Dane would be done with his massage and would make fun of me if I spent too much longer in the spa. Turns out he’d gone back into the whirlpool & steam room after his massage, so he only beat me back to the room by about 5 minutes. The hour long massage was $70. There is a $10 off coupon in the book we got at check-in, so I used that on my massage. Getting a spa treatment allows you to use the facilities all day. I peeked into the exercise room, which seemed nice. The cardio room looks out over the pool area, and the weights are in a separate room next to the salon.

    I was hungry (yeah yeah, I was always hungry) so we decided to go to La Salsa Cantina in Neonopolis for a late lunch. Pretty good, nice size—didn’t have leftovers, wasn’t completely stuffed. Neonopolis is dead. What were they thinking?? Back to the hotel to rest a little, as we had Mamma Mia tickets for 7:00. We took a cab down to Mandalay Bay (around $20) and got in the Will Call line. There was some confusion as Cyndi Lauper & Meatloaf were in concert at the Events Center and there were many people who waited in the wrong line to pick up those tickets. We were still really early so we played a little on the slots—Dane played for a car, I played Texas Tea (which has been good to me in the past but was terrible this trip) Bided our time until we can get into the theater. I tried not to drink because I’d heard the intermission is short and there are too many people trying to get into too few bathrooms.

    Our seats for Mamma Mia were the cheaper of the 2 options ($75 instead of $90 I think) We were in the first row of the mezzanine section furthest to the left. I was thrilled with the seats—no one sitting in front of me to look over! Yeah, I couldn’t see the actor’s stage make-up, but I don’t mind not being up close. The theater was freezing. Really really cold. Fortunately I had a shawl with me and I had to share with Dane to try & keep him warm too. The show was really good. I loved it. I didn’t quite see how people could say that there was a plot that made sense with the Abba songs thrown in, but then I saw it, and I agree. The plot was believable and the music….Ah, thank you for the music!! I am so glad we saw it. I ordered the soundtrack as soon as I got home.

    We headed back downtown to gamble a little more, ran into Mikey & his gang at LVClub. Did they ever leave? They had not been doing well & were playing on the Elvis machine….Won quite a bit while we were there. Sadly, between 5 of us we could NOT do math in our head to figure out a good number of credits for them to aim for to cash out that could be split easily between the 3 of them. Hmm. After a while, I got hungry again and we went over to Binions—I made sure it was earlier than midnight, and it was, so I finally got my ham & beans. Oh were they good!!! I know I had another mudslide from Las Vegas Club, I just can’t remember when I had it….We gambled, we drank, we made it back to the hotel not too late.

    Sunday morning, woke up & packed. Very sad. Had breakfast at the Bay City Diner, the breakfast special (2 eggs, toast & bacon or sausage, and hash browns or grits--$4.50 on weekends, $3.75 during the week) Played a little more at Las Vegas Club after breakfast—I played a little VP and a new nickel machine I found, Trivial Pursuit. Great for me—the bonus rounds ask trivia questions and I’m a huge trivia fan. Eventually back to the hotel, checked out via the TV, got the Las Vegas Limo shuttle to the airport. They were early, which was good because we made about 4 stops (we were the first to get on). The check-in line wasn’t long, security was really long (which is why I hate leaving on a Sunday morning) but we had plenty of time. One guy on the tram over to the terminal lost his cell phone down the gap between the door and the loading area. That sucks!! Lesson: Don’t play with small items when you’re standing over a huge gap. Our flight left Vegas on time, headed to Dallas. Rest of the day uneventful. We didn’t finish the Harry Potter book on cd—had to listen to it after we got home.

    We had a great time staying downtown! The only time we went to the Strip was to see Mamma Mia—we didn’t even get to Boardwalk to gamble or to Stardust to eat at Sushi King, which is sad, but otherwise I didn’t miss it. We’re trying to convince our friends to stay downtown in October, but it’ll just depend on the deals I can find. So, sad to come home, didn’t win big but didn’t lose big either, and now we’re planning the October trip!!

    [ August 04, 2003, 05:24 AM: Message edited by: HoyaHeel ]
     
  2. Dougie

    Dougie I am IN!

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    I didn't read it yet, just cut and pasted it into word and sicked the spell check on it...

    Bazootch
     
  3. Dougie

    Dougie I am IN!

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    Interesting, you didn't mention the Corona I saw you chugging at 8:30 one morning...

    Nice report. I am looking at GN for an early September trip as I have been converted to a downtown addict.

    Bazootch
     
  4. Lmadrid

    Lmadrid Tourist

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    We stayed at the Golden Nugget last November. I thought it was quite nice also, especially for the price...ditto for the buffet. We did the champagne brunch, not a bad deal. Since it was chilly while there we didn't mind that the pool wasn't "strip quality" and I found the basic room to be comparable to the Mirage, actually almost identical. I think I'll try out the Great Moments room next time.

    Thanks for writing it up! (finally :rolleyes: )

    just kidding! [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott R

    Scott R Tourist

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    Great report, I enjoyed reading it!
    T-28
    [​IMG]
     
  6. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Thanks for the great report Hoya!

    Hmmm...last time we talked, it was "We have to stay on the Strip in October, because we're meeting another couple out here..."

    I'm glad to see that downtown appeals to you guys.

    Good Times. Can't wait to do it again.
    [​IMG]
    Mikey [​IMG]
     
  7. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
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    Well, we talked up our experience downtown with the other couple--the male half is all for it, and the female half is apparently open to convincing. They do want to see Zumanity, and NYNY has a decent package for that, so that's a possibility. Special deals aren't out yet for October, so if the best price I can find right now for Golden Nugget is $261, but I can get Aladdin for $297...That's a tough call. I'm all about the deal :D

    Bazootch--I did just go back and edit out a few mistakes I found. Please accept my apologies for my lack of 'prefection'. :D
     
  8. Smarra17

    Smarra17 Poker Queen

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    Hoya,

    Great report. I also found the tubs at the Nugget to be uncomfortable for soaking but it still was a great room. Las Vegas Club keeps sending us special packages so we might just take them up on the offer for November.
     
  9. Dougie

    Dougie I am IN!

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    Hoya, a great report either way. Just being a prefectionist smart ass...
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  10. pezarino

    pezarino Guest

    Hoya - what a wonderful trip report. I liked all the details you included. I'm always curious as to what people ate and drank. We usually stay at the Nugget, however, I've never tried the spa. I'm definitely going to make an appointment next trip out. Thanks for taking the time to write!!
     
  11. sunni

    sunni VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a fun trip !

    Hoya, I had to laugh about your eating habits..

    I am also hungry all the time... [​IMG]

    great report [​IMG]

    sunni
     
  12. punkypete

    punkypete Tourist

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    A very enjoyable read! You and Dane certainly tried a variety of foods. That sounds like fun.
    I never understood why people put a bag under the seat in front of them and then crowd their neighbor for tootsie space. Glad you held your ground!!!
     
  13. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    We live in the country, no restaurants nearby, so we don't eat out very often. Fortunately I love to cook, so it doesn't normally bother me. BUT, when we go on vacation is our time to eat out and have fun with foods we don't normally eat--for instance, we both love sushi, but I don't prepare it and there aren't any sushi places nearby, so that's something we always try to get on vacation.

    As for my foot space, well, as my mom & my husband will tell anyone, I don't share well :D
     
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