Grab a pot of coffee, this is a long one. I apologize for typos and grammatical errors. It's hard typing this on a IPad, and harder still when the battery is dying. This was a Christmas present from hubbie and I, to hubbie and I. Lol. We have been to Vegas approx 45 times in the last 20 years or so, but it hasn't been just the two of us in a very long while. With it being right after the holidays, we didn't have much extra money to play with, but quite frankly we have lost so much in the last ten trips or so, gambling wasn't high on our list of priorities anyway. It has been a long time since we we have been able to do whatever we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it. It's always been "meet here at this time" only to get there, wait for a long while for everyone to show up and THEN decide what to do. This trip will be different. Not to mention, I have received several offers from Cosmo of all places for free nights. We have been there exactly once right after it opened. Dropped only several hundred dollars and I get offers? Uh yeah, I do believe I'll take them up on that, lol. Then the offer gets more enticing with free play added in. Okay then. I also get two nights at Mirage which we have only been able to use once or twice before. We usually stay at Ballys, or another CET property because of the groups of people we go with. We can get extra comped or reduced rooms for our group. So this trip we take Cosmo and Mirage up on their offers and book two nights at each. We usually fly Southwest out of Milwaukee, but their fares just weren't coming down for this trip. Snagged a great deal with Allegiant out of Rockford for $89 each way, nonstop. They do nickel and dime you, but we grabbed it anyway. We initially paid for only one carry on and did not pay for seat assignments. Didn't matter so much when we booked. A week before leaving, I did upgrade to two carry ons and confirmed seats together. Doesn't hurt the pocketbook so much if you pay for cheap tickets then later pay for the upgrades, lol. Because we live in Chicago burbs of course there was a snowstorm the night we leave. And of course my GPS takes me the wrong way, and we end up on the never used road behind the airport, that isn't plowed, and has black ice and huge snow drifts with the GPS telling us "you have arrived at your destination". Oh lord. If you aren't familiar with the Rockford airport, it is SMALL, with usually only one flight at a time. We finally find a place to park and go in, but nothing will open for at least half an hour, so we sit in the lobby with the rest of the schlumps waiting. They finally open security and we at the first thru and go immediately to the ONE little bar and proceed to wait half an hour for a bartender to show up. she's late because her car broke down. The weather outside is frightful, and oh so not delightful. This worries me, as there isn't another flight out for three or four days. It's not like any other airport where if you miss your flight, you get on another. We miss this flight, our entire trip will have to be cancelled. Then they start to board. I'm not kidding when I say they call group 1, then group 3, then group 2, then group 4 and 6. Of course we are group 5. I paid for the upgrade to bring on carry ons. We have read the deadly threats against weight and size and have measured and verified weights of both bags several times. Do thy check once? No. So apparently group 5 is the paid carry on group. And VERY few people pay for this option. I've never flown where the majority of the overhead compartments are empty when we board and remain empty upon takeoff. Strange. Flight is bumpy because of all the storms. We are an hour late arriving because of the time spent de-icing the plane. Taxi line wasn't very long and before you know it, we are at Cosmopolitan. The room where Marriott Platinums can check in is closed, but the regular lines are empty anyway. Check in girl was super nice and while I inquire about a room overlooking the fountains I was told there wasn't one available. Wasn't even offered an upsell. Get to our room and ooh and ah. These rooms have been described a million times, so I won't bore you. We had a king terrace suite overlooking Aria and the strip. We unpack and notice very quickly there isn't a dresser but a small closet with a couple of shelves. Hubbie takes forever to unpack while I am always done in 8.6 seconds. I freshen up and realize I forgot perfume. Ugh. Went to Sephora the next day and they gave me a bunch of free sample. Awesome! I step out on the balcony to have a smoke and finally take a deep breath realizing I'm finally "home". Let's get the party started. When I turn around to say something to hubbie, I realize that the sliding windows to our room are tinted, but the window to the tub/shower is not. I jokingly mention to hubbie to remind me to close the curtains if I take a bath, so no one can see me. He smirks and says "no ONE would be able to see you". Hmmm. I turn around and JUST as that moment, a man in Aria comes out of his bathroom in a towel and proceeds to take it off, walking around his room butt naked. And I can see EVERYTHING. I call hubbie out to take a look and we have a good laugh. FINALLY go down and stop in the Identity desk. They tell me I have $200 free play. Nope, I have $310. It's a weird amount, so it has stuck in my head. I mention I could go up to the room to get my offer and was told no, they should be able to find it. Type type type lol. I felt like I was at the airport where they just type, type and type. The clerk finally goes to talk to a manager and they figure it out. Hubbie is told he has $45 of free play on his account but it can't be accessed till the next day, so we should come back tomorrow to get it. Okay. He goes off to play blackjack and I try and find some machines that accept free play. We agree to text each other when we are on our way back to the room. I did pretty good with the free play, and played on it all night. Drink service was very slow. I find nothing more annoying, especially the first night in Vegas, ordering a drink that takes forever. I want to move to another part of the casino, and have to decide to wait for the cocktail waitress, who sometimes never come back or hope there is a faster one somewhere else. Around 2:30 I decide to call it a night. It's 4:30 at home and I am wiped. Hubbie never texted me and I have to walk around the casino trying to find him. I never do and just go up and there he is, sound asleep. He insisted the next morning he did text me and we looked at his phone, and he did, it just never went thru. I am back up at 5 am. My internal clock won't let me sleep any later than 7 am at home, so why would it be any different in Vegas? Grr. I grab a coffee from the little coffee shop and wander and play, wander and play, slot machine here, video poker there. I did much better on VP, but I find if I'm not at a bartop machine, I get bored after about 45 minutes. Grab coffee for dh, and go up to get ready for the day. He is up and on the phone working. Geez. I go on the balcony and try to soak up the sun. I am in desperate need of some natural vitamin D. I dont think we have seen the sun in Chicago for months. There is a foots worth of sunlight on the terrace and I know I looked like a fool standing way in that corner with my eyes closed and arms out. Now the people at Aria can laugh at the silly woman over at Cosmo. We decide to walk down to MGM. We haven't been in there in years and years. They screwed us on some show tickets years back and I vowed to never go back. Well that memory is long gone, lol. We actually haven't made it past Bellagio in probably five plus years except for a quick walk thru Luxor when they remodeled. We walk around looking for the plastic horse racing machine. Now we haven't played this since the Luxor opened and it was a camel machine. But I have read it mentioned here on this board and thought why the hell not. Cheap easy fun. We can't find it and ask a security guard. He walks us to it and we realize we had walked right by it twice and didn't notice it. How that happened is beyond me, lol. I asked the guy next to me how to play. He explained it, but really his look said "it's not frigging rocket science lady". We played for over an hour. When I read drink service is fast here, people weren't lying. Hubbie told me to slow down, it wasn't even noon yet. People were coming and going the whole time hooting and hollering. SO much fun. Hubbie kept winning but only a quarter or two. I was only playing the long shots, so when I did win, I won a lot, but it wasn't often. I love the looks you get from people walking by that have no idea what this machine is and look at the group of people yelling and laughing. Fun times. I decide to go find the infamous Lions Share while dh went off to play some cards. Even though I knew where it's supposed to be, I am looking for a machine that is taller than the rest and once again, can't find it and had to ask. The slot attendant knew exactly where it was. There was no one playing it. I had a feeling that this was it, I was going to win the big one. No sooner did I put a hundred dollar bill in, did two guys come over and want to play. I wondered if they were also from this board. I had a couple of small wins, nothing too big. Still fun to hope though. Find hubbie and we decide to go a walkin.. A had a Groupon for a burger place right past M&M, although I can't recall the name. It was for two burgers and a pitcher of margaritas. I never drink margaritas but wth right? We sat at the bar and had a great time. It was Vegas, it was sunny, the palm trees were swaying, it was Vegas, the burgers were good, the margaritas were better and it's Vegas. Perfect moment. Two guys sat next to us from London and we had a blast with them. It was their first time there and between their sarcastic humor with the accent and their drunkenness it couldn't have been more fun. Started walking back and walked thru Walgreens to get a bottle of wine. I let hubbie pick it out and he grabbed a Reisling. Not good, not bad, just very sweet, lol. Went back to Cosmo, played a little VP at a bar. Oh yeah, we stopped back in at Identity, and the lady behind the desk had NO clue why someone previously had told dh he had $45 free play. She said it would never show that you have free play available tomorrow. If you have it you have it, you never have to wait. And he didn't have it. Lol We went to China Poblano for dinner. What a strange concept for a restaurant. But I gotta tell you we had some of the best food we have ever had. We ordered a bunch of small plates and OMG. I think the concept turns people off. Is this a Chinese restaurant or is it a Mexican restaurant? The service was good, not great but the drinks were perfect. I had been ordering different types of vodka martinis all over and there were the best for some reason. The food was outstanding. It really was an awesome experience. We did have Marc (?) Savard hypnotist tickets for the ten o'clock show and meandered over there at some point. Another groupon purchase. I totally don't believe in mass hypnotism but thought, what the hell, this could be good. The theater was weird, dark and bad seating. Again, for what we paid, wth. They ask 40 people to come up and I SHOCKED dh, by going up. I have not ever been able to be hypnotized. I've tried before for smoking cessation. Never works. But as I am sitting on stage, I all of a sudden start think, OMG, what if I do get hypnotized and he has me walking around like a chicken!! Of course that doesn't happen, and I am one of 20+ people that are asked to leave the stage. The show gets a bit raunchy, even for this totally non prudish woman. But I still don't believe it for a nanosecond, that these ten people remaining were hypnotized. All in all, kind of stupid. Back to Cosmo, and up to the room. Running on only several hours sleep and we've been drinking ALL day and night. I am awake and down in the casino early again. Same routine. Go back up around ten to pack and check out. The room where Marriott Platinum members can check out was open, and the host was super nice. Applied our balance to a Marriott gift card we had purchased several years ago when we went to Hawaii, and ended up not using the whole amount. Cha-Ching I know Mirage isn't going to let us check in early, so I had double booked at Ballys. We walk over there. Only in Vegas it is such not a big deal for so many people to be walking down the strip with luggage, many of us, carrying winter jackets. Haha. Check in at the Platinum desk and was told that since I'm Platinum if there a room available, I can check in at any time. She tried and tried to find us a room away from the construction. I mentioned it really didn't matter but obviously didn't want to say, I'm only double booked here and won't be staying. Go and throw our luggage in the room and look out at Linq. We have been watching the progress of this since they initially were pouring the footings. It doesn't look that big, until you see it against Wynn. It's way taller. Someone posted recently they were surprised at the lack of lighting on it. That's weird. There in one itty bitty red light at the top. Being so close to the airport that just astounds me. I still can't comprehend how they plan on getting 40 people on each pod, so that will be interesting. A cabbie said it's done and ready and just waiting for final permit approval. We ate at Burger Brasserie, one of our favorites. Another Groupon. Food and service has always been consistent here. Great burgers, better martinis. Went back to Ballys and received my 75 free play and $150 Southwest gift card. I turned my free play into almost $350 which was awesome. After every win, would hit the cash out button. I had probably 20 titos when the free play was gone. Let me play the rest of the afternoon. Cab over to Mirage at some point, checked in played for a bit before getting ready for the night. Of course, we had the VERY last room down the LONG corridors. Every single time. God almighty. I always forget to ask for something closer to the elevator. Walk across the street to Harrahs to find the shuttle to RIO. Finally find it, stand there and stand there waiting and finally walked over to the cabs that are RIGHT there. Cab over to RIO. I had a Groupon for Buzios seafood restaurant and another for the Michael Jackson impersonation show. OMG. Buzios was AWFUL! Service was terrible, bartender didn't have a certain something to make a requested martini. As we were sitting there eating our lobster bisque that had NO lobster, with our stale bread, hubbie noticed a plate under the warmer and mentioned he hoped that it wasn't his. It's an open kitchen concept, so you see the cooks and kitchen. Ten minutes go by and of course that plate that has been there is his. He had ordered a medley of sorts, corn on cob, mussels, etc. I had some sort of fish specialty that came with rice and broccoli. The prepackaged uniformly cut broccoli was overcooked and tasteless. How do you screw up rice? It was just a scoop of dried out tasteless rice. I had to request extra sauce just for flavoring but it didn't help. So here's my complaint, tell me what you think. You know every CET restaurant has special pricing for total rewards members? It's usually only a couple of bucks, but still nice. Our waiter had asked us if we were going to a show and we said yes, and he is all like, well great them I can give you the 25% discount. Hubbie was all happy till I explained there was no way they were going to combine that with our Groupon. So of course, when we go to pay the bill and we mention Groupon, the waiter gets all crabby ass. Comes back with a revised bill. On this one we don't get the TR prices. I inquire about that and am told they can't do both discounts. Okay, I get that theory, but I don't think the TR price, is really a discount, it is a written in stone menu price. It was so not worth arguing over several dollars but was just the icing in the cake. We received our bill, after realizing the table next to us were given warm cloths for their hands and no, they didn't have crab or lobster, but hubbie did. The table in front of us were never given bread. The service there is so bad and so not uniform, even by the same waiter. It made me truly realize establishments have Groupon for a reason. They obviously need more clientele. I thought Buzios was a new restaurant. I've been to Rio, I've stayed at Rio and never noticed it. I asked the hostess how long they had been there and I got the crazy lady look again. 18 years apparently. Who knew? I wouldn't recommend going there. Charged everything back to our room at Ballys The MJ show started out awful. I really wanted to leave in the first few minutes but we didn't and I'm glad. It got good, really really good. For the price we paid, it was really a good show. Theater is pretty dirty and it's general seating with Groupon, but I would recommend it. The impersonator is very talented. Played a short while after the show then cabbed back to Mirage where we went to bed, lol Had the MyVegas mirage buffet for breakfast and then walked the strip. Went into Venetian for the first time since it opened. I hated it then, there was such a funky smell and I just didn't like the vibe. This time it was much better and I would consider going there again. Walked thru Casino Royale and ended up spending hours and hours there. DH played the new blackjack game where the house pays for splits but it's a draw on 22. Can't remember the name. Hours and hours with a great fun table. Walked thru OShaes and stopped in Margaritaville for a bit. I sat at the bar and had some great frozen drinks and dh played BJ. so walking to the bathroom, you have to walk thru the gift shop, then thru the restaurant. This place is much bigger than I had imagined. Anyway, as I was headed to the restroom once, I made the turn into the restaurant, and realized there was some sort of game on the wall a piece of string or wire with a washer on the end. I guess you are supposed to get it in a hook or something. Well I had walked past it twice without even noticing it. This time two guys were playing it. I make the turn and was like, whoa! Wth. This burly farmer type guy yells at me something to the effect of what the hell is wrong with you? I say, sorry I didn't even see the wire. Now, I did not walk into the swinging wire or anything. He screams YOU DIDNT SEE THE WIRE? Now, people are turning around. I stand there, look him straight in the eyes and say quite loudly, No, I didn't see it! Dead silence for a second, then he backs off and just starts laughing. The whole time I'm in the bathroom, I am just imagining this big ruckus breaking out and security having to go find dh, and inform him I've been in a bar fight with some drunk big burly guy. Rofl. We have LOVE tickets that evening and head back to get ready. Try to decide where to eat and end up purchasing another mirage buffet from MyVegas. I NEVER eat buffets and now twice in one day? LOL. I don't like Beatles music, never have, never will. But this is the only Cirque show we haven't seen and everyone on this board has highly recommended it, so we went. It was spectacular! The engineering is incredible. I just kept looking at the ceiling at all the mechanicals and was in awe. I always have problems with the lighting at these shows, it just hurts my eyes. I don't know how people that are prone to seizures can go to these shows. So I did have to keep my eyes closed for some of it, but it didn't diminish the experience. Highly recommended! It is a cluster getting in and out though. People stand in line all nicely, then the doors open and it's a total free for all. Oh yeah, before the show, I wanted to sit at a bartop VP. I really dislike the main bar by the sports book. Surly bartenders and a bunch of hookers. Btw, there were a LOT more hookers at Cosmo. Way obvious hookers. Anyway, we went to the bar by the check in desks. I didn't even realize there was VP there, we were just going to grab a drink so it was a very nice surprise. There was barely anyone there, so we played and chatted with the bartender before the show. As we were leaving the show later dh realizes he doesn't have his phone. I was like, I saw it in the room charging. So we go right to the room after, and it's not there. Now he's freaking out. He's never lost his phone and it's a work phone with all his info on it. He takes my phone, and does the find my phone app. Sees that it's still in the casino and from the map looks like it's in the bar we were at so he goes down there. Talks to a bartender who brushes him off and tells him to go talk to security at the other end of the casino. Hubbie pulls out my phone, and asks again, if he could look,as it's showing it's right here. Bartender sighs, says it's not here. Hubbie asks if he could please ask someone else. Big sigh, and the bartender calls over a cocktail waitress and asks. Lo and behold, she says yes, someone turned one in, and it's over there. Bartender walks over to the register and there it is. THEN he is all like, wow, how did you know that? Cool app! Thank goodness it was found! Up early and down playing again next morning.had breakfast at Carnegie Deli, and used my accrued points. Go up to pack and check out at ten. Stop by the rewards desk to see if there anything they can take off my bill. I ask if a host can review my play and take anything off my bill, just like I always do. Never had a problem. The girls says you have so many points I can take off x amount. I tell her no, I have used those towards bfast, it just hasn't hit your computer yer. Our total room charges were less than $100. I realize I haven't run THAT much money thru and hubbie hadn't played for a long enough time but it's always worth asking. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I ask for a host review, the clerk is talking about points. Finally, after the same conversation three times, I was just like, can you please just have a host review my play before check out? She goes in the back and a host comes out and starts on the points. OMG. I get the friggin point thing. I explain, I was just asking for him to review my play and see if there is anything he could do. He informs me, that we have two nights room comp that we hadn't played enough to warrant, and there was nothing else he could do. He then explained my losses which wasn't even CLOSE to what I had played, but whatever. That's all I wanted, for a host to explain my wins and losses, not a clerk to tell me over and over what points I had accrued. This isn't rocket science, and certainly not the first time someone has asked this same question. The host was nice though and would be a great schmoozy used car salesman lol. After rereading this, I realize I sound like a total birch, but it wasn't like that at all. It was just two people talking to each other having two separate conversations. I think we may be heading back to CET. I just can't beat their offers and customer service. Although we will def stay at Cosmo again. I have already received two free nights again. Winner winner chicken dinner Flight home was VERY turbulent, again, more winter storms, but a Xanax soon had me sleeping, so it was all good. It took several days to recover my lost sleep and several more days for my liver to get back to normal. It's been either heavily snowing or an artic freeze since we have gotten home. So we are looking forward to planning another trip soon!