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TR 2 weeks 8-19 - 9-1 First ever TR

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dizidezi, Sep 3, 2012.

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  1. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    39

    My Trip Report

    My husband and I are in our early to mid 60's. Have been going to Vegas since 1975 when we first went together on our honeymoon after both of us going a few times during our single days. We've been very lucky to be able to go back just about every year since.

    Although I have been reading TR for a few years this will be the first time I have posted. This was a two week trip, first week we were alone, the 2nd week we were joined by friends that stay 3 weeks and whom we usually meet each year.

    Instead of a day by day report, I am going to post hotels, entertainment, food etc. I always plan out everything I hope to do including shows, restaurants, activities. I like having a plan, if we don't follow it, that's fine but for us this works best. I don't have to deal with, where do you want to eat? I don't know, what do you feel like? Want to do anything special today? I don't care, what do you feel like doing? All questions that lead to arguments, vacations are not the time for arguing. Hope some of you are shaking your head because you understand how this happens especially after 37 years of marriage. Will post as replies and try to keep it short and to the point, not easy for me.

    Flew out SW (not really a fan but the price was the best we could get and we had to stop in Chicago to pick up) flew home Virgin American on points my airline of choice.

    Aria 9 days:
    Most feel a room is only for sleeping, we are one of the few that appreciate a great room and enjoy spending more time than just sleeping in it. This is our main vacation each year, we rarely take smaller trips so we appreciate the comforts of a good room.

    Love the Aria, we were lucky enough to stay in a one bedroom penthouse suite in the sky towers. What's not to love. The views from all sides were wonderful. Pools on one side, Strip on the other, mountains on another. Panaramic view all around. . My husband loves having extra living area to relax, watch what he wants and perhaps even take a nap.

    The best part of any of the Aria rooms that we have stayed in is the main bathroom. The built in bidet is wonderful. It has a front, rear, hot, cold, warm, and even dry feature. In my opinion to experience it is to truly appreciate it.. We did find ourselves spending more time in the bathroom than necessary. LOL

    It does take a little practice getting use to all the high tech in the Aria rooms especially for us seniors. With the push of a button you can close the drapes, lights, and TV. Each room ( bedroom, living room, dining room with computer work station and 2nd bathroom) has it own controls. WII FII in the room due to the resort fee which we used often for work and pleasure. Although we are of retirement age I continue to work full time while my husband does soccer referring and needs to check his schedule often.

    The private check in and lounge for the sky suites offering drinks, coffee and snacks which we took full advantage of is wonderful. The chocolate covered strawberries offered after 5 PM are fabulous along with the cheese and crackers, a nice afternoon snack. We love that we can go there in the morning to get our first cup of coffee and a bottle of water on our way out.

    Housekeeping, valet, drink service all very good. Impressed with the workers especially in the Sky Suites, greeting you each time you pass makes you feel special.

    Spent quite a bit of time at the pools. This was our 4th or 5th stay at Aria and I never wanted to go to the first pool (they have 3 with a 4th private one). The first pool I would pass and go on to the 3rd pool. Towards the end of our Aria stay we decided to tried the first pool. Do I regret passing it up. Part of this pool has the cement that gradually slopes down like a wading area allowing you to lay in the water and still get sun on your legs. We enjoy our pool time. My husband is able to sit out of the water on the lounges and only takes a dip every so often, not ME, I need to be in the water at all times, this was perfect for me.

    I wish the other pools at Aria had a ledge for sitting area in the water for sunbathing. There was never a problem getting a lounger. Only once when we went to the pool around noon we found chairs in the 2nd row, usually we are always in the first row right by the stairs going into the pool. The first year or two drinks were not allowed in the pool, only at the lounges, this has since changed, everyone had their drinks while in the pool.
    Everyone was asked to leave one of the pools and move to another one when a child threw up in the water. The pool was immediately closed and did not reopen until the waters tested clean taking over 3 hours.

    Entertainment and adventures: Viva Elvis at Aria, Scooter tour of Red Rock, Carrot Top @ Luxor, Jack Jones @ South Point, Kevin Nealon @ Orleans show room, Comedy show at Orleans, Ricks Restoration, Pioneer Saloon ,Valley of Fire, Fremont Street Zip Line and Spring Mountain State Ranch

    Purchased tickets for Brad Garret Comedy at MGM to see him as one of the comedians. On the plane my husband noticed in one of the magazines that Brad was not there on the date we had tickets for and paid extra to see him. During check in at Aria they handed me our tickets (it was great not having to go directly to MGM to pick them up) I asked them to check and make sure that Brad was appearing that night. They are more than happy to help at the Sky Tower Check in. They called MGM and were told that Yes Brad will be there. I asked her again to please make sure and get the person's name since the magazine said something different, she asked again, was put on hold and when they returned we were told NO, he will not be there on the date we had our tickets. We asked to change to the night he will be there but they were sold out. Without hesitation they credited out account.
    So instead we decided to see Viva Elvis at Aria. We had seen it when it first opened. The price was right $55.00 each was the special for any Cirque show. Yes, it worth the $55.00, not much more. I didn't really see any improvement, IMO. I think if you go there thinking you are seeing a Broadway show you will be pleased, but if you are expecting a Cirque show, then you will be disappointed. If you are an Elvis Fan it's worth it. Doesn't matter any longer since it has closed.

    Carrot Top, I never had the desire to see him however all the great reviews on TA had us going this year. Another deal on tickets this time from Travelzoo can't remember the price. Great seats, front row and NO he did not offer us a drink we were sitting a little to the side. My husband laughed and enjoyed it more than I did. It is a completely different type of comedy. All props. Happy I saw him, but probably would not go again. The Aria also was able to print our tickets for Carrot Top at check in since I used the same charge card they had on file and he was appearing at an MGM property. A pleasure not having to go ahead of time to pick them up. I am not sure if this is a perk with MGM properties, or a perk from the Sky Towers, either way I love it.

    Jack Jones.....Southpoint 2 4 1 coupon. ( $35.00 for both) So what if we were the youngest ones there. For those of you that have no clue who Jack Jones is, you may know him from singing the theme song from the TV show THE LOVE BOAT. We felt like we were back in a lounge show in the 70's with all Sinatra songs. We enjoyed it, but would not go again.

    Kevin Nealon at Orleans another 2 4 1 coupon. Our friends who were in Vegas in May purchased the tickets for us the day they went on sale getting us front row seats. You can not use a 2 4 1 coupon over the phone, so to make sure we got the best seats available I didn't want to wait for us to get to Vegas. We were lucky that our friends happen to be in Vegas when the tickets went on sale. I will admit, I had no clue who he was. When I saw the list of entertainment for our dates I did some research. My adult children knew right away who Kevin was since they watch Weeds. Once I saw him, I knew I had seen him in the past but didn't really know his work. His opening act also was very good, sorry can not remember his name but he was a hunchback comedian who was quite funny and made reference to his disability often. Kevin was very good. The part that impressed us the most was not one curse word. Not even hell or damn. It only goes to prove that you can have a good laugh without the F bomb every few minutes. We don't have a problem with the occasional F drop, however the best comedians we have seen and laughed the most have always been those that have not used it IMO. Bill Cosby, Ray Romano, Jerry Lewis come to mind.

    Comedy show at Orleans, another 2 4 1 ($20.00 for 2) with no assigned seating. This is our 2nd time there in 2 years. The comedy show is new to the Orleans, a great addition even if this year the comedians were just OK. Worth the money since I would have lost more than what we paid if I spent that time on the slots and will continue to go with each trip should I have a 2 4 1 to use.

    Scoot City Tours, LOVE IT.....went with a Groupon 1/2 price coupon. Have been to Red Rock on our own at least 3 times, but this was by the far the best. Picked us up at the Aria 7:30 AM and continue to 3 other hotels for pick ups. On arrival we met all the others and picked our scooter, took a few pictures and the RAIN CAME. Tour canceled. On the way back to our hotel the rain kept coming and the roads were flooding. I have heard about the flash floods and now have a better picture of them. Our driver/guide gave us the number to call and reschedule. By the time we were dropped off and in our room I had a message from Scoot City about rescheduling. I was happy that this tour was within our first few days leaving us options to reschedule. Others in our group were leaving within a day or two, hopefully everyone was able to do the tour. We rescheduled for a day later and our tour began with different tour guides. Please see my review, our guides were great, the weather was great, the tour was great. I hope next year to take a side trip to Sedona where they are going to be offering tours there. If you are concerned about doing this tour in the summer, I would advise going on the 8 AM tour to cut down on the heat of the day. The only time is was hot was when we stopped for pictures and were not driving, and even then it wasn't that hot. We both enjoyed it and would recommend everyone to try it especially with a Groupon. Great for all ages, although you do have to be a certain age to drive.

    Pioneer Saloon, read about it, thought it looked like somewhere to visit for an hour or so but I was wrong. It was OK, not much more than a biker hang out with some cool stuff on the walls showing celebraties that have been there. A short drive outside of Vegas, if we had known there would have been as much traffic in both directions I would have skipped it.

    Ricks Restoration: Short, quick, and well worth it. We enjoy this show on the History Channel and looked forward to seeing some of the items that we have seen from the show. We didn't expect to see Rick or his staff, that was a nice surprise. The short tour was informative. Everyone from the show was there however if they were working on a project we were not allowed to take photo's. Rick was on the phone in the gift shop and as he was walking back to finish a shoot he stopped when I asked if it was OK to take his picture. He said OK, shook hands and left to finish filming. His cars were in the lot and other items that we were allowed to go into and take pictures. It was easy to find we enjoyed the hour or so that we spent there. Got some great pictures of the outside of the place and of Rick. If you are a fan of the show, you will certainly enjoy it. Having Rick there only added to our enjoyment. I understand from a few locals that they are very nice and appreciate their fans, unlike Pawn Stars since they have become so famous.

    Valley of Fire: I don't understand what took us so long to visit this BEAUTIFUL National Park. The drive was easy . I think it was a $10.00 fee per car, and for another $10.00 you can loop out thru Lake Mead (we did not). So much to see right from the car and at each stop point. We did the first hike which seemed so much longer than what was posted (1/2 mile). This is where the 3 H's hit me. Hot, Hiking, and Hot Flashes. At one point I was sweating and thought the heat was going to over take me. I was walking so fast to try and get to the air conditioned car which only made it worse. That was the last hike that we did. I was disappointed in myself since I wanted to see the Elephant but was afraid to do another hike. This will be on my list of places to revisit in cooler weather.
    Zip Line: Would do it again. We( me and a friend) were the first ones of the day, they begin at noon.. $15.00 before 5 or maybe it's 6 PM. An additional $5.00 for a 2nd time down (we did not do and I am sorry I did not). It went fast, however it was fun. I thought it was a little rushed once they put on your harness which felt like a huge rough baby diaper with suspenders. That part was very uncomfortable, but since the zip line was so short it was doable. I would love to do the 2 mile one at Bootleg Canyon, but my husband isn't into stuff like that and since that is an all day tour I would not want to do it alone. I know there are some short hikes involved. I am still putting it on my list of future things to do.

    Spring Mountain Ranch: On the Scoot Tour they pointed out a green area in the distance as Spring Mountain Ranch. Informing our group that it was one of the few places that has underground springs which makes it very green with different types of trees that are usually not found in the desert. It is a local picnic area that has outdoor plays and very few people are aware of it. It is very close to Bonnie Springs which we have been to a couple of times.
    The entrance fee is the honor system asking to place $10.00 (per car) in the envelope provided and place it in the mail slot. A short drive brings you to an area that made me feel like I was back East. Beautiful green lawns, a lovely old home with care giver cottages behind it. The volunter guide was very informative about the prior owners pointing out their pictures as she spoke about them. One of the former owners was a Krupp, also famous for the Krupp diamond that Richard Burton bought from their estate for Elizabeth Taylor. The highlight of the tour was a secret addition to the home of a bedroom and bathroom. For a short ride and an hour of your time a very enjoyable morning.

    Food: Breakfast was almost always a buffet using a 2 4 1 coupon. Station Casinos offered for the month of August (June also) Monday -Thursday swiping your card for the 2 4 1 coupon for any buffet. Since we enjoy be served for dinner we took advantage of this deal for breakfast going to Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock and Fiesta Station.
    We also used the Fremont Experience coupons for Main Street Station and Fremont St. on the weekends and South Point on a Friday. All using 2 4 1. How can you go wrong, breakfast for 2 for as low as 4.95. A great deal when you have a car to get to these off strip Casinos. Red Rock and Green Valley are IMO the best ones. The wait in line for GVR was about 20 minutes but the line to get an omlette was almost 30 minutes. I thought my husband was having breakfast at the wrong table. By the time I found him, still in line for his omlette I had finished my breakfast.

    Main Street Station was also very good especially for a weekend brunch. The chef making the Omelets puts on his own show. He is always so happy and friendly and keeps those waiting entertained by throwing the eggs in the air before cooking them. We went back twice to this buffet.

    In the past we always had breakfast in the hotel we were staying in or close by so we were able to get to the pool by 9 or 10. Age has changed our thinking. Although we are still up between 6 and 6:30 we found it enjoyable going to other casinos for breakfast and spending a little time there returning mid morning for our pool time. We prefer doing most of our gambling at the hotel where we stay.

    We rarely had lunch however we skipped breakfast one day and had Earl of Sandwhich after reading about it on TA. We enjoyed it, the line was long, seats were all taken however by the time we were served we did find a seat. Not sure if I would go out of my way but if we were there and hungry we would certainly have another one. We feel the same way about In and Out, went only after reading about it on TA and although it was good would not go out of our way. I think we are spoiled living in NY with all of the food options we have.

    Dinners: Firefly, Bellagio Buffet, Aira Buffet, Nora's, Flame @El Cortez, Ventano, Canal Street and Big Al's Oyster and clam bar @ Orleans, La Scala, Cortex Room at Gold Coast, Fleur @ Mandalay Bay. We had reservations at most along with coupons.

    Bellagio and Aria buffet were comped, which is usually the reason we do buffets for dinner. Have done both in the past and enjoyed them both, however Bellagio is still our favorite along with Wicked Spoon that we did not do this trip. I loved that the Aria had homemade marshmellows on their dessert line. They were the same ones that I was thinking of buying for $22.00, so happy I had the opportunity to try them at the buffet. They were really good but I still liked the ones at W. Spoon better.

    Firefly, love it love tapas however husband would rather have a real meal as he calls it. Also love Sangria, I am not a drinker but enjoy a glass of Sangria every now and then. We usually go to Firefly on Convention Drive each trip. We will return.

    Nora's, read about it on TA. Alot of taxis cabs dropping off people to eat there. Had one of their recommended specials, chicken on top of fried spaghetti, it was good, but I would try something else should we return. Very busy and still did not rush us, arrived early but could not take us until our reservation time. Bill for 3 of us a little over 100.00 with no alcohol and 2 appetizers and one dessert. No Coupon, good value

    Flame, had 50% off our bill, did not realize it was up to $25.00 until we received the bill. Still worth it, simple meal, steak and a side and it made us go downtown something we rarely do and did enjoy our time there.

    Canal Street, enjoyed our 37th anniversary dinner there as we do each year. Still IMO a hidden gem. $100.00 for two of us, 1 appetizer, no alcohol, 2 desserts and 2 each espresso and latte. Bill a little under 100.00, more detailed review on TA.

    Big Al's always enjoy the steamed clams, worth the price, casual place with fast service, more detailed review on TA. No coupon but we had a 5.00 off that we were given when we went to the senior breakfast buffet and I had used it in the coffee shop the day before. Another nice thing Orleans does.

    LaScala, had a Restaurant.com coupon. We were one of two couples having dinner at 7 PM everyone else was having happy hour at the bar. Made me feel like I should have bar food instead of dinner. This is an old favorite of Frank Sinatra, atleast that is what the waiter told us. Appetizers were the best part of the meal, I had a portabella stuffed murshroom husband had escargot, we shared both and would order them again. Main meal just OK, I had pasta with bolognese sauce husband had eggplant. Putting it on our Maybe return list.

    Cortez Room, party of 8 all had the Prime Rib. Very good at a very good price. We even had a better deal using points that one in our party had alot of and never uses. This is a favorite of our friends that we met the 2nd week, we have not gone here on our own. My husband feels the Prime Rib he gets at the Bellagio Buffet is just as good , however it was more the company than the restaurant for us. We paid our friends for her points used, $24.00 a couple, one appetizer for the table, no drinks.

    Fleur, another place we tried due to the reviews on TA. The best part of this Tapas restaurant IMO was the white Sangria, not that I have many to compare but the best I have ever tried. I thought the presentation was excellent, service good, but quite expensive. The bill was over 100.00 and we had a meat and cheese platter, extra bread that we had to pay for, and one other item that I cannot remember along with coffee and 2 desserts. Might go back to get a class of Sangria but I doubt for a meal. We did have a restaurant.com coupon but still thought it was expensive.

    The best for last, Ventano in Henderson. Again saw it on TA and decided to try it. No Coupons however I did see a 10.00 coupon on line but we didn't have access to print it. Tried the Shrimp on a rock, EXCELLENT and so many shrimp for around $12.00. Also had the baked clams, 12 in an order for either $12.00 or $10.00. I had rack of lamb, husband had veal. So much food and very very good. I have everything cooked well done, and they did my rack of lamb just the way I liked it. We will go back and order only one main course to split, that is how much food they give you.

    To sum up restaurants, Canal Street and Firefly is always on our list to go each year, and now Ventano is also on that list.

    Slot Tournament: This is the 2nd time that I have gone into a slot tournament, both at Orleans. They have 100 winners, not sure how many go into the tournament but there were 3 sessions and at least 60 or 70 people in each. For those that are not aware, Slot machines are set aside for tournaments. You are given two 15 minute sessions, your scores are added together, highest wins 2500.00 cash, 2nd place 500.00 3rd 250.00 and the next 32 win 100 in slot play and the last 65 win 50.00 in slot play for a total of 100 winners if my math is correct. I personally think that the top ten should win a little more, why the 4th person and the 35th both win 100 in slot play doesn't seem fair to me.

    It is exciting especially if you have a husband as mine who is cheering loud enough for everyone to get excited. As you continue to hit those buttons you are looking side to side seeing how your neighbor is doing and how far ahead or behind you are to them. This year I was a winner. I won 100 in slot play, and using that slot play over the next 3 days I cashed out ahead by 153.00. There were 3 of us in the tournament, we all placed in the top 100. The free slot money did expire by Friday at Noon, so you had almost 3 full days to use it. I did $20.00 at a time in different machines and as I won money I would cash out and continue until all the slot play money was used. You also do not have to stay in the Orleans for the tournment, they sell Guest tickets for the tournment for 49.00.

    Gambling: In our younger days we were crap and roulette players, especially my husband. I have never played t a card table. I enjoy gambling but being seniors on a budget we stay within our means and would rather spend our money on good restaurants and hotels. I did return home with some of the money brought for gambling, so I am a winner. Enjoyed the Gone with the Wind machines which were pretty good to me. The Gold Fish machine I also enjoy but this time they were not as nice as they were in the past. Saw the new CRAP Slot Machines where they have 6 or 8 seats around them. At Aria the minimum was $5.00 at Orleans it was $1.00. The only time we were able to get two seats at the Orleans was on the day we were leaving. We play for about 20 minutes starting with $20.00 I cashed out at $53.00. Was very lucky in putting $1.00 on Any Craps which came in a few times. This is a machine we will look for in the future. Our friends had hoped we could find the machine empty so we all could sit and play together, but that never happened. They also have a similar roulette machine at the Orleans.

    That pretty much sums it all up. Thanks to all who have posted before me, your tips and suggestions certainly helped to make my vacation more enjoyable. Going back each year for over 37 years we are always looking for new places to eat, shows to see and places to visit. TA has certainly helped us in finding them. Hope you enjoyed my report.

    Questions and comments welcome....go easy on me. Please excuse any grammer and spelling errors, I am tired of rereading and want to get this posted.
    Thanks for reading,
    Pat
     
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Wow... great read... sounds like a enjoyable trip... thanks for sharin'!
     
  3. sammowhammo

    sammowhammo VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Great TR & great vacation! my husband & I were just talking about how we ought to actually vacation one of the next times we go to Vegas.


    Everything was very infomative thanks for all those details. Would you say Nora's is worth it with the cab ride? I miss Rosemary's.
     
  4. GMS

    GMS Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
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    Los Angeles, CA
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    Thanks!

    Great report dizidezi! I look forward to making it back 37 years running. Got about 25 to go...
     
  5. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    39
    Sammow-, We did enjoy Nora's. It is not that far from the strip, so if you usually take cabs to off strip restaurants, then I would say it is worth in. In fact we enjoyed it more than our one trip to Rosemary's a few years ago. And you are right, this was a Vacation, not a quick gamble and drink few days, which we have also done in our younger days. How things change with age, but still always a good time. Thanks for reading and more so for commenting.
     
  6. dizidezi

    dizidezi Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    39
    GMS- Hope you don't have to wait 25 years to go back. Everyone always wants to know why we keep going back, can't we find somewhere else to go that we will enjoy, just think of all the places you could have seen. I am tired of saying, Not only do we love Vegas and enjoy all of our trips, but we could never go anywhere else and have the sun, shows, food, and have access within an hour or two of so many things to do for the price we pay, and that is not even mentioning the choices in accomodations. The value even considering that prices have gone up is still well worth it.
    Thanks for reading and commenting. Appreciat it.
     
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