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TR 8/23 to 8/29; Carrot Top, CDS, & Giada (?)....Oh My!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by JTEINMN, Sep 1, 2014.

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  1. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Trip: 3rd trip in last 4 years.

    Travel: Southwest

    Lodging: Luxor and Bally’s

    Food: Tender Steakhouse, Border Grille Brunch, Julian Serrano, Giada (?), and, of course, some fast/quick food and more.

    Gambling: Bally’s, Bellagio, Aria, Planet Hollywood, and Luxor…

    Shows: Our first CDS in Zarkana, also Carrot Top

    Discounts: MyVegas- Sat stay @ Luxor, Zarkana, 2 Bellagio Buffets, Secret Garden BOGO, Shark Reef (Did not use)

    Groupon: Blondies 15 for 30, Fresh Market 2-45oz.($38) Slushies for $22

    Restaurant.com: Missed Opportunities-Tacos N Tequila, Stripburger, El Segundo, Payards, Hussongs…Well, we’ll have ‘em next (?) time!!

    More to come, will post as reply.
     
  2. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    We booked this trip early + early boarding, so we had low “A” numbers on each leg, and managed to keep the middle seat empty. We had to do the Chicago sprint as our take-off from Manchester (NH) was late and we only had a 55 min. layover to begin with, and, of course, we landed at “B” and had to board at “C”…I know what it looked like because there were several others in the same predicament. A$$es, elbows, and carry-ons flying all over the place. Finally get there only to find out that they are running behind as well. Oh well, call it a mini adventure, I guess.

    I always thank everyone on this board, but a special SHOUT OUT to everyone who recommended signing up for Blue Chip Program (Thrifty). Grabbed the shuttle to the rental center and as I was walking by the Thrifty Rental counter I couldn’t help but smile,:beer: as there must have been 30-40 people in line at the counter. Within 10 minutes, I’m driving out of the garage in search of LV Blvd., what a time saver. We didn’t get the Dodge Avenger we reserved, but a Hyundai Elantra instead. (aware of the “or similar” thing, but this seemed to be a downgrade…Didn’t care…car was fine). Another mini adventure ensued, as this was my first time driving in LV and at night, no less. Apparently missed the third right and ended up on Dean Martin Blvd.(?)…we eventually ran into the strip at NYNY and ExCal…adventure over.

    Check in at Luxor was a breeze. Saturday was compliments of MyVegas, and we paid for Sunday. Went to our west tower room and found that we had a “beautiful view” of the base of the pyramid and not much else (7th Fl.). The reservation agent did manage to link the two separate reservations without a problem. Did a little exploring, but it was a long day so off to bed probably around 1 a.m.
     
  3. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    *Sunday, The Plan, Border Grille Brunch at 11 and Carrot Top at 8:30.

    Up at 7 and found a Krispy Kreme, and had a donut and coffee to hold us ‘til Brunch.
    We arrived at 11 exactly and requested the downstairs patio, the hostess showed us to the stairs and said the downstairs hostess will take care of us, and she was down there waiting for us. What a perfect setting, a few trees along with a couple of umbrellas for more shade. Last year we sat on the upstairs patio, not knowing there was even a nicer one downstairs. Mike was there within moments and took great care of us during the rest of our visit.

    Our choices included…in no particular order: Bananas Foster Crepes, Red Velvet Jonny Cakes, Peruvian Shrimp ‘n Grits, Egg White Oyster Rockefeller, Green Corn Tamale, Breakfast Fries, Bacon Jalapeno PB&J…(don’t judge yet…it was weird, but tasty), and Capirotada French Toast. Of course, Mimosa’s of many flavors, such as: Strawberry, Passion Fruit, Prickly Pear, Cucumber Lemon, and Watermelon.
    Everything was delicious start to finish, service was attentive but not hovering. Ryan, the Manager, stopped by to make sure everything was to our liking. I also remarked about the consistency from our last visit to this one, as far as the food quality, as well as the quality of service. He was happy to hear that as he is involved in their training program…FYI- The free entrée you get for signing up for the VIP club is good at the brunch @ -$35

    Leaving Mandalay Bay rather full, we take the tram back to the Luxor, walked through the casino a bit, then picked up our tickets to Carrot Top. Looked at them just to confirm we had front row, seats 3 & 4…Yep!!!

    SIDE NOTE:

    So, originally, we had a Mon.-Thurs. comp at Bally’s, but 10 days or so before our trip we managed to get them to add Sunday as well, so we kept Sunday at both places in case we didn’t feel like moving our stuff after the show. After picking up our tix for CT, we drove to Bally’s to register while we had some time…
    What a treat, trying to find where to go…with all the construction going on. Once you did find the way, it was easy. We ended up using the valet, mostly. With only 2 or 3 couples in front of us, check-in was a breeze. An interesting/funny exchange took place between us and our reservation agent Rita. “Rita”, not being an extremely common name, when I saw it I exclaimed, “Rita, that was my mothers name….(for the record it really is true). So we had a chuckle at that, then she asked me if we had stayed at Bally’s before, I said no, but did stay at Caesars last year. She went about her business and as she was, I was asking about an upgrade…you know…Jubilee Tower, facing (and her smile begins to appear) Paris, high floor….you know the same thing everybody asks for!!…now we’re both kind of smiling, but then she asks, “how do you know what to ask for if you’ve never stayed here”? Well I had to tell her, “ it’s because I follow this great Las Vegas Forum, and have learned my lessons well”. O.K., a little laugh.
    The short of it is, Room 7139 is apparently about the best room one can have without having a Suite. Two floors from the top, at the end of the hall…meaning, as close to the strip as possible, without being outside, lol, facing south, and could see slightly better than half of the Bellagio fountains. The room was immaculate, and couldn’t have asked for more. And we did show our appreciation to Rita in typical Vegas fashion with an appropriate tip.
    Each time we had to give the room number to someone in the hotel, the response was always…Wow, great view…or…Wow…nice room, huh?...We were happy, having been comped to begin with, we never expected this sort of upgrade.

    Back to Luxor to rest a bit, and then get ready for a bite to eat before the show. At this point we knew we were leaving for Bally’s after the show, but kept the room as a convenience.
    Decided to eat in the lounge at Tender Steak, choosing an appetizer, a fruit and cheese plate, and a couple of drinks. Nice comfortable spot to relax and watch the goings on in the casino, as it is open, with a couple of steps down. Mariela was our server, friendly and helpful.

    Carrot Top was very funny, not one dull moment throughout the whole show. And yes, he did do the Crown Royal:thumbsup:…but my wife and I split one, as he skipped around a bit and even did some in the 2nd and 3rd rows.
     
  4. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    *Monday, the plan was Ellis Island for Steak n Eggs, Julian Serrano Happy Hour, prior to seeing, Zarkana…(MyVegas), our first CDS show.

    We were up early, so after getting ready we are off to E I for breakfast. We have eaten here 4 or 5 times, but this mornings steak and eggs were exceptional. Good size steaks, cooked medium, tender, and tasty. We both left our plates bare…Rita would be proud.

    We got under way so early, we now had time for the pool…Plenty of chairs still available, drink prices not to bad (for a “Resort” anyway), $15 for frozen drinks and $8 for any of about 10-14 kinds of beer or bucket of 5 for $34. TidBit…there is a pool store right next to the entrance to the pool, selling tall boys and various other types of malt beverages, BUT you CAN’T bring it into the pool….No other reason to have that store at that location.??? I did notice a person here and there that assumed you could, but then had to do a quick chug so they could go back out to the pool..???

    Stayed ‘til about 1:30 but had to leave to get ready for Julian Serrano. Happy Hour is 4-5:30, and Zarkana at 7:00, leaving a short window for some gambling before the show.

    I have to say we were disappointed in the happy hour and the show. For tapas we had: tuna-raspberry skewer, calamari, pintxo de chorizos, albondigas. We expected the plates to be small, but we also expected the dishes to be packed with flavor. Calamari-Good, Chorizos-Good/Spicy, other two we felt were very bland. Fortunately, we also, selected wild mushroom risotto from the regular menu which was rich, creamy, and delicious.
    From here, there was just enough time to find Jean Philippe for some decadence. DW had the Lemon Tart, and the last Neopolitan(sp) was wisked away right in front of me, so I had to “settle” for the Flan, both with coffees….both were delicious!!!

    As far as Zarkana was concerned, perhaps our anticipation built this up to such a point that nothing could have lived up to it. It was good with a few unique circus acts, but the WOW I thought would be there, just wasn’t. Maybe we were just missing the interpretation, but we didn’t “see” the story. Don’t get me wrong, we were entertained, but not much more than that.

    Took the tram to Bellagio, took a few pics, we then decided to head towards the LinQ, Margaritaville, Harrah’s area. The thing that made the biggest impression on me, strangely enough, was how Clean the promenade to the high roller was…not a spec of paper or a cigarette butt anywhere. It was immaculate. Quite a few walkers and lookers, but it didn’t appear that anyone was going inside any of the businesses. Some nice photo ops though.

    We spent some time sippin’ a Marga”rita” and watching the hoards of people passing by. Sober or drunk:drunk:, undressed or overdressed, old or young, jerk or jacka$$, they were all out, and that is part of what makes Vegas…Vegas! It was getting late so we called it a night, somewhere around ??? 12-1 O’clock ?
     
  5. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    *Tuesday, The Plan, Bellagio Breakfast Buffet, Mirage Secret Garden, & Giada @ Cromwell.

    The Buffet was quite good, just not as good as their lunch or dinner buffets. It was, however, free from MyVegas.
    Then it was on to the Secret Garden @ Mirage, courtesy of MyVegas. This is what my wife looked forward to most. We even looked into “Trainer for a Day” for her, but it was so stupid expensive, she wouldn’t hear of it. We spent a couple of hours there and got to see the three new white lion cubs. So cute and playful at that age.

    Probably two months ago, we made reservations for 6 pm at Giada’s and have been looking forward to it ever since. HOWever, the expense of such a dinner was eating away at me. This was MY idea, my wife was going along for MY sake. As the time neared I couldn’t justify spending over $200 for a meal, and we didn’t want to skimp either, so I called around 2:30 to cancel the Res…Deep inside, we are just low rollers I guess, in more ways than one. So what is the alternative?......RIBS at Ellis Island….I know, shameful, but awfully, awfully good. And spent less than $50 for a delicious meal, instead of over $200 for a delicious meal AND an experience, but………what if it wasn’t?

    Next, we went to Napolean for drinks and the dueling pianos. There was a faint smell of cigar, but I didn’t make the connection that this was also a cigar bar, until two swell patrons near us lit up. I get it, but I didn’t know it was a Cigar Bar. The show was good, but we left before the first set was over. Live and learn!
    We then stumbled onto a Cabaret act at none other than “Le Cabaret” in Paris. Sounded great so we went in, turns out to be a two drink minimum, no problem, and just as we get a table…you guessed it….break time!!! 25-30 minutes later they came back, and we stayed for quite a while. They also had a smallish dance floor that was popular. Oh, if you go, watch for the dancing Security Guard, he had to be about 70 years old, and would put most of us to shame.
     
  6. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    *Wednesday, The Plan, very minimal, Blondies for lunch (Groupon), then Fresh Market for 2- 48 oz. Slushies (Groupon).

    It is so hard to get the “Perfect Wing” away from your home base. Blondies hit the spot. They don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Properly fried wings…add wing sauce…done. No breading, No coating, No nothin’….just wings and sauce. In fact, if I knew how good they were, we would have ordered a bigger quantity and not ordered the sandwiches, Which were also excellent, by the way. I had a turkey club that was so tall, I wasn’t sure how to eat it. DW had the Reuben, claiming it to be perfection.
    Next, we took the bus to Carnival Court area, no reason, except to just walk around. Discovered Casino Royale also had $1 Buds(16 oz.), as well as the Mich’s(not a Bud fan, but it sure beats Mich Lager, or whatever the hell it was):beer:. Breezed through Harrahs’, Quad, Carnival Court, & TAG. The highlight, you ask, well, if there was one it had to be the Bare Breasted Buxom woman:wink2: wearing only pasties posing for pics…surprisingly enough, with mostly women:blowkiss: who were pretending…or not…. to be licking her breasts. Anyway back to Bally’s by midnight.

    Observation: We did minimal walking today, but we are both tired and sore…..

    *Thursday, The Plan…Not a stinking thing!!!

    We wake up still pretty sore, the muscles are yelling at us.

    Last full day. We decide breakfast will be at Mon Ami Gabi. We’ve had dinner there before, but never breakfast. Mushroom Omelet for DW, I had a Crepe with whole fruit topping of pineapple and blueberries and, of course, fresh made whipped cream. We had a table right on the railing with a perfect view of the strip and the Bellagio. Breakfast was great…cleaned our plates completely…again.

    TIP: the company (Lettuce…..) that owns MAG, Eiffel Tower, Joe’s Seafood, El Segundo Sol etc., sent a mailing of coupons that included $20 off at MAG, which was utilized without issue. Another aside, we headed over to the Eiffel tower to see if we could find someone going for lunch to give the $30 coupon to. The only couple waiting for the elevator happened to be a veteran based on his years of service listed on his hat. I asked if they were headed up for lunch, and they were, so he gladly accepted our kindness. It always feels good to share whatever you can, whenever you can! This wasn’t much, but why throw it away….

    Off to the pool, seats right at the edge of the pool. They had a DJ start about 1(?). With a crowd dominated by 40 and above, he started by playing tunes from around the 80’s, but after a few he had to start fitting in his Rap Crap, then back and forth…Then he had tunes that started as a title we all knew and it melded into more rap crap. When he played age appropriate tunes, people in the pool and out of the pool were “dancing” and moving to the music, play rap crap…it all stops….
    Age old problem, try playing for the crowd, rather than for yourself. At least the volume level was O.K….and we did stay, had a couple of buckets and a fruit plate. Left around 4. Decided to do Blondies again for more wings. Wife started feeling sick….back to hotel and in bed by 9.
     
  7. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    *Friday, The Plan, Breakfast somewhere, then start packing for our 1:35 flight.:Þ

    Spur of the moment decisions rarely work out. Went to Paris Buffet. Everything was either cold, dry, or just awful. OJ was good, and Coffee was good, that’s about it.
    Back to start packing.
    Our 135 flight didn’t take off ‘til about 235 due to mechanical malfunction, so we sat on the plane for about an hour. Wasn’t too bad, they had the door open to keep air circulating. Made it home on time. Vacation is always great to do, but also nice to get back to your own bed!!!

    Some Observations:

    Slots @Luxor, Bally’s, Aria, & Bellagio turned out to be quite Stingy!!!:cry:

    With the shows and increased pool time, we decreased our gambling time considerably. (Shhhh!)

    Planet Hollywood helped us enjoy a bit of a comeback. I had a good streak at Let it Ride, while DW found a friendly Slot.:kiss:

    Even when you plan a day out, to minimize walking….it’s STILL a lot of walking!!! Just no getting around it I guess.

    Disturbing trend- The outdoor nightclubs with their booming “music”, going on ‘til the wee hours of the morning…What about the guests who pay good money for their rooms, then have to deal with that….WE had no problem with sleeping, although we could hear “Le Chateau”(?), but were much higher up. I’m sure this must be an issue with many.

    *Resort fees are a gotcha.…but how can one complain about them, when they handout the FREE upgrades as the do…..?

    The service personnel, almost anywhere you encounter them, from front desk, to security, to housekeeping, to wait staff, et al, all seem to be top notch & genuinely friendly people.

    Bally’s pool, though not stylish, was perfect for us. Probably an age group thing.

    Discovered if you stayed at PH, you would never have to set foot outside. Between the mall attached with all their dining and shopping options, plus the wide variety of entertainment, and the casino with its options…you’re all set. I’m sure there are others as well….

    Being center strip for the most part, and having rented a car for part of the trip, it was nice not to have to deal with the cabs and cabbies this trip. Although, we did have the sweetest woman take us to the airport…very engaging…I wish I had gotten her name!

    Mon Ami Gabi…Great Breakfast!!!

    **Last but certainly not least…A resounding THANK YOU to all of you who have contributed (knowingly or unknowingly) to making this trip all that it was!!! This is an invaluable resource.:nworthy:

    P.S. – I hope this didn’t sound too disgruntled, it wasn’t meant to be. We both had a great time visiting Las Vegas and plan to do it again someday.:wave:
     
  8. S'AllGoodMan

    S'AllGoodMan High-Roller

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    Great report.
     
  9. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

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    Good report and thanks for sharing - glad to hear you had a good time!
     
  10. BellaBlvd

    BellaBlvd Low-Roller

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    Cabaret sounds fantastic and wasn't on my radar before, but is now. Thanks! :) VMB rocks! :beer:
     
  11. BellaBlvd

    BellaBlvd Low-Roller

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    Honestly - that's one of the reasons I've loved PH for as long as I have and it will be weird to be on the other side this year. I know Aria is definitely a notch above (and then some) but there is a part of me that is worried about missing PH. I totally agree with not *needing* a car for that spot on the strip either. And Gabi for breakfast was on my radar for this trip as well since I've enjoyed dinner there in the past.

    Thank you for sharing your report! I really enjoyed it! :)
     
  12. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    It didn't sound "disgruntled" at all to me... it sounded "honest". You sound like pretty cool people! Thanks for sharin' the trip with us! Though I actually enjoy the "rap crap", your point was well-taken and I know many agree.
     
  13. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    BellaBlvd and Smartone...I appreciate the kind words!

    Bella, The best help I can give you to find "Le Cabaret" is, if you are coming from the passageway from Bally's...keep going straight and it s/b on your left!

    Smartone...I guess I should be more aware of when to use the term....it's usually an internal thing...lol

    Once again, Thanks everyone.
     
  14. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Sounds like a great trip; room at Bally's was a score! I need to book a couple of nights in a Jubilee room once construction is done.
     
  15. JTEINMN

    JTEINMN Low-Roller

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    Agreed, the room was a great score. (Once again, Thank You Rita). Actually facing south towards Paris, we didn't hear any construction noise at all!!
     
  16. Slotchick

    Slotchick High-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing, sounds like you really enjoyed!!
     
  17. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Ha! not at all... it's one of the phrases that lent the "honesty" to the report. I'm 56, nobody expects me to like Lil Wayne or Ludicrous... I'm weird!
     
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