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TR: Aladdin 9/28-10/1 (part 1)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Coaster Kikky, Oct 2, 2003.

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  1. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Here
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    32

    My Trip Report

    We're just back from a very enjoyable, far too short trip to Vegas. We started to plan this trip way back last winter. I didn't take notes for this trip report, and there are foggy moments where I'm sure my memory will fail (alcohol does that....) but on the other hand, it'll equal or exceed Cruiser's wonderful report in length, as I'm sure I'll have runnitisofthemouthus. (and I went back and edited OUT a bunch of stuff, and it's still this long!)

    The cast of characters:
    4 of us (Me, hubby, and my two best friends), all native New Englanders, all in our early 40's but feeling much younger.

    The reservations made in advance:
    Aladdin hotel & casino: $89/night for 3 nights for 2 Resort rooms, one with one king sized bed, and the other one with two beds.

    Southwest airlines: Hubby & I used their Rapid Rewards program for 2 free tickets from BWI to LAS. The others in our party would both be flying from Manchester, NH. Best friend #1 (BF1) bought tickets as soon as they became available for our dates. BF2 hedged her bets, and lost her first Vegas gamble. The rates only went up. The flight she eventually purchased would leave about the same time as BF1, but arrive in LAS about 2 hours later. She inquired with the airline a few days before leaving about getting on the other flight, and they told her she would pay an extra $300. Uh, no, thanks.

    Hertz rental car: Hubby & I planned to drive to Primm in order to ride Desperado, the roller coaster at Buffalo Bill's, as well as the other coasters Vegas has to offer, and get BF1, who was a Vegas virgin, downtown to see the Fremont Street Experience.

    Sunday 9/28: Alarm clock is set to go off at 4:28. We were both up before it went off anyway. Too excited! We got our showers done, and the cats fed, and a bite to eat ourselves, and it was time to hit the road.

    We always try to not have luggage to check, and this time was no exception. However, we had to check in at the counter due to our having the Rapid Reward tickets to use. Thankfully, they pointed us to an information desk which had no one waiting in line to use. Our plane was full, but not sardine-can full, so we had our 1st Vegas win - we had an empty seat between us, even though we were fairly late to board! Yay!! His reading material mostly consisted of books on winning at Hold 'Em (both no limit and low limit). My reading material was 2 new (to me) books in the "Cat Who" series by Lillian Jackson Braun, as well as two tutorials on winning at craps. One of my goals was to take lessons and learn to play, based on how much fun many (esp. Mikey) on this board find the game to be.

    I guess we are getting used to the long trips we take annually to Hawaii, as our cross-country flight really didn't seem all that long to either of us. I looked out the window a few times, otherwise concentrating on my books. I did take advantage of a drink coupon (Rapid reward tickets come with enough drink coupons for 3 or 4 drinks!), ordering a rum & coke. I also had brought along two airline sized bottles of a fruit liqueur I've found that I really enjoy. It's called Fruja, and it comes in raspberry, mango and tangerine flavors. I had brought 3 little bottles of the mango Fruja, and mixed them in with orange juice surreptitiously. Yummy. Before I really knew it, we were over the Rockies. The aspen trees against the mountains were a beautiful bright gold. I tried to take a picture of it with our digital camera, but it just didn't show up well. I did manage to get a decent shot of the Grand Canyon. I noted that I'd never seen the canyon with fog over it. I later learned that the north rim is battling a very large forest fire, and that is what I saw.

    Our game plan once we landed was to find what gate our later-arriving friend was coming to, and meet her there. Our plane arrived about 20 minutes early. We walked out the gate and saw BF1 waving at us! Hooray! She was early! And BF2 stepped out from behind her! YAY!!! Now we're all here together! BF2 had asked about going standby on BF1's plane, and at the gate they told her they had about 30 vacancies, so she'd only have to pay about $80 and she could be there earlier too. She thought that price was fair so she went for it. And both our flights arrived early! Our 2nd win for the trip! [​IMG]

    None of us had luggage to pick up, so we proceeded down the escalator to the car rental bus area, and got right on a Hertz bus. Hubby & I are Gold Club members, so they dropped us off and we found our car, got in and drove off. No lines, no waiting. That is worth the annual fee, to us, right there! We got a white Buick with Arizona plates.

    All four of us were rather hungry by now. Southwest doesn't feed you much. We knew that Aladdin had a Champagne brunch on weekends, and we had time to make that. We took the car to the valet entrance, having read the very good advice here, and stood in the reasonably short line to check in first. We didn't try the $20 trick, mostly because we needed to land two rooms of a specific type with a specific bed arrangement, and hopefully somewhat close together. I did ask for "high up, if possible" with a smile. She told me the Resort rooms only go to a certain floor - I think she said 17. She typed around with her computer for a few minutes before telling us our two choices for the two rooms were a) 9th floor, overlooking the pool, adjoining rooms or b) 17th floor, one with a Strip view, the other with a view of the Paris, but in different towers. I would have given my friends the Strip view room, but that was the one with the king sized bed, so they'd just have a view of the Paris... as well as having our two rooms quite a ways apart. So we opted for the adjoining pool-view rooms, 932 and 934. Both rooms were dirty as we checked in, but we would be able to come back to the key pickup desk after about 1:30pm, as well as leaving our bags off at the belldesk.

    We headed for the Spice Market Buffet for brunch. The buffet is in an odd location. From the lobby, you have to go upstairs, turn around a corner, then go back downstairs again. I can't begin to tell you what-all we ate, but I don't remember anything tasting badly. We all remarked how yummy everything was. Because we'd been up for so long, we had no interest in the breakfast items like pancakes or eggs, so didn't try those. But the lunch stuff was great, in particular the tandoori chicken and the creme caramel for dessert. And the bar was serving wine, beer, champagne and bloody marys at no additional charge. We each had a glass of champagne. Well, hubby didn't finish his, so I had a glass and a quarter [​IMG]

    We still had a few hours to kill before our rooms were ready. We *all* know how very difficult it is to kill a few hours in Vegas is, don't we? [​IMG] We entered the slot tournament Aladdin is hosting. There's a $25 entrance fee, but just for entering you get $10 in free slot play as well as other benefits... including a choice of gifts, one of the gifts is a $20 dining coupon for Aladdin's restaurants. They also had some nice clothing with the Aladdin logo. We each got a t-shirt for signing up for the slot club, and a coffee mug. We had one minor complaint about the Aladdin slot club card we were given upon signing up for the tournament. The key strongly resembles the room key. A different looking card is available, but I figured why bother since the hotel will be changing hands so soon.

    After that, we still had some time to kill, so hubby went over to the blackjack tables, I headed to find a good video poker machine, and the BF's went off to play slots. We all played around for maybe an hour before meeting back up and going to get our keys and, once we found our rooms were clean, our luggage. We went up to the rooms, liking that we didn't have to walk far to get to the elevator (the Aladdin is set up so no guest's door is more than 7 doors away from an elevator). We opened our doors and discovered a wide foyer in each room. The color scheme was gold and tan. Three females all gasped a collective "oh my gosh!" as we stepped into the sizeable rooms.

    I scanned our room and bath quickly then dropped my luggage (literally) and went to watch their reaction. The rooms were almost identical, except that one room had a large king bed, and the other held two queen sized beds. We checked out the view, and found the description we received to be very accurate. We could see the pool, beyond it was the building with Aladdin's advertising tv on the Strip, which partially blocked our view. You could clearly see the Paris balloon, some of the Bellagio, the tops of the Bellagio fountains when they were going off, and most of Caesars Palace. There were two windows in each room. I had read that they were small, but they seemed no smaller than other hotels to me. Between the windows was a picture, and under it in each room was a comfy sofa and coffee table. Along one wall was a desk with a computer monitor on top of it. Along the other wall was an armoire with the tv, a safe, and a small closet. That was my only dissatisfaction with the room - that was the only space available to hang up clothing. Inside the armoire was an iron and ironing board. There was no refrigerator in the room, nor a coffee maker. The bathroom was huge!! There were two sinks with a good amount of counter space on each, and they were far enough apart that if someone needed the other person to pass them something, each would have to take a large step toward the center of the room to reach each other - or throw it across the room. The shower had an enclosed room with a glass door - not a sliding door but an open and shut type glass door. As you've heard before, the tub was large. It was large enough that I could sit in it with my legs fully straight (and I am pushing six feet tall!). The toilet was in a separate small room of its own, which is nice for privacy. On the bathroom counter were colorful bottles of shampoo, final rinse, bath gel and lotion. Both of my friends were very pleased with the room. BF2 was smiling broadly, and BF1 got misty eyed that it was nicer than she expected and she gave me a hug. None of believed it was so inexpensive! Note to the board member who was looking at Aladdin as a possible location for a "girl's trip" - go for it! I think you'd like it a LOT more than the Golden Nugget, which is where we stayed on my most recent previous trip, and Aladdin can often be had for a better price than GN, and the location is fabulous. And yes, the bathrooms are way better, but not, I feel, at the expense of the room.

    After unpacking a few things to minimize wrinkling in the suitcase, we got together and decided to go over to the Bellagio. On the walk over there, the fountains went off to Pink Panther theme. Three of us had seen that show before, but enjoyed it again, and I remembered the gentleman from the board who just got engaged to that show [​IMG]

    Hubby and I signed up for the MGM players club card (I had previously signed us both up online, thanks to Sonya's link to that information, and our sign up was quick and effortless, just show our ID) and my friends asked if there would be any benefit to them. I pointed out that we'd likely come to Bellagio more than once, and planned on visiting the Mirage, hopefully TI, and definitely MGM Grand since our one planned show was there. And if they wanted to come back, they'd start getting offers just for signing up. So they signed up as well. We ladies at the slot machines found (on this particular day) poor beverage service there, so, quite thirsty, we headed for the bar nearby. I plopped $100 into the video poker machine at the bar and ordered a raspberry martini. My friends, hesitant to play a dollar machine, asked if drinks were free if you were playing. The bartender said yes of course, so they put in some money as well, and ordered drinks. I had just put down my glass after my 1st sip when I hit 4 of a kind for $250. Not long after BF1 hit decently and she cashed in up $50. I played a bit longer and cashed out up that $250, quite pleased with myself. BF2 didn't fare as well, but said she was having fun.

    We returned to Aladdin, and had a smallish supper at Zanzibar Cafe, using our dining certificates from the slot tournament. It was an ok meal, although I felt like the restaurant was suffering from an identity crisis, trying to be all things to all people, and not truly succeeding at any of them. The quantity of food was impressive, however.

    At this point, we discussed what we wanted to do for the rest of the night. Hubby was itching to try his hand at "B&M" (bricks & mortar, as opposed to online) poker. I gave him a kiss for luck and sent him on his way to Mirage. He was hoping to play in a tournament. Meanwhile, the 3 women headed to shopping at Desert Passage. We all carried our cell phones in case we needed to find each other - something we did find a use for over the next few days, although not as much as we joked about.

    BF1 went with us to Hawaii just about a year ago. It was her first trip there, and she fell in love with the place. She & I wanted to get to Hilo Hattie and the ABC store in Desert Passage to see what goodies we could get to remind us of our other paradise. I found some coffee and some floral scented bath beads, she found some aloha print seatcovers for her new car. BF2, who has never been to Hawaii, saw a long white dress (she recently got engaged) and gave that some serious thought over the next few days. It would suit her sense of style (nice, but casual) but she's concerned about freezing half to death in Vermont in a Hawaiian dress (a reasonable concern in September, especially since the church she wishes to use doesn't have heat).

    We took our purchases to our rooms and then I discovered that hubby had come and gone in the time we were shopping. He had taken a nap, I found out later, since he missed the start of the tournament by about 30 minutes. He was gone again, and I had no idea where, but knew I could get in touch with him if I needed him, and I had some gambling and drinking to do.

    I have to confess that I can't remember right now what I played, what I drank, or how much money I spent or won... I do know that I staggered up to bed around midnight, and hubby wasn't there. I gave him a quick call to tell him I was heading to bed. I woke up at 1:15am to find him snoring up a storm. Come to find out, he had found a cash game at Monte Carlo. He had returned to the room around 1am, and within 15 minutes after that he was dead to the world. Not surprising, since we'd been up 24 hours at that point!!

    I slept fitfully that night and woke up a little after 6am. The last time I was in Vegas I also woke up early and went downstairs for some quiet gambling time when the casino was mostly deserted. I really enjoyed that time, so it's become a mini-tradition with me. I got up and dressed, and headed downstairs. I got onto a blackjack table and sat mostly with people who hadn't yet been to bed. And they looked and smelled like it too LOL! I managed a small gain, and although it didn't seem like that much longer, hubby showed up behind me, freshly showered and dressed. He said it was 9am. 9am was the designated time it was "ok" for us to call the BF's or for them to call us. We went back up to the room, I called them, and we planned to meet to go to Paris for breakfast.

    I had heard over and over on the board how terrific the Paris breakfast buffet is, and I have to agree now that it is all that and more! The made-to-order crepes are out of this world to-die-for good! The selection was incredible, and we each ate until we were tired. It was so good, we decided to go again the following morning.

    Now we needed to decide what to do with the rest of the day. It was already after noon, and we needed to pick up our tickets for the David Copperfield show by 6:30. Hubby & I had planned on driving to Primm in order to ride Desperado, the roller coaster there. It is not open on Tuesdays, and we had to leave for home early Wednesday, so this was our only remaining opportunity for this trip. We decided we just didn't feel comfortable watching the clock that closely, so we set out on foot to discover the Strip. We'll be back, and hopefully Desperado will still be there (or they will have put up a better coaster!)

    BF1 had expressed interest in learning how to play blackjack, but has a more limited gambling budget than hubby & I have, so we knew we needed to find her a low-limit table. We also wanted quite badly to go to the Venetian to check it out and take a gondola ride. We began walking north on the Strip, making a stop at Barbary Coast to find a little blackjack game for her. She didn't have much luck on her side, as she drew lousy hands, and thought hubby was giving bad advice. But she did start to see that blackjack can be a terrifically fun game. Of course it's more fun when you're winning, just like every other game.

    We continued our walk north, and I paused to check out some reggae music coming from a stage I could not see. Quite by accident, I had stumbled onto Harrah's famed Carnaval Court bar, and we saw the bartenders doing their juggling acts with their cocktail equipment. I suggested we sit down and have a drink and be entertained. This unplanned stop was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. We had a bartender named Robyn, from Syracuse NY, and she clearly was enjoying her job. BF2 ordered an apple martini, I ordered a raspberry one, which was perfect, and BF1 asked for a surprise, with Kahlua. Robyn winked and said "trust me".... and made a truly fabulous drink for BF1. Hubby was boring and ordered a Coke. He had two of those before I convinced him to join us in the fun, and he had one of what I was having, so I told Robyn to make it a double, and I'll have the other one. That was so much fun, watching her and the other bartender's antics. I could have stayed there all day (and not been able to walk home at night).

    We did finally get to the Venetian, right at the entrance to Mme. Tussaud's wax museum. We were all in the right mood for a giggle, so we purchased tickets. It was a fun tour, especially for us more than slightly tipsy gals and some of the fellows they had on display. I have to say, if Sean Connery has "IT" in person anywhere near as much as his statue does, holy cow, I sure do see why he's been voted sexiest man alive, even if he is in his 70's. As for the other guys, Brad Pitt looked good and Springsteen looked real fine in his jeans.

    Inside the Venetian, we looked for the line for the gondola rides. We found it in the back of the Canal shops, and they were giving out reservations for later in the day. Seeing that we had a show to go to, we decided to try and come back the next day. We went to the casino, where the fragrance blowing into the air made us women (who all have asthma or asthmatic symptoms to some degree) cough. Hoping that it would be more concentrated by the door, we pushed onward. I was concerned for BF1. With strong aromas she does not cough like I do, her airways lock up. She's been known to literally need an ambulance when that happens. I stuck with her, keeping one eye on the nearest exit, but thankfully my suspicion played out... the fragrance is much stronger by the entrance than it is throughout the casino. Although all 3 of us felt our throats were thick as a result of the perfume. I registered a mild complaint to the desk person when we registered for the players' club (her reaction "we can't even smell it anymore") by telling them that they are discouraging people with asthma from being there, and some idiot might think to sue them for discrimination.

    Almost before we realized it, we needed to think about getting a bite to eat somewhere before heading to MGM Grand and the Copperfield show. We saw an Asian restaurant, I believe the name was Noodles Asia or something similar, right off the casino at Venetian. The menu looked good - none of us were starving but just wanted an appetizer so our tummies wouldn't rumble too loudly during the show. Us 3 women shared 3 appetizers (spring rolls, potstickers and shrimp sui mai) and thought they were fabulous. Hubby ordered a noodle soup dish, and enjoyed it as well. We left the Venetian and walked back to Aladdin to shower and change for our show that evening.

    Next: David Copperfield, and the 2nd half of the trip.

    Kitty
     
  2. Coecat

    Coecat Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I really enjoyed reading part 1 and am looking forward to part 2! Give me my vicarious thrills...I leave 5 weeks from today!

    Debbie
     
  3. GGecko

    GGecko Tourist

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    Great first half trip report!!
     
  4. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

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    OK, now I'm really looking forward to the Aladdin soaking tub next week :D Thanks for whetting my appetite!!
     
  5. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Joined:
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    Hey Kikky--

    Great report so far!

    And props for the use of 'surreptitiously' [​IMG]

    I'm startin' to get the fever...don't know if I can make it until March....must resist....


    Mikey
     
  6. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Why????? :confused: ;)
     
  7. sunni

    sunni VIP Whale

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    Can't wait for part two ! Fun report.

    Mikey, ya gotta give in to those temptations.. ;)

    sunni :cool:

    T-47 and counting..
     
  8. paulajpa

    paulajpa Guest

    That Mikey sure makes alot of people want to play or learn to play craps ..... I took lessons at Monte Carlo and did rather well the whole trip now if next time can be the same that would be great... :D

    I dont think I can wait until March I am hoping to go as soon as income tax comes in [​IMG]
     
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