1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

TR Aug2-6... Good... But....

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Tromboneking, Aug 7, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Tromboneking

    Tromboneking Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Graham, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8

    My Trip Report

    Hello all!

    Just arrived home from Las Vegas yesterday. Before I begin, let me start by saying, I only get to Vegas once every 2-4 years. My wife and I are teachers with a teen and a preteen, so there are other places we want to take them also. So, I am comparing this trip to ours from 3 years ago...a lot has changed...and not sure for the better.

    We actually planned this trip so our girls could see One Direction at Mandalay Bay. They LOVED it! It was worth the trip just to see my girls so excited...anyway.

    Day 1-Flew out of Dallas to San Antonio and on to Vegas. Landed on Friday evening around 9. Got the rental car and headed downtown. This was my first time to stay downtown, and we were on a budget, so we stayed at the California. The hotel itself was fine. Room was clean (bathroom was small and had some issues with the wallpaper around the back or the toilet), but other than that it was good. It was around 11:30 when we got there and our girls were starving, so we went down to the all night cafe in the hotel. Even at that late hour, there was a 30 minute line to get seated. Finally ate..food was good..not great, but it got the job done. Family crashed..I played..no luck that night.

    Day2- Concert day! This was a day for our girls. We got up late and made our way over and had In and Out Burger. Ok...I may get flamed here..I don't get it I guess...it is good..but I can think of about 5 burger places that are better. Anyway, we took them to the Children's Museum for the afternoon...it was GREAT! Lots of hands on stuff for them to do. Back to the hotel so the girls could get dressed up for the concert. Head up to the strip and drop the girls off at MB, and I headed out to play. After looking for a parking space for over 1 hour, finally found one at the Luxor, so headed in to play. Spent the evening playing the Wizard of Oz slots and Reel Em In...did WELL...cashed out over $400. After the concert, took the girls over to the Orleans for a late dinner. We took them there once before, and the food was cheap and a LOT of food. Here was the first big change...the menu was cut back..normal size portions, and NOT CHEAP anymore..we had intended for the kids to share, but that did not work. I was so expecting it to be like before...but was a little disappointed.

    Day 3-Goodbye Downtown..it was fine, but was ready to get to the strip..or I thought. Stop at Circus Circus to take the girls to the Adventuredome...they loved it, but I am glad it was a one time thing. Head to the Flamingo to check in. I was worried about the hotel from a lot of the reviews..but the room was great. High with a strip view, clean and very comfortable. Here were my gripes though. The front is completely closed off for construction so we had to drive wayyy around to Koval and figure out how to check in...nothing was marked, so we finally found it. I was already a little irritated at that, so I go to check in...and there was about a 30-45 minute line to check in. Then I get up to the desk, and the lady left and I waited another 15 minutes. Took wayyyy too long to check in. That was my one complaint with the Flamingo..there were people EVERYWHERE! Lines everywhere. After we got settled, we headed to NYNY to an everytime stop..Gonzalez y Gonzalez. We have enjoyed it in the past, and it was good this time...but not great like usual. Also, being from Texas, chips and hot sauce come with the meal..not there...we had to pay..that is new. Finish dinner, and the girl rode the roller coaster (it got high marks from them)..and head back to the Flamingo. Here is another thing that bugs me..there were homeless people, street performers, and crazy people begging everywhere...it got very old. I also don't like the people who dress as the characters for pictures. Get back to the hotel...kids were tired, and I played. Did well on Wizard Slots again, Twilight zone slots and a little tables. Made a couple of hundred.

    Day 4-Last day. Got up early to let the kids use the great Flamingo pool. Head down and could not get it...the kiddy pool was seperate. Maybe I missed that, but I assumed the pool was the pool. I knew there was a 21 only pool, but I was not happy. We stayed there so the kids could have a fun pool, but they could't use it, so it was a bust. We only spent about an hour there, and headed to Planet Hollywood. We had lunch at Pampas in the Miracle Mile. Food was good, but Texas De Brazil and Fogos are both better. Headed down to the Luxor and took the girls to the Titanic museum. It is great. If you have not done it, you should. The girls wanted to see the statues at Ceasars, so we head down there...and another disappointment..they were under construction, so we checked out the fish and ate dinner at the Cheesecake factory. It was very good. Headed back to the Flamingo and checked out the habitat. By then, kids crashed.

    So here are the good: Pampas, Cheesecake Wizard Slots, Flamingo room.

    Bad: It seems to me Vegas is now a place for the frat boy crowd. I think they are about to get prices to a point where normal people will not be able to afford much. Everything was SO crowded, expensive and many RUDE people. Orleans food change was sad. Too many homeless/beggers...timeshare people...street performers. Was the trip bad? No..it was ok...but it is the first time I was READY to leave. Normally I am sad..not this time. It was not a relaxing time.

    :confused2:
     
  2. Pattie

    Pattie Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    149
    Location:
    Maryland
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    I know it is tough when you are excited for something and the reality ends up being a let down. Thankfully your girls enjoyed the concert! The construction around the Flamingo is torturous. We didn't even attempt walking on that section of the Strip a few weeks before. Thanks for sharing your report!
     
  3. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    930
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    The things you didn't like are why we started spending more and more time off strip. I still visit the strip but not as often.

    TomTWI
     
  4. higgiel

    higgiel Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2012
    Messages:
    199
    Location:
    Canton, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    33
    Thanks for the report. It's hard to keep up with the changes. And just when one project gets completed, another one starts. I prefer off-strip properties and usually only hit the strip for shows. But it sounds like your girls had a good time, so you racked up some dad points on that one. :wave:
     
  5. Tromboneking

    Tromboneking Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Graham, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    I just reread my post...and it seemed very grippy..LOL...don't get me wrong, we had a great time...it was just not like it used to be for me. Maybe I am just getting older. It just seemed like EVERYWHERE we went there was a long line for anything. The strip is catering to the younger crowd, and that is fine. Part of it was due to the fact that our girls were with us. I loved that they were, but it does limit what you can do, and there are things that they are just too young to see and do, so we did our best to shelter that. Had it not been for the concert, we would not have taken them. Did meet a very nice gentlemen at the Luxor. We were playing the penny WIzard of Oz machines, and we both were winning, so we started cheering for each other...it was fun. I think the next time we go, it will be just my wife and I and I am going to pop for a nice place...nice dinner..a more adult trip!
    :evillaugh
     
  6. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    Messages:
    5,265
    Location:
    Northern Nevada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    204
    I think it came off as an honest recollection of the time. Thanks for sharin' it with us! Sometimes it be like that...
     
  7. Worldbefree

    Worldbefree Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Messages:
    12
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    I had the exact same reaction on my last trip. The strip is for drunken twenty somethings. Service is poor and the basics are expensive. The tone of service is frequently somewhere between surly and hostile. I avoid the strip. There are recent articles in the LVRJ about young people not gambling or seeing shows like older generations. I suspect the strip will get more "unfriendly" to the middle-aged and famlies as day and night clubs become the profit centers for strip properties.

    I stay and play downtown. I'll go to the stip for a show and then scoot back to where the normal people hang. Nice report by the way.
     
  8. ex507

    ex507 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Location:
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    So strange that some people say that DT has so many drunks, panhandlers, homeless and scary or even dangerous people...

    I think it just depends on own experiences. I see homeless people DT and on the strip and it does not bother me (yet), drunk people do not bother me, maybe because i am at least tipsy every night in vegas. think some day it comes to a point where you get too much of all the "bad" things and "bad" people...
     
  9. robert m.

    robert m. High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2011
    Messages:
    649
    Location:
    texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Tromboneking,

    Thank you for the trip report!

    I get some valuable info out of most reports.

    I just got back from one week in Las Vegas -- all of it downtown . I can really relate to the frustrations that you experienced. My first visit was 1980. The first 10 years were spent on the strip. But I grew weary of check-in lines, lines at buffets & cages, etc.

    So, I switched to the Orleans or Gold Coast for years. That was a big improvement.

    Then I switched to downtown, and it has been excellent (for me, not for everyone).

    I checked into the MSS, D & finally the Four Queens without a line at any of the three.

    Downtown has lots of eating places, so you can always find some place without a line. Just don't expect to eat at popular places like the restaurants at the Golden Nugget at 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday or Saturday night.

    But there are some hidden gems with great food & almost no wait: D Grille, Andiamo, 777 Brewpub at MSS, DuPars at Golden Gate, Grotto at GN in the early afternoon (crowded after 6 ), American Coney Island at D, Pop Up Pizza at Plaza (amazing!) & Le Thai (avoid noon rush & ask for MILD spice).

    There are a bunch more small places & a dozen more very good restaurants.

    Yes, there are lots of "characters" on Fremont Street each evening. And the homeless are omnipresent.
    But, I was there for a week, and never felt aggravated. Perhaps because 95% of my time was spent inside the various casinos, playing the machines & enjoying myself.

    So, anyway.....I totally understand your frustration. But don't give up. With a little experience, and absorbing info from others' trip reports, you can have more fun & less frustration!
     
  10. Fafa2e

    Fafa2e Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    Florida
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    40
    Like you said, I think that you are much more cognizant of all of the seedy sides of Vegas when you were with your teen and pre-teen daughters. Even just walking down Las Vegas boulevard you have to try and shield (or distract) them from the giant call girl billboards driving down the street, the drunk Mickey's, the porn slappers and the porn slapper cards littered all over the street, the homless, the drunks, etc., whereas if you travel with just you and your wife or friends these things might still be annoying, but you can just ignore them.
     
    Bonus Money to Burn
  11. Tromboneking

    Tromboneking Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Graham, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Thanks all! I am glad to get some restaurants downtown...I am not as familiar with it.

    The strip stuff has never bothered me in the past, but it did this time. I just remember back a few years when you could eat and stay fairly cheaply. Now, it seems everything is so expensive on the strip. The normal everyday guy is not going to be able to afford it. Great example...I bought 3 bottles of water and a pepsi on the strip...$18....
     
  12. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    6,162
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    Didn't the girls go to the pool they could at the Flamingo? The one the kids can get into is a very nice pool. I prefer that one WAY more than the party pool. It's not as big but it is very nice.
     
  13. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    415
    Location:
    Michigan
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Thanks for taking the time to write your trip report. We tend to spend most of our time Downtown and only a short amount of time on the strip.

    I do have a couple of questions about your time at "The California" hotel as we are thinking of staying there. I hope you don't mind.

    Did you stay in the East tower or West tower? How was the noise at night? Did you use the pool? Any other added information about the hotel or the rooms would be great. We've stayed downtown several times so I'm familiar with the location of the hotel however we've never stayed at this particular one.

    Thank you again.
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  14. Tromboneking

    Tromboneking Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Graham, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    I liked the Cal. We were in the east tower. It is very easy to get to your room, the elevators are right next to check in. We had absolutely no problem with noise at all. The rooms are nice sized..even with 4 in the room, we never felt cramped. The sink/vanity area was separate from the sleeping area, so that was also nice since I stayed out later than my wife and kids. The only thing that could have been better was the bathroom. It was small, but not an issue for us. We had 2 queen beds, with a nice TV, a desk area with the dressing area and bathroom. I would stay there again with no questions. The casino is decent sized with an upstairs area too. Main Street Station is connected to the Cal by a crossover, so you can move to both casinos with no problems. One thing to consider, the Cal is a block away from Fremont, but you can cut through Binons and be there in no time.

    Hope this helps.:beer:
     
  15. Tromboneking

    Tromboneking Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    105
    Location:
    Graham, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Oh, and we did not use the pool. It is average but is on the roof of the West tower.
     
  16. Grasp

    Grasp Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Messages:
    109
    Thanks for the candid report and a good cautionary tale for those considering taking their children to Vegas. It's going to be a very different trip and you will need to adjust your expectations and plans. I'd also add that it appears from your report that you didn't do much research beforehand. Perhaps you did, but with the amount of "surprises" it didn't come across that way. For those traveling to Vegas with kids I think pre-trip planning is much more crucial. Vegas is a town of spontaneity and you're certainly limited in that area when traveling with those under 21.
     
  17. numeno

    numeno VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,686
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    My first thought after reading that was it seemed like you must have been hopping from casino to casino all the time and these aren't close casinos. :) Day 3 seems like

    DT -> Flamingo -> NYNY -> Flamingo -> Luxor -> Caesars -> Flamingo

    Holy crap, I thought I traveled a lot in one day on the strip. :)


    Overall I think your report is a fair opinion. I have to imagine this being a family trip(I assume they didn't come 3 years ago) changed it somewhat. A lot of the issues you mentioned were problems back then, but maybe you were able to ignore them more often.


    The flamingo pool seemed like an annoyance and something that I'm not sure I would have ever checked into myself. I wouldn't have expected the main pool to be 21+. I wonder if others like Mandalay Bay are similar.


    A comment on the lines. 3 years ago Vegas was really hurting. The difference between the number of people on my trips then vs now is huge. A lot of posts on this forum ask about non busy weekends in Vegas. While there are less busy weekends, it does seem like every week has a ton of people there now. They are doing a very good job at filling up the rooms.

    Nothing against your reports as I completely agree with the lines, I just think this is the natural order of things when more and more people start heading back to vacation cities.




    I do know trips where I was in a group where we were going around and seeing specific things were much more stressful to me than those where the plan was just do whatever came up. Most of the times when we had some plans we always thought 60-90 minutes was plenty of time and then are stressed when we are running late. I would imagine it is tough with going with under 21s just because so much of the city is off limits. You can't just walk a little bit and your at somewhere new. Everything has to be planned out because there are only 1-2 things per casino they can even do.
     
  18. bclub

    bclub Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Western NY
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    So, just so I can tell my teenagers, how did your girls like the concert?
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.