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TR - Encore TS - Marathon - etc...

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by geoff, Dec 8, 2012.

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  1. geoff

    geoff Low-Roller

    May 22, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Last weekend I ran the vegas 1/2 marathon for the 4th time. below are some notes from that trip:

    Flew out of JFK this trip, usually we fly from BDL which is about 25 minute drive where as JFK is a little over 1:30 if there is no traffic. Flights from BDL were quite high for some reason, also there are no longer non-stops at a reasonable time to LAS, so JFK was a better option. We flew Virgin America for the first time as well. I paid the extra for 'Main cabin Select" which is pretty much just another name for the 1st non first class row and the exit row. they say and extra 6" of leg room. The row was certainly roomy. You also get a cost included (or free as they say) and free pay movies and food/drink.
    The inflight entertainment was better than any other US airline i've flown. movies on demand sat. TV, games you can play, send txt messaged to other seats.. pretty cool. You also order your drinks and food through it and the stewardess brings it on over. if you were paying for drinks you also swipe your card right in your seat. First class looked pretty cool MUCH better than usair/delta/aa.. but all the seats were sold by the time i booked (and looking at other flights it was more than i'd want to pay anyway). The aircraft itself was fairly new and clean. The snacks were quite good and my wife had a wrap sandwich of some type that she said was pretty good for plane food. The caramel popcorn was nice and light and salty. Since I was going to be running the following day I took it easy on the booze. but the old order a double and drop one of the nips in your carry on worked well so i had a nice little collection to bring to the room.

    The new terminal at LAS was ok and certainly cleaner/fresher than the old one, but nothing special. the non-stop flight arrived about 30 minutes ahead of schedule. we grabbed our bags and there was no line for a cab (12:30 saturday)

    Told the cabbie Encore TS, he started with the encore is on the north part of the strip talk, but i told him no highway and he took us the right way.

    Check-in at encore ts was a breeze as usual. unfortunately we didn't get an upgrade (I book thorough amex FHR which gives an upgrade based on availability). Once again the redcard number on the key didn't match the account i previously had. this seems to happen every time when i book though amex. they printed out a new key with the correct number.
    We headed up the the normal room we booked (king tower suite) we were given room 502 . Usually, the xx02 rooms are the jackpot of the normal non-real suite rooms since they are all the way on the end excepts the apartments. But this was the lowest floor so i wasn't sure how bad the club noise would be. Bellhop brought the luggage so i had him wait so i could get a couple shirts pressed (4 free a day) I started to fill out the slip when he says "Sir you are a tower suites guest, there is no need for you to complete that. It will be done for you." that's the kind of service i enjoy, but why bother hanging it in the closet if you don't need to fill it out?
    opened the sheer and something caught my eye. on the floor behind where the sheer was laid an empty corona bottle.. guess housekeeping missed that one, oops.

    Started the walk over to the venetian to the marathon expo to pick up my registration. Stopped at the Wynn sports book to put a couple bucks on pittsburgh over USF. The palazzo entrance by the bridge was under construction and was a bit of a bottleneck, but not a problem. Some sort of low roller baccarat tourney was going on over there (open to the public) by i wasn't really interested so i don't know the details. Grabbed my marathon stuff and headed back to encore. There was some invite only poker tourney winding down in the area over by where switch used to be.

    Stopped in Society for a snack. Wife and I split a flatbread and a order of wings at the bar.

    Played some slots and VP with the wife until the pitt game started then watched it in the room (Cashed! easy $$), the more slots until it was time for dinner. No big wins, just feeding the 100's in and slapping the button.

    Didn't want to be too adventurous the night before running so we did Wazuzu for dinner. Started with some toro sushi and my wife had a veggie roll. very good. we had Panang curry and Sweet&sour chicken with a side of rice. I ordered the curry a 4 of 5 on the spicy scale but it really wasn't that hot. even at a 4 it was much less spicy than any of the curries i get at out local thai place. Wife's chicken was very rich. Almost as if they fried the chicken in butter rather than oil. The few bits i had were good.
    After dinner I decided to play some blackjack. I usually play in the pit just outside the TS entrance (just outside the high limit). they lowered the limits to $25/shoe 50/dd but now dealer hits soft 17.. Not a fan. Sat down at a show game and proceeded to blow through a buy-in in a shoe and a half or so. Just wasn't feeling it so went back to losing at the slots with my wife until it was time for bed.

    There was some Bass from surrender but it wasn't as bad as i though it would be. I slept through it fine. Since they are only open wed/friday/saturday and we were here saturday-wednesday after this we wouldn't have any noise issues at all.

    Woke up sunday and it was race day. Breakfast was back at Society. I had the toasted hazelnut/chocolate pancakes which was a new menu item. They were out of orange juice which was kind of odd. Also didn't have watermelon juice since it's not in season which the waitress said is odd since they just printed new menus and it shouldn't have been on there. Settled with pineapple. cappuccino was ok. Wife had the frosted flake french toast and a Mimosa. I figured pancakes would be a good base meal to run on and they were quite tasty.

    played a little video poker and put in bets on jacksonville over the bills (the old fade dave wannstedt play) and on the steelers over the ravens. Watched the early games in the room resting until it was time to leave for the marathon. steelers bet came in but somehow jacksonville couldn't even cover against the awful bills.. I was still running 2/3 betting sports at this point.

    Picked up the wynn marathon shuttle from the encore bus loop, rather than previous years where it left from the wynn side. previously they took back roads since the strip was closed but this year they were running the busses the wrong way right don the strip. it was a really odd feeling driving down the wrong side of the road on the strip.
    The start village was across from luxor this year. The had a Journey cover band playing which i didn't think was very good (I guess they guy the singer was in the band post steve perry for a very short period of time). Last year they had brett michaels I think he did a better job.

    Started the half in corral #4. this was my 7th half marathon. Everything was going fine for me until mile 7 or so when my pace started slowing.. I wasn't feeling out of breath or overly tired or anything so i just kept at it and my pace continued to slow until i was about 1 min/mile slower than i wanted to be.. I just felt like i had no power in my legs. I walked the last 2 aid stations and finished with the 2nd slowest time of all my halfs (slowest was 4 months after knee surgery). I wasn't too happy but I guess everyone has a bad day. I had some water at the finish and one of the jamba juice smoothies they were passing out, which turned out to not be such a great idea. going back north on the strip turned out to be a huge pain in the ass. the marathon ended at CP, almost to bellagio. there were private parties blocking off some of the pathways around CP. Met up with my wife in front of mirage by the finish line and continued back to encore. Once back in the room I as in for a world of hurt. No muscle soreness like i would usually have after a hard run of this distance but i was pale and really nauseous. Scrapped our dinner plans, Since i had to spend some quality time in the water closet. Made use of the luxurious elongated bowl a few times and started feeling better. My wife went down to zooza crackers and brough me back up some chicken soup and she had a caesar salad which she enjoyed.

    Monday we had breakfast at Tableau which is one of my favorite breakfast spots. I had the tableau breakfast and wife had the strawberry waffles. spot on a usual.
    back to the slot losing.. put in a bet on washington and the under (even though i'm a giants fan) Played some dd blackjack back at encore. blew though the first buyin in something like 2 shoes, bought in again and someone finally flipped the win switch! I was killing it for about 5-6 shoes then i had the largest bet of the day out, 11 v 4, double down as usual blah, 14.. dealer makes a hand for huge swing. play a few more shoes and color up some yellow.

    My wife decided on SW dinner (her birthday). ts concierge said they would set us up with a table by the window (too cold to sit outside according to my wife). Suited up and headed do there, and our table was about as far from the widow as you could get. We did have a nice corner bench located right behind the wall behind the bar. Much better than the other 2 top tables around. We have dined at SW many times, i'm not sure if it was due to being a monday or slower part of the year or what but service wasn't quite up to the level I expected. Service was not 'bad' it just wasn't exceptional. typically there is a server/assistant/etc. where as this time it was just the one female server and runner which served us. didn't have the usual wiping the crumbs up between courses, etc. I noticed SW now has a pretty good selection of beers on one drink list, trappists, etc.. including a 3l chimay blue for $149, unfortunately i wasn't planning on drinking 3l myself and my wife preferred a cocktail. My new york strip was cooked beautifully. It was as tender as filet at some of the 'high end' steakhouses around here back home. Wife had the filet had the filet and as you would expect it was even more tender, but lacked some of the flavor of the strip. sw fries were good (as they should be for $12) and my wife loved the au gratin potatoes (could finish those but not the $60 steak :) ). We had the chocolate souffle with brandied cherries and it never disappoints.
    Smoked a nice greycliff cigar and cashed my 2 monday night football bets. now 4/5 betting football. some more slot losing and off to bed.

    Tuesday morning we had tableau again. I had the braised duck hash with eggs and my wife had the tableau breakfast sandwich. Wife's sandwich looked good but the star of the meal was the duck. i have had a lot of good breakfasts, but this very well could have been the best breakfast I've had to date. the salty richness of the tender duck with the slight crisp of the puff pastry along with the scrambled egg just did it for me. also enjoyed a few mimosas. A good morning!

    My wife wanted a massage and I joined her at the spa. Decided to forgo a massage this trip, but the Encore spa is still worth the $40 day pass. did the steam/sauna/shower/hottub/cold plunge/hottub circut twice then it was back to the tables.
    went back to my DD game and couldn't lose. played for about 2 hours and just stacked and stacked. got a txt from my wife that she was done so i colored up and played some more losing slots with her.

    Headed over the neiman marcus over at the fashion show mall and my wife did some shopping, picked out a new gucci purse for her birthday.

    on the way back to the room i stopped at a baccarat table which was chop for a little hit and run action, played player, won, switched to banker won, left on banker, won, bank again... decided it was time to color. went to find my wife, walked back by the table on our way back to the room.. it was still on the banker streak! 7 hits and counting.. (streak ended at 8) oh well i guess you should never walk away from a streak.

    saw the DJ from XS the night before in the ts lobby running to his limo with 2 hot chicks from the night before..obviously just met them, he gave them directions on how to walk back to whatever hotel they were staying at (this as mid afternoon)

    For dinner we decided on Sinatra. This is another one of the places i've eaten a ton of times. Where as the service as a little off at SW, Sinatra was impeccable. I had the prosciutto with pears app and my wife had a salad. I usually get the meatballs for an app here but the prosciutto by far outshined those, it was great. I had the veal ossobuco and wife had chicken parm with pasta. The veal was super tender and is one of my favorite dishes there. Chicken parm is a huge portion (far to large for one to eat). Had a glass of wine and some sinatra smashes with dinner. Had a Affogato (with hazelnut gelato) after dinner. On the way out they gave us a CD with Sinatra's hits as selected by Steven Wynn as a holiday gift. A nice touch.

    after dinner my wife headed back to the slots, I was up a little gambling and it was our last night, I though about not playing and banking the small win, but decided to do the degenerate thing and let it ride.
    Started at one DD blackjack table and lost my buyin in short order, continued down the line to the next table, lose.. down to the show game.. lose some more.. head to the craps table, no shooter made more than one point during one pass around the table. and that was enough for me. few more slots and then back to the room to pack up for a morning flight.

    quick breakfast at society, stopped at the host's office and they comped my food (can't touch the room with the amex booking)

    taxi to the airport long hauled us a little, but since i was just under what i was planning to give him anyway (i usually tip pretty well) i just paid the meter and no tip since i didn't feel like an argument.
    Jetblue back to jfk.. plane was a little old and beat for jetblue, but direct tv is nice.

    cliff notes:
    virgin america == good
    ran 1/2 marathon - didn't go well
    SW - food was good but service was a little off
    sinatra - exceptional as usual
    Duck hash &eggs = win!
    lots of slots, many bonuses, but no w2g's
    not a ton of VP but nothing better than the worst paying 4 OAK's
    hit&run baccarat was good, but oh man what it could have been..
    Pit in front of encore TS now has bad rules.
    anti-splash pee pads are still gone in the wynn/encore bathrooms
    saw very few d'bags at encore. maybe it was a timing thing with the club mostly closed and no beach club open?
  2. Sniff009

    Sniff009 Low-Roller

    Feb 28, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Geoff, I have ran the Vegas half since 2009 and its been weird that the weather seems to be different every year. Crazy that we had the crazy gusts. I ran my worst time ever because I got a blister on the bottom of my foot at mile 5 in the same shoes I ran 10 miles about a week and a half earlier, so I couldn't figure out what the heck happened.

    The poor mile marker signs kept on getting knocked over. I lost track of where I was when I thought I was hitting 9, the dude at the station yelled 10.2 and I didn't believe him until I passed mile marker 12 (couldn't find 11)

    This half was way better than the last years because I felt the water stations were longer and there weren't too many bottle necks after the first mile or so.

    Great TR.
  3. johnvic

    johnvic VIP Whale

    Nov 13, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great trip report, sorry that you got sick after the run but glad you recovered and were able to enjoy some fine dining.

    I've thought of trying Virgin America, it just never works out in terms of schedule.

    Congrats on running the half marathon!
  4. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

    Nov 11, 2003
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report, thanks! Runners are one of a kind, I am proud when I walk the strip or parts of it everyday, to run a half would be out of the question!..
    Trying Downtown this time!
  5. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Apr 20, 2002
    What your TR alluded to, and what has also been my experience running the Vegas marathon, is that there is plenty of other stuff to do besides the marathon.
    When I do marathons in other towns, the race is my sole purpose for being there. In Vegas, not so much the case. In fact, much of our Sunday was spent at the LVH sportsbook watching football beforehand.
    Likewise, with the rest of our time - More Vegasy and less shop-talk running stuff.
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