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TR: May 28th to June 2nd

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by PokerFaceNJ, Jun 6, 2012.

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  1. PokerFaceNJ

    PokerFaceNJ Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21

    My Trip Report

    Another trip and another trip report! Every year I ask my wife if she wants to venture out a bit, and maybe enjoy a vacation somewhere different. She gives me this look like I am crazy so then I am off to planning another Vegas Vacation. We love everything about the city but it the weather there seems to be very therapeutic to each of our health problems. My wife has Lupus and I have had back surgery...neither of us feel any effect of either when in the dry air. Just another reason to go almost every year.

    Although we enjoy good health there typically each year...this would not be true on this visit. Will explain as I go through the trip details. I will skip the play by play of each detail and will focus on the different high/low lights of the trip. We are also very budget conscious and have limited funds...so I will discuss how we stayed "frugal".

    FLIGHT: As others have shared on here, the costs of plane travel (especially from the NY/NJ area) are quite insane now. I was lucky enough to find a nice deal on Delta ($265 RT) even though we would have to sacrifice and have connecting flights each way. I have had poor experiences with Delta in the past but not this time...everything was wonderful. The airplane was very comfortable with plenty of leg room and the staff was friendly. Each flight left on time and arrived early to the destination. It was nice having free satellite TV on each leg too which in the past we had to typically pay for. Didn't wait more than 15 minutes for our luggage either time. Just a really good travel experience.

    CAR RENTAL: We always rent a car. We don't want to cab anywhere and we enjoy going to local spots throughout the city. We definitely get our use out of it. This is the first time that I have not used Alamo in quite some time as they typically have the best prices and I love their customer service. The best price by far that I found was Payless ($85 for 5 nights). I did my typical research and I was very nervous about what I read so I even reserved another car through Budget just in case. I expected to be relentlessly upsold...didn't happen. I expected a less than serviceable car...didn't happen. We were given a Hyundai Excel with very little miles on it...perfect for what we needed. Would definitely use again.

    HOTELS: We stayed in THREE, yes, THREE different places in just five nights. Would not recommend so much hopping but it didn't bother us much. The first three nights were comped at the Flamingo. This was for a standard room which I have never stayed in, but after reading the reviews...just could not do. For the first time I tried the $20 trick and it worked! The front clerk was an older gentleman who was very slick in taking the twenty and putting it aside. We were upgraded to a very nice GO room. What started off as a win...soon became a very disappointing loss though. We got to the room to get ready to hit the casino...it was very cold and set at 65 degrees. I made the temperature adjustment then left for lunch. We got back to the room and it was still on 65 degrees. Didn't think much of it and probably should have requested maintenance at that time but just wanted to continue to enjoy the vacation...bit mistake. For the first two nights there we kept turning the AC on and off when too cold or too hot...after the second night I woke up with a high fever and horrible sore throat. I finally complained and the Flamingo said that there was a water main break and it affected that whole tower. None of the rooms could set the AC temperature to their liking. The linq construction may have had something to do with it. I was fuming at this point as I was sure many others were suffering as well. They calmed me down by putting us in a suite, but I was sick for the remainder of the trip. I didn't stay in the room though...I tried to not let it ruin my vacation, but it was very difficult. We didn't stay on the property much as we just didn't want to at that point. Did make use of the pool though before I got sick. We really enjoy the Flamingo pool and now more than ever as the main pool is adults only. No kids running around and plenty to drink...my kind of pool. Music was a little loud...but what Vegas pool doesn't have loud music at this point.

    Lunch time over here at work...will continue soon...
     
  2. PokerFaceNJ

    PokerFaceNJ Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    Our fourth evening we stayed at the Golden Nugget. We always try to stay a couple of nights downtown as we enjoy the vibe down there. Tried for two nights, but the second night would have cost over $150...we just don't like paying that for any room. Room, as always, was very nice. I didn't bother with the $20 trick as I heard that the GN just doesn't give too many upgrades. We definitely made use of the pool. Too many kids for my taste (would you believe I am a school counselor) but my wife and I always find our little nook in the pool where we sit, order a bucket o' beers, and people watch for a couple of hours. This pool is ideal for people watching as you get all kinds. Never seen so many woman in bikinis who should have opted for the one piece. The temperature of the pool actually helped to bring my fever down and I started to feel a bit better. No loud music here, but would have switched to lose all of the kids.

    Our last evening (Friday) was at the D. Only room that I could get sort of cheap on a weekend night ($45). It is as advertised...plain and no frills. Bed was comfortable, room was clean...it served our needs well as we were only in the room to sleep and we had an early flight the next morning. Also came with a free breakfast for each of us which we made use of before we drove to the airport. We really enjoyed the vibe as they are restoring the place. The long bar is very nice and the casino floor was all about having fun. The music was loud (very, very loud) but the dealers and floor people were dancing around and singing to the music. To me that adds to the vibe as that behavior can be contagious. Nothing stuffy here...if you have a stick up your ass go somewhere else.


    FOOD:

    Kind of a mixed bag here but we tried some new things. We did both the gambler's special at the Hard Rock and the 7.99 steak special at Ellis Island. Both were OK, which I found as a disappointment. We have eaten both specials in the past and thought they were high quality meals for such a cheap price. Not this time as both steaks had more gristle and fat. The side dishes also were not as tasty. Not sure if I would return to either special despite the great price.

    Used a Restaurant.com certificate for Casa Di Amore. This is a local Italian restaurant that has many positive reviews on numerous vegas websites. Just had to try it after reading about the old school approach. It definitely did not disappoint! The service and food were both outstanding. I had the stuffed pork chops and my wife had chicken franchaise. Both were high quality. They had a young man on a keyboard on stage singing some obvious cultural tunes and he did an outstanding job. Even received a free drink each for checking in on four square.

    Had another nice dinner at the Broiler in Palace Station. We went there after I had learned of a $19.99 crab leg special that all of the Station Casinos were running in May. I love me some crab legs so when I heard I wanted to go. We were both skeptical as the reviews of the steakhouse were not the greatest. Even entering the steakhouse, it felt like you were in a Denny's or something similar. We were very happy that we did not run from any of this as this was another outstanding dinner. We both ordered the crab leg dinner and the additional (3.99) salad bar. Get the soup...New England Clam Chowder, as it was amazingly tasty. I expected a few crab legs, but we had a plateful and each leg had substantial meat. Very, very good...but the sides (potatoes and corn) stayed on the plate as they were meh. The manager did say that the special could be running through June too so check for that if interested.

    Our favorite breakfast was at another local place...Baby Stacks. Read about it on here and other forums. Best pancakes we have had period! Don't come here though to count calories as sugar content is high. My wife had the red velvet pancakes and I believe she was moaning throughout. I had a new menu item...banana cream pie pancakes...incredible! Very much off the beaten path and you will need the car, but easily worth the trip.

    Used another restaurant.com certificate for a dinner at Hussongs Cantina. This Mexican restaurant is located in the strip of stores between Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. You must spend $50 to get $25 off...not easy for two people. We got a huge margarita which packed a little punch. We then ordered the steak nachos which were extremely tasty. We finished with an order of fajitas. Very good but an over abundance of peppers made it more spicy than anticipated. Overall a good meal.

    Another breakfast was at the Peppermill. After almost 15 trips to Vegas I finally made it inside for the first time. My wife decided to go off the diet again for the chicken fried steak and I had the Chorizo & Eggs. Both were great but I have developed an aversion to overstuffed dishes. Similar to Hash House you just get way too much food for one person and you feel like a glutton once you leave.

    Also had Earl of Sandwich for the first time. My wife and I ended up comparing this to a popular local sub shop, Capriotti's. We had a split vote as for some reason I just did not go crazy over the sandwiches at Earl...I thought they were just OK. I will be pushing for Capriotti's again on future trips.

    Went to only one buffet this trip...we usually do at least two. Kind of contradictory to saying I dislike feeling like a glutton...but somehow that rule gets cancelled at the buffets. We revisited Main Street Garden Buffet on this trip as we really enjoyed it last time. Used the coupon from freemont street experience website so it cost under $10 for two lunches combined. I stuck to the salad bar and carving stations and once again had a nice meal. My wife really enjoyed the soup and had some of the other dishes and she enjoyed the meal too.


    More to come....
     
  3. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    6,160
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    Great report!
     
  4. sb_039

    sb_039 Tourist

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    89
    Location:
    Hartford Area, CT
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Great report so far ...
     
  5. PokerFaceNJ

    PokerFaceNJ Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    205
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    ENTERTAINMENT:

    Saw two shows that were not the big productions. Wanted to see another Cirque show but the tix were not in my price range. Saw Marc Savard Comedy Hypnosis one evening after purchasing tickets for just the handling costs ($15 total) on goldstar.com. I, of course, volunteered and was one of the final 8. I am typically cynical to many things but also believe I must immerse myself into something to truly enjoy the moment. I have been hypnotized once before...Anthony Cools...but I felt that Savard did a much better job. I really could not believe my reactions to certain things...it was beyond power of suggestion. My wife said she was just hysterical throughout the show and I was glad she was able to enjoy it. Savard also gives the final volunteers two tickets to a future show...gave mine away to friends.

    Also for my wife, I purchased two tickets to the Country Superstars at the Golden Nugget. This show is the same as Legends in Concert, but with country music. This was not a favorite of mine as I really just don't enjoy the music but my wife had a blast. The impersonators really looked like the celebrities and their voices were great...too bad it was country music. Bought the voucher for the show on eBay through the Vegas4locals store...great buys there!

    Saw Big Elvis...still sounds excellent but is it possible he put on even more weight...that is a whole lotta Elvis! Seriously though, I like the gentleman a lot but one must worry how healthy he is? Also saw my favorite twins at dueling pianos for a few hours...don't get tired of listening or seeing them! Also watched a few karaoke singers at various places...just not my thing, but the wife enjoys it.

    Also went to see the Hoover Dam as I have not been there in over 20 years. My wife really is the reason we haven't gone as she is just not interested in that kind of stuff. We were both wowed by the entire scene and couldn't stop taking photos...it really is a marvel. We didn't do any tours, but our favorite part was going on the bridge that was just built last year. The scenery up there was just breathtaking. On the way to the dam, we saw a sign for $29 helicopter rides. We assumed that meant a ride to the dam area, but it didn't. It basically was a ride up in the air and back down...5 minutes of air time. For 10 minutes of air time it was $70 each and the price kept going up. Was a bummer as it appeared it would be fun but we were very turned off by the sale tactics. We did stop by Ethel M's on the way back to the strip...but that was pretty much a waste of time as not much is there, unless you like Cacti. The free samples helped ease the pain of missing strip time.

    GAMBLING:

    I am mostly a poker player and mainly stick to my favorite game of Omaha H/L. Again, I don't play huge stake games so finding a table is not easy. From my last visit, I knew that the Venetian regularly spread the game and found out on this trip it still does. Played there for a few hours on three different occasions and did not come out ahead once. I didn't lose much either, but it was a slow burn...just couldn't catch much. Also, I found that my fever really affected me when I was just sitting so I think not being as focused as usual hurt me also.

    For the past few visits my new favorite table game is Switch Blackjack. I just love this game and was really happy to see that Casino Royale spread the game over three different tables at just $5 min. I played this for quite a few hours too and only had one losing session. Most of the money I lost in poker was made up on this game.

    Put some money of different baseball and basketball games. Really did not do well here. It figures that OKC wins games 3 through 6 against the Spurs but could not cover a 5 point spread in game 2...UGH. I think I won one lousy sports match out of 7 different bets. Had to give it up.

    My wife loves the slots and this trip seemed to be all about Ghostbusters. She couldn't get enough and spent quite a few hours on the machine. Mostly broke even or lost a few bucks here and there. I can't understand the attraction as I think my stomach would get sick from sitting on that vibrating chair for so many hours. My wife also played often on Lucky Pennies and Kitty Glitter...she loves the cats and penguins I guess. I don't play much in the way of slots, but when I see a John Wayne machine I can't resist putting in a few dollars. I think I came out ahead on the trip with John W. again as I definitely win more than I lose on this machine. Went back to I Love Lucy a few times as I have won money on this machine in the past but the last few visits it has been just like depositing money...and this time again. I think I am done with the vivacious redhead. We did return to the Cosmo for their $100 promotion. On our last visit we ended up winning money so we didn't use the promotion so tried again. Mostly we just like ordering their drinks and playing the slots (try the chocolate martini and lemon drop...yum!). We didn't win this time but after 3 or so hours we were only down $20 and decided were were done and wanted to leave. I love this promotion and for $20 we definitely got good drinks.


    DRINKING:

    Had to make another category just for this as my wife and I got a little more tipsy than usual due to two drink specials. We used a groupon for Kahunaville that provided 6 drinks for $25. This was a great deal as it included almost any drink on their menu. Unfortunately we did this on our first day and were already a bit weary from all the traveling. We split the 6 drinks and two of mine were the Big Kahuna...WOW...so tasty yet so strong. It is now my new favorite drink in Vegas. We also received two free shots for checking in at Foursquare...probably not a great idea either. We stumbled back to the room after this great time.

    Another night we spent at the "It's 5AM somewhere" bar at the Margaritaville casino in the Flamingo. They have a nice happy hour after 11PM and their drinks are also very strong. We met great people there and stayed until after 4AM. Luckily were were staying in the same casino so didn't need to stumble far.


    WHAT WE DIDN'T DO:

    As with everyone I had a list of things to do for this trip...used VegasMate to help with my planning. Just didn't get to do much of it. It included going up to the top of the Stratosphere as I have never been there.

    Still have not taken a picture at the Las Vegas sign.

    Still have not made it out to the Town Square.

    Wanted to visit the Rio during the World Series of Poker.

    Wanted to gain the courage to finally play craps. Played once on my last visit but felt too awkward not understanding all the different plays. Thought about playing the automated game, but again, I rather not play if I just don't understand the varied plays.

    Missed not having a burger at Holsteins after hearing so much about the place. In fact we didn't have one burger the entire trip...is that possible with all the different burger bars now up?

    Didn't return to the Peppermill in the evening hours for one of their specialty drinks.

    We wanted to visit the M as we haven't been there either...heard great things about their buffet too.

    Really wanted to see Human Nature as motown music is my favorite genre...don't think they were in town or they just weren't on the tix for tonight board.

    First trip in a while that we didn't have a Fat Tuesday's drink...very disappointing...but we made up for it with other forms of alcohol.

    Had a restaurant.com coupon for the Flame in ElCo but just didn't have the time for it. Gave the coupon to a friend who is going out next month.




    I am sure I am leaving out some stuff...but it is best that I can recollect. Hope you enjoyed reading it!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
  6. booker

    booker High-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Messages:
    902
    Location:
    Washington State Coast
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    70
    Wonderful TR. Thanks for taking the time to writ it. Sorry about the illness and Flamingo temp!
     
  7. ebuzz7

    ebuzz7 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    180
    Location:
    Oregon
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Thank you thank you for pointing out Town Square as I didn't know it existed. It has a Miller's Ale house and that is our FAVORITE! Thought we would have to wait till we got back to Florida to eat there again and now I am triple excited for our August trip to Vegas and we will go there at least once for dinner.
     
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