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TR - Planet Hollywood - July 2-6, 2014

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by BCMike, Jul 20, 2014.

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  1. BCMike

    BCMike VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I did post this on another site last week so some of you may have already seen it but figured I'd share it here as well.

    This is my first Trip Report I'm posting here so just a warning, I can be quite wordy...

    A little history on this trip. I’ve always wanted to go to Vegas for July 4th but never really had the opportunity to do it before. I've been about 70 times in the last 12 years. I was lucky this year and decided June 30th to call Planet Hollywood and see what rates I could get. Well, they gave me some awesome weekend rates and comped me a few nights so I decided to bite the bullet and go. I was able to book a relatively affordable roundtrip airfare on United that would take me to Houston on the way to Vegas and through LAX on the way back.

    July 2nd

    Well, technically I woke up at 11pm on July 1st. I’d talked to my director about working from Vegas a few days so I wouldn’t have to take any vacation and he was on-board with it. He’s also on vacation and we both can’t be off at the same time so that worked out well. I’d been working longer hours during the first 2 days of the week to front-end load it a bit to be able to work shorter days on Wednesday and Thursdays. Anyways, I went to bed at 8pm on the 1st and woke up at 11pm. I signed into work and did about 3 hours before I finished up with my packing and such. I checked my on-line check in stuff and noticed I was no longer in seat 2C to Houston (first class) but had been moved into seat 6c (economy). I called the airline and they promptly told me there was no first class on that flight. I argued for a second about how it was possible my check in info said FC and I had paid for FC. They friendlily suggested that I file for a refund upon my return.

    I left my apartment and got to the airport about 3:30am. Parked again at FastPark which is my new favorite parking spot. The shuttle bus to the airport was fast and I was the only one on it. My flight was boarding at 5:40am and I still like to get there a few hours early even though it’s probably not necessary. In this case it definitely wasn’t necessary because airport security doesn’t open until 4am so there wasn’t anywhere to go. The oddest thing is that all the TSA employees were there when I got there but just sitting around in the few available chairs the airport has in the ticketing area. While I was waiting I had an interesting conversation with a guy from Nepal that had been driven up to the airport from Houston. Apparently it made more sense for him to fly back to Nepal from Austin that it did from there. I didn’t really question it…

    Got through security without any problems. Apparently the x-ray scanner showed an anomaly on my shoulder because the guy worked it over pretty good before passing me through. I got to the gate and was pleasantly surprised. I’ve only ever flown Delta from Austin, which is typically gates 4-8 or so. United flies out of other gates and my flight was assigned gate 24. I got there and nothing was open or anything so I just messed around on my phone for a while. Eventually the gate agent showed up and I wanted to talk to him about my seating and at least get the full story. Before he helped me, he said he had to make an announcement. The announcement was that they’d sold 70 seats (with most people having already checked in) and that they swapped equipment on the incoming flight and it was only a 50 seat plane. He asked for volunteers so I said if he could get me first class on something, then I would happily switch since I’d already paid for it. He checked a few flights and couldn’t find anything then had the brilliant idea to check American. American had a flight flying to Dallas at pretty much the exact same time as the flight I was on with United and would get me into Vegas 15 minutes earlier than the United flight. He printed out what I thought was the ticket and I hurried down to gate 13 to check in.

    I get to Gate 13 and it’s starting to board. I get the gate agent and give her what I thought was the ticket. Only problem is there was no confirmation number or ticket number on what I’d been given. They tell me to go back to the United gate and get that info from them. I head back down and skip the line which is still really long with people trying to get alternate routing. He writes the number down on a piece of paper and I head back to the American gate. Problem still; the ticket number doesn’t bring up anything. American proceeds to load everyone else on the flight before they help me. Luckily I had the name of the gate agent at United and they were able to call him and get it sorted out. Last on the plane but they had some first class left still.

    Had my water and a couple of beers I think. This was a short 35 minute flight or so, so not much time to do much damage. The seat was one of the more uncomfortable ones I’ve had in first class and the equipment seemed much older than Delta’s fleet. I was just happy to be on the flight on my way to Vegas. Got to Dallas and no problems with the short connection time. Off one plane and onto the next. On this flight, the seating was a little better and there was also a breakfast service. It was actually really tasty although it looked terrible. There was a fruit bowl and then some sort of potato/egg/cheese mixture with salsa that tasted great. I had a few whisky/diet cokes on this flight and got to Vegas right on time. I sat next to another interesting lady that was flying to vegas to check out an investment property. She’d never been there before apparently so I had to give her the low down on things but she was only in town for a day so doubt she got to even do anything I told her about.

    I had smartly done carry-on only for this trip, which was awesome! I loved just walking off the plane and straight to the cab line. No line at all! I just held up my 1 finger to the guy and he waved me through to the next cab in line. Had the usual banter with the cabbie and got the Planet Hollywood about 8:45am. Fare was $13 and I gave him $20. He seemed pleased.

    Go to the regular check-in and no one in line at all here either. Straight up to the counter and I tell the lady I’m probably about 7 hours early for check-in but she said she’d check to see if my room was available. Conveniently it was! I’d heard that Caesars has started charging early check-in fees but I wasn’t and they didn’t mention anything about it. While I was talking to the lady, we had a great conversation after she asked if it was my first trip to Vegas. I mentioned the Aladdin and she’d worked there since then as well. We reminisced about the bejeweled columns, the flower wall that had the lights and Sinbads Lounge of course.

    The other interesting thing is that apparently Caesars has increased their resort fee at PH. I don’t know if they did it at all their properties but it went from $20 to $24.64/night. I was charged the $20 but I think the $24.64 is more of a value. You get the same stuff as before (gym access for 2, unlimited local calls) but instead of just unlimited internet for 1 device, it now covers 2. This was great for me because I needed the wifi for my work the first 2 days and also used it on a tablet I’d taken with me to watch Netflix in my downtime. Anyways, something to note for those that get dinged with resort fees. It still annoys me that they charge this even on comped nights.

    I was given room 2658 in the North Tower. It just had a normal mountain view and you could see the Hard Rock in the distance, the airport to the right and in front of that, the Elara and another time share place across the street. The room was a standard Hollywood Hip King. These rooms are definitely showing their age but everything in the room worked fine (last time I was there, the lamp for one of the tables had a cord that was cut and not functioning). I got online by about 10 after 9am and worked the remaining 4 hours of my work day all in a row. It really did kill me to not go out and explore right away.

    I took a coffee break around 11am and wanted to get a bottle of water so I headed down to ABC. On the way, a slot machine caught my eye and I put $20 in it. On my second spin at $1.50 max on the penny slot, I hit a bonus and cashed out up $86. Went to ABC and grabbed the bottle of water and 2 24 ounce Coors Lights ($5). I did save the beers until after I was done working!

    I was quite hungry after getting off work so went to the Spice Market Buffet for lunch. Again, another price increase from what I could tell. The buffet was around $17 with your TR card and was about $20 without it. It was pretty much what I remembered it to be. Not spectacular but lots of choices for good food; not great food. They’ve also added an option for ‘all you can drink’ of beer, wine and champagne for $12 but I didn’t want to do that. I had a couple of small plates of food headed to ABC to get a couple more beers. I didn’t want to bother going back up to the room since I was already in the casino. If I recall, I went to the sportsbook and watched the World Cup game.

    After the game, I noticed a Wizard of Oz machine..I think it was Yellow Brick Road or something and the chair would actually move along the yellow brick road on the path. Shocked me the first time it happened because it just looked like a normal chair. Anyways, to make a long story short, I ended up within $675 on this slot machine in one bonus spin.

    After that, I had the great idea to head up to my room for a nap. It started at about 4pm and continued until about 3:30am Thursday!



    JULY 3rd

    Woke up and was shocked that I’d slept so long. Promptly got signed in to do some work as I had to work a full day still. I needed my daily coffee and one of the things lacking in Planet Hollywood rooms is a coffee machine. I decided to go to the lobby to get a starbucks. Well, that Starbucks isn’t open that early; nor do they have any hours posted for when they do open. I forgot there was the starbucks on the casino floor so that one may have been open. Instead, I went to Earl of Sandwich to get a breakfast sandwich. Well, that was a problem as well as they don’t sell breakfast that early.

    I ended up getting a coffee and an Earls Club sandwich. It was pretty great and came to about $8 including the coffee from what I remember. Back up to the room and did my work along with some meetings I had.

    Around 11am when I was done with my meetings, I wanted to get outside and do some gaming along the Strip. It was quite hot; probably around 100 degrees or so, so I bought a couple of beers from ABC as well as a large bottle of water. My ultimate goal was to get down to the Palazzo as they had a monopoly game going on, where if you got 500 points on your slot card, you’d get a couple of game pieces and a chance to win some stuff. Anyways, I went into and out of most of the casinos along the way until I got to Casino Royale. I bought a couple of the $1 Michelobs and then wandered around the casino a bit. I thought I was hungry but wasn’t quite sure and I like their food court. I walked up to close to where the Denny’s entrance area used to be and found a CSI slot machine. I haven’t watched CSI in years and when I put my hundred in, it gave me the option of picking between Vegas, Miami or the other one (NY maybe?)

    Do the max bet on it and very first spin, I won $487. It was just a normal spin but I got a bunch of wild symbols. At that time, the cocktail server came by and looked impressed. Told her it was my first spin in the casino that trip and on the machine and she said ‘get the f-out of here’…’really, cash out, take the money and run’. I told her that was my plan and I did just that!

    I then made it up to the Palazzo and wanted to put some points on my card. I was initially planning on doing more gambling here than at Planet Hollywood but after playing a bit, I wasn’t having a ton of success. It wasn’t bad but it certainly wasn’t good. After putting the 500 points on my card and hitting a small win on another Wizard of Oz machine ($220), I went back over to the Grazie booth. There was a really long line and I eventually got my game piece. No winners on the actual game pieces but I did win $10 in free slot play on the scratch and win part. Nothing to report on the $10 free play.

    I walked back to Planet Hollywood over the next hour or so and ended up playing a Sex in the City slot machine. I seemed to be staying about even on it and not really having ups or downs. The slot points on my card were adding up very fast though as they’re 1 point per $5 through on slots. I put in a $100 to start and I think I cashed out around $200 with a few $100 wins along the way. I ended up putting about 600 points on my card this day. That became my target for the rest of the trip as I wanted to secure Platinum for some of the perks they offer.

    I hadn’t been to the Excalibur in a few years either so I walked over there as well; up and over the Strip in front of Planet Hollywood and down in front of Crystals mall, past the Monte Carlo and through NYNY then back up and over to the Excalibur. This was the first hotel I stayed at in Vegas in 2001 for my brothers wedding so it’s still got a special place. It seems to have lost a lot of the magic it did have though; didn’t see Merlin walking around or any of the other characters. Casino looks a little worn down but it was quite busy. I gambled here and ended up losing what I played. I got fed up with pretty much hitting nothing after the earlier luck and walked back over to Planet Hollywood. This is when I realized there is now a Subway and a McDonalds on the corner. I don’t eat McDonalds but I did get involved in Subway. I bought that and went back up to my room as it was now about 10pm and I’d been awake for a lot of hours.


    JULY 4th

    Woke up about 7am and started gaming pretty much right away. Found a Red Hot 7’s penny slot and put in $100. On one of my first few spins, I ended up getting what I thought was a massive win but it was only if it was on the 9th line. I had it on some other line but it still paid almost $420. I did a lot of gaming at Planet Hollywood and ended up a bit over the day.

    I think I had Earl of Sandwich for lunch; the Cannonballs sandwich. After that, more gambling then I went over to Cosmopolitan to people watch a bit. There was a lot of talent in town for July 4th. I had planned on going to the Vesper bar but I’d had enough beers during the day that I didn’t want to put down an absinthe or the other drink I like so I smartly just played a few low limit slot machines to keep my points active and back to Planet Hollywood. The Strip was starting to get busy with people lining up along the street and along the overpasses to see fireworks at Caesars. The people were probably 8 deep on the pedestrian overpass from PH to Cosmo.

    I found a slot machine back in PH called ‘Takes the Cake’ that had some small progressives on it and looked sort of entertaining. This machine was pretty great. I didn’t understand it but I kept hitting the smallest progressive, which was $15 and would creep up to maybe $17 before I’d hit it. I won this ‘mini’ progressive probably 12 times total and I have about 7 or 8 pictures of winning it. I also won Classic Progressive for about $85, which reset back to $75.

    I decided to watch from the Strip in front of PH where there were a few less people but still very busy. When the show finally started around 9pm, it was quite annoying as they dimmed the lights on Caesars but none of the lights on the other properties. I was also annoyed with everyone holding their kids and cell phones up in the air to record the show. To be honest, the view wasn’t that great anyways and with everyone holding a camera in the air, it made it even worse. I got fed up and fought my way through the crowds to go back into PH to get a drink and do some more gaming.

    I hadn’t had dinner at this point so I once again went back to Subway and grabbed a Buffalo chicken then back to my room to eat and relax. I went to sleep around 11:30pm.



    JULY 5th

    My last real day in Vegas on this trip and I wanted to make the most of it. I woke up around 8am (maybe 9am?) and just bought some sushi from ABC along with a couple of beers and some water. Sat at a slot and ate the sushi with chopsticks.

    I found some quickhit machines near the South Casino entrance that I had a good feeling about so I sat down and played a while. I ended up putting about 200 points on my slot card at this machine and cashing out a couple of hundred up. My biggest win was a $75 6 ‘quickhits’ win. Got bored of this game and moved along to another one called 4 Dragons, which was pretty fun. It had some asian looking symbols and characters on it. I hit the bonus pretty much right away and won $118. I played a while longer and got some more small bonuses then on my last bonus, I ended up spinning and getting a ‘jackpot’ spin. The jackpot spin applied to a few different jackpot amounts with the maximum being $500 for the Grand Jackpot. Well, I won the Grand Jackpot on it and cashed out at this machine with about $700.

    It was just after noon now and I wanted to go to the sushi buffet( Todai Sushi), which I always go to in the Miracle Mile mall. It’s a little steep on pricing; around $30 for lunch but it’s so good! I loaded up on all the various sashimi’s, some tempura, pot stickers, fried prawns, seaweed salad…delicious!

    I went to bed about 8pm (unfortunately) because my flight was just before 6am on Sunday morning.



    JULY 6th

    Woke up at 3am and had 2 wake-up calls from the front desk. It was nice because you actually get to talk to a human when you set it up and they give you the option of a reminder call after the first one just to be sure.

    I packed most of my stuff up the night before, grabbed my bag and checked out at the front desk by 3:30am. There was no one there at all other than the check in people and some drunks coming back from the clubs. It’s a brutal thing to be leaving Vegas that early in the morning when everyone else is just getting in.

    I took a cab to the airport, which was about $13 again ($20 including tip) and was on my way through security in no time. The problem with flights this early is that none of the restaurants or even coffee shops in the airport are open. The only people around were the slot attendants! I played $20 through a machine but had no luck.

    The flight back was with United and via LAX. I had a very short connection of about 40 minutes there but it was great because I landed at gate 71b and my Austin flight was leaving from gate 71a. This was when I posted on Facebook that I thought I’d stay in LA. We had a very small plane back to Austin…they had to open the emergency door because the normal plane gate couldn’t go low enough to the ground. They literally rolled the stairs up to the plane and you had to go down them, across the tarmac or whatever and back up through this emergency exit.

    When we boarded, they warned us that bags with wheels would not fit in the overhead bins. They weren’t lying! I barely fit my soft backpack in them. I did gate check my roller bag and it made it through fine. I will also say that considering how small this plane was; probably 50 seats; the first class was amazingly comfortable. I’d have no issues with flying with United again and if I find their pricing is usually better than Delta, I might even switch. The only disadvantage is their departure/arrival times seem worse than Delta as does the plane routing. With Delta I can usually go through Salt Lake where as with United, they wanted to route me through Houston on the way there and LAX on the way back…both airports in the wrong direction from where I was going.

    I got back to Austin about 1pm and got to my car at the FastPark with no issues. The shuttle bus was waiting at the airport and dropped me off directly in front of my car. I paid the $50 for 5 days parking and took my free bottle of cold water from the self-serve fridge next to the check-out gate.

    Back to my apartment and the trip was officially over! I ended up doing most of my gambling at Caesars properties and qualified for Platinum. I signed up for a Total Rewards Visa and they've confirmed if you hit Platinum with gambling, then that will extend the Platinum benefits to March 31, 2016 so I'm very pleased about that. I'm also looking forward to not paying resort fees anymore!

    Next trip, back at Planet Hollywood for 5 nights/6 days with a departure of July 23rd!

    If you'd like to see the pictures from this trip (mostly just slot machine pictures), you can see them here:

    https:[email protected]/sets/72157645198732027/
     
  2. TheCanoe

    TheCanoe Low-Roller

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    Thanks for sharing.

    You mentioned that you had always wanted to go to Vegas for the 4th. D you consider that something that's officially checked off of the list now? Or do you think you'll be back for another?
     
  3. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report! Thanks for sharing!
     
  4. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Great job! Thanks! ... and you're going back on Wednesday? Good deal!!!
     
  5. BCMike

    BCMike VIP Whale

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    Yup, less than 3 days to go! 5 nights/6 days this time on my way back to Canada on vacation.

    I think I officially check off July 4th as something to do in Vegas. I don't think I'd go back as a special trip again. It was fun but I was expecting more from the fireworks and the crowds of people and the number of kids was excessive. I think what really annoyed me, which I believe I wrote about in the report, was that everyone was holding up their phones to record the fireworks so it ruined the view anyone behind them had.

    New Years is still on my list though!
     
  6. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    Wife and I flew on one of those United "Regional Jet's" (Which are Bombardier CRJ700's) from Charlotte to Jacksonville last year..not bad little jets.
     
    Palace Tower Suite!
  7. SandsFan

    SandsFan VIP Whale

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    We were also there for our first July 4th. The trip was all about watching world cup games but we did get a peak at the fireworks. Going back so soon? wished I was
     
  8. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the report!! Awesome wins on the machines and great pictures!! I was there as well on the 4th of July. Lots of kids for sure.:thumbsdown: This was actually my second year in a row on 4th of July. I did stay at the Cromwell, so no kids there though!! Great to be going back so soon again. I am also going back in 3 weeks again. 2 Vegas trips in a month, amazing!!:beer: It's just those long flights from New York that are getting tough. 6 hours on the plane!!! UGH
     
  9. BCMike

    BCMike VIP Whale

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    Thanks for reading. I agree on the flights. I usually leave austin on one of the first flights and fly through SLC, LAX etc. Delta doesn't have any direct flights from here. Enjoy your trip!

    What were your thoughts on the Cromwell rooms? I love the casino.
     
  10. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    The room I had at the Cromwell was a Luxury King room facing the overpass to Ballys. The room was great. Not too big, but everything done with class!! Very comfortable huge bed, 55 inch plasma tv, great bathroom with the best shower I had ever had. One of those rain showers. Really amazing shower!! Service is top notch. Newspaper delivered to you every morning, coffee and tea bar on every floor free of charge and Fiji water and snacks left on your bed when you get back to your room at night. It was so nice, that I will be going back in 3 weeks to stay there again with my girlfriend. This trip I was solo!!:beer: And I also forgot to mention that free breakfast is included for every hotel guest. Saves some money there!!
     
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