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Trip Report 10/8 - 10/11 (long)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by scoobagirl, Oct 14, 2004.

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  1. scoobagirl

    scoobagirl Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Texas

    My Trip Report

    Let me start by saying this was a great trip! We didn't do half the things on my list, so I guess we will have to go back... ;)

    Friday, 10/8: Departed Amarillo 1 hr late, due to the crew arriving late the night before. Got to Vegas about 8:30 am. Luggage took a long time to come up on the carousel. Found Hertz booth and got the Explorer I had reserved. NOTE: unlike a lot of states, married couples are both considered drivers automatically in Nevada and you don't have to pay for an additional driver. However, they do have a Loss Damage insurance that is (in my opinion) necessary: if you don't take it, they can bill you for damages AND lost revenue until the car is repaired (which could take how long???) It was worth $42 to me for peace of mind.
    Could not check into hotel yet, so we parked in the Tropicana lot and walked to MGM and on to NYNY. We wandered around the NYNY casino, got a player's card, played some slots, and ate pizza by the slice. Walked back over to MGM, checked out the lion habitat (its really pretty cool!) and the casino. We also went for a drive up the strip - surprisingly less traffic than we expected. It was now late enough that we could check in to the Hawthorn (behind the San Remo). Nice suite - comparable to Hampton, Residence Inn by Marriott, and other "business traveler" type of chain hotels. Clean, modern, everything worked. Nice pool area, and they serve free beer/wine and snacks for happy hour (5 pm - 7 pm) on weekdays. They also have drawings for free stuff at 7 pm and we got 4 free tix to Mac King. After happy hour and unpacking, we decided to check out Mandalay Bay and the Luxor. Played Leprechaun Gold slots at MB - won a little and got to the bonus round several times. Drink service - got one beer in 45 minutes of playing. Went to Luxor, played some VP, (never got drink service) and ate at La Salsa (VERY good! and inexpensive). It was late, and had been a long day, so hubby and I decided to go back to the hotel, and the kids stayed out on the strip for awhile.

    MAJOR COMMENTS FOR FRIDAY:
    1. should have checked hotel maps to find best access to the parking garages
    2. Mandalay Bay was not crowded OR smoky
    3. Timeshare people at NY NY were pests, BUT we enjoyed the whole atmosphere of NY NY

    Saturday, 10/9: Ate at the free hot breakfast buffet in our hotel, then hubby and I were off to Hoover Dam. Kids cabbed over to Hard Rock to eat and buy souvenirs. We had a great time at the Dam - its a cool tour and is an amazing place. Headed back to LV and met the kids at Harrah's for the Mac King show at 3 pm. I was immediately seated since I was wearing my knee-wrap and was limping along(had surgery 6 weeks ago) - they offered, I didn't ask - and got a great table on the 2nd level. Family joined me when they got thru the line. The show was a hoot! Lots of laughs. The drinks were rather lame. After the show I collected my player's card, then we went to Margaritaville for late lunch/early supper. The food was outstanding! Great atmosphere for Parrotheads. Drinks were strong and GOOD. Went back to the hotel afterwards so the kids could change clothes for the evening - son would be turning 21 at stroke of midnight! so a late night was planned. Went to Mandalay Bay to visit the Shark Reef - as scuba divers, hubby and I LOVED it and could have stayed for hours. Kids got bored but were polite about it. After 1.5 hrs, we went to NY NY and played slots. Love the 3-reel machines that are red/white/blue 7's, 5 pay lines, and even pay on blank-blank-blank lines. Won about $40 on those. However, drink service was lousy at NY NY on a Saturday night. Stopped into America to get a bite to eat and a drink - their strawberry shortcake is enormous! Son bought into a BJ game at 12:05 am, showed his ID and got a free T-shirt for his birthday. Dealer was very nice to him but he still lost. (he will learn~) Went up the strip to Barbary Coast about 1:20 am - kids played VP, and I sat down at one of the 777 5-pay line machines like the one at NY NY - put in $20, 3 plays later won $60. Cashed out and put my original $20 into the Cleopatra video slot machine next to it. 4 plays later, won $86. Cashed out and put my original $20 in another 777 5-pay lines machine - won $55 on the first play. Cashed out and gave hubby the original $20 and he played VP for awhile, cashed out $10 down 2 hours later. Drink service was prompt and frequent at the Barbary Coast. Casino was busy but not too crowded. Finally called it a night about 4:00 am and went back to hotel.

    MAJOR COMMENTS FOR SATURDAY:
    1. everyone should see Hoover Dam
    2. enjoyed slots at Barbary Coast
    3. Mac King show is definitely worth going to!

    Sunday, 10/10: missed the breakfast buffet at our hotel. This was the day our son wanted to walk the strip, hitting casinos and collecting $1 chips for souvenirs. Started at Paris, ate lunch at J J Boulangerie, the cafeteria-style sandwich and pastry shoppe. YUM! Loved the layout of the ground floor at Paris - casino is bright and very open-feeling, and the little shops and restaurants are neat. Got a glimpse of the registration area - which was a ZOO. Couldn't believe how many people were in line....

    We crossed over to Bellagio, watched the fountains, and continued up the strip all the way to Treasure Island collecting chips. Crossed over to the Venetian and walked south back to the Barbary Coast, collecting chips on the way. By that time, I was pretty much exhausted and went back to the room, dropping hubby and kids off at the MGM on the way. They got more casino chips at NY NY and MGM and went to the M&M place. I picked them back up about an hour later, and we went downtown.

    Parked at 4 Queens garage. The kids wanted to eat a real old-fashioned Las Vegas buffet, so we took them to Golden Nugget for their Sunday champagne brunch/dinner. It didn't take long to get seated and wow, what a great meal! We told our waitress it was Kevin's birthday, and she sang to him! She had been a lounge singer and she belted it out cabaret-style, and then kissed his forehead and left her lipstick mark - he loved it. What fun! We spent the evening wandering the casinos and watching the light shows - they are pretty cool! Several live bands were playing in different areas and we enjoyed that as well. We met back up with the kids at 11:30 pm at the 4-Queens and returned to the hotel, because we had an EARLY flight Monday morning. We stopped on the way back to watch the fountains at Bellagio again, this time in the dark...all I can say is "wow!"

    MAJOR COMMENTS FOR SUNDAY:
    1. We liked the feel of the Paris
    2. The Venetian smelled terrible (perfume-y sweet)
    3. Downtown (Fremont Street) is a "must see"
    4. Barbary Coast parking garage is easy to get into and is a great central parking location on the strip if you want to walk around

    Monday, 10/11: checked out of our hotel and went to airport, returning car at Hertz along the way. Walking down concourse at Terminal C, hubby realizes he's left his Rx sunglasses in the car. He was flying out again on Tuesday and needed those glasses ASAP. Our flight was departing in 50 minutes...he called Hertz, they found his glasses, and they met him at the Southwest Airlines entrance to the airport. He rushed back through security and back to the terminal, and made it before we boarded the flight! Shameless plug for Hertz - they really DO try harder! We never dreamed he'd get them back and make our flight - we were prepared to go without him and I'd have to pick him up later. (son had to get back to Amarillo because he still had a 5 hour drive back to college)

    FINAL COMMENTS:
    1. Planning the trip is half the fun, but when you get there, the plan changes!
    2. Wish we'd had more than 3 days. Lots of things to see.
    3. In my opinion, a rental car is essential.
    4. Next time, print some hotel maps so I'll know where to park, and where to go.

    also, I kept checking hotel rates and car rental rates right up to the day before departure. I actually found my rental car for a rate $40 less than what I booked, so I booked that one and cancelled the original. The savings covered the insurance I chose to add, but still - we got a better rate.

    finally, we liked the off-strip location, but it didn't have "dataports" for the computer like we were told. It was strictly "plug into the phone line" and dial-up. This was ok, we have to do this in a lot of hotels, but this was the reason I cancelled the reservation at the Casino Royale. Now I see we would have been equally happy at the CR, and will keep that on our list of potential hotels for future trips. Also, my hubby didn't spend any time in the pool - so it turned out to not be a deciding factor for choosing the hotel.

    Can't wait to go back.... we're looking at December 13-16. Got reservations at Mandalay Bay for $89/night and at Orleans for $20/night....
    now, to change my count-down line!
     
  2. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2002
    Messages:
    850
    Location:
    Upstate New York
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2
    Excellent report. I was wondering why you choose the Hawthorn instead of a casino hotel but with free breakfast everyday and the free happy hour I can see where that is worth it.

    Glad you had a great time and hope that knee is healing.
     
  3. Little Bob

    Little Bob Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2002
    Messages:
    397
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    How convenient is the walk between Hawthorn and the strip casinos? We have thought about trying Hawthorn sometime.
     
  4. YoungGun

    YoungGun VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2003
    Messages:
    1,130
    Location:
    Southern California
    Thanks for the trip report. Glad your son got carded. I bought cigarettes at midnight on my 18th birthday just to buy them and they didn't bother carding me.
     
  5. UnicornTX

    UnicornTX Tourist

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2003
    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Amarillo, Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    Enjoyed reading your trip report! We'll be departing Amarillo in 20 days. You know they've change up the SWA flights. The non-stop is at noon now.
     
  6. sin

    sin VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Messages:
    4,178
    Location:
    Albuquerque
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Great report! I was wondering if you had a one bedroom or two bedroom suite at Hawthorne?
     
  7. scoobagirl

    scoobagirl Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Texas
    Big Bob - the walk isn't bad - cut across behind the San Remo, come out in the Trop parking lot east of the hotel, then go up and cross over the walkway to either Excalibur or MGM. When we planned to go further than the Tropicana/strip intersection, we drove, only because I had knee surgery 6 weeks ago and got tired and achy more quickly. (we found driving to be pretty easy)

    Unicorn - yeah, I saw that the non-stop has changed (thank goodness!) We're planning to go again in December.

    Sin - it was a 2 bedroom suite. I was worried about the 1 bathroom especially with a 21 yr old girl along, but the kids bathed in the evening and she does her makeup in the bedroom, so it worked out just fine. The suite was really roomy, it was like an apartment. We could not hear any noise from the other rooms when we were in our bedroom, either. (TV, toilet flushing, etc...) It was super easy to get out on Reno (south of the property) and then get onto the strip across from the Luxor. If you leave the property going north on Duke Ellington, you have to turn right at Tropicana, but you can turn north on Koval and go to any of the casinos or get back on the strip quite easily.

    This hotel was an economical choice for us , much cheaper than getting a suite on the strip or 2 separate rooms. As it turned out, the Columbus Day holiday does not have any bargain room rates and I was glad I made reservations back in July.

    I really appreciate all the advice from the members of this board, and all the great conversation topics - I learned a LOT from y'all before this trip and it made our trip much better!
     
  8. Gator5220

    Gator5220 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    171
    Location:
    Florida
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27
    "Shameless plug for Hertz - they really DO try harder!"
    -almost the right comapny slogan-

    Avis - We try Harder

    Hertz - At Hertz You're #1

    Thanks for the review of the Hawthorn - I have a business trip to Las Vegas soon and my company is putting us up at the Hawthorn.
     
  9. scoobagirl

    scoobagirl Tourist

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2004
    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Texas
    Gator - OOPS.... :eek:

    OK, I amend my statement - Hertz is #1.... [​IMG]
     
  10. 39forevr

    39forevr Guest

    nice report and trip. sounds like you and family had a great time.
     
  11. misterKeno

    misterKeno Guest

    REALLY Nice TR...

    and i agree 'bout the BC - good drink svc & good slots there

    mK
     
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