I apologize for the long report, but I didn’t want too leave much out. The “Excuse” My excuse for this trip was that a friend of mine was getting married at the MGM Grand. More on that later… The Price After searching a bunch of travel sites online, I made a call to Liberty Travel and got a good deal. This was a busy weekend in Vegas since it was Veteran’s Day. The roundtrip flight from Philly plus 5 nights at The Orleans was $607. This was cheaper than anything I found on my own. Of course, this included other perks too, but nothing we used except for the shuttle from the Vegas airport to our hotel (which I will NEVER do again!) The Flight We flew from Philly to Vegas on Southwest on Wednesday, November 8th. It’s the first time I flew on this airline. Overall, not bad but I don’t get the hype. No real food available for purchase and no movie, just some snacks and beverage service. Five hours on the plane without these options made this a long flight. The open seating policy seems to confuse a lot of people. If you decide to fly Southwest make sure you print your boarding pass 24 hours in advance so you get to board the plane in the “A” group. Otherwise you may wind up in the middle seat between two strangers. Most hotels will have a kiosk where you can print your boarding pass for your return flight. We arrived in Vegas around 3pm. So, we make our way to the shuttle. Well, 2 hours later we arrive to the hotel. Yes, you read it right…2 friggin’ hours! There were 7 of us going to The Orleans on the shuttle, more than any other hotel, but we were the last stop. It was so aggravating. But we eventually made it and I learned my lesson for next time. Take a taxi. It’s worth the 20 bucks. The Hotel This was my first time staying off of the strip, so I was a bit unsure of how it would go. My first hour there I was thinking I made a mistake, but this place really grew on me. There was no wait at the registration desk. Upon arrival they give you a “Fun Book” which has lots of good stuff in it including several free drink coupons at the casino bars. The rooms were a decent size and quite clean. Housekeeping here was very good. The bathrooms were also large. Each shower has a little window you can open. It’s a bit strange looking out a window while showering but we had a decent view of part of the strip from our window. I loved the casino. In fact, if I stay on the strip next time, I will still make a day out of gambling at The Orleans. The casino is large and not overcrowded. I could always find a table and the limits are very low. I played roulette and the limits stayed at $1 minimum the entire trip. The slots seemed very loose. I won more on the slots than ever before. Instead of hitting the ATM, I would just go to a slot machine. I also spent plenty of time in the Race and Sports Book. Although not the best in Vegas, it was fine with me. The focus was more on horses than sports it seemed, but a bar not so far from the Sports Book had practically every game on TV. I should also mention that if you like the free drinks, then no worries here. Gambling or not, cocktail waitresses were always asking if you wanted a drink. On Saturday morning by 10am I was a bit drunk…and I rarely drink. But it’s Vegas, so what the hell? The Shows We saw several shows. First up was Carrot Top at The Luxor. I really liked this one. He was very funny. The opener wasn’t all that good. We bought our tickets at the Tix4Tonight at half price the day of the show. If I paid full price, I may not have liked it as much. We also caught Mac King at Harrah’s. This is a family friendly daytime show. At 20 bucks, this is a bargain and I highly recommend checking him out. I have a feeling his audience participants are planted, but who cares. It was good comedy. The magic, although no Lance Burton, was good too. Finally, we saw a band named “The Fray.” They played at The Joint in The Hard Rock. The show was good, not great. The Food We ate a lot. The best meal I’ve had in a while was at Joe’s in Caesars. Awesome food and excellent service. Pricy, but worth every cent. Other stops: The Buffet at The Orleans…went for breakfast. $6.45. Plenty of options, just okay. Don Miguels at The Orleans…very good Mexican food and very reasonable. Craftsteak at MGM Grand...another great meal, but it will cost you. There were other places too…Some Wolfgang Puck place in Mandalay Bay. I had brick oven pizza there and it was very tasty. My friend had the lasagna which was excellent! We also went to breakfast at a small bistro in The Venetian in St. Mark’s Square. It was also really good. Finally, we hit a Thai restaurant called Lotus of Siam. It is off of the strip a bit but worth the trip. Seriously…go there. I have heard rave reviews about this place and I now believe the hype. Cheap too. It’s worth the cab ride. The Wedding I thought this would be cheesy but the MGM does a nice job with this. I was impressed. I hated wearing a suit though. At least 6 people stopped me as I was walking through the casino thinking I worked there. Final Thoughts I would absolutely stay at The Orleans again. Joe’s in Caesars is a must. Same goes for Lotus of Siam. I went to Vegas with $500 in cash fully expecting to hit the ATM in a day or so but never did. I left with over $800 and spent plenty on shows, food, cab rides, tips, etc. So, it was essentially a free trip this time around. Back one day and I already started planning my next visit. Thanks for reading!