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Vdara -- February 7-12

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by billduhcat, Mar 27, 2015.

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  1. billduhcat

    billduhcat Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    I've taken a few months to fully digest and process my February, 2015 trip to Las Vegas. I decided to organize it into a chronological overview, and a like/dislike list.

    Background
    This trip was pretty much designed to be a solo trip from the beginning. My last LV trip was May 2014, when I was in town for a week for a trade show. I had a good time, and had a few days on either end of the week for non-work time, but really wanted to do almost a full week of vacation this time around.

    Planning
    After discussion and getting spousal approval (thanks sweetie!) I settled on a five night trip in February. It nicely matched up with a trip she took to South Carolina, so minimal guilt there. Flight and hotel prices were pretty good the 2nd week in February, so I booked United first class from Chicagoland, and Vdara. I considered and actively shopped Aria and Mirage, but the Vdara rates were too good to pass up. I also considered Cosmopolitan, but the prices there for that week were very high (IBM partner conference as it turned out), and I didn't feel like burning a ton of Marriott points.

    Trip
    Arrived on time in LV on Saturday, February 7. I was originally going to have dinner and music at Culinary Dropout at Hard Rock, but then I found out they don't do live music on Saturdays. I changed plans to make Saturday night a downtown night, to see the 90s band Empire Records at Hennessey's downtown. Did a late lunch at Secret Pizza, stocked up on drinks at ABC Shops, and then had an earlyish dinner at Holsteins.

    Caught the SDX bus in front of Paris at around 6pm. I was a bit tired by the time we made it downtown, so the evening was less of a casino crawl as I originally hoped and more of a visit to the D Longbar for VP and drinks, Four Queens for VP, and then to Hennessey's by 830pm for more VP (poor pay tables, but really didn't care), Bud Light’s, and music. The warm up band was another 90s cover group, and Empire records started at around 1030. I made it through their 1st set, and greatly enjoyed it. Headed back to Vdara at 1130. Total gambling losses for the night were $300.

    The plan for Sunday was breakfast @ Bellagio, lunch @ Shake Shack, and dinner someplace "nice". The way Sunday actually went was early pancakes at Bellagio cafe (still on central time), bullshit from work via text and phone calls which kept me in the room until 1pm, and then a late lunch at Toms Urban @ NYNY. After the work-related morning beat down my spirits were pretty low, but the awesome weather, friendly bartender, excellent beer selection, outdoor seating, and kickass food at Toms Urban all worked together to salvage my afternoon.

    I ended up just doing gelato for dinner, and then cabbed it to the Palms to see American Sniper at their movie theater. I spent about an hour afterwards playing some VP and slots, but the casino was pretty dead (Sunday night local crowd) so I headed back to Vdara at around 10. Total gambling loss was $200 for the day.

    Monday dawned with more excellent weather. Had a brioche and coffee and people watching at Jean Philippe Patisserie @ Aria. Back to the room to work for a few hours then got on another work phone call. Finished up with work (for the week thank god) and went to 550 Pizza @ Aria for an early lunch.

    Spent Monday at the pool, and then headed to Caesars and Gordon Ramsay Pub for an early dinner. Beer was good, and the burger was outstanding. Decided to make the night a CET night; gambling at Caesars, Linq, Paris, Cromwell, and P-Ho. Broke even due to several bonus rounds of the Hangover slot, and overall had a great time casino hopping.

    Tuesday arose and I went to Cosmo for a muffin and coffee. Hung around the room for a few hours and then did some more center strip touring, seeing the wildlife @ Flamingo, shopping at the P-Ho mall, and overall enjoying the lovely 75 degree day. Hit the pool for a few more hours and then had early dinner @ Wicked Spoon. It was ok, but not entirely up to my expectations.

    Gambling Tuesday night was exclusively at Cosmo, with the hangover again winning me some $, along with Star Trek, and quite a few other games. Walked out winning $550, which was pretty awesome for me.

    Wednesday was my last full day. Again over to JPP for brioche and coffee for breakfast. Decided to do a tour of everything from TI and then back to PHo, gambling and drinking as I went. Won some $ at TI, lost some at Flamingo and Harrah’s. Spent some time at Casino Royale enjoying Michelob’s, and gradually worked my way back to Cosmo. Hit Book and Stage for more drinks and VP until around 5pm and then decided to go to Toms Urban again for the last night dinner.

    Ate way too much at Toms Urban, my excuse was that I had skipped lunch and needed to sober up. Food, drinks, and atmosphere were all excellent again. After dinner I gambled for a while at NYNY, but overall hit my limit by around 7pm. Back to Vdara by 8, to get to bed on time for my early flight the next day.

    Good choices:
    Vdara - wonderful as always, and a pretty good deal.
    Secret Pizza - don't know why I hadn't eaten there before this trip
    The D - still super fun, and the Longbar is awesome
    Hennessey's - good place to see some music. Friendly staff. Expensive drinks, but what the heck, it's Vegas.
    Empire Records - I love me some 90s music, and they do it right.
    Bellagio Café - can't go wrong for breakfast. Go early and ask for a table with a pool view
    Toms Urban - Saved my Sunday from spiraling into a shitty mood with a timely application of beers, lobster roll, and awesome atmosphere.
    JPP @ Aria-- great coffee and baked goods and people watching in the morning.
    Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill--I was expecting more beer choices but the food more than made up for it.
    The Linq - My first time seeing it. Very well done and I hope to hit some of the restaurants on my next trip
    TAG Bar @ the Linq casino - Awesome beer selection, awesome bar tenders. A must do.
    Paris - Still love the interior and gambling there. Fun mix of locals and tourists.
    Cosmo casino - ymmv, but I've always enjoyed slots and VP there.
    Harrah' s - they've significantly spruced up the casino and common areas
    Casino Royale - Fun crowd, cheap beers, $5 craps == everything Vegas should be
    Book and Stage - Still my favorite VP bar in LV

    Meh choices
    4 Queens - great VP options, just can't get into the vibe of the place
    Palms casino – I was a bit tired, and it was a Sunday night, but I just didn't have fun there
    550 pizza - not bad, but Secret Pizza is better
    Cromwell casino - not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I didn't get it
    Linq casino - Just a bit too sterile and spread out, needs more machines to fill in the open spaces maybe
    Wicked Spoon - Was just ok for dinner this time. Food was not as well prepared as it’s been in the past.
    NYNY casino - Again I was probably too tired to appreciate it, and it was a Wednesday night on a not too busy week for LV
     
    Big Game 2017 == Vegas XXVI
  2. Spivderman

    Spivderman Low-Roller

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    Nice summary. What returns and denominations did you find at Book & Stage? It is on my planning list for my June trip.
     
  3. billduhcat

    billduhcat Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Frankly crappy paytables (6:5 JOB, that sort of thing) @ book+stage, but .25, .50, and 1.00 denominations, with drinks flowing freely for anything, and usually good company+conversation from bartenders and patrons. Same deal @ the Bond Bar.

    If you want the lowest house advantage definitely play off-strip or downtown.
     
    Big Game 2017 == Vegas XXVI
  4. billduhcat

    billduhcat Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Some pictures...

    IMG_0708.jpg New art @ Holsteins
    IMG_0704.jpg Vdara standard room
    IMG_0719.jpg Bellagio Cafe Pancakes
    IMG_0727.jpg Truffled Lobster Roll
    IMG_0764.jpg Cosmo:30
    IMG_0741.jpg Is this hotel pager friendly?
    IMG_0749.jpg iPhone panoramic
    IMG_0711.jpg Longbar
     
    Big Game 2017 == Vegas XXVI
  5. Flowers

    Flowers VIP Whale

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    Great report. Thanks for writing. Those pancakes look amazing. YUM.
     
  6. parti_73

    parti_73 Low-Roller

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    LOL! is this hotel pager friendly?
    good report!
     
  7. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Thanks for the trip report! Looks like you had fun and did a lot of things in 5 nights! A lot of information you provided will help me plan the next trip with my Wife.

    Thanks again!!
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  8. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    See my sticky in Casino Gaming on bartops. Cosmo is pretty average for the strip. 6/5 Bonus (96.87%) and 8/5 DDB (96.79%) for quarters.

    http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=111193

    Nice report bill!
     
  9. Mnracer

    Mnracer Tourist

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    Thanks for sharing your trip!
     
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