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Vegas Redeems Itself… Almost

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ExVegasLocal, Jul 25, 2016.

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  1. ExVegasLocal

    ExVegasLocal Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Some of you may have read my post entitled “I’m finished with Vegas”. During that post I indicated that I had already booked another trip for July that I was obligated to take, but I was essentially done with Vegas. This is follow up report for the July trip.

    This trip had many highs and lows. It started with a significantly delayed flight on Southwest. One hour on the phone with them, our group of four was accommodated on a different flight. Upon arriving at the airport, our second flight was also significantly delayed.

    We arrived at the Budget Car Rental Fastbreak counter to find that our name was not on the board and the Fastbreak booth was unmanned. We trudged back inside to encounter a long line with no way to bypass the non-Fastbreak renters. We were “upgraded” into a smaller car than we reserved and told to take what we could get. At this point, we should have been at our hotel four hours ago and were in no mood to waste time bickering.

    Our first night was spent at Silverton, an old haunt of mine. It was comped. The room was basic and clean. The bartenders were quick with a drink. I spent the night playing 50-cent DDB triple play at the bar and was dealt four aces all the way up, but couldn’t pull in any kickers. $1200. D’oh! Can I just have $1199 and skip the W-2G? Not so much. I evened out and left Silverton the next day with one hell of a hangover. But in my book, even is winning.

    The next day we checked into Red Rock for three nights. One room was comped. The other was $55 per night plus resort fee. We all headed straight to the spa to detox. As usual, it was a wonderful way to unwind. Over the next three days, we gambled, saw a show at the Suncoast, had dinner at Pizza Rock on Fremont, hit the Feast Buffet a few times, had a swim and a few cocktails at the pool, and gambled some more.

    We also hit up Frankie’s Tiki Room a few times. This is my new favorite hangout. The Fink Bomb is my drink of choice there. Two of them kicks my ass, but it’s a fabulous buzz and the atmosphere is never boring.

    And we also had Sunday brunch at Lago at Bellagio. We sat on the patio. The misters and the fountain spray kept us pleasantly cool. The food and service were divine. The brunch cost us $315 (with tip) and was worth every penny. I can’t recommend this place more highly and I will return for brunch if I ever go back. That said, I was pissed to spend $7 to park the car at Bellagio. I think it’s chicken shit to eat a $300 meal and be asked to pay to park.

    After our meal, my brunch bliss was rudely interrupted when the other couple insisted on seeing the M&M store. Christ almighty, what a goddamned nightmare that place is. We parked at the MGM and trudged through the lobby. There were no less than 300 people waiting to check in. There were screaming children and abandoned luggage all over the lobby. I haven’t been in that place in years, but it’s the same fucking nightmare it's always been. Why do people stay here?

    We had to explore every fucking floor of the damned M&M store and touch every piece of plastic shit they had. You want me to stand in line to buy some plastic Chinese crap with an M&M character on it? Who needs grey M&M's? Don't they taste the same as the regular ones? I kept my hand in my pockets and expressed my displeasure by gritting my teeth and refusing to speak until we had left the store. I just wanted to get back to Red Rock.

    Three days later it was time to check out of Red Rock. The video poker machines were friendly on this trip. My game of choice was 25-cent Super Times Pay DDB, 3-line and 5-line. I hit several good pays and ended the trip ahead about $3,000. We had just checked out and were planning to make a stop at my bank to make a deposit on the way to the airport.

    Suddenly, we all received emails from Southwest. Flight cancelled. With no hotel room to sit in, we hit the bank as planned and pulled into a McDonald’s to call Southwest. The only flight we could get on was 9 hours later than our original departure. Fine. We took it.

    Later that evening, that flight was significantly delayed. We were fed up. A ticket agent at the airport moved us to a flight the next day. I grabbed two rooms on Hotwire at the Southpoint, and we took a taxi over there to relax until the next day. Lost about $1,000 that night.

    The next morning, we had breakfast. We were just getting ready to check out when suddenly, we all received emails from Southwest. Flight cancelled. I spent another $100 to get the Southpoint to allow us to keep the rooms until 6pm. Another hour on the phone with Southwest, and we were moved to an evening departure.

    Upon arriving at the airport, our flight was on time, but it would eventually be delayed over two hours. We didn’t get home until 1am, local time. And the next day of work was hell for all of us, especially given that my husband had to be back at the airport for a 7:30am departure.

    Conclusion: Budget Rental Car? Never again. Red Rock. Hell, yes. MGM? Fuuuuuck, no. Brunch at Bellagio? In a heartbeat. Paying to park at Bellagio? To hell with that. M&M store? You must be out of your damn mind. Southwest? My confidence in them has been severely shaken, and I used to be one of their greatest advocates.

    Will I return to Vegas? Maybe. But I’m not renting a car and I’m not going anywhere near the damn Strip. Next time, I’ll reserve a limo and go straight from the airport to Frankie’s Tiki Room. After a couple of Fink Bombs, the rest will fall into place.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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  2. RynoBU

    RynoBU Low-Roller

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    Glad you enjoyed Red Rock. My wife wants to play bingo there on our upcoming trip. Thanks for the TR...and the chuckle at your expense.
     
  3. Jackpot Johnny

    Jackpot Johnny Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the entertaining and complete report. Sorry about Southwest. We used to be big fans, but now usually always choose alternatives. Can't say American is any better, but they have a lot of Vegas flights and we're pretty locked into their frequent flyer program now. Terminal D is a little better at McCarran.

    We've had enough cautionary experiences with rental cars in Las Vegas to have given up. We use limos to and from the airport, take cabs and sometimes hire a car and driver if we need a longer trip or time period. Not always cheap but our system has been very low hassle. I'll do or pay almost anything to avoid any kind of a line. We almost never wait or schlep.

    I hope you don't quit Las Vegas so we can get another of your great reports and Vegas stories.
     
  4. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC Low-Roller

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    What a relaxing vacation.... he said with clinched typing index finger. Kudos to you; I would have melted down at least 6 times
     
    Annual end of the rodeo trip
  5. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco Tourist

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    I read your previous post and it does not now seem you will stop visiting Vegas. You seem to want to get more VP hits at Red Rock, and breakfast again at Lago. Too bad you did not include photos. I have never, never, never been to the M&M store and never intend to go there. The only chocolate I am intrigued trying in Las Vegas today is the Chocolate Terrarium at Rose. Rabbit. Lie., so I will try that when and if I go back. Sorry about your flights problems, that was certainly a nightmare. Thanks for the report, though I wonder if I should have read it. If I ever go to the M&M store it will be just to think about your report and laugh.
     
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  6. ExVegasLocal

    ExVegasLocal Low-Roller

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    Brunch View.jpg
    Somebody wanted a photo, so here you go. The view from our table at Lago:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2016
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  7. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Love your photo. Such a great view from there. I made it full size instead of the thumbnail. Hope you don't mind.

    I understand your complaints about The Strip. It's still worth it for me to be closer to the other people I travel with and our activities. But I drive to Vegas so my next trip will require some changes in where I stay and how I get around.

    I'm still thinking about ending my trip with a couple nights off strip.

    Thanks for sharing. After your other thread I wasn't sure you would go. ;)
     
  8. Geogran

    Geogran OTD Tea Sipper

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    Well at least you didn't say no!
    Banking some nice winnings takes some of the sting out of some crappy events. Enjoyed your TR - no sugar coated M&M's, hope you make it back to Frankie's Tiki Room!
     
  9. ernestoc33

    ernestoc33 Low-Roller

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    Sorry to hear that you keeping having so many sour experiences in Vegas. I've had a less than perfect time with MGM and the new paid parking is ridiculous! I started staying downtown after sahara closed, I've always had a better experience on Fremont. I always take driving to Vegas for granted, the blessing of not having to fly in is priceless. I really hope you have a better travel experience next time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  10. BarelyHangingOn

    BarelyHangingOn Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the report. You sold me on that Sunday Brunch. The menu looks pretty fabulous. Adding it to my trip plans.
     
    3rd Aria Stay Coming Up
  11. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Thanks for posting your report. I enjoyed reading it. What a bummer with Southwest. I wonder what their problem was. That's a lot of mess ups in a short period of time.

    Looks like lady luck was in your corner this trip. Maybe staying away from the Strip and staying at off-strip places will re-kindle your fondness of Vegas.

    Btw, I dislike the M&M store. I like to think that the store makes tons of money off the people who, in an effort to relieve some guilt, blindly buy things for their loved ones they left behind.:rolleyes:
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  12. Timbuck

    Timbuck Tourist

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    A winning / free trip is always a good trip.
    Red Rock is a great place. They do seem to care a bit about service there.
     
  13. Boogaloo

    Boogaloo Low-Roller

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    I'll stick up for MGM Grand a bit by saying that while check in always seems like a nightmare for most people, if you're staying on a comp the 'invited guests' line has always been very fast for me. I also like that it has a good selection of restaurants and some of the better $1 Jacks or Better video poker on the strip (the latter of these honestly being one of the reasons I've stayed there a few times).
     
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  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    You're thinking about going back to Vegas after the southwest computer debacle (hopefully fixed before any future trip, o/w they are in huge trouble). And after getting screwed over by the car rental place? Did they make you pay full price on that one??? Overall that's a good sign for Vegas!

    Re: Silverton
    Which bar was this 3 play at? Did all the bartops have this option? Sounds like I may need to go back there soon and investigate. And try to exact revenge after this crap they pulled on me in April 2015.

    [​IMG]

    Re MGM
    The line typically moves pretty fast though. I was happy it only took me 20 minutes on a Sunday afternoon when it k looked a couple hundred deep. Is at least 3 times faster than the worst of CET, Flamingo.

    Re: Red Rock
    Although it doesn't sound like you have any pics, can you briefly describe the more memorable wins if any? A royal? Aces with a multiplier? I love STP porn. Being up $3000 on those is pretty impressive if you didn't get another handpay.
     
  15. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco Tourist

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    Thanks for the wonderful photo, it reminds me of the Fontana Lounge. Your brunch at Lago certainly must have been delicious, I'm envious.:feedme: :D
     
  16. Dean Martin

    Dean Martin VIP Whale

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    Wow, that's a lot of shit to go wrong in one trip with SW. I too have been a big fan of flying SW, mostly due to their great cancel/re-book rules. Lets hope that was a one time computer glitch. I'm with you on the M&M store or any of the other left over (from the Vegas is a family destination days) kiddie store shit. Vegas is for drinking, gambling, eating, partying and sex in the window of your hotel room or any place else you deem viable.

    Regarding the rental car fiasco; I made the decision a long time ago that I hate dirty cabs and bitching cab drivers and I don't want to drive anywhere in Vegas because I'm on vacation. We've done the Presidential airport RT special for years. Having someone meet you at the gate, haul your bags to the limo for you while you get in the back seat w/ AC running and have a glass of champagne is exactly the right way to start a trip to Vegas. Try it and you might change that maybe to a yes! - Good luck, Dino
     
  17. mdm4sfest

    mdm4sfest Low-Roller

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    This made my LOL to the tenth power.
     
  18. zignerlv

    zignerlv Low-Roller

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    Too bad about your SW horror. The brunch was $315 for 4 people or 2? Thanks for posting about the Fink Bomb. I'll have to try it!
     
  19. ExVegasLocal

    ExVegasLocal Low-Roller

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    VP Winnings.jpg Follow up…

    Southwest:

    I don’t know what to do about Southwest. I’ve been an avid SW fan for years. I had another roundtrip set of flights on them this past weekend. Both flights were delayed for over two hours. That’s six flights in a row that were either cancelled or delayed over two hours. It’s worth noting that my flights to/from Vegas happened before their computer systems failed.

    They told me the cancellations were due to weather, but I couldn’t confirm that there was any bad weather either where the flights were coming from or enroute to my destinations. And of course I lost my boarding positions every time the flights were messed up. I’ve got so many confirmation numbers now that I don’t have the slightest idea how to get refunds for all of my EB check ins that went in the trash.

    I’ve still got 60,000 points left to burn, so I can’t walk away. It’s a quandary. I hope they get their shit together.

    MGM:

    Someone mentioned that the “invited guest” check in at the MGM is not an issue. That may be, but why would I want to stay at a hotel that can’t staff their front desk adequately for the number of guest they are expecting? What does this say about their entire operation? How long will I wait for room service or valet? Will housekeeping do a good job? I’ve seen all I need to see. I’m not willing to risk it. “Computer says no.”

    Lago:

    Lago is amazing. Our server was so pleasant and so efficient. Everything that we ate was fantastic. The cocktails were never left empty. The view was amazing. That place is truly bliss. You can make a reservation on Open Table. Don’t miss it.

    Budget:

    After I sent an email, Budget issued a $25 voucher for a future rental. Who cares? They can keep their voucher. I’ve tried all of the car rental places there at one point or another. They are all the same, hit or miss. And frankly, I’m tired of having to figure in an hour each way to retrieve and drop off the car. It’s a cattle call and I’m done with rental cars in Vegas.

    To Dean Martin:

    Having sex in the hotel room window? Now I remember you! I thought you looked familiar! Thanks for the show. That was awesome.

    VP Porn:

    I didn’t take any shots of the video poker wins. None of them were huge. I had aces with a kicker followed a few hands later by a royal flush, but neither of these hands were multiplied. I had a few quads that were multiplied. The highest was a 5x multipler for 1250 coins. I had no hand pays (thank goodness). I just kept pulling a few hundred out each day and putting it in my room safe. At the end of the trip, I had what's shown in the photo.
     
  20. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    The photo from Lago is beautiful; dining with a view. I've never dined at Lago but I want to now.

    I had friends that wanted to go to the M&M store one trip; I told them to have fun and meet me at the Trop when they were done :)

    Sounds like a much more enjoyable trip than your last. Vegas isn't done with you yet. Hell, sounds like SW didn't want you to leave Vegas at all.

    Congrats on the wins!
     
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