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Vegas Report 10/15- 10-19 Harrah's etc...

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by rje, Oct 20, 2005.

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  1. rje

    rje High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Messages:
    799
    Location:
    Chicago

    My Trip Report

    Got back last night from a great Vegas trip. The players were myself, and my cousin Carol.

    We flew out of Midway Saturday evening on Southwest. All in all an uneventful flight, which arrived on time. After a few minutes of waiting for out bags we were off to the Imperial Palace via cab. I am embarrassed to say, but I think we were long hauled. Of my many trips (I think this was about #15) to Vegas, this was the second time I ever took a cab from the airport. For just about all past trips we would get a limo or take a shuttle. Figuring that the cab stand will have a short line on a Saturday night, I did not bother to reserve a limo, or take a “tour de strip†shuttle ride. Well, the line was very short and we were in a cab in no time. I remember thinking, boy this is taking a while… I saw a sign for 215… then we were on 15, on the other side of Mandalay Bay, Exclaibur etc… then we exited at Flamingo, and took the Strip the block or so to the Imperial Palace. When all was said and done it was a $21 cab ride, before tip. (As a point of reference, the cab ride back to the Airport from Harrah’s was $15, with a tip.) Oh well… we’re in Vegas now. Can’t worry about that!

    The Imperial Palace:
    I booked a room here for 2 nights under the Autumn Escape package. In addition to great rates ($39 for Sat/ $29 for Sun) I received a coupon book with the following: $25.00 in comps added to my account, 2 complimentary drinks from the Daiquiri Bar, 4 complimentary drinks from any casino bar, 4 $5.00 blackjack match play coupons, 2 free Emperors Buffets, a 2 for 1 Legends ticket, $100 in free slot play on a special bank of machines, and 2 entries into a daily drawing. All in all a great value.

    Check in was pretty quick and we were up to our room on the third floor in no time. This was my third time staying at the IP. We were in one of the “older†non renovated rooms. It was kind of like a time warm back to 1981… However, for what we were paying, it was fine. It was well worn, but it was clean. We had no view to speak of, and being on the third floor we had no balcony, but we were here for just 1 night so I was not complaining.

    One drawback to the hotel were the painfully slow elevators. After waiting several minutes at times, the doors would open only to reveal a packed car. To go down, we just started taking the stairs… which was an idea shared by many as sometimes the stairwell looked as if it were a building fire drill with an endless line of people coming down. A plus, however, is the awesome water pressure in the shower…. This has been the case on my past visits here as well.

    To sum it up, I would stay at the IP again, and actually am for New Years Eve. It is not the Bellagio by any stretch, but taking into account price, and its awesome location, it is always a pretty good value.

    DAY 1- Saturday Evening

    After relaxing and washing up in the room a few minutes we hit the casino. After an hour or so gambling, unsuccessfully, we decided to use the 2 free buffet coupons to eat at the Emperors Buffet. To sum it up, I felt ripped off even though it was free. The food selection was very limited and mediocre at best. Being an Asian themed resort, I was expecting decent fried rice and Mongolian Beef. I think I had better back from my college dorm cafeteria. The “beef†used in the Mongolian beef was almost like a chipped beef, and it was tough, not like any I ever had before. However, I just maybe spoiled. Growing up and living just a few minutes away from Chicago’s Chinatown, I am used to having good Chinese and Asian cuisine. In addition I also had some Prime Rib and mashed potatoes, which were OK, a piece if fried chicken, which was OK, and a “chicken†enchilada. Now I saw “chicken†because when I cut it open, it was unlike any chicken I have ever seen. I could not help but to think about the scene in Vegas Vacation when Clark (Chevy Chase) points out to the buffet chase that the chicken is not chicken… it looked and tasted like beef, which in it of itself is not bad. I enjoy most meats, but I image someone who does not care or eat red meat would have been much more surprised and disappointed then I. The meal wrapped up with some mint chocolate chip ice cream, which was pretty good, and a prayer that I would not be cracking into the pepto bismol later that night.

    After dinner, it was back to the casino then onto a bit of exploring… we played a bit at O’Sheas and Harrah’s before calling it a night around 12:30 or so, but still 2:30 Chicago time. I was down for the night, but decided to take a crack at a Saturday Night Live themed Monte Carlo machine. I am not sure what combo I hit, but it was a $90 win to put me about even for the night… I cashed out at that and headed to bed.

    Sunday Day 2

    After a relatively early bedtime, we were up at out the door by 10:00 or so. After debating on where to go for breakfast, we settled on McDonalds. I love MdDonald’s breakfasts, so I was happy with that. Afterwards we headed back to the IP for some morning gambling. I love the casino in the morning, as you can generally get on a table, and the limits tend to be lower. While my cousin tried some video poker, I tried some Let it Ride at a $5 table. I enjoy L.I.R., but if you don’t hit your cards, you can bleed money pretty quickly. I hit a few pair, but was down to my last few chips when I got a 3 of a kind. This put me up to about even, so I took my chips and ran. It was time to get in some pool time anyway.

    The weather was beautiful today… low 80’s, sunny and a nice breeze. When I arrived at the pool I was pleasantly surprised. It is not as bad as I thought it would be. It is basically a concrete rectangle, but the area is landscaped with some palm trees and a nice waterfall/pond feature off to the side. Plus, there was pool side blackjack! There was a $2.00 table and a $5.00 table. I sat at the $2.00 table and gambled in the sunshine for about 2 hours. The table was a bit choppy, but for $2.00 a hand I was able to ride out a long loosing streak and walk away down about $4.00… but that included tips to the cocktail server (free drinks-poolside- great!). By now it is mid-afternoon and we decide to try to check into Harrah’s….

    A brief side note:
    The planning for this vacation began a few weeks ago when my cousin told me she had the week off and if I wanted to do something with her. A few ideas were thrown around… using my Aunt’s timeshare, a long weekend in Minneapolis, going to Nashville, fishing in the Ozarks, and of course Las Vegas. I was a bit hesitant about Vegas (blasphemy, I Know!) because I was just there in July, and had recently booked a trip for New Years Eve. But, when I got an offer from Harrah’s for $49 for Sunday night, then the next 2 nights free, it was not a hard sale. Our initial plans were to leave Sunday morning, but airfares were much higher versus leaving Saturday night. So we found a cheap room for Sat night at the Ho, then booked our airfare for a Saturday night departure. When I got the Autumn Escape package from the IP, I cancelled the room at the Ho…even having Sunday double booked at the IP and Harrah’s was a better deal than 1 night at the Ho…

    Check in at Harrah’s was a breeze for a Sunday afternoon. It was on the 26th Floor of the Carnival Tower and had a decent view of the strip. You could see from Bellagio to the Mirage. Not bad considering our last view was of a wall. This is my third time staying at Harrah’s and I found the room to again be very nice. Larger than the room at the IP and nicely appointed, including a marble foyer, a nice sized bathroom. My only complaint about Harrah’s rooms are the motion sensors on the air conditioning… it was not an issue this trip as the weather was cool, but in May or July it does become an issue!

    After we got our Harrah’s room keys we got out bags from the IP and decided to rest a bit for the evening. After a brief cat nap and showers we headed out to the Outback Steakhouse. I would not normally eat here in Vegas, as I frequent it here in Chicago-land, but we wanted a decent meal to take in the White Sox-Angels game. We sat in the bar area of the Outback, had dinner and watched the first few innings of the game. After dinner we headed across the street to watch a few more innings at the Caesars Palace sportsbook. Around the 6th inning or so it was time to see Elton John…

    Elton John:
    The tickets were pricey. $125 + Ticketmaster rip off fees for the 1st Mezzanine, 7 rows back in Section 7. All in all they were not bad seats. Actually, how the theater is designed, even the “bad†seats were good.
    The price was well worth it. It was an awesome show. He did mostly all his greatest hits, which was great because they would be the songs we all know… He sang Bennie and the Jets, Rocket Man, Candle in the Wind, Your Song, Daniel, Philadelphia Freedom, amongst others. The stage set up was pretty cool, and he made good use of the giant screen behind the stage. Now, I don’t want to give anything away… but he made use of many a giant inflatable props throughout the show (picture those inflatable Santa’s and Snowmen that litter lawns at Christmas-time. I can’t help but to think of how many he put in his yard for the holiday’s… Anywho, one of the coolest parts of the show was when he came out after a costume change and congratulated the White Sox and making the World Series! (Go Sox!)

    After the show we made our way back to the sports book to watch some of the highlights and post game interviews on the big screens, then headed back across the street making out way back to Harrah’s via Barbary Coast, Flamingo, and O’Shea’s. While my cousin played video poker I got on a $2.00 min Roulette game at the B.C. I bought in for $20, played a while, had a good time, and a few drinks. If the drink service was a bit more attentive, I would have stayed longer. After about an hour or so, I cashed in up $30 and we headed down the street to drop a few dollars and have few more drinks at Flamingo and O’Sheas before getting back to Harrah’s. By this time it is about 1:00 or so and my cousin is ready for bed. I decide to play Rapid Roulette at Harrah’s and sit there a couple hours until they shut the table down. I did not have a bad run, buying in for $40, cashing out at $105… plus I had several… and as it tuned out too many… Grey Goose on the rocks. Grey Goose is very tasty, and very smooth and they get smoother as the night goes on. Drink service at the table was pretty good.

    (Side note: Rapid Roulette… This is a combination of table game/video slot. Basically there is a bank of seats and monitors surrounding a real roulette wheel. To join the game, you hand your cash/chips to the dealer and they “credit†your station with the appropriate amount of money. You place all your bets on the touch video screen and all they payouts are made by the computer. The dealers spin the wheel and keeps up conversation. On the plus side, the minimum best was $2.50, with 50cent chips so you can play a while for cheap, on the bad side, it is a fast game, with a spin every 30 seconds or so. However, if you want to sit out a spin or 2, you can as you are not forced to wager on every spin of the wheel.)

    After playing at the table for a while, I left when they shut it down and walked, at this point almost stumbled, over to Ceasars Palace to cash in a ticket I had with me from earlier. But, I decided to try my luck at a slot, turning by $20 into $40 then headed back across the street. I then headed into O’Shea’s and played some more Let It Ride for an hour or so… I hit nothing and once I was down $50, I decided it was best to call it a night… or rather a morning. I made a quick stop at the Subway for a one of their new Chicken Parmesans sandwich… which, even in my drunkin’ state tasted bad…. I can’t imagine what once of these taste like while your taste buds are uninhibited. I got back to the room, with sandwich in hand around 5:00 am… I was up for another half hour or so then went to bed. It was not a good morning. It was not long before I was awaken with a pounding headache, and running to the bathroom as I fell ill. I finally felt human again around 2:00… after a shower we headed over to the Fashion Show mall for lunch and window shopping…

    Monday Day 3

    Today it was raining. Of all the times I have been in Vegas, I have never seen it rain before. I felt like I was back home… it was one of those all day, cold, nagging rains. We made it to the Fashion Show Mall, a bit damp, and stopped at the food court for lunch. Nothing exciting, KFC for me, Wendy’s for my cousin. We then just walked around the mall. There was nothing I needed, nor wanted, I was just there to check the place out. It is your typical upper class suburban type mall… all be it a very nice one. For those of your from Chicago-land, it kind of Reminded me of a nicer, newer version of the Orland Square Mall… it had a similar layout and many of the same kind of upper class store.. although the Fashion Show Mall is a bit larger with more prominent anchors (Neiman Marcus vs. Sears). After the mall we walked back through Treasure Island and Mirage for some more gambling. I did not hit anything… my strategy for the week was to put a $20 bill in a machine, then leave when it was gone, or cash out when I hot something big (at least doubling my money.) Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to cash out at all at either TI or Mirage. Both places took it upon themselves to take my money pretty fast. Nonetheless it was a good time. I really enjoy the ambiance of TI and the Mirage. They seem to have a mix of elegance and excitement, without being overly gaudy. For instance, Harrah’s is fun, and I like the atmosphere, but the décor makes it seem as neon light exploded in the place.

    After the Mirage it was off to home base for a late afternoon nap. Seeing as I got very little sleep the night before I was pretty tired at this point…. After a few hours we headed over to Wynn for the dinner buffet. At about $33 per person, it was almost as expensive as the Outback the night before, but I felt it was well worth it. The food was good, and the place feels more like a vibrant elegant restaurant versus a Vegas buffet. For dinner I had Alaskan King Crab legs, Tandouri Chicken, Indian rice, Prime Rib, St. Louis spareribs, shrimp and I am sure a few other odds and ends. Dessert was awesome as well, consisting of Chocolate Mouse, a raspberry tart and tiramisu.

    At this time it is close to 10:00 and we decide to head over to the Bellagio. It is of course still raining, so we cab it over there. No luck at the Bellagio slots. I did not hit much of anything, and neither did my cousin. Before heading back across the street, we walked through the conservatory, the new Spa tower addition, and took in a fountain show (All that Jazz from Chicago) under the shelter of a tree. Once back across the street we made our way back to Harrah’s via Barbary Coast and the Flamingo. No big hits… I won $5.00 playing Video poker at the Flamingo. By 1:00, we are ready to head back up to the room, I am tired, but not sleepy, so I got an in-room movie: The Bad News Bears.

    Tuesday Day 4

    This is our last full day and we try to make the most of it. It is still raining and the game plan is to take the monorail over to Bally’s and make our way to the Aladdin via Paris. I got to witness first hand the white water rapids of the Imperial Palace parking garage… something I have heard about before. I could not believe the amount of water rushing out of there.

    We make it to Bally’s then Paris, then decide we’re hungry so go to the Aladdin Buffet for lunch. It was very good and worth the $17.95 price tag. I sampled a little bit of everything, then had some really good peanut butter cookies for dessert. I wish I had more room as the carrot cake looked really good.
    By the time we were done with lunch, it had stopped raining so we walked down the strip towards the Tropicana, stopping in the various gift/crap shops along the way. If you seen one “3 for $9.99†T-shirt place, you’ve seen them all, but my cousin can not get enough of these places. We eventually made it to the Trop to try out luck on a few slots. Not much luck at all. While I enjoy playing here from time to time, I can help but to notice the smell of the place, which I recalled from past visits.. it is kind of like cheap, overpowering, old lady perfume. It was getting to us so we cabbed it over to the Palms. We were hoping to spot someone famous, but I guess that was a tall order considering it was now about 5:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. I enjoy the Palms… I like the casino atmosphere, and it’s layout… plus I was lucky there, winning enough to pay for my trip and some of the next one for New Years!

    When we got our fill of the Palms, we headed back to Harrah’s… I made a stop at the IP to play the $100 in free slot play and get a Pina Collata from the daiquiri bar. The free slot play is towards the back, by the payers club where there is a special row of $2 Double Diamond Haywire machines. Your “$100†buys your 50 credits. You are unable to cash out, and the only way to get cash is to get the jackpot of 3 Double Diamonds for $1600 in cash. My credits did not last very long. I stuck around there to play a few slots… no luck, then back at Harrah’s where I one a quick $115 on just 4 pulls of a slot, only to give about $50 of it back to the Roulette table.

    By the time I was done with Roulette it was time to head downtown. A quick 15 minute cab ride got us there. We started at the Plaza and worked our way down Freemont Street. My goal was to play $20 in each place and have a drink, which I did. I have to say drink service seemed decent in most places, the machines not… in most places I lost my $20 pretty fast. It was fun though.

    Dinner tonight was at Tony Roma’s for the $10.95 steak and lobster special. This place was fairly crowded, which surprised me for a Tuesday night. The food was pretty good though, service however was a bit slow. While our waitress was very personable and always had a smile, it lagged a bit. However, it was busy, and not all her fault… after she disappeared for a while, we wondered where she went. There was a table next to us where another waiter had to take an order b/c she was no where to be found. We found out shortly after it was the table of 9 behind us who all requested separate checks! This poor girl came back with nine plates, with nine receipts, and nine sets of change… what a pain! How difficult is it for every one just to put in what they owe? I’d be curious to what kind of tip this people left. Something told me they did not leave much… Oh well… it was back out to Fremont for some more gambling and a few more cocktails. I would have loved to ride the grain train, but even 2 days later the thought of getting that drunk again got me queasy, plus we had to fly home they next day, so I did not have the option of sleeping in until 2:00 again.

    By about midnight we headed back to the strip and tried to conquer Harrah’s one last night. No huge wins, but I did make up for my losses downtown. This one machine caught my eye, I played it for a few minutes and did not hit anything… nothing… then I was down to my last 3 credits… one last spin and I hit for $240. Cash out… it’s late... time for bed, on a happy note…

    Wednesday – Last Day

    We have a 4:40 flight, so we check out around 11:30, check our bags, then head over to the Forum Shops. Do some browsing, then have lunch at the Cheesecake factory. Very good as always. Try our luck one last time at the slots… no luck, lost about $10. Off to the airport for an uneventful flight home.

    A few closing thoughts:

    This was my first time being in Vegas for mainly a weekday trip. I really liked it. It was still exciting, but the crowds were not as bad and traffic on the strip was pretty light… you could actually jaywalk across the street at a leisurely pace at times without having to be worried about getting run down.

    Avoid the IP buffet

    Be sure to try the Wynn Buffet at least once… same for the Bellagio (which we did not make it to this time)

    Try to somewhat pace yourself drinking… it is a shame to spend half a day in Vegas in bed with a wicked hangover.

    Now, just to wait patiently for my next visit.. just 2 ½ months for New Years Eve…
     
  2. aggie182

    aggie182 Off Key and Out of Tune

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Missouri City, TX
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    Cool, me too. Get the Standard room for NYE?
     
  3. Candy Apple

    Candy Apple VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
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    Location:
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    Good report - thanks for writing!
     
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