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Vegas/Tahoe Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by C. Brock, Mar 25, 2002.

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  1. C. Brock

    C. Brock Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Jacksonville Beach, FL

    My Trip Report

    Just got in last night from a long, long vacation!


    We arrived in town around 5:30 pm on Thursday night (3/14), my girlfriend's birthday. We checked into the Excalibur (I want to mention that I was TOTALLY please with the Excalibur! -keep in mind that I'm 31 years old and the girlfriend is 22, and we really liked the place - It is not your typical glamour Strip casino/hotel. It is a basic, BIG hotel...with a large casino, a few restaurants, some gift shops, pool, and kids play area. It isn't all fancy....with high dollar shopping and fine dining - but Luxor, Mandalay Bay and Four Seasons are just a tram ride away for all that glamour crap- I had the lunch buffet, which was basic, but good. They give you a 2 for 1 coupon at check in, so for half price it was really good - $8.99 for 2. The room was good size. The bathroom was very basic with only one small sink and a shower only, no tub. We had a great view of the NYNY roller coaster and looking North at the strip. I've just read so much negativity about Excalibur that I want to tell everyone to give it a try...especially if you get a good rate. We stayed for $45, $65, $65....which is better than the casino rate!).

    We got ready to go out and headed for the Four Season's. We ate at Charlie Palmer's Steak House. It was GREAT!! Awesome service.....great wine......great food. I had the Filet and Lobster, she had the filet. We shared a bottle of cheap wine (about $40). Bill was a little over $150 with tip (not bad at all...but, I could see the potential to run up a big tab there....with wines costing over $8,000!!!!).

    We ended the first night gambling at Ex. Played some Craps and VP. Basically broke even.

    Friday......ate breakfast at Barbary Coast. Watched my Florida Gators get their ass beat in the NCAA tourney (I bet on Creighton...figured there'd be no way UF was gonna cover 10 points)......went to Forum Shops so girlfriend could by clothes (part of her birthday present)........ate a snack at Boardwalk Casino, pretty good little snack bar!.......went to Terrible's and lost about $300 at the Craps table (which chapped my ass.....I totally didn't go with my normal money management, as I was waiting for girlfriend to get back from a pedicure at Luxor - another part of her b-day gift)........then went downtown. Played $1 Craps at El Cortez!!! This was a lot of fun!! There was a large group of younger guys there for a bachelor party. They must have won at least $2-5K between them. We won about $100...El Cortez gave us free dinner passes and two 24K Gold Kennedy Half Dollars ("good luck" coins) in a card from the US Mint (supposedly valued at $49!!).......showered up and went to Bellagio Buffet -free from Wagerworks!! It was great....a lot of seafood (I ate way toooo much shrimp and eggs this trip. My cholesteral level is way, way up!!).....great desserts.....good atmosphere.....headed over to Caesar's for the "meet"(with LVOL.com people), but got there too late ........gambled a little at Ex and went to bed......

    Saturday.....played some VP (waiting on the girlfriend to get ready).......went out to Hoover Dam. Pretty neat place. Nice drive. Walked around and got some pictures.....headed back into town......rode the NYNY roller coaster (for free from wagerworks!!)....hung one of my "Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department" T-shirts on the memorial at NYNY (this is very neat. A MUST see!!)........ate Excalibur buffet lunch (pretty good at 2 for 1)......then went downtown for St. Patty's Day. We ate dinner at El Cortez, for free. Pretty decent (especially for free).......played Craps at the $1 table....won about $75....met up with a guy a met off of a University of Florida (Gatorcountry.com) message board. We went to Fitzgerald's and drank a little.....headed home for early flight to Reno.

    Overview: too short of a trip to Vegas. Town was very busy with the NCAA tourny. Pissed that I missed the "meet".......had a lot of fun....very tired when I left town!

    On Sunday we went to the Airport. Anyone flying Southwest PLEASE READ: they have their airport check in so F'd Up that you wait in a line longer than any line at Disney World! It's ridiculous!! We arrived about 90 minutes early for a 7:50 flight......we missed it!!!!

    Anyhow.....we made it to Reno on the next flight. It was snowing when we got into Reno!!! It was awesome!! (Coming from Florida...I don't see much of the white stuff!!)......

    We checked into the Lakeside Inn & Casino, Lake Tahoe, NV. The room was nice, small, and kinda like a cabin (but in a hotel). Nothing fancy, but nice.

    We snowboarded at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort 5 days (they had a $19 off per day for Firefighters deal, which was awesome). Heavenly was too expensive, but a lot closer (they charge $57 a day....Sierra was $31/day with the discount!!). It snowed on Sunday and this past Saturday. The snow was really good. I've been to Tahoe the prior 2 years and it did not snow once, so this was nice!!! I lost my damn cameral when I ate it on Saturday. The snow was so deep I couldn't find it!!

    We drove out to Sacramento one day. Went on a tour with of their fire department. Really nice town. I plan to apply there....but, at 31 years old, it's kinda late to make the move after having the time invested here with City of Jacksonville......

    Gambled a lot here in Tahoe. Played VP everyday for about 2 hours. NOT ONE Royal the whole trip!! But, more than made money....as they have the "duoble up" option after each winning hand!!! Played Craps a lot as well. Had about the same number of winning sessions as losing sessions...but, some of the losing sessions were bigger than most of the winning sessions. All in all....I still came home with money and gambled as much as I wanted to. Caesar's Tahoe and Harrah's Tahoe are really nice. Harvey's is okay (it's now a Harrah's property). Didn't go into the Horizon Casino. Played at Bill's a few time's (Bill's is a small Harrah's property). I was up about $50 here and didn't walk....ended up losing $150 over the next 15 minutes or so! Chapped my ass!!! I hate losing at little dump casinos!!

    Played mostly at Lakeside. They don't use "slot club" cards. You have a slot attendant sign your "Winner's Card" and drop it in a box later on. They track your play in a computer by how much you have your card signed off for ($$ amount per session). At the tables you just ask the pit boss to track your play.....

    We ended up getting 2 weekend nights comped and one weekday night comped (saved about $260)!! With our package we had free dinner 3 nights and breakfast 4 mornings!! It was great! Definatley staying there again next year! Cost about $230 for a seven night stay!!!

    Flew home (and to Vegas) on American Airlines (flew from Vegas to Reno on Southwest). AA was great...SW sucked!!!

    Used Avis rental car in Vegas.....Used Dollar in Reno (will NOT use Dollar again....got a bad attitude from the manager. The check in guy was very nice...but, the manager was a prick. I had a guy in the lot run over my snowboard bag and just drive off. When I reported it they told me,".....that's not our problem. You need to take it up with him...." but it was one of their vehicle's in thier lot!!!! I was pissed and ended up filing a police report)........

    Fun trip!! Can't wait for the next one!!

    Just got 2 free nights from Harrah's New Orleans....Might be headed out that way soon!!!

    T-350 (or so!!).....
     
  2. Jimbo338

    Jimbo338 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2000
    Messages:
    5,497
    Location:
    Laconia, NH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    Hey,
    Good report. With regard to the Excaliber, I too have read a lot of negative things. A lot has to do with people's expectations. I have not had a problem with any place that I have stayed although obviously I liked some way more than others. All were pretty clean and comfortable. All were safe.
    I didn't find Excaliber buffet to be the garbage that has been reported although I found that it had deteriorated for the last couple of years while the prices went up and this year I just didn't go opting for dinners downtown.
    I would just like to interject that $8,000/bottle wine is not frugal!
    Your dissatisfaction with Southwest Airlines kind of surprised me though. I used them out of last resort last year and was so pleased that they were my first choice for both trips this year. When traveling youare always nervous about making planes and connections. This past february my LVL shuttle was 20 seconds late (I tipped him anyway). I had planned on a little over 2 hours for shuttle, lines, boarding etc. I was at the airport in 10 minutes, through the long line inside the terminal, checked in luggage, through the security, and had boarding passes in 30 minutes. I remember checking my watch and thinking how crazy it all was. Most people object to the lack of assigned seats at SW but it is the reason for lower prices and better on-time rates. I guess it's just part of the package and you can live with it or you can't.
    I wasn't aware of a memorial at NYNY for the 9-11 victims but will have to check it out in April. ONe good thing to come out of this tragedy is the appreciation of all the men and women on the fire and police departments who give of themselves so much in so many ways, and lay their lives on the line without a moment of hesitation. We have taken them for granted too long.
    I'm glad you had a great trip!

    Jim
     
  3. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    We saw the huge long lines for Southwest at McCarran check-in--thank goodness we were on another airline! The check-in lines for Southwest have not been that long at any other airport I've seen, so I'm not sure what's up with Las Vegas. I don't mind flying Southwest, but my husband prefers to have a seat assignment....But sometimes, you can't beat the price!
     
  4. Coecat

    Coecat Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2001
    Messages:
    395
    We almost exclusively fly Southwest now. While I don't like not having an assigned seat, I "play their game" and it works out well. One thing we discovered is to try not to have to check baggage and you'll miss those long lines. It means being really discriminating with what and how much you take, so you can fit everything into the carry-on. It's even harder now that the FAA required them to limit it to one carry-on and one "personal" item, but it's been doable for us. However, usually for our longer trips, we've had access to laundry facilities, so it would be a different story if we hadn't. Just MHO. [​IMG]
     
  5. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    We always choose our airlines by price, and so far we've been able to match Southwest's fares on other airlines (or they haven't flown where we want to go). We prefer to fly carry-on if possible (for me, 4 days or less and I can do it--but move up to a week and it's pushing it. Add winter, and it can be difficult-but doable :D ) Back to Southwest--even with the Friends Fly Free promotion, it would have cost us $500 to fly round trip to vegas this summer, and I've found cheaper flights.....I like the party seats on Southwest--my husband and I can both have window seats [​IMG]
     
  6. C. Brock

    C. Brock Tourist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2002
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
    I've flown Southwest several times. I think this was an unusual exception. I too choose my airline by price. I don't fly enough to earn frequent flyer miles.....so, 'price' is what I make my decisions based on! I'll fly Southwest again. However, in and out of Vegas might be a second thought......

    Southwest is the ONLY airline that didn't lose money or lay off employees after the 9/11 incidents! That's says a lot about how they do business.
     
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