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Vegas Trip Christmas - NYE

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dbueler, Jan 2, 2013.

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  1. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    Preface:
    The time between Christmas and NYE is one of my favorites in Las Vegas, although I admittedly love Vegas any time of year. The last several years my friend, and fellow board member, fflowers and I have traveled to Vegas on Christmas night after the festivities are done and I leave on NYE morning. I’ve done the NYE thing in Vegas several times and it’s just not my bag.

    And here’s my story of my 6 night vacation in my favorite city. Do note I’m not a big drinker, and I’m a nickel player, so there won’t be tales of drunken fun or W2G’s. I didn’t take notes so I’m going to write this by category rather than day by day. Enjoy!

    My travels:
    I live 2 hours north of the St Louis airport. Fortunately, the big snow storm went south and the roads were dry and fast. My Southwest flight was scheduled to depart at 6:15pm, I had used points to book this flight, and I was thrilled it was non-stop. I wasn’t so thrilled when I arrived at STL to find the flight was delayed 1.5 hours due to a late flight from Baltimore. Long Story Short…. They brought in another plane due to so many people having connections and we left ½ hour late. Although they said we had strong headwinds, we landed right on time.

    My flight home was on AA, I caught a one day sale and snagged a ticket (with a connection in Dallas) for $90. Yes, I had to pay $25 to check my bag. Southwest didn’t have a single non-stop available until late afternoon and they wanted $300+ for any flight that day. The AA flights were both great, leaving early and arriving early. I was fortunate enough to have an empty middle seat both flights, yes! Both planes has wi-fi available for purchase, but I was deep into a good book. I’m really tired of being on SW flights that don’t have wi-fi available, I really need to enroute to Vegas to make that trip go faster!

    My bag was waiting for me in baggage claim when I arrived, Southwest is so fast in Las Vegas. There was NO taxi line and I was quickly in a taxi and, nicely, telling the driver not to tunnel me. He was a good guy, delivering me safely to the Flamingo for $16 and he received a very nice tip.

    My hotel:
    Ahhhhh, the Flamingo. I love the property, the casual atmosphere, the coconut smell that means I’m on vacation. I’ve stayed at many places but there’s something about this property I love, others don’t get it, and that’s why they built so many properties in Vegas. The Flamingo treats me well and it’s my Vegas home.

    The diamond check in room was closed at 9pm but there was a line for diamond players, thank goodness as the lines were long. I went straight to the counter and a very nice lady called up my reservation and welcomed me. Now, my comped room was a Fab deluxe, which is an ok room BUT I love the GO rooms. Before I left Missouri, I called my res up on the CET website and could see they had upgraded me from a FAB deluxe to a Go Luxury with a View, which was awesome. Problem was the Luxury with a view was 2 queen beds and the king they had available was in the Spa tower. Diva that I am, I love the Lobby tower because the elevator is literally 20 steps from MY machines!

    After much looking on her part, I took the regular GO room with the king bed in the Spa tower and agreed to move the next day to one in the Lobby tower. I tipped her a few bucks since she honestly did work hard for me (and she was shocked!). Moving the next day was easy, I just didn’t unpack the first night and moved to the new room when it was ready about 1pm, without having to checkout from the original room. Everyone involved was very accommodating.

    Room was very clean, spotless in fact. Nice big flat screen tv, refrig, the normal GO room. With the floor-to-ceiling windows that operate with switches beside the bed. Nirvana.

    The Shows:
    Legends in Concert - Fflowers and I used diamond tix for this show and had a nice booth. We’ve both seen Legends many times; this one wasn’t the best I had seen. Some of the performers were slow, and a little off key, but it is still a fun show. And several were excellent, it was worth the time and we had fun. I won’t criticize as I can’t sing worth a damn.

    Frankie Moreno – He’s at the Strat and fflowers was excited to see him. We were both really impressed with the improvements at the Strat, the casino floor was nicely redecorated and looked really nice. The showroom was impressive as well. Frankie is a great talent A+, and his band is incredible. The show needs some work…. Crown Royal is evidently a sponsor so he and the band take several shots during the show and make sure everyone knows its Crown. The show starts with a video of lots of celebrities telling you how wonderful he is, the second coming, the BIGGEST new talent in America. You are also told, at least 10 times, that his CD is for sale out front… get it while you can. In addition, the show was deafening. It was so loud it really detracted from his voice.

    The poor guy needs a show that showcases how great he truly is (and he IS) rather than all the in-your-face stuff. It cheapened the show, and that’s a real shame because it’s one heck of a show.

    The Australian BeeGees: We’ve seen them before and decided it’s now an every year tradition! I had a Groupon for VIP seats and we sat at a front table. These guys are awesome, the very best, if you like the music even a little, just GO! That night was an attendance record for the show and it was packed. Half way through the show, they point out a small dance floor beside the stage and invite everyone to dance. We danced, I danced until I could hardly walk. Now I know why I was so thin when I was young and used to party and dance every night! We sang, everyone sang, everyone danced. We did the Bump, we danced the Saturday night fever dance, what fun. I can’t wait to do it again!

    The Improv: Sorry, I can’t review this because we blew it off to gamble. We had diamond tickets and, genius that I am, decided I was SO close to winning all my money back that I’d blow off the show and lock down that comeback. It never works, it didn’t work, and I suppose I’ll never learn. LOL!

    The Meals:
    Flamingo breakfast buffet: I used a coupon and points twice. The first morning the food was stellar, bacon so crisp it broke without encouragement, excellent scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. The eggs bene were over-cooked (such is life on a buffet). Diamond service was excellent.

    The second morning there was the day before NYE. CET had jacked the prices sky high, there was literally me and 5 other people there at 10am. The food wasn’t nearly as good as it wasn’t turning over. But the bacon was still crisp and I can have all I want, so not a total fail.

    Paris breakfast buffet: We used the $10pp off coupon and points. I’ve been disappointed in this buffet the past couple of times, not this time. The waitress took our omelet order and returned quickly with our choices. The food was fresh and, although I just eat the basics, I do love the breads and cheeses they have. This one is back on my hit list.

    Carlos & Charlies Mexican at the Flamingo – I had a Groupon for $40 here and we ate a late lunch. Fflowers had the chimichanga (sp?) and I had the mountain of nachos, which looked like I didn’t touch it once I was finished. Our meals were very good and I think we owed a couple of dollars afterward and used points. The guys at the table next to us had fajitas and said they were only ok. I really enjoyed the nachos and will return. This was a first time eating here for both of us and we considered it a success!

    Kahunaville at TI: I had a Living Social deal for $40 here, I ordered the beef stir-fry and Fflowers ordered the black and blue burger. My stir fry was pretty good, but that burger was amazing! If I am in the area again, I will definitely go there for the burger! I had read the food was good but the service was poor and that couldn’t have been truer. The waitress completely forgot my order, which wasn’t a big deal as we weren’t in a hurry. But when she brought the bill, it showed I owed a balance for our drinks (soda and iced tea). I pointed out the Living Social voucher covered food AND drinks, she argued with me then said she would see “if the manager still had the voucher”. What? Like what would he have done with it during those few minutes?

    Long Story Short, the manager came out and whined about Living Social screwing up and the voucher shouldn’t include drinks. They are losing SO much money because of it (yeah right, on our soda and iced tea, gimme a break). He took the drinks off the bill and we were supposed to be eternally grateful. Ugh. The waitress got a tiny tip, which equaled the tiny service we rec’d.

    I wish Fflowers hadn’t let me taste that burger, because if I’m back at TI, I’ll jump right off my high horse and go back just for that!

    Casa Di Amore: I’ve been here many, many times and this was a first for Fflowers. I had a Restaurant.com $25 off voucher. Since we didn’t have a car, I made a reservation and requested their limo service. The limo picked us up at the Cosmo right on time, and they’ve gotten a new one since I last used this service. The old one was red and a little ragged around the edges, the new one is black and sleek. The driver was very friendly and agreed this was a great service for those of us without a car.

    I ordered my usual house salad and spaghetti with meatballs. FFlowers ordered the house specialty eggplant dish along with a house salad. Their French bread is amazing and is the best I’ve eaten anywhere. The meat sauce and meatballs are my very favorites too. Her eggplant dish was fantastic. Since we are both avid Vegas fans, we love the old Vegas feel with all the old Vegas framed photos on the walls. After our meal, the limo dropped us at the Stratsophere for the Frankie Moreno show. Such a classy place, each meal I have there is better than the last.

    Le Provencal at Paris: During our trip in August to celebrate Fflowers birthday, we tried this restaurant as I had a Groupon and we were very impressed. I also had a Groupon this trip and we were anxious to return. She orders the handmade cheese ravioli in a brown butter sauce (divine) and I order the penne with meat sauce, also excellent. The bread is very good here as well. We were spoiled our first trip as the service was outstanding, not so this time. Our waiter disappeared, not once refilling our drinks or bringing more bread, let alone checking on the meal. The food was good and we enjoyed it, but the poor service was a bit of a letdown.

    The Flame at the El Cortez: Fflowers had an offer here that included a food credit. Armed with our 50% off coupon, we used the food credit for an outstanding dinner at the Flame. I’ve read many excellent reviews and was excited to try it for the first time. Actually, this was my first time to the El Cortez and I liked it as it reminded me of Terribles.

    We both ordered fillets, wedge salads, a baked potato, spinach, and their version of creamed corn. The creamed corn had cheese in it and it was absolutely the best creamed corn I’ve ever had! The entire meal was excellent and we capped it off with a crème brulee.

    The café at Cosmo: The plan was to use part of her dining credit at Milos for lunch, but we mixed up the times and it wasn’t open yet. We were starving, so we decided breakfast at the café at Cosmo was the right choice. I ordered the eggs bene, no Canadian bacon but substitute crisp regular bacon on the side. And NO caviar! FFlowers ordered cinnamon French toast which was absolutely divine. Mine came with no Canadian bacon, no bacon at all. I thought the “sprinkles” on top were a few diced chives, but Fflowers thought they had left the caviar on as well. She tried it and ugh, it was caviar….she really took one for the team! The incorrect order was taken care of quickly and the eggs bene was good, although the yolk wasn’t soft as it should be. Nonetheless, it was good eggs bene and hit the spot.

    The Secret Pizza Place at Cosmo: Judging by the line, not so secret anymore. And quite popular with the young crowd. We hit this place after dancing our a$$ off at Beegees, Wow was this pizza good. Thin and crisp crust, great flavor, just the right amount of topping. I had 2 pepperoni slices and could only eat 1 and a half. Great for a casual meal and another Vegas first for us.

    If it sounds as if we ate a lot, that’s right, we DID! Many new Vegas firsts for us and really excellent meals.

    The Gambling: It would probably be best if I left this section out.

    The GOOD news is I went 100% on matchplays! I used two, one at four queens and one at Casino Royale. I had crappy cards to start both times, drew to a decent hand, and the dealer busted. I also turned my $20 fsp into $20 real cash at the four queens.

    I purchased the $40 for $25 vouchers for both Tropicana and Palms on www.slotplaycoupons.com. The Tropicana one was a pain because the booth guy didn’t know what to do, then didn’t tell me how to activate it and I had to go back, then the machines I wanted to use it on wouldn’t take it. I ended up not making a dime at the Trop. The Palms worked out well, with the exception of the huge line at their players club. I cashed out $41 at the Palms and promptly left.

    I play nickel or dime 3/5/10 line vp. The first two days I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Nothing. I even went so far as to denounce vp and played a lot of penny slots those days. Doesn’t sound like a logical move, but the vp wasn’t playing and the penny slots played for a long time.

    My last two days were much better. I hit aces w/kicker 3 times and aces 5-6 times. I was dealt quad fives on triple play bonus poker playing dimes and dealt quad 8’s on five play ddb playing dimes. I had some excellent penny hits and bonus rounds. I only bet 50 cents/spin but had a number of hits for $50-$100 that added to the bankroll. I prefer vp but I will play what is paying.

    No royals this trip and, oddly enough, I was never dealt 4-to-a-royal the entire trip. I’m usually dealt this on multi-play at least 8-10 times per trip and rarely convert it into a royal, so it was strange I wasn’t dealt that hand even once.

    So, all those aces and penny hits had me just a few hundred shy of my starting bankroll. So I blew off the Legends show and started to lose…lose…lose…sucks so bad.

    The Meet:
    Fflowers and I were invited to a meet in the Caesar’s diamond lounge, and I was fortunate enough to meet the infamous duo CLV and Sue Casey. We enjoyed a few drinks and snacks and much chatting about all things Vegas. Dan and Barb were supposed to meet us as well, but there was a slight mixup with the dates, I think. Nonetheless, we had a good time and it was great to meet these ladies after I’ve read so many of their posts.

    The Bus:
    I know many of you will laugh and roll your eyes, but I’ve never taken a public bus in my life. I live in rural Missouri, and although I am often in larger cities I always drive my car or a rental car, or a colleague drives me. FFlowers showed me how to buy the bus tickets and I learned the map of the stops was similar to the Metrolink train I’ve taken in STL before. So downtown we went uneventfully. The ride back was a little more smelly…LOL.

    Since I had bought the 24 hour pass, I thought it would be smart to ride to the Excalibur the next morning to pickup our Beegee tickets. I hopped on the deuce in front of Caesars and rode to the Excalibur without issue. On the return trip, I was in the very back of the bus and felt it make a hard stop in front of Pho. After sitting for awhile, everyone began getting off the bus. Everyone! Shortly, the driver came back and told us we needed to exit the bus and get on the next one, we had been involved in an accident. It appeared to me a small car tried to cut off the bus and lost that battle. Unfortunately, it happened right in front of the bus stop at Pho, so I couldn’t see how another bus could pickup since that area would be blocked for some time. I just walked back to the Flamingo, no big deal, but I chuckled at my first solo public transportation experience!

    Observations and Odds & Ends:
    • The people that just stop in the middle of a crowded aisle or sidewalk drive me crazy (admittedly a short drive). But I discovered worse this trip… the ones that stop at the top or bottom of escalators! Twice I was behind a group or couple on a escalator who just flat stopped when they got off and looked around. OMG….dangerous!
    • Near Bills, I saw 2 men wearing only tighty whities with a cardboard heart in front and a big tip jar nearby. I won’t even go down the no self respect path. It was 40 deg out! They were laughing and seemed to be having a blast. Whatever.
    • Also near Bills, I saw a young man in his 20’s with a sign around his neck. The sign read “Kick me in the nuts for $20”. Not only is that young man scary, I would certainly be more scared of someone who would actually pay $20 to kick someone in the nuts.
    • I’ve never seen so many characters, dancers, human statues, etc… clogging up the strip. I find them as annoying as the porn slappers.
    • I was only awake early enough one morning to watch Wake Up with the Wagners on NBC. Shame, because I really enjoy that news duo (husband and wife).
    • I missed not going to a spa or getting a massage this trip. I’m not sure how 5 full days fly by, but they do. At least they do in Vegas!

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, it’s the first time in years I don’t have another trip planned before I even returned. Whenever it is, I can’t wait!

    Best of luck to all,
    diane
     
  2. hanoscf

    hanoscf High-Roller

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    Really enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the TR! I'm hungry now.
     
  4. sabrina

    sabrina Low-Roller

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    sounded like a fun trip!:beer:
     
  5. danfed

    danfed Tourist

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    Hi Diane,

    Yes, we screwed up (it's safer for me to share the blame than pass it! LOL) and missed the meet. I even had a way in having earned DIAD during this trip.Hopefully there will be a next time. Sounds like the two of you had a lot of fun.

    Dan
     
  6. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed your report...thanks for sharing!
     
  7. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Dan,
    Yes, Sue filled us in on your DIAD escapade! We hadn't been on the boards since we were in Mecca, too bad it cost $$ but I think you will enjoy the benefits. Sorry our paths didn't cross... we missed you guys. Next time!
    diane
     
  8. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

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    Great report thanks! I feel the same way about the Flamingo..........on our next trip we are travelling with friends. He is an MLife guy so I have agreed to try "his hotel", we are staying at NYNY, it will be tough for me!! With Bill's closed though, may not be so bad.......
     
  9. Shane.Decker

    Shane.Decker Low-Roller

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    Nice reading the report!!! Hoping to accomplish half as much as you did....somehow I always end up walking around too much awe struck and not getting to many of the shows!
     
  10. Tellafriend

    Tellafriend High-Roller

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    The time b/n Christmas and NYE is indeed a great few days to enjoy the town! Thanks for the report.
     
  11. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed the report, nice of SW to bring in a new plane. I nice Christmas present!

    I wouldn't pay $20 to kick a guy in the nuts, but I'd certainly stand around to watch it done by somebody else. I'm wondering if this phenomena didn't spring up from the guy on Americas got Talent.
     
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  12. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Really enjoyed your TR Diane. My mom only likes to stay at the Flamingo, too. Thanks for the great info on the restaurants you went to. I am putting a black & blue burger at Kahunaville on my places to go next time.
     
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