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Very Long - Downtown, Sept 30 - Oct 5. Low Roller Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by ValerieJo, Oct 6, 2012.

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  1. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    415
    Location:
    Michigan
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8

    My Trip Report

    Just back yesterday from another great week in Vegas. We are a Very Low Rolling, bargain seeking, 50ish couple who loves Fremont Street. The plan is to do this report list style as I don’t have the writing talent to jot down one of those awesomely clever reports.

    We arrived on Sunday, late at night on September 30 and checked out early Friday, October 5. While I realize that everything is subjective, these are merely my opinions, observations and experiences.

    The Flight – We flew from DTW to LAS with a stop in Denver. We flew Frontier which we have done several times in the past without incident. This time however, I felt the customer service was less than the stellar service we’ve received in the past.

    According to our reservation we were to stop in Denver without changing planes then head straight to Vegas. As everyone left the plane, we were the only ones left waiting in our seats. We thought this was strange, so my husband asked the flight attendant about heading to Vegas. She told us the plane was headed to Kansas City and the Vegas plane had changed. What???? Why didn’t anyone tell us? Her response was, ‘Oh, we don’t do that. Huh? We then asked where we were supposed to go to get on the right plane and they didn’t know. So apparently we were just supposed to guess that the plane changed and which gate it was at.

    We were very close to heading to Kansas City instead of Vegas. Luckily we had enough time to get off the plane, find a Frontier Representative and head to the new gate.

    The return flight home went without a hitch.

    The Rental Car – We always rent a car. Against my better judgment I reserved with Budget again. I remembered how slow their service was from our last trip, so when the shuttle arrived at the rental car building. I told my husband to grab our bags and I would just make a bee-line for the counter. My husband could join me in line once he got the bags off of the shuttle. It was the right thing to do as the line got long very quickly with the service very slow. I had a compact car reserved as in a Chevy Cavalier or HHR type vehicle.

    Of course when we got there all of those vehicles were gone. The only one they had left was a Nissan Versa or Ford Fiesta. What really made me angry was the fact that those vehicles are sub-compact size, not compact size cars. My husband is 6’ 5” and asked to be upgraded to the next size since they did not have the car we reserved. They absolutely refused and told us to either take the Nissan Versa or cancel our reservation. I argued the fact that a Versa and Fiesta are sub-compact and not in the compact class. They again refused my argument and stated that according to their ‘list’ the Versa is in the compact car class.

    If it hadn’t been 10:00 at night and we were starving at this point, I would have looked for a car elsewhere. Luckily my husband was barely able to fit in the car (with legs squished up). We won’t be doing Budget again.

    The Hotel – We like to stay downtown in the Fremont Street area. This time we decided to splurge and stay at The Golden Nugget as I wanted to swim with the sharks. We have a King/Non-smoking room reserved in the Carson Tower. Upon checking in, I mentioned to the young lady at the desk that it is our anniversary and is there anything she can do. She said she would love to upgrade us; however they were sold out from Wednesday on and wouldn’t be able to upgrade us. Instead she did give us a nice room on the 18th floor with at view of the strip. We were fine with it. Very nice room.

    We then attempted to use the safe and apparently it is locked and cannot be opened. We called the front desk and they sent someone right up to open it. (We are really starving at this point and just want to get something to eat). We tried to use the safe and it does not work again. So we decided to go eat and call the front desk again in the morning.

    The next morning, I went to the front desk and ask about getting the safe repaired. They decided to change our room instead. However there is not one ready and come back later. We decided to go get breakfast and check out our surroundings and check back later for the room.

    A couple hours later we headed back to get our new room as one has become available. We now have to go back to our room and pack everything back up again and move to a room on the 16th floor with a nice view of the Greyhound bus station. So much for our nice room with a view! However, the safe did work.

    The Food/Restaurants – Like I said we are basically bargain travelers and will use coupons when we can. We typically ate a large breakfast then ate a large early dinner. No real lunches.

    Late Sunday night when we arrived, we wanted something to eat that was fairly quick. However, since it was after 10:00 most of the buffets and some restaurants were closed. We went to DuPars (Since the Deli at the Golden Gate is now closed :cry: ) for our favorite shrimp cocktail and a sandwich. I ordered a half a corned beef sandwich and salad combo. It had to be the worst sandwich I have ever eaten. I have never had ice cold, rock hard corned beef and bread right out of the refrigerator. They also covered the sandwich in plain yellow mustard. I didn’t ask for mustard and I hate mustard. I never send food back (I’ve seen the movie) so I did eat it since I was so hungry. The shrimp cocktail was great as always.

    Other Restaurants and Buffets that we visited during the week. –

    Breakfasts
    Golden Nugget buy one get one breakfast buffet. I know a lot of people don’t care for it, but we like it. It is basic breakfast food, but it has my favorite Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce. Yum.

    Main Street Station buy one get one breakfast buffet. Another favorite place for breakfast. Always good and always consistent. I did notice that it was quite a bit more crowded and busier for mid week than it had been on prior visits.

    Paradise Buffet at Fremont buy one get one. Nothing over the top, food is good, just your basic breakfast buffet. However, I do recommend their Omelets station and fresh made pancakes.

    Mirage Hotel on the Strip Cravings Buffet buy one get one – This was surprisingly delicious. We really liked the food here. (We had been here on a previous trip for dinner and were not impressed) Since we had a coupon, we thought we would try it for breakfast. It will now be included in the rotation. Very Good.

    Dinners –
    Dupar’s as mentioned above.

    The Palms Casino buy one get one dinner buffet. We thought this buffet was not very good at all. Even using the coupon we would not go back. The food didn’t have much flavor and everything we tried was hard, over cooked and dried out. Skip this one.

    The California Prime Rib Salad Bar special. We used the $2.00 off coupons for the special and The Cal. For $7.99 a person it is a fabulous value and great dinner. The salad bar was well stocked with lots of choices and very fresh. The prime rib was good enough for the price and the cherries jubilee was the perfect finish. Another place that will now be in the regular rotation. (As a side note, we liked this special way better then the Ellis Island steak special).

    Caesar’s Palace – Bacchanal Buffet – WOW! This is a DO NOT MISS experience. Everything we tried here was fabulous. My husband’s favorite was the Lamb Chops as witnessed by the several trips he made to get more. While everything was outstanding, the items I found exceptionally delicious were the Veal Scaloppini, the Watermelon-feta checkerboard salad and the Chocolate Soufflé. I thought this buffet blew the Wynn buffet out of the water. I sure hope the quality stays high and does not deteriorate over time. We will go back for sure. Side Note: We went early on Wednesday (about 3:30) to buy our tickets/admission to come back and eat later. There was no line at all. We went back to eat about 4:30, walked right in and were seated right away. When we left about an hour later, the line was forming. My recommendation is to go early and go midweek if possible.

    The Flame at El Cortez – We used a $30 off coupon here. We were disappointed to see that the absolutely amazing Lamb Chops and Rib Eye steak were no longer on the menu. Our order consisted of the Porterhouse steak for my husband and I ordered the Filet. For our sides, we split the Caesar’s Salad, the very large baked potato and the sautéed mushrooms. My filet was cooked perfectly and was delicious as were all the sides. My husband said his Porterhouse was very good, but not great. However, using the coupon our bill only totaled $40 (without tip) so it was still and excellent value for what we had.

    Side Trips
    Hoover Dam – We decided to do a day trip to Hoover Dam. We had driven over it about 12 years ago, but never stopped to check it out. This time we had planned to do the tour and see the visitor’s center. When we got there we found that parking there would be no tours this particular day. Never did hear why, but I suspect that it had something to do with President Obama being in the area.

    We were guided to the parking garage where there was a $7 charge to park, then went to walk around the area and walk across the dam. It is an amazing feat of Engineering. The view of the Bypass Bridge is spectacular, it is hard to fathom how large it really is until you see it in person. The pictures don’t do it justice. After walking around outside and across the dam we went in to the visitors’ center to see the presentations. The charge was $11 per person.

    After seeing the dam and visitors center, we had planned on visiting the Pat Tillman Bypass Bridge. However, by this time the temperature’s had reached at least 100 degrees. With the only way to walk the bridge was by climbing lots, and lots and lots of stairs we decided to pass on the climb.

    Off Strip Casinos – Another day we decided to try some off strip Casino’s.

    M-Resort – While it was beautiful inside, we just didn’t care for it. It had a rather cold feeling and the place was pretty empty. We did attempt to play a little craps while we were there. ($5 tables). One of the dealers was new and having a hard time keeping track of the players pay outs and chips. The few customers that were playing with us were telling the new girl what to do as well as the pit boss. This made her a bit more flustered. The customer and the Pit Boss began to yell at each other about who the girl should listen too. It was just not a good situation and we felt very uncomfortable there. We won’t be returning here.

    Southpoint – This place is impressive. Very nice casino and huge. There was a completely different vibe here compared to the M Resort. We played a little craps here as well.($3 tables) which we liked. The employees here was so much more friendly and welcoming. The place just had a warmer feel all around. We were going to try our hand at Bingo but we missed the start of the session and didn’t want to wait around for 2 hours for the next session to begin. We would go back here and play for a while and maybe try out Bingo next time.

    East Side Cannery – Another fun place with low limit tables. We enjoyed $3 Blackjack as well as Craps. The dealers were super friendly and provided a great experience. We would go back.

    Sam’s Town – Another decent place, just not really memorable. Would consider going back here again if we were at the Cannery. Probably wouldn’t make a special trip.

    Entertainment
    Carrot Top at the Luxor was the show we chose this trip after reading so much about it on the boards. By booking our tickets 30 days in advance we got front row, center seats, a 20% discount on the tickets and a free DVD (which we haven’t watched yet).
    The show was very funny and we had a great time. There was a young lady who was the warm up act (unfortunately I can’t remember her name) who was excellent as well. We would recommend this show to anyone looking for a fun night of comedy. I would say the show is maybe rated an R+, not quite X rated. Definitely not for kids.

    What was really neat about the show was we were able to meet a few people from the message board. Prior to our trip we found out we would all be at the show on the same night and all in the front row. How cool is that?

    Fremont Bands – we saw some really good bands play on Fremont. If you are down there, be sure to check out ‘Rock of Ages’, ‘The Spazmatics’ and ‘Yellow Brick Road’

    Fremont Street Bars – We’re not big drinkers but will have a few cocktails now and then. We really liked The Griffin as well as The Beauty Bar. The Beauty Bar had some nice drink specials going on. Spiced Rum and Cokes were only $3 and quite tasty.

    We also visited Drink and Drag as I had heard such great things about it on the board. It is a fun place and us old married couples were welcomed. ‘The Girls’ were fun and so nice. Unfortunately, it was dead the night we went but will blame it on being a Monday night. I’m sure it gets much busier on other nights. My only issue with the place was the drink prices. We ordered two rum and cokes and when she brought them she said ‘that will be $18’! Wow, thought that was a bit high even for Vegas standards.


    Gambling – We are very low rollers.
    We mainly spent most of our table game time at the El Cortez mainly because of the $3 craps and blackjack. The tables were always lively and the staff was friendly.

    Most of our slot play was at The D in the upstairs vintage area. We fell in love with the Sigma Derby horse race game as well as all the older type slot games. It was one our favorite places to hang out besides The El Cortez.

    They’ve done a great job remodeling The D, however it was not quite done and wouldn’t be done until the day after we left. Looks like it is going to be a fun place to hang out.

    General Observations
    While The Golden Nugget is a nice hotel with an amazing pool area, I’m not sure I’d spend the extra money to stay here again unless I was able to get it for a great price. We’ve stayed at Main Street Station in the past and found it to be a very nice hotel with a great room for much less money.

    We love staying downtown as it’s just more laid back and has a different vibe. I did notice an increase in pan handlers in the area. However, they don’t really bother anyone. Heck, the Time Share people are way more bothersome.

    It also seemed busier down there as it seemed in the past. Apparently the secret is getting out.

    One small rant – Who the heck thinks it OK to drag infants, toddlers and small children out on a very loud Fremont Street and through the smoky casinos at all hours of the night? Can’t tell you how many little ones that I saw being dragged around well into the night.

    Again, this trip report is based purely on my opinions and observations.

    If you’ve read all this, thanks for following along and hope you were able to glean some useful information.

    If you have any questions. I’ll try to answer them as best I can. Can’t wait to plan our next trip.

    Thanks for reading.
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  2. Aw234

    Aw234 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Thanks for a great report. We also really enjoy downtown with MMS as are favorite.
     
  3. Iceicecool

    Iceicecool Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I've had bad rental car experiences in Vegas as well. I always check out the car rentals.com website on my phone as I'm on the shuttle from the airport. As I get to the rental car area, I book the company that has the smallest line. Last minute car rentals are usually very cheap.

    Very good report but I would have liked to know where you get most of your coupons.
     
  4. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Nice report!

    Just a fyi there is a free parking area on the Nevada side of the Tillman bridge. Park there and you can walk over the bridge and the view is spectacular. This was from 2010, I wonder where the water marks are now.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
    Christmas
  5. veck101

    veck101 Tourist

    Joined:
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    If I were to write a trip report, I would share exactly the same observations on the places you went and restaurants you ate at. Well done. Although I would have returned the sandwich for something else. I also agree with your sentiment, there are some people that have a great writing voice, but that doesn't take away from the great job you did on your TR!
     
  6. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Christmas
  7. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    Great report ValerieJo. It was interesting to hear more good things about Southpoint. We'll be going to a VP seminar there in 2 weeks. As a confirmed downtown gambler, I'm looking forward to seeing it. Lots of nice comments on this board about it.

    Sounds like fun running into other members of VMB. It's always nice to put faces to names.

    On our first trip, we stayed at the Nugget. While it's very nice, the long, long walk to the room just wasn't for us - it cuts into our gambling time. And the staff weren't nearly as friendly as the other casino's downtown. I'd recommend it for first timers, but once you've been downtown and know you like it, MSS or 4 Queens works just as well, if not better.

    Thanks for writing a report up.
     
  8. allustoms

    allustoms Tourist

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    Our trip was almost the same dates as you. We spent one night at the Golden Nugget, got upgraded to the Gold Tower, 15th floor with a view of the backs of a bunch of buildings.

    While I can't complain about anything at the GN, the service was good, the room was clean and comfortable, it wasn't anything spectacular and I doubt we'd stay there again.

    I agree with you about Fremont Street, the crowds and panhandlers and increasing. We called it an early night Friday because it was just too crowded.

    I agree with you, I am amazed at the number of people dragging kids around in the noise and smoke late into the nights. Not just Fremont but the Strip and everywhere. We were in Walmart in Henderson at 11:00 at night on Thursday. Standing in the checkout line I saw at least 20 kids under the age of ten. Even a few being fed at the McDonalds. Baffles me.

    We rented with Alamo, I could have gotten a bit better rate with Budget, but Alamo is always so good to us. I used the Kiosk check in and we were on the road in about 1/2 hour after landing. Scored a Mustang convertible so my husband was thrilled.

    Enjoyed hearing your report.
     
  9. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Hi Iceicecool -

    We used the Fremont Coupons for the following places:
    Main Street Station Buffet
    Paradise Buffet at Fremont
    Shrimp Cocktail at Dupar's
    $2.00 discount for the California Prime Rib special.

    http://www.vegasexperience.com/coupons/
    Use the password - realvegas


    We used coupons from the Las Vegas Advisor book for:
    Golden Nugget Buffet
    The Palms Buffet
    The Mirage Cravings Buffet
    The Flame at El Cortez.

    http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/whyjoin-mrbdetails.cfm

    Our splurge was the Caesar's Palace Buffet. There are no coupons available for that one.

    Hope this helps.
     
    First time at 4 Queens
  10. Candy Apple

    Candy Apple VIP Whale

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    Surprised to hear you didn't like the Palms buffet. It's been getting good reviews lately. We went for lunch and the food was delicious.

    Enjoyed your report!
     
  11. truckdrivinman

    truckdrivinman Tourist

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    Nice Report...Thanks!
     
  12. hammie

    hammie VIP Whale

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    +1,
    I also enjoyed your trip report as well as your writing style, it was to the point.

    I think the Focus can accommodate a tall driver, but the bolsters on the seats can be constricting for anyone with a bit of girth. I didn't care for the Versa, it felt underpowered and cheap wit so-so fuel economy for it's size.
     
  13. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    We have a lot in common. I love my downtown time too!

    Thanks for the report.
     
  14. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    I'm curious... was it really your anniversary or did you just say that hoping for the room upgrade?
     
  15. ValerieJo

    ValerieJo Low-Roller

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    Yes, it really was our anniversary. :peace:
     
    First time at 4 Queens
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