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Weekend Getaway

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DBear, Nov 27, 2007.

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  1. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Dates: Thursday November 22 to Sunday November 25
    Hotels: Caesars Palace & MGM Grand
    Buffets: Spice Market Buffet
    Restaurants: Burger Bar, Golden Gate Bayside Cafe, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Stage Deli, In & Out Burger
    Shows: Carrot Top

    Day 1: Thursday November 22 - Arrived at Caesars Palace at 5pm. Short check-in line, maybe 2 or 3 ahead of me. Eyeing up the clerks to see if I thought any of them would accept my $20 upgrade certificate. The one I definitely did not want was the last clerk at the end. Looks like she was new to the job and she had a supervisor standing right over helping her out and just keeping an eye on her. I got the clerk right next to her. How am I going to slide it over without the supervisor seeing it. Sandwiched it between the driver's license and credit card. Clerk took it the sandwich, saw the $20 and asked very loudly, what is this for. I said I'm just looking for a nice room. He said, 'no sir, that's not necessary (again very loudly). I'll find you a nice room' and he handed back the $20. He goes to work typing very fast and I don't know what to expect at this point. Was the supervisor too close? Would this work? I just shut up and let him do his thing. After a lot of typing, the printer started printing paper and he got the room keys set up. Still don't know what to expect. He said, here are your room keys, room 29XX in the Augustus tower. Augustus Tower! Knew I scored as soon as I heard that. I had originally booked a Classic room. Took the keys and ran. I would have liked to have tipped him though.

    Room was fabulous. Website says its about 650 sq ft. Bathroom had a jacuzzi tub, 2 sinks, 20 inch LCD TV, shower and the toilet was separated by another door. Does anyone know how to work that jacuzzi tub? I looked everywhere trying to find a set of controls but to no avail. Room had a 32-37 inch LCD TV, couch, small writing desk and another small desk with a couple of chairs. Lots of room to walk around. I just love those vents on the windows! View was of the Bellagio fountains. Walked around Bellagio, Planet Hollywood and Paris before getting some $1 margaritas at Casino Royale...good to be back!

    Went downtown for some cheap eats. Got the $6.95 prime rib dinner at the Bayside Cafe at the Golden Gate. Cut of meat was fatty but still delicious. Can't complain for the price...meat was very tasty but the veggies/potato/gravy were only edible. Walked for a few minutes downtown. Not busy at all. Off to the Premium Factory outlets for some midnight madness shopping (12am after Thanksgiving). Got a lot of clothes and stuff. Can't believe the lineup outside of Coach. They were still lining up after I had left at 1:30am. Went back to the hotel room and crashed.

    Day 2, Friday November 23: Woke up about 10am. Took my time getting ready in that huge Augustus tower bathroom. Walked over to Planet Hollywood to sign up for their 2pm poker tourney. Paid my $60 and then went to eat at the Spice Market buffet around the corner from the poker room. I'm a big buffet fan but I wasn't overly impressed at this spread. It looked big and everything was adequate but the quality was not up to par with the buffets at Bellagio and Wynn. With all the rave reviews, I was disappointed. I would easily rank Mirage and TI's buffets ahead of this one. They had their holiday special pricing on. $26.95 plus $3 more for the unlimited champagne. Took in 5 glasses during my time. The only 2 items that stood out from that buffet was the prime rib which was soooo tender and the pecan pie from the dessert section. I was so tempted to get another slice.

    Walked around PH for a bit before the poker tourney started. Did some people watching outside the elevated section of the sidewalk by Trader Vic's and then went inside to begin play. This was my first live poker game at a casino. Cool to see how everything is done at a live game, from how seats are assigned, to how the dealers shuffle, to how raises/calls are made. Was dealt pocket rockets my third hand and had to bite my tongue to keep from smiling. A third ace came on the flop and knew I had it at that point. Took in a nice pot and played tight for the next hour or so. Surprised to see how tight everyone played. It ain't like my home game! I played 2-3 hands at most per circuit. I won a few small pots but lost a lot on a straight that lost to a flush made on the river. I doubled the other guy up on that one. I lost another good portion when I had top pair but got outkickered (Q vs my 10 kicker). I was now really short stacked and began going all in. Worked twice - picked up the blinds on one and then chopped the second one with our high card aces. I eventually went all-in with A Q suited. Got called by the big blind where he only had to double his blind to call. His pair of 3's stood up and I was out around 60th out of 90 entrants. Fun to play, lasted almost 2 hours. Want to learn more about cash games where the blinds don't increase.

    Went back to the hotel room and relaxed for a bit. Had dinner at In & Out for the first time. Was really looking forward to this for a long time. Tried Fatburger on my last trip and wasn't too impressed. At In & Out, I had a double double burger with animal style fries and a chocolate shake. About $8.75 in all. Disappointed with the meal. It didn't live up to its hype. The animal sauce was probably the best thing about it all and it's almost like a Big Mac's sauce. We don't have all these fast food chains where I live and I thought the Jack in the Box sirloin burger with swiss cheese and grilled onions I had the day before was 10 times the burger at In & Out. If I'm in the States again and looking for fast food, I'd pick In & Out over McD's if they're side by side but that's only because McD's is my neighbourhood at home.

    Drove up to Wynn using Koval to avoid the Saturday night strip traffic. Worked like a charm. Tried to self-park. The electronic signs said parking was available on all levels...BS. Tried for about 20 minutes to get a space but everything was full. Made our way to Venetian's self park garage. Why do they have security to stop all the cars going in? We didn't stop and they looked mad. Toured Venetian and Wynn. Nothing new for me to see but was with a first timer who had to see it all. I will say the girls that walk around Wynn look a bit finer than anywhere else and everyone looks a bit more dressier in there as well. Drove back to the hotel and crashed.

    Day 3, Saturday November 24: Woke up about 9:30am and faced the reality of checking out of this great Augustus tower room. Got out of the hotel by about 11:30am and made our way down to MGM Grand where we would stay for the last night. Parked the car in the garage but didn't check in just yet. Passed by Fat Tuesdays in the Studio Walk. I've never had one of those big margaritas before so we took a look. Got the 2nd biggest one ($10.50 plus $1 for an extra shot). Can't remember the flavours but it was a mix of 2. Clerk said it was their most popular. It took awhile to drink it all but it definitely gives you a nice midday boost. Walked to Tropicana and then took the tram to Mandalay Bay. We thought about going to Diablos for lunch but decided to go to Burger Bar.

    Burger Bar's meal did not disappoint (actually only slightly). Didn't even need to see the menu although I still looked at it. I ordered the American Kobe beef burger ($16 plus $1 for carmelized onions) with a side of sweet potato fries ($2.50). Had the Burger Beer beer as well. Beer was fine but nothing extraordinary. I was looking forward to the sweet potato fries just as much as the burger but the fries weren't that tasty at all. The local pub chain at home has better sweet potato fries than these ones. But the American Kobe beef burger was excellent! No grease in it. It just melted in your mouth. You could definitely taste the quality in this burger. I'd order this again for sure but probably with onion rings. Those rings sure looked good at other tables.

    Walked through Luxor to pick up our Carrot Top tickets for that evening. Got a coupon to get a free Carrot Top DVD if I ordered online. Got the DVD which I'll watch after I type this trip report. From the looks of it, it's at least a 5 year old DVD. Got some jello shooters from the Fat Tuesdays in the Mandalay Bay shops area and went to Excalibur with the intentions of playing some poker. Watched the poker games for a bit from the rails, in particular the $2/$4 games as that's the lowest game they had going on. Thought about bringing $50-100 into the game but saw how the betting action was going. Needed about $20-30 to see your way to the river. Didn't think my $50 would last so kept walking back to MGM.

    Checked in at MGM at about 3pm. Tried to size up the clerks to see which ones would take my $20 upgrade coupon. They don't have a roped line to line up in so you can stand in front of anyone you want, but they do have someone directing traffic so when one clerk opens up, they move you along to that perosn. Didn't like the vibe right from the get go. Clerk was middle aged. Handed her the sandwich and she tried to refuse. I insisted and she kept it. She then asked if I was interested in an upgraded suite for only $50 a night. I said no I wasn't interested and asked again if she could find me any good complimentary upgrades. She suggested another suite again for only $50. I said I'll take the standard room. She said ok but she'll make sure I'm up on a high floor with a view of the strip. So, the $20 tip didn't work for an upgraded suite but it did guarantee a high floor with a view (both of which I like). I see it as it could have been worse and I could be on the 3rd floor looking out at Hooters and the airport. Made these MGM reservations from the Hotel Deals section on this board. $79 for a Saturday night plus a $25 dinner coupon plus 2 free drinks at the West Wing bar. Considering the West Wing drinks were $12 each, this deal had $49 in usable coupons making it a $30 ($56.11 if you include the $20 tip and taxes) room. Definitely a good deal. Thanks Scott for the postings! I had almost booked Imperial Palace's motel room for $69 a week earlier.

    Relaxed in the room for about 2 hours. Made dinner reservations for Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill as that was one of the restaurants where I could use the $25. Went to dinner at 6pm. Pretty much a full house inside the restaurant. Got a table right by the casino floor which I thought was cool. Ordered a pomengranate mojito ($11). Absolutely delicious. Not the drink you can get drunk on but it's a nice sipping drink. I don't even like regular mojitos but got this from a review on this board. Definitely worth it. Ordered the truffled potato chips with blue cheese as an appy. I don't even like blue cheese but ordered this again on another rave review. Absolutely delicious. Very, very good. For an entree, I ate the butternut squash ravioli with roasted duck. I contemplated ordering a pizza as that's what Wolfgang is known for but as soon as I saw the roasted duck (duck being my absolute favourite), I knew I had to order this one. Portion size wasn't too big. Friend had the calzone and that thing was a monster compared to my plate, but it was superbly done. Well worth the price of $24. I had a few bites of the calzone and that was tasty as well. I remember the taste of the pepperoni inside of it and it had really nice strong flavours to it. Meal was a total of $82 before the $25 off coupon. We charged it to the room and the meal was now $57. Definitely a good meal.

    Off to the West Wing Bar for our 2 free drinks. Wonder how many people in this room/lounge are actually buying drinks or are just there to get free drinks. Ordered 2 My Thais. Very nice drinks but beginning to feel stuffed now after dinner and these drinks. Had both drinks as friend didn't want them. Now off to see Carrot Top at the Luxor. Had seats in the 2nd row. Those fruity drinks started to give me a headache but I tried to wash it down with a beer and some water. Opening comedy act was forgetable. Just remember that he walks with a cane because he was in a car accident. Carrot Top soon came on. I've seen him twice before and loved it but this one ranks at the bottom. He just didn't seem on top of his game. The crowd felt it and was noticeably quieter than normal. Carrot Top felt this and you could sense it affected his performance. What came first, the chicken or the egg. Don't know if it was the crowd that got to Carrot Top or if the crowd didn't get into it but it could have been better. He didn't do his encore rock performance which he has said he only does when he feels he had a good show. By this time my head was pounding and I had to get back to the room. Friend stayed at NYNY to do some gambling while I lied down for half an hour. Got back up and made my way over to NYNY. Had a slice of pizza at the food court ($3.50). Very greasy pizza but it sure hit the spot for me. It actually made me hungrier now. I thought about getting a second slice but decided to go back to MGM. I walked past the race and sports book and saw a bunch of people eating at Stage Deli. Those sandwiches looked good so I got a hot beef brisket sandwich ($7.95) with matzo ball soup ($3.50). The soup was incredible. Full marks there but the sandwich was actually hard to eat. I had to put a ton of mayo on it because it was so dry. Walked around the casino a bit and found my way back into the room to crash.

    Day 4, Sunday November 25: Last day, got up about 8am. Stayed in bed for a few minutes and just looked outside the window at all the nice hotels and casinos. What a lovely place. Shame to leave when there's so much more to do. Packed up and checked out. Went downtown for breakfast. Chose the Golden Gate's Bayside diner again and ordered an Italian beef omelette with rye toast ($7.95). It was a big omelette stuffed with whipped cream and shredded beef topped with cheese. Different but edible for the price. Tried to get some deep fried oreos at Mermaids but it didn't open til 11am. Oh well. Don't think I needed that anyways. That was it...after that, it's off to work back home.

    What I have to do during my next trip(s): eat at more signature restaurants, see O or Jersey Boys if they're playing, probably will see Anthony Cools as that's been on my list forever, eat at either Wynn or Bellagio's buffet and maybe play some more poker.
     
  2. VPmiracle

    VPmiracle Tourist

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    I enjoyed your Trip Report, made me hungry. I love IN and Out but it sure does get crowded.
    Nice score on Augustus. I've found that asking nicely gets me good rooms without tipping but
    I certainly don't blame people for doing the $20 tip if they feel like it. Sometimes it seems to get
    great results with suites and so on.
     
  3. Reston

    Reston VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a great trip, DBear, and nicely done on the Caesar's upgrade. That's a good score in my book; guess it pays to check-in on Thanksgiving Day!

    Thanks for the intel on the MGM promotion. I'll be staying there next week for a night on the same deal you had -- haven't actually stayed there in ages and a friend wanted to try it, so for the price ($69 not including the bennies) figured it was worth it.
     
  4. angel81chick

    angel81chick Abuelita

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    DBear...great job.

    Glad you got to stay in the Augustus Tower...can't imagine how you would have handled a Classic Room :evillaugh!
     
  5. sporty8705

    sporty8705 VIP Whale

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    i hate blue cheese but the chips and the blue cheese for the appy is to die for. and where is mermaids...
     
  6. Jacko

    Jacko Tourist

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    Great Trip report.

    In defense of In-N-Out...I don't know how one can compare fresh meat and fresh fries to frozen.

    Great score on the augustus room!
     
  7. DESooner1

    DESooner1 Tourist

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    mayo on brisket?

    Mermaids is on Fremont, between Club and Binion's, across from La Bayou and Golden Gate.
     
  8. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Great Tr. Do you know if the $25 coupon was good at Emerils?
     
    Back where we belong
  9. DBear

    DBear VIP Whale

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    Yeah, that was the only way I could get it down...it was soooo dry, like eating cardboard.

    Emerils was not mentioned by the concierge desk when I called them to ask which restaurants I could use it at but I wouldn't go by their info alone. They listed Studio Cafe, Grand Wok, the Buffet, and Wolfgangs. I would think more would qualify. Front desk said it can only be used at a MGM owned restaurant but they couldn't say which ones those were. Only said Joel Robuchon and L'Atelier was not included. I read in a previous trip report that someone else used the coupon at Emerils with no problems. Wolfgangs is where I used it. Suggest asking the hostess of the particular restaurant if it can be used there before you actually go in to eat. By the way the Wolfgang's hostess answered, it seems to be a common question they get asked.
     
  10. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Nice report. Re: the security check at Venetian self-park, not sure why they do it either when their neighbor doesn't. Same with Bellagio. I don't think I'd just drive by tho.
     
  11. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    The $25 coupon has worked at Emeril's Fish House.
     
  12. Reston

    Reston VIP Whale

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    Kikky, what mid-priced eateries would you recommend at MGM? (In between the French foo-foo stuff and the buffet/deli/coffee shop stuff.)
     
  13. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Mid-price is something they have a hard time with at MGM Grand. I don't really consider Wolfgang Puck's American Bar & Grill (in the middle of the casino) to be mid-price in my standards, but it's about all that's available between the food court/buffet/coffeeshop (which is crazy expensive) and the multitude of terribly expensive places there (Joel Robuchon, Nob Hill, Craftsteak, etc). I haven't tried it yet, but I'd probably trust the food at 'wichcraft, which is a sandwich place done by Tom Colicchio - the same guy who is responsible for Craftsteak (and on Top Chef on tv too).
     
  14. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Nice write up Bear! Glad you were able to enjoy that MGM offer :thumbsup:
     
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