Will post this day-by-day to avoid it being overly long on the first post and to get it out there while I'm still writing it up. During my pre-child rearing years, I used to get to vegas once or twice a year for work and pleasure. For the last few years, I only get in once a year for a big work conference. While it is a lot of fun, it is also a ton of work and I rarely get out of the host venue, which for the whole time I've been going is The Sands Conference center attached to Venetian/Palazzo. Palazzo is my preferred hotel of the two and I stayed there again this year. So here's the play-by-play as best as I can remember over the week I was there. Flight out: Took the afternoon direct flight from Austin to Vegas on Southwest. Due to the duration of the work and the need to take formal work clothes and decent after hours clothes meant I was checking bags. Ended up at the end of the B group, but that was ok since I just had my backpack for the plane. When I check bags, I'm ok to be toward the back of the plane since it means less waiting time for bags to arrive. I got one of the last window seats on the plane, which was a new or freshly updated 737 with the led lighting, more open interior, etc. Uneventful flight and I landed in Vegas at about 5pm on Friday. To the Hotel: Grabbed my bags and walked out to the relatively short taxi line and off to the Palazzo. Driver took the back way instead of the highway saying that the highway cost more -- not sure I fully believed that, but not in a hurry and work was paying for the cab, so ok. Arrived at Palazzo and breaking tradition of carrying my own luggage, gave the doorman my bags. I figured since I had two, it would be easier for them to send them up and I could check in and have my bags in my room already when I got there. Doorman hands me the pink tag to give to the desk clerk. Checked in and did not try the $20 trick. Over the years, I've found I spend very little time in my room during these work conferences, so I usually just take what they give me. Added in the resort fee for $10 a day -- thinking I would use the gym. Other amenities between resort and other offers included: * 8 oz cup of coffee daily from Cafe Presse (basically worthless since coffee provided at all times at the conferece). Also I could have sworn in prior years, it was coffee and a newspaper. In any case just coffee this year * $35 off a 50 min spa treatment at Canyon Ranch. Really wanted to use this but could not find enough open time in my schedule. Pretty disappointed as I could have really used the spa time. Oh well. * 2 for 1 drinks for the whole stay at any casino bar. Downside was this was only good for domestic beers, house wine, and house well drinks. Soo . . . pretty much worthless because I'm not a heavy drinker and either drink while gambling with premium liquor and beer or I order nicer cocktails at the bar. * Daily Gym usage. Never made it to the gym. Really thought I would this time and the main reason I added on the resort fee. * Free wifi. THIS I used heavily for work and HBO Go on my iPad. Desk clerk informs me that they are backed up at the door and that it could take 30 min for my luggage to arrive at my room and also that I have to be in my room for them to drop off my luggage. So much for the plan to drop my stuff and head out. Head up to the room and about 15 min later get a call saying the bell man will be up in about 20 min and apologizing for the delay. Finally get my luggage and an offer from the bell man to orient me on the room asking if I've stayed there before. Yep, plenty so I'm good. Thanks. Friday: This was the only day I had no work responsibilities, but things kicked off at 8 am Saturday, so couldn't stay out too late factoring in the jet lag too. Headed to Grimaldi's for dinner. Grimaldi's: As per usual, the place is pretty empty. I think they are in a bad location. The food is pretty good for a pizza joint and I like the idea of coal fired ny pizza. Sit at the bar and have a Firestone Union Jack, Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza, and a Salad. All good and the staff is pretty friendly. I wouldn't say the pizza blew me away like it did last year, but it was definitely above average. Salad was about 2x the size I expected for a house side salad, so good value there. The Strip: Decided to go out on the strip a bit, particularly to check out what had gone in at The Quad over the last year. Made my way down there, checked out O'Shea's looking for $5 craps and made my way out to the pedestrian mall that leads to the High Roller. Really like what they did there. Decent selection of shops/bars/restaurants and a definite upgrade to what used to surround Carnival Court. O'Sheas is nice, if small. Definitely nicer than what it was, and trying to keep the same vibe. I think they succeeded. Sprinkles Cupcakes: Had heard a lot of good talk about Sprinkles and the cupcake fad is in high gear, so checked that out. Got a S'Mores Cupcake that had a toasted marshmallow top. Looked great. Tasted pretty good but a little small and dry for $3.75. I would check them out again with maybe a different flavor. Not the best cupcake I've ever had. Headed back toward the hotel. Gambling: Played Craps at Flamingo (lost) and Harrah's (lost). Found $5 tables on Friday night at Harrah's, so I thought that was a win. Gambled for maybe 60-90 minutes overall and walked away down about $150. Could not find the $5 craps table at Margaritaville. Finished the night as I usually do putting $20 into a slot at Palazzo, cashed out about 20 min later at about $22. Hey, up is up. Walk away with a win. Back at the room and in bed by 10pm -- had to push through jet lag a bit to make it that far. Overall happy with the day and what I wanted to achieve.