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2/17-2/23 really long report with pictures

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by LindainWI, Mar 1, 2008.

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  1. LindainWI

    LindainWI Low-Roller

    Jan 27, 2008
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Our trip began two days earlier than originally planned. Our plan was to fly out on Tuesday, 2/19. When we realized that I had Monday 2/18 off for president’s day, we upped our departure date. Then, as getting laundry and other chores done on Sunday, 2/17, Deb said, “I wish we were going today.†So I went online and changed our flight to fly out at 7:15pm that night. We rushed around to finish getting ready, threw the dog in the truck and headed off to doggy camp. Vegas, our 11 month old lab/husky mix, loves going to camp. We dropped her off and had just enough time to get to the airport. We weren’t too worried about time because we splurged and booked first class. We upgraded on our last trip and got spoiled. It is just so much more comfortable. We got through security in no time, walked out to the gate and sat for about 5 minutes before they started boarding. The flight was uneventful. We enjoyed our traditional viewing of Vegas Vacation on the flight. Anticipating the usual long wait at baggage claim, we didn’t bother to hurry. I truly believe that there is no slower baggage claim on earth than McCarran International.

    As the orange light flashed and the warning buzzer sounded, the growing crowd pushed closer to the silver merry-go-round. The squeaky carousel slowly starts its endless journey around and around bringing a smile to each face as they recognize their bag. Anxious travelers push and shove their way to the front, grabbing their “prize†and banging the knees of those too close to get out of the way.

    Grabbing our bags, we headed to door 9 and the car rental facility shuttle. We had prepaid our Sebring convertible so we just went straight to the car and drove to the exit. The rental center and all the options offered make picking up and returning your car much easier IMHO.

    We left the center and headed to the strip. Even though we were booked at Red Rock, we always start our trip with a drive up the strip. We were hoping to be able to have the top down… didn’t work out that night. We were surprised by the changes along the strip since last April. City Center is coming along. Planet Hollywood and the Mag. Mile Shops were nothing like they are now. The Frontier was open, the Stardust had just been imploded and they were just putting the exterior panels on the Palazzo. How do they do it all so quickly. Even the burn marks were gone from the Monte Carlo. As always, the strip was beautiful. There is such a feeling that comes over me every time I see those lights… it is truly like nothing else.

    We took a left on Sahara and started the westward journey to Red Rock. I hadn’t eaten the nasty chicken quesadilla on the plane, so I was getting pretty hungry. I was very pleased to see an In and Out Burger. I pulled in and pulled into the longest drive thru line I have ever experienced. More than 45 minutes later, they handed me my double double meal. If I could have gotten out of line I would have but it was a single lane that you couldn’t get out of. The food was great, but not worth the wait. A few miles and minutes later, we arrived at Red Rock Resort. I had forgotten about the red doors… they really are striking.

    Everything about Red Rock is striking. The crystals behind the hotel desk, the crystal chandeliers in the lobby bar, the dark wood, the earth tones… striking. One of the things I love about RR is that you don’t have to trek through the casino to get to the hotel. At the same time, the hotel is not miles away from the casino. It is really a great layout. We got to our room, a standard king, took some pictures before we messed it up and sat down to relax a bit. (Red Rock pictures: http://s250.photobucket.com/albums/gg276/lindainwi/vegas%2008/red%20rock%2008/ )
    A short while later we hit the casino. The colors of the casino are warm and rich. The casino is centered around the Lucky Bar. The various areas of the casino “spoke out†from this centerpiece. The restaurants and food court are at the ends of the “spokes.â€

    We found a $5 blackjack table, however, it was full. One seat opened fairly quickly and I took it. Within a couple of minutes another seat opened and Deb joined the table. The players and dealer were friendly and the cocktail server was very attentive. What more could you ask for?!? And then Betty joined the table. Betty sat down, started talking and didn’t stop. She ordered a Patron and started to talk a little more. She kept talking about “having a feeling†that she should hit or stand. She would say, “I know that I should… but I have a feeling.†Needless to say, her feelings were not often right, but she was winning enough to stay. As I said, the cocktail server was very attentive… so Betty was drinking shots of Patron like water. She was getting louder and raunchier. She started telling the table about the time she and her husband were in New Orleans and they went to a strip club. The more Patron Betty drank the more she added to the story. She was so funny and outrageous that the cocktail server started coming around even more… which meant more Patron… more Patron meant more graphic details. Betty kept pouring the new drink into the old glass. At one point the dealer commented on the “buffet†she had in front of her referring to the 6 lime wedges lined up next to her glass. Soon we started hearing about her affinity for pornography… particularly that with girl on girl scenes. She was just hilarious. When another seat opened up, Mike joined the table. Mike was surrounded by a group of friends that were helping him celebrate his 21st birthday. He told the dealer he hadn’t played blackjack before. Betty offered to help. She was all over him. He looked like a scared little puppy. Betty decided to retell the story about the strip club. The first time she told the story they spent $1000 in the VIP room. The second time it was $4000 and she was actively involved in the whole “party.†Betty was definitely keeping the table laughing. She told all of Mike’s friends that they should take Mike to a strip club. She mentioned some expensive place that her son goes to where the lap dances are spendy. Another player at the table said that on his 21st birthday they should take Mike to Glitter Gulch where he could get a lap dance for $1. As Mike and friends left, Betty gave him a $5 chip so he could get 5 lap dances. All of a sudden Betty hit a wall. Her friend showed up and Betty realized she had enjoyed a few too many Patrons. Once Betty left things calmed down a bit. We played until about 2am and headed off to bed. It was 4 am by our bodies and we were tired. Deb hadn’t eaten since the nasty plane food, so she ordered up a yummy chicken sandwich from room service.

    We slept fast and got up and out. I dragged Deb to the buffet for breakfast. I figured it would be quick and that it is kind of a Vegas must to hit at least one buffet. It was basically all breakfast foods. Everything was good, but nothing outstanding. I did like that they had eggs benedict with the hollandaise served on the side so you could add as little (or as much) as you like. After that we headed to Caesar’s Palace to attempt to pick up our tickets for Bette Midler opening night. We somehow lost the original tickets and were kinda worried about getting our hands on the replacements. We were told they wouldn’t be released until the day of the show. While we were there, we checked out the new “Bette†store. It was filled with t-shirts, CDs, pens, mugs and the usual stuff and then there were the high end items. These included Baccarat crystal items, Swarovski crystal items including crystal encrusted ukulele without a pricetag… you know the line… if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. We bought some Bette playing cards and a magnet. On our next visit, we purchased a limited edition, signed glicee lithograph… it’s awesome. (Caesars pictures: http://s250.photobucket.com/albums/gg276/lindainwi/vegas%2008/misc/ )

    After Caesars we headed to Silverton. We wanted to see the mermaid bar. I thought that there were mermaids in a tank behind the bar. I must have been dreaming. The only thing in the tank behind the bar was jellyfish. I know I saw a picture somewhere with mermaids swimming in a huge tank behind a bar. Oh well. We played some blackjack, wandered around and headed back out to Red Rock. We cleaned up and had dinner at Salt Lick BBQ. It wasn’t as good as I remembered. My brisket was ok but the spare ribs were tough. Deb’s back ribs were pretty good. More gambling then off to bed. As we headed back to the room, Deb noted that her throat was a little sore.

    Tuesday morning we slept in a bit and then packed up. We were moving to Green Valley Ranch for the next 3 nights. We took Charleston all the way in to the strip. It wasn’t too bad at that time of day. We were hungry so we headed to Hard Rock and Pink Taco. I have a silly little kid grin on my face every time I think about the name. Our waiter was so knowledgeable about tequila. He gave us an extensive explanation about the Tezon (sp?) that was his favorite for a margarita. He was right, it was smooth and somewhat citrusy. The fresh, warm, homemade chips and 3 salsas were perfect with the margarita. Deb and I both order the Pink Tacos, aka panuchos. They are made with a stuffed tortilla, stuffed with beans and filled with scrumptious marinated grilled chicken and topped with pickled onions. I can’t even describe how wonderful the combination of flavors was… it just worked. When they bring you the bill, they bring you each a “lucky pink taco (giggle, giggle). They look like a flat, pink fortune cookie. If yours is lucky, you will win a free margarita. Mine said, “Life is good inside the pink taco.†(more giggles) Deb’s said, “Nothing tastes better than a pink taco.†(still more giggles and nods)

    After lunch, we drove south to Henderson and Green Valley Ranch. (Green Valley room pictures: http://s250.photobucket.com/albums/gg276/lindainwi/vegas%2008/Green%20Valley%20Ranch%2008/ ) I found it kind of confusing trying to the find the hotel check-in and valet. It is all the way around on the back side of where you come in off 215. We both “oohed†at the beauty of the drive up to the lobby entrance. It all looked like an Italian villa. Two handsome, suited doormen opened the double doors with a flourish welcoming us to Green Valley Ranch. Once inside, the villa theme continued. The lobby boasts lots of heavy, dark wood furniture, tapestry upholstered chairs and sofas and a beautiful view through to the pool. We were greeted at the desk and immediately offered a bottle of cold water… a nice touch. On the way to GVR, we discussed trying the $20 trick. I was a little embarrassed to try to get an upgrade on an already comped room, so we decided to just ask what upgrades they had available. The executive room would give us approximately 300 sq feet more with a nice sitting area for $75/night. There was also an executive room with a balcony, we decided it was too cold to enjoy a balcony so we passed on that one. The one bedroom suite was nice, but was $200/night. We opted for the executive room and were given the keys to west tower room 3039. It was a very short walk to the elevator and up to the 3rd floor. Our room was about ½ way down the length of the hall. We were very pleased with the room. It was decorated in the same Italian villa décor. The view was of the pool, vineyard and mountains in the distance. We quickly took pictures before we messed up the room. After settling in for awhile, we headed off to check out the casino. As was the case with Red Rock, you don’t have to walk through the casino to get to the hotel. However, the walk to the casino is a little bit farther than at Red Rock, but still not bad at all.

    This casino in anchored by the Drop Bar. The table games surround the bar with slots off the center in various directions. The casino seems to be larger than Red Rock, but that is only my perception, I don’t know if it is actually true or not. We wandered around checking out the layout, etc. There was no space at the one $5 bj table and the craps minimum was $10. I noticed an empty $10 mini-baccarat table and mentioned to Deb that I had always wanted to play. We sat down and asked the dealer if he would help us learn to play. Deb just watched for a bit… I jumped right in remembering that somewhere I heard that there was a slight advantage to betting on the banker to win. The game is very easy… just put your money on the spot and wait to get paid… lol. The only catch is when you bet on the banker and win, you have to pay a 5% commission. After I won a few hands, Deb joined in. We played for about 20 minutes. I ended up about even and Deb was down a bit. Not bad for learning a new game. We played a little blackjack and went back to the room to rest for a bit. Deb was really starting to not feel very good. Her sore throat was rapidly developing into a cold.

    That night we had reservations for Carnevino. We drove to Palazzo and valet parked the car. We still hadn’t been able to put the top down on the convertible. We were very surprised at the entrance. We are wondering if the valet entrance is temporary. We expected a grand entrance. Instead you walk in to nothing but escalators. Once upstairs the entry is still a bit plain. A large statue greets you, but that was about it. Once inside the casino, we were surprised again by the lack of “wow†factor. It seemed like just a big room with everything very spread out. It was not at all crowded. We found the restaurant and were seated immediately.

    The main room is small, but not crowded. A huge statue of a bull reminds you of why you came... the beef. We started with blood orange cosmos. Yummy! The meal began with the chef's muse.. 2 cheese puffs. They melted in your mouth. The bread was wonderful and served with butter and rosemary flavored lardo. We started with the carpaccio. It was flavorful and tender. Next we split the orchiette (sp?) with sweet sausage and broccoli rabe.... delicious. We ordered a bottle of red wine from the vineyard of Batali's partner. The wine list is a little overwhelming with only a few under $100. Fortunately all the wine available by the glass was also available by the bottle.. ours was $40... not bad and really tasty. Deb ordered the filet with the gorgonzola mascarpone sauce. The perfect char complimented by the sauce made it wonderful. I had the strip steak with the Barolo sauce. As I said earlier, it was the best steak I have ever eaten. Our sides were fennel and anchovies with sambuca... delicious and potato and parmigiano zeppole... also wonderful. We split a caramel and chocolate panna cotta that was so rich but still not too heavy after the feast we just enjoyed. The wait staff were very attentive and knowledgeable. The dinner was not cheap... $350 with tax & tip... worth every penny. By the end of dinner, Deb was really not feeling well. I was beginning to worry about whether she would be up to Bette’s opening Wednesday night. We drove back to GVR and made it an early night.

    Wednesday morning we woke up and Deb literally felt like hell. I quickly got dressed and headed out to the drugstore get her some medicine. I went to Smith’s and bought everything I found that I thought might help her feel better. I also picked up some breakfast at Brooklyn Bagels. I went back to the hotel and doctored up Deb as best as I could. Then I headed to Caesars to pick up our tickets for that night. I parked in the coliseum valet and asked the guy if he could leave the car up close because I was only there to pick up tickets. I was surprised when I came back and the car was just where I left it. He got a nice tip!

    Once back to GVR, I made Deb take more and I headed to the casino to give her time to sleep. I quickly dropped a bunch at the craps table so I switched to bj. About 4pm I went back to the room to wake Deb and see if she was up going to the concert. Silly me thinking that she wouldn’t want to go. I’m certain that the only way she wouldn’t have gone was if she was dead. Truthfully, she wasn’t far from it.

    What an amazing show. Bette lived up to her reputation as the Devine Ms. M. The show was non-stop Bette at her best. She opened with a new song written for the show... The Showgirl Must Go On. She included many of her best known songs and bits. Delores Delago rolled out to My Kind of Town, Vegas is... Soph made her appearance to one of my favorites, Pretty Legs, Great Big Knockers. The show was great from start to finish.

    Again I was amazed that my request to the valet (along with $10) to keep the car up close actually worked. The car was right up front and we were on our way back to GVR within 10 minutes. We grabbed a bite on the way.

    Thursday morning Deb slept in and I got up and had breakfast at Original Pancake House. They have the best omelets. They’re huge. I ate about ½ and took the rest back to Deb. She was still feeling pretty crappy. We relaxed for quite a while then decided to go for a ride. We had been meaning to go to the Gambler’s General Store on our last couple of visits and just hadn’t made it. So, we went this time. What a place. I’ve never seen so many decks of cards, dice, chips etc. in my life. I just had to buy the business card dealer’s shoe. It’s so cute. We rode around a little more then headed back to GVR.

    Dinner that night was at Lucille’s Smokehouse BBQ. We had the Lucille's BBQ combo (Your choice of any two meats: BBQ tri tip, BBQ half chicken, baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, beef ribs, smoked ham, spicy hot link, pulled pork, rib tips or beef brisket) with the tri tip and baby backs. It was served with homemade biscuits and your choice of 2 sides (Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Shoestring Fries, Baked Potato, Southern Sweet Potatoes, Macaroni & Cheese, Creamy Cheese Grits, BBQ Baked Beans, Southern Braised Greens, Honey Roasted Peanut Slaw, Fresh Vegetable Medley, Flame Roasted Sweet Corn or Potato Salad) We chose greens and cheese grits. Both were awesome. The tri tip, which I had never had before, was tender, smoky, moist and very flavorful. The baby backs had just the right amount of resistance... you had to bite the meat off the bones, but it didn't take too much effort. To me there is nothing worse than ribs where the meat just falls off the bone. You should have to work a little to get the reward. The smoke penetration was deep without drying out the meat. There was a hint of a rub and just the right amount of sauce. After all that food we just hung out and watched TV. Deb was better, but still really sick.

    Friday morning we both had breakfast at Original Pancake House. Afterwards we packed up and headed to our final home for the trip, New York New York. We were really excited because we had booked a penthouse suite. We got the keys and headed up with excitement to our room. I opened the door slowly allowing the anticipation to build. When we walked in, neither one of us said a word. We looked around the “living room.†Next we walked into the bedroom. Finally we walked into the bathroom. The bathroom was the biggest room of the 3. There was a huge whirlpool tub. I commented on the tub and Deb just said, “uh huh.†I then said, “this sure isn’t anything like the picture online. It’s tiny. It’s not worth the money.†Deb agreed. I told her we’re going right back down to the front desk. We told the clerk that we were not satisfied at all. She found us another penthouse, so we headed back up. This time when we walked in we were much happier. It still didn’t look exactly like the picture, but it was really nice and we were happy! Once again we took pictures quickly before we started messing the place up. (NYNY Penthouse suite pictures: http://s250.photobucket.com/albums/gg276/lindainwi/vegas%2008/nyny%2008/ )

    After taking a bunch of pictures, we started talking about going to Bette Midler again that night. We had tickets for the show and were kind of thinking that maybe we would rather spend our last night in the casino and enjoying our penthouse. I suggested we go to Caesars to see if they might buy them back. I know that usually they don’t do this, but that with the show sold out and it being only the 2nd show, they might. As we were waiting in line to find out, a nice little lady with a heavy southern accent said something about trying to buy tickets. We thought… why not sell them to her, so we did. She was so happy. She had been trying to get tickets with no luck. She gave us the money, we gave her the tickets and she gave us both a great big hug.

    I suggested that we go to Bellagio to check out the conservatory. Since this was not planned, we didn’t have the camera. The display was really great. It was decorated for Chinese New Year. The interesting part was all the descriptions of the plants, etc. and their relevance to Chinese New Year. It wasn’t as amazing as the Christmas shows we’ve seen in the past, but it was nice. We decided to stop and have a drink at the Petrossian Bar. It is a great people watching spot. I ordered a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Rose champagne to celebrate our last night. For a little snack, we ordered the duo of Kobe beef carpacio and tartare. Raw beef never tasted so good. We enjoyed the champagne and the people watching.
    Back to NYNY and our great room. We did have some trouble with our keys, but the $80 they took off the bill helped. We had an “ok†dinner at Chin Chin. Deb went upstairs and I decided to hit the craps table once more. This was the only time I actually did well in a casino. We enjoyed the rest of the evening in our suite. Saturday morning I grabbed us our favorite Vegas breakfast from Il Fornio bakery… ham and cheese croissants and coffee. Mmm! After that, we packed up and headed to the airport. Once on the plane turned to Deb and said, “you know my throat is starting to hurt.†By the time we got home, I was well on my way to the same nasty cold Deb had.

    It was a very relaxing trip. Highlights were Bette Midler opening night, dinner at Carnevino and champagne @ Bellagio. All 3 rooms were great, particularly the penthouse at NYNY. We already are talking about “next time.â€
  2. Echo27

    Echo27 High-Roller

    Feb 13, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR!
  3. LadyRose

    LadyRose High-Roller

    May 18, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Excellent trip report. Thanks for sharing. :wave:
  4. shooter31

    shooter31 Tourist

    Feb 21, 2008
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR. The Carnevino sounds great but a little to pricey for my budget. I'll have to stick to the Palms, galleghers or The Range House.
  5. sin

    sin VIP Whale

    Jun 25, 2004
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Awesome TR! Thanks for the pics to go along with it!:thumbsup:
  6. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

    Jul 8, 2006
    Tacoma, WA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR. Sorry that your friend was sick for part of the trip. It's always rough when you or someone with you gets sick in Vegas. Loved the room pictures, It always helps us in deciding where we might want to stay by seeing other peoples room pictures; they are always a better indication on what you will get than the room photos on the hotel's website.
    Till I'm at my happy place
  7. shitzumama

    shitzumama Tourist

    Feb 11, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the TR. Just a suggestion trip. AIRBORNE! I start taking it the morning I fly out and take it twice a day while on my trip and 1 a day for about 2-3 days after I get home. My husband and I would both get sick during or on the way home now nock on wood that doesn't happen anymore. You can buy it in bulk at costco and Sams club
  8. Leeza14

    Leeza14 VIP Whale

    Mar 4, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR -- and loved the pics! Thanks...
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