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[4/1-4/3] Hiking, Eating, and Ultra Low Rolling at Aria

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mag-nate, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    I just got back from my second trip to Vegas (the first was in December 2017) - I hope I don't bore you too much with this short trip report! Forewarning, I only managed about $1k coin in on this trip, so if you're in it for the video poker pics I only have two. :( Next trip I am planning on bringing more like $1k per day, though, so hopefully I get some more action shots then!

    Without further ado...

    4/1 - Day One

    Woke up about 7 to try and head to the gym before the trip (I have to at least be pumped up a bit before I strip down at the pool, right?), but my degenerate self forgot that it was Easter Sunday and the gym was closed. In any event, off to Chicago Midway for the 11:15am flight. We had boarding number B27 and B28 despite checking in at exactly T-24 hours, but we got the exit row anyway!

    I used some drink coupons first for a St Roc and Cran Apple (according to the flight attendant this is otherwise known as the hibiscus... the more you know I guess) as well as a Wild Turkey and Ginger. Overall a great flight, and best of all, our bag was the first off the airplane!

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    We decided to rent a car this trip and since I managed to status match my Hertz President's Circle status to Avis, we thought we'd give them a shot this time. Our car was supposed to be a Nissan Maxima, which would have been great, but we decided to press our luck and try for an upgrade at the counter. I casually asked and was offered a Mercedes GLE350 for $20/day... yes please! When we get to the car it literally has six (yes number 6) miles on it and we are the first drivers. Boy was this thing comfortable - score!

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    We are reserved in an Aria Deluxe King through a MyVegas two night comp and decide to press our luck some more with a $20 sandwich considering we've made out extremely well so far. Unfortunately, I am a bit of a bumbling idiot and practically shouted at the poor desk clerk before he even had my card in hand: "Do you have any corner suites available???" I was nervous, okay? In any event, we ended up in a strip view king on the 26th floor which I was totally okay with.

    When we got to the room itself, though, it reeked of weed - I studied abroad in the Netherlands for six months and let me tell you, someone was hotboxing this thing. I'm legitimately shocked it was allowed back into the inventory, honestly. A call down to the front desk and we were promised that housekeeping was three minutes away with keys to a new room for us on 24 and we were offered a $50 F/B credit that I didn't even have to ask for. Well... fifteen minutes later and still no sign of housekeeping we decided to just walk down and get the keys ourselves. The view from the new room was still excellent though (pictures were taken later that night).

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    It was about 5:00pm at this point (7:00pm back home) so we walked on over to Mirage to use our 2-for-1 dinner buffet. The crab legs were awesome (though you can't really screw up crab legs) but otherwise it was just okay. I'm glad we only paid $40 total instead of $40 each - how some of these huge families I see pay full price for these buffets is beyond me. Sorry for the lack of pictures here... I was a bit famished so all you get is the aftermath:

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    After this, I wasn't feeling well at all (I blame the seafood bun), but we decided to take the fancy car out and cruise the strip up to Fremont and back down. It was a lovely night to put the windows down, open the sunroof, and take in the sounds of Easter in Vegas!

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    After our drive we decided to just head to bed since it was a long day of travel and I still didn't feel 100% from the damn seafood bun. We agreed on Red Rocks hiking for the next day and went off to bed!

    To be continued!
     
    Fourth of July Trip
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  2. amk121

    amk121 VIP Whale

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    Great report and pics so far! Too bad about the first room but sounds like that worked out well.
     
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  3. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    My thoughts exactly! I figure I'll happily wait around for 15 minutes if it means $50 worth of food. :feedme:
     
    Fourth of July Trip
  4. NPLV

    NPLV Low-Roller

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    You got lucky - usually they charge extra for rooms that reek of weed.
     
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  5. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    4/2 - Day Two

    Woke up bright and early this morning! The Aria bed was quite nice and we're legitimately considering buying those pillows to use back home... I threw on my workout gear and headed down to the gym for a quick pump-up! I was a little bit shocked at how crowded it was at 8:00am on a Monday, and I wish it had some more adjustable benches (only one, really?), but I got a nice workout in.

    The previous night we had decided on Red Rocks to get our fill of some nature, and I was beyond impressed. I know that our outdoor recreation is a bit limited in the Midwest, but this is just a breathtaking park. We paid our entry fee, talked to the guide at the visitor's center, filled up on water/gatorade, and started on the scenic loop!

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    We stopped off at Calico 1 and climbed up a few of the boulders down the trail. This was the first stop on the loop so it was fairly crowded; nevertheless it was nice to climb some big-ass rocks and get the blood pumping! :D

    The next stop on our scenic loop was the overlook. This didn't have any trails to speak of, but it was well worth it for the views!

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    We continued on to the main event for what was described as a moderate hike along the La Madre Springs trail. It is about a 3.5 mile loop that takes a little less than two hours to complete. It was really worth every second, though. Most of the time we were completely alone on the trail and the constantly changing greenery and views were so incredible. I said "how beautiful" like forty times at least... we were also incredibly lucky to have slightly overcast 75 degree weather. Once again, "how beautiful!"

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    After completing our hike it was about 2:00pm or so, and since we hadn't eaten anything all day, it was buffet time! We made our way to the M Resort to try out their supposedly great value buffet. We got there right before dinner prices started to see a 45 minute line already waiting - d'oh! Thankfully we made it to the front and the cashier rang us up for two lunch buffets - $16.99 each! The food was actually quite good, especially compared to Mirage last night. They also have a wonderful house cider that was the perfect balance of dry and sweet. For the price this is 110% worth it.

    Caprese Salad, some kind of pasta salad, watermelon and feta salad, beef ravioli, and shrimp ravioli:
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    Roast Beef (far too done for my liking but the seasoning was perfect), popcorn shrimp, mac n' cheese, sweet potatoes, and hearty grains:
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    Ambrosia salad, more sweet potatoes, grilled naan, chicken vindaloo, and seafood paella:
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    Not pictured is the delicious americano and mini scoop of mint chocolate chip gelato that followed. :beer:

    After we ate, I hit up the 99.8% payout VP machines for some gambling... and I pissed away $100 bucks in about 10 minutes. Really crappy luck unfortunately. I will say the M is beautiful and if it weren't so far away from the action (we really like exploring different resorts on foot) I'd seriously consider staying there. Back to Aria for now!

    I quickly ran through another $100 at a few of the $1 slot machines (3 credit machines), so I wasn't feeling too thrilled unfortunately. After a quick refresh and change of clothes walked down to MGM Grand because I had let $30 of freeplay on my account from last trip's new member promotion expire and the Mirage desk told me I had to go back to MGM to get it reactivated. I got that added that to the card and we spent about 45 minutes playing the old Sigma Derby game. I love that it is so cheap and fun to watch - we only burnt through $10 and got a few drinks out of the deal from the cocktail waitress!

    We walked back up to Aria where we redeemed our MyVegas reward for a free cocktail at Alibi Ultra Lounge (we each had one, so two cocktails). We went with some apple flavored and it seriously tasted like candy... really, really good and boozy candy.

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    At the bartop I decided to use my freeplay that I had added to the card and just as soon as I turned my freeplay into sweet sweet dollars. I got dealt this nice quad, cashed out, and peaced out happy to be down less than $100:

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    The last stop of the night was Javier's for some Mararitas and Mexican food since we had that handy $50 F/B credit from our weed-y room! Margarita was good, guacamole needed salt, but the salsa was solid. On the way back to the room we spotted this absurd machine and put a $20 in for the boyfriend. He isn't a gambler at all but he really enjoys the really goofy machines like this one. Won a few bucks, cashed out, and off to bed!

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    The last day will follow soon!
     
    Fourth of July Trip
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  6. Robdude

    Robdude Tourist

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    Great report so far, love the pictures of Red Rock.
     
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  7. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Nice report. And wow you lucked out on the car rental.
     
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  8. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    I tried to play it cool when the agent started listing available upgrades. "Mercedes GLE350, Dodge Charger..." Yeah we'll definitely be taking the Benz!
     
    Fourth of July Trip
  9. emmas

    emmas High-Roller

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    Congrats on a great trip and getting a pretty nice ride.
     
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  10. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Red Rock rarely sees much hiking action. It's a hidden gem and goes to show that Vegas is not much of a recreational city. Glad you got out to experience more than the inside of a casino.
    And, can't beat topping it off with a good buffet.
     
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  11. ncpokeresq

    ncpokeresq Tourist

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    Hope you continued to enjoy the trip. To avoid certain VMB'ers having a stroke, not to mention Tring's name, in the future please blur out the paytables on bartop machines on the Strip, think the one you hit on only pays about 95.7%
     
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  12. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    Thank you!

    I was really blown away - and with so many trails we'll definitely be back to try and tackle some of the more "serious" hikes.

    Hah! Sorry about that - I did spend some time on row 802 at Aria with some 98.49% Bonus Deluxe Poker (though maybe I'll upset some folks around here for not using the super times pay feature... it certainly did not thrill the lady sitting next to me!)
     
    Fourth of July Trip
  13. mag-nate

    mag-nate Tourist

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    4/3 - Day 3

    Started out today by working out again and thankfully there were decidedly fewer people this time around; I'm guessing that going at 7:00am vs 8:00am did the trick. I called down to the front desk and paid $40 for a 3:00pm check out since we had to do some work from the room and needed consistent internet access - I tried for free but I think that may have been asking too much of Aria! Before getting some work done, though, we headed down to the pool to get some much needed sun. We got a poolside chair and the weather was unbeatable! Hairy man leg and snapchat filter warning:

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    After our hour or so of relaxing in the sun, we walked about 40 feet to the Aria Buffet for Brunch. We each had a free brunch buffet from MyVegas. Sorry there aren't more pictures - I was hungry as all hell:

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    After eating we went back up to the room for a little bit of work. Around 12:00 I got bored and went down to the casino floor to check out the fabled "Row 802" where there are apparently some decent payouts at .25 cent VP. I actually did quite well at first - quickly turning $20 in $200. Unfortunately I pressed my luck a bit too hard and turned that $200 into about $20 again. I hit two quads with the Super Times Pay feature turned off and decided that I may as well turn it on to see how it worked... that sucked down my money a bit faster than I expected, though. Oh well - still had fun, had some nice conversation with the lady next to me, and got a few beers out of the deal. I hope the paytable on this one is less offensive :haha:

    I only managed to grab a picture of one quad:

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    Went back up to the hotel room at about 1:30pm or so. We worked some more, packed, checked out, and loaded up the car. We were considering checking out one of the ghost towns near Vegas but most of them were 45 minutes to an hour away and we had to have the rental car back at 6:30pm. We decided to walk up to Island Time Tiki Bar near Bally's because they have dole whip! My cocktail was really strong and with the cheap rum they had in there I had to wait until some of the dole whip melted before I could really drink it. After I mixed everything together though it was really quite good!

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    It was around this time that we found out our 7:25 flight was delayed until 9:35. :cry:Our rental car still needed to be returned at 6:30 so we were in for a bit of a wait in the airport. After this delay news, we decided to drive a bit more and we ended up just going down and checking out the 7 Magic Mountains sculpture and putting the Benz in sport mode on the frontage roads off the interstate - pretty cool!

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    We got to the airport a bit before 6:30, took the tram to T1 so we could hit up some airport lounges. Unfortunately the priority pass lounge in LAS was kind of lame and really small. Got a free corona, though. After about 10 minutes of people watching we went over to the United Club which was much nicer and had enough real food to serve as dinner. Had a few beers, ate some chili and one or two or three chocolate chip cookies while watching some flights come in and land:

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    The flight took off right around 9:35 and got us into Midway around 3:00am. Back to work and reality the next day!

    So, final thoughts! I had a really great time and this felt like the perfect amount of time for me in Vegas (2 nights). While I enjoy gambling, my boyfriend really only enjoys the nice hotels and food to be had. We both enjoy having cocktail and relaxing or hiking, though, so this trip was a really great balance of everything. Best of all, it was cheap. Like, seriously cheap. Here's a breakdown if anyone cares:

    Flights: Paid for with points & Southwest Companion Pass (taxes and fees were $22.40)
    Hotel: MyVegas Comp - Final Folio was $153.07 including resort fees (bleh, though at least I used the gym and pool) a mimosa at the pool and our late checkout fee (add $20 here for our front desk tip)
    Transportation: $220 all in for the car & gas - this was by far the most expensive part of the trip but it was worth it to see Red Rocks and get out and about on our own
    Eating & Drinking: Mostly Comped with MyVegas or otherwise cheap - all in was about $100 including our dole whips and our buffet tips
    Entertainment: Basically just Red Rocks at $15 (which is a total steal)
    Gambling: Down about $140 for the trip - budgeted $500, but I really only spent 3 hours gambling (about 45 minutes of which was on the sigma derby betting a quarter a round
    Misc Tips: $30 for housekeeping, bartenders, cocktail waitresses, etc.
    Total: Approx $700 or, since we split everything down the middle, $280 for the boyfriend and $420 for me.

    I think we did fairly well for ourselves based on our budget. We aren't currently and never plan to be high rollers, so a comped room at Aria wouldn't be possible most of the time. Without the rewards, the total price without our MyVegas rewards would have been pretty crazy. Next time I do plan on gambling a bit more, though with it being July we probably won't want to go hiking or anything and we'll just uber to/from the airport, really cutting down on the cost of transportation.

    Thanks for reading and I can't wait to come back!
     
    Fourth of July Trip
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  14. NittyOne

    NittyOne Tourist

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    Love the pics of Red Rock and 7 magic mountains, could’ve done without the pasty Midwest leg pic. Looks you had fun.
     
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  15. ShelbyCharger

    ShelbyCharger Low-Roller

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    Hey! My legs are pasty midwest. I resemble that.
     
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  16. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Great report, @mag-nate!
    Those are some cool pics, too! :D

    RICHARD
     
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