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A First Time for Everything - Luxor/Paris Nov 17-21 2019

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by AndyAkeko, Nov 22, 2019.

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  1. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    My Trip Report

    Executive Summary: Had a nice four-night trip with my wife. We planned on more relaxing activities than we usually do on Vegas trips (we've lost count, but this is probably our 18th trip) and used two offers simultaneously from Luxor and Paris. I'll go over the events in mostly chronological order, leaving out the gambling. We played mostly slots, we won little jackpots but only enough to keep playing more, nothing worth writing about.

    Luxor offer: 4 nights in a Tower One-Bedroom Premier Suite, $75 Freeplay, $100 Food and Beverage Credit, no resort fees.
    Paris offer for me: $190 Freeplay, $75 Food and Beverage Credit, 10,000 Reward Credits ($100).
    Paris offer for her: 4 nights in a Tower-View End Room, $100 Freeplay, $25 Food and Beverage Credits, no resort fees (Diamond member)
    I hadn't been to Vegas in nearly three years, so I guess they were trying to win me back over. We stayed at Luxor, only visiting Paris to check in and out.

    Luxor Tower One-Bedroom Premier Suite: Nice room, huge ceilings, well apportioned and it was very quiet. West Tower Room facing west so only a view of the Interstate and the football stadium construction. The bed, however, was too sinky, so lying in bed meant that your body was actually below the bedframe. For this reason alone we will never likely stay at Luxor again. The safe was on the very top of the closet and therefore impossible to see into if you are under six feet tall. There is no room service after 2 p.m. (!) Also the Luxor check-in and check-out process is a slow, slow process. There was self check-in, but the booth to pick up the room key closes by 10 p.m. and you have to get them from the main front desk. Glad I didn't pay the $35 for the VIP check-in at the north entrance since it wasn't staffed at any time in the four nights we were there.

    Paris Tower-View End Room: Nice room with two windows, one with a direct view of the Eiffel Tower and one looking over the Arc de Triomphe. Bed was super comfortable. We would have considered room service for dinner except there is no place available to set down a plate of food other than the writing desk against the wall. We would consider staying in a room at Paris again, but probably not an end room as it is a long hike to the elevator.

    Lyft: We used ridesharing for the first time ever and we vastly preferred it to taking a taxi. Out of five rides, only one long-hauled us because he was too busy chatting and went to the wrong entrance at Luxor ... but of course long-hauling doesn't matter because the price is stated before you take the trip. The biggest highlight was that one of the trips ended up being in a Mercedes M-Class. We will definitely be using Lyft for future Vegas trips.
    Coupon: Had $20 credit by signing up through Delta Airlines, as well as earned Skymiles for each dollar spent.

    Bonanno's at Luxor Food Court: We just wanted a quick bite after our 10 p.m. arrival and basically picked the one that had the shortest line. We each got a stromboli and were surprised at how tasty they were for fast food. It's not cheap, I think it was $33 after tax with one large drink, but it was very good and very filling. Not worth going out of the way to get, but would do this again in a similar "We're tired and want something that's here and now" situation.

    Aria Breakfast Buffet: Wife raved about this place last time she was here on a girls' trip. So my expectations were sky-high and ... weren't met. Seating after payment was incredibly slow considering the restaurant was mostly empty. Nearly half of the dishes were mislabeled, and it's the only buffet I've ever been to where they serve chicken-fried steak and buttermilk biscuits but no sausage gravy. Food was mostly good (even if I didn't always know what it was) and there's certainly a lot of variety. Would go back with a coupon and tempered expectations.
    Coupon: MyVegas 2-for-1

    Gordon Ramsay Steak: Our reservation at 8:15 wasn't ready until 8:30. That was the only service issue we had which was otherwise impeccable. The amuse bouche was two types of bread and truffle butter. I had the onion soup for an appetizer and wife had the tomato salad. Both were tasty but very large portions for an appetizer. I had a very tasty rack of lamb for dinner and wife had a wagyu steak that she had to send back because it was served cold. (Did not hear anyone scream "You Donkey!" in the kitchen). Second steak was perfect. Waiter talked us into trying the brussel sprouts, guaranteeing we would like them or else he wouldn't charge. They were the best brussel sprouts we ever had, and we still didn't like them. So I think I can safely say I will never have brussel sprouts again. True to his word, we were not charged for the sprouts (though we did base our tip on the price including the sprouts.) Probably won't go back as there are other places we would like to try and other steakhouses we prefer (like Circus Circus) for a lower price.
    Coupon: $100 Diamond Celebration Dinner plus our $100 combined F&B credits.

    Luxor Breakfast Buffet: I saw a review where the Luxor buffet was rated the second-worst on the strip after Circus Circus. I wanted to dispute that, but I honestly can't think of a worse one. Which is all to say that the Luxor met our low expectations. Would certainly not go out of our way to visit, but at $20 it's a better deal than the $17 bacon and eggs at the Pyramid Cafe, the only other breakfast option at Luxor.
    Coupon: MyVegas 2-for-1

    Luxor Pool with Cabana: Pool area was only open 10-4 and only the north pool. Some sun worshippers but very few using the pool. The two hot tubs were used more. We met people in the hot tub from Australia, Scotland, Canada and New Zealand (our Commonwealth group) and people from Michigan, Minnesota and Nebraska (our Big Ten group). Very laid back and social. The rest of the time we spent in our $50 cabana with lots of snacks (chips and cookies) and bottled water provided, as well as a safe, a fridge and a TV. At that price it was a no-brainer for us. Using a pool cabana has become a must-do for us in Vegas, and would consider Luxor pool again for the bargain.

    Luxor Public House: This was our undiscovered gem on the trip. Wasn't expecting much more than overpriced bar food. But everything was delicious and decent portions. We had wings for an appetizer, I had a footlong bratwurst (tasty!) with seasonal vegetables (so good!) and she had the fish and chips (crispy!), We will absolutely come back here if we're looking for a reasonably priced quality grub.
    Coupon: MyVegas $20 off

    Paris Le Village Buffet breakfast: The crepe station is now down to three selections, one serving watered-down nutella and one featuring a really dry ham-and-cheese. Always find this buffet to alternate between "best value on the strip" and "coasting on its reputation" and this trip was definitely coasting, although the potato brie gratin was a new and interesting addition. Wife says she is "so over" this buffet, but I bet she gives it another chance on our next trip.
    Coupon: 15% off given to us at the MLife desk.

    Luxor Nurture Spa: Didn't know what to expect from our first visit to a spa, so we deliberately picked one the one at Luxor figuring we would be less likely to seem out of place. There were only two other guys in the men's area and one other woman in the ladies' area, so no need to feel self-conscious. We both loved the hot tub, I liked the steam room too. We each got a leg and foot massage that was relaxing did make our lower bodies feel better after all the walking from Vegas, though it was certainly no long-term cure. Will definitely do a spa day again, even though it separates us for the time we're there.
    Coupon: MyVegas $25 off

    Lupo at Mandalay Bay: Definitely the food highlight of the trip. Started with a cauliflower soup amuse bouche that made both of us look at each and instantly know it was the best soup we've ever had. Wife ordered a full bowl for her appetizer. The focaccia was one of the best breads we've ever had. My calamari appetizer was big enough to be a meal in itself. The veal saltimbocca was amazing. The only disappointment was the carbonara was a little too oily, and by that we mean it was a 4.5/5 when everything else was a 5 (or a 6 for the soup!) Just a superb meal that we only went to because the Camelot Steakhouse was closed. We will definitely come back, or at least try another Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
    Coupon: MyVegas free entree with purchase of another entree.

    Excalibur Breakfast Buffet: Like Luxor, not worth going out of your way for. However, they had more options at their crepe station than Paris had. Wife hadn't been since the renovation and it is certainly much improved since then. The coffee may have been the best coffee we've ever had at a buffet.
    Coupon: MyVegas 2 for 1

    In the end, we did a little less walking than in the past and a lot more relaxing, and that did make for more of a vacation feel than we've had in the past even though this was a shorter visit. We were hoping to see Wayne Newton, but the Caesars Rewards tickets were sold out while we were there and none of the other shows they offered interested up (except Penn & Teller, but we had seen them before and didn't really feel like going to the Rio). Hopefully I won't have to wait three years for the next offer from Vegas that I can't refuse.
     
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  2. drac999

    drac999 High-Roller

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    Very informative Trip Report! Thank you for all of your food reviews. I'm wondering why you chose to sleep at Luxor if the bed was so bad, since you had the choice of your bed at Paris.
     
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  3. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC TBD

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    Nice write up. Thanks for all the details on the dining. ...Lupo sounds like a perfect date night spot for the new bride.
     
    December 2020 ———->2021
  4. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

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    Sounds like a nice trip. Your food sure sounds like a hit or miss, but hey, that's how we all figure it out :feedme:.

    I was there for most of that time (came home on the rainy 20th!), but for the most part, the weather was spectacular.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  5. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    Thanks for the kind words. Regarding the bed, all the stuff we had planned like the pool day and the spa were at Luxor, so it was the convenience factor that outweighed the discomfort of getting out of the bed in the morning. That said, if we had known in advance, we probably would have switched the trip around to revolve more around Paris/Bally's than Luxor.
     
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  6. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    I'd stop shy of saying it's a romantic spot, although that may have been because our seats were near the bar. But the food was excellent and fairly priced for the quality, with a high level of service.
     
  7. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, for us it seems to rain about every third trip we take. Luckily the rainy day coincided with the spa day and we were only outside for about three minutes walking from Paris to Planet Hollywood after breakfast to do a little shopping.

    To be fair on the food, we never had a bad meal. We knew what to expect from the Excalibur/Luxor breakfast buffets and therefore we weren't disappointed. It was a money-and-time decision over food quality from the beginning and therefore the standard was low. Aria wasn't a bad buffet by any stretch, it's just that from reviews I had expected excellent and instead got good-to-very-good. Paris was only disappointing because we know how great that buffet has been, and now it's "only" good.
     
  8. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco High-Roller

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    I was amused by the food reviews. Funny the dish that seems you hated most was brussel sprouts, yet one of the dishes you loved most was made with a close relative, the cauliflower. You did not pay for the brussel sprouts dish but, I wonder, did you eat it all? Thanks for the trip report.
     
  9. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    Brussel sprouts have a very bitter taste, at least to my taste buds, whereas cauliflower is slightly sweet. But I can see the irony considering how closely related they are.

    And no, after the one or two spoonfuls we did not touch the sprouts afterwards. Now, if we had ordered them without the waiter's advice, yes, I probably would have tried a few more and would never have sent them back as there was nothing "wrong" with them. But we weren't going to eat more and then tell the waiter "Eh, we didn't really like them."
     
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  10. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco High-Roller

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    Waiters...Some of them like to say, "that is my favorite", or "get the such and such", etc. Experience should teach them that preferences are different among the many patrons they are likely to wait upon, and one might be crazy about a dish and the other unable to even look at it. It would be better if they just inform themselves of the many offerings available, and of their preparations, and are able to describe things to a curious customer. It worked out well for you as you did not pay for a dish but you sampled it. When a waiter comes over and says, "My name is Christopher, I am from Glencora, and I will be your waiter today and I tell you right away you must order the turkey, it is my favorite", I feel like getting up and going to a different restaurant, even if it is Thanksgiving and I like turkey.
     
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  11. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    Enjoyed your report.....I really enjoy the Paris end rooms.....seem much quieter to me (probably because they ARE so far from the elevators, lol).
    And the beds are super comfy there.
    Thanks for all your details!!
     
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  12. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty Doing retirement again and happily so....

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    We ate at the Luxor buffet way back when it was still themed as Egyptian. I think we caught the last part of breakfast and beginning of lunch. It was quite simply awful. We thought it was the opening (months) and just sorting things out. Apparently it is a big assortment or a slow fine tuning. Either way, I still don’t understand how some of these buffets survive as repeat customers must be minimal in numbers.
     
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  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report and great reviews!
     
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  14. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    I'm largely the same. If the waiter comes out immediately and is pushing a dish, I'm suspicious that there's something wrong with it. My wife, who is notoriously indecisive at restaurants, will usually narrow down a choice to two or three and ask the waiter for advice. That's fine since she's the one soliciting an opinion ... unless the waiter then gives her a different option.
     
  15. luridludicloco

    luridludicloco High-Roller

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    Yes, often one does have questions to the waiter (or the chef, or the owner, if they happen to be walking around as sometimes in some places) about what exactly the menu means. The danger with that is that it happens some waiters will say, "let me go to the kitchen and ask", then come back answering a different question than the one you asked, LOL. In Vegas most of us do not have the option of eating at home. The nice part about Vegas is that there are almost infinite options.
     
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  16. AndyAkeko

    AndyAkeko Time magazine's 2006 Person of the Year

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    With our two-for-one coupon, the buffet works out to $10 each. The only other breakfast restaurant in Luxor is the Pyramid Cafe, where $10 will get you a coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. It at least has an omelet station for some customized breakfast, and it's hard to screw up bacon. One thing with Luxor though is that there isn't a vastly superior breakfast buffet option within a short walking distance. Mandalay Bay's buffet has been a big disappointment for us the last few times, Excalibur isn't much better (though it does have a crepe station!) and that leaves, what, the MGM Grand Buffet? Not sure it's worth the walk for that one either.
     
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