Looking at my luggage before I zip up, I find myself smiling down at three Red Bulls, a bottle of Grey Goose, a bottle of Kettle One, several limes, and some of my favorite CDs. This is looking to be a promising trip. It was my first time heading out to Vegas solo, but I was expecting to meet several people during my 36 hours there. I had booked the first direct flight to Vegas from John Wayne Airport on America West. While printing out my boarding pass the night before, there was an offer to upgrade to first class for $50 each way. From Orange County, you’re only in the air for about 45 minutes or so with no meal served, but I took the plunge anyway—I had never flown first class so I thought it would be a good experience. I arrive at the airport with just my carry-on and boarding pass and proceed to the security gate. Because of the upgrade, I’m seated on the plane literally minutes after I’m dropped off. So far so good. I’m offered a drink before take-off and since I hadn’t had any breakfast, I thought a mimosa would be perfect. It turns out they don’t have champagne, so the stewardess offers a screwdriver instead. I have about fifteen minutes before take-off to finish it so I don’t really bother—about a third of the drink is enough to get a good buzz for the flight. As for the upgrade, although I arrived considerably more refreshed, I didn’t think it was worth the extra $50. I get in a cab and arrive at Wynn LV taking the Tower Suites entrance off Sands Avenue, entering through the Villa Atrium. This is the back entrance for suite guests and it is really remarkable how they are able to make this section feel like a hotel within a hotel with its own lobby, check-in area, elevators, and even quick access to the Baccarat pit and high limit slots. It now 9:30am and there is no line at the lobby so I’m thinking I’ll try my luck at checking in. They assign the room, but tell me they’ll call when it becomes available as the current guests have not checked out yet. I’m set to meet with Peter for breakfast at Tableau. He’s a contributing writer for Hunter’s blog, Two-Way Hard-Three. I send him a text message that I’m in the Tower Suites lobby and he finds me. As it turns out, he’s here for a slot tournament and was assigned into one of the smaller suites, but they managed to screw up his reservation and he finds his way into a Salon Suite instead (basically more than double the size of what was previously assigned to him). I go up to get a tour and am very impressed. While looking out over his incredible view of the strip, we talk about similarities in these suites and their floor plans with previous Wynn projects and how the property has improved significantly since opening. We then head down to breakfast at Tableau where we both order the banana ricotta pancakes. Everything about Tableau was superb. The atmosphere is very elegant with deep reds and rich leather throughout the restaurant, but it also has a casual feel with its sunroom overlooking the pool. I could definitely see myself having breakfast here more often. Peter was kind enough to take the check and we part ways until 6:15 when we would meet up again with Hunter at the Parasol Up bar. At this point it’s probably around 10:30am and I realize I have no room, my bag which has my coat packed at the very bottom is at the bell desk, and my entire bankroll is in that coat’s pocket so I head over to an ATM and withdraw $300. I find my way to a Pai Gow Poker table and begin playing. Immediately, I’m on a hot streak starting with $60 per hand, adding $15 each time I win, and leaving whatever bet is out on a push. If I lose a hand, it’s back down to $60. Needless to say, I press my wins to $135 per hand twice. At this point, I’m up about $300, have a good buzz, and am hoping the front desk would call me to tell me my room is ready. I make a joke to the dealer that they won’t call me so that I lose all my winnings first. She asked me what kind of room I had since by now it was about noon and they’d usually have one ready. I softly mumble “Fairway Villa” so as to avoid sounding like a snob, but a player next to me hears and exclaims, “You’re staying in a villa?! What the hell are you doing betting $60 a hand?!” You guys are probably wondering the same thing so here’s how that worked out: Every time I call Wynn LV for reservations, I foolishly ask what the villas run for and always get quotes way into the thousands. I had an Executive Suite reserved at an excellent rate and called a week ahead to confirm everything. Of course, after confirming, I asked what the villas were going for. The front desk person hesitated for a second as though he thought he was looking at an error. After he quoted me the price (PM me if you really want to know how much), he told me that that was the lowest he’d ever seen them. I thanked him and continued on with the day, but couldn’t think straight, as that rate seemed too good to be true. Finally at midnight, I couldn’t take it anymore so I called and upgraded. Anyway, back at the table, I finally get the call at around 1:30 that the room is ready. By this time, I had lost the $300 I won, but at least they comped me two buffets and I was about to see the nicest room that I ever have and probably ever will stay in. I walk back over to the Tower Suites desk and there’s a short line to check-in. Of course, this is enough to cause impatience and visible dissatisfaction because some people are naïve enough to think that staying in a suite at Wynn LV makes them superior to everyone else. Whatever. There are three people working the front. One backs off to speak to a manager so it narrows down to two. By this time, I was feeling a little uncomfortable with the attitude of some of the people behind me, but my turn finally came up and I approached Jaclyn, a beautiful receptionist a bit younger than myself. You’d have to rip her to shreds to get the smile off her face—she was wonderful. Well, after checking me in, she walks around to the front of the desk and very deliberately exclaims for me to follow her to my villa leaving only one person working the front desk. This causes a collective groan from the crowd. Call me a jerk, but it felt good. While walking, she also calls a bellhop to get my bags to my room so that I don’t have to wait as long. Taking a shortcut through the pool and across the meeting rooms, I see the boss himself, Steve Wynn, walking by and dripping wet as he had just gotten out of the pool. I would have loved to stop and chat with him, but it wasn’t a good time. I just smiled and waved and he returned the gesture with a nod and a smile. Now we’ve reached the “South Fairway Villas” security door near the Country Club and Jacky opens it with my room key. It leads to a tiny corridor with just one elevator. This elevator only services 12 rooms (not counting the first floor) so there’s never a wait. There are three floors of villas, six on each floor, and a North and South wing totaling 36. I’m on the third floor, south side, at the very end. We walk down the large corridor and get to Villa 306. Jacky opens it up and it’s unbelievable. I’ll try to describe the room as best as I can: It’s got a black marble foyer which leads to the massive living room out front with two sofas, coffee table, two chairs, plasma television, a full-size bar, and an entertainment center filled with some of the best products in the business. Just the stereo itself is enough to impress any audiophile. There is also a dining nook with three chairs on one side of the table and a booth-style bench on the other. This is great and I think a better choice than a massive dining set as it leaves a huge space in the center of the room for hosting. Guest bathroom and massage room are to the left when you enter. The guest bathroom has a sink and a toilet while the massage room has a massage table and wall mounted stereo. The master bedroom and two separate “his” and “her” baths are to the right. The bedroom has the signature Wynn LV bedding with higher thread counts in the 700s (don’t remember the exact number), two seats with ottoman, and another plasma television with DVD player. The “her” bath off the bedroom is seriously as big as some smaller hotel rooms with two sinks, toilet, bidet, infinity tub with massage and colored light functions, an LCD television, and more closet space than you’ll ever need. The “his” bathroom located just before the bedroom, has one sink, toilet, steam shower, and yes, another LCD TV. Of course, probably the most impressive part is the balcony extending the length of the entire villa overlooking the golf course. Total square footage of the room is over 2400. Here are some shots: The Living Room The “Her” Bathroom The “His” Bathroom The Balcony Mirrored Ceilings/Artsy Shot The bellhop arrives shortly after with my luggage and both him and Jacky offer to show me how some of the gadgets in the room work. I denied, but kind of regret that—with the different lighting, switches, and remotes that control the air, steam shower, entertainment center, curtains, and whatnot, I lose about 45 minutes of vacation time just figuring out the technology. Anyway, when I’m done messing around with that and the music is blasting, it’s time to call a few friends in town and throw a party. One friend was supposed to be in town and had several local relatives around my age, but she bailed out at the last minute so that fell through. I was planning on meeting up with Dave (Galey Boy) and friends, but that didn’t work out either and of course, Mikey and I were going to have a few cigars and drinks on the patio, but I didn’t get a call. Crap. So much for bringing two bottles of vodka… I make the best of it and decide to take a bath. That tub is a little freaky. It feels nice, but with the bathroom lights off and the “chromatherapy” lights on, it feels like getting a massage on acid. Afterward, I use the steam shower. I couldn’t last more than five minutes in there before opening the glass door. After relaxing for a bit, I get ready to head down to the casino, grab a salad at Zoozacrackers (the deli) and meet up with Hunter and Peter at Parasol Up. Peter greets me at the entrance and we take a seat. Hunter is just about to get out of Avenue Q so we knew he’d be running a little late. Once we’re all together with drinks in hand, it’s just awesome. Never have I personally met with people more crazy about Vegas than myself. I think all three of us were on our fourth stay at Wynn LV, had tried all the restaurants between the three of us, discussed problems and service issues throughout the hotel, future developments, etc. This kind of conversation I can only get from this board and Hunter’s blog so to be able to do it over a drink in Vegas is great. Hunter is staying in a Parlor Suite and we head up to see it while he grabs his camera to get some shots of the villa. We then head down to my room and I show them around. While on the balcony, we discuss more Vegas, particularly the golf course and what will become of these villas and the Country Club when they redevelop it. I offer drinks, but they pass and we head back. Peter heads out and Hunter leaves to take care of some business. Hunter and I were set to hang out later, but something came up with his work and he wasn’t able to, unfortunately. I sit at another Pai Gow Poker table and change $600. My buy-in was up and down throughout the night. Michelle, a beautiful cocktail waitress walks by and I order a drink. Drunk, captivated, and distracted by her beauty, I set a “foul” on a $120 bet. For those of you who don’t play Pai Gow, that’s an automatic loss. I explain the situation to the floor supervisor, saying that the gorgeous cocktail waitress had me distracted. He waives the foul and sets the hand the house way which turns out to be a winner for me. On top of that, Michelle overhears me complementing her during the situation so she was very good to me for the rest of the night. At this point, I’ve made friends with the dealers, the waitresses, and everyone working the floor. This is exactly what I’ve been wanting for some time—a first name relationship with casino personnel which combined with my play, probably explains why I never wound up paying for another meal for the rest of my trip. For whatever reason (drunkenness probably being one of them), I’m thinking I’m down and out on my luck, so I color up and cash in. Turns out I’m actually up $100. Very nice. I head back to the villa, get dressed in the robe, blast some music, and break open the Kettle One. It was fun, but only for a little bit realizing that some kind of human contact is necessary for a good time. So now it’s midnight, I get dressed to the nines, and I’m trashed out of my mind. I head back down to the same Pai Gow Poker table and buy in for $1000. There I sat and played for the next few hours. Michelle welcomes me back with a hot chocolate—she just read my mind so I tip her accordingly. After a while, I ask if they comp cigars and she says yes so I order a Romeo y Julieta. She hands me the cigar, a cutter, and wooden matches (kudos to Wynn for not only comping cigars, but knowing the importance of wooden matches). I reach for a cigarette ashtray when she tells me to wait. I watch her walk into the high limit salon behind me and grab this massive, crystal Davidoff ashtray from one of the Baccarat tables and plunk it down on the table while saying, “Just for you.” She’s awesome. As time passes, I order a Macanudo cigar as well and enjoyed that. A Chinese player and his son sit next to me. The son was playing black chips while the guy was sticking strictly with whites and bananas and all the while I’m spending more time than them setting my measly hands. Out back in the high limit salon, there’s a lot of commotion going on the whole time I’m out on the floor. Word finally reaches me at about 2am that one of their biggest players just lost 16 million dollars that night. Unbelievable. By about 3am I head back to the room. I’m up around $700 for the trip and can lay claim to having a banana chip so I had to take a picture… I just don’t know what I was thinking: Don’t ask. I was drunk. I order room service—some kind of Mozzarella dish. I don’t remember the exact name, but it had layers of cheese and vegetables served with an assortment of breads. The portions were small but it was very filling. The food arrived right on time and the server was extremely courteous and professional. When I’m all done, I call it a night and pass out on the bed. The next morning, I’m up by 9am. I open the curtains and step outside to take it all in. I thought reserving this room would be a one-time treat, but it was at that moment that I realized I’d have to do this all again. Some people say you never spend time in your room in Vegas, but when you’ve done everything there is to do in the city and you’ve got a nice offer, it’s really worth splurging sometimes. I call my friend Jeff from school. He said he’d be in town visiting relatives and we had made plans to have lunch at the Country Club about a week before my trip. While waiting for him to call me back, I shower, pack, and get ready. I call the front desk for a late check out and Jacky picks up. I ask for the latest check out possible and she says she can only give me until 1pm, but what she can do is comp me a spa pass so I can have somewhere to go and prepare for my flight before I leave—very nice of her. Jeff calls me and he says he’s standing outside the security door of the South Fairways so I head that way in my robe and slippers since I was sure I wasn’t going to run into anybody. When I open the security door, I see crowds of people looking at me which is surprising since that area of the resort never gets very crowded. It was pretty embarrassing. I take Jeff in and show him the suite, get dressed, and we head out for food. As always, the Country Club is excellent, the experience being heightened only by the incredible weather that morning. I check my bags with the bell desk and head to the concierge to print my boarding pass for the return flight. She also connects me with a host who knocks off all of my food expenses (it was really only about $75). Finally, I saw Jacky to claim my spa pass and check out. Jeff leaves and I head to the spa for about an hour. Afterward, I find my way to a Pai Gow Poker table. Sometimes even Pai Gow has its painful days too and this was one of them. The dealer is killing everybody and when you’d bank, she’d still kill you. I wind up losing my $500 buy-in in 40 minutes which for what I was betting was pretty shocking. Then I bought in for another $300. It was still pretty bad, but at least I lasted several hours with it. During this time, I struck up a conversation with Roy, a floor supervisor. He was telling me how he knows most the guys from Green Valley Ranch, Caesars, and Golden Nugget and that all the reality shows based on them are (obviously) not very real. He says each episode of “The Casino” was completely written out, “Caesars 24/7” took real stories and heavily glorified and exaggerated them, while “American Casino” will sometimes write material if they can’t find anything worthy for the camera. I thought that was very interesting since it’s clear how fake each show looks in that order. After a while, this disgruntled player sits down and buys in for $500. It’s obvious that he’s nearly wiped out and thinks that this Pai Gow table would slow down his losses. Well, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a player who’s throwing chips, slamming the table, and cursing at every hand lose. To his credit, he tries to make some small talk, but his actions made him look like a real jerk. He asks me where I was from so I answer, “Orange County”. Then he asks what part of Orange County so I answer, “Irvine”. He says, “Oh really? What part of Irvine?” so I reply, “Northwood… but I went to University High School”. He says, “My son went there. Seth Martins. Do you know him?” Unfortunately, I do. If the yearbook had a category for biggest butt-wipe, he would have won hands down. I reply, “Yeah, I know him! Small world!” as I proceed to whip him every time he banks against me. That felt nice. The time to leave is quickly approaching so I say my good-byes to the pit and head off. They made me promise I’d be back next month and something tells me I will. I stuffed myself at the dinner buffet with Alaskan king crab legs, free-range chicken, and hen among other items. The Alaskan king crab legs were good, but not enough that several parties were stuffing entire plates exclusively with them—something tells me that they intentionally overindulge (and waste) the most expensive item to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. The most exceptional items were the lamb shanks and the banana fosters in the desert section. Both were truly of restaurant quality. After the buffet, I pick up my luggage and head over to the airport. The solo adventure had come to an end and I can’t wait to do it again. Final Thoughts and Remarks: I asked several employees about the rumors with lay-offs. All of them denied their validity and all of them love working for Steve. Wynn LV continually gets better and better, but there are still tiny inconsistencies here and there. You’d have to try to find them, though. Swing the extra money to stay in the Tower Suites. It’s the closest thing to a boutique hotel that a mega-resort can get to. The villa was worth every penny. Pai Gow Poker might be the only game I’ll ever play. Down $100 overall but comps more than made up for it. A smile will get you way further in Las Vegas than acting like an ass. Meeting Hunter and Peter was awesome. Too bad it wasn’t for very long. It sucks that I couldn’t meet up with Mikey and Dave (Galey Boy), but like I said, I’ll be doing this again. Hope you enjoyed the read!