Left Portland, OR Sunday, the 14th, AM, returned Friday afternoon, the 19th. After all my hours and hours of research, we had decided to stay at the Mirage. This was a celebration trip for us (I just got my BA degree), so I wanted to stay someplace nice while still being "frugal" to please my husband. We went with the $69 special at the Mirage. When we got to our room, I was totally disappointed! I wasn't expecting a high-roller suite, but I was expecting a room at least as nice as the rooms at TI. But no. The room was small, dark, and dingy. It did not look recently remodeled. The bathroom was no better than your basic Motel 6 bathroom. This was not at all what I wanted. The hallway outside the room was also dingy - the carpet was dirty, the walls were scuffed up, etc. We also wanted a king bed, but got 2 queens. When we went down to complain, they couldn't seem to care less. They said that all the rooms were going to be the same and that was that. They did not offer us an upgrade - they didn't even offer us an upgrade we could pay for. (Note: at check-in I had $20 visible in my hand, but was pretty much laughed at when I mentioned an upgrade.) So, we cancelled our reservation and went to the Aladdin. The desk clerk there was so nice. We told him our tale of woe and he gave us the lowest internet room rate, then we bought an upgrade from that, for a total of $99 a night. He showed us a map and pointed out the available rooms and pros and cons of each. In other words, he performed a little customer service - imagine that! We ended up with a room on the top floor of our tower (23rd floor) with a dead-on, front-row seat to the Bellagio fountain and the Paris balloon and Eiffel Tower! A view to die for! It was a very large room with 2 huge floor-to-ceiling windows, a couch, a chair, a huge bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower and 2 vanities. Everything was clean and in good repair. The hallways were clean, the walls were not scuffed up - it was all very nice. Okay, enough about the room situation. We had a car and spent quite a bit of time exploring the outlying casinos. We particularly liked Sunset Station and The Orleans and would be happy to stay at either of these places in the future. We won $500 on a nickel machine at The Orleans, plus some other money, so that always influences one's opinion! The only complaint I had with any of the Station casinos was that they tended to have too many video poker machines and not enough slots for slot hawgs like me and my husband. We had been to The STRAT on a prior visit and went again this time, but decided we do not like it there. Not the best atmosphere and not a great selection of machines. We didn't do particularly well on any of the machines there, either. We didn't gamble a lot on the Strip, but we did pretty well at the MGM Grand, to our great surprise. After being surrounded by sick people before I left - at work, at the airport, on the plane - and then in Vegas - I knew I was doomed. And, sure 'nuff, I got sick on Thursday of our trip. I wasn't hit too hard - mostly sniffles - at least until I got home, where I spent the weekend in bed with fever and stuffy head and all. Overall, a good trip. It all goes so fast and looking back, it is all mostly a blur (and that is without the benefit of any alcohol!). But it was a fun blur! Now we have a little time to rest up before we go back in late January when my husband has a conference to attend at Green Valley Ranch (I am SO looking forward to staying there!).