Vegas Trip Report 2/12/05-2/19/05 Luxor (2/12-2/16) & Aladdin (2/17-2/19) [I'm working on getting the photos online too] 2/12/05 Fly out Delta, RDU to CVG, CVG to LAS. On time flights, watched Vegas Vacation and first episode of Charmed, drank from our private stash of mini bottles. Arrived in Las Vegas around 2:15. Sound turned off on airport slot machines. I miss getting in and hearing the â€œding ding dingâ€. Boo! Got our bags, got in the taxi line, which was HUGE but moving quickly. Probably waited about half an hour in the line. Cab to Luxor was $14 with tip I think. Check-in lines werenâ€™t long, but had been earlierâ€”a couple of large conventions in town, one of which weâ€™re attending. Tried to get a Jacuzzi suite in the pyramid but didnâ€™t want to pay to upgrade. Couldnâ€™t get a king non-smoking in the East tower so we ended up with a 2-queen non-smoking in the East Tower. No view (looking down on the casino roof and out at the pyramid.) Close to the elevators and the ice machine though. After we got unpacked we went over to the convention center at Mandalay Bay so we could make sure our crate arrived for the showâ€”it had, we brought the soda & beer we had shipped out back to our room. Starting to get a little hungry so we clean up and decide to try the sushi bar at the Boardwalk for a quick dinnerâ€”Fujiyama, still there, still decent quick sushi. We got the sampler tray for $27, plus 2 beers. Total with tax & tip was $45. Crossed the street to check out Gameworks (hubby is checking out pinball machinesâ€”for our game room and to write reviews for some board on the internet). We also checked out the two nearby half-price ticket sellers. Then we walked back to Luxor, stopped for a fresh Krispy Kreme at the Trashy Castle, played a little at the nickel slots, and went to bed early. Mileage on pedometer: 4.65 (only started wearing to dinner and back) Sunday 2/13/05 Up way too early, showered, breakfast at Pyramid CafÃ©. Decent breakfast, fantastic service. Still too early for the convention floor to be open so we gambled a little, had drinks, then just before 8 went over to the Mandalay Bay convention center again. We set up our booth, walked around our area a little, then left. Mandalay Bay doesnâ€™t have an arcade, hubby checked out Luxor and I came back to the room to do a little dissertation work. When he came back, we decided weâ€™d do a quick grocery shopping trip to get lunch for the show days (itâ€™s just the two of us and itâ€™s hard to leave the booth for too long). So we walked to Tropicana to wait for the 201 heading east. Got off at Maryland Parkway and walked half a block north to eat lunch at In & Out Burger. Our first, and damn was it good!! Glad we finally made it there!!! Back to Tropicana to the Vonâ€™s grocery on the corner, picked up a Styrofoam cooler and some sandwich fixins, and back on the bus. Hubby went to NYNY to check out their arcade and I brought the food back to the room. Played a little more slots (Iâ€™m still playing on the first $5 I put in, and cocktail service has been great at Luxor!!) Back to the room to work on my dissertation more. We left for dinner at Rosemaryâ€™s about 5:30 pm (our reservations were for 6:30 and we werenâ€™t sure how long the cab ride would take. It took about 20 minutes and cost $25 or so) Before we left, hubby gave me my Valentineâ€™s giftâ€”black pearl earrings. I LOVE them!!! He gave them to me early so I could wear them for dinner. We arrived early so we had a drink at the barâ€”hubby had a Makerâ€™s Mark manhattan and I had a glass of red wineâ€”Monastrell Olivares â€œAltos de la Hoyaâ€ Jumilla Spain (2002). Yes, I wrote that all down on a napkin because it was good and I knew Iâ€™d never remember it all J Sunday night, all wines are half-price at Rosemaryâ€™s so my glass of wine was $4. Our table was ready before we finished our drinks so we brought them with us. The restaurant is small and cozy, with unique art and lighting fixtures. Table placement was niceâ€”not too close to your neighbors. They also had a nice bar overlooking the kitchenâ€”would be like eating at a sushi bar, watching the chefs prepare your dinner. We had the tasting menu with wine pairingsâ€”had always wanted to do something like that. I think the meal was $264 with tax & tip (I think the tasting was about $90 each, with the wine). This was the menu: Amuse bouche: asparagus bread pudding with chai cream and micro greens 1: Seared sesame ahi with asian slaw and dressing, served with a reisling. 2: Black pepper seared scallops with mushrooms and orzo in a white truffle emulsion, served with a Becherelle Chenin Blanc. 3: BBQ shrimp with Maytag blue slaw, served with a zinfandel 4: Roasted leg of lamb with balsalmic reduction and kalamata mashed potatoes, served with Flor de Pingus temperanillo (2000) Dessert: Chocolate sorbet, mango sorbet, raspberry sorbet, crÃ¨me brÃ»lee, goat cheese-cake, lemon cake, chocolate flourless cake, served with a muscato-brushcetto blend I loved EVERYTHING. I donâ€™t eat lamb (3 weeks in central asia eating not so good lamb has biased me against it) but I still enjoyed the way it was served at Rosemaryâ€™s. Daneâ€™s favorite were the scallopsâ€”he kept asking me why MY scallops never tasted that good. I donâ€™t think I could pinpoint one thing I liked the most because it was all so good. Having the wines paired by people who know what theyâ€™re doing makes a differenceâ€”we drink a lot of wine, but I rarely will match the wine to more than one dish of the meal Iâ€™m serving. But now I might have to try because when itâ€™s done right, it is SO RIGHT. The portions were niceâ€”we were left full, but not stuffed. They called a cab for us when we were ready to leave, took about 20 minutes and we went back to Luxor and to the room. Mileage on pedometer: 6.5 miles (took off before going to dinner) Monday 2/14/05 Valentineâ€™s Day. When I got up I went to the Trashy Castle for donuts & coffee. $7.99 for a mixed dozen. We had breakfast in bed and watched local newsâ€”tv ads in Vegas seem really different than those at home, and I canâ€™t pinpoint why. Just having a lazy morningâ€”wrote up the dinner descriptions while I can still read the notes I made last nightâ€”I was not very sober. Gave hubby his Valentineâ€™s presentâ€”an led headlamp. Oh, and a massageâ€”weâ€™re both going to the spa this morning. Spent 4 hours in the spaâ€”1 hour at the gym (lots of treadmills, a few tvs but no headphones, some stationary bikes and stairclimbers, 1 or 2 ellipticals?) Then a bunch of free weights and weight machines, water & towels. Glass fronted, looks out over the pool area. Then I showered, relaxed in the whirlpool for a little bit before my massage. Had a 50 minute Swedish massage with Janet, it was wonderful! Then spent another couple hours relaxing on the loungers, in the sauna and whirlpools (didnâ€™t go in the steam roomâ€”though since I came down with a cold, I probably should have). Took my final shower, primped, then left to have lunch with hubby. He had a Swedish massage as well, but didnâ€™t spend the hours relaxing in the spa that I didâ€”he went to check out the arcades at NYNY and Excalibur, so we met back in the room with salads & sandwiches for lunch. We relaxed in the room a little bitâ€”I took a nap, NOT because I was hungover, as my husband accused me, but because I was getting sick. Got dressed and left around 3:00 to go to the discount coupon place, Gameworks, then take the monorail to the Hilton. Walked to the half-price ticket booth inside the Gameworks/Coca Cola/M&M place. Pete Rose was there signing autographs. Pete Rose, in Vegas. Hmmmmm. We wanted tickets for the Star Trek Experience, which they had. This was the list of shows available the day we were there: David Brenner Hipnosis Howie Mandel La Cage aux Folles Neil Diamond Tribute Ovation Platters, Drifters & Coasters Sandy Hackett Second City Steve Wyrick Rat Pack Tribute V X Bite Star Trek Experience Worldâ€™s Greatest Magic Show Amazing Jonathan American Superstars Aussie Angels Ba Da Bing Clint Holmes Crazy Girls Riviera Comedy Club Fab 4 Forbidden Vegas Skintight We bought our 2 Star Trek tickets (service charge was a couple bucks per ticket) We got a voucher we turned in at the ticket counter at the Hilton. Then we went to Gameworks so hubby could check out their pinball games. We had extra money on his card so we played a few other gamesâ€”hubby beat me at air hockey, crashed on the surfing machine, destroyed his fighter plane, and I rode a mechanical bull. My thighs were killing the next day! After we spent all the money on his card, we headed to MGM. Had a devil of a time finding the monorail stationâ€”couldnâ€™t find any signage. On our return, we did find signage, so it was there in some places but not all. When we got to the Hilton, we went to Quarkâ€™s bar and had a warp core breach. Wow!! Quite good, though my taste buds were starting to go. Watched a wedding party and some assorted characters come through. Then we went to the Star Trek experienceâ€”first the Borg, then the Klingon. â€œThis is a lot less cheesy than I thought it would beâ€ (Hubbyâ€”whose idea it was to go to the Star Trek thing in the first place) So hubby enjoyed it, I think I liked it but I was dead tired and sick at this point. After we shopped a little we went to the buffet. $15, free wine & beer, plus soda. Small buffet, but decent. I didnâ€™t feel like eating or drinking so I did not take full advantage. Took the monorail back to MGM and eventually found our way outside the building, hubby hauling my butt at this point. I went straight back to the room and crashed (about 10:00). Mileage on pedometer: 6.0 Tuesday 2/15/05 Trade show today, up at 6:00, shower & get ready. Take Zicam to ward off horrible cold (hubby now starting to get sick, finally believes I wasnâ€™t hungover on Monday, but getting sick!) Ate breakfast at the Pyramid CafÃ© againâ€”oatmeal for me, eggs, bacon & taters for hubby. Show lasted until 6:00, lots of standing, trying not to shake hands or breathe on people. Rested in the room for a while to regain our strength, then had some sushi & soup (miso & ramen) at Hamada at Luxor. Hubby gambled a little, I went to bed early. Mileage on pedometer: 5.0 Wednesday 2/16/05 Sick still, working again today. Show open from 9-6, longest day. Hubby is about 12-15 hours behind me in the sickness, so heâ€™s feeling worse and I think Iâ€™m on the upswing. Breakfast at Raffles in Mandalay Bay. Prices a little more expensive than the cafÃ© at Luxorâ€”seemed to bring an entire loaf of bread for hubbyâ€™s French toast, but he said it tasted better at Luxor. Actually made it out of the hotel for dinnerâ€”over to NYNY and ate Mexican at Gonzalez y Gonzalez. I had a spicy shrimp taco, hubby had a quesadilla. Good, though we could barely taste things. Stopped at the drugstore for more cold medicine, having exhausted the supply in our travel kits, then back to Luxor and bed. Mileage on pedometer: 5.59 Thursday 2/17/05 Last day of the show. Packed up and dropped our bags off at the bell desk, checked out of the hotel, then ate again at the Pyramid CafÃ© at Luxor. Show ended at 1:00, by 3:30 we were in a cab heading for Aladdin. There was no line at check-in, easily got a non-smoking king with a decent view (regular roomâ€”called the â€œdeluxeâ€ on the websiteâ€”though we prefer to stay in the Resort room, the cost was about double and we couldnâ€™t justify it for this trip) Our room looks out over the southwest pool and the southern corner of the Bellagio fountain. We REALLY prefer Aladdin to Luxorâ€”the rooms are so much nicer, better laid out and the bathrooms are far superiorâ€”larger, separate water closet, nicer soaking tubs. It just felt so nice dropping our bags in this room. Though we did decide for the trip next year, when we bring my sister for her 21st birthday, if we stay at Aladdin weâ€™re getting the bigger room!! Sis can sleep in the small one though J Iâ€™m finally starting to feel a little better, took a nice bubble bath. Itâ€™s Thursday night, so we decide to get pizza. Mikey found a recommendation online for a place called Presto Pizza next door to the helicopter tour place between Bellagio and the Seven nightclub, and since we can see it from our room at Aladdin, we decide to try it. We ordered a large Italian sausage, hubby went next door to the convenience store for a couple of beers, and we ate there. It was REALLY good pizza. Eating there smells a little of jet fuel, but we think it was worth it. They seem to do a booming business on slices to go. Our large pizza was about $18. After dinner we walked to watch the Bellagio fountain show, then went to Aladdin to gamble a little bit. We were still feeling under the weather so we didnâ€™t last long in the casino before we went to bed. Mileage on pedometer: 4:38 Friday 2/18/05 Finally slept in late, then went to the Paris breakfast buffet. Canâ€™t believe we finally made it there!!! Yes, it was worth it and yes, I would recommend it to others. Weâ€™re still not huge buffet people, but the breakfast buffet at Paris is really good and well worth the $13. The coffee was fantastic, as well. We had the made-to-order crepes (they had gas problems and the omelets & crepes were down for a little bit, but they fixed the problem quickly) I had a sausage sampler, lox & bagels, little French breads & cheese. My appetite is finally starting to come back but weâ€™re still not feeling back to normal. After breakfast we walked over to Caesars Palace. Did I mention itâ€™s pouring rain and quite chilly?? Yeah, not the Vegas weâ€™re used to, since we usually go in August, September or October. Hubby and I agree that Caesars Palace construction is WAY out of hand, thereâ€™s no symmetry at all and itâ€™s a cluster fuck to look at. That said, the new shopping area is gorgeous, the spiral escalators are really cool, and we had a fun couple hours. Hubby bought a new watch (well, a vintage Tag, at the Tourneau store) and I got some lotions and potions at Kiehls. The shopping and a yard long mudslide at Fat Tuesdays on the way back through the original Forum Shops went a long way towards improving my mood. Went back to our room and changed, rested a little, then tried our luck at the craps table finally. Should have spent our money in the stores because the gambling gods were NOT good to us. We got clobbered at the craps table ($5 table) It was really choppy, no good rolls. Drink service was decent, and THANK YOU to whomever told the board about Malibu and pineapple because I drank that all week (figured I was getting some good vitamins for my cold, right??). Switched to slots for a little whileâ€”that didnâ€™t go well either. Drink service at Aladdin slots was abysmal. Tried craps again and again we got our butts kicked (but we did get drink service). Finally threw in the towel and went to the room to rest, shower, pack, think about dinner. (since we ate breakfast late, we didnâ€™t have lunch and were only starting to think about dinner around 6:30) We decided to walk around all the restaurants and look at menus to see if anything looked good. We ended up at the Oyster Bar in the Desert Passage shops. Dane had fish & chips and I had crab angel hair pasta with a light red cream sauce. Delicious!! After dinner we wandered around the mall a little bit and then went to the room. Finished packing and watched tv before falling asleep. Saturday 2/19/05 Ate breakfast at the Zanzibar CafÃ© (24 hour coffee shop at Aladdin) then checked out and headed to the airport. We got to the airport very early and checked in at the kiosk, got through security with no lines, and waited for about 3 hoursâ€”our flight was late because our equipment was late getting in. We made our connection though and had no problems getting home. All in all, this was probably our worst Vegas trip. We were both sick, had to work more than half the trip, and the gambling wasnâ€™t good to us. On the plus side, we had some good food, it was still VEGAS, BABY, and we love to travel together.