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Orleans - 12/19/04 - 3 days/4 nights

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Gogurl, Dec 29, 2004.

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  1. Vegas Trip Report – Orleans

    The players Vegas Virgins - Steve and Rhonda celebrating 10 years of marriage. [​IMG]

    Original plans were to stay at the Venetian, but decided to see a Cirque show and rent a car so we saved money by staying at the Orleans. Glad we did as we spent sooooo little time in the room.

    Our flight from Atlanta was delayed because of snow in northeast. We arrived in Vegas around 12:30 a.m., took the shuttle to Alamo (easy enough), picked up a Dodge Stratus (intermediate choice) and went straight to the hotel.

    I was impressed with the outside and the lobby of the Orleans. I didn’t expect the hotel to be quite so large. I knew the facilities it housed but somehow the size of it caught me off guard. (I continued to be surprised by this the entire time I was in Vegas as all the hotels were monstrosities.)

    At registration I slid the desk clerk the old $ 20 tip and she, who had been half asleep, immediately woke up and began clanking on the keyboard. Her fellow clerkers became jealous :mad: , as anyone of them could have checked us in because we were the only people in line. She gave us room 1712. A long, long, long walk from the elevator. It was like journey to the center of the earth. Ugh! And a smoking room for we non-smokers to boot. The room had a fabulous view of the strip as expected by all the head nodding and smiling she did as she whispered you’ll love this room.

    The room was more than satisfactory. Nice even, particularly for the money. Hubby said he expected a dump for $20 night, but he was trying to trust me. Not the Venetian, but definitely a good room. I will say what most people say about the Orleans, I would definitely stay there again and probably will when we come back in October to go to the Grand Canyon.

    Resuming activity:
    It is now 2:30 a.m. Hubby and I are hungry. We head down the Courtyard Café for one of the $1.99 graveyards specials. Ate without incident. Service was very good. I called home to make sure my 13 year old was up for his 7:50 flight to New Jersey. (He’s visiting the grandparents until the new year). He was surprised we were eating so early. I reminded him of the time difference and then he was surprised we were eating so late.

    We went to the front desk and told them we appreciated the view but didn’t want the smoking room. The clerk apologized and said the hotel was full except for a few rooms that would not meet our expectations in terms of view. She told us to wait until 9 a.m. and they would gladly move us. Hubby and I stopped by the gift shop, purchased a scented candle and took the long journey down the hall for our room to call it a night.

    I can’t say enough about the bed. The mattress was a dream. The first night I assumed the reason I slept so well was due to exhaustion, but that wasn’t it. I loved that bed. I wanted to pack it when we left. It was also pretty good for the ole anniversary action. [​IMG]

    I wake up at 6:30 a.m. because of course we’re on Eastern Standard Time and it’s 9:30 at home. We lie around for a while and then decide to get up and meet Las Vegas. We had breakfast at the hotel buffet. For the price it was more than acceptable. I call my son to make sure his flight was okay. He asks what we’re doing and I say having breakfast. He says “Again? Did you forget you already had breakfast?†He is really tickled by this.

    Our first stop on the strip is the Mirage. We valet park (as we did everywhere) We see the tigers and visit the shops. I buy a white tiger in the gift shop along with other souvenirs. I decide the line is too long for the Secret Garden and head to Caesar’s Forum shops. Boy did we spend a lot of money there. Way too much. I did some Christmas shopping and some “me†shopping. Hubby and I took four pictures at the Forum Photo Shop. You know our heads on showgirl and male dancer bodies, me on a Harley, an ancient Egypt set and hubby on the cover of a magazine. Silly, but fun. We go over to Caesars Palace, check it out and take lots of pictures and video footage. (We run the viewcam for the entire trip). We cross the street, I take a free picture with Big Elvis, buy the best strawberry margarita I’ve ever had from the guy in front of the Imperial Palace, drop a few bucks on slots as I go to retrieve the pics and watch the Dealer Entertainment for a few minutes. TACKY, but you gotta love it, it’s Vegas!

    We push on to the Venetian. I take a pic with Michael Jordan in front of Madame Toussand’s museum and head inside. The Venetian is gorgeous. The grand canal is gorgeous. This hotel is just impressive. We are a little hungry, it’s almost 3. I decide we’ll stop at the Grand Lux, but I couldn’t find it. The hotel was crowded and the gondola ride was backed up 2 hrs so we leave. It’s back to the Mirage to get the car. I say hubby lets see if the line is better at the Secret Garden. Was I drunk when I left the first time? This thing is way at the back of the hotel and now it’s after 3:30 so one of the attractions is closed. We go to the coffee shop inside the hotel near the entrance to the secret garden, the name escapes me, Bean something. We have a delicious tart, sumptuous banana bread and two coffees, put our feet up and decide this is the life. Beautiful surroundings, beautiful people, good food and comfortable seating!

    It’s back to the hotel where we take a nap. We purchased a can of air freshener earlier that day at CVS, sprayed the room and truly forgot about the smoke. Besides, I’m not giving up the mattress.

    It’s dinnertime. We head to the Aladdin for the Spice Market Buffet. We arrive at the hotel and are horrified that we have to self-park and walk ten miles to the buffet. Ugh! Our feet already hurt. The line is all the way back to Atlanta but everyone keeps insisting we stay, the food is good. It’s 6:45 p.m. and I know this was not the time to get in line but here we are. (So much for getting advice from the boards on timing the buffets). The wait is only 45 minutes the hostess says. I think “Sure..and I’m the Baby New Yearâ€, but we wait. After an hour and a half we finally sit down for dinner. Now, I admit I have not spent my life so privileged as to have done a great deal of fine dining, but I haven't spent my entire life in the likes of the Olive Garden. I have had a handful or more of swanky dinners in New York restaurants during my fashion industry career and I’ve been on a few cruises so I know when food taste good. I’m also trying to keep in mind we waited an hour and half to get in so hunger and wait could also skew my opinion, but I must say the food at the Spice Market was incredible. Delicious. The desserts were wonderful also. I could go on and on. But I won’t say any more. It was worth the wait and don’t pass it by on a trip to Vegas. I’d go back to Vegas just to eat here again. [​IMG]

    After dinner we walk over to the Bellagio, video the water show (which was a divine experience) and then go for the car to cruise the strip. Back at the Orleans I gamble a little. Hubby watches me and then we go to bed. DEAD TIRED.

    The next day we decide to go see the Luxor, MGM and New York New York. We start at Luxor and eat breakfast at Pharaoh’s Feast. MISTAKE. Talk about bland food. I was warned, but I thought, how bad could it be? Pretty bad. We should have taken the time to eat at Bellagio or at even at the Orleans. But now I know, don’t test poor restaurant and buffet picks. Being a message board reader I really should have know better.

    Anywho, we tour Luxor and walk over to Mandalay Bay. I get some very good chocolate from the Chocolate Swan. Yummy. (I just finished the last piece tonight.) Other than the Swan I was not too taken with Mandalay Bay. I can’t remember what I was supposed to see there. They did have beautiful Christmas decorations in the mall. We pick up the car and go to MGM. (What can I say? Our feet are hurting, even in comfortable shoes.) Excalibur doesn’t interest me so I pass it by.

    At MGM we buy “KA†tickets. I’ve been on the fence about which show to see so nothing like waiting till the last minute. We get tickets for the 10:30 p.m. show that night. I game a little, we see the lions, buy gifts in the Rainforest Café shop and exit for NY NY.

    Let me say, I used to live in NY and work in NY so I wasn’t particularly excited about seeing this hotel. I figured how authentic could it be and having seen NY why would I care. Well, it turned out to be the sleeper for the trip. I loved it! It was so much like New York City. Which I guess I miss more than I thought living in Atlanta. Fun, fun. We had a slice of pizza just to see if the mozzarella would stretch, watched the manhole covers steam and truly enjoyed being in this hotel. It is not to be missed. We stayed here a longggggggggg time. Doing what? I don’t recall, soaking in the atmosphere I guess. We liked it. We leave around 4:30 and head outside to shop across the street at the Grand Canyon shop and the M&M store. Hubby plays games at GameWorks, more his type of gaming and then we go back to MGM for the car.

    Back at the Orleans I go and make a spa appointment for the next day, play the slots, eat some ice cream and go back to room for a nap. Hubby is already snoring when I come in. It’s 6 pm and we’ve decided to get up at 8 so we can be at MGM by 9 just incase we have to self-park. I lay down for a nap, but I can’t sleep. I’m excited and overtired. I hate when this happens. Knowing I have to be up at a certain time makes it harder for me to sleep so I don’t. MISTAKE!

    We dress, valet park at MGM and arrive before 9. What to do now? Let’s eat, we do that pretty well and it’s time for some food, eh. We eat at the Studiowalk Restaurant (I think this is the name). I have a salad and buffalo wings and hubby has pizza (again). He also has coffee. It’s 9:50 now so onto the long theatre line we go. We had seats in section 202, MM, seats 4 and 5. They were more than adequate. Everyone was right about the shape of the theatre and how there aren’t really any bad seats. What can I say about KA? Nothing. Why? Because I FELL ASLEEP! [​IMG] It was my first Cirque show so I’m quite disappointed in myself. Hubby said it was very good. I guess the nap and coffee helped him. No nap, no coffee finished me off. (Remember, I’m on Eastern Standard Time. Damn! A waste of money.) I saw the first twenty minutes and the last fifteen. Of what I saw I thought, this is interesting, but I have to say, probably not really my type of show. I like to hear people talk. I probably would have enjoyed a good comedian or Jubilee.

    Back to hotel, we eat a graveyard special because I’m hungry and go to bed.

    Last day in Vegas. We’re up at 7 a.m. On to Paris for the breakfast buffet, yummy. Paris is a small hotel. I was glad about this. Our hoofs are killing us and so are the other muscles we never use. The Café was not crowed because it’s only 8:15 a.m. The food is divine. I eat like a pig. I don’t want to leave. Hubby begs me to leave, because all the other people we came in with are gone. He’s embarrassed. The nerve of him. The Buffet King embarrassed. Anyway, the coffee was very good, the crepes and fruit! Ahhh, take me back. I want to live there.

    He finally gets me to leave the restaurant and we tour the hotel. I do some more Christmas shopping and enjoy a garage sale of sorts that they're having in the grand ballroom. It includes surplus merchandise from Paris, Bally’s, Caesars’, Beau Ridge and the AC hotels. I get my son lots of tee-shirts and gifts for friends I hadn’t intended on buying for. At 70% off I couldn’t resist.

    Hubby is tired. He can’t take it anymore. Too much walking and watching me shop. Back at the Orleans we take naps and then head for the spa. I have a steam and a Salt Glow treatment. He just steams and jacuzzies and drinks pineapple juice. It was very nice. The staff was great and the spa was clean and well attended. The only thing I didn’t like was that there was no Jacuzzi for couples to share, you know like at most hotels????

    I game a little, he watches, we go back to the room and get all dressed up for our 6:30 dinner ressies at Mon Ami Gabi. (Finally, no buffet) It was too cool to sit out on the patio although other people did. I don’t like being cold. The food is very good, atmosphere lovely and service excellent. It was an affordable choice. With one appetizer, dinners and 2 desserts coffee for hubby I think the bill was $87 or 97, something with a 7.

    We go downtown. We get lost on Freemont (we made a right instead of a left turn) and then get back on track after just missing the 9 p.m.show. We park at Binions. I gamble a little, we have coffee, try to stay warm and catch the 10 p.m. show. It was very nice. Worth seeing. I expected to see some Christmas stuff; it was Dec. 22nd after all. Not a chance, it’s a patriotic show but certainly enjoyable nonetheless.

    We head back down the strip, I finally see the Mirage Volcano show I’d been missing. I video the outside of the Orleans. I hadn’t done this yet. We go to bed. Boy are we zonked. The alarm goes off at 4 a.m. I spring into action, we pack, head to airport and it’s over! We’re going back to Atlanta.

    I enjoyed the trip. I think hubby was less enthused. We had originally planned a cruise or the Caribbean so in comparison I think he was disappointed. He was a good sport though. He enjoyed the food, but hates watching me shop. He seemed to like Freemont. I thought Downtown was a seedy dump. Icky and slimy looking. I tried not to touch anything. Compared to the strip, well, it didn’t compare. The table minimums were lower so I would suggest a gambler hang out there. It was not the place for me. I like “new†stuff!

    The weather was divine. Low 60’s. It was cooler Wednesday evening, but overall the weather was wonderful. I was nervous about this in choosing the end of December.

    I didn’t lose much money. I just played slots a little here and there. Hubby didn’t play at all which would make sense for someone in pastoral training. I justified playing to him because technically I was just gaming. He agreed my few bucks here and there was indeed gaming.

    Vegas was fun. I’d like to pass through on the way to the Grand Canyon in October 2005. I’d take our son to Luxor, NY NY, The STRAT and Circus Circus so he could ride the rides, enjoy the buffets. (He is heir to the Buffet King’s throne. I call him the Buffet Prince. I’d also like to go back with mom and sister for a Paris Hotel Spa/Shopping Trip.

    The service at Orleans was good. The maid did a very good job. She was tipped along the way so I’m confident this helped. As for the Orleans location, it was good. Very close to the strip. Closer than I imagined and with a good view, you’re almost there. We never tried the shuttle because of the car. I don’t usually like shuttle type service. Besides I bought two new CD’s at the Virgin Mega store and played them in the car as we drove.

    My advice to other newbies: start early, have a skeleton of an itinerary but be flexible, carry singles, you’ll need to tip everyone. We tipped a lot and enjoyed spreading the love around. If you drive, valet park, don’t miss Aladdin and Paris buffets, visit a spa and don’t forget your bathing suit for the jacuzzi. Bring more money than you think and super comfortable shoes.

    Thanks for all the wonderful tips and advice. It was a great trip!

    [ January 02, 2005, 06:55 PM: Message edited by: Gogurl ]
  2. Jack21

    Jack21 Guest


    Very nice trip report, enjoyed it. I spend less time in the shops and more at the tables so it's nice to see a non-gamblers perspective of things, particularly a Vegas virgin.

  3. dkbk

    dkbk High-Roller

    Jun 17, 2003
    Yardley, PA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    That was a good read, concise, descriptive, interesting. If you want looooooonnnnggg, check out (quickly) Lacy's "epic". Gotta love the Spice Market. Except for the smoke, yet another report that makes me want to stay at Orleans (already like the casino).

    [ December 30, 2004, 04:15 AM: Message edited by: dkbk ]
  4. DebB

    DebB Low-Roller

    May 7, 2001
    Wow, I'm surprised you ate Graveyard specials TWICE!
    I am a veteran of the Orleans but my first Graveyard
    steak & eggs @ Orleans this month was unspeakably bad. (see my report under restaurants)

    I think there is a coed jacuzzi outdoors btw @ Orleans, but not for you if LV is too cold for outdoor dining ;)
  5. vegasdrea

    vegasdrea Buckle Bunny

    Nov 29, 2004
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR, it took me back to Vegas :D I love walking through the hotels as well, it never gets old. I'm so glad that you had a good time. I like how you are planning your next trips, that city hooks you like none other!!! Thanks for sharing. [​IMG]
  6. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    "how bad could it be?" - in the top five of questions you don't want answered, especially where buffets are concerned. I once wondered how you could mess up soup, but I got an answer to that in a hospital cafeteria.

    Nice report. Glad you at least went to see downtown, even if it isn't your bag. Good luck to your husband in his studies. Good idea to take him to Vegas so he can see how much work he has ahead of him. ;)
  7. Gogurl

    Gogurl Guest

    Thanks for reading and your kind comments.

    This was my first real trip report. I enjoyed writing it because I really enjoyed the trip. I have also enjoyed reading other trip reports and appreciated the tips you learn from them. This community is great and everyone is so helpful. I wanted to share in the same way.

    Deb - I didn't try the steak, because I was concerned about it being indigestable. I only had the bacon and eggs and they didn't mess that up. For $ 2 bucks I couldn't complain. In the middle of the night I might eat anything that doesn't move across the plate.

    Doc - I think I may have been too hard on downtown. We only spent time in Binions. The Golden Nugget was actually quite beautiful. I didn't even see Four Queens or Fitzgeralds. I have coworkers who stay there twice a year and love it. When we go back in October we'll definitely deposit my Dad and brother downtown so they can stretch their gambling dollars.

  8. misterKeno

    misterKeno Guest


    Really good TR. My trip is slightly in 'limbo', but if local stuff goes okay--i'll be @ the Orleans in 10 days. Woohoo. I could indeed use a comfy mattress, even if its just for a nite, lol.

    I agree RE: aladdin's buffet. I think the thing that i remember the most (dont laugh), was they had two kinds of mashed taters. On the american side, it was regular. But, on the italian station, it was red-skin garlic mashed taters w/ tiny bits of skins left in. Woohoo. Luckily, i only had to wait six min to get in.

    I'm still laughing where you typed about getting some picts taken in the Forum Shops---THEN---you moved on to ceasar's. ((( as if to say, the forum shops are far away from the actual hotel/casino, lol --------- which is true!! ))). I hate that crummy cobblestone in there--kills your feet. I'm sure you remember vividly now.

    Leave the mirage tiger habitat.
    Go out the mirage side-door.
    Swoosh past the porn slappers.
    Board the ceasar's moving sidewalk.
    Into the Forum Shops.

    This is prolly where YOU say 'yay shopping'.
    This is prolly where I say 'yuck, where's the CASINO!'

    Well, enough rambling. It's too bad your guy didnt care for the trip like you did. At least he stayed awake for the show, lol.


    [ December 30, 2004, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: misterKeno ]
  9. Gogurl

    Gogurl Guest


    I laughed out loud about the taters.

    If I only had to wait 6 min I would have gone twice in the same night. They should have called the "All You Can Eat Police" and had us arrested for overeating. CSI would have found enough evidence to ban us from every buffet in Vegas. Even the Luxor!

    It was the cobblestone. [​IMG] I didn't think about that and we had the nerve to admire it. Thought it was pretty.

    I'm going to actually use my gym membership for 2 months prior to my next trip. I'll be in better shape for the walking.

    Hubby is always a good sport. That's why we continue to celebrate years of marriage.

    I hope things work out for your trip! [​IMG]

    [ December 30, 2004, 08:21 PM: Message edited by: Gogurl ]
  10. misterKeno

    misterKeno Guest

    thx rhonda, i hope so too :confused:
  11. wam

    wam Low-Roller

    May 5, 2003
    new york
    rhonda great report. we love the orleans, it is a great little hotel. we have never tried the spa, what are the prices like. we did the spa at the golden nugget when we stayed there a number of years ago, but never did the spa at the orleans. we are also from new york and our two favorite cities are vegas and new york. we also did the graveyard twice and once the steak was great the other time, just passable, but the chinese food was always right on the mark. the cafe is much better than the buffet.
  12. kenophile

    kenophile Tourist

    May 14, 2003
    Gogurl: Great trip report! Which buffet did you like best, Aladdin or Paris?
  13. Taris

    Taris Low-Roller

    Dec 31, 2004
    Atlanta Area
    Awsome trip report. I was a Vegas Virgin until our trip last month. I also enjoyed the Breakfast Buffet at Paris.

    We actually stayed at the Mirage. Next time I think I will stay off of the strip to maximize my dollar.
  14. lionfan31

    lionfan31 Tourist

    Dec 6, 2003
    Climax, MI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great TR! My fiance' and I stayed at the Orleand Jan 13-17 and loved it as well.
  15. Gogurl

    Gogurl Guest

    Wam - Gee, wish I had tried the chinese food. We love it and it's not easy to find good chinese in Atlanta, unless you actually go into the city. As for the spa,I comparison shopped on Spa prices before I left home. They're all about the same, but Orleans was a few bucks cheaper, no more than 5 or 10 bucks a treatment. I had the Salt Glow. It was a 25 minute treatment and I want to say it was $ 50. I can't remember. The swedish massage is like $ 50. They have quite a few $ 50 things. Hubby didn't have to pay because we had free coupons from the FUNBOOK to get in. Actually when he offered the coupon she gave it back to him and told him he could come in for free and save it for tomorrow. (Amazing how he gets people to do things like that for him all the time. [​IMG] ) Unfortunately we were leaving the next day so he didn't bet to use it. The staff was great. Next year we'll do the Couples massage, I think it was $ 150 for 60 minutes. Pretty good deal.

    Kenopile - Which buffet Paris or Aladdin? Aladdin or Paris? Oh gosh, so hard to choose. If I had to I think I would say Paris. Probably because I walked right in and breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. The fresh fruit was divine and the crepes were to die for. Both were amazing really. I would never go back without going to both.

    Taris - I say unless you have millions of them always stretch the dollar. The Orleans is a fantastic bargain with good dining selections, Seattle's Best Coffee, Icecream. I was pleasantly suprised, really. The Mirage is a very pretty hotel, but too much casino for me. I like being able to kind of bypass the casino to get to the elevators. At Orleans you walk through but it wasn't that bad because you could walk off to the side. I would suggest however that you ask for a room near the elevators.

    Glad you all enjoyed my report. I've enjoyed so many it'd be a crime not to share in the same way. [​IMG]

    [ February 04, 2005, 05:50 PM: Message edited by: Gogurl ]
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