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Reflections on my most recent trip to Harrah's April 28-May 1

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DanTheMagicMan, May 13, 2019.

  1. DanTheMagicMan

    DanTheMagicMan Tourist

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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    I've only been to Vegas one other time and it was last year at the end of May. We (my brother and I) stayed at MGM Grand. This was a much different experience. I'd even go as far to say that it was a better experience by nearly all accounts.

    So having only been there one time and staying at MGM way down at the south end of the strip I didn't have the experience of staying or even visiting center strip. I went with my wife this time. She has work friends who were staying at the Venetian for the Dell conference and only one of them was attending. While we thought originally we were going to stay with them, I decided we'd be too crowded with the four of us in one room even though it'd be a spacious room for sure. Plus they didn't guarantee a room with two beds. Having recently been upgraded to Diamond status through tier match, I decided to just stay at Harrah's (checking in on Sunday, checking out on Wednesday) which I knew was "next door" to the Venetian but also learned that the phrase can be deceiving in Vegas. It was actually someone here who, when I was talking about it back then, told me that the Venezia tower was actually really close to Harrah's so if they were assigned to that one, which they were, then that would be, and was, easy. But boy I messed up on the very first day. The one who was attending the conference went there through his company and had to take a different flight (and airline) than his wife and my wife and I. We got in before he did and he met us at Harrah's. I don't know which way he took to get there but he wasn't feeling confident in his ability to retrace his steps and I didn't want us to get lost. So we took the looooong way around to the main entrance of the Venetian and even had her luggage in tow. Ugh. As many of you know, and what I should have researched more, is that you can get to the Venetian from Harrah's via the Veneitan's parking garage which is literally right next to Harrah's main entrance. But I didn't realize this until Tuesday. That was also the day my wife and I got lost in the Venetian and came out the main entrance and basically just retraced our steps back to Harrah's. But at least it was all a learning experience. Looking back and determining that it was the hardest and most stressful part of the trip doesn't seem all that bad. At least we got to see the front of the Venetian. But after that first day I learned that I didn't want to make the trip anymore. They, however, made the trip a few times and got it figured out and promised it wasn't that bad.

    Day 1: Harrah's/The Venetian/The Linq

    Diamond check-in at Harrah's was awesome. I made a reservation at the lowest price in a Mardi Gras room but was upgraded to a standard queen room in the Valley tower without even asking--in fact the check-in person asked ME if I wanted the upgrade. The view was even halfway decent especially compared to the view we had at MGM. We were on the 24th floor and if we stay there again I'd definitely want the 24th floor or higher since that second set of elevators "starts" at the 24th floor. We sure saw (and heard) the planes coming in, but I liked that actually. The overwhelming majority of the planes were Southwest, which is what we flew in on. Oh--also at check-in I told her I didn't have my diamond card yet so she made me one and made my wife, who is diamond, one as well. My wife was listed as my "travel companion" on my rewards account, and they definitely checked to make sure she was there. I thought it was strange because it didn't affect the room rate. But anyways..I'm getting a little ahead of myself because we didn't get our room right away.

    Our very first day there was mostly just settling in and getting the lay of the land. I found out right away that Harrah's, because of it's relatively small size, is a lot easier than MGM. Everything in the hotel itself was a short walk. Plus it was a very short walk to Walgreen's which I liked as well. We only went there one day for some bottled water but it made a big difference. We ate at the food court for lunch and I had pizza which I thought was really good. We were able to get our room right after lunch, which was great. The only thing that could have made it better was not having to leave our bags at the bell desk at all, but we were there really early so I figured we might have to do that on a Sunday. I was just relieved that it didn't take very long at all to get our room.

    After that we spent most of the afternoon at the Venetian. We didn't intend to spend as much time there as we did, and I didn't even do any gambling there, but by the time we got back to Harrah's we were tired from traveling and walking all day. So we just stayed around there for the rest of the day doing a little gambling here and there and I even got another slice of that pizza. In the evening, we went to Virgil's BBQ at the Linq. I felt it was overpriced (which is pretty much a given) and mediocre at best. I usually judge BBQ places on their actual BBQ sauce and I thought it was really good at least. Towards the end of our meal they had live music, but I don't remember the guy's name although he was halfway decent and knew a lot of rock songs too.

    After we ate we went to the High Roller. I got our half off vouchers earlier in the day and they gave me two of them since I said I had four people. So that turned out great. The diamond experience there was great and it also seemed like they put us in a separate line to get on it as well. Maybe that's just because we didn't do the one with the drinks? It was just a very cool experience being up there and it's something I'd definitely do again.

    That first night I thought about playing Keno but I don't really know how the casino's Keno actually works. So I figured I was just as well off playing video Keno although I'd never really played it before but I could figure it out. I played a four spot game and hit all four spots betting $5 it was a few hundred dollars. Small potatoes compared to what I know some people here have won. But I did end up taking it all home, which was great. Winning money on the first day of a trip and keeping it until the end can be tricky. Last time I didn't play video keno at all for some reason, maybe because I didn't take the time to figure it out. And it's not the most exciting game to play but I do feel like it has the best odds or at least better odds than the slots.

    Day 2: Harrah's/The Linq/SLS/Flamingo/Caesar's Palace/Bellagio

    The second day there, Monday, it rained. It was cold windy and rainy which is a combination I'm all too familiar with living in Ohio. I felt horrible because I felt like I had brought that weather right along with me in my suitcase. Staying so close to the Linq I got to see one of the lesser known phenomena in all of Vegas by seeing the parking garage flood. I wouldn't say the whole day was wasted, but the weather put a damper on things for sure. We walked over to the Linq and had Hash House a Go Go for breakfast. I'm not a huge breakfast person but thought the food was good but the portion size was huge and too much to eat. I'd go there again, but I'd go for dinner. The diamond experience was good there since they did have a separate line for diamond members and we were seated right away. When we left, the place was PACKED. The women walked outside and got In and Out burger that day for lunch while I opted to stay inside since it was still raining and get Sticky Chicken. We ate our lunch in our hotel room. The portion size of the sticky chicken was huge but overall I didn't really care for it. I can't imagine ever getting it again, let's put it that way. I thought the drink machine was kind of cool (because I'm easily impressed) but it wasn't working so I was robbed of even that.

    We rode the monorail down to SLS and I had been there before and remembered it as a nice quite place to do some light gambling. They were doing construction and I was with two other people that didn't gamble very much, so we basically just went there so we'd be closer to where we wanted to go that day--the world famous gold and silver pawn shop. I had been there before as well. The Uber pickup at SLS had changed since last year which was annoying and inconvenient. Add SLS to the list of "bad" pickup locations--it's now in the parking garage. Wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't walk through the entire casino before realizing that the pickup is no longer up front. Also had my first experience with our Uber driver picking up the wrong people and since the app thought I was riding I had to use Lyft, which wasn't bad. I was just surprised that someone would get in the wrong Uber. They clearly didn't check and the driver clearly didn't confirm, so that's not a good combination and it just went horribly wrong. No idea where those people ended up, but I accidentally paid for their ride before contacting Uber for a refund which they did right away. So my Uber experience at SLS was a little less than stellar to say the least. My wife really wanted to see the pawn shop since we watch the show. We saw it but didn't buy anything although I did buy a shirt last time. We bought some candy over at Chumlee's though and I got a nice souvenir there. As we were leaving there we heard thunder for the first time, so it was about to rain again. But it never hardcore stormed near us so didn't see much lightning or anything.

    We also took the monorail and went to the Flamingo on that second day. I'd never been to the Flamingo and wasn't all that impressed with it but the outdoor area I thought was pretty nice and we did see the iconic flamingos at least. It was a bit damp, but overall it was fine. It had stopped raining by then.

    From the Flamingo we walked over to Caesar's and went to the Bacchanal buffet, everyone's first time there. Now if you look at what I had eaten earlier in the day and didn't even mention I got another piece of pizza as a snack at some point you could probably see I didn't exactly save myself well for this buffet. It was practically free since we used my wife Diamond celebration dinner here and I'd say my favorite thing was the turkey although that's the only meat I sampled from the meat station. I went back for seconds though and that's usually how I judge how well I like something. Everything else there was just ok for me. If I'd had paid a lot of money to go to it I would have been disappointed. I don't eat crab legs, either. None of us did. But I did have a little dessert and thought the gelato was really good. I left the buffet area a little early and went and did a little gambling. I didn't see any keno machines so I sat at the big wheel for a while and even won a little bit. After that, we walked over to the Beallgio. I had never been inside the Bellagio before and thought it was very nice. We stood and watched one of the fountain shows from near where we came out which was towards the back of the pond. I didn't think I'd like it, but watching it from back there was a much more different perspective. You really get an idea of how massive (and deep) the pond is from back there. Plus there aren't nearly as many people back there as there are around the front. By the time we walked around, another show was starting so we saw it and one more before walking back over the Flamingo and taking the monorail back to Harrah's.

    In spite of rain throughout the day, we made a nice day and evening out of our second day I thought. Mostly because it stopped raining at just the right time.

    Day 3: Harrah's/The Venetian/Rio

    I'll preface this by saying that throughout the trip we were granted access to places at the Venetian that are normally inaccessible to the general public because our friends were staying there. I'm not sure when exactly we swam at Harrah's but due to lack of "free" chairs we didn't have a great experience there because it was crowded. We had a nice swim on day 3 at the Venetian and plenty of space to lounge around for a while. It was nice to just relax for a little bit and it was quiet with the occasional bird squawking from time to time. I couldn't identify the bird and don't think I even spotted one but definitely didn't sound like any bird we have in Ohio. We also had lunch that day at the Venetian at Johnny Rockets. Maybe would have been a little more impressed with it if it wasn't something we have here, but it was fine.

    In the evening, my wife and I rode down to the Flamingo on the monorail and caught an Uber from there to go to the Rio. We went to Guy's Mexican restaurant there and I don't really like Mexican but my wife does. It was way overpriced but it was decent. I always get chicken fajitas. The $3 for a side of cheese, which was really no more than a ketchup cup, was a bit much for me. The whole reason we went to the Rio, and much of the reason for taking the trip in the first place, was to see Penn & Teller. I bought my tickets well in advance so no idea if free diamond seats were available or not. In fact, I didn't see any free shows with my diamond status this time. But P&T I thought was really good. The fact that they still after all these years meet fans after the show is very impressive. My wife was excited and I was too because we've been watching them a lot on TV over the past couple of years with their "Fool Us" show. We took an Uber from the Rio back to Harrah's after the show. I did play some at Rio between dinner and the show but didn't win anything at all, in fact I ended up losing a bit.

    Day 4: Harrah's/The Linq/The Mirage/Venetian

    I started out the day doing some light gambling at Harrah's and lost again. My only string of good luck was definitely that very first night we were there. But oh well. I didn't push myself to try and win back some of what I had lost.

    Edit: forgot this in my original post but I checked a major thing off of my list at lunchtime! Went to Gordon Ramsay’s Fish and Chips and it lived up to the hype!! Not many places to sit and eat in there though and I was lucky to find a place. I’d definitely go again. Yet another place that was super super close to where we were staying. I think the fish was whitefish. The ladies (my wife hates fish) went to one of the American grill places at The Linq that day (I think it was also Guy’s?) and they liked it. They got chocolates for being Diamond members.

    I'd never been to The Mirage. I was shocked at just how close of a walk it was from Harrah's to The Mirage. I didn't know they only did the volcano show at night, so that will have to be something I do on another trip. We checked out the pricing for the secret garden/dolphin habitat and had I known it was something my wife wanted to do I would have tried to get a half off voucher through MyVegas/MLife rewards earlier. They were sold out. She thought it was free. We decided not to spend the money because we really didn't know if it would be that good. That's something I'd try and do again, though, as long as I can get a discount. I didn't see a whole lot that was "special" about the mirage but that check-in area sure was awesome.

    We had a 2 pm checkout which was nice but our flight was still a few hours away so we moved our bags from our hotel to our friends' room at the Venetian. We shopped and bought some souvenirs there. We also got some dessert. The Venetian was definitely a beautiful place. I have confidence that I can go there again and not get lost.

    It wasn't extremely difficult to get to the Uber pickup from at the Venetian from where their room was, which was nice. If their room was anywhere else it would have been a little big of a nightmare.

    Overall thought about Harrah's

    I really liked Harrah's. I've seen some people complain about how it smells. Every place does seem to have its own unique smell but I didn't think Harrah's smelled bad. It gets a little smoky at times maybe in the gaming area. But I had such a good overall experience there that, since I'm going back with my brother this year, I decided to stay there again. I've already booked us a room for the first week in September which for some reason had very low room rates. I wonder if they're doing something with the Mardi Gras tower that week and the couple of weeks leading up to that because it wasn't available. I just liked Harrah's because it was super easy. And with the monorail station right there it makes it even easier to travel around. I know a lot of people don't like the monorail either but I've used it the past two trips and don't see any reason to stop. I found a 3 day pass online for $19.50 and I could literally keep the pass on my watch--so it doesn't get much more convenient than that.

    It was a great learning experience for the properties I'd never visited. With the exception of SLS and Circus Circus we mostly visited the MGM properties on the south end the last time I was there and this time we stuck mostly to Caesar's properties. I'll admit that being a Diamond member had a lot do do with that. Staying and going to places where you have status is always nice, but I doubt I'll go as a Diamond member ever again unless the rules change. With the exception of my trip in September, of course. And I held on to that $100 celebration dinner as well. :) I'll be fighting with myself between now and then as to where to use it.

    I do have the Total Rewards visa and used that at every place. I'll have quite a bit to spend when we go again especially if I get my 10,000 points for spending the $750 I believe it was. The problem that I found was that even though I paid with my TR visa at all of the restaurants and my rewards number is right on it I didn't actually earn rewards credits because they didn't connect the two--meaning that they'd never put my rewards number in as they were doing the transaction. But I'll know for next time to just present my diamond card when I pay for something. It was really my fault. That was my only complaint.

    See you in September! And I'll be poking around here until then...
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
    second trip this year to Harrah's
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  2. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

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    You'll be in big trouble on this board talking nice about Harrah's....I like it to:peace:
     
    Football and poker
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  3. DanTheMagicMan

    DanTheMagicMan Tourist

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    I mean I did win a lot there. Maybe that had something to do with it. :)

    But one thing I didn’t mention was how nice I thought the room was. Very modern and refreshing. Nice TV. Plenty of outlets, including outlets by the bed. If I had stayed in the Mardi Gras tower it probably wouldn’t have been as good of an experience.
     
    second trip this year to Harrah's
  4. UnicornTX

    UnicornTX Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the information. Enjoyed reading it.
     
    Anxiously awaiting Vegas!
  5. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Thanks so much for the report! I love love love Harrahs and stay there every trip, for many of the reasons you outlined. And yes, the pizza at the Fulton Street Grill food court is fantastic! If you are looking for another great meal there, order the Artisan Grilled Cheese. It's 4 artisan cheeses on grilled texas toast, it comes with the best tomato soup I've ever eaten (seriously) AND a bag of chips for $10. Yep only $10! They will add on avacado/tomato/etc on the grilled cheese for an extra couple of bucks. It's waaaay too much sandwich and soup (and chips) for one person and so good. They pack it up nicely to go and I take it up to my room for dinner.

    So glasd you had a fun trip and enjoyed Harrahs!
    diane
     
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  6. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

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    Thanks for your recap. I am another pro-Harrah's person. I love the location and the convenience of being fairly close to other properties. If you use the bus system the northbound is right out in front and the southbound is right across the street at Mirage. Most of my stays have been in the Mardi Gras :jester: tower which is closer to the floor and easy to hit the strip. Last time we had a higher floor and the patio door actually opened to allow us to step outside and enjoy some sunshine. Have fun on your next stay.
     
    Las Vegas Bike Fest
  7. miss_sonja

    miss_sonja Low-Roller

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    I’ll bet you can get credit for those meals be contacting CET.

    Glad you had a good trip!
     
    Airfare booked-guess I’m going!
    First Comp, I couldn't NOT book it, could I?
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  8. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!

    But fyi, video keno payback (often 88%) is usually not much higher than video slots (85-90%). Learning video poker (95%-98% max for the Strip) is even better. ;)
     
  9. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Looks like you pulled a winning trip out of the hat!

    Thank you for the great report! :D

    RICHARD
     
  10. DanTheMagicMan

    DanTheMagicMan Tourist

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    I guess I'm just used to the slots around here being way tighter than that. I haven't done much slot play in Vegas on either trip. I like the video roulette machines and so does my brother. I taught him how to play and now it's all he ever really plays. I need to teach him how to play at least one more thing next time. :) I liked Harrah's gaming area but I was a little disappointed there was only one video roulette table.
     
    second trip this year to Harrah's
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  11. rhinoman7

    rhinoman7 Innocent Bystander

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    Very nice report! Thanks for sharing!

    I am surprised you weren't asked for your TR card when dining at Caesar's restaurants. Most of them have different pricing for TR card members, so you not only could have gotten credit for what you spent, but you could have also saved a few more bucks here and there.
     
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  12. luckylinda

    luckylinda Low-Roller

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    I like Harrahs valley view rooms also. There are two soda dispensers in the Fulton food court one was always working when I was there
     
  13. casinokid68

    casinokid68 VIP Whale

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    Great and well written report. I really enjoyed reading it. Stayed in Harrahs for 7 nights last month and loved it. I don't pay much attention to people's complaints about stuff. Some people will always find something to complain about, even in 5 star properties.
     
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