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Third-Party Trip Report (Aria/Vdara 25-28 September)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by 44inarow, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    This is an unusual format, but I'm doing a mini (and hopefully at least live-ish) trip report on my cousin's visit to town. She has, somehow, at 40, never been to Las Vegas, and I'm finally working again so get to play tourist, and I figured this was a perfect opportunity. She's not an internet person, so I'm shouldering the burden here.

    Tonight she got in around 6pm. I'd booked Presidential, and while I was a little nervous based on recent experiences, they were great. Got a rep to confirm and finally text me about it this morning; they sent me the name of the driver before she landed. I quickly found him at baggage claim, and possibly based on a pretty decent tip, he had absolutely no problem taking us on the scenic route. I wanted her to see the ridiculousness of the Strip, and he delivered. Beforehand, I had checked her into Vdara; I told the front desk person that it was her first trip to Vegas, and gave her $20. I usually do $50 at Aria, but I knew this was a crazy weekend so wasn't hoping for much. Lo and behold, as soon as I handed that over, she said that they were fully booked because they were fully committed, but she'd give it a shot. She got on the phone with her supervisor, and they moved her from a standard room to a high floor with a Bellagio fountain view. The standard Vdara room is no slouch, but view was definitely a nice bonus! On the way in, I walked her through Aria, and she was pretty amazed.

    After she got in, I walked her up to the room, we caught up for a bit (she was one of my closest friends growing up, but I haven't seen her for years), and then went downstairs. We had a reservation for Lemongrass, but had some time to kill, so I played a little roulette, which I never do. I prefer blackjack or craps, but the former was $50 for 6:5, with 3:2 starting at $100, and craps was all at least $25, both of which are more than I like to play. Roulette was only $25, so I figured that was the right move. She asked me several times what the payouts were, and I had to be honest and answer, "I have no idea." I know what the single-number payouts are, but that's about it. However, I won $200, which paid for both the airport transfer and dinner. I'll take it!

    Dinner was at Lemongrass. She had the po tak soup, which I did not try because I hate mushrooms; I had the crispy pork belly with greens. Bear in mind that neither of those are on the online menu, but were on the printed menu we got at the restaurant. She really liked her soup, I thought the pork belly was good but probably not something I'd order again.

    By the way, when I say she'd never been to Vegas, she was also completely clueless in ways that left me staring blankly at my phone wondering how to respond to her texts. At one point, she asked me, "Does Vegas have any good restaurants?" Later, she asked me, "Does Aria have a pool?" I know not everyone can be an expert on Vegas, but...

    Tomorrow we've got lunch at Momofuku, then I'm running home to watch the Raiders game. Love at Mirage in the evening, followed by dinner at Bazaar.
     
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  2. pressitagain

    pressitagain VIP Whale

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    Why not??? Following…

    I hope she has a GREAT TIME!!!
     
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  3. RedRiverRose

    RedRiverRose VIP Whale

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    You are a great guide. Enjoying your report. I remember the first time I came to Vegas. I had no idea what to expect.
     
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  4. Farner

    Farner High-Roller

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    44inarow: can I text you my flight details? You don’t even have to change anything on this itinerary except that I might miss the Raiders game (midweek travel).
     
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  5. ReTriggerMe

    ReTriggerMe VIP Whale

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    I love Momofuku... my new favorite Cosmopolitan lunch.

    Now I'll be thinking of Ginger Scallion Noodles until I arrive later this week.

    Interesting to read a Vegas Newbie report from the perspective of a Vegas Veteran
     
    Starting the Holidays Right
    It's been 39 months!
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  6. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Pork belly ramen for me!
     
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  7. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Momofuku was great as always. Had the pork ramen, she had the tuna bap, and we split a couple orders of the pork buns. She seemed to like Cosmo a lot, and took a ton of pictures, though a couple times I had to remind her not to block traffic (I hate when people try to take over the entire walkway for taking photos). Now I'm back home watching the Raiders embarrass themselves before I get ready for the show and dinner.

    One thing I've noticed is that after so long of not eating out, combined with my stress and anxiety during the first half of the year, my appetite is not what it was. I find myself taking half of the food from every restaurant I go to. It's not the worst thing in the world, since I always have lunch for the next day, but it's definitely new.
     
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  8. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Loving your trip-guide report. You are a great host. I have had this problem for years...dinner gives me so much food I have the next day covered by left-overs until I repeat the cycle. Good for the pocket but when in Vegas I want to try sooo many different restaurant venues and it stifles that. Mentally, I just can't waste food and I love left-overs so I should just learn to aim lower.
    Your cousin's questions are endearing.
     
    PHX >> LAS
    PHX >> LAS
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  9. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    Honestly, I miss the feeling of awe while being a newbie in Vegas and actually enjoyed the few times I've taken a newbie and played tour guide for them. I can't say I'd want to do that all the time, but it is a lot of fun to re-see Vegas thru a fresh set of eyes. Hope you all have a lot of fun!
     
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  10. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    SAME. Even if I don't get to it before it goes bad, I'd rather throw it out myself than just leave it on the table. That said, this is why I don't do buffets anymore -- I just don't eat that much, and you can't take leftovers with you. I used to love Bacchanal, for example, but I can't justify $50+ for a couple dumplings, a salad, and some seafood. I did really like the Aria buffet because of all the unusual stuff they had, though.
     
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  11. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Truly, even being here full-time for years, I've never lost that feeling of awe. There are some things that you only have to see once or twice, but I've watched the Bellagio fountains probably a thousand times (not exaggerating!), and am amazed every single time.
     
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  12. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    UPDATE: The Raiders finally remembered that they were at Allegiant to win a football game, not for a spa day. I'm still a Giants fan at heart, but I can't help but root for the Raiders.
     
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  13. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Sorry all. Unexpected medical emergency came up, which didn't really impact the trip overall, but did keep me off the internet for a bit. I'll finish this up tomorrow!
     
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  14. Lulu4545

    Lulu4545 Super Jeans

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    Hope everything is ok!
     
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  15. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Okay, finally working on this again.

    After Momofuku on Sunday, I went back to take a nap before the show. She spent most of the day at the pool. We had tickets for the 7pm show, and got there a little bit beforehand. The show was, as expected, amazing. This was probably the sixth time I've seen it, and it never gets old. My cousin really enjoyed it, too. The only slight downside was that I miscalculated on the seat locations, and we wound up under that tarp during that one segment. I need to remember to go a few rows back next time.

    After the show, we headed down to Sahara for Bazaar Meat. It was great, and I decided to try something a little different this time instead of my usual pork sausage spiral. We started with the cotton candy foie gras, which, as is always the case when people try it for the first time, she was skeptical of, but very quickly came around. I could swear we had some sort of poke trio, but I don't see it on the online menu. For mains, she had steak, and I had the "paella-style pasta", which was the one miss I've experienced at Bazaar. It seemed much more like rice (i.e., standard paella), and half of it was burned to the pan. It tasted fine, but it's not something I'd order again.

    After that, we headed in the direction of home (her to Vdara, me to my condo). However, I don't know if it's just me, but I got completely lot trying to find the taxi stand at Sahara. The signage there is atrocious. In addition, there were no cabs staged; we were behind a couple people, and it took about 10 minutes for a cab to show up for them, and another 15 for us. Other than Bazaar, I'm really not a huge fan of the place overall.

    I had an early call on Monday, so I was off to sleep.
     
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  16. 44inarow

    44inarow VIP Whale

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    Monday was supposed to be my cousin's last day. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon working, and she hung out at the Vdara pool. At around 6pm we went to go see the Van Gogh exhibit at Crystals, since he's one of her favorite artists and I was kind of curious about it. It was definitely awesome, if a bit hard to describe. It's basically a somewhat-animated restrospective of his works and scenes from his life, set to music and projected 360 degrees around the room. A little overpriced at $60, but still worth seeing. There were some people there who mentiond they'd seen the 35-minute cycle three times in a row, and we probably would have stayed for another cycle had we not had to get Downtown for dinner.

    Dinner was meant to be at Hugo's Cellar at Four Queens, mostly because that place is very old school Vegas with great food, and I figured she'd get a kick out of the ambience and the lady-gets-a-rose thing. We met up with @AyDee and his better half at Chicago Brewing Co. Really great guy, and I'm not sure how we managed to miss each other so many times, but it was really good to finally get together. After that, my cousin and I headed over to Hugo's for our 8pm reservation.

    Unfortunately, this is where things went off the rails. I'm not really comfortable getting into details on the public part of the board, but long story short, an underlying condition of mine flared up, and I wound up getting taken by ambulance to the ER, where I spent the night. I want to emphasize that I am *completely* fine now. I'm eternally grateful to Four Queens security, the paramedics (I can't remember who it was, though I don't think it was AMR, and I'm sure I'll find out when they send me the bill), the nurses and doctors at Valley Hospital, and especially @AyDee, who not only helped me out at the time, but also filled me in later on what actually happened, because I have absolutely no memory of any of it.

    Because of all this, my cousin stayed an extra day. I spent most of Monday sleeping it off, and then we went to Julian Serrano for dinner. Great as always, though I couldn't really eat much and wound up taking a bunch home. She went back to her hotel to pack, I went back home and went to sleep again, and while I had originally planned to take her to the airport, her rescheduled flight was at about 6am and there was just no way I was making it out of bed by then.

    EPILOGUE:

    And thus concludes the report of my cousin's first trip to Vegas! Overall, I think she had a good time, but I candidly didn't get the sense that she saw the same magic in the place as we do. I definitely can't see her coming back of her own volition, but I had a pretty good itinerary for us in terms of meals and activities, so maybe if I'm around to play tour guide again, she'll do another trip, especially because there were a bunch of things that we just didn't have time to see (main ones being Bellagio, Wynn, and the NY-NY casino floor).

    Thanks for following along, everyone. Until next time!
     
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  17. Vegasworm

    Vegasworm Finger Clicker Extraordinaire

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    Nice of you to play guide for your cousin.

    Wow, sorry to hear about the medical incident. Glad you're okay.

    Thanks for the recap!
    Vegasworm
     
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