This is my first trip report, so please bear with me as I ramble. The cast of characters is L (me (female)), B (my married girlfriend), and about 12 other people who flew in at various times to celebrate my 40th. Iâ€™ll try to concentrate on my activities, but will add worthy notes as they happened to others, as an FYI. Departed around 9am on 2/18/04, on AA from DFW. The flight was packed, the flight attendants less than pleasant (only one trip with the drink buggy, is that standard now for a flight over 2 hours??), and we arrived just a few minutes early. Luggage arrived with no problem, and we headed out to catch the downtown shuttle. As for the shuttle, we scored!! We were the second (and final) group on, and the first group was going downtown to the LVC, and we departed within minutes of our boarding. Quick trip downtown, drop off the other couple, and we arrive safely at the Golden Nugget. Cost of the shuttle to downtown is now $6.50 per person, one-way. We arrived at the GN around 11am, and were able to check in. We made reservations with their Best Room package (which included room and coupon book with quite a few deals, including buy-one, get-one-free breakfast, lunch AND dinner buffets, to name a few). The room was ready, and I tried the $20 upgrade bribe, and was advised they were full, so no upgrades; however, he was able to offer me a strip view, would we like that? Heck yeahâ€¦..so, off we go, to room 20121â€¦.for those of you who didnâ€™t know (like me), it is exactly 2.8 miles from the elevator (or so it seems!!) The room was nice, 2 double beds, dressing table with lighted mirror, bathroom had a hairdryer and some nice little shampoo/soap thingies, and there is a safe inside the closet with very easy to understand directions. We stored our stuff and headed down to try my all-time fave game, Pai Gow Poker. Mornings at the GN will find these at $5 minimums, and around 10a-11am, they jump to $10 minimums. Had very personable dealers and the pit bosses were friendly as well, often stopping to chat with the players. We both had players cards made, so we made sure to present those every time. Spent about $100 and played for hours. We ventured over to the Fitz, and were going to eat lunch at their diner, Mollyâ€™s I think? We were seated, and then about 5 minutes passed with no sign of the waitress, so we asked to move to the buffet, where we were promptly seated, had our drink order taken and delivered, and enjoyed the buffet. It was less expensive ($5.99 plus tax and tip, I think) than any of the entrees at the diner, so it worked out well. The selection was your typical buffet fare, with none of the items being extraordinary. Good cheap food, where else but Vegas, eh? We then dropped about $100 on roulette and asked for cigsâ€¦.they charged me $6.01 (plus tip), so needless to say, I didnâ€™t gamble there any more. Also, either at the Fitz or the 4Q, we found some bonus Pai Gow game, wherein they also offer a 3-card and 7-card bonus (for an equal bet). The basic strategy is that if in the first 3 cards dealt, you have a flush, straight, etc, you get that payoff. Works nicely if you want to bet 2x or 3x as much per hand and we did hear a horror story about the guy who didnâ€™t bet the bonus ONE time and had the royal flush, ugh! Drinks were flowing freely, cocktail service was rather frequent; however, I insisted on going to Mermaids to try a fried twinkie. I must say, I was quite disappointed, because it honestly had no flavorâ€¦it was just hot, fried and um, powdery (from the sugar on top). My friend deemed it â€˜disgustingâ€™ but it wasnâ€™t hers to rate! We also got some of those nifty yard-of-frozen-drink deals, for $8.00 each. I had some mixture of a brain freeze and something strawberry and it was tasty and delish. We drug our group of 15 back there on Friday night to sample these, and all votes were thumbs up! Without going into day-by-day detail, we spent most of our time gambling at the GN, mostly playing PG Poker. I ventured over to the Baccarat table, $25 minimum and made about $300 there. Nice dealers as well, and cigs at the GN were free for me, three times. They are still filming that reality show, and we saw these really tall chicks in bright pink hats and itty bitty pink mini-skirtsâ€¦.wowzer, what a hoot that was! Iâ€™m very new to the â€˜asking for a compâ€™ game, so one of the dealers asked the pit boss for a breakfast comp for me on day #2. The boss obliged, asked for 1 or 2 people, and did I want the buffet or the Carson Street CafÃ©. We received a total of five free meals (3 for me and 2 for my friend) for two people each, and we ate at the buffet twice and the cafÃ© the rest of the time. Just as a side note, the cafÃ© comp included appetizer, entrÃ©e (including the high-$ items) and dessertâ€¦.way too much to eat, in my opinion. I once ordered the filet mignon, and it was cooked to perfection, and was so large, I couldnâ€™t finish it. The Fremont Street Experience is still awesome, no matter what songs theyâ€™re playing. They did some disco, some 50s and 60s rock and roll and some techno, and I think the techno was my least fave! People were jamming in the streets, and it truly is just a fabulous time! By now, weâ€™re pretty tipsy, so we go back, continue gambling, and then finally go to bed around 4am. Gotta love Vegas! WOOHOO On Thursday, we gathered up a group of us and took the CAT bus to the strip. We got on the bus at the end of Fremont Street, passed Walgreens, and it was $2 exact change. The bus made a lot of stops, and the trip to the strip took us about 45 minutes to an hour. We got off around the Aladdin, so we could do their slot tourney. My friend B also wanted to see Bottoms Up, at the Flamingo. I had a coupon for free admission for 2 people, upon purchase of a $6.00 drink (plus tax/tip), so it worked out to about $18 for two, including tip. You pay at the ticket booth, get a little ticket, and go to â€˜any barâ€™ and turn in the ticket for your drink. You can tip (aka bribe) the ushers and youâ€™ll get a great seat. We had a group of 5 and scored one of those nice Â½ round boothsâ€¦very comfy. The show was campy, corny, and funâ€¦we all enjoyed the break from gambling. B had seen this show in Dallas, TX 20 yrs ago and said 3 of the original cast were still doing the show (noooooo not the topless dancers, ohmy!) For those interested in the Aladdin slot tourney, you pay $25 (and they do take credit cards), and you get entry into the tourney, your choice of a gift or $20 food credit (take the food credit, because their buffet is amazing) and $10 free slot play. They set the tourney machines with 300 credits, and then you spin and win points. The total number of points you have at the end of the credits is your â€˜scoreâ€™. Mine was like 3800 and the highest person for the day was over 11K, so I had fun, but no chance of winning the big prize! Same w/my friends, we were all way low! We wandered around, spent our $10 free slot play (some of us won, some of us had fun (me)), and then got in line for the buffet. The line doesnâ€™t look too bad UPSTAIRS, but then you go down the escalator to another line! LOL I think itâ€™s like $4.00 in addition to your $20 credit, but it is well worth it. My only issue w/this buffet is that the drink service and table clearing was awful. Most of the time, patrons were bussing their own tables, putting dirty dishes on this one table in the middleâ€¦.no tip from us, sad to say! (PS the waitress did not seem to have too big a station, she just was absent more than not). By this time, it was dark, so we caught a show at the Bellagio fountains (breathtaking as usual), and wandered down the strip so my friend B (a Vegas virgin) could snap 200 pictures to show the folks back home. Jumped on the CAT bus back to downtown, and it was much faster. Heard while we were on it that it now runs 24/7, but check to be sure. Caught the FSE again for a few shows, then gambled at the GN, then to bed (not sure what time). Friday during the day, B and I treated ourselves to a spa day at the GN. She had a facial and upper back/neck massage and I had the 55-minute full-body Swedish massage. I had Mickie, an older Asian lady who was seriously the most amazing masseuse Iâ€™ve ever had! The spa is nice, not Canyon Ranch nice, but has shampoo, shower stuff, snacks, free beverages, big fluffy robes and really was quite relaxing. Friday night was one of drinking and gambling, mostly at the GN. My friends threw a surprise party for me, complete with stripper. FYI in Vegas, for more $$, nothing is left to the imagination (blush). After that, more Mermaid drinks and FSE time and gambling. Another group of friends went to the California and cleaned up at BJ and said the dealers and pit bosses were very friendly! Saturday was souvenir shopping on Fremont Street and more low-key gambling and very little drinking. Sunday was more of the same, and we enjoyed a comp meal at the Carson Street CafÃ© for breakfast and at the buffet for dinner. FYI the GN offers a Sunday champagne brunch, and that extends all the way to dinner, with champagne being complimentary at night as well. Upon checkout, I called and spoke w/James, a casino host, who reviewed our play (me 8hrs at $20/hand and B at 5hrs at $16/hand, though I know I parked it for more than 8 hrs total), and he adjusted our bill to remove about $35 of dining chargesâ€¦NICE surprise, I truly feel the comps provided during my trip here were much greater than I anticipated. We stowed our luggage at the GN bell desk and went to the 4Q where we had reserved a room for the day, for $49. It was 90 degrees in the room, and the a/c wouldnâ€™t work (it was about 50-60 degrees outside, which made the room too hot for B), so we called the maintenance folks to come fix it. We left the room, left my coat, purse with a little money and a full bag of shopping goodies in the room, and when we returned, about 5 hrs later, we noticed the door was OPEN! Seems the fixit man made the deadbolt not lock so it struck the doorframe, which made it obvious the room wasnâ€™t open. We immediately went to the front desk, advised them of the situation, assured them that our belongings were intact, but told them we were so creeped out we were leaving now instead of staying the whole day. The manager offered to upgrade us to a suite, but by that point, we were ready to get outta there, so we declined. He surprised me by removing all charges for the one-day room from the bill, so the customer service here is quite excellent, as I certainly did not expect that! The rooms were basic Motel 6-ish, with two basic beds (not super comfy like at the GN), plastic glasses, shampoo w/o 4Q logo, etc. Wouldnâ€™t be bad if you just wanted a place to lay your head, but the hotel itself is very mediocre. Our flight left Vegas around 1am, so we planned to head to the airport around 9pm just in case the 4-hour security line rumor was true, even at that odd hour. We had a few hours before we had to go, and we decided to go with 2 friends (M and K) to the California, to try our hand at BJ there. They have pitch BJ, which I enjoy because the dealers seem to participate more. The minimum, on a Sunday around 5pm, was $5.00 and I bought in with $40. In a matter of less than 1 Â½ hours, I walked away with $300, which greatly helped my overall loss for this trip. I also scored a free pack of cigs here, with very little play! The pit bosses were friendly and engaging, as were the dealers. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but we had to use our free GN buffet and get ready to go to the airport. Left the GN via taxicab at 9pm, arrived at the airport ($15 plus tip cab fare), checked our bags w/the skycap, stopped at lost and found to retrieve something another friend forgot, and were through security, all by 940pmâ€¦.amazing, but now what do we do with all this spare time? We found the brew pub in the D terminal, sat down with a diet coke and cigs, and spent the next few hours watching the antics of these guys from Boson (Scuba Steve, Pukinâ€™ Dickie, and friends). Time to board the plane, which was packed again (what happened to the â€˜more roomâ€™ hype from a while back, anyway), and arrived into DFW around 7am (flight delayed leaving Vegas due to weather and other stuff). All in all, it was an awesome birthday trip. I had friends come from North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California, and we all had a fabulous time. Total gambling losses over 5 days for me was only $400 (thanks to my nice final run at the California), and total hotel bill (including meals and spa) was about $700.00. Hopefully this was helpful to some, enjoyable to most. If you didnâ€™t like it, please donâ€™t critique it, because Iâ€™m only a writer for fun, I have a day job! Thanks for reading!