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Trip report Dec 9th-12th 6 Hotels, 4 Buffets. Prank involving El Cortez

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mgm21, Dec 13, 2005.

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  1. mgm21

    mgm21 Tourist

    Oct 11, 2005

    My Trip Report

    Here's a quick summary of this somewhat lengthy report:

    Hotels: Imperial Palace, MGM Grand, Palms, Rio, El Cortez, Wynn

    Meals: Wynn Dinner Buffet, Ellis Island (2x), Palms Dinner Buffet, Silverton Buffet, Imperial Palace Breakfast Buffet

    I checked in for our SWA flight just two hours before reading about the runway overrun incident at midway. Could have been worse is what I kept telling myself while I drove to the airport Friday afternoon. This trip is my 10th Vegas excursion this year, and it also is the first time I celebrated my B-Day in Vegas. my wife, myself and one friend flew in Friday, two friends from VA later Friday night, then two more Saturday

    Flight into Vegas was delayed 50 minutes but magically we landed only 10 minutes behind. It was a quick trip to the Avis lot to pick up our car. I had reserved a mid size car but got minivan out of the deal after tipping $20. Off we were in our 7 passenger mini van with 3 people. That saved us from having to pick up a van for way more $$ the next day.

    Our first stop was the Wynn to find out the scoop on the 50 point buffet offer for 2. We got our players cards and were told the points could be earned anytime within 48 hours of getting the card but buffets could only be redeemed under the promo Mon-Fri. Since we were hungry but also WAY TOO CHEAP TO PAY $35 a person for the buffet, I found a Jacks or Better machine and played at the quarter level for about a half hour along with our friend next to me, and we both cashed in for our buffets. The players club agent reluctantly allowed him to use the the 1st free buffet Friday and the 2nd Monday. We were outright denied for a line pass at both booths, citing mangement scruitiny.

    Wynn buffet (dinner): 8 out of 10 stars. We aren't much of seafood eaters, especially if they refuse to steam crab legs on request. However we found lots to eat: prime rib, turkey, and the best chicken noodle soup I've ever had. Desserts were amazing and I had two made to order raspberry crepes with warm melted chocolate. We also sampled an interesting looking imported fruit item. Our waiter told us they were 'rambutan' (sp?). Prickily red fruit with a hard outer shell, cut in half with knife, remove fruit and eat fleshy middle paying close attention not to eat the seed. It seemed like a lot of work for what really tasted and looked like a green grape... people were seriously loading up on these, getting 24 at a time on their plates.. Service I'd give a 6 out of 10 due to a long wait for drinks and somewhat slow refil.

    After we left the Wynn we picked up 2 friends who flew in to meet us from Virginia. They were excited to be in vegas but tired from a 8 hour trip thanks to a long SWA Layover. We valet parked and dropped them off at Harrahs which would be their home for two nights, they got a room in the Carnival Tower. The 3 of us that flew in earlier walked over to Imperial palace, made our way their labyrinth of esclators, elevators, and their crammed casino. I first went to get my players card, then to check into the hotel. Then back to players card to get our Autumn Escape coupon book since I had booked the $39 weekend rate posted here. We used VIP checkin since the regular line looked to be an hour or so wait. We were a bit worried when we saw they have a front desk position dedicated solely to 'room changes'. We were warned our room would be LOUD until 4am if we wanted non smoking since it would be right outside Harrahs Carnival Court. I knew they closed at 2am in the Winter so I said no problem... Off we went gambling which I think included Sahara for an hour, Blackjack made $25 at a $5 table, then to MGM to take a $100 beating playing a $25 table for 45 minutes. Then at about 2am it was back to the room to sleep. the room was nice, only complaint is that the sink's hot water faucet only trickled when turned on.

    Up at 8am, out the door by 9 and sitting at an Ellis Island restaurant table by 9:30. This is the life, $3.49 steak and eggs breakfast paid for via comp credits on our card for providing an email address last trip. We made good use of the LVA 4 free drinks coupon at the bar. We got a very rude 40ish blonde waitress wearing a football jersey who refused to take our B1G1 coupon from LVA or POV since we were ordering the special, said it wasn't good for the 3.49 or 4.99 specials. She brought the manager who said this was policy, even after I said I've used these coupons on every trip this year, even last month. Then she started screaming at the people behind us for adding a child booster seat to their table. One of the other employees bussing that table looked at me and said "was she f'ing rude to you too? She's the f'ing meaning waitress here and nobody can stand her." We got our payback when each of us one our $5 matchplay from the placemats. Then we went to play our Imperial Palace match plays and free slot play from the Autumn package. After winning $20 on match plays and nothing on the slot play we bought tickets for the 1pm Mac King show at Hararhs. Oh my god this was the BEST $7.99 one drink minimum that I've ever spent. Our entire group was cracking up and we got 2nd row seats for showing our platinum card to the usher. At 3:00 we went back to the airport to pick up our other 2 friends who flew in from Pittsburgh, now we had a PACKED van that was ready to party.

    Saturday 4:30 went to MGM to check in since wife & I figured 5 people at IP would be a little much.. Good thing we had never cancelled the $80 slot club rate which was actually valid on a Saturday. Checkin said sorry no nonsmoking rooms, I said I'll wait or take a smoking then do a room change later when you call my cell phone. They were not willing to do that due to high occupancy. Eventually they offered us an ADA room for the handicapped which would have been fine except the last time we got one of these rooms my wife was very disappointed that the shower head was not actually built into the top of the shower, it was on a hose with a handheld nozzle. The checkin agent checked with the head of housekeeping who assured him it was the pressurized high volume showerhead that all the rest of their rooms had and not the handheld model. Well after waiting 30 minutes with this guy while he gave us the room, we went up and saw that the bathroom held only the dreaded showehead on a hose which rained on you instead of giving a nice power wash.... Called front desk and was put on hold 20 minutes, called back and held 5 more. A manager offered to help and offered to move us to a smoking room. I declined and waited a few seconds , then he magically found a vacant room on the same floor, non smoking, EXACTLY the type that I had reserved online three months prior. They told me someone would be up immediately with a room key. I waited for 20 minutes and then everyone in my group was ready to kill us for the prolonged checkin period. Then we took our luggage and left, on the way down we tossed the key with my cell phone # to the checkin agent. I told him that the room was not right, checkin has taken over an hour so far, and I have 5 angry people now that are hungry and going for food. I checked our bags with the bellhop and refused to take the new keys from him, I told him a manager would have to call me to sort this out. (never happened)

    Our group voted and somehow we ended up at the Silverton for a Saturday night buffet at 7:30 since it was one of the few that was valid 7 nights a week with our POV B1G1 coupon. I walked around twice and was very close to asking for a refund since the selection was small and there were no people in there besides us. Once I saw that they actually had an A health department tag on the wall I decided to give it a try. The food wasn't that bad, I had lasagna, turkey breast, a stale roll, plain spaghetti, and a chocolate ice cream cone. We stayed for the 9pm underwater show which was bizarre, some skuba divers swimming and one guy playing a saxophone with an oxygen tank in it... good thing we didn't make a special trip here with a large group just for the show. I'd rate their buffet 4 on a scale 1-10, which is 3 points above the worst we've eaten at Buffalo Bills and Boardwalk.

    Saturday 10pm we went downtown so my friend could play poker at the world famous binions poker room, stayed till about 12pm then went to MGM. First order of business was to get my roomkeys for the new room and the desk clerk offered a $50 meal credit on top of the $35 we already had. Then I got down to business playing $25 blackjack. I was up $500 so I stopped betting $25 and dropped down to $10. Drink service was fast and the top shelf choices we ordered arrived with a smile. Bedtime was 2am

    Sunday 9am got up and ready, then dropped the girls off to go shopping at Caesars, while I went to Nevada Palace for my BIRTHDAY BONUS. I was determined to hit a royal for a 2x jackpot. Waited in line while the 90 year old slot club attendant hacked and coughed and finally could mutter hello happy birthday have you ever had a players card here before. I got my balloon and birthday bonus sheet listing the rules.then it was off to one of the 3 vacant JOB 25cent machines at the bartop. I played from 10:30 till 2 then, hit nothing notable except 1 4 of a kind for a 40 coin bonus with the flier they gave me at the booth. At 2:30pm it was time to pick up the rest of the crew for lunch which was at Ellis Island. I told the lady who seated us that I didn't care if was smoking or non, just as long as it wasn't in the mean lady's section. We had a very friendly waiter and our meals and rolls arrived quickly. They hit the spot, and we were thrilled to see that he accepted our B1G1 coupons even though we bought the special.

    After leaving ellis island, it was time to start checking into hotels. We were spreading our group out since it was sunday and rooms were more plentiful. My 2 friends from PA stayed at Palms using the 50% off POV coupon, came to $34.50 for the night and they upgraded us to a Junior Suite since they saw it was my Bday. The next part of this report is where it gets HILARIOUS. Our friends from VA knew that my wife and I had the Wynn and my other friends now had the Palms. I told them we had a problem booking our other free room offers since they needed more than a one night stay, but I said not to worry I got you a room at the El Cortez, downtown so you can play poker at binions if you dare to walk.

    The look on her face was priceless as we pulled into the self park garage at the El Cortez. NOBODY in the car thought I was going to get out but they realized I wasn't joking when I walked to check in for the $15 room that I had booked. (why did I just pay for a room I had no intentions of using?? well because I wanted to it, and the matchplay/slot play coupon book would likely cover most of the cost.) We got the vintage 1940's room with no elevator access but we got a huge bonus. we were one of the lucky rooms with an electronic lock on the door instead of a metal key. Our room also had the room # on the door unlike the others in the hallway. We got a great view of the 2nd floor parking garage and were thrilled to see that the large window was unlocked and the lock was broken/MIA. The only thing holding it shut was the 50 coats of paint. While we were joining the slot club to redeem our free play coupon, there was a security incident where an ex employee came in and started threatening the manager who called the police. Turns out the El Cortez asked this guy to work a week after he resigned which he did and then the hotel had the nerve to not issue him a paycheck for that week. My wife and my friend's wife were playing penny slots with the $5 free play coupon and I showed them that you can't cash the original $$ out, you have to cah out earnings only. well EVERY time they earned anything like .05 or .01, I hit the cash out button. I walked up to the cashier with my PA friend with our wad of 20 slot cash out tickets. I arranged them in ascending order from .01 up to about $3. I gave hiim the top half and said I have too many you'll have to cash half out. I kept a straight face while cashing in my $5.29. then I walked to the side and started cracking up, I mean serious non stop laughter, almost wet myself it was so good. He could see me the whole time but the cashier could not. I made him burst out laughing while the cage cashier added up his .01, .03, .04 tickets. He cashed out the 10 tickets and they handed him 29 cents.

    Then after our poor friend almost started to cry, I asked her to call her husband who was playing poker at Harrahs and tell him how nice the room was. Then I got on the phone and said "hey It's not much but I feel I owe you so I can do you a HUGE favor. I am going to rectify the situation right here and right now.... he said really? I said yep I'll PAY for this room so this way even though it's a dump in a scary part of town you won't be out the $15. SILENCE. the rest of the car was cracking up because at this point his wife knew that it was a prank. he didn't know this and I kept leading him on. I said promise me one thing, PLEASE don't let your wife walk alone at night to and from the hotel. It's the safest part of vegas except for the fact that you need to walk through the 2 least safe blocks to get anywhere. I then had his wife call him saying she's scared there what should they do.

    We got to the wynn and my wife and I checked in. Surprise, no non smoking rooms. I waited while they looked for a room upgrade since I have allergies. We got a standard room with a waterfall view. Hard to use the word standard in the same trip report as 'wynn' because the room was anything but. Our free room was the best we've ever seen. I then handed my friend the poker player from VA his room key for El Cortez. His face was somber when he realized we were NOT joking at all. Then we went to Rio for the masquerade in the sky X-mas show. I valet parked the car and took my "el cortez' friends' baggage in. I diamond checked in and had a bellhop take the bags to the room. After the show we went up to Voodoo Lounge for a few minutes just to see the awesome view. The club was dead since it was only about 9pm and a Sunday, so we went back down. I told my other friend from PA here's your room key since you don't want to sleep all 3 of you in the 1 bed suite at the palms. Then my VA friend that thought he was staying at El Cortez thought the bags in the Rio room looked familiar. He was SOOOO relieved that he didn't have to stay downtown. This whole prank was the highlight of my trip by far. He seems fine now but I don't know if they will be willing to ever let me plan any travel arrangements again....

    Next we ate at the Palms buffet using a 50% off POV couponi, It was good food lots of nice american food, but there was a mishap when I saw a white powdery substance on the inside of my chocolate cake between the chocolate flake frosting and the cake itself. just while I was savoring the chocolate flavor, expecting the granules to be sugar, I became overwhelmed with a clorox bleach type of taste. After nearly gagging and using up several napkins I decided I was done at that buffet and showed the cake to the dessert server, since maybe they'd want to take the preventative measure of throwing out the rest of the slices at the counter? Instead they just commented that yes they see that white substance but they think it's just sugar. I tried telling them maybe it's dishwashing soap etc and they acted like it wasn't their problem.

    Then we went to Nevada palace again since the VP machine at the bar had forgotten to give me my royal flush and I still had 2 hours left of my birthday bonus offer. Spoke to a woman thee who is a local, lived nearby for 20 years and she'd hit over 80 royals at the same machine, playing 6 days a night at least 5 hours a day. Still no royal so it was back to MGM at midnignt for a little blackback.

    Monday morning we picked up our friends at the rio, at the palms,then drove to Frys electronics. we looked around a bit then it was back to the wynn where we ate the lunch buffet. they didn't have cherries, nor was the crepe station open. Still a very good buffet. Monday afternoon we dropped our VA and PA friends at the airport then we went back to MGM for some more $10 blackjack. Left 90 minutes later about $50 ahead

    this was a less profitable trip than last time since there were no royals involved. we commend ourselves for trying 3 new buffets this time but really that was just because we couldn't stand to eat at the temporary harrahs buffet again. we can't wait till next trip when the Harrahs buffet will finally be reopened, hopefully with $5 off coupons from the strippers at carnival court. we're also glad that we saw Mac King since we'll now be taking a larger group in January.

    Things we wanted to do but ran out of time:
    buy my wife a manicure at palms
    go to the ghostbar at palms
    go to the Ethel M chocolate factory/cactus tour
    drive to Pahrump for more $1 collectable casino chips and maybe
    a t shirt from the whorehouse for a conversation piece

    January schedule (with 30 person group)
    day 1 harrahs buffet ti pirate show mirage volcano carnival court
    day 2 ellis breakfast, CES show, Mac King comedy show, some kind of dinner, then everyone will go their own way, some to shows some to gamble etc
    day 3 breakfast at ??, CES show, maggiano's lunch, shopping at venetian/aladdin shops, trip to FRYS, dinner buffet (hararhs, GVR, orleans?), trip downtown to see FSE
  2. aggie182

    aggie182 Off Key and Out of Tune

    Mar 20, 2005
    Missouri City, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report.
  3. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice. I did the same pay-but-not-stay thing at the Elco, but went for the posh tower room instead.
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