August Las Vegas Trip Report Ė Very Long

Old Aug 27th, 2007, 06:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 92
August Las Vegas Trip Report Ė Very Long

Hello Fellow Fodor Members,
I am an ol' timer to the Fodorís website. Prior to any vacations, I have always purchased the latest book and read posts for help, but I have never given any trip reports. I thought it was time to give back and help others as they have helped me. So here goes:

This is my 3rd trip to Las Vegas. My first trip was in 1995 for 3 nights. I took my husband for his 30th birthday. We had a great time. We stayed at the Excalibur Ė price was if I remember right $129.00 per night. I donít recall much about the hotel except it seemed pretty old and the wizard show in the evening was in deperate need of a makeover. We had the opportunity to see the Tournament of Kings, but we turned that down to see Mystere. We paid approx. $190.00 for the both of us via a standby line and it was worth every penny. It was our 1st Cirque show and we absolutely loved it. Since then we have become Cirque fans. During our stay we visited most all of the "big name" hotels. Just hopped from one hotel/casino to another. That was a lot of walking. Even made it to Freemont Street, but our most memorable experience of our trip was the tour we took. The tour consisted of flying over and through the Grand Canyon via helicopter (about 6 of us). We stopped at the bottom of the Grand Canyon for a champagne brunch, and then lifted off for another grand flight over the Mohave Desert. The helicopter took us to the Humvee boarding area where others were waiting for us. About 10 of us boarded the Hummer, and then proceeded to Hoover Dam. We took a quick tour of Hoover Dam then off though the desert, stopping for pictures here and there and also for a late lunch. Our driver, I have to mention looked just like Keanu Reeves made for a great guide. He made stops for pictures and the men on board coaxed him to get the hummer up on 3 then 2 wheels. Needless to say, the women were not as ecstatic about this as the men were! The tour itself was about $640.00 pp, but considering it was an all day event plus brunch and late lunch it was worth every penny!!! *The Papillion Grand Canyon Tours was a great time. I would defiantly recommend them to everyone. Take the tour; itís worth it.

The 2nd trip is hardly worth mentioning, I went for a convention. I stayed at the Orleans. The Orleans is a nice hotel. Price was $69.00 a night, very clean and peaceful, but far off the strip and not convenient to the LVCC at all. Didnít do much of anything to busy with the convention!

3rd and probably final vacation to Las Vegas.
August 15 Ė 22nd went to Las Vegas for a combined convention/short vacation. My stay was at the Las Vegas Hilton. Price was $185.00 per night Ė company paid. The Hilton is defiantly a great choice, itís off the strip but only pebbles throw from the LVCC. The Hilton is not action packed and there is not much to see and do there if you donít gamble and Barry isnít in town. I was disappointed that Barry Manilow wasnít playing when we were there, on the other hand my husband was jumping for joy ;-) However, I did get to visit his store. There is the Star Trek Experience if you are a trekky. Personally Iím not, but I did have a Klingon experience ;-) Wednesday night I went to Paradise Café for dinner and had an excellent Rueben sandwich. Thursday night we went to Benehana for dinner. (A Japanese restaurant where an entertaining hibachi chef prepares meals on a large grilling surface in front of you) which was fun. Our chef had a great sense of humor. On Friday night we went to *Casa Nicola to eat. Food was excellent, service was excellent and the Manager, Miguel took our reservations, seated us and after we ate at our request he took us back to meet the chef. This made for the perfect ending to a boring convention trip. Itís now Saturday, Yippee, vacation starts:

Stayed at the MGM Grand. Price was $135.00 for the first night and $89 every night there after. Hotel was nice, VERY big yet we found it fairly easy to maneuver around.
Shows: My husband and I are not gamblers so our money is spent elsewhere.
Since we are Cirque fans I knew we would be going to see a show, but which one was the question. Well my husbandís favorite place to be in Las Vegas is right in front of the Bellagio watching the fountains; so we thought ďOĒ would be the perfect pick. At $330.00 for both of us, planned 3 months in advance, and 16 rows back I can say that ďOĒ was enjoyable, but it didnít live up to Mystere. We felt we had to see another, so on our 3rd night we chose Ka. $194.00 for both of us via standby line. I have to say that all Cirque shows are very impressive, BUT our opinions remain that Mystere was the absolute best of them all.
*Our recommendation is Mystere and oldie but goodie.
Eat & Drink:
Wichcraft - Roasted turkey, avocado, bacon and balsamic onions on a roll I wish I had one right now. Loved it.
Starbucks Ė Not really a coffee fan, but need a quick pick me up, Iced Caramel Macchiato, on the sweet side!! A little less Espresso, more milk, and donít forget to request the whipped cream
MGM Grand Buffet Ė Make sure you go early for breakfast. We went at 9:45 waited in line until 10:30 finally got our 1st plate: eggs, pancakes, waffles and by our 2nd plate they were switching over to lunch.
Zuri Ė The one and only time we decided to sit in a lounge and have a couple of drinks. I wonít go into the details; lets just say it was terrible serviceÖ
When there is nothing open after midnight except for McDonalds or Nathanís. Go to Nathanís. The Cheese steaks are surprisingly good.
Things To Do:
Madam Taussauds Ė Quirky is the perfect word. Let your hair down, have fun, get lots of pictures and donít forget to use your flash!
Rio Ė alright so I didnít mention that 10 years ago we went to the Rio for the Seafood Buffet, it was great. This trip, we were not as impressed. *Masquerade in the sky always a pleasure.
The Wynn Ė Ok so we had to see what all the fuss was about. Yes, they are right. The Wynn is a nice hotel, but sorry guys call us crazy, but Bellagio is still #1 in our book and they make a better Martini too! If you do get a chance to go to the Wynn donít forget about the multimedia show, itís short but colorful. Grab a drink and wait by the lake.
Spa Ė Regretfully didnít get to go.
*Valley Of Fire -. Saving the best for last and our most memorable experience of this trip. VOF is just beautiful. Sunday we rented a car through Dollar rental right at our hotel. Renting a car I might add is so convenient and so easy, no fuss, and no muss. We ended up with a Subaru Outback, wasnít our first choice, but in the end it turned out to be a great car it was great on gas. Valley of Fire is real easy to get to just like everyone said Route 15N for about 1 hour. It was as simple as that.
*A Fodor tip we thankfully followed: stop at the 7 eleven and purchase a Styrofoam cooler, ice and drinks.
I was a little nervous about of choice of day trips and didnít know what to expect, but because we love the mountains we were hoping for the best. I am so glad we did choose VOF. We loved it. *Thanks again Fodors!! The colors are spectacular and they differ from one area to the next, Purple, orange, green, and of course red. It was just amazing. One of my favorite spots is what we call the chocolate and vanilla mountain. If you have been there, you know exactly what I am talking about. The petroglyphs were in abundance. Unfortunately, it was a real hot day so we only took 2 trails, but we found it to be just a pretty from the comfort of our air conditioning. There are areas where you can pull off the side of the road for pictures and we took full advantage of those areas.
*Helpful tip: donít wear sandals if you plan on hiking, the sand will burn your feet
Once our trip to VOF ended we proceeded towards Lake Mead. I really donít know where we were but it was all desert and mountains. . Iím not quite sure we were, but I think we were on RT 168. It looks like we did a full circle Rt 15 N to VOF to 168 through Lake Mead National Recreational area and ended up in North Las Vegas on Lake Mead Drive. The view was absolutely breathtaking the entire drive. It was a very exciting trip and I am glad we had the chance to experience it. *Make sure you have plenty of gas, there are no gas stations in this area.
Well that is the end of our trip. Another great experience in the happen iní city of Las Vegas. However, because we are not gamblers, big on the nightlife scene and because we have been up and down the strip and each hotel several times I think my husband and I have seen plenty of Las Vegas. I will probably have another convention in August of 2009, but this time after the convention we are thinking about flying into California from LV, vacationing there and catching our return flight from California.
*Fodor advice welcome: Now we need a California destination.
I am sorry this is so long.
I think I just realized why I donít do trip reports. Tee he
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Happy Traveling and thanks again for all of your advice

jmm55 is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 08:01 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 246
Thank you for sharing your experiences, jmm55. Reading your post reminded me of my own Las Vegas days in the '70's and '80's.

I too, on a more recent trip, found Wynn to be overpriced with not much value for the money. I did have a hot cocoa at one of the snack bars. Was it ever overpriced at $3, and watery too! Real junk.

Anyway, thanks again for bringing back memories.
easywalker is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 3,496
Thanks for the great trip report. Glad to get a reminder about the Valley of Fire. I am a sales rep and used to have Las Vegas as part of my territory (from So. Cal). Of course when you are working there all you want to do is get in and get out. Now I go there often for conventions. Same thing-just do the convention and go home. I do have a convention coming up 11/29-12/3 and I think while I am there I will make time to go to the Valley of Fire. It sounds beautiful and in Nov/Dec the weather should be nice.

I am staying at the Wynn for the upcoming convention and stayed there last year for the same one. I do agree that everything there is very expensive but I think almost all the hotels are expensive for food, etc. Previously this convention was held at The Venetian and I really liked their rooms. I was skeptical about the Wynn but found that they do offer all the little touches that you don't get in many of the other hotels. Can't really remember all of them right now but at the time I was impressed and that just doesn't happen to me. I haven't stayed at the Bellagio, however. Would like to have that opportunity but only if my company is paying for it!!
paula1470 is offline  
Old Aug 27th, 2007, 09:49 PM
Posts: n/a
Great Trip Report jmm55!
Thank you..
I love the Wynn and after over 7 stays, never had a problem with the rooms, food and service..well, they did get snippy with me at the cocktail lounge..
complained and was comped my drinks.
Paula is right about the nice touches at the Wynn that you do not find love the Bellagio too.

Old Aug 29th, 2007, 01:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 92
Thank you for taking the time to read my trip report. It's nice to know that people really do care.
Paula1470, if there is one thing that I regret about the VOF was that we didnít see it at either sunrise or sunset. I believe the colors would be deeper and more dramatic than during the day. (Wow, I just canít imagine what that would look like, so amazing) Enjoy
Thanks again
jmm55 is offline  
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