Las Vegas Trip Report: 2/4-2/9

Feb 12th, 2004, 10:23 AM
  #1  
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Las Vegas Trip Report: 2/4-2/9

We took a late JetBlue flight out of JFK (great carrier--the best!) and took a cab to Treasure Island. $20 for the ride! I think we got ripped. Think the guy took a longer way than he should have. Next time, we'll give HIM directions.

TI was a bit disappointing. The room had a terrific view of the strip and that was the best part. Otherwise for a Tower Deluxe, it was average, if not a little below. The sheets had obvious holes and rips that were patched up. The room had a nasty odor (it was non-smoking) as did the entire hotel. Sirens was ridiculous. I think TI needs another change.

We decided to spend the 2nd half of our trip at the Luxor. Much better choice. We had a Tower Room that had a stand-alone marble shower and bath (both pretty big) and no nasty smell. The views weren't as nice as TI, but the hotel had alot going for it: good casual/fine dining, pretty easy to navigate, sexy nightclub, nice spa, and despite the Disneyesque theme, the decor was classy.

Here's my tally of rants and raves about the trip:
RAVES:
-Breakfast buffet at the Bellagio. So good we went three days in a row.
-La Salsa at Luxor. Casual Mexican. Mean Margaritas.
-Cafe Giorgios at Mandalay Bay for gelato.
-Views of the strip from TI. Be sure to ask for the strip view.
-shops and decor at the Venetian. Didn't do the gondola ride. The folks on it looked a little embarassed with everyone watching.
-walking the strip (also a rant)
-Awestruck by "O" at the Bellagio (a little rant on this one simply because I didn't think it was worth $100).
-dinner at NYNY's Chin Chin. They let you substitute tofu for any meat on the menu. Great for vegetarians.
-location at the Luxor. You could take the tram or walk to Excalibur or Mandalay Bay. Then from Excalibur, a short walk to NYNY or over the footbridge to MGM Grand.
-gambling at the Riviera. Hubby won a few hundred.
-gambling at Luxor. Won $150 at Wheel.
-hot tubs at Luxor.
-dolphins at the Mirage. All of the the Mirage, including the volcano.
-Massage chairs at the entrance to the Alladin. For a buck, better than the expensive spas.
-the beauty of nature outside of Vegas. Would like to see more of that if I go back.
RANTS:
-the taxis that try and overcharge.
-the nasty little people shoving those nasty little naked women business cards everywhere.
-the sleaze (yea, I know it's Vegas, but I've met classier people in the Bowery.)
-the circuitous routes in the casinos. You can never leave!
-saw the rooms at the Grand. Not so Grand for the price.
-shin splints from walking the strip
-the junior cheerleader competition that was there. (not that they were noisy, but who the heck books a cheerleading competition for kids in Vegas?) I actually saw a couple of the girls carrying those little nudie cards.
-Fremont Street Experience (tacky and dull).
-Downtown is depressing.
-Comedy show at the Riviera. Seen better schtick from my dog.
-the twenty-somethings carrying beer bottles everywhere with them and falling into a drunken stupor.
-not being able to tell the hookers from the twenty-something hometown girls. (who dresses like that in 40-degree weather?!)
-the brides downing a beer, sucking on a cigarette, with their leg hiked up on the slot machine--all in their bridal whites. (actually, it was pretty comical).

All-in-all, Vegas is an experience I wouldn't want to have missed. If I go back, I would pack less, stay at the Luxor or better (since we don't gamble big time, the room was important), keep it simple and definitely rent a car so that I can see more of the beauty of the area.

On the down side, it looked bigger and classier on TV. Being from NY, if I want to gamble or take a quick trip, Atlantic City is a better bet. But I think I'd go back.

Thanks for all the tips from this board!
candygrrl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Candygrrl,

You just helped me make my decision between TI and the Luxor. We are booked at the Luxor for Memorial day & anniversary but I started thinking we should switch to TI but I'll stick with the Luxor!! I reserved Tower rooms which I heard were newer than Pyramid. Everyone claims that the Luxor is too far but we want to be at that end of the strip close to Mandalay and NYNY for nightlife, etc Did you eat at any of their fine dining restaurants? How was RA nightclub? Did you see the pools at Luxor (I know it was cold) but just wanted to know what you thought. Thanks for your feedback!
travelingirl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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Candygrrl,

Which rest. at Bellagio has the B-fast you were talking about?
travelingirl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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Funny, Your rants are my raves! Just kidding. AlthoughI really have to stick up for Old Vegas in the downtown area. I am going to Vegas next month and it won't be on Jet Blue. It'll be on good old Southwest. This will be my third trip. First go round I stayed at TI and really had a much different experience than you. Our rooms were fantastic. Great views and really good service. During this trip though we discovered that we really preferred to be Downtown. So the 2nd trip we stayed at the newly remodeled Golden Nugget. It is owned by the the company that owns TI, Mirage, and Bellagio. Very nice. We had more luck at the Downtown casinos as well. We are staying at the Nugget again this coming trip. I really recommend the Main Street Station though. The only reason we aren't staying there is because the Nugget's spa pass is too good of a deal. The Main St. Station is very clean and a haven from the smokier casinos. Even if you do not stay there eat at the Pullman Grill. A local tipped us off about this reasonable steakhouse. Excellent service. Pretty nice atmosphere. I am not a smoker but you really need to buy a cigar from their humidor and have them light it for you in the rail car. The experience is very similar to ordering Bananas Foster. I really like the old nostalia Vegas. I have been to all of the new casinos and eaten dinner at some nice places but I really like downtown. Speaking of nice places to eat. Rosemary's was recommended by Fodors, and they were on the money. It was about a $300 dollar meal for two, BUT this included a very nice bottlw of wine, a very nice half bottle of Champagne, appetizers, entrees and desserts. IT was one of the most memorable dining experiences in my lifetime. I will never be treated to better service. The thank you note from our server two weeks after the trip was a very classy touch. I can't wait for this next trip. We plan to return to the Pullman, Brunch at Mirage (great mimosas), and we really want to check out Green Valley Ranch. It is supposed to have a very good buffet. And it looks like a beautiful facility.
travelinlight is offline  
Feb 12th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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We had very good luck with TI - nice non smoking room - no odor in the room or the hotel that we noticed - great view and very nice service. Can only compare to Mirage (where we stayed before) - which was nice as well. Staying at TI you have tram service to Mirage. The buffet at Mirage is now closed for remodeling - I think it re-opens in June - but they have a very small buffet open located down by the Danny Gans theatre - it was very good. For us we like the location of Mirage/TI on the strip - easy to get around using the Trolley for the other end of the strip. Wherever you stay I am sure you will have a wonderful time -it is a fun place.
applejack is offline  
Feb 13th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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Hi travelingirl:
Hung out at the Luxor's poolside, even though it was a bit chilly some people were swimming and there were about 5 small hot tubs around--really nice. There are a couple of different pools. The area was really nicely organized. The only problem I see is the lack of shade during the hot months.

The Bellagio breakfast buffets, in fact, all the buffets are served in a sep. restaurant called, appropriately enough, The Buffet. It's on the first floor and pretty easy to find.

RA was pretty hot. We went Saturday night and by midnight there was a fairly long line--even by NYC's standards. If you're a guest, they give you a line pass that lets you cut ahead between 10:30 and midnight. At least that's what they did when we went. A youngish-to-middle age crowd, 20, 30s. We're in our mid-to-late 30s and we found it comfortable.

The couple we went with ate at Isis and said the food was awesome. The Luxor has its menus on the website if you want to check. At Mandalay Bay, I heard good things about Charlie Palmer's Aureole. Pricey, though. The House of Blues (Mandalay) looked interesting too.

But as I said before, I really felt that the area gave us alot of dining and nightlife opportunities. And even a little tacky kitsch at Excalibur.

Have fun. Sounds like a great time to go.
candygrrl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2004, 10:44 AM
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camndygrrl,

what a coincidence. My hubby and I were there the same time you were, but we took red eyes on Song. Fantastic airline!

We stayed at the Golden Nugget and loved it. The room was very nice and cheap for a 4* hotel plus free valet. We rented a car because we learned our lesson about cabs the first time we went. i know one poster said they were going to stay there as well. Ask for the coupon book when you check in. Many great buy 1 get 1 free's. Beware though, they were filming a reality tv show at the hotel.

We saw three shows: Blue Man Group (terrible), Mama Mia (fantastic), and Trent Carlini the Elvis impersonator (fantastic-he really sings).

We had a great time too!
alliegator is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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Hi candygrrl,

Thanks for your help! We are early 30's and will definitely give Ra and try! Sounds fun - I can't wait!!
travelingirl is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 09:54 AM
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candygrrl, if you ever go back to Vegas, I think you should try the Green Valley Ranch. It's off the strip (by about 15 minutes) and has gorgeous rooms, the casino is separate from the hotel (no roaming around trying to get out), it has great food, a movie theatre, you have a view of the mountains or the strip (in the distance) -- just lovely.
Tansy is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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candygrrl, you were ripped off by the taxi driver. I had the same thing happen to me a couple of years ago and reported this to the taxi association/authority.

I would contact them because the are trying to get eliminate this deceitful practice.
 
Feb 16th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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iceeu2
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I got ripped by the cab driver also...he asked which way we wanted to go..said the fastest...took us the freeway and it cost $20 from airport to Mirage. Going back to airport, it was less than $10....grief....and I paid the cab the first time and my traveling buddy paid it going home!!! Just my luck!
 
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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I would rather take the shuttle for $4.00-$5.00 apiece. So what if it takes a half hour longer? I think of it as sightseeing, and it's more relaxing than watching the taxi meter tick away.
gotribe is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Always tell your taxi driver "DON'T take the tunnel!" The tunnel adds about $5 to the trip.

FYI, a legitimate taxi ride to TI should cost around $12-$13.
Tansy is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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PLUS TIP. For a short trip, that's still expensive, IMO.
gotribe is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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Yes, and the shuttle is PLUS TIP as well. I'd rather pay for a cab than take the shuttle. I took the shuttle on my first trip to Vegas, and after sitting in that stuffy van for 30 minutes, as we dropped off all of the "off-strip" passengers before hitting the strip, I thought "my time is worth more than this." And come on, if you're in Vegas, you've probably got gambling $$$ -- why not throw $8 towards your cab ride instead of into a video poker machine?
Tansy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 09:15 AM
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The shuttle van wasn't air conditioned?
Rachelle is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 09:41 AM
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Candy, as far as "the beauty of the area", my take on Vegas is that one is usually better off going to Tahoe. At least there are truly beautiful surroundings, unlike Vegas which (sans fancy nighttime lights) is nothing but ugly, barren desert.

My other gripe about Vegas is that NOBODY SEEMS TO WIN any more. It used to be, when you'd walk into a casino and just listen for a few minutes, you would hear at least a few slot machines paying off, or excitement at one of the gaming tables because somebody was winning big. Not any more. There's almost always dead silence now.

After three disastrous gambling trips, on our last trip to Vegas we didn't gamble at all. Instead we did the indoor skydiving, amusement and water parks etc. Much more enjoyable and *much* less expensive overall.
fdecarlo is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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Heck, staying up all night shooting craps is the most fun part about Vegas!
 
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:59 AM
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The van was airconditioned, but when you've got eight people in the van, and you're in the back, it gets stuffy. Or should I say smelly. Airline food, and all.

fdecarlo, if you're gambling on the strip, you're probably not going to win. That's just one more reason to stay OFF the strip at a place like GVR or the Hyatt, where the casino is a locals casino with better odds and/or rules and/or minimums.
Tansy is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Yes odds are better off the strip, but only slightly. In the past ten years I've not known anyone who came out ahead, regardless of where they did their gambling in Vegas. Instead of paying back cash, casinos are giving more comps instead, and if one doesn't sign up for the comp program, as far as the casino is concerned that's not their problem (which I suppose, it isn't).
fdecarlo is offline  

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