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Las Vegas Trip report!

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Sep 30th, 2013, 10:24 AM
  #1
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Las Vegas Trip report!

This was my first trip to Las Vegas and it was a lot of fun! We flew Air Tran on a deal through the Bellagio or MGM vacations. I would not do that combined room and flight again because I really did not care for Air Tran for cross country travel. They seem more like a budget airline which is good for the one hour flight. We flew from Richmond VA to Atlanta to Las Vegas. The second part of our trip was 4. 2 hours and there was no movie, very tight seating and a bag of pretzels and a soda, a long flight. It was like flying cross country in a tin can.
We arrived and headed over the Bellagio where we had a king room in the spa tower. The man at the desk said we could have a strip view if we wished to wait till 3pm for a room. We took the view of the mountains and desert and a lot of old buildings in between, and headed upstairs at 12 noon. The room was comfortable, clean, and modern. The bed was very comfortable! We had twice a day maid service and we were on the 27th floor. The Bellagio did not disappoint as far as being a beautiful and luxurious hotel. I was surprised to hear it was already 15 years old. It looks very new to me. We paid 1600 for two for the room and the flights. I think the room was a good price averaging 200 per night. With that said, I saw several groups of young men who booked a suite at the bellagio, (on our floor no less), for what I am guessing is the remake of the movie the Hangover. It doesn't cost that much if you have 8 guys sharing the room. It reminded me of when the movie Animal house came out and everyone in high school assumed that was going to be their college experience.
We spent a lot of time walking from hotel to hotel checking out the strip to see how they are all decorated and what they had to offer. There are some gorgeous hotels and some real dumps too, and they are located next to one another! This town has a hotel for everyone's budget.
We saw two shows. Jersey Boys was a great musical and I didn't even realize that Franky Valli sang some of the songs he did. I also never heard the story of the Four seasons before, so it was a very interesting and lively show. I highly recommend it.
We also saw comedian Daniel Tosh. He was hysterically funny. He is definitely not politically correct and the one good thing I could say is that he hates everyone. So, at least he is fair about his digs. We found him quite humorous.

Dinners: The first night we ate at the Bellagio at the Circo restaurant. It was delicious, and probably the best meal we had. I ate the spagetti bolognese, (as recommended by fellow fodorite) and my DH ate the Sea Bass. The food was incredibly delicious and would have ate there twice but there were too many restaurants to try out.
*one note is the wine by the glass was 18 dollars. I am a bit cheap when it comes to paying 18 dollars for what is about 3 sips of wine, but it was very tasty wine.
Night two: We were going to see Jersey Boys at the Paris, so I booked Le Provencal. The food was good, but the restaurant was a little bit of a disappointment to me. I felt like I was in a pizza parlor and should have booked the Mon ami one out front. I would not return to Le Provencal because it was just an average place you would find anywhere.
Night 3: We headed over to Ceasars Palace, (which was DH's favorite hotel pool we saw. I kept waiting to see Charlton Heston pull up on a chariot.) We dined in the Old Homestead Steakhouse. Our filets were excellent! Food was very good overall and I highly recommend it.
Night 4:We dined at Sinatra at the Encore hotel. Since I love italian food and Sinatra is all about Vegas, we decided to give it a try. The food was very good, atmosphere was nice listening to Frank, but I won't lie, it is pricey. My veal parmigiana was 49. and that included zip, no sides.
Most restaurants offer everything ala carte and the nice ones are pretty pricey. I knew that going out nice in Vegas has a price tag and I expected that. We had one waitress tell us that they carry a 25,000 dollar bottle of wine and people have ordered it. She went on to tell us that when she dines out, she likes to order a bottle that is more like 150 or 200 dollars a bottle. After she walked away, I said to DH, this is why this town is having a hard time. The waitress doesn't blink an eye to spend 200 bucks on a bottle of wine. I am complaining about 18 dollars for a glass! I just can't justify spending 200 for a bottle of wine. I am not a wine snob at all and usually spend about 10-20 dollars on a bottle. I even like some of the cheaper bottles. Whether a wine is so much better at 200 a bottle is beyond me.
We ate three breakfast brunches at the Bellagio buffet. The buffet is really amazingly good, with so many choices! No wonder America is fat! It was the best deal for us rather than 50 dollar breakfast and then a 50 dollar lunch. We ate the 70 dollar brunch and that held us off till dinner.

So, to move on: The shops in all the nice hotels are the brand designers. I am not sure how they stay alfoat in every hotel on the strip. I guess they are hoping some guy spends a fortune gambling and lets his wife or girlfriend shop.
We had fun gambling a little. We are not big gamblers, but I could see how easy it is to fall into the addiction when you win 100 or more dollars on one spin of the wheel, but you can lose it back very fast! We did not come out winners in the end, but had fun playing some of the tables.
The worst part about Vegas is the SMOKING! uggh! I am an ex smoker for about 15 years now (I smoked for 20 years), and I can be tolerant of some smoke. Oh god, it was awful! Every hotel casino we went in my eyes would water and turn blood shot immediately the smoke was so thick. There are a lot of people who smoke still in the US and they are all gambling in Vegas, sitting by the pool in Vegas, swimming in the pool in Vegas, walking down the hall on the 27th floors in Vegas. I am surprised it is allowed in as many places as it is there. I am sure the Bellagio pumps a lot of O2 in the air with air freshners because I only smelled it real bad in the casino area. Everywhere else, it was limited. Some of the older hotels, like Ballys just was disgusting with smoke filled air. Really needs an overhaul.

All in all, Vegas has something for everyone. I think it is a great place for a couple or for a group to travel to. It has great shows and food. The nicer hotels are really nice and I think affordable. It is not the place to take kids and we saw many people did. It just really is a 21 and older playground. I saw one sign saying nice girls go to heaven and bad girls go to Vegas. There is some truth to that, LOL. It isn't called Sin City for nothing.
The girls delivered directly to your room trucks go up and down the strip 24 hours a day. It is not the place for family vacations.
I am really not sure how people live in the desert and live with all that stuff every day! It wouldn't be for me.
girlonthego is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2013, 11:42 AM
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Nice report. Glad you had a good time!
MichelleY is offline  
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Sep 30th, 2013, 12:39 PM
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Sounds like a fun trip. I have to admit to having sticker shock at the cost of the meals. The only time DH and I went to LV (before kids!), our big meal was the $5 all you can eat prime rib at Circus Circus. Times have changed!

Glad to hear DD is feeling better.
bennnie is offline  
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Oct 2nd, 2013, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for the report girlonthego. Your comments on smoking are the reason Las Vegas is not on our list of places to go.

Until they have similar restrictions as 90% of the other travel destinations in the U.S., it will continue to draw smokers like moths to a flame, making it extra uncomfortable for people who dislike smoke.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
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Oct 2nd, 2013, 11:51 PM
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Wow, great experience you had at Vegas. Good to hear that you had an amazing time.
marky68 is offline  
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Thanks for the great trip report.

You can find non-smoking options - and while I used to love the Bellagio and it's great pool (especially the view of the fountains when you have a room on the strip side) - but didn't know it was that smoky now. The developer - Steve Wynn - (who sold it to MGM) -has the newer Wynn - and the adjacent Encore (with the Frank Sinatra restaurant) and those are now our favorite places, but hey - being from San Diego and going over a lot - I can have a good time staying just about anywhere that is clean and non-smoking.

There are also all kinds of great deals for dining (Tix 4 Less kiosks/booths, etc) but Circo is still probably my favorite place (even with all the new great places)- and he has a new one in Aria is it? Really like the owner/founder - he is a huge fan of Italian soccer and Opera - and also his great restaurant(s) in NYC.
Tomsd is offline  
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 06:57 AM
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BTW - also liked Mina, Picasso and Prime in the Bellagio - and there are other great ones at Wynn/Encore - and of course around town a lot of other famous chefs show their moxie.

Favorite "bargain" places to dine can be found by googling away - and also getting discount coupons, checking the local tourist mags, etc. For a good - cheap - late night burger - made to order - where the performers go when they get off - try Fat Burger - just north of the MGM.

Other places also have specials after 11 PM, but not like it used to be.
Tomsd is offline  
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Oct 3rd, 2013, 10:59 AM
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Glad you enjoyed the trip! $49 for an entree and that's all is such a rip off--one of my favorite rants. Back in the day, meals used to be very cheap in Vegas. Guess those days are over. We always shared meals--portions ridiculously large.
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