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Only a hour flight away from Las Vegas we visit frequently, sometimes once a month. I'll be sharing our trip reports, tips on making the most of your stay in Vegas, reviews of restaurants and shows we have seen, along with my thoughts related to our favorite place to get away from it all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December trip report at Encore, Le Reve and Sinatra, Dance with Me

I decided to go back to Las Vegas 2 weeks after my last trip because Wynn and Encore invited me for 3 nights with free play and 2 free tickets to Le Reve, so I made my reservation to stay in a king room at Encore. Unfortunately my offer was only good for weekdays so my husband couldn't join me as he was taking off the last week of December for vacation this month. It was a surprise to receive this comp as the last one I accepted was back in early 2009 and they didn't seem to like my usual play since after that all I got was offers with discounted rates.

My flight on December 7th from San Jose to Las Vegas was smooth and on time. Didn't take long to get my luggage and while there was a line at the taxi stand, it went fast. My driver was a female who did take the shortest route to Encore and was very pleasant.

Checking my luggage, I went in to find no line at all at registration but the lady who took my information seemed determined not to give me my room until 3pm. This was disappointing as I wanted to get settled in and then go over to Palazzo to rack up some points in their chocolate payoff promotion as this was the last day for it.

Walking over to the Wynn box office I tried to get my tickets to Le Reve but learned I couldn't do that until I had my room number, and of course since it would be the same with my free play offer, I just went ahead and started to play some slots until my room was ready.

I've never won at Wynn or Encore in the past, so I was pleasantly surprised when I hit a nice Wolf Run and then after I left that slot I had a lucky hit on Witches Riches. For the next hour I went up and down a bit but by the time my room was ready I was ahead.
Registration never did call to tell me my room was ready so at 3pm I went back, stood in a short line and got checked in.
I didn't request a high floor or a view, my request was for a quiet room where I wouldn't hear noise from the Wynn and Encore nightclubs and that's exactly what I got.
Remember to click on read more to see the rest of this lengthy trip report!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wynn and Encore Room Service Menu

This is the room service menu that was in my room at Encore in December 2010 and I assume it's the same or similar to the one at Wynn.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sinatra Dance with me and also fun with Huddler

Tomorrow night the show Sinatra opens at the Wynn. Tonight, they had the dress rehearsal and we were just about ready to go to dinner at Le Cave when Socalgirl called her host at Wynn to say hi and got invited to it five minutes before it was starting. I started to grumble about being hungry but was encouraged to delay dinner and was so glad Socalgirl talked me into it as it's a wonderful show.

The above link is to a photo I took during the curtain call with my Iphone and I thought it was cool the way they have the silhouette of Sinatra in the background.

If you enjoy modern dance and Sinatra you will love this show. The Orchestra is great and the dancers are fantastic.  The show was conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp.

Other highlights of the day was being stalked by Huddler. Just kidding, but it was a strange coincidence to run into him at the Encore casino as I left my room to go over to Palazzo to meet Socalgirl. Instead Huddler and I ended up at Encore's Eastside bar and Socalgirl walked over to join us.
My raspberry mojito at Eastside was excellent, a combination of tart and sweet.
Since Socalgirl and I hadn't eaten yet, the three of us then went to Le Cave at Wynn for more drinks and a delicious artichoke, cheese and pepper flatbread.
I'll give more details this weekend when I have time to write up my trip report.
I forget what Huddler is doing here, or perhaps I was just trying to get the background of Le Cave in the photo.

After Le Cave, Socalgirl drove us to Bellagio, where we had drinks at the VIP lounge.

For those of you who like slots, I got to play the new American Idol community slot at Bellagio today and I took a couple videos of the two bonuses I was in and will be uploading them later.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Wizard of Oz Community game at Venetian

I found the new community game of Wizard of Oz fun. I have a second video of the bonus game that I will upload when I return home.

Meet and Greet last night with Socalgirl, Huddler, Kydds and Shamu was a lot of fun at Sushi Samba!
Kydds, Shamu and Huddler.
Shamu, Kydds, Evoni and Huddler.
The Sushi the guys ordered and ate. Socalgirl and I passed on the food as we had dinner reservations for Aquanox for later.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Venetian's chocolate Payoff Promotion

I'm having too much fun this trip and frankly a bit too tired to have time to write up a live trip report so I'll continue with the live tweets and just post a short update each day and write the full report after I return home.

The highlight of yesterday was meeting with Breanna and her friend, Kestral, Kydds, NandJfrmNJ,Socalgirl, and Ian from the Blonde4ever Vegas message boards. It was a great turnout and everyone was a lot of fun. Big thanks to Socalgirl for picking up a round of drinks and making it both easy for us and the cocktail server at Palazzo's, Laguna Champagne Bar.
Tuesday was the last day of Grazie's Chocolate Payoff promotion and it was a bar of chocolate for every 500 points with the limit being 10 bars of chocolate a day. I only had time to get 3 bars of chocolate before the meet and wasn't impressed with my $10 of free slot play and a couple thousand player points, though the chocolate was delicious.  After the meet and dinner, I had time to get 3 more chocolate bars before Le Reve and the first one I drew had a $1000 free play award so I was now much more impressed with this promotion and if they do it again next year I'll be sure to attend and get my full share of chocolate and prizes!

Socalgirl called my attention to this portrait of Bobby Flay in one of the Venetian windows.

More to come later, including another meet and greet tonight at 7pm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday the 19th, last day for November trip.

I woke up late on the 19th, the last day for this trip and didn't leave the suite until close to 1pm.  Socalgirl wouldn't be joining me for a few hours so I went to lunch at Zine Noodles at Palazzo. The restaurant was doing a brisk lunch business and I was seated in a small booth in the back. I ordered their spicy black bean scallops and they turned out to be delicious but very spicy, which was fine by me, but others might want to be cautious when ordering entrees listed as spicy at Zine, because they actually do mean  they are hot!
I also had a side of spicy cucumbers which I enjoyed a lot. Deciding to have a glass of wine I ordered their Riesling which tasted suspiciously like a Chardonnay.
After lunch I then played a bunch of penny slots at Palazzo, and was just losing, no decent hits or bonuses. I decided to go to the Venetian Gold room to get a soda and since you have to pass through the high limit room to get there, I stopped to play a quarter slot called Ruins there and had a half way decent bonus. After that my luck improved a bit.
The above hit was on $5 pinball.
The $5 Wheel of Fortune decided to give me a spin but only landed on the $200.00.  At this point Socalgirl was there and had been losing too. We decided to meet up at the Gold Lounge, and once there Socalgirl told me she had just witnessed a lady playing the $5 Top Dollar in the high limit room get the offer for 1000 credits so she hit for $5,000!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grazie Gift Extravaganza VIP Party

I'm exhausted, it's a good thing I return home tomorrow. I'll post the details of the last day/night of my trip in a day or two, but for now I wanted to share photos of the Grazie Gifts Extravaganza VIP evening which was Friday, November 19th, from 5pm-9pm.
I believe the only thing VIP about it was we got in a day early before the rest of the Grazie player card members.
Socalgirl and I arrive at 5pm and there was already a reasonably long line in place. Our host met us about 2 minutes after we arrived and kept us company at the event for about 2 hours, and then walked us back to the Palazzo.
The Grazie gift party is set up a bit differently then last year. Now you enter a room with a counter and a handful of employees who take your player's card and ID and then issue you a badge to wear. They hand you a clip board with a form that has the number of points you have to use, and point you out the door where you go around to the Bellini ballroom where the gifts are displayed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun at G2E

Socalgirl and I finally made it to G2E! After some danish and coffee at the Venetian Gold Lounge we made it to the shuttle area where there were tons of busses waiting along with lots of HP employees. I'm not sure where the HP employees were heading out too, but it wasn't long until the greyhound shuttle bus for G2E arrived and took us to the convention center.

The above photo was some of the entertainment playing outside of the main exhibit hall.

Registration was quick as there's no lines on the last day. When I asked about taking photos I was told to just check with each exhibiter. I found most of the slot companies to not mind photos taken with the Iphone, though one IGT employee was funny when she said to go ahead just do it when they aren't looking (wink wink).
All my photos of the various slots we tried at G23 are on my Twitter account, so sorry for the poor quality. The great photos will be found on the slot manufacturer's web sites and of course the ones the press took. What I will share is my personal impression of the new slots and their potential fun factor.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Up, down and all around at Venetian-Day One!

Driving to San Francisco airport was almost bumper to bumper the whole drive from South Bay, but my husband safely got me to the airport in time and a good thing too because it was very busy. Fortunately I got a bargain price upgrade to select so was able to check my luggage for free and use the priority line for Virgin America and airport security. Virgin America flies out of the International terminal and the lines were long even for those of us in the priority lane.

Boarding was pleasant, the plane was completely full and the flight was smooth. I managed to get the only seat on the aircraft where the entertainment center wasn't working but that was a minor inconvenience as I had a book with me. They did offer to swap my seat with a pilot who was off duty and had a seat where the TV worked but I turned them down, karma and all that.

Once at McCarran I didn't have to wait long for my luggage and I was lucky enough to find the the free shuttle for gold grazie members ready to leave so no wait.  I was initially told my suite at Venetian wasn't ready but they called my cell 5 minutes later so it wasn't long until I was up in my room admiring the view of the strip just in time to catch the Bellagio Fountains going off.

For anyone who read my tweets you already know after I unpacked I headed off to the Venetian high limit room to see if luck was with me and for the next couple hours I had quite a few bonuses on the various slots in that room. I started out with a bonus on the $5 Pinball and received 92 credits. Moving on to $5 Top Dollar I accepted the 3rd offer for $40 credits. The first two offers were both 30 credits.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

G2E and Grazie VIP Gift Extravaganza

Today, I'm packing and getting ready to leave for Las Vegas tomorrow morning. This trip's original purpose other then fun was to attend the VIP premiere night party for the Grazie Gift Extravaganza at Venetian with my friend Socalgirl.

It has now turned into catching the last day of G2E (Global Gaming Expo) and as I start to receive texts from them on the welcoming party and opening ceremonies as they celebrate their 10 year anniversary, I'm just sorry I didn't arrive yesterday instead. I might be able to catch a couple hours tomorrow before the Expo floor closes at 5:00pm but it's looking doubtful due to flight arrival, checking in at Venetian and then getting over to the convention center by at least 3:00pm.

Wish me luck that I make a couple hours on Wednesday since they close early at 3pm on their last day which is Thursday and there's a lot of exhibits that I just won't have time to check out. I definitely plan on going first to the WMS booth and then on to IGT, following up with Ballys, Aruze and Konami so hopefully I will have some information to share on their upcoming new slot machines.

More to follow tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Olives Restaurant Review

Nighttime view of Bellagio Fountains from the patio at Olives.
Olives, one of Todd English's restaurants is located at Bellagio and is moderately priced for Las Vegas. We eaten there at least 8 times in the past few years and 3 times this year. While there are other good Italian/Mediterranean type restaurants on the strip, Olives stands out above all the rest for their patio seating overlooking the Bellagio Fountain show. If you like the Bellagio fountains the patio at Olives will provide a wonderful experience. The only draw back is the limited seating on the patio, so if you don't have a reservation at the time the restaurant opens or aren't prepared to wait a hour or more you are going to be seated instead inside a crowded noisy dining room and bar area.

I've only eaten once inside Olives and even though we had a window table overlooking the fountains it just didn't have the ambiance of the outdoor patio seating, so my advice is to make a 5:00pm reservation when the restaurant first opens and arrive around 4:30 to 4:45pm to stand in line, to be sure you are seated at one of the patio tables. 

Here's a link to one of the fountain shows as seen from a table on the patio of Olives. As with any venue, it's all about location baby!

Ambiance of course isn't everything, we look for good service and fabulous food too. I've been very lucky and out of our 8 dining experiences at Olives we've only once had poor service. This year 2010, the service was spot on and the servers also made a effort to be extra friendly. 

I've never had a bad lunch or dinner at Olives and sometimes it's likely just a matter of personal taste and what I don't love, someone else might. Consistently over the last few years everything has been good, but some of the recent meals really stood out and below are just a few of our favorites.

The meal begins with a assortment of flat cracker bread with cheese, focaccia and rolls served with assorted olives, along with green and black olive tapenade.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas" during Bellagio Fountain Show

Fountain Show at Bellagio with Elvis singing "Viva Las Vegas". View is from patio table at Olives Restaurant.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bellagio Room Service Menu

The Menu below is now out of date, the latest menu as of 11/22/2014 is at the below link on the Blog.

This menu for Bellagio Room Service has been updated and is accurate as of January 23rd, 2012. Remember to click on Photos to enlarge them.

For the rest of the menu click on "Read More".

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 26th and 27th at Bellagio, lucky streak goes on holiday

I woke up late to hear the Italian Mom screaming at her children next door and the rest of the morning was spent hearing children being children. Beware the connecting door rooms at Bellagio as there's no hope of avoiding hearing your neighbors unless they talk very quietly.

I ordered brunch from room service and it was served in 30 minutes. Both the chilled shrimp and the asian noodle dish with tempura shrimp I ate was excellent.

After getting dressed it was time to see if my lucky streak would continue and it didn't take long to discover it was gone.
I left Bellagio and took the tram to Aria, where I had a minor win on Stonehenge, but basically lost on everything else I tried, including Pink Diamonds which had treated me well back in July. I ordered a strawberry Mojito while playing at Aria and they still make the best one on the strip in my opinion.

Leaving my unlucky streak at Aria, I walked to Monte Carlo where I tried Goldfish, Wizard of Oz, among other slots, only to continue to lose. Returning to Bellagio I decided to go back up to my room and write up the previous day live trip report while waiting for Socalgirl to join me at Bellagio around 6pm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October 25th at Bellagio

Bellagio Conservatory

We moved to Bellagio on Monday where I will stay for 2 nights, while Randy returns home to work. Since I had already checked in on Sunday we took our luggage directly to my room where I discovered I had left my eyeglasses in the taxi. The only saving grace for this dumb move on my part is I have a eye appointment this coming Saturday where I know I'm getting a new prescription and I was going to have to buy new eyeglasses next week due to that. Fortunately I have my prescription sunglasses with me, so when I return home I can see to drive.

Randy had to leave for the airport in a couple hours so we went Bellagio's business office and printed out his boarding pass and since we used Southwest early boarding he had A24.

We then went to the Bellagio Cafe for brunch which had a line but since we had a line pass we were quickly seated.
I ordered the dungeness crab salad which was small but the right size for what I wanted since I had a early dinner reservation at Olives again this evening
Randy ordered a cheese and ham omelet which he said was great. Service was very efficient and we had a nice view of the Bellagio Conservatory from our table. The photos of the Conservatory that I'm posting here were taken last evening about 2am to avoid the crowds.