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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.

Monday, March 14, 2011

February Palazzo Vegas Trip Report

Our February Las Vegas Trip got off to a rocky start the day before we were due to leave thanks to the turmoil of changes that Venetian and Palazzo were doing with canceling many of their customer's comped reservations at the last minute because they had decided to tighten up their comping policies. When friends of ours had gotten their reservation canceled a couple days before their Super Bowl trip to Vegas by the LVS group, I called my host at Venetian and Palazzo and asked if there was any chance of that happening to us and he said no that we always gave them consistent gambling business and were the demographic they wanted. However, I continued to see posts on various Las Vegas message boards where others were also getting last minute calls saying their comp reservation wouldn't be honored but they were welcome to still stay at Venetian or Palazzo for X amount of dollars. This led me to call our host the day before we were leaving and ask once again if he was sure our reservation was safe and he said of course, so imagine our dismay when he called back 3 hours later to tell me that he had found our name on the list of people to call to tell them their comped offer was not being honored. Feeling sorry for him and the 60 other people he needed to call in addition to us to give this bad news to I didn't give him a hard time but just said that in that case we wouldn't be staying there this trip. After getting off the phone with him I looked at our other offers from Bellagio, Wynn, Mandalay and others and decided the Aria offer was the best and called them and was quickly booked again. As I was going over our change of plans with my husband our Venetian/Palazzo host called back and said he spoke to the Vice President of Casino Marketing and they had made a mistake and didn't know what they were doing at the moment and we were not suppose to be on the list. Since our host also added that he had scheduled us for a limo pickup, VIP lounge checkin and access during our trip, along with a $100.00 a day food&beverage credit in addition to our free play it trumped the Aria offer so our trip was back on for staying at Palazzo and I called Aria back and canceled out.
Our flight out of San Jose the next day was smooth and the limo driver was waiting for us at baggage claim. We quickly got our luggage and decided to enjoy the ride so the driver took us to Palazzo via the strip. Once at Palazzo we went to VIP check in which is very nice and we were quickly given a suite with the usual view of Treasure Island.
Since dinner was hours a way we quickly had a snack of some finger sandwiches, fruit and cookies that were always available in the VIP lounge. For those who are wondering this is one VIP lounge where they check when you enter to see if you belong there and they do it by asking to see your room key which has a band of gold at the end of it if you are a VIP guest.
My husband who wasn't feeling well, something that would persist with him for the first 2 days of our 5 night trip, decided to go up to our suite immediately and have valet deliver our luggage, while I went to visit our host. I had a nice chat with our host and all seemed to be well, though it was obvious from what he was telling me that these sudden changes were surprising all of them and they were currently still attending meetings meant to educate the staff on what these changes would mean and that the orders were coming from the very top.
I soon went up to the room to unpack, but while doing that discovered our safe was locked by the previous room's occupants and had to call to have them open it up as I needed to put both cash and laptop in it. After waiting for them for about a hour they did come and open up the safe which was empty.
After the safe was fixed we went to the Venetian casino so I could show Randy the new Star War's slot machine which he really enjoyed playing since for the next hour or so he continued to hit bonuses on it and was ahead.
Unfortunately while he was winning I was busy losing with the exception of a nice hit on Wolf Run. I also went looking for the Alice Adventures in Wonderland slot which I was looking forward to playing so much and while I found it at Venetian the pay offs for the bonuses were pitiful for me even betting max. I have movies of several of the bonus games here:

We had a early dinner our first evening at Aquaknox and I was delighted to discover on the drink menu the Ace Kicker which was bourbon, mango puree, Tabasco and sweet and sour mix. I love spicy drinks and this one had such a nice kick to it, I ended up having two of them!
Randy started out with the seafood trio of crab, red shrimp and lobster which as always was very good.
I had the sweet red shrimp atomic appetizer which was tasty but not the large shrimp that the server had led me to expect.
One of the best dishes of the evening which Randy and I shared was the the sweet shrimp and crab salad.
Randy enjoyed his entree of mesquite grilled prawns, scampi sauce and Israeli couscous.
I ordered the seared Maine scallops which were good but not outstanding. One of my main reasons for selecting AquaKnox to dine at that evening was to order once again the fantastic dessert I had enjoyed there last trip with Socalgirl which was a chocolate mousse type concoction served in a martini glass. Unfortunately they had just removed it from their dessert menu the previous week so we ended up skipping dessert.
One of the purposes of this trip to Vegas was to party with a group of people who I know through a private Vegas message board and were in town for what is called Rex Fest, even though the man the event is named after recently moved to the Seattle area and didn't attend this meet. Huddler had organized the Meet and one of the board members Chuck had set up a group texting app so those of us with smart phones could text during the trip and know what everyone was doing. I had been reading messages from some of the attendees for the last several hours and they were having a great time traveling along the strip and drinking at various bars as members would arrive and join the party. This evening Kydds was hosting a party at his wrap around suite at Cosmopolitan at around 10pm so around 8:30pm Socalgirl picked us up at Palazzo and drove us to Cosmo to wait for the group who were presently partying it up at a bar at Planet Hollywood to arrive. While waiting Randy and I found a 4 screen Kitty Glitter, hit a bonus on it and was surprised to discover the bonus played out on all 4 screens instead of just one like other 4 screen slot games. Unfortunately that evening was the last time we hit the Kitty Glitter bonus on that slot even though we tried it numerous times later after we had moved to Cosmopolitan.
Soon I noticed in text messages that Kydds and the rest of the Rex group had arrived and were now in his suite, so I called up and Kydds and Blueboar came down to take us up to the suite since to use the elevators to the rooms at Cosmo you need to have a room key. Kydds wraparound suite was in the west tower and the view from his terrace was terrific.
The party was in full swing as we arrived and greeted Sprunt, Chuck, Melissa, Karen, DiscoStu, Tinker (Pennyplayer on another board), Michael, Shamu, Lucky Linda, Grady, Erin and others. Most people had been together on the strip most of the afternoon and early evening having a great time moving from one bar to another.
After our arrival Tinker, Socalgirl, myself and a couple others left to go get mixers to go with all the liquor. The first couple Cosmo stores that sell that sort of things were closed but finally we located some in the sundries store. Of course the stores were all in the East tower so we had a nice walk around Cosmopolitan before returning to the West tower. Unfortunately by the time we got back quite a few people had left for various activities so I missed getting photos of most.
Socalgirl and I had a great time chatting with everyone. In the meantime Randy and Tinker's husband were sitting on a couch in the living room looking at the TV. Not that unusual until you notice they were just staring at a listing of TV shows!
Everyone gets a hug from Kydds that evening!
Huddler who had organized the Rex Fest Meet this time was missing in action as he had arrived late that evening coming from a convention in Orlando and sent a text he wasn't feeling well and was going to sleep. Of course in actuality he was at Planet Hollywood gambling and having a good time! Below is a very short video I took from Kydd's wrap around terrace suite that evening.

After we left the party, Socalgirl, Randy and I stopped by the player's card desk at Cosmopolitan and requested to speak to a host since during my trip in January we hadn't been able to reach one. This time a host came down to speak to us and upgraded the three of us to their Platinum card level based on Randy and I already being Gold level at LVS and Platinum level with M-Life. When we left Cosmopolitan that evening we were slightly ahead there, but by the time we retired for bed later we were down by quite a bit at Venetian and Palazzo.
In fact one of the biggest hits we had that night after returning to Palazzo was the $82.50 on a Goldfish bonus.
Friday morning even though we had the do not disturb sign on the door I heard a knock while I was getting dressed and my husband was still sleeping. It was an apologetic gentleman with a try of goodies from our host. I appreciate the goodies but really wish they hadn't ignored the sign on the door.
At noon we ventured out and started our day as we usually do when staying at Palazzo by eating at Grand Lux where I ordered the lunch size portion of their Sonoma Chicken Salad.
Grand Lux also had a new to us small bites menu and from that I ordered the tempura vegetables with a spicy sauce on the side, all of which was delicious.
Today we had plans to spend most of the afternoon and early evening at M Resort. Before walking over to Fashion Mall to wait for the M Shuttle we played for a hour or so on the slots and continued our losing streak. After walking to the side of the Fashion Mall where the M shuttle picks up we had about a 20 minute wait though the shuttle arrived right on time. I was surprised to see that it was completely full as people got off it though there were only about 10 of us departing to go to M Resort.
We had about a hour before Socalgirl who lives near M Resort would join us so we got our free play and free gifts from the player's card desk and commenced to lose more money, however the difference being M Resort gave us plenty of play instead of just sucking down the credits like a Hoover which had been happening at Venetian and Palazzo.
Socalgirl was treating us to a early dinner at Terzetto's at M Resort as all of us had plans to meet up around 7:30pm at Golden Gate to play craps with the Rex Fest group as Huddler had arranged for a private table there. Before dinner Socalgirl said the M was having a Lion dance in the front lobby area in celebration of Chinese New Year so we went over to see that and it was packed. Not really the best location to view a Lion Dance as we missed the first part that was more or less staged in one area and didn't really get to see much until they did their parade through the lobby area.

What we did see was very cute with the children and costumes. Next year if I'm there during the time period they are having Lion dances I would line up earlier to see the main performance.
Dinner at Terzetto was great starting with the bread. I seldom eat bread, but that evening there was just crumbs left on my plate.
Randy really liked his chopped salad of baby lettuce, artichokes and other veggies with provolone cheese and a herb vinaigrette dressing.
I loved my Heirloom Tomato  salad , prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella, field greens and a balsamic dressing.
Randy ate lightly that evening due to not feeling well so his entree was the above Shrimp Cocktail.
Socalgirl and I both ordered the petite filet which was cooked perfectly.
Randy and Socalgirl didn't want dessert but both Socalgirl and our server recommended the dessert special of the evening which was a Peanut Butter Creme pie. This pie was so delicious, one of the best desserts I have eaten and none of us could resist it which was a good thing as the slice was huge!
After dinner Socalgirl drove us to Golden Gate where we were late so the Rex group was already in place and gambling at the Craps table. As we joined them the group had been winning and everyone seemed to be ahead. This was my first time playing Craps so I had Huddler and KingBarkus on either side of me and both helping me to learn the game. I really enjoyed the experience and would like to play Craps again. Unfortunately the table started to go cold after I joined it, well I was on a unlucky streak so far that trip so I hope it wasn't me that was the cooler but I suspect it might have been, so the group ended up leaving Golden Gate to go to another casino which was a very long walk away, now known to some of us as the Fremont Street death march!
Randy and I have never walked Fremont street so we enjoyed it plus we were wearing good shoes for walking, but poor Socalgirl was wearing boots that weren't made for walking so was suffering.
I thought the vibe and entertainment on Fremont street was great and I really enjoyed watching the zipliners go overhead. Below is a short video I took during that walk. About a minute into it you can see some zipliner's going overhead.

When we arrived at the next casino after our long walk the group was having some difficulty getting enough free tables for playing some table games so after having a good time chatting with our friends we decided to return to the strip. In hindsight it might not have been the smartest move as once we returned to Palazzo our losing streak continued big time.
Saturday was our last day at Palazzo before moving to Cosmopolitan and we woke up a bit depressed because while our social part of the trip was great fun, it's never a great trip as long as all one does is lose. After eating at Grand Lux again after leaving the room that morning and pretty much ordering the exact same food as the day before except for the Cobb salad that Randy ordered, we settled in for what turned out to be a day and night of gambling at Venetian and Palazzo.
The day began with what looked to be the start of our losing streak continuing and then we had a decent hit on Treasures of Troy for $205.00, followed by modest wins on Star Wars Droid Hunt.
Went to our favorite $5 Wheel of Fortune Slot and had a modest win of $250.00. Hmmm, not sure why my video is sideways, honestly I wasn't drinking yet!

Randy then wanted to play Whale Song which has gorgeous graphics but when I tried it the previous month all I could get was small pay outs from it so I reluctantly agreed to play it again. I was quite happy when we hit the bonus and got the minor progressive shown in the short video above.
After that things started to finally go our way and we started to recover some of us losses. Wolf Run finally decided to give us a decent hit of $300.50.
Wolf Run continue to be hot for us for about 90 minutes and while the hits were never more then $400 it started to hit for a couple hundred or so at intervals, so by the time we had to leave for our reservation at Tao for dinner our TITO was up to over a $1000.00.
We left the casino for Tao in quite a happy frame of mind! Once at Tao we were surprised that the restaurant was completely full with a line even for those with reservations. We ended up waiting for about 10 minutes but was seated at a nice corner booth.
I started out with a spicy drink with thai chilies and cucumbers.

We then ordered way too much food but all was fabulous! Randy's hot and sour soup is below and the shrimp toast that was served with it was the best we've ever had.

Edamame and Satay of Chicken with peanut sauce and cucumber salad.
The stand out entree was Randy's order of miso glazed seabass with wok veggies. This would be first on my list to order when I eat at Tao again.
The XO Chinese Long Beans was tasty.
The special for the night that I ordered a lobster pad thai type of dish was good but our least favorite dish of the evening.
The server talked me into ordering the giant fortune cookie and I was so glad he did. It was filled on one side with vanilla mousse and the other side with chocolate mousse and served with fresh fruit. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better then last evening's peanut butter pie it did! Below are the fortunes that were included with the dessert.
The Buddha below is in the hallway that leads to the restrooms.
We waddle out of Tao very happy and full. As we went back to Palazzo to gamble we wondered if our lucky streak would continue.
As we were wandering around the casino and playing various slots with some hits and losses we walked by the Showgirl slot at Palazzo and I remember that GoldenGreek a member of the Slot Machine Forum had uploaded some cute videos of him and his wife playing the slot so we decided to try it. We quickly hit a bonus and it paid $127.00 on a $2.50 bet. A few minutes later we hit another bonus for slightly over $100 and we're liking this slot. A few minutes later we hit a third bonus and when it retriggers we're falling in love with this slot after a win of $1116.50!
After the Showgirl's slot we continue to have some decent wins like this one on a 5 line $1 Jungle Wild Slot and we ended up recovering about half our losses at Venetian and Palazzo.
Yes, the first 2 days were that brutal that even with the luck before dinner and after on Saturday we hadn't recovered from our earlier losses. Thankfully when we moved to Cosmopolitan on Sunday we continued our lucky streak so that we returned home with most of our bankroll intact or if you want to consider the comps we had for the trip, we more or less broke even. The Cosmopolitan portion of my trip report can be found here:
Sunday we checked out and I was a bit surprised to find on the TV screen that we were being charged more for our food each day then my host told me we were getting in credits each day, but I went ahead and paid it since it was his day off and sent him off a email about it. My reply back was that he couldn't comp as much as he had planned due to their new comping policies and had to remove some of it even though our play was the same amount as always. However, the big surprise came when checking my credit card statement a week later and noticing in addition to the small charge we had at checkout there was a second charge for $99.00 that no one ever alerted us too before charging it to our credit card. My host says that his deductions were made before we checked out so I'm not sure why we now have a additional $99 as so far no one can explain it. At this point I'm just chalking it up to LVS not knowing what the heck is going on with their comps any longer which is why the rest of the year it looks like we will be accepting offers from M-Life, Wynn and Cosmopolitan and not playing at any of the LVS casinos even though my host there is still my favorite!


  1. Loved your report as usual. I'm concerned about our up-coming trip to Palazzo. Hope it's not canceled or changed at the last moment. I've enjoyed staying there and was excited but now I'm quite nervous about last minute changes.

  2. Iteachf, I can understand your concern about a possible trip cancellation but I think the dust over the changes to their comp policies has settled now and the people whose comps were removed have all been notified.

    Enjoy your trip and stay at Palazzo and I hope you have lots of winnings if you like to gamble. :)

  3. I read the article in the LV paper about a week ago where the CEO of The Venetian/Plazzo said there are no more comps. 'we are here to make money and our patrons will now pay for their rooms, food and services while making points on their players cards and can use these points to pay for items and or room and food charges. This is outrageous and although I LOVED The Venetian - we didn't even darken the doors while we were out there last week. Sooo sad.

  4. I read that article too about what Sheldon said about comps, however after it was published they emailed out new offers to a lot of grazie player club members, they just aren't as good as previously. We currently still have offers for free rooms from Grazie and a minimal amount of free play but since our offers are a lot better from M-Life (Mgm-Mirage) and Cosmopolitan we'll go with a comparable quality of casino that gives us the best offer, which for now does leave the LVS group as our last choice.

    It should be interesting to see how this plays out during the next year or so and if LVS continues their stricter comp policy as mainly makes their profits from conventioneers and not gamblers.

  5. Dianna:

    I forgot to ask you. When you were at the Palazzo, did they give you access to the room in the Palazzo hotel lobby. We were told that it was only reserved for platinum players and the Gold players had to go to the Venetioan Gold lounge.

  6. Yes, our host gave us VIP access during our last trip which is off the Palazzo lobby and just happens to also be the same area as the Platinum lounge. Since they check your key to see if you belong there the only people admitted are Platinum level and those given VIP check in access.