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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.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aria, Bellagio and Palazzo, July trip report (part 3 of 3)

We left Bellagio for Palazzo around 11:00am since we intended to eat breakfast at Grand Lux. We arrived quickly and since I'm Platinum level this year we went to Palazzo's VIP services to check in. I love this VIP room where there's never a line and it's also part of the platinum lounge so while I'm checking in Randy is ordering a cappuccino to drink. We were given a suite on the 48th floor and above was our view. After unpacking we had a quick brunch at Grand Lux where Randy had the egg sandwich.
I had the lunch special of the Sonoma Chicken salad which has fruit, pecans, bacon and goat cheese.
This was Randy's last day in Vegas as he needed to return to work to make up for my earlier gambling losses at Aria, so it was time to see if our luck for this trip was going to change. While we had lots of play and fun at Bellagio, and our losses weren't as bad as my earlier ones at Aria, we had lost there too and we were still hoping for a good win at some point to at least break even for this trip.
We started out playing all the new penny slots like WMS Alice and the Mad Tea Party that I had luck on earlier in the trip and old favorites like Kitty Glitter and Wolf Run and we were losing on everything. Finally decided to go see if Palazzo's,  $5 Wheel of Fortune wanted to be kind and we did hit a spin on it, but it only hit for $200 which basically broke us even for what we put in to get the spin. Decided to walk over to Venetian to see if luck was better there and it started to get exciting when we hit a bonus on  $1 DaVinci for $760.00.

We then moved over to the $5 Top Dollar in the Venetian high limit room, hit it and won $550.00, but ended up giving back $300 trying to hit on $5 Pinball. Still hopeful our luck was with us we went to try a couple new penny slots at Venetian.
We had a lot of action on the new WMS Star Trek Battle Stations slot and hit for $582.40 on a bonus.

Above is a partial video of that bonus. Below is one of our community game bonuses which kicked off during another regular game bonus we hit. The community bonuses on this new slot come around every 8 minutes. While it's nice to know when a bonus is coming, the 8 minute window makes it difficult to build up a good size fleet for it unless you are playing max credits or really get lucky with the build ship symbol coming around a lot during your spins.

Due to our lucky streak and the novelty of it being a new slot we stayed playing for quite a while, however when we started to lose our winnings on it, we moved on to other penny slots like Stonehenge but still continued a losing streak.
We were still slightly ahead as we went off to our dinner at Tao. While we had a reservation and they knew from it and my earlier phone call that day that we wanted a booth, they tried to seat us at a very noisy table which we declined, so we ended up waiting 30 minutes for a nice quiet booth in the corner. They did comp us to a round of drinks during the wait and I enjoyed my spicy drink called Phuket with Thai chili peppers and cucumbers.
Tao is a dark restaurant so my food photos didn't turn out very well. We really love the food at Tao which is why we ate there this last February, this time in July and have a reservation already to eat there again on August 28th.
I wish I could recall which appetizers we had but unfortunately I can't find them in our notes. I know we liked them but the stand out, as always for us was the Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with Wok Vegetables pictured below.
We had to share our favorite dessert there the Giant Fortune Cookie filled with white and chocolate mousse and served with fruit.
This is the entrance to Tao at Venetian, bathtubs filled with flowers.
We walked around the stores a bit after dinner at Tao and I took some random shots of the ceiling
Why the random photos of the ceiling and some of the shops, I can only think perhaps it was a mistake to have a 3rd Phuket drink at Tao!
I'm assuming I took the one above due to the guitar since my husband's hobby revolves around his homemade music studio and numerous guitars he has at home.
I have no idea why I took the photo above. I'll spare you the rest that I took before my drinks from Tao wore off.

After our after dinner stroll we found more slots to play with wins and losses, but basically holding our own. Above is a new community slot called Paradise Fishing by Azure and it was always crowded due to the novelty of using a joystick/fishing rod during community and regular game bonuses to land fish. The graphics were fantastic. We enjoyed playing it but while others around us were getting lucky we just couldn't seem to land the big one, it always escaped back to the water.
Yep, one more ceiling shot, just because I have it. We retired at a reasonable hour and then next morning had breakfast at Grand Lux with Randy having their buffet and me the usual Manhattan salad with shrimp and chicken. Randy left for the airport after breakfast and I gambled the afternoon away until my birthday dinner with Terri.
I had lots of play and fun, but basically with a few exceptions the penny slots were killing me while I would have a bit of luck on $1 DaVinci at times.
Of course my earlier losses on the trip meant I really needed to hit a jackpot to break even or come out ahead.
I had some more fun on the new WMS Alice and the Mad Tea Party slot but could never repeat the frequency of the bonuses I had when I first tried it during my earlier visit to Palazzo while staying at Aria.
I still love the new Star Wars machine but each trip I seem to hit less bonuses.
This is a new type of penny Wheel of Fortune slot I discovered at Venetian that was fun, but my lucky quickly ran out on it after this one bonus.
Hits like the above on the $1 Da Vinci Diamonds in the high limit room at Venetian kept me alive, but only if I basically hit and ran.
I love the Show Girls Slot at Palazzo but could only get the one good bonus on it. Venetian also has a couple of the Show Girls slot but I couldn't hit the bonus on them.

During the afternoon of gambling I called my new host since my previous one who I really liked quit and moved to the east coast. We met in the Venetian gold room since that's where I was at the time I called him and he turned out to be close friends with my previous host and I think we'll also get along well. We discussed what had happened earlier in the year with Grazie canceling out at the last minute comped offers that our friends and acquaintances had and it sounds like they now regret how they handled that. I liked what he was telling me about the new system especially since it moved me up to Platinum level and now limo service to and from the airport won't count against my comps. The new daily slot tournament that should start up in a month or so, sounds like it has better prizes then the daily one at Cosmopolitan so I'm hoping it will be in place during my next trip the end of August, but likely it won't.
While my birthday wasn't until the 14th after I returned home, my friend Terri was taking me out for it tonight and treating me to dinner at Wynn's Lakeside Grill. When I arrived at the restaurant which is near the Parasol Lounge, Terri was already seated at the bar waiting for me with her host. Terri's host is the one that arranged for our tickets to see the Sinatra show during its dress rehearsal earlier in the year and sat with us for part of the show until called away to take care of someone. She is both beautiful and charming and has been a great host to Terri. Above is the Berry cocktail that the bartender recommended to me and it was excellent.
After a nice chat with Terri's host who had recently gotten married we were seated at a nice table overlooking the Wynn's water show but far enough back we got the air-conditioning.
Above is the view behind our table and you can see the bar we sat at earlier.
Another shot of the Lakeside Grill at Wynn.
We both ordered the chopped salad with artichokes, Maytag blue cheese, green beans, bacon, and various lettuces. It was great and I would order it again.
Our bread basket, fresh and delicious. Really great breadsticks!
Terri ordered the Dover Sole which she has had before and loved both times!
I had the halibut with fennel salad and it was terrific, definitely something I would order again.
I'm not really into potatoes but Terri insisted on ordering the Pave Potatoes and they were one of the best potato dishes I have ever had. If you eat at Lakeside Grill order this and thank us later.
I tried to take a photo of the desert menu but I seem to have cut off a good part of it.
They have both normal size desserts and miniatures. This is the desert tray filled with the miniatures.
Before we were served dessert I went to the ladies room. We have a few members on one of the Vegas message boards that likes to see the various ladies rooms in Vegas so these photos are for them.

After I returned from my photo shoot of the Lakeside Grill's ladies room, I found a birthday cupcake waiting for me. Since we didn't tell them it was my birthday it must have been Terri's host who did it.
The cupcake was like a red velvet and was yummy.
Terri and I also shared the donuts which were filled with Nutella and served with a raspberry parfait.

During our dinner we saw several of the Lake of Dreams shows. I filmed this one, but unfortunately it's not one of the more interesting ones.
After dinner I played a bit of $1 Da Vinci Diamonds at Wynn and hit for a couple hundred on it, but then gave it back. Wouldn't want to break my years of losing streak at Wynn! Back at Palazzo and Venetian I had lots of ups and downs but even with the above bonus for $386.00 on the old Star Wars slot I ended up down for the day by the time I retired.
I got up late on the 8th day and had a quick bite to eat at Grand Lux which was the usual salad. After a bit of gambling most of it unsuccessful except for a $1 Texas Tea slot I discovered in the Palazzo high limit room that had a max bet of $9 and decided to give me a few bonuses for around $70 to $90 dollars it was time for me to leave for Cosmopolitan to meet up with Kydds and his wife Judy, and Aunt Vonna from the Blonde4ever Vegas message board and her sister.
I grabbed a taxi from Palazzo but nearly got into a bad traffic accident when a car ran a red light just when my cab was turning left onto the strip. My driver slammed on the breaks and managed to avoid the jerk who ran the red light by about what seemed to me at the time to be a few inches. Since the car would have hit on the side I was sitting and I doubt the cab had air bags, it felt like a close call to me. After arriving at Cosmopolitan safely, I found Kydds immediately and shortly after that we met up with his wife Judy and Yvonne and her sister.
All of us then went up to the 16th floor to the new Platinum lounge to have a few Cosmopolitans. I've already complained about this poor excuse for a Platinum lounge in comparison to the former one so all I will add is that our group filled up one half of the room so I'm not sure what it will be like in there if they ever get busy, but given how out of the way it is now to even get to it, I guess there's no fear of over crowding. It was fun to meet Yvonne and her sister and to catch up with Kevin and Judy. Everyone is so much fun and interesting to talk to! Time passed too quickly but eventually Kevin and Judy left for dinner and Yvonne and her sister to catch a show. Before returning to the Palazzo I donated a few hundred to my favorite $1 Da Vinci at Cosmopolitan without much play, though I can hardly complained as this particular slot has treated me so well in the past.
I had plans later tonight to meet Jaclyn (JaXprat from Trip Advisor) and her husband Fred for drinks and since it was now the last night of my longest Vegas trip I was winding down from gambling and dining so I ordered a shrimp cobb salad and a pizza from room service.
The pizza was good, or should I say the toppings were good as I never eat the pizza crust. After relaxing in the room it was around 10pm and time to meet up with Jaclyn at the Laguna Champagne bar which is located on the casino floor of Palazzo.
Jaclyn and I ended up having our first drinks alone at Laguna as Fred had to return briefly to Wynn where they were staying. The Laguna lounge surprised me by being out of our first 2 specialty cocktail choices. I mean really? How do you run out, it's not like liquor has that much shelf spoilage that their bar shouldn't be well stocked with it. I believe the drink which Jaclyn treated me to, was the Art Nuvo,  a combination of Grey Goose, strawberry puree, Nuvo French sparkling liquor (hence the name of the drink) and Moet and Chandon Imperial.

After Fred joined us we moved to the Palazzo's Platinum lounge which was nearby and had expresso and cappuccino's. Jaclyn and Fred are a fun couple with a lot of interests and I had a blast talking with them. I particularly enjoyed hearing about their experience at E at Jaleo for dinner as I'm planning on eating there the end of August with friends. Hopefully I'll be able to schedule a future trip with Randy when we're all in Vegas again as I would enjoy spending more time with them both.
After Jaclyn and Fred left I gambled for a couple hours and was basically losing though I had some luck on Wolf Run and a brief thrill on the new Alice slot when I hit for $149.65 on a 50 cent bet! I also played the new Sex in the City Big Diamonds Slot and it was fun seeing the diamonds cascade down the screen. Not sure how I like the bonuses yet. Here's a video of the shimmer ring bonus.

I also had several of the "Right to Shoes" bonus, here's a video of one of them.

I decided to end the night playing my favorite $1 Da Vinci Diamonds in the Venetian high limit room and was rewarded with a hit for $1020.00. Btw, I thought I had photos on my regular camera of this but couldn't find them so here's the cell phone photo. I'm going to have to be more careful when taking photos with my digital camera next trip as I seem to be missing a lot of ones that I thought I had taken so I must not be pressing down on the button enough and need to start double checking I actually have the photo.
It was late by this time and this hardly caught me up from my previous losses at Aria and Bellagio so I briefly considered playing the $5 Da Vinci Diamonds at Palazzo to see if I could have one of those miraculous wins that some of my friends have during the last few hours of their trip, but I ended up deciding to just go out on a high note with this win and quit gambling.
When I returned to my room I found 2 of these tiny boxes of chocolates waiting for me because I had forgotten to put the do not disturb sign on my door when leaving after dinner and turn down service had actually been able to enter the room. The chocolates were delicious so I think I will make a point from now on when staying there to not use the do not disturb sign until I'm ready to go to sleep. The one glitch though was that my room service table and dirty dishes were still there and a bit fragrant by now and I had called to have them removed hours earlier. So I called again even though it was around 1:30am and after a couple more calls they finally came to remove them around 2:45am, <sigh>.
The next day I slept in late as I had a 4pm check out time and my flight didn't leave until 6:30pm. I decided to eat at Zine Noodles and I got their prix fix lunch. Above is the hot and sour soup which was good.
Next course was the honey glazed walnut pawns which were just okay, however the beef tenderloin with pepper and golden flakes (fried garlic) was delicious while the seafood rice is nothing special.
The mango ice cream that was served as the dessert was good, but then again it would be hard to mess that up. This is the second time I have eaten at Zine Noodles and it's okay, but considering the prices it should be a lot better.

After lunch I went to see my new host who comped everything off my bill except the tips. I told him that all I was seeing in my offers other then the one I was currently visiting on was a tournament in mid-August and one in September and I wanted to come in for 3 nights the end of August. He ended up setting me up with a bit more free play then this trip and upfront food & beverage and of course the comped suite at Palazzo. Since I was done with gambling for this trip, just completely tired of it (of course it took 8 days to get tired of it, hehe), I went back to my suite to read and relax until it was time for my limo pick up.

During the 8 days I gambled each day was a improvement over those first 2 terrible days of gambling at Aria, but I was always behind the whole trip. I don't think I've ever had such a consistent streak of bad luck and it was a lesson to me if I want birthday luck in July to actually visit on my birthday and perhaps to keep my trips shorter. I still had a lot of fun with my friends, and at the slot tournament so I'm looking forward to returning on August 25th to spend a couple nights at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay and then having my husband join me at Palazzo for 3 nights. There's a Rexfest going on during that stay and also several friends outside of that Meet will be visiting Vegas so it will be a fun trip even if my gambling luck continues to turn to the dark side!


  1. Hi Diana,

    I've read your posts from and they're always a ton of fun to read/view. Sorry lady luck was not with you this time around, but it sounds like you had a great time. Happy belated b-day and have fun on your August trip!

    Tim (inceptiongeek)

    Tim, thanks so much! BTW, I accidentally hit the delete instead of the publish button, which is why your post disappeared. I can't believe I messed that up, so sorry!

  2. No problem! Btw, if you happen by MGM Grand on your August trip, there is a slot machine there that I had a lot of luck on last time I was there. It's a $1 slot in the MGM Lions bank of slot machines. Third one from the left facing the table games. If you play it, hope it brings you luck!

  3. TIm, thanks for the tip. Not sure I will visit MGM this next trip but if I do I'll give it a try. L:)