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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 11, 2012

Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with the family!

My Mother who lives in Fort Lauderdale but doesn't really enjoy gambling surprised me when she decided to go to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving with a friend. This meant of course that I had the perfect excuse to convince my husband and son that we also needed to be in Las Vegas for Thanksgiving! Mom and her friend had gotten a great rate at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay so I decided we would use one of our M-Life offers for there and then stay the last night of the trip using one of our offers at Palazzo.

We had a easy flight out of San Jose and were all smiles when we arrived in Las Vegas on November 19th! While our son Matt had visited Las Vegas in the past when his Grandfather had lived there, this was his first trip back to Vegas as an adult. 
Our Mandalay Bay Limo driver was waiting for us at baggage claim and we were on our way to THEHotel at Mandalay Bay very quickly. Unfortunately this was the week THEHotel was redoing their entrance so limos and taxis had to drop guests off at one of the entrances of Mandalay Bay.
Check in was a breeze in the VIP lounge where they already have our room assigned on the 19th floor. This turned out to be a good floor for us as my Mom and her friend Alan both had their rooms on this floor. However since I'm NOIR level with M-Life I was a bit surprised not to be upgraded to a higher floor. 
Our view of the strip was okay since we never had much time to look out the windows.
We had plans for a early dinner tonight with Mom, Alan and our friends Michael and Trisha so after unpacking we didn't have much time to gamble at Mandalay Bay. This turned out to be for the best as the few slots we had time to play like $1 DaVinci, $1 Zeus and $5 Top Dollar were as cold as ice. 
Dinner was at Emeril's at MGMGrand tonight so we took the Mandalay Bay tram to Excalibur walked over to NYNY and then took the bridge from there to MGMGrand.
We had about 20 minutes before Emeril's would open at 5:30pm so of course we tried our luck at a few of our favorite slots like Alfred Hitchcock and Ghostbusters.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October Las Vegas G2E Trip!

After our last winning trip to Vegas I was excited to leave for G2E (Global Gaming Conference) not just to see the new slot machines and my friends that were attending but because I was hoping my lucky streak might still be with me. The start of the trip wasn't so lucky however when our plane couldn't leave San Jose due to President Obama arriving in Las Vegas. Once San Jose received the all clear we boarded but had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes or so both at San Jose and then on our arrival at McCarran due to all the planes backed up.
Once we were able to depart the plane I met my driver Maurice from Aria. Maurice was nice enough once we got to Aria to escort me into the hotel and past the registration crowds to the invited guest desk.
At the invited guest desk I explained that while I was only staying for one night and my offer said I only received a upgrade to a corner suite if staying 2 nights, I was NOIR and that should upgrade me automatically anyway if anything was available. My registration clerk had to make a couple phone calls about that for some reason but did get me a panoramic corner suite of the strip. My suite however was on a low floor so not quite as good a view as in the past, but I still love this suite and the Aria bed.
I had a view of Monte Carlo and the Aria pools from the main bathroom. If you want to see photos of the corner suite, I have plenty of them in past trip reports here on the blog.
Since I was moving to Wynn for 3 nights the next day, I didn't unpack much and quickly made my way to the casino and received my free play from the player's club desk. Hoping to get lucky on Lord of the Rings as I did last trip I played it first but only had a couple minor hits on it.
I tried some other slots but was just losing and it was starting to look like it would have been better if my plane was still stuck on the airport tarmac!
When 6pm came around, it was time to meet my friend Kathy (klevegas on vegasmessage board) for drinks at barMasa at the registration lobby. In the past Kathy and I have been in the same Bellagio slot tournaments and we always have a great time together.
Unfortunately I can't recall what drinks Kathy and I ordered but I remember we both enjoyed them and the snack of nuts and wasabi peas. Kathy was leaving that evening to return home but we had a nice catch up session before I met Terri (socalgirl) for dinner.
Terri and I decided to eat at American Fish because it's one of our favorite restaurants at Aria. So far service and food as always been great. I started with the Farmer's Salad with fried Camembert, hearts of palm, greens and heirloom melon, very tasty and fresh!
The knickerbrocker rum cocktail was delightful!
Both Terri and I had our favorite entree at American Fish which is the mustard marinated black cod (btw, black cod isn't really part of the cod family and I have no idea why they call it cod, LOL). I had asparagus as my side with it. The kitchen at American Fish is glad to substitute sides that come with other entrees on their menu if you prefer those over what normally comes with what you order. So far there has never been a surcharge for that request as with some restaurants.
For dessert Terri ordered the seasonal fruit and sorbet and it was delicious! I was sorry I didn't order that.
Above is a small dessert they serve everyone at the end of the meal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace

I dined with a group of 9 at the new Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar's Palace on Tuesday, October 2nd a few weeks after their Grand Opening and was quite happy to discover it's currently living up to the hype. There was a huge line of customers waiting to pay and be seated, however our group had 2 Diamond members among them, Laurie and Manette so we were able to get in very quickly.  Also due to how busy they are and I don't see them not being busy in the future if they continue to serve high quality food for a buffet, it's difficult to get large parties seated at the same table and we had to break up our group into 2 tables that were in the same room but not next to each other.
The nine glassed in show kitchens are clean with friendly staff working in them. However the evening we ate there the service to clean up our table as we left to get more food was very slow at times.
Almost everything I tried that evening was good and currently better quality then the Wynn, Bellagio and Wicked Spoon Buffets on the strip. I also ate at Wynn's Buffet for lunch this trip and it's really gone downhill from the last time I ate there. Of course like Wicked Spoon the Bacchanal Buffet might be they start out great and have the quality lowered, so keep in mind my opinion is based on the first few weeks they are open when they are trying to get good reviews and impress people.
 To see the food better click on the photos to enlarge them!
 Like Wicked Spoon a lot of food items are served in their separate dishes so you don't have to spoon food onto your plate.
 The plate above with the red and white squares is watermelon and feta cheese and is quite good if you like the two.
 The quality of the shrimp and crab legs is excellent at the moment. I didn't have to ask to have my crab legs heated as when I was looking at them the server behind the glass asked if I wanted steam crab and then served me some they had just heated.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

20k win and 7 hand pays, best trip so far!

This was a last minute trip for my husband and I due to finding out he wouldn't be able to go on our planned October trip during G2E and since he hadn't been on a trip with me so far this year we really wanted to make one happen.

We had a easy Saturday flight out of San Jose airport and the Palazzo limo driver was waiting for us at baggage claim when we arrived in Las Vegas. (to enlarge photos click on them)
Palazzo VIP services was quick as usual and we were in the room and unpacking in less then 10 minutes. We were on the 40th floor and this time instead of the usual view of Treasure Island we had a view of the strip toward Venetian.
Since this was the first trip to Las Vegas that my husband had been able to make due to work,  I was  hoping we would have some wins to keep the gambling fun going instead of my losses on earlier trips. We tried our luck first at Palazzo's $5 Wheel of Fortune and couldn't get a spin so we went over to the Jungle Wild $1 slot that has a minimum bet of $5 and quickly hit a bonus for $382.00.
We tried a couple other dollar slots that had minimum $5 bets like Zeus with little luck so decided to go play the pennies. Things starting looking up when we were playing the Lord of the Rings slot Fellowship and hit the Gimli bonus for about $100 which then said pay that again for about 9 times for a win of $961.00.
Feeling flush since we hadn't touch our $600 free play yet, we decided to walk over to Venetian's High Limit room to try our favorite $1 Da Vinci slot but briefly stopped to play the original WOZ where we hit a Monkey bonus for $190.00!
The high limit room at Venetian has been renovated recently and I'll talk about those changes later.  We quickly found $1 Da Vinci but couldn't get anything going on it so we decided to check out the renovations when we noticed the $25 Wheel of Fortune in the area that used to have the $5 WOF and my husband said lets just put $200 in it for fun since we're ahead and take 4 pushes and hope for a spin.  

I pushed first and got nada, then Randy went and nothing again, third push is the charm as I hit two double diamonds and the Wheel of Fortune symbol for $20,000.00!!! Wow, last  year when I hit the 20k on $5 Top Dollar at Aria I guess I was in shock because I didn't have much of a reaction, this time perhaps because my husband was with me I did a little dance and squeal.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Vegas Shore and Wedding Trip Report!

July in Las Vegas, the heat, the crowds, the renovations going on at the hotels, not the best time of the year to visit, unless one is meeting up with a group of friends who know how to get the most fun out of any place they travel to especially if it's Vegas!
Prepare yourself for my longest trip report yet since I stayed 6 nights and I'm not breaking it up by hotels stayed at this time. Normally if I go to Vegas in the heat of July it's due to a fabulous birthday offer I can't turn down. This July I passed on going during my birthday to meet up with a group of about 30 plus friends for what became known as our Vegas Shore trip, a take off on the Jersey Shore TV show. However the special finale to the trip was a friend's Vegas wedding!
My Southwest flight out of San Jose was fine. My limo driver was the same man I had on my June trip and we had a nice chat on the drive to Palazzo. My room had the typical view of Treasure Island.
VIP check in was fast, and I had my usual view of Treasure Island from my suite. Waiting for me in the suite from my host was a gift of snacks and lots of Fiji water.
Unpacking quickly I headed down to do a little gambling and I ran into the walking vine ladies posing at the entrance to the Palazzo casino as I walked over to Venetian.

The week before I arrived I had read  a live trip report of Trey's on the Slot Machine Forum that the Venetian Gold Room and High Limit Lounge was closed for renovations and a good part of the Venetian casino slot floor tented off and unavailable. Sadly everything was still in that state and getting worse each day as they closed more slots and floor area off. As of the date this trip report was published the Gold Lounge and Venetian High Limit room has reopened but the Venetian slot floor continues to be under renovations with a lot of slots not available.
Once at Venetian I started out playing my few favorite slots that were still on the floor but was losing on everything and my $600.00 free play went quickly. I did have a little luck on a Miss Kitty bonus.
Giving up on Venetian since the construction was getting to me, I went back to Palazzo and hit a decent bonus on Aladdin. I had a meet scheduled for this afternoon with a couple of my favorite members from the Blonde4ever board but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances one had to cancel and the other one when she tried to call to tell me she was waiting for me at Palazzo received messages that my phone was unavailable so we never ended up getting together. Not sure what was up with the phone problem perhaps something related to her being from the UK and I assume it was trying to do a international call.  Chriss, so sorry about that!
I had a brief win of $165.00 on $1 Texas Tea in Palazzo's HL room but after that went on a long losing streak.
While I was busy losing at Palazzo a man walked up and asked if I was the writer of this blog and we had a nice chat. David it was great to meet you and I hope to run into you again in Vegas! After talking to David I walked over to play Ruby Slippers and hit a hand pay of $51.50! Yep, you read that right, my luck was so bad at that point the slots were taunting me. After getting paid I walked by David who seeing the slot attendants thought I had hit a legitimate hand pay and I gave him my sad news.
It was soon time to meet Gwen (yourstarla) for dinner at AquaKnox. As I was walking to Venetian I saw some of the Carnevale performers near the Palazzo waterfall.

Gwen and I have known each other online for years and finally met in March at Teresa's 40th birthday party and then had fun again in June celebrating Liz's birthday. I adore Gwen (and Liz), she's such fun to be around both online and even more so in person.
I've eaten at AquaKnox quite a bit over the years but this was Gwen's first time. Fortunately as in the past service and food was great. Above is the Pacific White Pawns entree that Gwen ordered. This dish has a lemongrass-cavier cream sauce that Gwen said was very good.
I ordered the wild Alaska Halibut which was so delicious I did everything but lick the plate when eating it! Each of us had cocktails, with Gwen trying a blueberry mojito while I went for a spicy margarita.
For dessert Gwen went for creme brûlée that had to be great as there wasn't a morsel of it left.
My dessert a type of smore chocolate cake was yummy and again not a morsel was left. While we were finishing up dinner the Carnevale entertainers had their nightly parade and went by AquaKnox and it looked really cute.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Country Club Jazz Buffet at Wynn

This was my 2nd time eating at the Wynn Country Club Jazz Brunch. The first time was last year and that review with photos is located here:

The first time we ate there we were a party of four and were seated in the back of the restaurant. This time we were a party of seven.
Seated above is Sharon, Thomas and myself. Standing is Brian, Gwen, Gina and Jen. This was our July 2012 Vegas Shore trip which will be written up in full in a trip report on the blog and we with a large group of friends who were off doing various activities while we were stuffing ourselves, err enjoying ourselves at brunch. The highlight of this trip was to later be Sharon and Brian's wedding at Caesar's Palace!
The Jazz trio was the same group as last year and they are great!
Unfortunately what wasn't the same was the made to order menu that comes with the brunch. The menu had been shortened and they had left off the free range parmesan crusted chicken that I liked. What is left on it that we ordered however was delicious!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The birthday and summer grazie gift show TR!

I left San Jose on Friday, June 22nd on Southwest airlines excited about going back to Vegas after a busy 8 weeks of moving to a new house. My husband who had taken time off from work during our move had to return to work but encouraged me to join my friends in Vegas. I think he might have also wanted a break from me constantly moving furniture around. :)

I was looking forward to seeing my friend Terri again and having fun again with Gwen (yourstarla) and our birthday girl Liz (Cassley). When my boarding pass for Southwest ended up for the first time A1, it felt like the first win of the trip!  Flight was alright though we landed in high winds. Palazzo's limo was waiting and my luggage was among the first few suitcases out of baggage claim. VIP check in was quick and gave me a  coupon book for their 3 months of Carnevale celebrations which mainly consisted of discounts at restaurants and shops, though it did have a coupon for a free Carnevale cupcake!
In addition to all the live entertainment for Carnevale such as the living Mona Lisa above, I was there on the Grazie Summer Gift promotion and it was currently triple point days for earning additional gift points.
Since Liz and Gwen weren't due in until Saturday and I had a few hours to kill before meeting Terri, one of my best friends for dinner, I went right to the slots after unpacking. My luck so far in 2012 has been really sour and I was hoping for a winning trip. I quickly lost $200 through the $1 Quick Hit Slots in the Palazzo High Limit Room and then the $5 Wheel of Fortune slots outside. I decided to walk over to Venetian and play the Showgirls penny slot and I did hit a bonus on that for $185.00.

Feeling my luck might be changing I entered the Venetian High Limit room and started playing my beloved $1 DaVinci Diamonds which quickly rewarded me with a win of $310.00.
Another quick win of $260.00 was making this trip's gambling start out promising! It was great to see some wins again on this slot as the last couple trips it had been very stingy.
Moving over to $1 Jackpot Party at $15 a push I didn't get to a party bonus but I hit a great win of $1010.00. This was more like it so I went over to $5 pinball at 2 credits a push and hit a bonus for $400.00!