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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.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Aria 300k Winner Take All Slot Tournament!

I wasn't going to Las Vegas in early September until a post in Slot Fanatics reminded me about a slot tournament invitation from Aria that I had forgotten. It was a buy in tournament for 1k and since I miss the free ones that M-Life used to have, I usually ignore the buy in tourney's these days. The post was asking if the tournament was a good deal because it was a winner take all tournament with first place getting a prize of 150k and everyone else in tournament getting their 1k buy in back in free play at the end of the tournament. With the tournament limited to only 150 participants (or so I thought, more on this later), it seemed like a great deal to have a 150 to 1 shot at 150k jackpot so Randy and I entered!
We left on Thursday, September 5th and had a smooth flight to Las Vegas from San Jose. Since we're still NOIR with M-Life until October 1st when we revert to Platinum status (it was fun while it lasted, hate the new M-Life rules) we had the complimentary limo to and from the airport.
Our Aria host had provided VIP check in via the Aria Sky Suites Desk.
Service was excellent at the Sky Suite VIP check in, though we did have a problem starting out. We weren't in a Sky Suite but a panoramic corner suite. I requested a corner suite far away from Cosmopolitan and Aria nightclub noise. I must have originally had a new person helping me at the VIP desk because she gave us a suite on the 19th floor that she said wouldn't get any noise. Hmmmm.
Above is photo of floral arrangement at Sky Suite check in.

We get to our suite on the 19th floor and not only isn't it the panoramic corner suite, instead it's the corner suite with the large pillar in the middle of the living room. The worse is that the bedroom overlooks the Cosmopolitan pools where they have the day time parties with loud music playing and the living room is almost on top of Cosmopolitan's Marquee nightclub! No way am I'm staying in this suite! I immediately call down to VIP check in and tell them the problem and while I'm on hold waiting for them to locate a new room our bellman arrives with the luggage. I tell our bellman I'm on hold to change rooms because I'm concerned about noise from Cosmo and he takes a look around and cracks up agreeing with me that we would never get any sleep in that room either at night or during the day.
We finally get located to a actual panoramic corner suite with city view and close to Monte Carlo on the 23rd floor but had to accept a smoking suite. John our bell man was great, stayed with us for the 10 minutes I was on the phone trying to change rooms and then escorted us to the new room where he checked it out and found one of our air conditioning controls was not working and reported it to maintenance for us. John received a various generous tip for his patience and customer service skills.
This is the 5th time I have stayed in a panoramic corner suite at Aria and I love them.
I always request the city view because at night I love the neon, lights and Aria's colorful entrance fountain.
In the corner suites the safe is in the closet, unlike their regular rooms where it's hidden in a side table drawer.
Here's a lot of photos of the suite in case you haven't seen it before.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Mob Attraction at Tropicana!

We decided to go to Mob Attraction on Sunday after our lunch at MOzen Bistro. We walked over to the Tropicana from Aria and then once in the Trop we had quite a long walk to the attraction.
While we had a great deal from livingsocial for two ticket vouchers that I had paid $26.10 for,  if you haven't gotten an online deal before going, look for someone around the box office area giving out fake 100 dollar bills that will give you a discount off your admission before you make your way up the escalator.
When we redeemed our livingsocial vouchers for our tickets we were given a passport for the two of us.
We then commenced our sojourn into the Mob Attraction where the first thing we encountered was of course a bar. :)
We didn't stop for a drink but headed right to Immigration, which is a translation for photo op, with you  and your group doing different poses!
After our photos were taken we waited for the group ahead of us to finish with their first interaction with the actors and then we were on our way.
Mob Attraction did an excellent job of introducing us to the old time mob scene, starting out first in Coney Island.
As we made our way down alley's, streets and into buildings we were given mob history by James Caan, Tony Sirico and others.

During the first part of the Mob Attraction you will have several interactions with actors.
I'm no snitch so I don't want to give away the plot too much but both my husband and I had fun trying to get a job and become part of the family.

Did the cop get anything out of my husband and I during our interrogation?
Did we land in jail with this poor soul?
Thanks to a timely telephone call we escaped from NY and made our way to a place called Las Vegas!
Once in Vegas we were given a quick education on how things work there.
I'm innocent I tell you, innocent!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

MOzen Bistro Brunch at Mandarin Oriental!

This year I've eaten several times at the Wynn Jazz Country Club Brunch and the Bellagio Jasmine Fountain Brunch. In the past I've also eaten at Sterlings and Wynn's La Cave Brunch, so it was time for something new and I found it at Mandarin Oriental's MOzen Bistro Brunch.
Pricing for the brunch is about the same as the brunches mentioned above with the exception of Sterling Brunch at Bally's since Sterling includes unlimited champagne in their pricing and the rest of the brunch's price that out separately. For those of you who like unlimited champagne with brunch, MOzen Bistro has their pricing for unlimited Veuve Clicquot at $35.00 which is $15.00 less then the $50 that the Jazz Country Club Brunch charges for it!
Past reviews of MOzen Bistro will mention that in addition to the food selections set out buffet style they come around to the table with small dishes of various dim sum and other small plates. However this has been recently changed and they no longer pass around small plates during the brunch, instead they have increased the stations and buffet style offerings.
While the fountains are the star attraction at Jasmine's Fountain Brunch and the Jazz Trio at Country Club provides entertainment, MOzen Bistro offers a duo that plays pleasant music fitting in with the zen type atmosphere at MOzen.
Our view from our table was of Crystals.
Above is a selection of high quality fruits.
There's a station that has sliced meats and made to order soup.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegas Birthday's and Grazie Slot Tournament!

I wasn't planning on a August trip to Las Vegas (no really!),  but when my Mother was willing to spend her 80th birthday there it turned out to align with a Grazie slot tournament for 50k called Masquerade so I quickly signed up for the tournament and booked a room for Mom at Palazzo.

Earlier this summer I had told friends Laura and Yon that I wouldn't be going in August when they were there, but this turned out perfect because it turned out to be the same dates as my friends Gwen, Laura and Yon. Laura would also be celebrating her birthday in Vegas the same week as Mom and it would also give me an opportunity to celebrate ahead of time Gwen's birthday that would be later in the month. Okay, enough excuses for another Las Vegas trip so soon after the last?
My flight was a bit late out of San Jose and I had to wait a while for my luggage at McCarran but I was soon on my way to Palazzo's VIP lounge. For the first time this year when I arrived at the lounge there was a wait in line but I was taken care of quickly when it was my turn and ended up with a room on the 27th floor. At check in I also verified that my Mother would be in the room next to me with a connecting door. There's now a $20 extra charge for those who want suites that connect but it was waived for us.
Had the usual view of Treasure Island while I unpacked. I was in a hurry to get downstairs to meet up with Laura and Yon because they had bought us all matching T-Shirts that said Free Gwen in celebration of her upcoming life changes. Normally one doesn't want to celebrate the break up of a marriage but in this situation you have to know the other party involved to understand the celebration!
I met Laura and Yon in front of the Rock of Ages theatre where they gave me my T-Shirt (thanks for gifting me with that)  and I went to change while they called Gwen to tell her where we were. Gwen cracked up when she saw us, laughter was heard all the way in to the Venetian casino! After Gwen recovered from seeing her fan club, we went over to the Venetian Gold Lounge for a drink, some snacks and to catch up.
After refreshments we left Gwen and Yon to gamble while Laura drove me to the airport to pick up Mom.  However on the way to the Valet to get her car I had to stop for a photo op with one of the Carnevale characters.
Picking up Mom went off without a hitch thanks to Laura and we soon had her checked in and unpacking her luggage.  Laura is always so sweet to drive us around and help with luggage and stuff.

While Mom got unpacked I went to register for the tournament which was going to be held on the Palazzo slot floor near Grand Lux. I was stunned at registration that unlike past slot tournaments I had been in a couple years ago at V&P this one didn't give me a choice of times, instead I was given on all 3 days the early morning time of 9:30am! I'm not a morning person, who organized this tournament! Even when I lightly protested the time and asked for a later one they didn't tell me to come back in the morning and register then when of course the late registers would get the slot session times that are later in the day, instead they told me this was the only time they had left. <sigh>.
 It was close to dinner when Mom and I left her room but there was time to introduce her to Clue which she enjoyed playing.
Dinner that night was at Tao's one of my favorites and since there are so many past photos of our food there, I only took a photo of the tempura veggies we ordered as a appetizer. Okay, actually I forgot to take any more photos because we were having too much fun! All of us with the exception of Gwen ordered my favorite miso glazed sea bass while Gwen ordering her fave, the XO shrimp. For dessert we shared one of their delicious giant fortune cookies with chocolate and vanilla mousse and fresh fruit.
Group shot of us as we're leaving Tao.
After dinner we split up and went our separate ways gambling.