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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, March 30, 2014

Girls just want to have fun or my February 2014 Trip Report!

I had a wonderful time with my friend Boots in Vegas in early February so I can't believe how long it's taken me to getting around to writing up my trip report!
My flight out of San Jose was smooth and after landing I quickly had my luggage. Since I was staying the first two nights at Cosmopolitan no limo for me so I grabbed a taxi. Upon entering the driver asked me if I wanted to go the freeway! Hell No! Well at least he politely asked before trying to tunnel me. Arrived at Cosmopolitan, no lines at check in and had a terrace suite on floor 25. Because it was a Saturday and I knew the clubs would be playing music until 4am or so,  I asked for a room that wouldn't hear the music, which meant no view of the Bellagio fountains for me!
Lots to do tonight so I raced down to the casino after unpacking to get in a hour of slot play.
Had some bonuses on Beverly Hillbillies but they didn't pay much. Tried the new Flashdance slot and they were cute bonuses but such low pay outs that I never returned to them.
Went to the Cosmopolitan HL room and for some reason only played 2 credits instead of the max of 3 credits on Pink Diamonds so when I hit the 3 seven's it only paid out $800.00 but I was still happy with it.
After my lucky hit on Pink Diamonds, it was time to meet my friends Barb and Ger at Bond Bar for drinks to celebrate Barb's birthday. We had a great time drinking a couple cocktails together. In the past when seeing Barb and Ger in Vegas we have been in large groups so it was lovely to spend some time alone with them to chat. They are so much fun and Barb looked radiant!

There have been a lot of changes to Bond Bar since I was last there. Now they have video poker at the bar and the nice secluded cabana areas in the lounge have been removed so it's like most casino bars now except they still have some of the unique cocktails I like.
After Barb and Ger left to eat dinner and catch a show, I went back to the slots. I had been playing Bier haus on Facebook for free so decided to play it for real.
While I was playing Bier haus I had a text from my friend Kevin (Kydds) who had noticed via Twitter or Facebook that I had arrived in Vegas. I hadn't seen Kevin in a while so was happy to hear that him and his wife Judy had done their usual pitstop in Vegas on the way to their condo in another state.
I was so happy when they decided to stay for the night at Vdara and get together with me for a drink at The Henry. While we were drinking I had a appetizer as my dinner tonight wasn't until 8:30pm.  Below Kevin and Judy, just a fantastic couple and I wish we were able to spend more time together this trip.
While I was having a drink with Kevin and Judy my friend Boots had arrived, checked in and unpacked. After saying goodbye to Kevin and Judy and showing them where the Liberace exhibit was located at Cosmo, I found Boots at a nearby slot machine.
The main purpose of this February trip that had been planned months previously was to join Boots at eating at e' at Jaleo. This would be her first time eating there and my second experience. While we were playing slots Boots gave me my Golden Ticket for our 8:30 seating at Jose Andres's e' at Jaleo.

Boots and I had about 90 minutes before we needed to dress for our dinner so we played slots together. While I didn't have a big win I was getting lots of bonuses and was ahead at Cosmo!
The Wizard of Oz slot Wicked Witch of the West was to be very good to me at Cosmopolitan. Here's a video of one of the bonuses I had on it:

I had several nice Kitty Glitter bonuses this stay at Cosmo but none of them were big wins.
Accidentally played King Midas at five cents instead of a penny but as I realized my error I hit for $250.00!
It was time to change and make my way to Jaleo for our 8:30pm seating at e'. The e' dining room is limited to 8 diners and Boots and I would be joining 6 other people. Before they take us to the e' private room all of us met at this waiting area near the Jaleo bar.
The review of my dinner is at the link below:

After our wonderful dinner Boots and I played slots together for a while like Sex in the City before Boots retired back to her room and I continued to play slots solo.
Yes!!! I've never been lucky on Bier hans before but finally had a great line hit on it!
I went to the Cosmo high limit room a few times during my stay to play Davinci Diamonds, $5 Wheel of Fortune and other slots I had been lucky on during past trips, but minimal luck there this trip, mainly losses except for the previous lucky Pink Diamonds hit.
Cleopatra II was a fail for me too, below is best hit I had.
I love VIP All-Stars so I play it when I can find it. It treated me well at Cosmopolitan. Below is a video of one of my bonuses.

Found Family Guy at Cosmo and while not one of my favorite slots this one was hot and gave me several quick fun bonuses.
I returned to Bier hans and for the first time got over 50 spins as usually I get 5 or perhaps 10 spins if lucky. Unfortunately considering how many spins I had the bonus wasn't very good.
My discovery of the trip is the new Fireball AfterBurner Slot!
I was so lucky tonight on this slot, it put me over a thousand ahead!
I was only able to get a video on my iPhone but this is a really fun version of Fireball, most sequels aren't as good as the original slot in my opinion, but this sequel is a lot more fun! Check out this video to see how it plays:

After all my wins on Fireball Afterburner I decided to call it a night and went to my room one happy gambler!
The next morning Boots and I joined up around 10am for a road trip, as Boots had rented a car.
First stop Container Park!
It was interesting, I think they did a good job with planning out a great park for kids and their families!
Great play area for the kids!
Also an area for the parents to watch their children and listen to free entertainment!
I think if locals live nearby this is a fabulous place for them to bring their children to play while they get a bite to eat and listen to free entertainment. For tourists it's a nice enough place to stop by if you have already been to Vegas a lot and are looking for something new to see, but for me once was enough. For those of us in Vegas without children, it doesn't offer much, there are more exciting places to be.
The best thing I found at Container Park was the store that has the upscale Jerky. Both my husband and son love Jerky though I seldom buy it for them, but here I went ahead and bought an assortment for them because of the quality of the Jerky. However, they have a online store so really no need to return here for Jerky.
The items I bought from the Jerky store to take home to my husband and son.
After Container Park we went to M Resort. We found the new Ruby Slippers 2 slot there but the sound wasn't working which was disappointing so due to lack of big hits and no sound we didn't play it for long.
Boots had a coupon for a free buffet and line pass at M Resort but it didn't take me long to earn the 700 points for the Sunday Seafood Buffet so I could enter for free with her. I'm glad Boots had a line pass as no one was in the VIP line but the standard line was packed.
I have photos of the Studio B Buffet at M Resort in other trip reports from years past so since it was crowded the only photos I took was of my dessert plate. Okay, perhaps I forgot to take photos. ;) The food was fine for free, better then a lot of the buffets on the strip.
After we ate at M Resort we left for the Palms as neither of us had won at M Resort, in fact I think I was down about $200 or so there, but still ahead for the trip thanks to Cosmo.

I didn't have my player's card for Palms and the line was too long at their player's card desk to get a replacement so I low rolled while there. Both Boots and I played the new Walking Dead slot. It's similar to Aristocrat's Tarzan slot, I had some fun with it.  Video of my one bonus on it.

We played a few more slots at Palms but it wasn't long until we returned to Cosmopolitan.
I was so happy to be back and Cosmopolitan and still winning!
Love Lord of the Rings, the hit above was my best one for this trip.
Didn't have too much time to play slots though before it was time to go to dinner at the new Rose.Rabbit.Lie where we were also going to see the 8pm show. Review of dinner, menus and show are available at the links below:

After our great dinner and show it was back to the slots. I had to return to Fireball Afterburner and it didn't disappoint.
Lots of nice bonuses and hits that evening and again I went to bed a happy gambler who was ahead about $1500.00.
Next morning after saying goodbye to Boots I headed out for Palazzo for the last two nights of my trip.
VIP check in was quick as always and I had a suite with a great view of the strip and the new Hi Roller Observation Wheel that will be opening up in April.

After unpacking I went down to the Grazie player's club desk to check on my free play and get a extra player's card. There I discovered that their computer system was down and currently they couldn't make any new player cards. While it was a inconvenience I didn't think too much of it at the time as my current card was working in the slots and recording my points. Ah, if it had only been a temporary glitch!
If I'm at Palazzo and it's lunch time then you will usually find me at Grand Lux. After unpacking I headed straight for the restaurant and ordered one of my favorites, the Sonoma Chicken Salad.
After lunch I walked over to Venetian to meet Will from the Slot Fanatics board and we had some fun playing the Top Dollar and Blazing 7 slots.
After Will left to return to Mirage where he was staying, I went to play Willy Wonka.
I was excited to hit three wilds on a Oompa Loompa bonus on my second spin until I realized that I hadn't changed the previous players bet and instead of $2, I was betting 40 cents!
Fortunately even after changing my bet to $2 the Oompa Loompa's decided to visit me a couple more times.
Since I was still ahead from gambling at Cosmopolitan and feeling like good luck might still be with me I went to the Venetian High Limit room. This turned out to be a mistake as nothing was giving me bonuses and I put a lot of money into $5 Top Dollar, Pinball and the Triple Diamond Cheese slot.
I also played my favorite $1 Quick Hits, but couldn't get the bonus on it either and the best hit above was pretty weak.
I went outside the HL room and played some $1 Top Dollar and did get a decent bonus on it before it went cold.
I then returned to Willy Wonka where Oompa Loompa's gave me a couple visits.
I was getting hungry so since my dinner plans for this evening had fallen apart at the last minute I went back to my suite to order room service. I loved the nighttime view with the Hi Roller Wheel lit up!
I ordered way too much food and ended up eating about a fourth of it and promptly felt guilty about the waste of food. One strange thing did happen when I ordered my food from room service they asked if I would be paying by credit card or cash and I said neither I would be charging to my room which is usually the default anyway. They said they would have to get permission and I was put on hold for a couple minutes until they returned and said they would do a manual charge to my room. Hmmm, looks like their computer issues were more involved then not being able to make player cards.
After dinner it was back downstairs to the casino and to the player's club and they were now able to make player cards up again but still having computer problems. I got my extra card and went to try the dollar Quick Hits again with the same sad results as earlier.  I was no longer ahead at this point.
Walking over to Venetian I played and lost on quite a few slots before deciding to go to the Gold Lounge for a drink. As I enter the Gold Lounge and walk over to where the iced tea is located I hear my name, turn around and there are my friends Tricia and Michael with their friends Rick and Debra! This is the time I remember that Tricia and Michael who I have plans with tomorrow to join for lunch had also invited me to join them at dinner tonight with their friends at Delmonico's and I had forgotten all about it. I could have had a fabulous dinner instead of room service. Chalk that one up to a senior moment. :(
After having a drink with my friends we went outside of the high limit room and played some Ruby Slippers 2 together. Debra ended up with the main bonus and let me film it.  Here's the video if you would like to see this new slot.

After Ruby Slippers 2 we went our separate ways and from then on with the few exceptions in the photos below all I did was lose.
Eventually I returned to my room a loser. I consoled myself with the great nighttime view I had of the new Hi Roller Observation Wheel.
 I slept in next morning and didn't leave my room until around 11am. As I was leaving I noticed security was on my floor checking the exit doors. At the time I didn't think to much of it so I just headed down to Grand Lux for breakfast where I was meeting Tricia, Michael and Terri.
While I had my usual Sonoma Chicken salad, Michael ordered the Crispy Caramel Chicken below and also the Housemade Pierogies above, potato dumplings with slow roasted short rib, mushroom and onion garnished with sour cream. I had a taste and it was yummy!
While we were eating Terri asked me what was going down at Venetian and Palazzo because when she self-parked they made her stop and searched her car as they were now doing with all cars entering the property. Normally they just wave cars through the check points at Venetian and Palazzo. It was then I realized more was happening then just their computer problems.
After lunch we said our farewells to Michael and Tricia for this trip and Terri and I took a walk through the waterfall area of Palazzo on our way to the Venetian Box Office.
As I was waiting in line to get my complimentary tickets to the new show Panda, I started to get texts from a  few friends alerting me that the Sands properties computers had been hacked according to news reports and were compromised. If this is the first you are hearing about this and you want to know more here's a USA Today article on it or you can just google for the information. As of this date the Venetian and Palazzo websites are working but back to basics and do not have their former functionality as far as being able to check your Grazie account or win/loss statements.

When I received our tickets to Panda at the end section of it there was a complimentary ticket for a  gondola ride attached (ticket above already has it removed). Terri and I had never been on the gondola and I knew my husband didn't want to ever ride it so we did it together. It actually was a lot more fun then I was expecting and our Gondolier who is in the photo below was very entertaining.
After our Gondola ride I went to the Palazzo VIP registration desk to take care of my boarding pass for tomorrow's flight to discover that the computer problems made them unable to get a internet connection to print out my pass! Fortunately Edward who is both a friend to Terri and me besides being our host at Wynn was joining us for dinner tonight and a quick text to him resulted in him bringing my boarding pass over to Venetian for me.
Dinner tonight at Buddy V's was a belated birthday celebration for Terri and Edward.
My drink below was the Dragon Rosso. It was a fabulous blend of absolut ruby red, pomegranate,jalapeno and mango.
The house Focaccia was very tasty.
Buddy's Salumi and Cheese Board was very good. Genoa Salami, Capicola, Prosciutto, Grana Padano, Tuscan Pecorino and Gorgonzola, olives, and pickled vegetables with grilled Italian bread.
Buddy's wife's twice baked eggplant parmesan.
Caesar Salad was fresh and dressing was great.
Edward ordered the Agnolotti which is miniature ravioli, sunday gravy style veal shank, sausage and pork, with sage brown butter. It was very rich tasting and I'm not sure he liked it.
I loved my salmon, it was wonderful and a special of the evening and not the one listed on their menu.
 Terri enjoyed the Chicken Rigatoni  "alla vodka" with a tomato cream sauce.
Lisa's Warm Nutella Cake.  Chocolate sauce, hazelnut praline crunch, salted caramel ice cream.
Cannoli, cinnamon pastry, sweet ricotta cream with cocoa drops and pistachios.
I loved my Italian Birthday cake. Ironically the only one not celebrating their birthday ordered it! Rum soaked sponge cake, cannoli filling, chocolate pastry cream with toasted almonds.
As we were finishing up our desserts, I let our server know we were in a hurry to catch our show and I needed to sign the check to my room. This is when he gives me notice that due to the computer issues they can't allow guests to sign their checks to their room they were only taking cash and credit cards. Why was this not mentioned before we ordered? This was a bit upsetting to me as I was comped so I quickly called my host to complain. Problem solved when my host Brian called and issued a comped slip by hand that was sent up to the restaurant.Whew!
Terri and I walked out with Edward and said goodbye to him at Palazzo as we went on to the theatre to see Panda. There were cute little stuffed pandas climbing bamboo as we walked down the hall to enter the theatre.
No photos of course of the show was allowed but we even got scolded for taking a photo of the curtain before the show started, which was a first even for a Vegas theatre.
As far as the show itself I enjoyed it. If you know anything about Chinese mythology you might even understand what is going on. ;) This is a show for the whole family, if you come to Vegas with your children and I know some of you do, you can take them to this show as it's appropriate for all ages. The cast at various times during the show does interact some with the audience and also throws out some tiny toy Panda's during the show.
After the show Terri left for home as she lives in Las Vegas and I continued to gamble and lose.
 The new True Blood slot was interesting but I found the wins a bit on the low side.
Triple Trouble once again gave me a good bonus but it wasn't enough to offset my losses.
Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas tried to show me a good time for a while.
Quick hits was taking more then it was giving me.
Miss Kitty gave me a bonus, but I needed a bit win.
Pinball gave me a decent bonus but I still went to bed my last night of that trip a loser.
I slept in late again and didn't eat until around 1pm. For lunch it was once again back to Grand Lux where I had a tasty small plate of heirloom tomatoes with avocado and also their salmon three ways which is always delicious!
My flight home was delayed but Southwest had given me notice for a change early enough that I wasn't already at the airport so instead enjoyed my late check out. I still gave myself almost a 2 hour cushion before the new flight time and was glad for it when they moved the flight time back up and it wasn't as late taking off as they said it would be.
I was happy to take the Palazzo limo back to the airport and not have some taxi driver ask me if I wanted to go by freeway.
Another fun trip, just sort of wish I had left after my two days at Cosmopolitan and gone home a winner. :)  After the bad luck I had in 2013, I want to have just as much fun as last year but without as many losses!

The next trip to Vegas is a day or two after this is published. Yes, I'm a slacker!  No fooling but I leave on April 1st for a six night trip to have fun with a large group of friends arriving for the annual Spring Meet of the Slot Fanatics Forum. Lots of activities are planned including a WMS Studio tour that I've done in the past, but this year I'll also be touring Bally Technologies and Aristocrat Studios!

For those of you that will be there, can't wait to see you! All my other readers, hope to run into you sometime in Vegas. Cheers!


  1. I loved this! Didn't know Buddy V had a restaurant - I just told my husband we must eat there! The eggplant parm looks so yummy and I make an italian cake just like that. I think I'll have to try it. Good luck at the meet tomorrow, have fun!

    1. Hi Dockfam, the eggplant parm is really good. I've eaten at Buddy V's for both lunch and dinner and both times it's been good. :) Thanks, I'm looking forward to a week of fun, and perhaps wins too!

  2. Awesome trip report. I loved the slot & food pics :-). Sorry you didn't get to come home a winner, but hopefully you will this next trip!

    1. Thanks, I can use lots of good luck wishes. :)

  3. hi diana! love your vids and wife and i would absolutely love to do the tours of the slot makers but am not sure how u go about doing this.....?

    1. The slot Fanatics message board has a annual spring meet in Vegas and it's the group that is extended the invite by the slot companies not the individuals. As far as I know the slot companies only do this occasionally. You might consider joining the slot fanatics message board and attending one of the annual meets when visiting the slot companies is one of the events.

  4. Loved the read Diana! I think we may try Buddy V's after seeing those pictures. Yum! -Dan (DProxima)

    1. Dan, hope you and Michelle love Buddy V's!

  5. We are heading to Palazzo the middle of May, 2014 - do you know if they have resolved their problems? Certainly hope so as we are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and our first time staying at this property. Loved the report!
    Thanks - Kathy

    1. The website is up and running but not at full functionality where you can check grazie points, offers and get win/loss statements for each year. However the casino computer issues with restaurants and at the player's club desk seem to be resolved. Have a wonderful trip in May, and good luck!