For starters I want to thank everyone on these forums for the great tips and advice. Even though my parents have lived in Vegas for many years I was able to show them a thing or 2 thanks to you guys!
For one thing they loved the American Casino Guide so much, that a new copy is on the way to them!
Las Vegas Trip Report March 27-April 3 2007
There were 3 people traveling in our party, ages, 46, 52, and 57. One in our party had never been to Vegas before so this was more of a site seeing trip rather than gambling event.
We met up with my parents who live in Vegas, (their ages are 70 and 82). My parents are the gamblers in our group, and hardly ever gamble on the strip. They have their local favorites, primarily South Point, Gold Coast, and Orleans.
Mom and Dad at their 5 STAR B&B provided accommodations! Thanks for the home cooked breakfasts, coffee and donuts served out by the pool, and wonderful meat pies, which made great midnight snacks, homemade biscotti, and the excellent PEACH upside-down cake! Yes…I said peach! (I happen to be their favorite daughter…one that dislikes (hates) pineapple).
The service would not have been better at any hotel on the strip! Thanks Mom and Dad!
Now we booked our flights through United and ended up flying US Airways…? We found a great non-stop flight out of Pittsburgh for $178 RT with non-stop coming home also.
Our departure started off a little shaky… we were to depart at 8:35 AM. First they announced a delay due to a hydraulic problem that maintenance was taking care of. Then about an hour later, our flight was cancelled due to not having all parts needed, and we were sent off to the “special services” desk to make other arrangements.
While waiting in line, they announced that the flight had been reinstated, and sent us back to our original gate. I guess they “borrowed” some parts? The fact that we were still waiting to speak to an agent ended up being a blessing. Others that had, were put on a later non-stop, which didn’t depart until around 8PM. We finally got off about 2 hours late. Everyone on the plane was offered ONE free drink for our trouble. The last hour and a half was a nightmare with turbulence like we had never experienced before, so we could have used many more. We were never so happy to touch down…
Now off to pick up our rental car on the Alamo shuttle, with no wait at all. We found a great deal on a full size for one week-$154-and we had a nice Impala. Arrived at my parents house and realized a bag was left behind at Alamo so back in the car to retrieve. The good news…the bag was found, bad news…our camera was gone. Lesson learned. Dad came through with his camera so we were able to capture everything all week. Thanks Dad!
What a chill in the air when we arrived! Are we really in Vegas? It was in the 60’s but the winds were the killer. We experienced this for the first 2 days, and then we hit 70’s…much better! Before long we were in the 80’s, sunny and perfect!
THE SEE AND DO:
Our first day was spent visiting family and then to Red Rock Hotel and Casino for their buffet dinner. We had 2 for 1 coupons thanks to the American Casino Guide, (ACG), along with coupons my parents had gathered. We thought the buffet was nice, with lots of healthy selections like roasted chicken breast, great veggies, and the sushi was very fresh. The walk through the hotel gave a good impression, very clean and the smoke was not an issue. Would definitely return!
What was next on the agenda? BIG ELVIS of course! What better way to start off a Vegas vacation? We went early with our FREE drink coupons in hand from the ACG. They say Barbary Coast so we weren’t sure they would honor them now that the name has changed to Bills Gambling Saloon. The guy didn’t blink an eye so drinks in hand off to find a seat for the show. WOW-the place was packed. We were there for the first show of the day at 3:00 and we couldn’t believe the crowd. I guess the word is out? We did find 2 seats for the 3 of us, so that was pretty good. Here he comes and OMG…we see why he is called BIG Elvis! LOL! What a voice, and the show was good. Big Elvis was very cordial and happy to pose for photos with his Elvettes!
There were 2 things about the show that we did not like. One was the other guy taking a turn singing Conway Twitty songs. Sorry…not good. Besides we were there to see ELVIS!
Number two…was the crowd. Why not clap along and have some fun? You’re in VEGAS for goodness sake!! Well we had enough fun for all of you. We wanted to get back and see another show but ran out of time. So until next time Big Elvis!
BIG ELVIS-THUMBS UP
We booked Danny Gans tickets on the Mirage web site in advance for $100 each. After seeing the show, all 3 of us were disappointed. Yes, he is talented…but not what we expected. We thought some stand up comedy would happen in between impressions. Just not our cup of tea I guess…
DANNY GANS-THUMBS DOWN
We hit several piano bars…I’ll list our favorite first and so on. NYNY is still the best IMHO. My hubby nailed it when he said they are more polished. I would place Harrah’s second. Napoleon was okay, and there was nothing happening at Kahunaville. Granted it was an off day.
PIANO BARS-SOME UP, SOME DOWN
We enjoyed our time at the Nine Fine Irishmen in NYNY. The band was great and plenty of free entertainment in the crowd. For example, the short-non-stop dancing woman, circa 65-70 yrs old, with her Easter Bonnet, (flower included), glitter make-up, flowered dress, and hooker hose. Or the midget who ended up with the giant woman as his dancing partner. The fun just never ends!
NINE FINE IRISHMEN-THUMBS UP
Our favorite meal was at Ellis Island. There were 5 in our party and 4 ordered their $4.95 steak special. I ordered the shrimp scampi special for $5.95. (You must ask for them, not on the menu). Our dinner bill was around $28 HOWEVER we had TWO 2 for 1 coupons from the ACG, and also used the FREE drink coupons. The bill came to $18 for all of us after the discounts. My husband said he never expected the steak to be so good. It was almost like a filet, and perfectly done. The 3 others that had this agreed. My shrimp was delicious also. We all had a nice fresh salad, and theirs came with a baked potato and veggie-mine with rice.
Others have mentioned this place was dirty and full of smoke. We spent some time gambling prior to dinner because of a wait for a table, and did not find this at all. Also hung out a little afterwards and listened to some Karaoke. Man these guys sounded too good in there! We figured these were regulars, not the usual amateurs who think they can sing. Would we return? ABSOLUTELY!
ELLIS ISLAND-THUMBS UP
Besides Ellis Island, lunch/dinners for the week were a mix of home cooked feasts by Mom, the Red Rock Casino buffet which I already mentioned earlier, South Point for the seafood buffet on Friday night, (my meal consisted of crab legs, crab legs, and more crab legs…scrumptious!), and then off for their 7:00 BINGO! What fun and how happy we were when Dad yelled BINGO, and the very next game, Mom did the same! What are the chances?
Mom and Dad took us to Arriva in the Gold Coast and we had a very nice sit down Italian meal. I ordered the Cajun Blackened Halibut with salsa, and it definitely had a bite to it…delicious! Mom and Dad had all kind of coupons for this place so we just about ate for free-Thanks again!!
We had chips and made-to-order guacamole for an afternoon snack at The Cheese Factory in Caesars Palace. You have your choice of mild, medium or hot, and they make it up fresh. Really good, and it was enough for the 3 of us to share. We stopped at the Chipotle place too. We had chips/salsa and a burrito-all was good. Margaritaville was a great place to grab lunch. Our table was right by one of the mermaid statues and it was pretty funny watching all the guys rub up on her as they walked by. They just couldn’t resist.
The pretzels at New York Pretzel in the Venetian food court and an ice cold one made a great snack before the Gordie Brown show. After the show we had a wonderful dinner in St. Mark’s Square at the Canaletto. I ordered calf’s liver and it was outstanding. And the setting was an absolutely beautiful spot. Thanks sister for the wonderful treat!
Last but not least were the chocolate covered strawberries at Ghirardelli and a pastry shop in the Venetian, the name escapes me, but I will not forget how spectacular they were!
A month or so before our trip, travlezoo.com was running some half-price promos on Vegas shows. Gordie Brown was one of them. I tried to find some reviews and information, but he is 5 months new to Vegas so not much talk on him yet. We decided to go for it, and all 5 of us went. Boy did we luck out!! This guy is so talented and so funny! His impressions are very good, and we liked how he changed the lyrics to be funny. He is at his best when doing things off the cuff, and he had us laughing so hard we were crying. I’d describe his show as part stand-up comedy and part impressions. If you are considering his show, BOOK IT!! You will not regret it. This guy will be in Vegas a long time once the word gets out.
GORDIE BROWN-THUMBS UP
We headed downtown and parked valet at the Golden Gate. Went straight to the front desk for our free deck of cards, (thanks ACG), and there we witnessed the only touch of trouble our entire trip if you would even call it that. It seems a bum walking by on the hotel sidewalk wasn’t too happy that the hotel had their doors propped open, and he let it be known by slamming them shut and doing some yelling. The front desk clerk immediately called security and they were Johnny-on-the-spot to have a little chat with him. Next on to Vegas Club for free beer, (thanks again ACG), and out to Fremont Street to experience the show. I imagine if you are a racing fan, the show would have been right up your alley. To us it was okay.
We enjoyed watching the artists do their thing, and the older gentlemen singing Frank Sinatra was pretty good. We passed some other singers along with a rock band that sounded pretty good. We stopped in at Hennessey’s Irish Pub and had a cold one while listening to Finnegan’s Wake. The band wasn’t really playing Irish stuff but they were really good. We also got a visit from the Uncle Sam dude in his wheelchair. He was happy to pose with others for pictures and it was obvious that he enjoys being out with the people and having a good time. Back to the Golden Gate to get our car, but we couldn’t leave without having the famous $.99 Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp is okay, but the secret is in the sauce-yummy!
Damn Big Dam was a pleasant drive. We did hit some construction traffic just a few miles from the Hoover Dam but at least we were moving. They are in the process of building a new bridge to avert the truck traffic, so if you plan on going, I’d say to leave in the morning, because by the time we left to head home, the opposing traffic was backed up for miles. There are lots of new things there since our last visit. Of course a gift shop, and a place to grab something to eat. There are tables outside where you can sit and eat while viewing Hoover Dam. Nice touch. We didn’t pay any extra to take the tour, just wandered around on our own, and captured some great photos. We have taken the tour in the past, and it’s really remarkable what these men accomplished. Well worth the drive IMHO.
We tried to hit all the highlights for our Vegas virgin, and we covered lots of ground in just one week. I’ll just give a quick summary…
Had to stop in the M&M Store to pick up some souvenirs. (The rest were bought at Worlds Greatest Souvenir Shop). MGM is right nearby so we did a quick walk through and caught the lioness on display.
Walked through The Forum Shops at Caesars, watched the Atlantis Show, caught some pussy cat dolls dancing in their cages, (how do these people concentrate on their gaming with that going on above them…part of plan?), and checked out their pool with cool cabana’s real nice!
NYNY is a happening place. We spent a couple evenings in the Nine Fine Irishmen, an afternoon in the piano bar. We love this place.
We spent some time at the Mirage, saw the tiger display, (the white lions weren’t out), caught the Danny Gans show, and checked out the volcano. We were disappointed with the show and the volcano. I don’t know for sure if the volcano was on the fritz or not, but it sure wasn’t like we remembered it. Go across the street to Casino Royale and grab a $1 Michelob or $1 Margarita. This was a nice tip from the folks at tripadvisors-thanks guys!
The Bellagio fountains are one of my favorites, so we caught 2 or 3 songs there. We also walked through their shops and conservatory. The butterfly theme was beautiful, butterflies included.
We never did get to use our VIP passes to get in free at the VooDoo Lounge at the Rio , but we did see the Masquerade Show. The best part of this was the free beads…I’d skip this next time around.
Since the Excalibur, Luxor, and Mandalay Bay are connected, we parked at Excalibur, and walked through all 3. The consensus was that Mandalay Bay was nicest out of these, with a very nice pool that would be great to hang out at.
Venetian is just a beautiful place inside and out. The gondolas, the surprise of what you think is a statue winking at you, the water, the singing gondoliers, and the paintings on the ceilings, nice shops, and wonderful dinner at Canaletto’s. Not to be missed IMO. Seeing Gordie Brown here was a lot of fun too.
Got in line 45 minutes early to catch the 8:30PM TI Sirens show. We thought it was worth the wait, but get there early and find a good spot. It gets very crowded and take care of your valuables. This is a popular pickpocket spot.
And last but not least…it’s 2 AM and we are almost to my parents house to call it a night. What do we see? A man walking down the street carrying a very large wooden cross on his shoulders. We just can’t believe our eyes. Back at the house we tell my parents and without missing a beat they say, “Well it is Palm Sunday”…
only in Vegas!