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TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

Round Rock, Texas
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TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

ok... here it is... i didn't take very good notes this time, so the details might be fuzzy.

some background info:

we took this trip because my dad had a convention at the flamingo. my mom, her best friend Jicky, my son, and I went with him. my dad is a retired airline pilot, so he's been to vegas many times, but usually just for one night at a time with only enough time for dinner and bed, and not usually at a strip hotel. my mom hadn't been to vegas since a friend's wedding maybe 10 years ago. they stayed at excalibur for the wedding. Jicky goes at least once a year and usually stays at THEhotel. her brother in law is a high roller, so they usually get VIP treatment all the way. my son turned 3 right before the trip. i was almost 4 months pregnant for the trip. we were in vegas for 5 nights and then my mom, my son, and i flew to phoenix to see family for 3 more nights. my son has food allergies, so we have to be very careful when dining out.

sunday:

my parents, my son, and i arrived in vegas at about 1 pm on sunday. our luggage was at carousel 16 and hotel check-in was at carousel 1, so we split up. dad and son and i got checked in (we upgraded to GO rooms for $25 extra a night and we got adjoining rooms with a pool view) and mom waited for the bags. the rooms weren't ready yet, so they gave us little claim ticket things that we could turn in for room keys at the hotel. dad went back to pick up mom and the bags and i waited near the rental car shuttle exit with the kid. we all met up and headed up to the rental car shuttle line. the line was VERY long, but there were attendants making it run smoothly, not at the mob that it was on my last visit. i'd say we waited about 15 minutes for a bus. we got to the rental car place, i headed upstairs to the hertz gold counter to pick up the car, then we loaded up and headed out.

we were starving and tired and irritated by the time we had the car and it was too late for an easy lunch buffet, so we picked up drive through food and then cruised up the strip for a while. we valet parked at flamingo (very fast and easy, much better than at MGM) and sent the bags with the bell hop. one room was ready, so we had the bags delivered there and headed up. the second room was finished as we arrived to the first room, so dad went back down to get the key and mom and i put kid down for a nap and waited for bags.

the rooms: we had one king bed and two queen beds in adjoining rooms. we were on the 20th floor with a beautiful view of the pool. the rooms had flat screen tv's with dvd players. the beds had duvets covered with sheets (so you don't have to worry about dirty comforters) and they were very comfortable. the drapes were controlled by switches near the beds, so you could open and close them from bed. the decor was very pink, but not too nauseating. there was a little desk with a chair and a little table with two armchairs in the 2 queens room. the king room had a little couch instead of the two chairs. the bathrooms had limited counter space, but a large open shelf under the sink so you could stash all your stuff out of the way. there was a tv in the mirror. the tub and shower were seperate. the shower was very large with a shelf for all your stuff and the water pressure and temperature were always good.

now for the bad stuff about the room: the bedside reading lamps didn't work. we asked about them at the front desk and the clerk said that they were going to be torn out and replaced eventually because they rarely worked. there was only one lamp in the room, on the desk, so reading while someone else was sleeping was a challenge. we also had a couple other maintenance issues... the waterproof lining around the shower door was loose, so it was hard to close the shower door all the way and the little holder for the bathroom tv remote popped off the wall and scared the crap out of me. another issue is that the bathroom door was made of frosted glass. you couldn't see clearly through it, but light from the bathroom lit the whole room at night. if you are pregnant and peeing every 2 hours all night, it becomes a problem. my recommendation: bring a flashlight for reading in bed and using the potty at night.

the negatives were really pretty minor and we were very happy with the rooms in general.

after our nap, dad had a reception to attend, so mom, kid, and i went down to the flamingo buffet for dinner. we got a $5 off coupon when we checked in to the hotel. the food was good. the crab legs were served sliced in half so they were easy to eat and they tasted great. a manager pointed out all the things that were safe for my son to eat, and there were several. i loved the little cheesecakes.

after dinner, we went back to the room and went to bed.

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Round Rock, Texas
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1. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

monday:

kid and i woke up early and headed to the pool. it opens at 8, but the waterfall starts at 9 and the slides open at 10. we were there at 8. things were pretty quiet at that time, so we had our choice of chairs and lots of space in the pool. there was a ton of shade and little benches scattered around in the pool, so it was nice for the kid. the kiddie pool that was shown on the map has been replaced with blackjack tables. :( on a positive note, you can get from the elevators to the pool, the buffet, and the valet parking without ever going through the smokey casino.

we swam until 9, then showered and dressed to pick up Jicky from the airport at 11. short term parking at the airport was pretty convenient, so we just parked and went in to get her. we dropped her stuff off in the room and then mom, kid, jicky, and i crossed the street to CP to do some shopping. jicky spent way too much money at judith leiber and kid threw lots of pennies into fountains. dad called to say he was free for the afternoon, so we crossed the street back to harrahs to meet him at the buffet. we had a $5 coupon from the flamingo coupon book. the lunch buffet was very good. my favorites were the lasagna, the shrimp, and the gelato. harrah's also had angel food cake, which is safe for my son to eat. he hardly ever gets to have pastries, so it was a special treat for him.

we headed back to our rooms and i put the kid down for a nap. dad stayed in the room with the kid to get some work done and then take him down to the pool after his nap. mom, jicky, and i drove to fiesta henderson to gamble. we met back up with dad and the kid for dinner. we picked them up and drove downtown. we parked at the valet at binions (several other lots were full) and we walked to the golden nugget for dinner. i had had a wonderful brunch there on another trip, so i was excited to try the dinner buffet. it turned out to be pretty disappointing. there weren't many choices. mom loved the pizza and we all loved the bread pudding, but we probably won't go there for dinner again. main street station has a much better dinenr buffet.

the kid was very bored by the light show, so we went back to the room. i went to bed with the kid while mom and jicky gambled.

tuesday:

we headed to green valley ranch for an early lunch. i had never been to GVR before. the hotel is beautiful and it was the least smokey of anywhere we played. we signed up for the slot club and got $1 off each buffet. the buffet had a large variety with lots of options for the kid. the food was very good. mom and jicky took ben to The District to shop while i played some video poker.

we met back up with dad for dinner. we drove to the Venetian and valet parked. we had reservations at Canaletto. the outside dining area was very pretty with lots to look at. mom thought the prices were good. service was VERY slow. mom's pizza was cold, but heating it more would have dried it out. my risotto was a bit undercooked. risotto shouldn't be crunchy. dad and jicky both liked their meals. the kid's plate of plain spaghetti with some diced tomatoes on it cost $15. we won't be going there again.

we dropped dad off at the hotel so he could go to bed and we drove around the strip. we tried to catch the sirens show at TI, which was supposed to be at 11:30. by 11:32, the crowd was already departing. at least the kid got to see the pirate ship.

we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

Round Rock, Texas
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2. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

wednesday:

we drove to the mirage for the lunch buffet. it was very good. they had crab legs on the lunch buffet and mom said they were her favorite so far. there were a bunch of choices for the kid. my favorites were the polenta and the flan. the shrimp were huge.

mom, jicky, and the kid went back to the forum shops and i went back to GVR to play more video poker.

we had reservations at the circus circus steakhouse for dinner with my cousins who live in vegas, so we got cleaned up and headed there. they don't made the bread there at the restaurant, so we didn't know if it was safe for the kid. the waiter came back with a big basket of different types of crackers and even some flour tortillas for him.

the manager came out and walked us through the rest of the menu to find things that the kid could eat. mom asked about the bean soup. the manager said "would he prefer chicken noodle soup?" chicken noodle soup wasn't even on the menu, but it's my son's favorite. they brought out a big bowl with a wide rim. the kid picked out all the noodles and chicken and left the celery and onions and broth in the bowl. we poured the broth into a coffee cup and he drank it that way. the waiter came back with a second bowl of soup that was in a bowl with no rim, had very little broth, onions, and celery, and a ton of noodles. he brought some strained broth in a cup. i've never seen the staff at a restaurant anticipate my son's needs and really jump through hoops like that for him. i was very impressed.

i had the filet, which was perfect, as usual. my mom said that the prime rib was the best she'd ever tasted. with wine, our bill for 7 people was around $300. i don't think they even charged for the kid's soup. we left a huge tip. ;)

we went back to the hotel and i went to bed with the kid while mom and jicky gambled.

thursday:

i woke up early to take jicky to the airport. went i got back, mom, the kid, and i walked over to bally's for the lunch buffet. it was awful. the only thing the kid could really eat was the pasta with marinara. mom liked the flan. i didn't like anything. the menu you get when you call the phone information line said they had prime rib at lunch, but it was really an eye of round roast. :/ big disappointment.

we went back to the room and met up with dad. dad, the kid, and i went down to the pool while mom gambled. the pool was much more crowded in the afternoon, but we still found a couple chairs near the water slides. we spent a couple hours taking the kid down the water slides. it was fun!

i put the kid down for a nap and then went downstairs to gamble with mom while dad stayed in the room and got some work done. we played the monopoly game. i never play slots, but mom talked me into it. i won $245! it was a ton of fun.

dad had a dinner event, so mom, the kid., and i met one of my cousins for the dinner buffet at GVR. they had several options for crab legs and mom and cousin pigged out on crab. i loaded up on desserts. ;) i played some more video poker while mom and cousin hung out with the kid.

we headed back to the room, did some packing and went to bed.

Round Rock, Texas
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3. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

friday:

we woke up at 7, got all our stuff packed, sent the bags with a bell hop, and headed down for breakfast. we ate at the flamingo buffet. the breakfast was great! the kid had a big bowl of oatmeal and some hard boiled eggs and lots of fruit. i had yummy biscuits and gravy. they also served crepes, if you are into that sort of thing.

the bell hop met us at valet parking and we left for the airport by about 10:15. i dropped the bags and the family off at curbside check-in and then took the rental car back to the rental car return. i just barely made it to the gate. i got there about 5 minutes before they started boarding the 12:30 flight. so... if you have a rental car to return, give yourself 2.5 hours at least to get to your gate.

buffets ranked from best to worst:

mirage

harrahs tied with GVR

flamingo

... big gap in quality ...

golden nugget

bally's

i would really like to stay at GVR next time. i need to join their mailing list.

Puerto Vallarta
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4. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

Great trip report and nice to hear your child was able to find a good variety of things to eat.

My cousins, who live in Vegas will a couple of times a year go and stay at the GVR for a nice get-away. They love it there, especially the teens.

Dallas, Texas
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for Boston, Orlando, Walt Disney World
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5. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

Great TR thanks for sharing.

Topeka, Kansas
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6. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

WOW!!! Not to sound like Low, BUT the food is the best part of Vegas (other than the gambling) so really enjoyed the details.

We haven't tried eating at Circus, Circus other than breakfast many years ago so maybe we'll add that to our list the next time.

So did your son enjoy the trip? After reading many discussions on here concerning children in Vegas, it doesn't appear you had any difficulties with him (and being pregnant could also pose some frustration)...think you made it work and glad you had a good time!

Round Rock, Texas
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7. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

topeka:

we didn't do much walking the strip and there was always someone who could give my son full attention, so it worked out well for both of us. i've been pretty tired this pregnancy, so my bedtime usually matched my son's pretty well. we managed to get in a nap every day and lots of my son's time was spent out shopping, which is pretty much what he does at home. basically the major changes from his routine were access to a better pool than we have at home and eating at better buffets than we have at home. :D

i think it really helps a lot to have a rental car if you are in vegas with kids. we hardly spent any time at all in the sun and nobody was exausted from walking for miles.

my son decided that the vegas hotels were all castles. i had explained to him that we were in a rental car, so when it was time for his nap, he said "can we go to the rental castle?" when we left, he said "bye bye rental pool!"

he's a good traveller in general. he's usually pretty easy on an airplane or in a hotel. as long as we keep him supplied with DVDs, he's happy anywhere.

Topeka, Kansas
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8. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

I remember being 6 months pregnant and going to Chicago, and my ankles swelled so not sure if I could have done Vegas! LOL

We always use a rental and think that is a good idea too, and I am glad it was a fun experience for all of you....those casinos DO look like castles to me too tell him!

Toronto Ontario
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9. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

Sounds like a trip can be managed quite nicely with several generations. Your son must be well behaved to sit patiently in restaurants, without fussing. It must have felt good to have the wait staff worry about him. Poor guy, to miss out on the chance to sample a bit of anything he likes the look of. Did everyone else in the family say they would repeat the family Vegas experience?

Round Rock, Texas
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10. Re: TR: Flamingo, buffets, trip with toddler and grandparents

they were just so helpful. the CC steakhouse is the kind of place where your water glass is always full but you never actually notice anyone filling it. top notch service. usually we are lucky if a waiter does more than just shrug when we ask about ingredients.

it's not so much that he's patient... it's that he's hungry. if we can get something for him to eat right away and keep the food coming, he won't make a peep until the end of the meal. it works out really well in buffets. we just make his plate first and then he's happy as a clam until it's time to go. you've never seen a kid eat like ours! he's usually still eating after the rest of us are finished. i guess it's a good thing that the food allergies make us really watch what he eats. i don't mind my son eating like a bottomless pit when he's eating spinach and apples and grilled turkey. he'd probably weigh 100 lbs if he could eat chicken nuggets and ice cream like other kids.

i highly recommend bringing grandma along when travelling with the kids. between 4 adults, we always managed to have someone paying full attention to the kid while the rest of us all got to spend some time doing what we wanted to do.