My grandparents told me stories of old Las Vegas...when the Damm was built, when the Flamingo went up and nowbody thought anything would come of this dessert town. My first memories take me to the Desert Inn (now the Wynn) My folks were considered whales back then. We would go 5 or 6 times a year. Always limo service to and from the airport. They would always go into a private room to check in and make us wait in the lobby. And even though my parents could of had a huge suite comped...they always opted to stay on the ground floor pool side rooms. Always 2 rooms that connected with a small patio. Very understated by todays standards. I remember sitting outside on our patio and having ducks come up to me and my brother. I remember swimming at night (unheard of now) and meeting kids from all over the world and wishing we could vacation somewhere other than Vegas. I remember when Wet and Wild had their grand opening. Dinner was almost always room service or just the Poolside Coffee shop. Folks stopped taking us when we started going into the casino at night and got caught trying to play the slots....anyone remember dime slots??? Now skip ahead to my 21st birthday....my first trip with friends. A trip i paid for myself. The Dunes (now Bellagio). I was also pregnant with my first child. I had this trip planned my whole life. I was so darned tired. I looked fat. I couldnt drink and all the smoke made me sick....didnt bring enough money and had no food our last 24 hours. Won 12.50 on airport nickel machine and scarfed at Burger King and puked on the plane. Now skip ahead to my kids being 3 and 4 years old. I am divorced and back at the Desert Inn with my folks (still comped) and my kids. Staying in the same rooms...creating memories for them. But this was a time of change in Las Vegas. People were actually being encouraged to bring their kids. The MGM had a small version of Disneyland. The Excalibur opened and had the entire basement full of kiddie fun. Treasure Island had the Pirate Battle and Mirage the Volcano. Luxor had the pyramid and a huge gaming level. The Forum Shops had just opened and my kids refered to it as the "underground mall". My BFF and her hubster just divorced...we started taking the kids and staying at Tropicana. I was able to get comped there and it was close to the Four "kiddy" corners. Then we started alternating between Tropicana and Tresure Island. As the kids got older they were sick of Las Vegas...started to ask for a different vacation. "Why cant we go to Hawaii" they would say. As they turned into teenagers and started to try to get away with playing slots and getting drink service at the pool. We stopped taking the kids. Now its just BFF, Mom and Grandma. The Bellagio opened and we are hooked right away. The Fountains and Conservatory and what do you know...after the first trip...Mom is now fully comped. Those were fun years. No kids. Beautiful Pool, wonderful Buffet and the spa...awwww i always come out feeling like "budda".
Bellagio is still a favorite of mine. Grandma is 85 and still gives those penny slots a run for their money. We cant quite convince her that it is more expensive to play max pennies than the 2 or 3 single line quarter machines. As both of my kids turn 21...what do they want to do....go the Las Vegas. With their friends of course. They plan their first trips with excitement. My son's first trip with a group of buddies at Bally's. My daughters first trip with a group of BFF's at Excalibur. They paid for those first trips their selves. Didnt bring enough gambling money. Drank to much...and my daughter just threw her heels in the trash rather than carry them home from along night at Pure or Tryst. Both kids admitted that their trips with the family were just more fun. I now go the Las Vegas just once a year and have taken my kids as "adults". Stayed at theHOTEL for 6-6-6. Tropicana for 7-7-7 and the Signature for 8-8-8. I do not have a 9-9-9 trip planned because this year i went the first week of August. 2 Days with BFF at Caesars and 2 days at Flamingo with parents and grandson. My parent are no longer whales and comped at any joint they go to. It made me so happy to take them "on me". Limo ride from the airport...huge Metro Suite at Flamingo and my joy in watching my Grandsons amazement at Bellagio Fountains, Mirage Volcano, First Limo ride and laying in the bed in our Metro Suite and watching the planes come in for a landing. We spent hours at the Flamingo Pool and he must of went down that slide a hundred times.
My grandma is still alive and contiues to thrive at 85, my parents still together and in love at 65, me at 45 (single and looking), kids at 25 and grandson is 7. FIVE generations of Las Vegas lovers. I am planning a trip for May/June 2010. Want to try the Wynn. I would love to get a 2 or 3 bedroom Villa and have all 5 generations together in this dirty town, in the middle of the desert that has seduced us all since the 1940's.