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TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Four days in the happiest place on earth - suck it, Disney! - with my sweetie.

Details forthcoming as replies.

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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1,012 posts
7 reviews
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1. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Travel:

Southwest Airlines: Eh, I’ll use them again if the price is right, but I really truly hate the cattle call system.

Dollar Car Rental: The price was right, but the sales staff must make 200% commission on sales of extras. I’ve never had such a hard sell in my life on extra insurance and prepaid refueling. Decline, decline, decline, and got out of there.

Got a nice little Nissan Versa. Impressed with this little workhorse. It appears to be the official Las Vegas Cheap-A$$ rental car, though, as we saw dozens of them during our four day stay. Pick a distinctive color!

Total cost, including the refuel on the way back to drop it off, was under $120, and we drove the heck out of it for four days.

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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1,012 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Lodging: Golden Nugget

Totally worth the price, and then some.

We got a basic Carson Tower room, and were unable to upgrade it upon arrival as the place was entirely full. Our fault for choosing to come on a Friday of a party weekend. We were told to come back on Sunday morning, as they had openings for an upgrade, but by then we were settled in and decided we didn’t care to move.

The Carson Tower rooms are quite nice, though beginning to show some wear. Some upgrades have occurred, obviously, as the room boasts a nice large flat screen TV, but the furniture could use some TLC. The bed, a single king, was soft and comfortable, but the pillows were Hotel Standard laughable – small and with little body. My wife wound up using three of them simultaneously, in all honesty.

The view from our 14th floor room was of the other towers – we were really quite far down towards the end of the hall, and so had curved back towards the center of the hotel. We could see part of the pool, and the Gold tower, and the main valet lot, so not a great view, but hardly worth a complaint.

Morning of the third day there, we heard a dripping start, and saw a leak in the ceiling, near the wall that enclosed the bathroom. Called down to maintenance to deal with it, but it stopped after maybe twenty or thirty drips, so it’s a small, isolated leak, and I’m sure they’ve heard about it before.

The GN is a pretty good sized casino, but we learned our way around quickly enough, and how to get to whatever valet station we’d left the car at with all due speed.

If you get a chance to upgrade into Gold or Rush towers, however, do so. Not only are they more centrally located, they do not appear to have a permanently stationed cadre of soulless vampires, er, timeshare hucksters entrenched right along the only route to the elevators.

The valets were generally fast and courteous, and we used them often as we were constantly on the go.

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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1,012 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Food:

Magnolia @ 4 Queens: C+

Serviceable food at reasonable prices. We stopped in here for dinner on Friday night, when we arrived, as we were hungry and had no specific plans except a desire not to drive over to In-n-Out – our initial plan – as we were exhausted.

The wife had a tuna melt, while I went with a French dip. The dip was almost flavorless, and was only saved by the jus that came with it, which was good enough that we both took to dipping our fries – lightly battered fries at Magnolia – into it instead of ketchup. The melt was pronounced “alright” which is wifey code for “it’s staying down, isn’t it?”

Service was abysmal – there’s no other way to describe it. The place was far from busy, and we were seated immediately, so kudos there. But after that, it went downhill. The bus guy (guy, as he was pushing 60, far from a “boy”) took our drink order, and then disappeared. Several minutes later, the waiter arrived and took our drink order again. Several minutes pass, and we see him hard at it, talking to other customers, and finally who arrives with our drinks? The bus guy! This pattern repeated itself for refills, to the letter. Bus guy notices, asks if I want a refill, disappears, waiter asks same question, eventually bus guy returns with drink. It was baffling!

Main Street Station Buffet: A-

Got up on Saturday morning, late, and decided to use a two for one coupon we had to the Main Street Station buffet for brunch. The coupon was good for brunch – the only meal it excluded was Friday Night Seafood night, which was no skin for us, as we both dislike seafood – and required a B Connected player’s card. I got my card in short order and a voucher in exchange for my coupon and we set off.

The variety here is good, and the quality overall is high. Some of the pastries were a bit dry, and the beef roast they were carving was unduly fatty, but otherwise we liked it very much, and would definitely return. Service was attentive, and the line at the omelet station seemed to move along at a quick pace.

With the coupon, the entire experience was $11.88 for two – an unbeatable price, and not remotely unreasonable even at full price.

Paradise Buffet @ Fremont Casino: B+

Another broad buffet for a good price – with the same two for one coupon associated with the B Connected card.

We enjoyed the food there, though not as much as at MSS. The variety was a little less, and the food seemed to have been prepared a bit more in advance of our arrival. What is it about buffet eggs that they’re always cooked to beyond well-done and sitting in a tray full of water? That was a recurring theme at every buffet we went to.

The roast here was of a much higher quality, and we left stuffed and well pleased with our $11.88 brunch ready to tackle another day.

Dunkin’ Donuts: B-

What’s to say about Dunkin? We don’t have any in Denver, and the wife loves their jelly donuts. We went there when nothing else sounded good, and they usually had what we were interested in eating. Rarely had long lines, though the service could be a bit slow depending on how many staff they had working at the time.

Margaritaville: B+

We thought for sure that a table with a view at Margaritaville would be just the place to go in the evening on Saturday, to watch folks walk by in their costumes. We saw a few, but the costumes just weren’t all that prevalent on the strip this year at all.

We knew better than to do the volcano nachos, as it was just the two of us, and so I opted for a turkey club that was quite good, and the missus had the fajitas. They were also deemed okay, but that had more to do with the steak being cooked well done instead of the medium rare that she prefers. Had it been me, I’d have sent it back, but that’s not her way. Otherwise, things were quite tasty and the service was generally prompt. It had started to fill up by the time we were done, so getting our check was time consuming, but otherwise, no great issues.

The place is just noisy all the time, between the music – which alternates literally at random between normal music and something Jimmy Buffet – and the associated sound effects, and the people trying to have a conversation over it all. I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to return, but neither would I avoid it entirely.

Café Belle Madeline: A-

Pricy little bits of sweet to be had here. The missus decided she needed a chocolate raspberry mousse as her dessert after our trip up the Eiffel tower, and she was not disappointed. She was only able to consume half of it, but it held up well overnight and she had the rest the next day. Rich dark chocolate ganache overtop a chocolate mousse with a puddle of raspberry in the center, and fresh berries and chocolate slabs along the outside.

Landry’s Prime Rib: A+

I agreed to go here on Halloween as it is also our anniversary (12 years!) and they were okay with us coming in costume. I’m not usually a fan of prime rib, as I like my meat lean, and well-done. I needn’t have worried over this, it turns out.

We arrived, valet parked, and were immediately escorted to our table. We were the ONLY people in the place in costume, and so we were visited by most of the wait staff, jealous as they had to wear their usual uniforms instead.

We started out with the house Spinning Salad, a blend of iceberg, romaine and spinach with shredded beets tossed with croutons and a sherry vinaigrette dressing. I was dubious about this as well, being the sort that only really likes Thousand Island, but it was quite tasty, with tiny bits of hard-boiled egg in it. I was only able to finish about half of it, as it became too piquant for my taste buds, but I’m glad I tried it.

Once that was completed, they wheeled out the various roasts for us to order from. We both went with the Landry’s cut, which I believe was 10 or 12 ounces, and it came with a large pile of whipped potatoes with excellent brown gravy, and a puddle of jus in which to swim.

Having seen it ordered at another table, the wife ordered a side of cream corn, and I promised to poach off of hers. It was excellent as well, whole kernels of corn swimming in a sweet cream sauce.

And my prime rib was cut right from the end of the roast, where it was definitely medium well if not all the way to well done, and relatively free of the fat that I dislike so from more central cuts. My cut, and the wife’s medium rare version were both fork tender and full of flavor. I believe that Landry’s made me into a full-on convert to the prime rib side of the force.

We were too stuffed for dessert, but the kind folks there knew it was our anniversary and so forced us, at gunpoint I swear, to share a piece of strawberry trifle that was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. We polished it off with gusto, even having been so full minutes before.

I think the whole experience cost us a hair over $100 with soft drinks and a healthy tip, and was entirely worth it.

Carson Street Café @ Golden Nugget: B+

We had a late lunch here, and took it go to up to our room to eat. My hamburger was perfectly cooked, and tasted just great. The wife’s club sandwich looked good, but she said that the turkey was not of a high quality – you know how it is when it’s been a little over-processed and it winds up rubbery and gelatinous? That’s not Good Eats by any means. The fries were steak fries, and so adequate, but no match for a good shoestring.

I was bummed to learn that I couldn’t use my $25 credit from my Landry’s Select Club card there – Carson Street Café and the Buffet are the two restaurants in that hotel that you can’t use the card at. Foolish me for not looking into that before we decided to dine there.

The Bellagio Buffet: B+

Disclosure: we were already big fans of the Bellagio buffet before we arrived, and saved it for the morning of our departure to end on a high note.

It was good, yes, but not as good as it had been in the past. Not entirely sure why, but things just didn’t click for us this time. In part, we arrived at 10, and thus were left with half a buffet while they set up for lunch to start at 11, half way through our meal. Had we arrived when we normally do, 10:30, we’d have just jumped right into lunch after we’d had a course of breakfast, but our timing was off.

The food itself was generally good, however. The bacon was a little overdone, and the eggs strangely citrusy, but the tenderloin medallions were outstanding as always.

We left a bit surprised that we’d actually enjoyed the buffet at MSS a bit more than the Bellagio. It was an odd feeling, and no mistake. Our tastes may just be too pedestrian to really enjoy the higher-end buffets like so many others do.

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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1,012 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

More to come: off-strip activities, shows, and the wee bit of gambling that I did.

Eugene, Oregon
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5. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Just in case anyone wants to go to the prime rib place because you made it sound really wonderful, I think you got the names Landry's and Lawry's mixed up. It does sound good...we haven't been to one in years and years, good to hear they are still worthwhile.

Looking forward to more.

Oak Creek, Wisconsin
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1,012 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

You're absolutely right - Lawry's is the place, just off of Flamingo east of the strip if memory serves.

virginia
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7. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Nice TR so far, looking forward to the rest.

Suck it Disney - I love it (reminds me of Kathy Griffin). :)

Hope you guys had a good time, thanks for letting us know about the places you ate at. The chocolate raspberry mousse sounds wonderful!

Meridian, Idaho
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8. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

JW-Loving your TR! I just posted 2 threads that were pretty much answered in your TR! Thanks! Any other tips for those wanting to stay at GN are appreciated. =)

Calgary, Canada
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9. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Thanks for the TR. We felt the same way about the Bellagio buffet last summer, still good, but going downhill.

Hmmm, I think one day that little leak in the roof is going to become a big one!

Bridgewater, New...
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10. Re: TR: Halloween & Anniversary in Vegas

Enjoying your trip report - can't wait for more.

Kept notes of your restaurants for a future trip. They sounded really good.