We are back from vacation! This is my first TR so go easy on me and hopefully it's not crazy long. We booked our hotel/flight through Southwest Vacations. I found the forum and had been reading it for a few weeks, got nervous about the Flamingo when I saw some pics of the FAB room and upgraded to a GO deluxe. My husband and I agreed we would each have $2000 to spend in cash (we did take 1 credit card just in case) and the only things we planned were a dinner at CUT and also got tickets to see LOVE.
We flew out of Love Field in DFW early on Aug 20th. Flight was uneventful except that the checked bag carousel at Love was broken and there was a possibility our bags might not get there with us. Got to Vegas around 11:30am and the bags were there so off we go to the taxi line. I think we stood in line for about an hour. Told the driver we were going to the Flamingo, didn’t mention “no tunnel”. He was actually a pretty cool driver, he had been doing it for 30 days and he did point out the tunnel to us and said it was a total scam as we drove by. Got to the hotel with no issues but he did say the construction has been a problem. I had checked the Flamingo website and I couldn’t find a check-in time anywhere but I figured it was like any hotel. They have a sign at the check in line that says “check-in is at 4pm” so we dropped off our bags and walked over to Serendipity 3 for lunch. I was kind of surprised how small the restaurant was and there was a wait so we grabbed the last two seats at the bar. At this point, we were so hot and hungry that I felt kind of sick to my stomach but needed to eat lunch. I had heard the portions were ridiculous so I got the wagyu sliders appetizer and a frozen hot chocolate and M got the ABC burger and a Guinness float. Food was good except I thought the sliders were kind of over-cooked. I wasn’t that impressed with the FHC. It’s basically ice and some sort of powder mix. M liked his burger and float and the fries he got were also good. Total before tip was $57.
After lunch we wandered over to Caesars. Walked around the mall and then tried some slots for a while with no real success. We like to play the penny slots with bonus games and multipliers. Still trying to kill time, we walked back over the skybridge and did a lap through Bills to see what it was like. Didn’t stay, just walked through. Walked back to the Flamingo and decided to try an empty blackjack table to learn how to play. We really only stuck to minimums of $5-10 tables the whole trip. Also tried the Hangover slot machine. Hit a bonus game and that was fun but that’s the only time we played the theme slots.
Finally it’s 4, so we go over to check-in. Line is not long at all, I think we wait maybe 10 mins before it’s our turn. I had booked us a GO deluxe and the woman is very nice but she is clicking the keyboard for what seems like forever…finally says that the rooms are not ready so she is going to upgrade us. I didn’t ask what she upgraded us to, but we get our keys and off we go to 25041. It was L-shaped and a GO room so maybe it was a GO luxury? The best part was the ceiling fan over the bed. We were in the south tower so we had a view of the habitat/pools and we could see the construction but couldn’t hear any noise. I will say that the room was nice and we had no issues with it but it was showing a little bit of wear and tear. The paint on the bedside tables was chipping a little and you can see some wear and tear on the outlet covers and stuff but it was clean and we were happy. We called for our bags and they came up within 10 mins. The bellhop was very nice and he told us the construction is a new shipping/receiving area and they are also building some kind of ferris wheel like the Eye in London. We took our iPad with us and decided not to pay for the hotel wi-fi; we have 3G capabilities so we set that up a day before we left. I will say that AT&T kind of sucked when we were in the room and at one point it felt like we were back in the dial-up age for both our phones and the iPad. We settle on Noodles in the Bellagio so off we go to dinner. I think we got there around 6 or 6:30 and there was no line. Ordered the sweet and spicy beef, Vietnam fish pho and a small Kiran. We got the fried shrimp balls as an appetizer. Everything was really good and the sweet/spicy was not too spicy. I don’t like spicy and it had a nice subtle heat to it. Total before tip was $57 (this started to become a running joke between us). After dinner we decide to catch a fountain show so we wait and wait and finally it cues up the music and it’s….Celine Dion “My heart will go on” from Titanic. Not our first choice but whatever, the show is still cool to watch. There were some really large Asian tour groups at Bellagio so we fight through them, head inside and over to slots. Now this is where I found Pirate Bay and that was the only slot I wanted to play the entire trip. It has bonus games and multipliers but it’s really hard to find these machines. We played for a good two hours since we were both having decent runs on our machines. Not much CW service but we ordered two white Russians finally. The girl forgot and when she came around again with our drinks, she had them make doubles. After our slot run, we cashed out then walked over to the craps. I have played before but I am not very familiar with it and since we are both really gambling virgins, the table games make me nervous. So we are watching this $10 table for about 30 mins and finally get the courage to jump in and play. We had a blast! It was a lot of fun and this was our game of choice for the rest of the week. Eventually we go back to the Flamingo and my foot is killing me. I thought I had a rock in my sandal but apparently it only took a few hours in a flat sandal and I have a blister. We go to bed and even though the bed is comfy, I didn’t sleep all that great.
Reading the forum gave me some ideas and since the cabbie also recommended Hash House, off we go for breakfast. We got there around 10 and there was only about a 10 min wait. Ordered a tea-lemonade (expected it to be sweeter), OJ, HH Orig Benedict and a Corn Beef Hash. We both enjoyed our food and even though M got close, couldn’t finish everything. Total before tip was $40. Today was our big walking day and we wanted to go to Fremont Street. We had tickets to see LOVE on Thursday so head to Mirage to pick them up. Played craps for a while over there (lost) then tried a slot. Headed over to Palazzo to find CUT for tomorrow’s dinner. Walked all over the Palazzo/Venetian and then checked our Wynn. Wynn is beautiful but it’s not really our speed. They didn’t have many cheap slots and we were kind of bored so off we go. Cruised through TI to get some cool air and decide after 3.5 hours of walking we are hungry so off to the Palm in Caesar’s mall we go. It’s one of our favorite restaurants and their lobster bisque is so good so we got 2 bisques and took 2 slices of cheesecake/carrot cake back to our room. Total before tip $60.
Now it was time to take a nap so M sleeps for about 3 hours and I am restless so I read my book/watch tv and try to nap a little. About 8 we head out for Fremont and decide to ride the Deuce. The closest bus stop we can find is at Paris based on the RTD maps so we walk over there and it’s starting to rain. I don’t have an umbrella so we duck inside and end up being trapped for 2 hours while it is pouring outside. We decide to try roulette and craps for a while with not much luck. I finally find an umbrella, buy it for $10 and by that time, the rain has cleared out. We buy our 24 hr bus passes and hop on the Deuce. It has so many stops that it takes us about 35-45 mins to get down there. It was really crowded on Fremont and we are hungry so we duck into the Golden Nugget. We walk around it and see an Italian restaurant so we settle on Grotto for dinner. We had 3 glasses of wine, two pasta specials and 2 espressos. $80 before tip. I am starting to feel the wine so we settle in at some slots and have a good run for about 2 hours. Not a single CW in sight. I have lost all my money so I go over to Bar 46 for drinks. We sit there for about an hour and a half with our waters and two drinks and then head over to the roulette table. The dealer was awesome because he acted and sounded just like the Asian guy from the Hangover. It was hilarious. We had a fun table and after a while, I cash out because I am getting crazy tired and M is still going. Eventually I am fading so we call it at night at 4:30 and head back on the Deuce to the Flamingo. I will say that I thought Vegas “never sleeps” and I was pretty surprised at how quiet it is that early in the morning. We collapse in bed and about an hour later I wake up and realize that I am a combo of exhausted and indeed drunk so I have a rough night trying to sleep.
This was the perfect day to be hungover because it rained almost all day. We stayed in bed for a while and finally ventured over to Margaritaville around 12 for some food. We ordered coconut shrimp, fish tacos, Mr Pibb and a Bahama Mama. Total before tip was $57. Finally feeling better so we try some slots with no luck and head back up for another nap before our big dinner night at CUT. Our bus pass was still valid so we walk over to Paris, ride SDX to Wynn and walk over to Palazzo. We got there early so we played slots (Pirate Bay – yeah!) and roulette to kill time.
CUT. We like to go out to eat at nice places at home for special occasions but this is by far the most expensive restaurant we have ever eaten at. CUT is interesting because they assign two servers to “tag team” an area and honestly it’s a great idea. We had two really nice servers. We ordered the pork belly and heirloom tomato salad as appetizers. No criticism here! They bring around this bread platter…the onion foccacia and homemade pretzel is ridiculously good. We also had 4 glasses of blanc de blanc champagne during dinner. Entrees were the Sampler (3 small cuts of different meats) and M had the 8oz Australian Wagyu ribeye. Sides were caramelized corn and mac n cheese. Extra add-ons were bone marrow and caramelized onions. I will say that when they brought the steaks I was really surprised at how black and crispy they get the steaks. M loved his food but I wasn’t that fond of the crust method on the steaks. Everything really was delicious and we were stuffed. We ordered two espressos and they bring out this biscotti and lavender cookie to try. The cookie was good, neither of us tried the biscotti. Overall an excellent meal and worth the splurge. The only real criticism we both had was the steak knives. They are not serrated and are not that sharp so cutting the steaks was a chore. The dress code on the website says “business casual” so we wore a nice dress and a suit. We were a little over dressed for the crowd that was there, but you dress for yourself anyways, right? Total before tip was $497.
By now, our 24 hour bus pass is expired and even though my feet hurt (I now have a blister on my other foot), I power through and we walk back to Flamingo to put on some casual clothes. We come back downstairs, it’s busy and crowded so off to Bellagio we go. No success on slots so we try craps and play for a while. No CW in sight the entire time we are there. Cashed out and head back to Flamingo where M gives it a go at roulette. Called it a night around 1:30.
Late start again. Not sure where to eat lunch so we settle on trying MESA. M has this weird dislike of Bobby Flay but the menu sounds good so off to Caesars we go around 12:30. Decide to order the tuna nachos, blue corn pancake with duck, a beer and a cactus pear margarita. Our entrees are the swordfish sandwich and the spicy chicken with poached eggs. When the appetizers come out, we take a bite and realize this is going to be really rich and WAY too much food. Yet we clean our plates because it’s all really good and then come the entrees. M said his sandwich was awesome and my chicken was really really good. I wasn’t sure what to expect but they mix chunks of sweet potato with chicken chunks, make two small towers and top with two poached eggs and green chile hollandaise sauce. I made it through one tower and couldn’t finish the other. M made it through half his sandwich. Total before tip was $101.
Time to give it another go at Bellagio craps! Play for a while, then cash out and decide to go check out the Cosmopolitan. The interior is stunning and we go over to a bar and sit for a minute to decide on dinner. Tonight is the LOVE show so we are looking at restaurants in Mirage. Settle on Japonais. Test our luck at craps at the Cosmo. I will say that these tables are longer than other tables (they said it is to accommodate more people) but I think it really threw our game off and I wasn’t enjoying it all that much. The dealers were fun though. It’s getting close to needing to head back to get ready so we cash out and walk back to Flamingo. Change for the show and walk to Mirage for dinner. We decided to try the Robata style food so we got 2 chicken, sea bass, and skirt steaks. Each “piece” is 1 skewer and it’s not a bad amount of food but if you are really hungry, I would suggest ordering more food. We also ordered the red snapper but they were out so we got a tuna collar instead. I don’t know the exact name of that dish but it was very good. Total before tip was $82.
Time for LOVE. Got there really early and we were in section 107. We were 3 rows from the stage. The show was weird but it was good and we really enjoyed it. They did play some songs we had never heard – I thought it would be more songs that were mainstream and popular. Our seats were good but the only criticism I had is that at the beginning of the show, they have this thing that kind of looks like a metal uh, birdcage (I can’t think of a better description) with stairs and it was right in our section blocking some of the view. It goes away eventually though. I don’t know if we would have enjoyed a show like O. There is some plot to LOVE and since we recognized the songs it was enjoyable. The performers have a really good energy. When the show is over, the Mirage is FULL of people so we head back to Flamingo to pack and change. It’s our last night and we don’t want to stay out too too late so we head down to Margaritaville and hit the craps table for a few hours. Neither of us have much luck and after a while, my feet are killing me and I’m hungry again so I go to the food court in search of a hot dog. They are there, but I thought the hot dogs were in a specific Nathan’s booth so since I “can’t find them” I settle on a slice of bbq chicken pizza. It’s actually really good and it’s nice to get off my feet. I head back to check on M, get in the game a little and after a while, I just want to get off my feet so I call it quits and head upstairs around 1. M comes up about 20 mins later and it’s time for bed.
DAY 5 – LAST DAY
Our flight is at 12:35 and we aren’t sure how early we need to be at the airport so we decide to get up around 7:30. Head downstairs little before 9 for breakfast at the Tropical Breeze Café. Wait is not long and we order the Kansas Sampler, corn beef hash and extra sausage. The wait for our food was a little long and by now, there is a long line of people waiting to eat. Food comes and it’s hot and tastes good. Total before tip was about $32. We sneak a peek at the check out line and M decides to run up and get our bags and I will stand in the line. It’s not long at all. Then a manager walks by with an iPad and is asking people if they want to check out using that method. I say “ok” and it takes all of 1 minute to check out. He says the receipt will be emailed to me. I walk back over to the elevators to wait on M. We head to the gift shop, I get a Christmas ornament and two koozies and off we go to the cab line (non existent) and head to the airport. We get to the airport at like, 10 mins to 11. It was crazy early but the Southwest line to check bags was long and the security line was really long too because they only had 2 lines open. Flight was uneventful and we are exhausted but we had a blast and will definitely go back. Probably will try the Bellagio since we had good luck there and might splurge a little more on a room.
I will say that I was waiting for the receipt to show up for the hotel and I haven’t seen it yet, so I called the Flamingo today to check on it since they have a $200 “incidental” hold on our credit card. We booked through SW Vacations so luckily the guy was nice enough to explain that we weren’t going to get a receipt from the hotel and he did say we had no charges, that they have released it but the bank will hold them on the CC for up to 6 days. I was a little worried about an extra charge on the room upgrade but all is well. Everyone at the Flamingo was actually really friendly and nice so we enjoyed our stay. I know it seems hit or miss but we managed to get a good room and it was worth the extra $80 to upgrade.