Will post as a reply...
Will post as a reply...
We are a couple in our early 30’s, this was our 7th trip to Vegas, 3rd trip in 2012. We were there for 9 glorious nights. This trip was planned for a conference my DH wanted to attend (also as an excuse to get back to our favorite travel destination!). He had a friend and his wife (Vegas Virgins) who also came for part of trip. We stayed at Polo Towers with 2 extra nights at Hotel 32, while our friends stayed at Paris. We like to wander around taking in the sights and sounds of Vegas, gamble (BJ and slots), shop a bit, and experience all sorts of great dining options from basic fast-food joints to some finer dining options.
I’m late getting this report done because I swore that “this is the last trip” and it was too painful to go back to TA site and see all the exciting new happenings in Vegas so……a trip is now booked for April, haha. I’ve been back lurking on TA for a few weeks and saw a thread about lack of TRs. Well I was definitely guilty of that and I had received some great ideas/excitement from previous TRs so I thought I better get mine done!
I’ve written this one broken down into sections:
We stayed for 7 days at Polo Towers. We have friends who own timeshare weeks there and they allow us to stay there at a very good rate. It was our third time staying here, always in a one bedroom unit.
Now the past two times we always somehow ended up agreeing to go to the timeshare talk but this time we were firm and politely but definitively said we were not interested. It was the first time they didn’t do repeated follow up calls trying to entice us to attend the sales talk. It’s also the first time we got a room that was noticeably smaller than previous rooms (not sure if that was related to declining their sales pitch)! The bedroom was about 2 feet shorter, we really noticed it at the end of the bed. I used to be able to put out the ironing board, but definitely not in this room! Also the balcony was about a third of the previous rooms we had stayed at, approximately 1.5 deep by 4 feet long.
They were able to get us into a room as soon as we arrived (around 11 am) so I was really happy about that. They also have a nice gym and no extra fees to use it, which was nice. Overall, we have finally decided that prefer to stay at Casino hotels for the proximity to restaurants, gambling and exciting vibe. I do think polo towers is a nice place and would recommend it to others (minus any timeshare talks) but we decided it’s just not for us.
Our last two nights we splurged and spent two nights at our happy place, Hotel 32 at Monte Carlo! I had confirmed with an email that they would pick us in the limo from polo towers (I know its just across the street but hey, it’s included in the cost and who wants to drag their luggage across LV Blvd) but when they called 48 hours prior to arrival to confirm, the clerk said they weren’t sure that they could do it! She confirmed with me later in the day they could, so I’m not sure if this is something that they routinely agree to do.
What can I say about Hotel 32 besides we absolutely love it! This was our second stay here and I have a hard time thinking about staying anywhere else. We stayed in a Lofts suite, which is gorgeous, spacious and has an amazing bathroom. It also has an espresso/latte machine which seals the deal for me. The service is phenomenal and the lounge is a nice place to grab some drinks and snacks. We like the location and we always have fun gambling at MC.
Our friends were at Paris in a basic room and it seemed quite nice. They decided the room itself wasn’t that important to them so they didn’t try for any upgrades at check-in. They were on a nonsmoking floor and it was quite lovely and spacious. They also said it wasn’t too loud.
We flew through Newark on United. We pre-cleared customs in Halifax which I love, as I hate flying through a Canadian city and having to make it through the sometimes looooong customs line to get to a connection. I find Newark airport easy to navigate and our flight into Vegas arrived about an hour early. I’ve never had this happen and figured we’d have to wait on the runway but nope, we were off the plane in record speed. Bags came out quickly and no line for cabs. We were actually in our room at Polo Towers before our flight was scheduled to land! First win of the trip!
We got around mainly by walking and the occasional cab. We had no problems with cabs, told our cabbie at the airport “polo towers, no tunnel please” and he laughed and said “no tunnel, yes that’s good advice.”
Our friends, on the other hand, had a memorable cab trip from the airport. I had done some pre-trip coaching and advised them to say “paris hotel, no tunnel or freeway please.” All was going as planned until the husband said “oh, but we want to see the strip.” This revealed their Vegas Virginity and they were subsequently ripped off. Within seconds they were whisked away into a tunnel! After the wife verified that yes this was THE tunnel, the cabbie covered by saying, “but you said you wanted to see the strip!” Sheesh, I have never been tunneled but I always see the strip on the way to my strip hotel! Over FORTY dollars later, they were at Paris! They were told there were extra charges for using a credit card (not sure if that’s true) and also there was an extra (not included on the meter) “airport improvement fee “(I know that’s not true). They didn’t get the cabbie’s name/number or dispute anything because although they thought it seemed high they didn’t realize the extent they were ripped off.
Wichcraft lunch MGM- great sandwich/salad options for a quick bite.
Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill MGM supper- our go-to restaurant every trip for one reason- truffled blue cheese potato chips. They are rich and delicious. Also tried the house made spaghetini- very tomato-y, would have liked more presence of the advertized garlic and basil.
Yolos supper Pho- excellent nachos *Note to nacho lovers: there are only 6 nachos per order but they are each perfectly piled with steak, cheese, veg and sauce.
Earl of Sandwich (lunch x2) Pho- Holy holiday sandwich! Lived up to its hype, I had it twice and still think about it!
Mon Ami Gabi Paris- Breakfast and late night snack. Nice breakfast. Had eggs benny- good but not spectacular. One evening went late night with friends and sat outside on the patio—so cold! The heaters didn’t really help. We ended up all getting various soups because we were cold and they were fantastic. I especially liked the mushroom soup which was on special, very, very good!
Steak supper Paris- fantastic. Both DH and I had ribeyes. Mine was very fatty, but still had great taste. The steaks were cooked properly. Sides- fingerling potatoes (Yum) and tempura green beans (ok, wouldn’t order again). Apps- I was disappointed that the heirloom tomato salad was no longer in season and was off the menu, but enjoyed a ravioli app. For dessert we shared the sticky toffee pudding- its my favorite restaurant dessert ever. Our friends ordered a chocolate dessert and after they tasted ours they wished they had it too, it is exceptional.
Bacchamel Buffet supper CP- our friends had heard the Bellagio was the place to try the buffet but we convinced them to try Caesars instead, as we had been very pleased last trip with our visit here. The wait time to get in was minimal but the prices had increased since our last visit. Overall, we had another great experience. Our friends were very happy with the oysters and we all had plenty to eat with a nice leisurely supper and great desserts.
Javiers supper Aria- our second nachos experience of the trip. Now I am going to say something I never thought possible…there was too much cheese on the nachos! This is coming from someone who would choose melted cheese as a last meal. I hadn’t asked for extra cheese or cheese on the side but it was piled on so thickly it was like an excavation to try to get to the chips and resulted in some soggy chips. It was “real” cheese however so that is a bonus. The refried beans (we asked for them on the side to avoid sogginess) were delicious! Overall, I have to say that I would give these nachos a second chance in a future trip, as they were the best (regular portion) nachos we have had in Vegas.
D vino supper MC- not good, would definitely skip. Bland chicken alfredo- needed to add heaps of parmesan and salt to get any flavor and I don’t usually add any salt to food. DH’s pizza was so-so, he requested “hot peppers” and got plain ole green peppers.
Andres supper MC- best surprise meal of the trip. DH wasn’t expecting much, he doesn’t usually enjoy fancy French (small portion) dining. We went with the travelzoo deal- an excellent value. We had ribeye steak and risotto for mains and both were fantastic. Apps were beef carpacio and lobster corn bisque. Desserts were chocolate soufflé and crème brulee. Since then DH is obsessed with crème brulee, it was great. Also service was great. Would definitely return.
Subway breakfast MC- DH’s favorite subway in North America. Cooked to order omelets on subway bread with a guacamole option. He had it many mornings and said it was as good as it always had been.
Lotus of Siam supper- I am shocked to say this based on the reviews but we all agreed this was the biggest eating disappointment of the trip. I had researched popular choices before and thought I ordered well but we all agreed we had had better thai food. I could barely stomach the sour crispy rice appetizer. We had ordered it as a “five” on the X/10 hotness scale and it brought tears to my eyes and made me cough when I ate it. We subsequently changed our entrees to 3/10 and they were not spicy at all. I think the original 5/10 was more like a 7 or 8 by mistake. The curries were pretty good, but I’ve had better
Mozen breakfast MO- Had a delicious yogurt parfait. Friend had oatmeal- it was plain old oatmeal but presented nicely and nice fixings. Good coffee but 7 dollars! They did offer to refill in a to-go cup when we left so I guess it’s not that bad. They looked to have some nice hot breakfast options as well, I would return.
Mesa grill CP supper- Enjoyable. DH had signature pork tenderloin (spicy and he enjoyed), I had rabbit which was okay, probably wouldn’t get again but the couscous that accompanied it was great. For dessert we decided to get the sticky toffee pudding to compare to Gordon Ramsays. It was okay but not in the same league as Ramsay’s dessert.
Holsteins Cosmo Lunch- A one lunch spot. Loved the sweet potato fries. The rising sun had too much teriyaki in my opinion. Gold standard was awesome. We had the philly steak spring rolls and didn’t think they were as great as other reviews we read. Low meat to roll ratio.
China Poblano- Cosmo Lunch. We had a variety of different items from both the Chinese and Mexican options and it was all delicious. Their salsa has almost a BBQ sauce taste to it which DH loved but I thought was so-so as I’m more of a pico de gallo or similar fan.
Milos Cosmo Lunch- best place we have gone to for a high end but high value lunch. Best app- diver scallops, love it! For mains they had changed their menu compared to what was listed online (no tuna burger), I had some sort of shrimp dish, probably wouldn’t order again. Others had the salmon and chicken and were all enjoyed!
Shopping- We didn’t do too much this trip. We browsed around MM and FSM and took a trip up to the North outlets. Our friends got some great presents at the Disney store for their kids and I bought some cosmetics and a bit of clothes. I also got an email from Sephora about a VIP event which actually turned out to be a great deal. They kind of made a big deal about the event- gave me and my friend a special bracelet tagging us as VIPs and we got a discount off the total purchase. I picked up some of my Sephora essentials and she was able to snag a bottle of channel perfume at a discounted rate. We also went up to the pawn stars store after much encouragement from our in-laws. I got them a few souvenirs and our friends got a gorgeous ring at what seemed to be a great price.
DH and I went to Goratorium one night and I loved it! I’m not a huge fan of horror/gore movies but I love a good haunted house and like to be frightened. We did the Travelzoo deal and it included a drink at the bar overlooking the strip. We were very happy we decided to go and agreed it was a good combination of “frightening” and “effects”. By far the best special effects we have ever seen in a haunted house. We tried to convince the friends to go but it was not their thing.
MO spa- DH decided to treat me to some spa time at MO so I was very happy! I had been eyeing the MO spa for some time after hearing the great reviews so was pumped to finally get to check in out for myself. I went for the 2 hour time ritual and decided on a body scrub and massage. I went an hour early to enjoy the facility and it was fantastic! I especially loved the jetted pool that looks out onto the strip- a pretty combination of relaxation while being able to gaze upon the excitement that awaits down on the strip.
A few things were a little disappointing (I went in with high expectations). The advertised “foot ritual” to start the treatment didn’t happen, unless exchanging my shoes for spa slippers was it. They make kind of a big deal about putting their spa slippers on but seriously this happens at any spa. I was expecting some sort of foot soak or warm towels or something, but nothing. Also they don’t have a traditional sauna, but rather a laconium which was wasn’t very warm. They had a great steam room and interesting showers but I found the special showers settings were mainly for “cool mist” or “mountain rain” and I was downright shivering after using them. When you step out of the shower/laconium/steam room there is an ice machine but seriously most of the time I would have preferred a warm fireplace to curl up next to! More warm options (besides steam room and jetted pool) would have been nice.
I was also a bit irritated when I went to pay for my treatments I handed them my credit card and they told me to take a seat on the sofa because “you know how these things take time.” What? Usually you just swipe the card and I’m on my way! I don’t know if they were being audited or something because I had to call the credit card company and they had to manually approve it. This required them to retrieve their store ID code (which wasn’t in a handy location) so I spent about a half hour paying for my treatment, not a nice relaxing way to end my time there. It wasn’t that my card had been flagged for being used in a non-typical location because I tried another card and the same thing happened. I was annoyed more because they told me “this has been happening all day” and a heads up when I arrived would have been nice as I had to rush to make it to a dinner reservation. Overall, it was still a great experience, definitely a first class spa. Would I return? Maybe, but I think I’d be more likely to check out Caynon Ranch/Wynncore or Qua spa to see what they had to offer.
We had one night of drunken stupidness that deserves mention. My DH is typically a beer drinker but the last night our friends were in town the boys decided to have some scotch while gambling and then we hung out chatting in their room while enjoying a bottle of vodka. I didn’t realize how hard it had hit my DH until we got up to leave. I asked why his eyes were so glossy and the resulting response was quite slurred and he wasn’t really walking straight!
We gambled the last of our daily allowance at PHo and *planned* to keep walking straight down to Polo towers. However once we had to take the escalator up to cross Harmon the Cosmo looked so close and someone had a hankering for secret pizza.
We headed over and broke the envelop rule by hitting up an ATM and continued to gamble a bit, having the best slot session of our trip (see gambling section). DH repeated tried to drink his coronas without first pushing the lime into the bottle until I finally cut him off. He also was dropping his wallet and I had to confiscate it and his phone because he was sure our friends would want to know about our big wins at 2am even though the reason they didn’t come out with us was because they had 7am tee times!
DH was also wandering around the $50 blackjack tables looking like he wanted to play. This is the same man who I have to twist his arm to play $10 as opposed to $5 BJ tables! I decided we had to get going after this or we may gamble away our wins from the night. We never made it to secret pizza.
Once we left DH decided he wanted to go to the Palazzo, which I declined, then he decided he wanted to go to Mandalay Bay (Note: he was choosing hotels at the extreme ends of the strip and was in NO condition to get there). I was able to lure with back to our room at Polo towers at which time he got on the computer and was attempting to book a room for that night at the Palazzo. It was quite funny as he wasn’t even on the Palazzo website, rather some fare-compare/price match site and he keep repeatedly saying “I wanna take you there”. Anyhow, I was confident that I couldn’t manage him anymore so I turned the computer off and he crashed. The next day was an alcohol free day and he stuck with beer after that. He still comments on how bad he wanted to go to Palazzo!
We typically play slots and blackjack.
Over the past few trips I’ve become a better Blackjack player and by learning basic strategy and sticking to it. We play at low stakes tables, always searching for 3:2 BJ payoff. The friends wanted to learn BJ and of course that was the time that I had a horrible streak of luck and blew my 100 buy-in in less than ½ hour. This was at MGM. They also lost so it wasn’t a great intro to blackjack for them and they didn’t want to play again. DH and I played several other times at MC and had modest wins and good drink service.
We also went to Gold coast again (love that place!) and played at a 5 dollar table and a dealer from our trip 1.5 months ago remembered us, that was very cool. We never seem to win here but usually break even with several hours of play and attentive drink service.
The best session by far was at Aria. I always want to love Aria because I really like the drinks and scent of the casino but up until this trip I had never won (anything!) at this casino. I decided to try a 15 dollar table, a bit expensive for me but I was “feeling it.” Turns out it was a great choice- the table was full of nice people and I turned my 200 buy-in into 500! My first pink chip! As soon as I hit the 500 mark I cashed out, tipped the dealer, took my picture with my pink chip and pranced over to the cashier, it was great!
The only other place we played was Encore. With my confidence from playing at the 15 dollar at Aria I decided I could play a 25 dollar table here. Turns out I’m not ready for this yet! It was too much for me to wager on one hand, with every turn of the card, my heart was thumping, palms sweating, chest tightening. It took away from the enjoyment so I quickly cashed out, however I did make about 75 bucks, enough to cover my roulette losses!
Oh roulette- why do I play this game? Every trip I decide to give it a whirl. We have a friend who played roulette on one trip and did awesome and had a great time so I think I’m trying to relive that. I don’t think I play like most others. For risk reduction I tend to spread the chips out on various corners to maximize the chance that I’ll win something. I’ve actually had a stranger say to me “scared money don’t make money” while playing roulette. Well so far he’s been right, I always walk away from a roulette table down, on this trip it was only about 50 bucks but I wasn’t even at the table long even to get a drink. Mental note to self- stop playing roulette!
I also took in a craps lesion this trip, so I learned the (very) basics of how to play. We could only find 10 dollar tables on the strip so we (me playing, everyone else watching) only played once. It was actually really fun and I had a good time rolling and got on a good streak. It’s so fun to have people cheering for you! I think if I commit some time to be more comfortable with the rules and strategy I could get into this game.
For slots we were up and down. I don’t expect to win at slots but enjoy them for the entertainment and drink service. Our newbie friends had incredible luck on the Hangover slots at the beginning of the trip. It was basically like an ATM for them for several days in a row. I have to say they are one of the most entertaining machines with fun bonuses and effects. Towards the end of the trip their newbie luck ran out and they couldn’t understand why the machine wasn’t giving bonuses anymore- that’s Vegas baby, it pulls you in then spits you out.
My personal favorite machine is WoOz. We had some good bonuses here and there- DH winning $100 on a bonus (40 cent spin) in NYNY and me wining $170 on a bonus, also a 40 cent spin at Cosmo. These were pretty great wins for low rollers like us!
Overall, we came home with about half the cash we went with, which in my books is a successful trip. We use the envelope system and only (ashamed to admit it) supplemented a day’s allowance with the ATM machine once (p.s. after that I won the $170!)
It was a great trip and supposed to be our last trip but alas we can't stay away and are now looking forward to our trip in April!
Thanks for reading!
Enjoyed your TR! Next time you'll have to play more craps. I've just been playing the last few times, and it's so much fun (when you get a hot table).
Can't wait to go back June 1st.
great TR, think we found a new meaning to getting tunneled!
You went to Gold Coast and didn't eat there? Next trip give Ping Pang Pong or the Cortez Room a try. You will thank me.
We will also be using the Travelzoo voucher at Andres, but I won't be surprised. I've already dined at his old location and at Alize, so will have fairly high expectaitons.
It is tempting to go to McMullans on Tuesday followed by Gordon Ramsey on Wednesday to compare the Sticky Toffee Puddings. But I think GR will have to wait, as I want to take the opportunity to try Charlie Palmers on our next visit.
Thank you for the report. We do appreciate the time and effort.
Thank you for sharing. I agree with the above post on the tunneling..ouch! Sounds like Polo Towers and Hotel32 were great. I can never access the Hotel32 website to even get a price on the rooms. They rooms do look very nice there. Glad you had a great time.