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A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

North Carolina
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A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Background:

Yes, DH and I are LV addicts. We were there in Sept. and had planned a May 2013 return; however given his heart attack and subsequent by-pass surgery at Thanksgiving and then a house fire in January, we needed our fix NOW!!

We decided to combine this trip with our bi-annual trip to Austin, TX – 4 nights in TX and 3 nights in LV. I made all the arrangements and 10 days later we were on our way for a little distraction and R&R.

This trip was quite different for us than previous trips; it really turned into a heavy gambling frenzy which was fueled by all the wins DH had along the way. As a result, I will not post a day to day, rather by topic.

North Carolina
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1. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Flight to LV:

The only reason I am mentioning this is because I will never, ever, ever fly Air Tran again – ever (more on that later). Since I booked our trip only 10 days out the most economical way was to book one way tickets: Charlotte – Austin; Austin to LV; LV to Charlotte. The airfare this way was actually really good – only $100pp more than a RT Charlotte – Austin. Anyway, I could only find crack- of- dawn-early (5:50a) flights from San Antonio (about an hour south of Austin) or burning-the-midnight-oil (11pm) from Austin. And to boot, most of them had horrendous connections (who goes to Chicago or Atlanta from TX to go to LV?!?!). And before you say “did you try SW” All the decent flights were booked so if I wanted to go to LV I needed to pay the piper. So I chose the United 5:50am from San Antonio, connecting through San Francisco, and landing in LV at 10:20am. It actually took us longer to get to LV from TX then it does from NC!!

The morning of our flight, we left Austin at 2:30am, which after gassing up the car, and returning it to the car rental agency, got us to the gate about 45 mins prior to boarding. The flight was great – got “upgraded” to exit row, smooth connection, bumpy landing in LV (isn’t always though?) and at the LV car rental place by 10:45a. Which brings me to my next topic …..

North Carolina
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2. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Car Rental:

We always, always rent a car in LV because it generally turns out cheaper than cab/limo; plus we like to go off strip. I typically pay approx $50 for 4 day/3 night car rental, usually with Alamo or Dollar, but this time the best I could find was $102 for a convertible at Thrifty. I had reserved the car 11am Wed to 11am Sat, thinking if we land at 10:20am, even though we don’t check bags, it will still take close to 40 mins to deplane, walk 10 miles from our gate at Term 3 to the shuttle bus. Keep in mind, DH is still walking a little slow given his recent surgery. Well I miscalculated by 15 mins and got to the car rental center at 10:45am so Thrifty charged me another 1/2 day!! I have never had this happen before and I rent cars at least 6 times a year. When I questioned this, the clerk snidely commented, well you got a great rate, and for a convertible at that. Really?? So is that why you are jacking up my rate now??? I didn’t particularly want a convertible, but I got the best rate for that type of car. Oh and he mentions, make sure you keep the receipt were you fill up on your way back. We need to verify that you refueled within 5 miles. Anyway…whatever. Also, Thrifty doesn’t have the kiosk like Alamo so you have no choice but work directly with the clerk. Oh and upon return, guess what – I offered the receipt and the woman, said, oh you don’t need that – your fine. Because of the upcharge, lack of self-serve kiosk and overall attitude of the clerk, I will never again rent with Thrifty.

Hotel:

We had 3 nights comped in a Red Room Luxury at Paris, that’s the one without a view. No worries to me, I love the Red Rooms and really don’t spend enough time in the room for a view. We got to Paris a little after 11am and decided to try to check in early. Well we get to the lobby and the line is LONG. But DH is Platinum and they had no one waiting in the Platinum line so we were able to bypass the 100 or so people standing in line – sweet! We had reserved a king, but that wasn’t available just yet but a 2 queen bed room was – we decided to take it and off we went. No early check-in fee, no resort fee, no hassle, just a very pleasant check-in process. We got to our room and it had the perfect view of the balloon, arc, Cosmo and partial Bellagio fountain! The room as always was very clean and comfortable.

We had only 1 small issue with the TV the 2nd morning we were there and we called downstairs. Within minutes someone was there to repair it. It took all of 10 mins.

Checkout was even better than check-in. We had charged all CET property meals to our room and I encouraged DH to talk to a host before checking out on Sat. He did and she covered all of our room charges, using his RCs to cover some. She said we were all set and to leave the keys in the room or drop them in the express checkout box. Simple and easy!

North Carolina
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3. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Meals:

I am a foodie – DH is not, though he will go to certain restaurants just to appease me. So we had a mix bag of eats on this trip. We ate at Le Cafe Ile St. Louis (the Croque Madame was one of the best I have ever had), JJ's Boulangerie, Tequllia Bar and Grill at Bally’s (great $2 tacos!), Wolfgang Puck, and Paris, PH and Bellagio Buffets. Ok, we like buffets, but we did more this time than normal and it was primarily out of convenience. Neither one of us go to binge, but rather go for the crab legs and shrimp . How we ended up with so many buffets was all due to DH’s gambling frenzy. We had reservations one night at Gordon Ramsey’s steak but ended up cancelling it because DH was on a hot streak at BJ table at the Bellagio. So we opted for a comped buffet with drinks instead. Funny thing was, we had also had lunch at the Bellagio Buffet earlier in the day using Express Comps and a Pearl status to pass the line. So here is MHO on the buffets: Of the 3 we visited, PH had the best dinner, Paris the best breakfast and lunch and sadly, Bellagio a distant 3rd. We didn’t have to pay for any of it, nor would I pay for the Bellagio buffet. They only had cold crab legs, unlike PH with both warm and cold crab legs, and some of the food offered was less than fresh.

And just a small word of advice regarding Wolfgang Puck – do not expect hot coffee. They apparently have the inability, due to their urn situation (according to the manager) to make and keep coffee hot. They will however, gladly microwave it for you. HA!. Otherwise the food was tasty.

North Carolina
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4. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Gambling:

So this WOULD have been our most winning-est trip ever if DH could have just walked away. He normally isn’t like this and sticks to a daily budget, but given the last 3 months, I guess he just needed a release of sorts.

The first day DH took $100 and turned into $800 on a Lord of the Rings and then brought back down to $400. Then he hit $450 on a Platinum Quick hits, but ended up cashing out back at his $100. I on the other hand would insert a $100 and 15 mins get a TITO for $.10! We were both even on the BJ table the 1st day, so for the day we were up a few hundred and given that we had been up since 2:30am TX time, we called it quits a mere 26 hours later at 4am LV time.

The 2nd day, was pretty much dedicated to BJ at the Bellagio. During the day, DH quadrupled his buy in and I doubled mine. Not too bad for 6 hrs of play. But then after dinner, it almost all went back to the casino – it was a blood bath! Downhearted, DH tried to win it back at Paris and he did on a 3 card poker table, his first time playing. So at the end of our 2nd day at 8:30am (yes, 8:30AM), in all with some slot play we were down about ¼ our bankroll.

The 3rd day continued around 11am on the same downward spiral with slot play at Paris, PH and Bally’s and BJ at MGM. So after being down about ¾ of our bank roll, at 4am DH decided to try Lord of the Rings again. The guy next to him had it up to $2400 and was still playing. He said he started with $20 and had been playing for 4 hours. So DH was on a mission. His LOTR did nothing, so in the same bank he moved over to the Godfather. Same concept as LOTR, but with characters from the Godfather. DH put in $100 and played it down to $23.50 when he said, ok one last max bet, which is $3.50 and I’m done – BAM! He hit a crazy bonus round which resulted in $1560 - hand pay!! So all that took awhile especially since it was 5am. So I decided to try my luck at the other Godfather machine next to him, but sadly the Godfather just robbed me. By the time we got back to Paris it was 7am and we had planned on getting up at 9:30am to give us enough time to eat and return the car by 11am. I decided to take a 2.5 hour nap and DH decided he would feel worse if he just napped, so he went back downstairs to visit Frodo (LOTR’s character). Frodo didn’t like him much this morning, but he did manage to keep some of his winnings.

So at the end of the trip we brought back about ½ of our bankroll. But all we paid for was our $100pp airline ticket, car rental and gas. So when I look at everything, we were not down too bad for the trip. Coming home with any money, IMHO, is a win in my book

North Carolina
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5. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Flight home:

On the day of departure everything went smoothly, no traffic, quick car return, checked in at one of they many multi-airline kiosks and went to security with NO LINE! I have never experienced that, ever at LV. I told the TSA agent I felt like a VIP since DH and I were literally the only ones there.

I have never flown Air Tran but the time was great (1pm) with only a 2 hour layover in ATL. First, I didn’t do my research (bad me!!) and didn’t realize that in order to have an assigned seat prior to departure, you have to pay an additional fee. Given that LV departures are always packed, I didn’t want to risk having us both stuck in a middle seat for 4 hrs. So I reluctantly, paid to get assigned seats. It wasn’t much, but it’s the principle IMHO.

So we finally board and I swear, and I fly a lot, these were the tightest, most closely set seats ever! I’m 5”8 and when I sat in my seat my knees literally touched the seat in front of me. On top of it, the seats were worn and rock hard. Needlessly to say, it was very uncomfortable. And the flight attendants were just plain rude. I don’t expect entertainment and even banter, but would it hurt to quietly pass my diet coke to me instead of huffing, puffing and slamming it in my direction? I’m sorry, I really don’t expect much from air travel these days, but to be treated poorly and to be packed in like sardines – forget it. I will pay more for a flight on another airline anytime to have an inch or 2 more legroom and not made to feel like a bother.

Final Thoughts:

In addition to Gordon Ramsey’s Steak, I had planned on seeing Zarkana. But I didn’t get the tickets in advance and when the time came to get them, we just decided not to go. Going forward, I will get tickets in advance and keep my reservations.

I always thought that I wanted to stay at the Bellagio, but honestly, I don’t think I ever will. I’m sure the rooms are lovely, but I really don’t care for the casino. Cocktail service was poor and I didn’t care for the overall crowd.

Oh and we drove to Southpoint – had never been there. It was eh. We love Red Rock and thought this would be similar but the vibe was just not there. I don’t think we will be back.

Thanks for reading this…it turned out much longer than I had intended. If you have any questions just ask!

Kenosha, WI
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6. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Great report! Thanks for sharing!

Air Tran used to be the best airline for me out of MKE, but since SW has taken over, it has slowly but surely been dwindling. I was on one of the last non-stop flights between MKE and LAS last September. I had to fly SW back since AirTran didn't even have any flights available. Now that they are getting closer and closer to phasing out the AirTran fleet, I am sure the service has gotten worse. We have flown AirTran many times and have never had any problems with service. Most of the time we flew in business class, but of the few times we flew coach, I don't recall feeling that cramped in the seats (and I am 5' 9" and a bit on the large side). RIP AirTran!!!

Crandon, Wisconsin
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7. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Thanks for the report! Best of luck to your hubby as he recovers.

Nicely done on the wins.....I usually don't bring much back either (I'm there to gamble, and the extra time at the machines/tables makes me happy!)

California
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8. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

"In addition to Gordon Ramsey’s Steak, I had planned on seeing Zarkana. But I didn’t get the tickets in advance and when the time came to get them, we just decided not to go. Going forward, I will get tickets in advance and keep my reservations."

You can have a great time in Las Vegas by being spontaneous. But you may end up missing something that you would have loved. Believe me when I tell you it's happened to all of us. That is one of the best reasons for making reservations or buying tickets in advance,

"Oh and we drove to Southpoint – had never been there. It was eh. We love Red Rock and thought this would be similar but the vibe was just not there. I don’t think we will be back""

That's kind of a surprise. I don't know why you thought they would be similar. Sorry you were disappointed.

Thanks for the report.

North Carolina
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9. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Thanks for you nice comments everyone!

Wigambler, DH was thinking the same way - more funds to play with LOL!

Ktinca - I thought it would be similar given the like amenities with the movie theater and all. I think it was just way too bright for my taste and extremely crowded.

Lexington, Kentucky
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10. Re: A Different Kind of TR - Mar. 6th - Mar. 9th

Thanks for the great TR! Sorry you missed GR Steak. It's one of my favorite places I've eaten in Vegas. Maybe next trip!