My husband and I stayed at the Hard Rock for two nights, and then joined our friends at the Flamingo for 3 nights.
Flew Southwest from Pittsburgh, stopped in Chicago, arrived in Las Vegas. Was never on time either way. Delayed on the outbound trip by weather, delayed coming home for no explained reason.
We are in our mid 30s and really enjoyed the Hard Rock. It was a fun place and I liked that it was on the smaller side...I didn't have to wander forever to find what I wanted. Everything was off of the main casino floor including the restaurants, pool access, and room access. The music was good too and played everywhere. I would have even liked it pumped into our room! I wouldn't say it was extraordinarily loud - we could still talk no problem.
I've stayed at the Flamingo before, and I have to say that this time was a bit of a letdown. It just seems like it's really showing it's age. Also, there are a lot more families, big groups, etc. here that made it seem very crowded and hectic. Margaritaville was definitely the high point.
The room was spacious and clean. The furnishings were a bit sparse and plain - I expected more flashiness I guess. I liked the fact that you could open up the balcony doors. The bathroom was a good size with lots of counter space and decent lighting. The plasma TV was a nice touch, but not really used all that much.
They asked what kind of room I wanted so I asked for a renovated room with a view of the Bellagio fountains. She said our room had been renovated in 04, was that ok? I said sure. Well, I got a room that over looked the roof of the Barbary Coast...no fountains. The room itself was ok, the bathroom was terrible. Very small and dirty looking, no counter space, tiny mirror. It needed another renovation, badly!
The pool was really nice! On Thursday I was there right as it opened (8:00 am) to get chairs. I would say the chairs didn't fill until late morning, early afternoon. I guess that's one benefit of being at a party hotel, everyone sleeps in! The waitresses were friendly and we drank "Rock Star Lemonades" all day, which they sell in these big plastic tiki glasses for $14.50. Not cheap, but hey...what in Vegas is cheap? Friday was a bit of a different story. On weekends you need a wristband to enter the pool area. The chairs filled up quickly and it was a lot more crowded in general. By late afternoon there was a lot of cups and junk laying around. I think I prefer the weekday pool scene since it's a little slower. I don't even want to know what the Sunday Rehab party is like.
I was here on the weekend, and the pool was very crowded. I grabbed a few of the remaining chairs, and all day I saw miserable people parading in front of me with towels and no chairs to be found. The pool itself was nice with waterfalls, a slide, and these floating tables that you can sit at. Lots of families, but it wasn't like the kids were overtaking the place. I noticed at the 21 and over pool, the crowd was a lot older. Also there was a bad smell at times at the 21 pool. Kind of a sulfur, sewage smell. Not very enjoyable. Drinks at the Flamingo pool run about $6.
I do have to comment on the music at the pool in general. At the Hard Rock, the music was playing and just seemed to fill the whole area. I couldn't see speakers or figure out where it was coming from, but it was at the same volume everywhere, and seemed "above" us. At the Flamingo..the music blares from these speakers about 6 inches over your head. So depending on where you are sitting, you are either blasted out, or can barely hear it. Most of the time I felt blasted out.
We at Pink Taco for dinner our first night and it was really good. We hit the happy hour specials where they have 2 for 1 beer and margaritas. Also lots of chips and salsa. The food is very reasonably priced and they give you a lot. After filling up on margaritas and chips, I ended up taking half of my burrito back to the room for a late night snack. We got quesadillas out by the pool the next day and they were also very good. Served with salsa, guac, and sour cream. For breakfast on Friday we went to Mr. Lucky's and I had a good omelette. Finally we hit Mr. Lucky's again for dinner and the famous $7.77 special where you get a nice sized salad, a small steak, 3 shrimp on a skewer, and a huge scoop of garlic mashed potatoes. Great taste and great deal.
I avoided the buffet...friends went and their comments ranged from "ok" to "terrible". We ate appetizers at Margaritaville and they were huge and delicious. My tip for Margaritaville is to head to the 3rd floor where it is outside and seating is first come, first serve. The wait was a lot less than downstairs and they have a small bar were we ended up spending most of our time.
I was craving crab legs so we went to the Rio buffet one night but just went to the regular buffet, not the seafood buffet since my husband doesn't like seafood. The buffet was around $25 and really good. I had my fill of crab legs, and my husband was happy with the other selections. The next day for our anniversary, my only goal was to have a drink at the Fontana bar....closed for a private function! I was so disappointed. After assessing the rest of the restaurants at the Bellagio, we decided they were a bit out of our price range so we headed to Paris. At Paris, we rode up to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and enjoyed a very nice glass of wine at the bar. Hubby wanted to eat there, but I still was a little nervous about the price so we opted for Mon Ami Gabi. We ate inside and it was a wonderful, relaxing dinner where I had everything I wanted without feeling guilty about the price. We had a bottle of wine, the cheese plate appetizer, I had the asparagus soup of the day and the halibut special, my husband had the house salad and the steak.
The first night I had in my head that I wanted a martini at Red Square in Mandalay Bay. I had heard so much about it, I couldn't wait to see it. Well, it was cool, and the drink was good, and the ice on the bar was neat, but I think I overhyped it in my head. I doubt I would have made a special trip to see it, knowing what I know now. We also walked through RumJungle on our way out and that looked very cool. Waterfalls, lots of bars...we were considering coming back for the nightclub but never made it.
The next night we went and had a drink at the Tilted Kilt in the Rio, just a bar with girls in little skirts, but it was a good pit stop for a cold beer and a picture of hubby with the girls in little skirts. After that we went up to the VooDoo. We were right in between dinner hours and nightclub hours. The view is wonderful and it seems like a good crowd was rolling in. Didn't really stay long enough to dance or hear the music.
Friday night was girls night so the girls went to Nine Fine Irishmen in NYNY. They had a good band, good beer, and a few patrons in kilts that we got to harass and try and peek at what was under that kilt! After that we went up to Coyote Ugly. It's dark and crowded here, but still fun for a group. I dragged the bachelorette up on the stage to dance and she had a good time. Definitely a higher ratio of guys in this bar, so not much dancing, lots of ogling and drinking. Our last stop of the night was Margaritaville (Flamingo) where they removed the tables from the lower floor and had a decent dance floor and band going.
Saturday was the official bachelorette party, and since the girls weren't too concerned with hitting the most trendy club in Vegas, we opted for Risque in Paris since my husband got us a VIP entry when he was gambling. Risque has a small dance floor, and of course, the mandatory over abundance of reserved VIP seating. We did go upstairs to sit outside and overlook the city. Not sure if this was a VIP area or not, but I just walked past the guy like I belonged there and knew what I was doing, and he didn't say anything.
Some general observations:
Contrary to popular belief, it's not just supermodels at the Hard Rock. I noticed all shapes and sizes at the pool and no one was being beaten or flogged for it! Yes, there are a few "notice me" girls, one princess decided to go topless in her cabana, but I would say that is the exception, not the norm.
Also, be conscious of what event is going on at the Hard Rock if you decide to stay there. That Saturday was "Ultimate Fight Night" so by Friday, the fighters and their crews were rolling in. Lots of guys, lots of testosterone, lots of team flags and team colors. I had a feeling the fight in the ring wasn't going to be the only fight that weekend...so I was kind of glad we were leaving.
Ok, that's about it I think. I'd be happy to answer any questions. Oh, and as I'm sure you have noticed....no gambling report because I don't gamble. If my husband wrote this report that would be a different story, but unfortunately I only threw 5 bucks in a slot machine and 20 on a roulette table at the Hard Rock, that was the extent of it! Lame, I know. My husband and his buddies entered the daily Texas Hold 'Em tournament at the Flamingo and his friend made it to the final four and won a bit of money.