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TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Providence, Rhode...
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TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

A couple weeks ago I posted a pre trip report and as expected very little of it got followed. A little background to start off with each day posted as a reply. I would have liked to post each day as a reply right away, but as I am seeing how long this is taking me I decided to just post them as I finish them up. I can never decide which format I like TRs in best, but hopefully this works out. I will try to update this intro post with the post number of each day so those who want to skip the comments can jump directly.

This was Melissa (M) and I’s 9th trip to Vegas together and my 11th overall. For a few years we were going to Vegas every 6-9 months, but a couple things changed:

1. M finally talked me into going on some beach vacations and we have fallen in love with Jamaica. We have now been to Jamaica 3 times over the past 2 years and can not wait to get back again.

2. Our last trip to Vegas was not our best. You can read the TR under my name, but in summary it was too long (9 nights) and in the winter. Walking between casinos at night was freezing at times so we stayed very close to our home base (Paris). We had no luck gambling, were sick on and off through the trip and ended up “Vegas bored” during the days. We were tired of gambling, it was way too cold for a pool and we didn’t want to just drink all day.

In planning for this trip, we decided to go when it was warm, stay just 5 nights and chose a nicer hotel that was new to us (Palazzo). You will have to wait until the summary of Wednesday to see how this turned into a 8 night trip.

Providence, Rhode...
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1. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Day 1: Fri (5/9)

As you can gather, M and I travel a good amount and have never really had problems traveling. We have never missed a flight, never had a reservation mixup at the hotel and should be in TSA videos for how to properly get through airport security. We are also always early for our flights and this time was no different as we were through security and at our gate about and hour and half before our flight. When it got to be about 30 minutes before our scheduled departure time we noticed they were not boarding and I realized our flight had been delayed by 35 minutes. This was. a problem since we only had a 1 hour layover at Chicago Midway. M started asking “Are we going to miss our connection?”; “What do we do if we are late?”; “Will they hold the plane for us?” I didn’t really know since we usually have smooth sailing so instead we did the best we could to prepare for. . . the run.

M had a lower number than me and grabbed 2 seats in row 9 so at least we weren’t at the back of the plane. We have had many layovers at Midway and 90% of the time our connecting gate is across the way from where we land, but not this time. Southwest shows you your arrival gate and all connections so we used that combined with a map of Midway’s terminals and saw that our gates could not have been much further apart. We were landing at something like B15 and our connection was at A22. We scouted out a path and I had our plans all laid out. When the plane got to the gate 34 minutes before our scheduled departure, M stepped into the aisle before the row across from us and I got our bags ready. We of course let the rows in front of us go first and as expected the girl in front of us couldn’t get her carry on unstuck from the overhead bin and on the ramp a large elderly couple slowed traffic to a crawl. Once we finally got to the end of the jetway we took an immediate right and started to run. . . well M did.

I had flip flops on and was struggling to get any sort of pace going. Everytime I tried to even walk fast I almost fell over. M was going and then waiting for me . . . yelling at me .. . you know the drill. She is in better shape than I am anyways, but I can handle an aiport run . . . just not in flip flops. Soon enough I stopped, took off my flip flops and started to run. It was like I had new legs and I quickly caught up to M as the gate was in sight. We arrived just as they were boarding B1 - B30 which was our section and basically ran onto the jetway. While backed up on the jetway the couple behind me was huffing and puffing like I was and the guy said to me, “I was wondering when you were going to take those flip flops off.” In hindsight it looks like we had a few minutes to spare, but sitting down in those seats was first time in hours we could finally relax and know we were on our way to Vegas!

The rest of our travel to the Palazzo was uneventful. Check in line was short and they had a room available for us. The clerk was very friendly and he added my SW Rapid Rewards number to the reservation and gave me a temporary Grazie card. We were offered an upgrade to a strip view room, but declined and were asked if we preferred a high floor, which we did. We got a room on the 33rd floor that we really liked. As expected, the room was huge but nothing notable for a view. We always do some basic unpacking, set up phone chargers by the bed, put bathroom stuff in the bathroom etc and freshen up. We were out the door in about 30 minutes.

One travel tip to offer is that I always bring a 6 foot extension cord as well as a plug I bought that has 3 outlets plus 2 USB ports for charging. I hate not having my tablet, headphones, phone etc all charged and at bedside as needed. These both came in handy as there were limited outlets on one side of the bed.

Lunch was at Canaletto in St. Mark’s square at about 2:30 and we ordered the same thing we got last time there. I got a pizza with prosciutto, arugula and cheese and M got the calzone which she has probably had 5 times. The service is always good here and the atmosphere makes you feel like you are in Vegas. We had a few of their speciality drinks and when done decided to go for a walk. There is construction going on at Casino Royale and if people were smart enough to walk in a single file line through the work zone, things would be much more efficient. We walked inside through Harrahs and out into the area where Carnival Court is. I like this area much better now as all the tacky vendors are gone so its much less congested. We then wandered into the Quad for the first time as we had never stepped foot in here when it was Imperial Palace.

We actually liked this place a bit more than expected so we decided to have a seat at the “pop up craps” machine. They try to direct traffic directly through the quad rather than having people go around it like before so the craps machine next to the walkway made for some fun people watching. Drink service was efficient as they had the set up with 1 girl taking the order on an ipad and another delivering the drinks. I think we each lost about $40 and decided to move on.

Next we took our first look at the Linq, stopping to take pictures of the High Roller which is impressive just to look at. The whole area is very nicely done considering it was an alley before and we took our time just walking through it. At one point about halfway through I noticed cash on the ground - a few hundred dollars easily. I looked around and didn’t see anyone running back, but as I got closer I saw a janitor walking towards the money as well. He looked at me and said, “I got it”, picked it up and ran after a guy who was up near the strip. I didn’t bother watching, but I assume the money got returned and hopefully that janitor got a good tip. I was thankful to not have to deal with returning the money to security or having someone try to fight me for it.

We then wandered into the Flamingo to get a water and outside to the animal habitat. The music from Carlos & Charlies sort of kills the relaxing vibe out there and for some reason we could not find the turtles. We did see a duck bite another one for a spot on a rock which was amusing. Decided not to gamble here and headed next into the Cromwell. It was quiet as they are still doing their soft opening, but the place is very nice. We played some roulette & slots with great CW service (again using ipad). The staff was extremely friendly - there was a guy rolling a cart through that said “Welcome to the Cromwell, excuse me please”. There was a guy just standing near the elevators and bathrooms saying, “Welcome to the Cromwell, what can I help you find?” Nothing notable gambling wise here as we lost and lost, except that M thinks she lost out on a slot machine win. We were playing the Wonka machine and she thought she picked the gobstopper which would have won her like $10, but she didn’t get the money. Since it was only $10 and we hardly ever play machines like that we didn’t worry about it and assumed we just didn’t know what we were doing.

Not sure what time it was at this point, but we headed back to Palazzo and did some more gambling. I didn’t write any other notes for the day at this point so obviously nothing exciting happened. We actually skipped dinner as we were still a bit full from our late lunch. I think we were in bed by about 9:30 as we were exhausted from the long travel day.

Providence, Rhode...
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2. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Day 2: Sat (5/10)

Not surprisingly we were up early at around 7am and I went down to Cafe’ Presse to get some coffees. We took our time, unpacking some more and getting ready, eventually making it to the pool a little before 10. We headed over to the main pool deck at the Venetian as I had read here that the best sun in the morning is in that area. Had a quick breakfast at Riva which was eh, but easy. I should note that this was actually the first time I had been to a pool in Vegas in all of my trips. Many of our trips have been in colder months or at places we did not have any interest in going to the pool at (Harrahs). M had gone once with my mother and sister on a family trip while the guys went to the Mob Attraction, but that was about it for her.

So i get it now. I get why people like Vegas pools and spend their days there. Despite it being packed by about 11am it was relaxing. We barely spent any money and the people watching was top notch. For example there was a couple where the guy had a huge cigar lit up and the girl had a shirt on that said something like “Ready to Party.” They seemed ready for a good time .. . but they got the pool at 1 and walked in circles looking for chairs. Probably not the party they had in mind, but hopefully it worked out for them. The sun was hot, but the pool was cold. We would sit in the sun for 30 minutes or so and take a quick dip to cool off .

At around 2 we headed up to the room to shower and get ready for the big event of the day - the Bruins game at 4. We left the room shortly after 3, not sure exactly where we were heading. While M got ready I was looking to see if we could make a last minute reservation at Lagasse’s Stadium, but had no luck. Our plan was to stop by Lagasse’s and if that didn't work out head down to the circle bar outside of Caesars and if the game wasn’t on there to try the Rock Bar at PH as someone here had recommended in my pre TR. If it got close to game time we figured we would just stop anywhere and move at the end of the 1st period. We ideally wanted a place with the sound on, seating outside and food.

So we stopped by Lagasse’s and once we tell them we are there to watch hockey she says, “We can put you on the patio - the sound is on out there.” That met all our criteria at once so it was perfect. I am not sure why there were no reservations available as the place was empty inside. They did have a $25 per person minimum spend, but that would not be a problem. We were seated outside surrounded by Bruin’s fans with our own set of couches and chairs and our own TV. We were joined by a couple guys from Mass who heard Bruins fans cheering and we all got to enjoy a Bruins win. We ordered a huge plate of nachos that kept us full enough and could have fed 2-3 more people easily. Afterwards we talked to a couple behind us for a while. The girl was actually someone who works for my company - its a big company that had a conference in Vegas a couple days before we arrived. The guy is Axle from a Guns N Roses tribute band that plays near where we live. They were fun and we will likely go check out his band at some point.

We did some gambling, but each lost a couple hundred pretty quickly and decided it was time for dinner. We had cancelled our reservation at Cut as we did not feel like changing out of our Bruins gear and decided to try Buddy V’s. This place was actually great. The service was excellent with a very friendly waiter who talked to us about the Patriots for a while. I got the veal parm which was a huge piece of bone in veal that was cooked perfectly. M got the sunday gravy with rigatoni that was delicious. We debated ordering a bottle of wine, decided to just get a couple glasses, but then the waiter I thought had talked us into a bottle. He brought out just 2 glasses though and we were glad he did as we were stuffed and exhausted. We barely finished our one glass each so a bottle would have been a struggle. This place has simple, but very good food and with such good service I think it will do well. Surely not a foodie destination, but for a casual meal I would highly recommend it. Carlos’s Bakery across the hall was totally packed on our way in and out (about 11pm) with people watching the bakers do their thing.

We were done for the day and headed to bed right about 11.

London, United...
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3. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Great trip..keep at it....a few days to go yet lol

Tallahassee, Florida
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4. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Been wondering how things are down there around the cromwell and the quad. Good information.

Providence, Rhode...
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5. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

paul - its going to take me a bit, but I think the day reports will get shorter.

seminolegirl - I like the area a lot more now than before. That whole area is much more pleasant and they did a nice job tying all the properties together. Even Harrahs felt a bit nicer for some reason.

London, United...
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6. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

The harrahs IP flamingo sector looks greatly improved with the linq now

It was okish before but now a lot better looking at the pictures

Now with the Cromwell we just need the frontage of Bally's to be sorted out and hey presto from Paris to Venetian will be terrific

Great trip report even though your fingers must be sore lol....can't beat Vegas..pure escapism

London, United...
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7. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Do you realise Greg you're probably nearer to London UK than Vegas ...strange world lol

Providence, Rhode...
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8. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Day 3: Sun (5/11)

For those trying to follow compared to my pre trip report, you will notice that we did not make it to Border Grill for brunch Saturday. We had a reservation, but we cancelled as we got going late and wanted pool time. We had a slow start again on Sunday and realized our Brunch options would be limited. We surely did not want to stand in line for a big buffett on Mothers Day (thanks ktinca). We decided to just head out and see what happened without a reservation. First stop was Mirage to pick up our tickets for Love for the following night. Somewhere along the way we decided we would give Olive’s at Bellagio a try figuring we could maybe score a table outside. We arrived there at about 11:30 and were told it would be 1 - 1.5 hours wait for a table outside. We put our name in anyways as we didn’t have another destination in mind yet. While waiting to put our name in there was a lady also waiting for a table outside who was questioning the hostess about why there was an empty table she couldn’t have. The hostess explained it was on hold by the casino and the lady was demanding the name and number for the host who put the table on hold. The hostess handled it well, but was obviously not in a great mood as this guest would not take her for her word that she just had to wait.

We took a walk through the conservatory, took some pictures and cashed in some travelers checks and made our way back about 30 minutes after putting our name in. Checked back in to let the hostess know we would be having a drink at the bar and within 15 minutes she came and got us. It was a nice, but windy day so the fountains were not going. The service was very very slow, but we had drinks, a table outside and no plans for the afternoon so we were not complaining. The food was good except they put mashed potatoes under the tuna tartare which was just weird. We split the tuna, M got some tortelli and I got the fig and prosciutto flatbread. I drank some sangria and M had a lemon drop type martini that she loved. Overall it was an enjoyable and relaxing lunch.

We made our way back to Caesars and had horrible CW service and even worse gambling at the pop up craps machine before we decided to head back to Palazzo. We headed back to the room for a quick change and down to the pool for an hour before heading back up for a short nap. It was very windy that day and multiple places ended up having damage from the wind that we heard about over the next couple days. We got ready again and took a cab to Cosmopolitan for our 8:30 reservation at e’.

We had been looking forward to this meal and it did not disappoint. For those not familiar with e’, it is a private back room at Jaleo for 8 guests at 2 seatings a night and you are served about 20 courses by a private team. The courses are all plated in front of you and you interact quite a bit with the chefs, wait staff and other guests. While we were waiting for our group to arrive, the guests from the 5:30 seating all stopped by to tell us how great it was. I could also tell some enjoyed the wine pairing and other drink options. Our group was a couple from Mass, 2 girls from Toronto and a couple from Michigan. We all got along well and had a great time before and during the experience. I think other reviews cover this place well, but I will give a couple tips:

- I got the wine pairing and M just had a couple glasses of prosecco as well as sampling some of my pairings. This worked out well for us as I think if we each got the pairing it would have been too much.

- They change the menu quite a bit over time and told us that no dish was safe. At the end you are given a menu to take home which helps you remember what you ate. Some dishes were misses in our opinion, but for the most part the food was fun, interesting and delicious. The guy from Michigan was trying to write down the courses, not knowing we would get a list, but gave up after the 1st one.

- We tip well and generally know when and how much to tip, but were a bit stumped at the end of the meal. Gratuity was added in, but the host explained that there was an optional tip for the cooks that we could add in. We had no idea what to base this on and just threw in $50 since we had already tipped 20% to the wait staff. This was less than 10% of the food bill, but I think it was fair. I would be interested in people’s thoughts as it’s different than the usual tipping questions here.

We had planned on going on the High Roller after this, but decided against it and took a cab back to Palazzo. We did a little bit of gambling, but headed to bed about midnight. When we arrived back in the room there was an air purifier that we did not request. Not sure why it was there, but it did not bother us.

Jersey UK
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9. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Great report look forward to more...

Mims

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10. Re: TR: 5 .. . make that 8 nights in Vegas (5/9/14 - 5/17/14)

Great trip report can't wait for the rest