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Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

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Providence, Rhode...
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Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

This is the full version of a trip report I started on another thread about a week ago. I had posted 4 of the 9 days and it ended up taking me much longer than planned to finish. I apologize for the partially duplicate post, but I think these are much easier to read when there are not many comments in between and that post has been quiet. I updated / edited a bit of the first few days, but anyone who thinks this looks familiar may want to skip to day 5.

This ended up being rather long and if you are looking for gambling stories, you will be disappointed. Thank you for taking the time to read through.

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. 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 this 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 day time. 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: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 1: Friday (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 an hour and half before our SouthWest flight from Providence. 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 the answers since we usually have smooth sailing. A bit nervous, but trying not to worry, we instead did the best thing we could do. We prepared for .. . the run.

M had a lower number than me when boarding 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 your arrival gate and all connections. We used that information, 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 it was 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. On the ramp a large elderly couple slowed traffic to a crawl walking next to each other and blocking the entire path. 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. Every time 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 airport 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 specialty 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. We were near the dealtainers and I was not sure if one was supposed to be William Hung from American Idol , or if was just a dealer filling in for one of the dealtainers on break. 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 headed 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.

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2. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 2: Saturday (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.

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3. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 3: Sunday (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 buffet 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.

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4. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 4: Monday (5/12)

Another lazy morning and we headed over to Bouchon at around 11. I was honestly not sure from their website if they were offering breakfast or brunch at this time, but was happy they had a good brunch menu being offered. I had the Croque Madame which I had never had before and M had a fancy turkey sandwich that is not listed on the brunch menu online. Service was great, food was fast and we both enjoyed our choices. We also had a couple drinks including a “Strawberry Fields” since we were heading to Love later.

We headed out again to the pool, deciding not to use the Venezia pool for some reason It looked nice to us, but I think we wanted to try out another of the main pools and we like to have options for the sun. We found spots with good sun in between a couple of the Palazzo pools and managed to have a good amount of space compared to Saturday. The pool on Monday was much more relaxing than Saturday for obvious reasons. We had no problem finding a spot even though we got out there at around noon. On Saturday if you headed out after 11 you were walking around looking for a spot.

Headed up to the room around 2 to again get ready for the Bruins game. Headed right down to Lagasse’s stadium again, placing a bet on the way in. They had the game on again outside so we had an almost identical set up. This time we got the Tuna Poke chips and a pizza - both of which were excellent. There was no minimum this time around and there were a few Canadian fans there. An old friend that lives in Vegas met us about half way through the game and the Bruins went downhill as soon as he arrived. Tough loss and at that point we were dreading the fact that we were supposed to be on a plane for a necessary game 7 of the series.

We hit up Walgreens for some waters on the way up the room and had a quick change to get ready for Love. We had a reservation for Heritage Steak, but were running late and not all that hungry so we cancelled it. Instead we went to the bar there and had a couple drinks and a beef carpaccio appetizer. The food was excellent and M had a stout drink that tasted a bit like a light strawberry Guinness. It was odd, but very good and the service was excellent.

This is our 3rd time seeing Love and we got the tickets using the MyVegas companion ticket option. The 2 seats cost us about $140 and they were perfect. They were directly across from one of the large video screens and the perfect height to see everything. I am not a huge MyVegas person, but this deal worked out great. The first 2 times we saw it were after too many drinks or on too little sleep so this time we were in much better shape. The show was terrific and we will likely see this again at some point..

We headed back over to Palazzo and up to Sushi Samba for a snack. We really like this place and wanted to have a real dinner here at some point in the trip, but that did not work out. We sat at the bar and just ordered a few rolls and a couple drinks all off the happy hour menu. Service and food was very good, but simple stuff. We headed towards the casino, but on the way we were stopped by a nice Indian girl asking us for money to buy her sister a cake. The mom was there too, apparently the poor girl lost her purse after they traveled to Vegas just to get her sister a cake for her birthday. We politely declined and ended up losing a bit of money, but playing until about 3am. At one point we played Roulette with this couple where the guy was from Spain. I tried telling him about e’ but failed miserably. All I could remember was the ball of Sangria that exploded when you bit into it. This was our latest night and of course meant a slow morning for Tuesday.

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5. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 5: Tuesday (5/13)

Yup - another slow start, but at least this time it was because we stayed up late. We had no plans for this day at all as we like to leave our last full day up in the air. When we have no plans we often have a hard time picking a place to eat. We agreed that we would like to sit outside, Mexican would be good and we didn’t want to drink beer or margaritas as our first drink of the day. I had a $15 off card from Lettuce Entertain You from my birthday so I thought of El Segundo Sol. No matter what we plan ahead of time we always end up getting margaritas when we eat Mexican so we picked Strip Burger instead. We had gone to Strip Burger a couple years ago on the trip with my family and all enjoyed the lemonade/ vodka / rosemary drinks they serve in huge mason jars. This seemed like a good alternative to a beer or margarita.

We got a table, ordered our big lemonades and had an excellent lunch. I got a burger, M got a chicken sandwich and we split the fry platter. Our waiter was awesome the whole time and at the end I gave him my $15 off card and he came back with the bill plus a dessert for my bday which was 3 weeks earlier. The receipt now showed I had $10 in rewards I could use so I gave him my credit card and asked him to apply the $10. When he came back he said, “I took off $25.” So in total we got $40 off our bill and a free dessert. . . he got a good tip.

A tip for walking from Palazzo over to the Fashion Show Mall. We went out near the lobby I think and over the bridge to Wynn, then down an escalator, up another to cross over and down another. It was typical street crossing in Vegas where it takes 10 minutes to cross the street. After lunch we noticed that we could have just walked a little further along the strip by Wynn and crossed over right in front of Strip Burger.

We headed over to Wynn after lunch and took a walk through taking some pictures of the flowers and carousel. I think we gambled $40 each and were there for about 45 minutes. In my total 11 trips to Vegas, including one where we stayed at the Trump, I think I have spent a total of 3 hours in the Wynn. For some reason I just don’t like the feeling there so we never really make an effort to spend more time and give it a better chance.

Headed back over to Palazzo and did some gambling before making it down to Caesars with a stop for some souvenirs on the way. We walked through the Forum Shops, got some gelato and sat down at the fish tank for about 30 minutes. M was checking out the fish which were cool, but I was more amazed at the number of people waiting for a table at the Cheesecake Factory. I know why it's popular, it’s just not a place I would go to and definitely not wait for. We did some gambling at Caesars with nothing worth reporting and headed back to Palazzo around 9.

We ended up sitting at the bar at Otto for a late dinner. We had a glass of wine each, a meat and cheese platter and a pasta dish each. We always talk about going to B&B or Carnevino, but never have so at least we finally got to a Batali place. Everything was good, but not great including the service. Nothing specifically bad to report, but not a meal that stands out as one of our best. It hit the spot though and after a little more gambling we headed to bed at a responsible time since we had to head to the airport around 11 the next morning.

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6. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 6: Wednesday (5/14)

We always pretend we are going to get up early, pack, get an early breakfast and spend a couple hours gambling before we have to leave for our flight. Once again we slept in, packed up and made a 20 minute casino stop on the way out the door. We have had good luck with this approach winning $1600 at Roulette in about 15 minutes a few years ago leaving Flamingo. This time though we fell flat with some big pop up craps bets and lost $100 at roulette before giving up. Back to airport and once again we are through security 1.5 hours before our flight. We stop at a bar, order a beer and start to look at a lunch menu when I see a voicemail from a 800 number I don’t recognize.

The call is from Southwest letting me know our flight is delayed about two hours. Now of course we are wishing we weren’t always so early for our flights. Our flight had a 1 hour layover in Baltimore and a quick check told me there were no later connections to Providence. We drink our beer and discussed options, although we are not sure what those options really are. Could we stay in Vegas? Would they be able to get us our checked bags if we stayed in Vegas or Baltimore? Since we would not be back home that night and not sure what time we would be home on Thursday, we decided we would not be working Thursday. Since the next day is . . well Friday, we rationalized that if we could just stay in Vegas until Saturday that would be ideal. Who goes to work for 1 day in a week? We had booked this trip with the plan to save a couple vacation days by forcing ourselves to work Thursday and Friday, but we decided we could deal with that problem later. Plus we weren’t ready to leave Vegas.

Before we even got the talk to someone I was thinking of where we might stay if we got to stay in Vegas. We did not want to just spend 1 more night either as the effort and cost for 1 night would have been annoying. After a short wait we got to talk to the gate agent who quickly told us we could either go to Baltimore and they would put us in a hotel or we could stay in Vegas. We quickly asked if we could stay until Saturday, she was thrilled and said absolutely. M asked if we could get our checked bags, she asked for the claim tickets and made a phone call. We were thrilled and I pulled out my laptop to start looking for a hotel. The gate agent took some time processing things and the bag guys needed about 20 minutes to find our bags and send them back up. While we were waiting the gate agent also gave us each a $200 SW luv ticket. I thought M was going to cry she was so happy.

We were discussing where to stay, but options were fairly limited. Palazzo, Wynn, Venetian were all over $330 a night and much of the South of the strip was not available I logged into my Total Rewards account and we discussed Harrahs for the cheap, but M wanted a nice pool. I pulled up a Vegas Chatter article I had saved off and read a quick refresher on which towers were which at Caesars. We quickly booked Augustus for something like $225 a night including a Friday. So a couple hours after getting to the airport I was telling the cabbie, “Caesars no tunnel please,” and it honestly felt like we had just arrived again.

I knew enough to tell him to go to the Flamingo entrance and we attempted to check in around 2pm, but there were no rooms available. We headed over the Gordon Ramsey’s pub for lunch and a drink to kill time. We got a couple Laguntas IPAs, M got a chicken salad sandwich and I got bangers & mash. The bangers were 1 each of 3 different sausages so that was different & M enjoyed her sandwich. Our waitress was extremely friendly and took care of us calling me Sir Greg.

One of the best parts about getting to stay was that I would get to watch game 7 of the Bruin’s series. Earlier in the day I was worried about how well it would work streaming on the plane and if I would be able to catch any on the layover. We decided we would head back to Lagasse’s stadium since we knew the drill and would not have a problem getting a spot. After lunch we still had not heard from the front desk so we decided to check again on the room being available. The agent ended up making a phone call and asked if we would be ok with any King non smoking room. We said that was fine and she found us a spot in the Octavius Tower. I was happy with this and when we got to our room housekeeping was still putting the finishing touches on the room. They were done within a couple minutes allowing us just enough time to freshen up, get to a cab and to Lagasses in time for the game.

The game was terrible for Bruin’s fans, but we enjoyed some wings, drinks and being outside watching the game instead of on a plane. After the game we walked down to Harrahs to do a little gambling and decided to get some food at the Oyster bar. We have ate here before and really liked the place. It is very casual with great service and the oysters always taste fresh. They cook up everything in a small open kitchen in front of you. We got some raw, some fried and a couple glasses of sparkling wine before making our way out. We went back over to Caesars for some more uneventful gambling and then a stop at the food court for pizza.

One nice thing about staying at Augustus or Octavius is that you can stop by the front desk anytime and they will give you some bottled water. We made a stop for a few waters, ate in the room and both passed out. We both did not feel well overnight and got a terrible nights sleep. Oysters and pizza might not have been a good idea.

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7. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 7: Thursday (5/15)

One of the downsides of staying a few more days was that I had a couple work conference calls I needed to dial into. Of course todays was at 8am which was not ideal, but at least I got to get it out of the way. I wanted to let M sleep in so I headed downstairs and ended up sitting out by the pool before it opened. I had to move once when they put the music on, but I found a quiet enough spot to stand around through the call. I headed back up to the room around 9 to wake M up and headed down to the pool while she got ready. Having never been to Caesars pool complex, it took me a few minutes to find a spot I thought would get good sun all day. If you are looking for sun, go down the stairs from the main pool entrance near Payard and sit on the right near the circular pool.

We really liked the Caesars pool area especially since the water was warm. The only negative is that when people lied down at times they would make it impossible to walk past so getting to your chair could be difficult. We had a coffee and smoothie from Payard and lunch and some drinks from Snackus Maximus and baked in the 90+ degree heat cooling off and reapplying often. Around 4 we headed back up the room and took a nap. The Octavius beds are tough to get out of.

We decided on Javiers at Aria for dinner since we did not want to go far and had not yet had Mexican. We discussed getting some sangria or seeing what they had for drinks since neither of us wanted a margarita again. We had ate here once before, and I was not feeling well that night, but I still enjoyed my meal. I was not 100% this time, but I was in much better shape and looking forward to it. We put our name in and killed about 25 minutes playing pop up craps winning about $100 combined.

We got sat at one of the half circle tables near the bar and had a very friendly waitress. When I asked about Sangria, she politely hinted that it wasn’t that good and suggested we try a margarita. We knew we were powerless and ordered a couple pineapple margaritas that were delicious. We picked out a ceviche, but the waitress offered to make us a combination of the 3 varieties which we thought was nice. I got some short ribs in a chile negro sauce and M got seafood enchiladas. Drinks, service, ceviche, chips and both entrees were all enjoyed and we will go back here. Our favorite Mexican spot in Vegas is still Isla that got closed at TI, but Javiers is becoming our new go to spot.

We ended up at Paris for the first time all trip which we found odd since we have stayed here so many times. We played roulette with some very annoying people who were in town for a wedding. I was up a few hundred and started betting about $45 a spin - $25 outside and $20 inside. Often times when we play if one of us is losing and one winning, the one winning will give the other a few greens or a black to keep going. Tonight I was making enough to keep M playing too, but then I hit a cold streak and we ended up walking away about even overall. Headed back to the room using the Flamingo entrance so we didn’t even get tempted by the casino.

Providence, Rhode...
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8. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 8: Friday (5/16)

Another last full day in Vegas and once again we did not make any real plans except to go to the pool. I was down by 9 and M down by 9:40 or so in the same area as the day before. I had another conference call at 10 today so I headed up to the room to take the call and check us in for our flights. We got Payard again and had lunch and drinks from Snackus Maximus again and took naps again. Only difference was that today was cloudy, but hotter and the pool was a bit more crowded.

We had no dinner reservations, but we knew we didn’t want to go far since it was so hot out. We also had not had any Italian food in about 48 hours and were beginning to panic. Rao’s and Il Mulino were my first 2 options but neither had open reservations online. I made a backup reservation at Trevi and decided we would stop by Rao’s and Il Mulino first to see if we could get a table or spot at the bar. First stop was Raos where we got two seats at the end of the bar with no issues and cancelled our Trevi reservation. We decided to just get a course each and if hungry later we would go to another spot for an app or dessert. I had a glass of wine and a delicious veal chop that came in a sweet / spicy pepper broth. M had a sage lemon drop martini that she said was her strongest drink of the trip and the lasagna. Overall we enjoyed the food and the service was very good. I would consider going back here with a reservation and having a couple courses next time.

We played a bit at Caesars and found a $30 TITO from Harrahs in my wallet that I thought we could cash in at Caesars, but the machines and the cashier rejected it. So we took a walk over and played some roulette with the funnest bunch we had been with all trip. I did terribly, M did decent and we had a good time before we gave up. Next we lost our $30 TITO in a machine and headed back to Caesars. We contemplated more pizza, but instead just got our free waters and headed up to the room.

Providence, Rhode...
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9. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

Day 9: Saturday (5/17) / Random / Closing

We slept until about 7, packed up and left at 8 for our 10:15 flight. This time nothing exciting happened at the airport or on the flights and we arrived home about 10pm. We picked up a pizza on the way home, had a beer on the couch and were grateful to have Sunday off.

Random:

- A couple times a day we would stop by a roulette table with $20 and put $10 on 2 different numbers or $15 on one and $5 on another. We have been doing some variation of this every Vegas trip usually on our way to a meal. This time we did not hit once over the 8 days .

The idea with $15 / $5 was that if we hit the $15 number we would use that money to pay for the normal meal. If we hit the $5 number we had to pay for dinner normally, but use the $175 on something we normally would not get. For example - getting a $250 bottle of wine instead of a $75 bottle or ordering a couple lobster tail add ons.

- Sometime soon I will write a post comparing Octavius and Palazzo. Overall I would stay at both places again, but would likely choose Octavius if prices were equal.

- We ate a lot of Italian food this trip.

- Last trip I started to move off a $1 standard tip for drinks and this trip I always tipped at least $2 for each of us. We had great CW service the whole trip except a couple days early on at Caesars.

- We lost 60% of the money we brought to lose gambling. I will call that a win.

- There are still a ton of restaurants in Vegas I have not made it to, but want to. We often cancel reservations or do not feel like getting changed and ready for a nicer place. Cut is top of my list to finally try out followed by Border Grill.

- We had above average service at nearly every place we ate and gambled.

- I am glad Border Grill is opening up at Caesars this summer - no matter what we plan we just do not make it far from our hotel typically and never as far as Mandalay.

- We play a lot of the pop up craps game and really enjoy it. This trip though we had small problems with a couple machines. One seemed to remove some hardway bets randomly, but gave the money back. The other would pass the “roll” to the next player when the roller had made their point.

- I enjoyed staying somewhere with a nice pool while it was hot enough to use it. The 8 nights of this trip, compared to the 9 of the trip before felt completely different due to the pool. I would still go to Vegas in the off pool season, but would limit trips to 4-5 nights.

- The free dessert at Stripburger, the desserts at e’ and the gelato were the only desserts we had all trip. This was not intentional and disappointing. We will do better next time.

- The Flamingo entrance to Caesars and the location of Augustus and Octavius towers are great. There was never a cab line and we often used this exit to walk to the strip.

-I also liked going out the door near Pure, cutting through where the cabs are coming up and crossing at Margaritaville. This was a real fast way to get to the Linq / Harrahs / Flamingo area.

Overall this was one of, if not our favorite Vegas trips. It was far more relaxing than any other trip and we stayed at nicer places than we normally do. There is still so much we have not done in Vegas and we are discussing a return as soon as possible.

Next up we are heading to Napa in just 2 weeks (was 3 from Vegas) because we had a ton of SW points and my family is heading out. This is our 4th trip and I will say Napa is my 2nd favorite place to plan for so at least I have that to keep my mind off Vegas.

Thank you for reading and I appreciate any comments or questions.

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10. Re: Full TR: 5 . . . make that 8 nights in Vegas

WOW! What an excellent report. I am drooling thinking of all the wonderful places you ate. I haven't tried Border Grill, so anxious to give it a shot! Thank you for the wonderful details you posted - brilliant read!