I had trouble summarizing this past trip which actually took place over New Year's (12/27/01-1/5/02). Maybe it was the length of the trip (10 days), or the various activities between gaming sessions (5 shows, friends, relatives, New Year's, etc). Anyways, I think I'll start with the non-gaming experiences, as

I think this will help me remember where I was. Then I'll try to recap the

vp-couponing and gaming results in another post.


This report covers: Hotels/Meals/Shows



It was very easy to check in and out of the Silverton, California, and

Gold Strike in Jean, NV (even on a late Friday night).

I only wish check OUT times were later than 11:00 am. Sometimes I

felt 'rushed' out the door.

Stratosphere: I'm learning to check in by 2:00 pm latest, even though

they say 3:00 pm. (This may work at other larger hotels as well). I

personally think they overexpanded (3rd tower) without adding more

checkin registration clerks.

Arrive after 3:00 pm, and expect to wait at least 30 min. in check-in

lines, unless you are VIP (now requires at least $6500K/day on the

100% vp machines).

Rooms are clean and nice. Elevators in new tower are quick.

New upscale coffeeshop is nice, but also pricey. The deli by the

sportsbook isn?t a bad option for an inexpensive quick bite. And

there's always McDonald's upstairs. (I still find food comps stingy

here). Tacky- Stratosphere still charges the 'energy' surcharge of

$2.50-$3.00 per day, even on comp'd marketing offers.


Public RRs: general comments. I usually don't notice these things,

but maybe because it was busier over holidays or some were more smelly

than usual, I had to comment.


Stratosphere's seem to be rather poor in odor. At times, even the

Hard Rock's (is there only one main set of RestRooms in that hallway

outside of the Pink Taco?), seem a bit unclean and smelly. Key

Largo's are what you would expect at a dinky joint, useable, but

somewhat stinky.


The better ones: Mirage, Las Vegas Hilton, Treasure Island, were all

supurb. I think the Mirage must use some kind of air fragrance

freshner in theirs. Very classy.


Other notes:

Golden Gate deli downtown is a nice place to have a meal/snack. Jazz

piano plays in the late afternoons/evenings.


Sahara casino is quite crowded at times with it's low table minimums.

(Of course, I was only there in late afternoon/evenings trying to do

the 50/40 table chips bonus.).


Key Largo: Pleasant surprise was coffee shop DAILY specials. Most

seemed edible and prices were quite good. ($5-$7)


Meals (for those that don't care - you may skip to shows below).

I decided to highlight a 'meal of the day'. It may assist others in

future visits.


Wed 12-26-01 Key Largo Prime Rib dinner for $4.99 was quite good.

The price was great. Good sized 8 oz cut, cooked to order, with basic

roll and vegetable.

Thur 12-27-01 Stardust Sportsbar deli - inexpensive. I had a

good-sized all beef chili dog and drink for $3.

Had dinner at the Hard Rock with friends later-5.95 dinner

specials. All were pretty good (Prib, ½ chicken, or chicken


Fri 12-28 Silverton bkfst buffet does have omelette station/cook to

order. Also met my dad later and we ate at the Sunset St buffet-


Sat 12/29 My dad wanted to try Main Street Station buffet; It

hasn't changed too much, and I still like the Asian/Hawaii food

section towards the back (last food station).

12/30 I must have been running around town too much. Only thing I

noted was poor service at ACE coffeeshop at 2:00 am (had the

Steak/eggs); bunch of loud early 20s somethings were quite disruptive

and servers were running around in an unusually disorderly way. (I

usually had good service there).

Mon 12/31 FREE New Year's Eve buffet/dinner in Lucky's Café.

This was the first time they had it, I think. Nice free noise makers

and hats included with the dinner. It was like a mini-buffet, 3 main

entrees (Salmon, carved roast beef, and lambroast). Small salad bar,

but good soup, and side dishes.

There were 3 dinners, 6, 8, and 10 pm. 10 pm was most popular, bec.

People wanted to stay there to dance (and enjoy the 'balloon drop').


NOTE: A great thanks needs to go out to their marketing dept. I

originally had invites to this for only TWO (and needed a 3rd dinner

ticket). I was told by phone that I would have to arrange this upon

arrival. The slot desk people and people handing out wristbands

didn't have a clue. I finally was given a tel. number to someone in

marketing, and explained that I needed another dinner ticket. I also

explained that I was disappointed that the Fireworks viewing party

(8th floor pooldeck) was now a SEPARATE event that you had to pay for.

(I was going to pay for a ticket so my friends would have something

to do while I ate the comp'd dinner). Their original postcard offer

made it sound like dinner and fireworks viewing was part of the same

comp'd pkg. After getting the run-around (and I'm pretty sure someone

in marketing decided that they should charge $15 to view fireworks), I

was told that 10 pm dinner was full, because of the dancefloor; but

by special arrangement, I could get an extra ticket for the 8 pm one.

GREAT! (And I decided to watch the fireworks from the street

anyways.) This worked out just fine for me. Dinner for 3 in Lucky's

Café on NYE was just right.


1-1-2002= New Year, and new location; downtown. I had my favorites of

Oxtail soup special at the California, as well as a teriyaki chicken

bowl in their deli. Great as always.

1-2-2002 Was back at the Hard Rock for their Prime Rib special. Just

as good as Key Largo's (and that IS a compliment).

1-3-2002 Secured a $50 comp to Pasta Pirate at the California. My

first meal at their more upscale restaurant: good food and

atmosphere. Note to self: Next time ask if Cranberry juices are

'refillable' or not (I paid an extra $5 for 2 extra drinks).

1-4-2002 I ended my Las Vegas stay with the GVR lunch buffet.

Awesome! Nice upscale dishware along with quality food stations. And

discounted (3150 pts) comp pts = only $5.25 vs 6/7.99 going rate. 

1-5-2002 Final day in Jean, NV. Gold Rush Café (Surf and turf

specials are alive and well). I had a prime rib (10 oz at least) and

lobster tail. No room for desert, but took 2 Krispy Kreme donuts to

go. Fairly priced at 10.99, I think, but even better on a comp.

(built up enough pts over a few previous visits- it does take more

play now to earn these comps).


Entertainment (NYE fireworks and 5 shows).

I knew this would happen on some trip, and this is the one. I spent

to see what the big excitement was all about in at least 3 shows

(Mystere, S&R, and Danny Gans).


All were good entertainers, but S&R was overpriced imho. 

12/27 Thursday "Society of Seven" at the LV Hilton. (it was in a tiny

lounge, and we arrived 45 min. before the show, but it was PACKED).

Unfortunately, the Mait're D pointed us upstairs, and by the time we

got up there, it was full. Had no choice but to go back downstairs,

to try and secure 3 seats (even if separated). We got lucky, and got

3 empty chairs in the VIP section right in front of the stage, about

10 min. before the show began. No tip or anything!! Note to self:

Arrive super early, if no preassigned seats, or get lucky by arriving

super late???

The show itself was a good mix of music impersonation, comedy, and

entertainment. Asian Kenny G- you had to be there to believe it.

BONUS: On the back of every ticket stub was a $10 matchplay. We

secured as many as possible when the show ended (before they kicked us



12/29 Late show Mystere at Treasure Island. I had bought seats via

the internet about 4 weeks prior (good thing- it looked to be sold

out). We had good, slightly off center seats, but mid-way up in the

upper section. Great for viewing some of the aerial acts.

Snug theatre seats, soft cushioned with armrests and

drink holders (but I don't think a large person would be too

comfortable in them). This show was fantastic, moving (the stage

sets really move as well), and hard to describe in words. I would see

it again for $88.

NOTE: Don't arrive too late, or you'll become part of the show with

the comedic mait're D. I however, might do so next time, just so I

get to walk across the stage and behind the scenes briefly.


12/30 Rat Pack is Back at the Sahara. More good theatre style

seating. Smoking section at the tables in front didn't seem worth the

extra $$ to sit up there. $10 off coupon in members only book, so

show costs base of $35.95 incl all taxes/surcharges. Dean Martin, and

Sammy Davis Jr are great impersonators. Whole show is a good peek

into what it must have been like at the Sands.

(Unassigned seating as well, arrive 45 min. early to assure good



12/31 NYE fireworks spectacular. I walked out to the front of the

Holy Cow. Sahara was still open to cross traffic (cars honked as they

passed by, but there weren?t too many until after fireworks finished).

I felt safe with over 20 mounted police nearby. LV Blvd. was

barricaded off at Sahara. We could see 3 of the multiple simucast

shows (Treas. Is, Stardust,and Circus Circus), and the finale at the

Stratosphere tower. Palace Station had their own fireworks as well.

After that, it was back to the casino(s). Stratosphere really

wasn't that crowded inside. 

After I saw a video replay of them at a friend's house later from the local news, played to music, I could better appreciate the show. 


1/1/2002 Mirage Siegfried and Roy. $100.50, includes 2 drinks and a

magazine print program.

Here's my suggestion- cut the price down to $75, and I'll decide if I

want 2 drinks and a program.

It was a good show, but price could be cut back. I don't think I'd

pay to see them again.


1/3/2002 Mirage (#2) Danny Gans. $80 new price for 2002.

He was funny, serious, entertaining, a truly a "man of many voices".

A little on the pricey side, but he was very good. I don't think I'd

pay that much to see him again, although I've heard the show changes

from time to time.


I enjoyed all the shows, but would only pay to see Mystere again.

Hopefully I could use (2-1)s to see some of the others, and some I may

never see again. Overall, a very entertaining trip, and many good

meals were had along the way.


MM. drove the I-15 from San Diego.