This was my & my husband's (DH) 3rd trip to Vegas together, we went to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. I haven't posted much on here, but I've read a lot of posts & benefitted enormously from them & other trip reports, so I figure it's only fair to return the favor. I'll try to keep this as concise & informational as I can. We're low limit gamblers and not big nightclub people, so this could be boring to some.
DAY ONE: Sunday
Flew America West, flight departed 45 minutes LATE from New Orleans. Needless to say, we were a bit peeved, because we were ready to get the trip started! This caused us to have to run through the Phoenix airport to make our connection at the OTHER end of the terminal. That flight, in turn left about 30 minutes LATE. Boo. Thought AW was pretty cheesy, no meal for a 3 hour early morning flight, only a bag of about 8 peanuts. They played the same movie on both the flights to & from LV.
Arrived at McCarren & marveled at the super LOOOONG lines at security, glad we weren't returning on a Sunday! Walked through the taxi line, which was long, but fast. I think the fare was around $13 to the Aladdin.
Stood in check-in line for about 15 minutes, told the desk clerk that it was our anniversary & requested a strip/fountain view room. She said she'd see what she could do if they weren't all full. Turns out she "upgraded" us to the strip view. More on the Aladdin later.
Dropped our bags in room & freshened up, headed over to Ceasars. I had read about Mesa Grill & wanted to try it for lunch. Once we got there & saw the menu, we realized it was more than we wanted to spend on lunch, and besides, the entrees looked very "creative". Walked through the Forum Shops and ended up at [b]Spago[/b], the Wolfgang Puck place. I had the Chinese Chicken Salad, and DH had some sort of Cuban pork sandwich. Both were excellent, as were the assorted breads & goat cheese/butter spread they put on the table. Got out of there for around $45 w/ tax & tip. After lunch, we walked through the Forum Shops, as they have added a lot since our last visit in Jan. 2003. Walked on back to the Aladdin, with a stop through the shops in Paris, and through the Desert Passage Mall to pick up some essentials at the ABC store there. Back to the room to shower & change for dinner.
We had reservations for dinner at [b]Mon Ami Gabi [/b]at Paris. Got to the casino about an hour beforehand and proceeded to lose about $100 at Roulette. : ( At the restaurant, service was great & food was delicious. I had the pork loin & DH had a steak topped w/ mushrooms. Flourless chocolate cake w/ ice cream for dessert, which was yummy, but not outstanding. With 3 drinks, 2 entrees & dessert, the total was $105 w/ tax & tip. Walked down to the Monte Carlo (wanted to go to 9 Fine Irishmen at NYNY, but decided the walk was too far!) and had a couple drinks at the Houdini Bar, which was pretty deserted. Walked all the way to the back of the casino to catch the tram to the Bellagio, only to find a sign saying it was temporarily closed! UGH! Ran into this same problem another night when we walked all the way through TI to go to Khahunaville only to find it was closed for a private party. Why can't they put these sort of signs at the FRONT of the casino to save you all the walking?!! (of course I know why, but it still peeves me!). Anyway, we hoofed it back to the hotel. No fountain show due to high winds I guess.
DAY TWO: Monday
Awoke pretty early by vacation standards, had $2.95 breakfast at La Salsa Cantina in Desert Passage. Pretty good for so cheap. Got ready, headed out to the strip, only to find that it was kind of cool and rainy. So we walked through the mall again until it quit. Walked down to Casino Royale, no cheap tables available, tried Harrah's & lost more money on Roulette there, back to CR & got a spot at $.50 roulette, lost again. Rode the monorail to the Sahara & rode the Speed roller coaster, as we had done on previous trips. Love that coaster! We thought about going to the Stratosphere for the rides up there, but we could tell they weren't running, it was really windy that day.
Took a taxi back to the Venetian, had lunch at [b]Taqueria Canonita[/b]. DH wasn't overly impressed with his meal, some marinated pork dish, but he said it was pretty good. I had the chicken tortilla soup & queso fundido, which were both excellent. Frozen margarita was pretty sweet, but good (& big). All total, about $55 w/ tax & tip. Took a quick walk around the shops & got out of there.
Decided to go to the Frontier since we were in the mood to gamble & DH has had good luck there before. This is where I finally won all my money back! I was getting pretty depressed up until this point about being down over $100, but that all changed when I turned $20 into $175 at the $5 Blackjack table at the Frontier. I think DH just about broke even, after about 6 hours of play! We had played straight through dinner, so this is when we decided to walk over to TI and try Khahunaville but found it closed. Tried the [b]California Pizza Kitchen [/b] in the Mirage instead. $25 for BBQ chicken pizza & 2 soft drinks, including tax/tip. Pizza was pretty good, but nothing beats the dive around the corner at home! Walked out to catch the volcano show, big whoop. I can't remember, but I think we just walked on back to the Aladdin & were able to watch the Bellagio fountains from our room.
DAY 3: Tuesday
Slept in a little later this day, took a taxi over to Hard Rock Hotel. I wanted to check it out since I'd never been there before. Enjoyed looking at all the memorabilia & had an early lunch at [b]Mr. Lucky's[/b].
We both had milkshakes (yummy), DH had a burger, and I had Fire roasted chicken nachos (really an appetizer). The plate was huge, it could have fed 3 people, and they were very good. $33 w/ tax & tip.
Rode the HR's free shuttle to Ceasar's, made our way over to the Bellagio. The conservatory was gorgeous, had a neat butterfly exhibit. Saw the Chocolate Fountain, which was cool. Rode the tram to Monte Carlo, walked by NYNY over to Excalibur & took the tram to Mandalay Bay. We stayed there on our last trip, and it was great. I wanted to check out the new shopping that wasn't there when we stayed there. Pretty cool shops, more of the same luxury/designer stuff like Caesar's. DH bought a t-shirt at the Urban Outfitters there.
Trammed/walked back to Aladdin to spend a couple hours poolside. Got cleaned up & headed down to the [b]Spice Market Buffet [/b]for dinner. About $52 for two people, and we left a couple bucks for the drink lady. I was excited about trying this buffet since it has been called the best in Vegas, and lots of people on this board have recommended it. Well, I guess we're just not buffet people, because we weren't impressed AT ALL. If this was the best buffet, I would hate to eat at any others! Of course, we ate $50 worth of food, but I didn't have more than one or two bites of any one thing because I couldn't find anything that was really good to me (oh, except the potato soup). We found everything sort of bland and tasteless. Guess we're just used to the good food down here in New Orleans. Even the dessert area, which is always my favorite, was a big disappointment. You could tell everthing was mass produced. Blah....we walked out of there pretty upset, but we figured we would have paid at least that much if not more anywhere else for a normal dinner. Oh, well, live & learn I guess.
Cabbed to Freemont Street to check out the lights and do some cheap gambling. I think I won a little at the Golden Gate. In & out of all the casinos, but we weren't really feeling it anywhere, so we decided to cab it back to the Frontier. Took our last $40 of gambling money to the $5 blackjack table and lost it in about 6 hands. Boo. Cabbed back to Aladdin & crashed.
DAY 4: Wednesday
Had a 1:00pm flight out of LV and originally planned on trying the Paris buffet for breakfast, but after the previous night's disappointment, we decided to walk to the trusty Denny's a few blocks down. BIG mistake. The place was packed, but we were sat in about 5/10 minutes. Took server about 10 minutes to come take our order. We watched other people get their food, and after waiting over 30 minutes, we got up & left without eating. By this time it was after 10:30 & we still had to walk back to the hotel, get our bags & catch a cab to the airport.
Ate lunch at Cheer's in the airport (eww, but sufficient) and wouldn't you know it, our flight home left right on time.
Aladdin Hotel was pretty nice for the rate we got ($89/night), and it was worth it for the view & the location. There was nothing special about this hotel, though. Sheets were scratchy & rough, pillows were flimsy, bed was very hard, and amenities (soap/shampoo) were basic. DH had a rough time with allergies in the room, it helped when we turned off the air vent. Noticed a wailing sound in the room (wind?), this was remedied by placing a towel across the bottom of the door. We enjoyed the large soaking tub one night, and the separate shower and large vanity were nice. Pool area was also very basic, nothing fancy & lots of concrete. We left a $10 tip for the maid the first day & requested extra towels, extra ice bucket & real glasses (they give you the cheapie plastic-wrapped cups) and she was happy to oblige. Overall, I can't complain & would probably stay there again for a good rate. Oh, and I won $6 at the penny slots there, which was a first for me!
Vegas Pet Peeve:
I know this has been discussed but ......
THERE ARE KIDS EVERYWHERE IN VEGAS!!!! I don't know if it was spring break or what, but there were infants, babies, toddlers, STROLLERS, kids & teenagers everywhere we went - casino floor, restaurants, shopping areas, sidewalks, everywhere! Just my opinion, but I would never want to bring my kids to Vegas for a "family" vacation, which is what it looked like a lot of people are doing. I think the strollers outnumbered the wheelchairs/scooters by far. When I have kids, I'll be taking them to Disneyworld and save Vegas for me & my hubby. Oh, and lots of pregnant women too!!?!
Ok, *stepping off soap box now* Sorry if this got a little long, but I wanted to offer up as much info as I could. Hope it helps!