We (wife and I) booked roundtrip airfare out of Peoria, IL. through Allegiant Air in January for $331.00 plus another hundred or so for taxes, security fees and priority seating. We booked lodging at the Tropicana via their website. We initially booked the Island tower for $49.95 per night (for 5 nights), but a few weeks before departure we decided to upgrade to the Paradise Tower for an additional $30.00 per night, we were glad we did.

Flights out and back were uneventful with no delays and no bad weather. We arrived McCarren D gate then took the tram to the main terminal for luggage, a short wait at the luggage carousel and unbelievably there was no wait at the taxi stand!!

I told our driver (A very nice girl from India) "No Tunnel" she smiled and said "No, no, I do not go that way". A quick trip a $5 dollar tip and we arrived 3 hours early for check-in, I checked the bags and thought to myself there's no way they'd let us check into our room this soon but I decided to try anyway. I walked up to the front counter, I said hello while flashing a friendly grin and asked if it'd be possible to check-in early. The lovely lady asked for my name and confirmation # then she asked "Let me see what we have available" as she eyeballed Mr. Jackson nestled on top of my drivers license, then lo and behold she says, "We have a room available with a nice strip view Mr. W-----".

This super nice lady not only gave us an early check-in & a late check-out she also lowered the room rate to $45.00 per night because she said "You're such a nice friendly couple so I'd like to do something nice for you". Now we're talking the way Vegas should be.

Smile folks, you can draw more flies with honey then you can with vinegar (the $20 trick helped also I'm sure). So all in all we saved approx. $35.00 per night on our room. Great start to a great trip.

I realized when I booked the Trop it was not the Belagio or the Wynn, some people don't. It's true the Trop is an older property in need of a face-lift but it's not nearly as bad as some people have related. Our accomodations were clean,service was good, people were friendly and for what we paid the Trop's was a great bargain for it's location on the strip. I should mention this is our first time staying at the Trop, we've stayed at various hotels on the strip and downtown and though the Trop so far as quality of accomodations is not at the top of our list it certainly isn't at the bottom either.

To those who stay in the Garden rooms or in the back tower (Island tower) and then complain because of the long walk or the aged decor of the facilities, you get no sympathy here, if you expect Wynn type accomodations for 40-50 bucks a night you're $hit outta luck. Pay a couple hundred more and go elsewhere and quit your bitchen!! But then again some folks enjoy bitchen don't ya think? I'll say this, these people make the rest of us look so damn good, lol..

Our room was on the 7th floor facing New York New York and the MGM Grand with a view of Hooters looking to the right. Our room was basic and very clean, we had a frig which was a nice thing to have, we also had a safe along with the rest of the standard fare you'd expect in a mid-priced hotel room. We found the rooms in the Paradise tower very similar to the rooms we'd had at the Golden Nugget and Flamingo so far as cleanlyness goes. the decor was kind of dull and the furnishings a little aged but it was well kept and like I said, very very clean! It may have helped being on a non-smoking floor too.

The amenities in the bath were spartan at best with 2 soaps, 1 shampoo, 2 towels, 2 washcloths, 2 hand towels, 1 floormat, and 1 hand lotion. That all changed after we left the housekeeper a nice tip everyday, after that she left 5 towels, 4 washcloths, 3 hand towels, 3 bathmats (one for the shower, one for the lav, and one in front of the commode), 4 soaps, 2 shampoos, 2 lotions, and extra pillows. We've always tipped wherever we've stayed and we've received extra toiletries or an extra towel but we've never received this kind of attention anywhere else.

Our housekeeper also wrote us a personal note thanking us and blessing us for the thoughtful gratuity (which has never happened before either). Everyone we came in contact with at the Trop was helpful and friendly, one day at the pool we'd arrived 30 minutes early not knowing the pool didn't open until 9 am, a lifeguard walked up to us and asked if he could be of assistance, I asked him what time the towel concession opened and he said 9, he then said he would personally get us towels right away, and he did. This was service above and beyond as far as I'm concerned, (Yes I tipped him as anyone should've).

I should mention we booked the Trop mainly because of the location and the pool, which we really enjoyed. One "lady" we encounterd at the pool informed us she was disgusted and moving to the Orleans because of the filth in the pool at the Trop. I swear her nose was touching her forhead, I'm sorry but it's people like her that make me wanna hurl chunks. Granted a bit of tropical foilage and fawna managed to find its way into the pools because of the windy weather we experienced while we were there but the pools were clean otherwise and the water temp was just right for swiming. The Trop's pool areas were clean, relaxing, easy on the eyes with the waterfalls and lush tropical vegetation and also great music. In my opinion it was one of the nicest pool areas we'd experienced, it was nicer and cleaner then the Flamingo's much hyped pool area and less crowded too.

I digress, the first thing we did after receiving our room key cards was sign up for the players club, a good deal with several good coupons. We're low rollers and with very limited gambling on the first night we received enough comps for free tickets to the Folies Bergere and the Dirk Arthur extreme magic show plus two free t-shirts.

We found the magic show entertaining and worth the time but we enjoyed the Folies so much more. We'd heard it's a fairly new updated version of a grand old show, the costumes and visual effects were really quite good and the juggler/comedian was hilarious. This show is was well worth the time to see.

Over the past few years we've been to about every comedy club in Vegas except the Comedy Stop, I'd read it was rated as the best comedy club in town, I agree. It was non-stop laughs from the opening MC to the last act of the show. Good sound system, good lighting, and the beer at the Trop facilities is icey cold (if you like that sort of thing). Also, for those who detest smoking, the 8:00pm show is non-smoking and the tickets for either show are a bargain at $19.95 per person (includes a drink).

We also saw Mama Mia, an very entertaining broadway type production. It's a feel good happy ending show which leaves everyone smiling hours after it's over. The theatre at the Mandalay Bay is awesome, best sound system I've experienced in a theatre of this size, I don't think there's a bad seat in the house but I do advise sitting as close as you can because being able to see the expressions on the faces of the players is priceless. Ticket prices vary wildly, just keep your eyes open for discounts and order in advance. We booked in Feb. for $49.00 per ticket off an internet special on the Mandalay Bays website. The couple sitting right next to us paid $100.00 per ticket in April off the internet, go figure....

So far as gambling, we had good days and bad days like most others who gamble in Vegas. I had one very good evening at the tables the day before we came home and another earlier in the week which buoyed our losses. To be honest we've only had two winning trips in all the trips we've taken to Vegas over the years. I'm talking about going home with more money then we arrived with. I guess we're not as lucky as some who win every trip. Also, I don't go into a blow by blow description of every win/loss on every machine or table I play at as I don't keep track of that stuff and neither does my wife. Sorry, it's too much trouble, we're on vacation, *s*..

When it comes to dining we pretty much eat whenever we're hungry, sometimes the hours we eat are really wacko. We usually dine at nice restaurants, hotel coffee shops, buffets, and once in awhile fastfood if the need for something quick and effortless strikes. When I say we dine at "nice restaurants" I do not mean $200 per meal restaurants, I don't think I'd be able to eat with a fishhook in my mouth.

We did eat at the Spice Market Buffet twice this trip, once for breakfast and once for lunch, love that buffet! For the money it's the best in town as far as I'm concerned, others might disagree which is their perogative. One thing I will say to everyone looking for a good buffet in Vegas, DO NOT EAT AT THE MONTE CARLO BUFFET!!!!

This was truly a nasty meal with terrible service. I've never complained about a meal in Vegas before but this place deserves a bigtime thumbs down. We stopped at the MC for the brew pub and decided to try the buffet. MISTAKE!! After paying over $40 we were seated and waited 10 minutes for drink service, the server was a no-show. After observing another couple immediately going to the buffet and not waiting for the server we decided to get our salads and order drinks after returning. Upon returning the hostess approached us and asked us why we'd left our seats before ordering our drinks. I replied because you'd just seated an elderly couple two booths away from ours after we'd already waited 10 minutes for a server, then the elder gentleman after waiting approximately 30 seconds flagged you down and asked where the drink server was and you replied "Go ahead and do the buffet and she'll be along shortly". "So that is why my dear hostess we left our seats to fill our plates instead of waiting any longer, OK??" to which she replied "Yes sir, that is quite ok" as she scurried away like a beaten stepchild.

Now to the meal itself. Keep in mind we arrived at this buffet at 5:30 p.m. primetime for fresh food I'd think. I also thought all entrees would be fresh and hot, nay nay not so. My wife's soup was not even as warm as tepid bath water. The entrees were as if they'd been served the night before then half-heartedly reheated for a second go-round. The only items worth eating were the shrimp and the cheesecake. The gravy for the potatoes was pathetic, the potatoes themselves were lumpy and bland. The salads were wilted, the seasoned potato wedges were undercooked and hard as a rock (unlike everything else which was way overcooked), the oysters rockefeller had the taste and consistency of rubber balls. I will admit the one small glass of rasberry iced tea I recieved was excellent, I would have liked another but our server didn't return until we were through with our meal, she came back to bring more napkins which I'd requested 30 minutes earlier for the barbque ribs which were almost close to being edible. Our water glasses were never refilled and I doubt very much if our server even spoke the English language other then to say "Herro, wha you drink?"

To people who are used to driving on the left side of the rode, please keep to the right on the sidewalks and walkway overpasses. This also applies to just as many Americans who should know better but for some lame ass reason enjoy walking on the left side of the walkways also.

I'm curious, why would anyone plan a family vacation at a place called SIN CITY?? IT IS CALLED SIN CITY FOLKS!!! Don't ya think a better vacation environment is out there for your Children? In case you didn't know, Las Vegas is a place where people drink openly, gamble non-stop, swear extensively, smoke excessively, resort to the lowest forms of human behavior and indulge in drunken debachery. I won't even go into the amount of sleezy "escort service" material being passed out and displayed up and down the strip which children are exposed to. Hey!! Disneyland it ain't folks!!

One last observation, Hooters Hotel Casino was a pleasant surprise, I thought it'd be a dump and it wasn't. We walked over to have breakfast in the Dam restaurant one morning and the staff was very friendly, the food/service was very good, and the prices were reasonable. I also won a little money there which can help to raise one's estimation of an establishment. All in all we thought it was a friendly clean casino, the pool area looked inviting too. Speaking of the casino my wife loved the hardwood flooring, personally I thought the Hooters cocktail waitresses were much more appealing to the eye then the floor covering, just my opinion, you can judge for yourself.


A big thank you to all who take the time to write reports. Good luck to all.... D&B....