Travellers: 50+ couple, sixth trip to Vegas. Low rollers, normally PH, Excalibur, and recently T.I.
Since we've seen all the sights we want to see, this trip was specifically 'un-planned' except for one activity.
Arrival, Day 1 (Mon):
Delta did a good job, with both flights arriving on time. ['FIRST CLASS' apparently has a new meaning for Delta, meaning 'wide seats'. The service was sub-par (both directions). Atlanta no longer has a 'business/first lounge', which also bites.]
LAS: Luggage was delayed to the belt by about 30 minutes, and, for a while, we thought we were in Philadelphia! Shuttle: Used Gray Line, again, as is our custom. Our driver noted to us that LV has a 12.5% unemployment rate; record foreclosures; stalled construction, etc. Thanks, Mr. Bummer, for getting our vacation of to a slumpy start! His final statement almost seemed prepared: "We sure are glad to see you folks here." [* We love Las Vegas, but, really, who among us thought that they could build and build, and NOT come to a halt someday?*]
Check-in: Lots of trip reports have complained about the Wynn's check-in arrangement, and, sure, its a bit disorganized. We had a $99/night deal, with optional upgrade to Resort Suite at the Encore. Sadly, when we reserved, they said the Encore upgrades were all gone. So, we reserved a non-smoking, Golf-course side, upper level room. At check-in, We asked, is there some upgrade we could buy that would make our stay more comfortable? The girl said we were booked in an 8th floor room, and she put us on the 35th floor, near the street, which is a pretty good view of the Palazzo, and part of the strip. Didn't even try the $20 sandwich, which other sites clearly indicate do-not-try at the Wynn. What was a mystery was that she didn't even offer a pay upgrade..... Dumped the bags, and hit the strip. After a few hours, we asked ourselved: "WHAT RECESSION?" The street and casinos were packed with people! At this point, for Vegas Virgins, I need to add to the standard plea ('Don't bring your kids') a new one: "Don't bring your parents/grand parents." If you want congestion, place a few wheelchairs or slow moving folk in a packed sidewalk in Vegas. This isn't Atlantic City, people.
Day 2 Activity Day (Tues.)
Up at 6:30, across the street to Starbucks at FSM, for free-pastry day. Back to Wynn for a 10:00AM pickup by Pappillion Helicopters. Off to Bolder City airport, for a 'to the floor of the Grand Canyon' helicopter tour. Yes, these are expensive, but worth every cent. Everything about Pappillion's service was 100%: pilot, aircraft, meal, etc. Words can't describe the view from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. And, even though we were there for 30 minutes (including a champagne lunch), it seemed to go by quickly.
Back to hotel by 2:45PM, and off to Mirage for the Dolphins and Tigers. The animals were all active, so it was a good value, and a wonderful photo opportunity.
Went to the Mirage's box office while we were there, and, whadda know?...we got Terry Fator tickets for 35% off face value. (see below).
Dinner at Maggiano's at FSM, which is our favorite place in Vegas. Reason: Even though its a chain, this particular one seems really unique. And, the food's to die for as well. Neiman Marcus at FMS is apparently shuttered, which proves that you CAN build one too many high-end retail outlets in Las Vegas.
Day 3 Show Day (Weds)
Leisurely morning, starting with breakfast at Le Buffet at Paris. Not as good as its reputation and our past experience, but it did have long lines, and good service. Post breakfast stroll to the MGM, where the two of us emptied a pair of nickel Monopoly Big Event machines of about $800.00, which covered all our losses, the Terry Fator tickets, and then some.
One-wayed the Deuce back to Wynn. The Deuce is certainly the way to travel..much better than the green trolleys of years ago.
Supper at SAMBA (Mirage). This has been, for a long time, the 'we-gotta-try-it-sometime' place for us, since one of us has travelled to Brazil and enjoys rodizio dining. Well, the drinks were ok, but the meat selection could have been better, and, even for Vegas, this was overpriced.
SHOW: Terry Fator. This guy is astounding, and his show alone is a reason to return to Vegas. Words can't describe this talent. (* During his show, he messed up, and, even in this, he was actually really down-to-earth, and that caused even more applause! *). HINT: photography and videography are allowed here, specifically from the artist. After show, strolled to Bellagio to watch and listen to the fountain. This just never gets old. (Except for the wheelchairs and 'mobs') (MOBS are groups of 3-10 people, who, for reasons clearly unknown, thing that the way to walk around Vegas is all abreast, walking and talking slowly, and in the middle of the sidewalk. They were rarely speaking (American) English, so perhaps someone should mention this on www.vegastripreports.fr, www.vegastripreports.id, www.vegastripreports.uk, or www.vegastripreports.mx.....
Went to Harrah's specifically to visit another favorite place. Well, it should have a new name: Toby Keith's I Don't Love This Bar. Disco/hip hop music? And, the big bouncer at the entrance didn't exactly scream 'welcome'. cmon, Toby, you can do better.
Day 4 freestyle-Strat-to-Mandaly (Thurs)
Slow start, and all-day Deuce passes. Lunch at Roxy's, at the Stratosphere. Nice food, and the waitstaff double as entertainers. For us, it was the self-proclaimed Mexican Elvis. Actually, very good.
Deuce to Monte Carlo, with enough of a view of the new City Center to say to ourselves: "Huh?" Even for Vegas, this thing is a huge monster. Deuce to Mandalay Bay, a quiet, clean place to gamble. Over to MGM (to the scene of the earlier sweep), and lightning did not strike again. Deuce back up to T.I., for supper at Kahuanaville, and watch the flair bartenders. This also never gets old.
Day 5 (Fri)
OUt to the curb at the Wynn to catch Grey Line back to LAS. Our 11:00AM flight out was a crappy schedule, but the only thing available on points from Delta. Sad to leave LV, because we had a good time, even though we had little actually planned.
Other misc. observations:
The 'slappy guys' seem isolated to the lower (South) strip, which was a relief.
The 'dollawatta' guys, however, are everywhere.
The slowed down/stopped construction sites are everywhere; Boyd's place, the Fountainbleu, the upper floors of the Palazzo's corner property... really sad.