This is our around our 20th trip to Vegas since 2000. We are not critical customers and tend to accept whatever service we receive, even if it is not up to normal standards so anything in our report that appears to be critical is our honest opinion as of the time we experienced it. We enjoy slots, shows & eating - mainly at buffets, cafes, & "All American" restaurants. We are not into fine dining, drinking, or clubbing. Part of our enjoyment is the challenge to save money whenever possible AND return home with as much of our gambling allowance as possible. Before leaving home we establish our daily "play" money & never use an ATM! We look at any gambling losses as the cost of our vacation which is usually less than if we had vacationed anywhere else for an equal amount of time.
We had not planned on a trip at this time of year but the 50% off airfare sale from Southwest was a motivating factor. Initially husband had planned on a solo trip for 9 days and he took advantage of the $190 roundtrip airfare. Later I decided to go for a long weekend (4 days) during his stay and roundtrip airfare was about $359. After 4 different changes in the rates, the final cost came down to $259 for the roundtrip with $100 credited for a future trip!
We have plenty of discount meals during the stay. We use American Casino Guide coupons, Las Vegas Advisor Members Rewards Coupons, free printout coupons from Entertainment.com and Restaurant.com coupons purchased at 80% off. We always have more than we could possibly use but like to have lots of choices during our stay. In addition, our Total Rewards accounts have given us a few food offers to enjoy during our stay.
Monday: Departed home at 6AM for Dulles Airport and the Southwest flight to Vegas. Suitcase was one of the first off the line as soon as I arrived at the baggage pickup which is amazing for Vegas. On to the rental car shuttle directly out the door. I had booked several rental cars for the entire 9 day stay and settled on Enterprise with a COSTCO discount and upgrade. Total, including all taxes and fees was $125. Checked in at the express line at Enterprise and spent about 2 minutes at the front desk & 10 minutes waiting for the car. Ended up that my Compact car was not available when we went out to the lot so I was given a Kia Sportage instead. No complaints on that deal.
Traveled directly to Wal-Mart for the necessities (snacks and drinks) and arrived at the Orleans at around 12:30pm for check in. Only 3 others in line and check in went smoothly. Received an older room on top floor but it did have a large LCD TV but only analog service. Room was very nice for the price. ($99 for 3 nights + slot tournament). I was able to connect my laptop using the HDMI port and could watch the DVD's I brought along.
Only complaint was the safe. Yes, there was a safe, but it just sat on the shelf! Anyone, could easily lift it up and remove it from the room with all its contents by putting it in a large suitcase and walking right past security. Decided to use the Casino Cage Safe Deposit Box for bankroll rather than take any chances. Took way too long to sign up for the box and required a $50 deposit but worth the security.
Signed up for the slot tournament. Spent several hours on the slots since President's Day was 6x points. Figured better to take a chance today so I dipped into Tuesday's allotted play money on Monday. Couple of new slots and many of the old favorites. Not much luck on anything and ended up in the hole for the day.
Ate dinner at the Orleans Buffet using previous points that I had built up from sometime in the past. I haven't figured out where they came from in my account but I am not worrying about it! Food was average quality and filling. Service for drinks was very slow.
Tuesday: Slot tournament day. Had breakfast at the Buffet. Food was standard breakfast fare and worth the cost. Again drink service was poor and I had to stop a waitress several times for service. Nothing worse than being half-way through a meal before drinks are delivered. The tournament was one 15 minute morning session at 10AM and one 15 minute afternoon session at 1:30PM. At end of the I day checked scores and did not finish in the money.
Went to Aliante Station casino to check it out. It was advertised as being senior day with 6x points and a free buffet. Trip there was much longer than anticipated. Much like Red Rock Station and IMO not worth the trip for an out-of-towner. The casino was not crowded at all. Most of the food court areas were empty. No line for the buffet at 5PM. Buffet was very good for the price (the advertised "free" buffet was 2/1 - so I got 50% off since I was there solo). Absolutely no luck on any slot in the casino. Tried many new ones and old favorites with very few bonus rounds anywhere. Also received very little play time for the money spent.
Wednesday: Woke early and decided on Ellis Island for breakfast. Seated immediately and had coffee and water on the table within 2 minutes of being seated and order taken. Had the Steak and Egg Special ($4.99) including toast, and hash browns with coffee extra. Steak was very good as was the rest of the meal.
Again no luck on slots. Tried Video Poker and no luck. Had a good run on Spin Poker but ended up at loss. Decided to purchase tickets to shows this weekend to give us something to remember other than our slot losses on this trip. Purchased tickets for Love on Sunday (25% off on the internet) and drove over to Palazzo to buy tickets for Jersey Boys on Friday night. While at Palazzo I stopped at a Pelican Pete Slot where the last player cashed out at $1200. Tried my luck and hit bonus after bonus but not many dollars with each win. Played about 45 minutes and walked away with my initial $20. It was the most fun I'd had on the slots the last 3 days!
Had dinner at the Orleans Buffet using 50% off coupon and paid the balance with players card. Tonight was steak night. Can honestly say it was not worth even the $8 I paid. Steaks were tough with very little taste. Other hot food items selected were cold and drink service was bad again. Asked for napkins and after a long wait ended up getting them myself. We have enjoyed the Orleans buffet on past trips but it is not as I remembered even from 6 months ago. The server for my area acted as though she did not want to be there and actually walked out of the buffet for about 10 minutes, leaving the customers in her area without service. Customers were grabbing servers from other areas to tend to their needs. Maybe she was ill or had personal problems but then she should not have been at work.
Thursday: Up early and had breakfast at Ellis Island. Again the Steak & Egg special. Service was excellent throughout the meal. Moved to the Suncoast for one night using the Expedia special rate for a grand total of $27. Checked out of the Orleans at 11:50 and was checked in at the Suncoast by 12:30. Nice very large room with sofa, table/chairs, refrigerator, bolted in safe, and double sinks with separate bath/toilet area. Large screen TV but no HDMI connections for laptop.
Very large casino with lots of slot selections. Played for 3 hours straight and was down only $50. Hit bonus rounds after bonus rounds on numerous slots. No big wins but the action was fun unlike the last 3 days. Ate dinner at the buffet using a 50% off coupon from LVA MRB and paid balance with player's card. Buffet was very good with large selection. Prime rib was one of the best I have had in Vegas however lots of the other food items were not very hot which seemed to be the norm on buffets this trip. Even using the heated plates items were lukewarm, at best. Nice selection of desserts. Would definitely eat there again. Played more slots after dinner and again lots of bonus rounds and playing time. Still a loss overall but playing and hitting bonuses is half the fun.
Friday: Checked out of the Sunset early to head for the airport to pick up wife at for a 10:30am arrival. Her bag was on the luggage carrousel before she made it down the escalator from arrivals. Stopped at Ellis Island for the steak special for lunch before checking in at Paris. Wife played Twilight Zone & Survivor slots at Ellis Island after our meal and had a good winning streak.
We had booked Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon at Paris in their Red Room 'Premier' (with a view) comp'd. We had been looking forward to trying them out. Husband had previously booked 5 nights at Flamingo where we always enjoyed the 'Go' Rooms but cancelled them in favor of staying at Paris for 4 nights. We hoped the Red Rooms would be a good choice. Paris Diamond check in was smooth until we went to the room and found it was not the room we had reserved. Long story there but won't go into that here. We were very disappointed with Paris hotel and the level of service that was provided by the staff and on-duty host. The experience just about ruined the weekend but we made an effort not to let it. We were eventually moved to the room originally reserved the next day (Saturday). Our 1st Red Room on the 25th floor was nothing special with a view of Ellis Island, parking lots and Bally's tower. Appeared as a standard Paris room we have stayed in before except updated. On Saturday, we were moved to the 29th floor Red Room 'Premier' with views of Eifel Tower, Bellagio Fountains and Paris pool area. Room was the same except for the view which we were to have had in the first place. Yes, the room was available the night before at check in but they were going to charge us $50/night when our reservation said there was no charge. It was a long, unpleasant and needless hassle.
Saw Jersey Boy's at Palazzo at 7:00. Show started out slow but we were knocked off our feet by the performance of the Frankie Valli character. Would highly recommend it. Played lots of slots at Paris (no luck there). Had some good bonus rounds at Flamingo and Harrah's on the Happy Day's Slots. The Fonz game model in particular that seemed to have better paybacks everywhere we tried them. Bonus rounds were hit and miss and amount won seemed to be totally independent upon the number of free spins won. The 'diamond' album bonus round was up to 136 free spins. A lady finally hit it and ended up with a total win of $136!!!! One would think with all those spins you would get $500!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go figure!
Saturday: Walked over to IP for the breakfast buffet (used BOGO ). Stopped @ Harrah's, Flamingo & Bally's with no great wins.
Had some appetizers at Paris Diamond Lounge to hold us over. Saw the Terry Fator show at the Mirage at 7:30 PM. Decided to walk instead of driving the car over. We always drive there and get frustrated with the roundabout way we always enter the parking garage. He was one of the best performers we have ever seen. Nonstop entertainment. At the beginning of the show he made an announcement that there were 'no rules' for his show and that if anyone wanted to take pictures they were free to snap away (says it doesn't bother him). From an audience perspective I think that once the word goes out on that policy the constant flashing could become annoying. Again, would highly recommend the show.
Sunday: Breakfast again at Imperial Palace (2 free compliments of Harrah's Entertainment). It's small and reasonably priced with everything we like for breakfast: omelets, croissants, oatmeal, etc. We played a little at Imperial Palace. I had some luck on different slots while wife spent a lot of her funds on the Happy Day's slots there. Then we headed over to Sam's Town to see what was new (and we could use our Coast Player's Cards there). I had some very good bonus rounds on Sun9's(?) slots and the old standby Lobstermania. Wife didn't have any memorable wins there. We both find that playing video poker gets boring quickly with no major wins or losses during play. Back to our room at Paris to check in wife online with Southwest getting an A23 boarding pass. No problems in completing the action on Southwest web site. Went to RIO for their dinner buffet. Used 2-4-1 coupon and was excellent as usual. Did a little gambling and husband had terrific luck on Star Trek hitting a major bonus round, and large wins on Zeus and Palace Riches slots. Went to the Beatle's Love show at the Mirage at 9:30. This was the 2nd time we saw it.
Monday: Easy day today. Played at the Flamingo today since wife had 3x points. No luck on any machines there. Star Trek machines were always packed. Ate lunch at the Paris café. Played a little at Paris. Again, no success tales here. Took wife to airport for return trip home at 4PM. Southwest check in had a long line but it moved very quickly. Midnight arrival in Washington and taxi to the house (10 minute ride). In the meantime I returned to the hotel to sign in for my boarding pass for my return flight. For some reason I must have logged on a few seconds past the 24 hour start time and it took a long time to get my boarding pass number. Usually receiving A15 to A18 I was A38 on this one. Oh, Well!
Being in a solo status again I wanted to eat somewhere I had not done before and I always wanted to try the BBQ at Ellis Island. Even with a 1 hour wait for seating I waited it out. Played my wife's favorite Twilight Zone slots and hit several bonus rounds. Walked away with $$$. Played a few other machines while waiting with no big success. Was eventually seated outside and they just lit the patio heaters. They worked very well and I was actually too hot at times. Ordered the combo (½ slab ribs and chicken) with a Ellis Island Root Beer. A huge platter arrived with the food. Had 2 corn on the cobs, 2 slices of grilled toasted garlic bread (not strong at all), a cup of coleslaw and a cup of baked beans. In addition a cup of extra BBQ sauce. Meal was good and filling. No complaints on the quality nor quantity. I wouldn't go back just because of the limited selection of the BBQ menu. Price for the meal was $7.00 total after using 50% off ACG coupon. Played some penny video (reel type) slots near the garage entrance. Hit a big win within a few spins and hit a bonus round. Walked away with $$$ and lots of playtime.
Went over to Planet Hollywood to check it out. Was well worth the trip. I did the free spin at the rewards center and didn't win anything. Hit a bonus round on Palace Riches slot that kept me going for remainder of the evening. Played on Cashman Tonight slots and hit bonus rounds after bonus rounds on everyone I tried. Several other slots also were very good that night. Hit some bonuses on Indiana Jones but nothing major. After only planning to stay an hour or so I ended up playing about 6 hours.
Tuesday: Checked out of Paris at 11AM and went back to Planet Hollywood for lunch and to play a little. There was some construction around my favorite slots there. I did try the free spin slots at the rewards desk again. Must have been my Lucky (or more accurately as my most UNLUCKY day). The person before me spun and won free play slot dollars. I spun and won 2 Tickets to see Tony & Tina's Wedding (Buffet Dinner Show - $89 each) but tickets were only good that night or the next day. Well not wanting them to go to waste I received the voucher and went to the Box Office to get the tickets. Received the tickets and at the bottom of the escalator I saw a middle age couple looking through their fun book they just received from signing up for a player's card. I stopped them and asked them if the would be in town tonight (Looking back at it I must of have sounded like a Time Share Sales Person - Oh, my!). Anyway I quickly told them I had received 2 free tickets for a show tonight but that I couldn't make it and asked if they would use them. They seem to be thrilled but a little shocked also about the approach. Gave them a flyer for the show so they knew what it was.
I then proceeded to play some slots for a couple of hours. Ended up losing more but had fun. Dropped rental car off at 2 PM and checked in for 4:45 PM return trip. Had one of the best flights ever out of Las Vegas with an entire row of seats to myself and was able to sleep without interruption for most of the flight.