Trip report Oct. 6 to Oct. 17 from German visitor

Before our annual trip to Las Vegas we (me and friend, both from Germany, 30-somethings) were in Hawaii for 3 wonderful weeks. Being sad leaving Hawaii, we were looking forward flying to Las Vegas. We flew with American Airlines from Honolulu to Los Angeles then we rent a car and drove all the way to Vegas. We booked 5 nights (Wed. to Mon.) in Downtown at Fitzgerald's and 7 nights (Mon. to Mon.) at IP.

Wed., 10/6:
We arrived very late in Las Vegas due to the traffic in L.A. It was about 10.30. I called the Fitz before and told them that we would have a late arrival. Once we arrived we did valet parking but there wasn't anybody who pick up our luggage, so we had to carry all the bags (our vacation was total 4 weeks, we had a lot of luggage!) by ourselves to the front desk.
Check in was very quick and friendly and we got a room high up on the 32nd floor. The bell desk was empty and there was no on in sight to carry our luggage. So we got a baggage car and had to do this work by ourselves. The check in clerk told us to bring back the baggage car and he meant that very seriously. Is this the economy that there isn't an employee after 10 pm? We didn't care much about this and went to our room. The room was very spacious and nice but also very noisy. We could hear our neighbour's TV loud and clearly. Paper thin walls! We unpacked a little, took a shower, grabbed some snacks and water from Walgreen's and went to bed. Even if there was a light show going on, I wasn't much interested. I was too tired to enjoy the first 'day' in Vegas but I was looking forward to tomorrow.

Thu., 10/7:
Our first real day in Las Vegas. Woke up fresh and of course hungry (we didn't eat anything yesterday evening). We decided to go to the MSS Buffet because I like the setting so much.
I was there every year since we have been going to L.V. (this year was the 16th time). Before we went to the Buffet we checked the Tix4tonite at 4 Queens. I saw a good offer for Criss Angel Believe. I know this show isn't good, but I saw it 2 years ago and I read they made some changes and I wanted to give this show another chance (the chance failed, but more to that later). Before I bought the ticket I would check with the Luxor Box Office and called them. They had a much better offer for a cheaper price with better seats. I bought one ticket for Saturday. The Buffet at MSS was - as always - very good but I ate - as always - too much. We wanted to go on the Strip tonight so I relaxed a while at the pool (the pool at Fitz is not very nice but the weather was good and not too hot) and later in the room. We prepared for the night, had a drink at Binions and took the Deuce at about 6.30 pm. The bus took so long, it was really annoying and I was not in a good mood on the bus. There were so many people standing and it was very narrow. Every light was red and it stopped every 2 minutes just to tell the people the bus is full they had to wait for another one. I was glad getting off at the Mirage, next time I took a taxi. It is worth the money and conserve my nerves. We walked from Mirage to the Flamingo. They have an outside bar with beer and special drinks. It is a very good place for people watching. We counted the people went by in one minute and came to the number of 200. The Strip was very busy. After the Flamingo we went to Bill's to have a drink at the Casino bar. I had one free admission ticket for Pure nightclub at Ceasars. They open at 10 pm so I went there for about 2 hours. I was on the outside patio overlooking the Strip, a very beautiful view. It wasn't so crowded than on a Saturday night which was very good. I had space and got drinks at the bar very quickly. I met some nice people and we chatted for a while. The music, the drinks and the view were perfect. A great and perfect first night in Vegas. We met again and went back with the bus. This time it didn't take so long, there wasn't much traffic. We went to McD at the Fitz to grab a Burger and then we called it a night.

Fri., 10/8:
We slept in and woke up hungry. We didn't want to go again to the MSS Buffet even it is good, so we went to the Fremont Buffet. I like it, it hasn't so much choices but for me it is enough. They have a ?make your own sandwich? station which is perfect for me. After lunch we went to the MSS to check our E-mails. I had a Netbook with me and the only place I know to go online for free is the MSS at the players club. They have 3 or 4 tables there. A sign says that Internet access is only for hotel guests but we were there years before and no one ever check this out. As we had a car we drove to the Walgreen's between Downtown and Stratosphere to buy some snacks, water, Gatorade and Aspirin. Then I would check the Dress for less store and found some very nice boots there. It is the Dress for less at Peppermills, there is a new one on the Strip at the Hard Rock Café, but I didn't have the time to go there. We decided to stay Downtown tonight. We would see the light shows and we would go in every Casino. We relaxed a little bit in the room, got ready for the evening and saw the first light show at 7 pm. I liked the old shows better, they were more individually. They have only tribute shows now for Kiss, The Doors. I am neither a Kiss fan nor Doors Fan. On three different stages they had kind of Halloween shows. One freaky magic show which was way better than Criss Angel (more later on), one stage with a band who were playing ?scary songs? like Monster Mash, Thriller, Ghostbusters. They were very good and did a very great show with singing and dancing. It was a good party feeling and the people on the street were singing and dancing along. Between the shows we were in almost every Casino, played a little bit and had some drinks at different bars. At Binions they had a haunted Casino. I was curious what it was and wanted to check it out. I went upstairs with the escalator and there were standing really scary people in haunting disguises. They wanted me to come in the Casino thru a separate door but I was too scared to get in. After 2 minutes or so I took the escalator downstairs. That was my haunting experience but more to come. After this we watched on the 3rd stage the Ozzy and Alice Show. There were two Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper impersonators who sang. Then our way went to the Plaza where a live band was playing on the stage near the slot machines. We stayed there until 1.30 am, the drinks were good and cheap. At the Fitz we grabbed some McD and I talked with 2 Elvis impersonators about their job at Fremont Street. They did pictures for a tip. It was very interesting. Where in the world will you sitting with 2 Elvises at McD? Only in Vegas.

Sat., 10/9:
This morning or better noon we tried the Fremont Buffet again. Again it was filling and good.
Then I got a little rest in my room because I was a little tired from the night before. Tonight I had a ticket for Criss Angel Believe for the 7 pm Show at Luxor. I decided to go out a little bit earlier this afternoon, so I got ready. I thought I rode the bus to the Luxor, the express bus not the Deuce. It departed on the corner of Binions. You had to buy your ticket on a machine at this bus stop. One way is $ 5. At the bus stop there was kind of a security guard and he asked me where I would like to drive. I said to him to Luxor and he told me it took about over one hour because there was a construction at Bellagio. I didn't like the thought of being in the bus for over an hour. When the bus arrived I got in. The bus didn?t drive on the Strip. It drove on the Sahara Ave. I got off at the Sahara rear entrance and decided to take the Monorail to MGM. I think that's faster than the bus. The bus was so crowded, I didn't have a seat, I had to stand in my high heels. I went into the Sahara and bought a ticket for the Monorail at the machine in the near of the pool. As I had enough time now, I ordered a champagne at the Casino bar and did some people watching. With the monorail I got to the MGM and walked then over to Luxor. It seems not far away but it is a loooong walk thru NYNY, over to Excalibur then on the walkway to the Luxor. I was exhausted when I arrived at the Believe theater. I got my ticket at the box office and drank a glass of wine at the bar in front of the theater. Then it was time for the show. What could I say about the show? I don't know. It was worse than 2 years ago. They didn't have any dancers, any storyline. Good, he did more magic tricks than formerly (he put razor blades in his mouth, escaped from a straitjacket and so on) but he also talked a lot and in my opinion the tricks were pretty lame. Nothing what I didn't see before. I was disappointed but I didn't care a lot. Now I know that I should never go to see the show. I met my friend after the show and we went to the Harley Davidson Café to get a drink at the bar. Drinks are very expensive there. Then we walked to the O'Sheas where a live band was playing. We danced, talked with other people and had a good time. We took a taxi to Downtown because we were tired and didn't want waiting for the bus at almost 2 am.

Sun., 10/10:
We slept in this morning. I wasn't really hungry so we only ate a slice of Pizza at a snack bar on Fremont Street. In the afternoon I was shopping at Walgreen's (they have cosmetic products which aren't available in Germany) and at different Souvenir shops (a lot of souvenirs for the friends and relatives at home). I got to Starbucks, was sitting outside and ate and drank something. At 5 pm we went from our hotel room to the Fitz Casino and played the slot machines. No big luck as always. Then we drove with our rented car to Circus Circus. We got 2 tickets for the Frightdome for a very good price from a friend. I didn't want to go because I was 3 years ago and there I was very scared. But I tried to be brave. We went in at 7pm, there was a long line on the parking space where the entrance is. Inside it is dark and foggy, I didn't like the atmosphere. There were different scary people running around, trying to scare you. It worked for me, I was really afraid. There were 5 different Haunted houses. The first we went in was Hillibilly Hell but it was very short. I didn't see anything because I had my eyes closed or I starred only at the floor. But what I heard was pure horror. The next house was Bloody Valentine where you had to go into a mine with an old elevator. This house was really scary. I was so glad when I went out but this time I had my eyes open. Brave girl!
Next was the Saw house. They had different scenes from the movies and it wasn't so scary but interesting as I know all the Saw movies. Next was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I think the name says all. The last house was a Zombie house but I was so exhausted from all the scary things that I couldn't concentrate anymore. The worst were the strolling Clowns and freaks, they always try to threaten you (and it works, at least at me).
It is said that the frightdome is only for Teens but there were people all ages. Of course the average age is about 17 to 20, but all in all it was fun and something different.

Mon., 10/11:
It was moving day. We checked out and drove with the rented car to the Imperial Palace. We stayed there for the 3rd time in a row. Check in was uncomplicated, fast and very friendly.
We got a mini suite on the 15th floor. Very nice and enough space for our many luggages.
After unpacking we drove to the Fashion Outlets on Las Vegas Blvd. South. We ate there at the food court and went shopping. I bought of course too much, so I had to pay $ 70 overweight on the flight back for my luggage. This luggage overweight thing is really annoying. We were on vacation for 4 ½ weeks and it is only allowed to carry 25 lbs. That is ridiculous. Everyone on our flight back has to pay. They make a lot of money with this rule.
After the outlet center we went to Walgreen's for some snacks, drinks, water and so on.
We decided to do city center sightseeing tonight. I didn't see a lot of City Center so far.
We took the tram from Bellagio to Aria. We were at Aria quite a long time. Looked at the casino, were in the Elvis store and looked at the Elvis theater (looks very great from outside) and bought some souvenirs in their gift shop. In my opinion Aria is nice, very modern but also very luxurious. I am not sure (even now) if I like it or not. The entire complex is so huge. I like the tram and some details outside. I thought there would be more to see, but only Aria and maybe Crystals, only shops (very luxurious not for my wallet) and restaurants, are interesting. Vdara and Mandarin Oriental are only hotels without casinos or shows. For such a huge complex I would expect more. More shows, more entertainment and so on. But this is only my opinion.
After our sightseeing we watched three times the Bellagio fountains and went inside Bellagio. For me the Bellagio is still great and pretty.

Tue., 10/12:
Today we wanted to visit the M Resort. We saw it when we drove to Las Vegas and I was curious to see it. First we were at Wal Mart doing some shopping. We were at about 11.00 am at the M and so we decided to eat at the buffet. All I can say is that this buffet is so great. The selection is awesome. I strolled around about 4 times and everytime I discovered new food. It is amazing. I still dream of the dessert station. It was not very crowded but when we rolled (!!) outside there was a long line. It was good that we went so early. After lunch we gambled a while at the slot machines and enjoyed the atmosphere of the M Resort. The casino wasn't very crowded, but it was on a Tuesday.
In the afternoon I strolled thru the Forum Shops and thru the Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian. I love being there watching the gondolas and the people on St. Mark's Square with an iced coffee in my hand. On 3 pm I went to the room to get ready for our evening program.
At 5 pm we were at Bill's watching Big Elvis and drinking a white wine. The tables in front of the stage were always crowded. I guess Big Elvis is still very popular. I also like the show.
As it was a nice and not so hot evening we decided to walk to Aria because we had tickets for the Viva Elvis show at 9.30 pm. We picked up the tickets yesterday so we didn't have to be there so early. On our way we made some stops at the Flamingo and the Harley Davidson Café for some drinks. Then it was time to go to the Elvis theater. The theater is very nice, inside and outside. We had great seats in the middle so we saw everything really good.
The show itself is half good, half too much. Some performances were really really great, but others were a little bit exaggerated. I am a big Elvis fan, but I think a non-Elvis-fan doesn't like the show at all. Maybe the acrobatics of the Cirque cast. But I was glad to see this show and we booked the tickets 2 months in advance, so I wanted to go there very badly.
After a show, it doesn't matter which one, I like to have a drink and discuss and think about the show I saw. So we were again at Bill's and then at O'sheas where a live band was playing again. We had a good time. I enjoyed this evening very much and love to remember it.
As we were a little bit hungry we went to Burger King at O'sheas for a midnight snack.

Wed., 10/13:
Today we had to return our rental car at Mandy Bay. First we slept in, then we pick up our tickets for tonight's Phantom of the Opera and at least we drove to the Mandy Bay. The car return was quick and easy. Dollar has a booth in the near of the events center. After doing that we went with the tram to Luxor and then to Excalibur. On our way we recognized that we are hungry so we grabbed a bite at the Excalibur food court. Next we took the Monorail from MGM to our home hotel IP. A little rest in the room (I got used to this) and I was looking forward to the show. The Phantom show started at 7 pm, so we didn't have much time to rest and relax. I prefer later shows because you don't have to get out so early and you can enjoy the anticipation much longer. But Phantom only have 10 pm shows on Fridays and Saturdays, I guess. We got some drinks at Bill's (Big Elvis again) and Casino Royal (very good white Russian). At about 6.45 pm we arrived at the Venetian. We had the first time seats on the balcony, on the other two times we had orchestra seats. I found the balcony seats very good.
We were in the first row, so nobody was sitting in front of us. We saw the entire theater and especially the chandelier very good for the first time. Last time we saw the actors better than now but to have a great overview is not bad. The theater is really impressing and the show is so perfect. I like the music and everything and it is so touchy. Everytime I got tears in my eyes. I would not hesitate to go again and again. After this wonderful experience we went to the Kahunaville at the TI. We had 2 for 1 vouchers for drinks, so we had some nice and yummy cocktails. There was a good live band playing on the stage and the party atmosphere is just great. With our Phantom tickets we got free drinks at Tao at the Venetian. Unfortunately the club was closed but the Tao bistro and longue was open. I've never been there but it is very posh and modern. I had a very good and large chocolate martini. We wasn't in the mood to go to the hotel, so we went to Carnaval Court at Harrah's. We are there at least once every year. I like the fact that this is outside and they always have good bands and music. We drank and danced till 2.30 am and had a lot of fun.

Thur., 10/14:
The final days are getting closer, oh no!!! But first we slept in today because yesterday was a long night. We didn't want to search for breakfast long, so I ate a Hershey's pie at Burger King (I needed the sugar). In the afternoon I was at the Mirage, TI, Ceasars and at the Fashion Show Mall. I ate a great Chicken Ceasars Wrap at the food court. I love the view there. I went back and walked thru the Mirage as a promoter stopped me and invited me to the Bare pool longue. He gave me a free admission card and a voucher for 2 free drinks. I wasn't ready for the pool (no bikini) so I told him that I maybe will come tomorrow. I was last year at the Bare pool, it was not bad but not so great either. I will think about it. I went to the room and decided to go to the Flamingo pool. I didn't know until this year that you can use this pool as an IP hotel guest. I read this information on this Forum. Thank you guys. The pool was crowded but I caught a chair and relaxed. I tried the water once. I was a little bit tired and exhausted. This happens every year to me, after about 5 or 6 days I need a day off. Just relax, sleep and do nothing. I wasn't in the mood to go out this evening, but we wanted to go and walk around Paris. I just had one mimosa on the casino bar this night. We strolled thru Paris and Bally's and then we went to the Flamingo to gamble a little bit. In the Flamingo casino they have a cops and donuts slot machine. I didn't see this machine very often, so I tried my luck. I didn't have a big win but it was fun to play. At 11 pm I got to Starbucks for a hot tea, went to my room and called it a night. I was really worn out.

Fri., 10/15:
Matthew (Mr. Keno) and I texted and phoned this week and decided to meet us tonight at 4.30 pm. Matthew recommended the Cheesecake Factory at the Forum Shops. I never was there so I would like to try it. In the afternoon I was again at the Flamingo pool. I read the What's on Magazine (a little bit late because we are leaving on Monday) and tried out the hot tub.
On 16.15 I was on my way to the Forum Shops. It was hard to find the Cheesecake factory because I couldn't find it on the casino map/information. Matthew called me and told me the way. It was a nice get together, we laughed a lot and had a lot to tell. I ate the four cheese pasta with chicken. Matthew had the same but without the chicken and a larger portion. He is also larger than me so it fits. He had his bowling night at Orleans this night so we didn't have a lot of time. We went together to Bill's where he caught the shuttle to the Orleans. Unfortunately he missed the first shuttle, there were too many people standing in line. We said our goodbyes and promised to call, text or E-mail. I went to the bar at Bill's where I met my friend. We walked to the Hard Rock Café on the Strip. We were there last year, it was really new then and I liked it. We sat at the bar, drank white wine and beer and watched the music videos they were playing. On our way back we stopped at the Planet Hollywood and had a drink at the Heart bar. It is in the middle of the casino. A nice spot. We had two free admission tickets for Pure at Ceasars Palace, so we went there at about 11.30 pm. We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes, but then finally we get in. This was the third time that I was at Pure. I like the patio outside even though it was very crowded this evening. We met some interesting people and danced the night away. Drinks are kind of expensive there, but we already had some drinks before, so we didn't need much. We were at Pure (inside and outside) until 3 am. But after tomorrow's rest and relax I was fine again.

Sat., 16/10:
Time is flying so fast, it is really bad. Slept in again and went to Burger King for much needed Burger and fries. Then I would check out the tix4tonight booth. I would like to go to a show this night. I saw tickets for Human Nature at our hotel the IP for $ 32 per ticket. I heard a lot of this show so I bought 2 tickets. I thought it was a good price. In the afternoon I went to the Venetian and ate at the St. Mark's Square. I enjoyed the atmosphere very much. I just love it to watch the entire Grand Canal shops and St. Mark's Square. After lunch I needed iced coffee so I went to the Roasted Bean at the Mirage. It is a nice little coffee shop in the near of the pool exit and the theater. I took some notes for this TR, drank an iced coffee and ate a dessert. A little rest in the room before we got ready for Human Nature. I drank a glass of white wine at the IP bar and watched the Dealertainers. At 7.30 the show was beginning.
We didn't have the best seats in the showroom, but it was okay. The music is much more important. They did a great job. Everyone was clapping hands and even dancing. It was a perfect performance and a great spirit. As we bought the American Casino guide and didn't use it a lot (we used it more last year because last year we were also in Laughlin) we decided to have the 4 free cocktails at Ellis Island. We took the Monorail to Bally's and walked then to Ellis Island. We sat at the bar and had 2 Mimosas and 2 chocolate Martinis and gambled a bit. Back with the Monorail to the MGM and over the bridge to NYNY. We went to the center bar in the middle of the Casino for a drink. Then I went to the Rok club because I had free admission. I wanted to check out this club. They also have a patio outside directly at the bridge. It is very nice outside but inside it looks like a factory building. I got one drink (not too expensive) and went back to the center bar. There was a very good DJ. I recognized that also the NYNY tried to change the image. No more theme, but young and hip like TI, Mirage and so on. I didn't like the changes. Formerly I came to Vegas because of the theme hotels. Maybe they are not modern anymore but ?normal? hotels are everywhere in the world. Sometimes the hotels and casinos all look the same. Kind of boring. We called it a night at about 2 am, but before we went to Burger King for a night snack.

Sun., 10/17:
The last full day here because tomorrow we are leaving early and drive to Los Angeles with a new rented car. From L.A. we fly back to Germany (about 11 to 12 hours). Today I wanted to walk down the Strip one more time. I was at the MGM, NYNY, ABC Store and then again at the City Center. Drank a milkshake and ate some snacks. It was very windy and dark. At 4 pm we had to pick up our rental car at the Mirage. We had such a nice car rental agent from Dollar, he was very friendly and funny and we talked with him for a while. Our car was at the Mirage parking garage. We drove Downtown because we wanted to eat one last time at the MSS buffet. It was good as always and this time we had dinner instead of lunch. Then we drove to Walgreen's to stock on water and snacks for the drive tomorrow. Back in the room I packed my bags and enjoyed one last night view from the balcony. I felt very sad and wished I could stretch my vacation in L.V.

Mon., 10/18:
At 8 am left the IP and was on our way to Los Angeles. The time went so fast. Everytime in Las Vegas it seems that time is flying away.

Back in Germany I have some final thoughts:

I heard the rumour that Bill's should be transform into a stylish boutique hotel with a pool on the roof top. Is this really true? I don't think L.V. needs another stylish, modern and posh hotel and casino. Bill's has a great atmosphere, it is old-style. Maybe it is a little bit shabby but this kind of hotels really get lost in Las Vegas.

There were many securities and police officers on the Strip and of course at the Fremont Street. This attracted my attention. Is it getting dangerous on the Strip? I felt very comfortable and safety.

I don't like the Deuce anymore. It is too slow and there are too many people in the bus.

The music at the IP pool is very loud. We were at the 16th floor and I could hear the music even with the balcony door closed. No way to relax. I preferred the Flamingo pool to relax, they don't have such loud music. I like music and party but everything at the proper time. I would like to relax in the afternoon at a pool.

Sorry for posting this TR so late, but I hope you will enjoy even if it is a little bit too long.