Spent 5 nights at the IP with buddy from college, met up with friends who were staying at Aria for a few nights.
The hotel experience was mixed. We picked this hotel due to location and price, obviously. We were willing to pay more to stay at a nicer place, but the rooms at Bally's, Paris, Mirage, Monte Carlo were all at least $100 a night more than IP. We ended up paying about $80 each for the whole 5 night stay.
We did not gamble a single nickel to my knowlege at the IP. The casino itself was very smoky and had a strange odor permeating it as well. We probably would have played some poker at the hotel but the smell was off-putting. We basically played poker, ate, did everything outside the IP and came back there to sleep for 5-6 hrs per night.
That being said, the rooms were somewhat better than I expected. Fairly clean. Functional shower. Some non-functional outlets and non-functional drawers but this wasn't a major problem. The beds were decent, again better than I expected.
The room was loud at night, I believe the bad music from the Harrah's courtyard cover bands was the main issue. Earplugs and noise cancelling headphones combined were effective.
The check in was actually pretty fast. The elevators are often packed and often slow, but this really was not a major problem, very minor inconvenience at worst.
The Spa had a special for $80 which included use of the facilities along with 2 choices of 4 25 min massages. The massage was great. The exercise room was fairly spartan but adequate to get in a good workout. The hot tub and sauna looked adequate, did not use. The staff was very friendly and professional. The spa itself was almost empty, had the exercise room to myself. Definitely worth the $80, which was the same amount I spent in total for my share of the room.
We played many hours of poker a day at Harrah's, Mirage, and Monte Carlo rooms. All were good rooms, Mirage was the best overall. Great promotions, very friendly and efficient staff, friendly collection of regular local players there, who at the low limits were not particularly terrific players.
Most favorable blackjack rules with lower limits, $5 and $10, was at Mirage, especially in the AM hours. Have to circle the casino to find the best tables.
Best food of the trip: Paris Breakfast/Lunch Buffet (went about 1020am), DiVino at MonteCarlo. Canter's Deli at TI, Todd English PUB at Aria, Nine Fine Irishmen at NYNY. All were pretty reasonable for the quality.
Checked out the rooms at Aria, which were very swank, very nicely appointed and outfitted with fantastic views. If I went with my wife I would stay here or Mirage.
Saw the Absinthe show at Caesar's Palace. Got the general seating for $65 and sat in the 2nd row. Absolutely amazing, fantastic, wild show. Hard to describe. Have to be at least slightly open-minded to tolerate. Would have been worth seeing easily for twice that price. Probably the best or second best show I've seen in 20 years of going to Vegas.
Must put in some props for the house band at Nine Fine Irishmen. Saw a total of 3 sets they played on two different nights, really good stuff. Food was better than expected too.
In summary, trip was fantastic, ended up a few dollars ahead (lost money on everything except poker basically), IP was a mixed bag but better than expected and saved us about $300 each which was funnelled into a range of fantastic food and entertainment.
Thanks for all the help with all y'alls previous reports. Enjoy Vegas!