TREASURE ISLAND

Arrived on Friday afternoon, (I think the taxi was about $25) only took 15 minutes to check in at TI, nice room at TI, liked the in-room fridge. Room clean and tidy, all mod cons. Haven't stayed here before.

Didn't like the resort fee (what a RIP OFF) $28 per day for things I will never use whilst I'm there, resort fee not taken at time of booking via internet, but I was aware of it before I arrived so I did allocate extra money to cover it. I did ask when I checked in "I'm never going to use these things so can you not charge it?" (worth asking I thought, wondered what they'd say - ha, ha), they said "sorry, we charge it anyway".

On the whole I liked this hotel, I think it's quite a fun hotel. OMG - I had a look at the bucking bronco in Gillys on Saturday night, never seen anything like it!! I would like to know why no men went on that thing - ladies - be warned!!

Liked the casino. Saw the Sirens show the 1st evening, worth a look as it's free. Didn't go to the pool area, it looked alright though. Tried the dinner buffet, liked it, good selection. Also tried the breakfast buffet - also very nice. Tried a room service burger and fries - very nice.

Good location I think, only 5 minutes walk to Venetian. Takes about 10 minutes to get to Mirage if you use the free tram from TI. There is also a Walgreens (supermarket) opposite (go over bridge and it's on the right hand side) - buy all your bottled water and soft drinks here - half the price of the hotel and much better value. You can also get nice snacks, take-away salads, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits(YUM)etc and store in your fridge. Also got some toiletries here, much cheaper than buying at the hotel. Oh, and cigarettes were $6.37(+ tax) per pack here, at hotel $10.50(+ tax).

Note to people from UK - Tax is 8% - they don't include it in the price tag, they add it at the till.

Also walked to Fashion Show Mall on Saturday, (it's right next door to TI) very nice shopping centre, loved Macy's - they had a sale on and I got some bargains. Blouses at $64 each were 75% off - got 'em at $16 each.

BALLYS

Checked out of TI on the Monday, checked into Ballys. Got a nice room, north tower, 23rd floor. view of the pool area. I have stayed here before. Good location.

On Tuesday morning I discovered that I had left my silk dressing gown (robe) at the TI. I remembered that I had worn it on the Saturday evening and hung it up on the hook behind the bathroom door. I then left the door ajar and didn't close it again before I left and it was my own fault for not checking properly when I packed. I rang TI straight away to see if it had been handed into lost property but they said it hadn't. Damn it!!

This time I used the monorail to get around, the only taxis I got were to and from the airport. If I remember correctly, a return ticket is $6 (2 stops only), but you can get a 24hr pass for about $10 I think. The trains are air conditioned - shame the platforms aren't - everywhere else is, I think the platforms could definately do with air con. But not to worry, you don't have to wait too long for a train, about 5 minutes normally apart from one time when we waited about 15 minutes - they said there was a problem and they didn't know when the trains would start again, I said it would probably be quicker to walk although it was about 110 in the shade, I was just on my way to get a refund and the train arrived.

Also used the free shuttle bus to get to Rio and back.

DINING (Buffets mostly)

Loved the Paris buffet - delicious. Also tried Rio buffet - biggest buffet I've ever seen, tried Spice Buffet at P/Hollywood - very nice, buffet at Mandalay Bay (nicest buffet desserts). Room service at Ballys - very nice (burger and fries) and the nicest chocolate fudge cake I've ever had - utterly delicious. The deli bar (Nosh) in Ballys does delilicious baguettes, freshly made.

Maybe it's me, but I noticed that all the waiters/waitresses at all the buffets I went to did this, when I went to get another plateful, I would get back to the table and found that they had taken my old plate away and put the dirty knife and fork on the napkin - which is hence useless as you wouldn't want to put that on your lap and get muck on your clothes. So I used to help myself to a clean one from another table. Maybe this is how they taught them at buffet training school, I don't know, because they all do this, I should have taken it with me. Very strange I must say. I would have thought common sense would say you don't do that or rather they just couldn't care less but they still expect a tip though!! Maybe it's an American thing, we don't do that over here.

Also, just my luck, or not as the case may be, but at all the buffets I went to, all the tables I sat at, there was no God Damned dessert spoon in the folded up napkin. I had to either ask for a spoon or help myself to one from a nearby table (at one buffet , I think it was the Rio, the waitress looked utterly bemused when I asked for a spoon, she said "a spoon" but it was the way she said it, like she didn't seem to know what a spoon was - Seriously. She looked at me and spoke to me as though I was from another planet and had just asked her to split the atom or something)!!

Tried the pool at Ballys a few times, found late afternoon/early evening best time to go, more shade and a bit quieter and it wasn't quite so hot. Also, they played some really loud music during the afternoon - it was so loud it was like being in a disco, you'd have to shout to be heard. I didn't like that very much, in the late afternoon/early evening it was at a much more pleasant level (the music was quieter and middle of the road), much nicer than during the day. Also, strange thing happened, on a couple of days they suddenly closed the pool !! They said "everyone out" and everyone had to get out of the pool and everyone (including kids) were just sitting around the pool for an hour or so!! in that heat (110) - NOT FUN AT ALL. I asked someone why and they said it was to adjust the chemical levels in the pool because someone had thrown up in the pool, that happened on 2 separate days - I thought that strange. Never encountered that before at a hotel pool, I didn't bother to stick around it was too hot after about 30 minutes, I went back up to my room - looked out the window and what do you know - they'd opened the pool!! Well it took me 15 minutes to get back to my room and I couldn't be bothered to go back, I thought, knowing my luck I'd get all the way back down there and they'd close the pool again!!

Las Vegas is definately not the place to go if you need a quiet, relaxing holiday. They seem to play music wherever you go, in the toilet, the lift, the sidewalk, everywhere you go, there's music, not to everyones taste.

Also, when I was having a cigarette in the casino, whilst playing slots, the last thing you want to be is bothered by someone, I was approached on 2 different occasions at 2 different casinos and it wasn't the cheap and nasty ones (one was Venetian and one was Rio) by complete strangers who just walked up to me and asked me for a cigaratte.!! How strange I thought.

We had a flash flood warning on the Saturday night, was thinking to go out, got ready, it was about 10pm and the TV starts beeping at me and they interupt the normal service with a Weather warning advisory. It said "Please be advised, storm warning, winds may reach 60 mph, heavy rain, you may be at risk, stay inside, seek shelter, don't go out in it, stay away from the windows". I looked out the window and it looked alright, I thought, oh what the heck, I'm going over the road to Caesars. 5 minutes later when I looked out there was torrential rain and it was very windy, there were sheets of water gushing along the pavement and OMG I've never seen a lightning storm like that before. I saw a huge lightning bolt strike the ground just as a plane was taking off, it illuminated the whole sky in a white light, Jesus, I thought, I'm glad I'm not on that plane. Saw another one take off in that, I'm surprised they take off in that weather, still I suppose they know what they're doing. I watched the storm for a while until a lighting bolt hit the balcony above me and I thought, Oh, better keep away from the window. Decided against going out after that, just as well, the next day the news said the Strip was torrential, apparently some of the casinos had some small floods but not that I noticed anything so there wasn't any major damage I don't think.

GAMBLING

Did not have any luck at all with gambling. Not that I'm a big gambler, I only play slots and it's the 1c, 5c and 25c machines. The best win I got was a $60 win on a VP (video poker) machine at LVH and $60 on the Jaws machine at LVH, can you believe it, believe me, I tried lots of different casinos and lots of different machines and no luck whatsoever (and I was there for 2 weeks). OMG - get this, on some of the machines, I finally managed to get the bonus round and what do I win - absolutely nothing!!! That happended a few times, I can't understand that, is that normal, I thought bonus rounds should pay something, but to get nothing on a bonus round is a real let-down. That happened a few times at different places. To be honest, it's put me off going back there.

Also, I noticed that VP machines are disappearing, they're weren't any at all in the Venetian (or if there were I couldn't find them and believe me, I looked, I walked round that place a few times and couldn't find them). I also noticed that the VP progressives are disappearing as well, they were difficult to find, I wonder if this is because these were the only machines you could get decent wins on and once again it seems to me that the hotels are money-grabbing by removing them, I could be wrong of course. The lack of VP machines has also put me off returning.

Oh, another thing to watch for on the VP machines (not all of the VP machines are like this but some are - so check first), this happened to me a couple of times, sit down at the 25c machine, stick in $5. Press the button a couple of times and it was gone. I thought What the heck! Then I realise that they are set to take 10 credits($2.50) per go unless you specify 5 credits $1.25 and you have to select 5 credits every time before you press 'spin'. Whatever you do - don't press Play Max Credits - it will take $2.50. I also think this is 'money-grabbing' on the hotels part (this recession must have hit them hard if they have to resort to these tactics). This happened to me a couple of times at the Bellagio and I didn't go back there again.

I have to say that the gambling at Ballys (for me) was awful, absolutely rubbish, no decent wins whatsoever, after 2-3 days of this, (and I like to gamble where I stay for convenience sake) I decided not to gamble here anymore and I didn't put another cent in their slots.

On a side note- I have to say, cocktail waitresses (like VP machines) in the casinos seem to be on the decline, very few and far between - once again - another money-grabbing tactic by the hotels. I went into some hotels and didn't see sight nor sound of them, it was so hot outside, I was gasping, thought I might die of thirst at one point, always made sure I carried a bottle of water with me after that.

WEATHER

To be honest, July was much too hot for me, it was about 108/110 every day. Never been anywhere that hot - "thank god they've got air conditioning like Mother Nature intended!" It was SOOOOOOOOOOO HOT. One day I got back to my hotel room, I thought I was going to melt, I jumped right into a cold shower.


BIG GRIPE

I think it is a total RIP OFF that the buffets (I think all of the hotels do this these days) charge extra at weekends (which is Friday to Sunday). The food is the same as weekdays, I think you're just paying extra because more people go at the weekend and it seems to me that the hotels are just money-grabbing as much as they can from you. They never used to do this a few years ago.

All in all, I would say that I have been put off returning to Vegas following this trip (and I have been many times in the past).

It's not like it used to be years ago, it is a very expensive place to take a holiday, everything seems to be expensive and as if that's not bad enough it seems to me that there are alot of rip-offs going on and all the reasons I used to like going to Vegas for are disappearing. I think they seem to be catering towards the younger crowd these days, I have no intention of returning there anytime soon.