W A R N I N G W A R N I N G THIS IS VERY LONG B E W A R E
This trip report is my first one so cut me some slack. Its bound to be very long, and quite possibly boring, so sorry to those of you in that category - just pretend you never saw it and move on!! For those of you interested in Aladdin Construction updates please see below.
This was an all girls trip I've planned since October. I've been to Vegas 4 times previously but it was the first for my 3 girlfriends, we're all in our mid 30's. 2 of the 4 were flying Cleveland to Vegas, I found them airfare through Southwest for $178.00 RT including taxes. Myself and the other gf were flying DC to Vegas for $221.00 RT through America West.
Our flight was scheduled to depart Reagan Airport at 8:20 am and it was PACKED. They were looking for volunteers to get bumped -not only were they giving you a RT ticket good for a year, but meal vouchers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and a limo ride to Dulles where you would be put in 1st class to fly to Vegas. Only problem was it would get in at 11pm Vegas time and I had all the bookings under my name so that meant my other 2 GF's would be sitting there like a couple of rubes in a city they'd never been to before unable to check in. So, alas, I couldn't accept it. Crap. We got on the flight and every seat was filled, and there was NO AIR. It was the hottest, most miserable flight I've ever taken in my life. I thought I would pass out from heat prostration. It was a straight though flight though and we finally landed safe and sound.
Got off the Hot Box and headed down to get our luggage, came out right away and we proceeded to the taxi line. WTF???!!!! I have never seen a taxi line longer in all my days. The line was 6 deep and not really moving that fast. It took us about 45-50 minutes to finally get through it and get in a taxi.
Off to the Aladdin for our $79 room special, no tunnel, and the fare was around $11.80 - gave him $15.00 and said keep the change, cause we're big spenders like that!!
Even though it was only 12noon, line for check in at the Aladdin was not long (about 7 people in front of me) and we were able to get our rooms with no problems. The girl was working very hard to get us rooms with a view, but I was intent on adjoining rooms so I couldn't care less about the view. We were assigned rooms 1026 & 1028 - right off the elevator with the ice machine across the hall. FANTASTIC!!! The rooms were HUGE and with the connecting door it was like having a huge suite. We loved the bathroom and just the space of it all. Very nice. The room was spotless and the furnishings were still like new for us so big thumbs up from us.
Instead of day by day I'm just going to break this down into categories, I think it may be easier that way.
The Aladdin checked in Sunday 3/5, checked out Friday. 3/10. Great stay, wonderful rooms not a lot of construction to speak of - see above for more details.
The Fremont Hotel on Fremont Street. What can I say it was the only thing available for under $200 for a Friday night. The rooms were SO small it should have been a crime. The beds were old and tiny themselves but it all served it's purpose. We were right on Fremont Street and the gambling was great there. The rooms themselves were clean but you can't say too much else other than that. We were upgraded to a suite in one of the rooms, but that definition is stretching it a bit much. It means that in addition to the 2 beds there was an extra space they were able to fit a love seat and tiny table into, with a mini fridge and coffee maker in the side. It was in line with your average Motel 6 room, no fuss, no muss.
In no particular order we ate at:
Max's Café in the Aladdin Mall - ate here twice as a matter of fact. Food was good. They have phenomenal lunch specials where pretty much their entire menu is 3.99 or 7.99, Had lunch there our first day and then came back later that evening and had dinner. Lunch was better. I had the barbeque chicken pizza and my friend had their chicken sandwich with fries. Her chicken sandwich was huge and just 3.99 for the sandwich and the fries - great deal.
PF Chang's in the Aladdin for lunch - although their lunch and dinner are the same with the same prices. This is one of my favorite restaurants and I go there pretty often here in the DC area so I know exactly what I was getting. My other 2 GF's from Ohio had never been and they really enjoyed it. It's probably the best Chinese food I've had, very fresh and light - not heavy or greasy at all like with a lot of Chinese food you can run into. Highly recommend the lemon scallops, lettuce wraps (of course), spicy green beans, and honey crispy chicken. VERY, VERY good.
Element's in the Aladdin for dinner. Fantastic atmosphere, very nice ambience, good for a couple's dinner as far as romance goes. However, the food was HORRIBLE, and so overpriced you would have wanted to take your own life. We had a party of 7 and 2 of the party got the steak and lobster - it said on the menu it was $56 - pretty pricey for a steak - but what they neglected to inform you of is that they combine that with the market price for the lobster so there plate of food was $98!! Can you imagine? And here's the kicker - the food was terrible. Just not cooked as well as it should have been, steak was tough, lobster was cooked too long, the shrimp were also cooked too long. They were out of some fish my GF ordered so she went for a $30 hamburger that was dry as dust. Just bad, bad, bad. I got a shrimp cocktail that was $18 for 3 large shrimp and it was just ok. All in total our bill came to $627.00 for 7 people and 2 of the 7 didn't even get an entrée they just had soup and salad. My advice - STAY AWAY!!
Zanzibar Café in the Aladdin for lunch. Was okay nothing totally spectacular but the food was good and not too overpriced - just a little.
Grand Lux Café in the Venetian for a late dinner - absolutely great. Food was really good, very good quality and good tasting. Won't break the bank but again a little pricey. But you're in the Venetian for god's sake so what do you expect?? Entrees were running about $12 - $15 there - but I highly recommend this one.
Carnegie Deli in the Mirage for lunch. I don't know who it is eating these huge sandwiches but its really retarded. They must put 4-5 lbs of meat on a piece of bread on the bottom and then place a little slice of bread on the top. Goofy. We all had regular, normal sized sandwiches and they were very good. Again a little pricey in my opinion for sandwiches but what can you do?
Spice Market Buffet in the Aladdin - for breakfast/lunch. As part of the promotion with the room rate we each had a 2 for 1 special for the breakfast buffet. We got there right about 10:30am when they were stopping breakfast and beginning lunch so we timed that just right. I have to tell you this is the best buffet I've ever eaten at in my life. The food is just very fresh and doesn't seem like buffet food at all. We each ate for about $7 a piece and that was certainly the best bargain of the trip. I'm sure there are other buffets that are very good but if you have a 2 for 1 I highly recommend this one - it was GREAT.
Fremont Hotel Buffet for dinner. Yeah, absolutely terrible. I had 2 for 1 coupons but it still was not worth it. The king crab legs were the smallest I'd ever seen and served cold - gross. And the other selections were mediocre at best. Just avoid it if you can.
Upper Deck Restaurant at the Vegas Club - for breakfast. Absolutely the best meal/deal of the trip. Even if I hadn't had a 2 for 1 coupon it was cheap, the food was good and the portions were large. Good regular food for a good price. Our breakfast for the 2 of us (we both had omelets and my friend had a side of pancakes) was like $13.00 in total??!!! Great deal.
The Peppermill - for breakfast/lunch. What can you say - it's the Peppermill and it always stand up. Which one of you is the one getting that 10 egg omelet? That's just another retarded thing. The food was great as always and the atmosphere is always nice. Very Vegas 70's and it won't break the bank!
The last place we ate was Quark's Bar and Grille in the Hilton next to the Star Trek Experience. I've eaten here once before so I knew the food was okay. Once again not stellar, but good. I had the chicken enchiladas and they were very good. We also went for desert and the Bananas Foster Wonton thing was phenomenal. I had a $25 dining certificate from Restaurant.com that I used and they gave me no problems with that, they must get them plenty.
Wow - that was a lot in meals eh' Jeez - seems like all we did was eat. Ok well onto the Shows/Attractions:
Mystere @ Treasure Island. Ok I know everybody raves about this show and I'm a huge Cirque fan (I've previously seen Zumanity, Ka, Verekai and Quidam) but I have to say I wasn't overly impressed with this one. Its like Cirque du Soleil for beginners and I consider myself an expert at this stage of the game. So the truth of the matter is . . . I fell asleep. I think that music they play has some sort of subliminal sleep message in it cause I was out like a light. Now 2 of my GF's thought it was the best thing they'd seen since sliced bread - they absolutely LOVED it. My 3rd GF also slept. In her words 'Really, how many times can you see someone do a flip for God's sake?'. I believe Cirque is not for everyone - it is for me but this was such a basic kind of show that I just wasn't that impressed, sorry. My favorite thus far, by the way, is Ka, hands down the best Cirque out there for the money.
Side note here for Mystere - the whole time we were there the ½ Price Ticket places were selling Mystere tickets for like 1/3 off the regular ticket prices. And the night we went it was not a completely full theater.
Madame Toussaud's Wax Museum @ the Venetian. Now I have been through this before but I'm happy to report they have changed it up a little and added new people to see. I, of course, had 2 for 1 coupons so it was about $12 each for us to get in, if you pay any more than that you're nuts. I mean, they're not REAL celebrities for the love of Pete. So you know the drill here, some look darn good, some look darn bad -but fun to pose with them nevertheless. They also have this little haunted house feature which is so funny/scary that I'm pretty sure I peed my pants from laughter/fear.
Seigfreid and Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat @ the Mirage. Well here's one I didn't have a 2fer for so we had to pay full price and I think it was $15.95. You can stay in there as long as you like but I don't think its really worth all that - probably $9.95 is more like it. But it was very cool seeing all the dolphins, and the white tigers, lions, and cheetahs and the like. Don't really feel the need to do it again anytime soon, but not bad. Others in my group thought it was fabulous - so to each his own. One note here, I really could have done without having to see the dolphin trainers get urine samples from all the dolphins. I'm still having nightmares about that. Can't they do that before they let us all in for the day, good lord.
Star Trek Experience @ The Hilton. I've done this before but it was fun to do it again. I'm not a huge trekkie but I've watched the shows before so I get the jest. The show is pretty much the same as 2 years ago. We got our tickets from the ½ Price ticket booth on Fremont St. and paid $20 for both little shows - it probably ought to be $10 for both shows but then again they have to pay that Klingon chick and Borg dude to dress up all day so they need to get the finds from somewhere.
Rode the Deuce every day which is an attraction in and of itself. For $5 per 24 hours you can ride up and down the strip to your heart's content. But let me just say this, the Daytime Deuce really sucks. We waited an hour for the Deuce one day from 12 noon to 1pm and then the stupid thing was so full we still couldn't get on. This happened a couple of different times with us during the day. But we never had this problem in the evening. What is the deal with that? As a general rule it is a fabulous and very cheap way to travel the strip but when you're standing out there waiting for them like a moron you just want to commit suicide or walk which is just about the same thing in my book. We had a couple of really great bus drivers that were hysterical - but the majority were just trying to get their jobs done.
The rest of the attractions came in the form of the various people we saw every day in our travels. There are a plethora of kooky people out there and most of them were in Vegas the same time we were, bless their hearts. We walked through various hotels/casinos . . . Bellagio, Venetian, Flamingo, Hilton, O'sheas, Casino Royale, Paris, Excalibur, IP, Four Queens, Binions, Fremont, Golden Nugget, etc.
Okay I'm such a low roller that this shouldn't be a category here but I would be remiss if I just glossed right over it. The important thing here is that I came home a winner and that's really all that counts with a Vegas Vacation isn't it? My GF's had never really gambled before so we probably would have see a lot more shows if they hadn't become ADDICTED TO TABLE GAMES. I have to hand it to my one little GF she plays Texas Hold Em a lot at home but we all know that playing at home in your basement is not the same as sitting your butt in that chair with a table of nothing but straight faced looking dudes - but sat down she did - YOU GO GIRL!!! Ok so she was out after 3 rounds but the important thing is she got in there and got her feet wet. She's better than me because that's awfully intimidating and I am really afraid of looking stupid in front of a bunch of serious men.
We started out just with slots - I'm an interactive girl so I like the slots with the video screens and bonus rounds. My favorite is the Twilight Zone machine but you'll be hard pressed to find that one anywhere. I only found it at the Riviera and the Four Queens downtown. The Aladdin floor walkers kept telling me they had a machine there but they LIED because I walked that floor a million times and never saw the stupid thing. Well my one GF was convinced that the Aladdin was cursed for gambling so we went everywhere else and played. We did a little there but nothing major. I hit 2 four of a kinds in a row at the Mirage, that paid out very nicely. In fact we were all winners at the Mirage in some manner. Once they got on a blackjack table though that was all she wrote. We spent the rest of our days in search of a $5 BJ table. They were around but they were most plentiful on Fremont Street where we stayed up until almost 4 am playing the dumb game. All in all I came out around $200 ahead from BJ, GF #! Around $120 ahead, GF#2 around $190 ahead and GF#3 (who gave up on BJ after losing her butt) won $165 from a penny slot.
All in all we were most happy. For those of you that made it through this I commend you for your commitment and I hope it gives you as much fun and joy as all the other trip reports I have read in the past and am completely addicted to.
I'll be back in October with my husband and our mothers for another wonderful week in Sin City - the best place on earth.