Arrived in Las Vegas via Southwest Airlines around 8PM. (Why fly Southwest? It's no longer cheaper than many others. There are NO MEALS, NO MOVIE, the seating procedure STINKS, and the luggage always takes FOREVER to arrive. BUT..they are usually on time..probably because they PAD their Flight Time. Southwest is ok for a short trip...but cross country..no thanks). When we got into Vegas and tried to call for our rental car, we found out RESORT rental car was out of business. Geeze...there went the convertible Mustang! REMEMBER RESORT IS OUT OF BUSINESS!! So...we called Alamo. They had a midsize and we decided to settle. Grabbed our luggage and headed to the Alamo shuttle. All the way at the end of the rental car shuttle area. Finally we got to Alamo's Headquarters...what did we find? A 2 1/2 hour wait? I said to the guy...is this normal? He said no...this is short. Needless to say we called a taxi and cancelled the reservation! DON'T USE ALAMO!! So..around 10PM we FINALLY arrive at the HGVC via a $12 taxi ride. This is when the trip started to finally turn around. Place was absolutely BEAUTIFUL....2 bedroom suite overlooking the gorgeous Flamingo Hilton pool area (didn't see a better pool ANYWHERE)! Both Bedrooms were huge & had oversized jacuzzis. The living area was Huge as well. This is a great place to stay if you have a timeshare to trade! It was late and we were hungry...walked through the lush pool area to the Flamingo and had a quick dinner at LINDY's at the Flamingo. It is like a Denny's w/a nice atmosphere...much better for breakfast than lunch or dinner though. After dinner we walked through the casino briefly..pleasantly surprised w/the casino environment there...around 12ish it was time to head to bed...rest was what we needed at that point. A long week lay ahead.
Woke up and the wife & I headed over to PARIS for the breakfast buffet around 10AM...what a buffet! Best on the strip! From there we walked the strip going hotel to hotel gathering casino players cards and seeing the various themes. No lunch was needed after the HUGE buffet :) Headed back to HGVC around 5 to relax....dinner was at the MIRAGE. We wanted to go to Kokomos, but the wait was too long and we had Bill Acosta show tickets. (Great internet deal - $50/person for a full dinner at ALta Villa including appetizers & dessert + great seats for Bill Acsota - HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS FOR THE PRICE) So...we settled on California Pizza Kitchen....very good food. After dinner it was on to the show where we enjoyed Acosta's impersinations and the topless show girls...which really isn't weird once you are there...lots of women in the crowd. Acosta does a great job with Sinatra and Jack Nicolson to name a couple...his 12 days of Christmas is also priceless...as is the $12 Flamingo Freeze drink. Big enough to get just about anyone tipsy...show ended around 11...gambled a little..broke even...and headed to bed.
Caesars breakfast buffet around 10:00 - No where near as good as PARIS or MGM! After breakfast we were FINALLY able to find a car..we were told we could pick it up around 11AM...problem is we got a call saying it wouldn't be in until 1PM...At 1PM we headed over to pick up A SEBRING CONVERTIBLE through ALLSTATE/PAYLESS....the shuttle picked us up at HGVC and took us to headquarters....once we were there the guy at the desk informed me there was no car....After mentioning the manager's name and how long we had already waited...a car magically appeared...not a great color (gold/tan sebring) but at that point we would have taken ANYTHING! So we took the car and a 10% discount...ALWAYS BOOK AHEAD WITH A REPUTABLE COMPANY...that's what we learned. From there we headed to RIO..nice place but not all it's hyped up to be...especially the pool area. Back to HGVC for a refresher then on to Hard Rock for dinner at the PINK TACO...EXCELLENT FOOD!! After eating and checking out the casino it was off to pick up the couple who were sharing the timeshare unit with us. The other bedroom would finally be used. Picked them up around 10:30 - showed them the beautiful strip and headed to HGVC. After checking them in we gambled at the Flamingo for a while then hit the sack.
DAY 4 (Wed March 21)
The day started around 10AM (yes problems sleeping in so far - Vegas is too exciting for us to sleep I guess) at the Flamingo Hilton Breafast Buffet ($8.95) The buffet was slightly above average and the atmosphere was above average (sit with a flamingo view). Champagne was included...but none of us are champagne people in the morning. After breakfast we departed with our two friends for Red Rock Canyon. This trip alone was worth the price of the convertible...it was also worth the drive. After about 45 minutes we arrived there (and I drive pretty fast) Red Rock is no 15 minute drive as I had heard..too many lights...no matter though because the weather was beautiful. We did the $5/car drive which was a great deal. The scenic drive is about 30 minutes to an hour...or much longer depending how much time you spend on stop offs..where there are many of for pictures and hiking. The Canyon is a beautiful place, and if you are in Vegas for longer than a few days I would HIGHLY recommend it. Next it was time to go head back to the strip and the Stratosphere free-fall ride at the top of the needle!! What a DUD..the view is great, but the ride isn't much. I hear it used to be much better. i.e. it threw you way up in the air...dropped half way..threw you up again..and then quickly all the way down. Now..it thows you up..and then gradually takes you down. Anyhow..worth it for the view..maybe not for the ride. As far as the casino went they had some cheap tables...but it wasn't the best atmosphere. On to "SPEED THE RIDE" at the Sahara.
From the Stratosphere we travelled over to the Sahara where we went for the sole purpose of riding "SPEED" the ride...GREAT Roller Coaster for you enthusiasts out there. After "SPEED" it was back to the HGVC for some R&R. Dinner was at 7PM at Alta Villa. The service was a bit slow, but the FOOD MORE THAN made up for it. Excellent Italian and a nice atmosphere for a reasonable price. We had gotten Bill Acosta tickets + a full dinner with appetizer, entree, & desert for $50 per person..wow was that the deal of the century. After dinner it was the 10:30PM show of JUBILEE! This is a typical Vegas style show with great costumes, elaborate sets, a pretty good magician (although very cheezy)..and yes LOTS of topless showgirls...funny thing was our wives did not mind the least bit and the audience was half women...go figure. Viva Las Vegas! It was done tastefully...not just gratuitous nudity. After the show it was back to the Flamingo to gamble!
Day 5 (Thursday 3/22):
Woke up LATE...YES..headed to drop the car off around 11AM. Got dropped back off at PARIS for some delicious pastires. the "Dame Blanche" is just GREAT! Next it was on to the MIRAGE for lunch at the California Pizza Kitchen and then the SPORTS BOOK (they have a great one). It was Terp time and we watched our team WIN while the free coronas flowed...too many flowed. After the game we went back to HGVC and changed for RUMJUNGLE - 9PM Reservation for dinner. There were 6 of us and we were considering a VIP table after..but it just wouldn't have been worth it. Let me vent for a minute. RUMJUNGLE is a VERY nice looking restaurant..the food is different..I liked it, but it's not for everyone..brazilian meat combinations dominate the menu. What got me was we ordered water...just plain old water. When the bill came..$21 for 3 bottles of water..YIKES...then, although we could stay after for the club w/out paying the cover, you CAN'T bring drinks on the dance floor. This just sucked. There are seats up there & you can't hold your drink! Makes no sense. So although the place itself is Very Unique looking..walls of water & fire throughout..the club experience itself could be better. Saying all that though, it is someplace I would recommend checking out. Come into the bar before 10..don't get dinner..and hang out until the club part opens...that way you avoid the cover and the overpriced meal. After the club, we gambled a little at Mandalay and Flamingo and then turned in....
Got up around 11AM and had breakfast at Lindy's at the Flamingo Hilton. Not bad...French Toast was very good. From there we headed over to the Aladdin to gamble. JACKPOT!!!! Hit the 2400 quarter jackpot on the MERLIN slot machine at Aladding. NICE!! The siren must have been going off for about 20 minutes before the casino guy came over and handed me 6 crisp $100 bills! Alddin is a very nice casino w/a good playing atmosphere. Everything goes with the theme including the cocktail waitresses in genie costumes. After the Aladdin we met the couple were were staying with and headed to the Venetian (the best casino on the strip IMO) There, my wife won $150 on Wheel of Fortune slot! What a Day!! And what a place! The Venetian is just Gorgeous. Yes it is further down the strip, but it is close to Mirage, Harrahs, TI, and Flamingo....and not that far from Caesars...you can always take the tram from TI to Mirage then walk over to caesars. It will be the next place we stay in Vegas! After a few hours at the Venetian we headed over to P.F. Changs at the Aladdin for dinner. Very good food at affordable prices. Kind of a casual shiek atmosphere. After dinner it was time to meet another couple arriving in town at the Dueling Piano Bar at NYNY. Got there around 9:30PM and it was PACKED...of course it was a Friday. We immediately bought some yards of margarita at Gonzalez Y Gonzalez next door...paid the $10 cover at the piano bar...and as LUCK WOULD HAVE it..got a table with a great view as people left!! This place is SO MUCH FUN. Highly recommend it! We stayed and requested songs & drank w/everyone else until 2AM...at which time we left (VERY DRUNK) to gamble..a LATE NIGHT. This place CANNOT be missed. It is fun for any age group!
Our last Full day at Vegas began with another trip to Lindy's for breakfast (and with a hangover). We met some friends for a VERY LATE breakfast and then headed over to the Mirage Sports Book for the next Terps game. Did pretty well. MD won and I won over $100...what a trip so far! After the game we went back to the HGVC for some R & R and then to Gonzalez Y Gonzalez for dinner. Very good Mexican food. Probably 2nd best food of the trip..with Alta Villa taking the #1 spot. Pink Taco has great Mexican food as well..but it is far from ordinary...
After dinner we headed to MGM to try to watch the De La Hoya fight..which was not on...but by the time we got near the event center it was over anyhow...what came next was an array of stars like Marshall Faulk, Charles Barkley, Macho Camacho, Randall Cunninghman, Jerry West....and even OJ Simpson..who had a crowd behind him yelling a certain word...which you can probably guess. He was loving all the attention. Around midnight we headed to Bellagio..but quickly tired of it and went back to Flamingo for a few hours of gambling!
A VERY SAD DAY..our LAST DAY. Said goodbye to the couple we stayed with at 5AM (they had an early flight)...got up around 10 and went to meet our other friends at PARIS for some pastries...bought some for the plane as well (they are SO GOOD). Then it was off to the airport concluding another Fabulous Vegas Vacation! Can't wait to go back! As everyone says...VIVA LAS VEGAS BABY!!!
If anyone has any Vegas questions..feel free to drop me an e-mail...