For perspective; We are modern LV enthusiasts. My 1st visit was during the Grand opening of the Excalibur, my wife a few years earlier. The Rat Pack was our parents Vegas. We have been back easily 30 times and stayed at a majority of the hotels (existing and imploded). We have done it cheap and cheesy, and gone Grand Lux. We have brought the kids many times and had adult adventures too. I like to think that we are as educated on Las Vegas as a Tourist can be.
So, this time we spent our 5 days at the Mirage. We used miles to get 2 for one on the Airline Tickets and used an e-mail promo to get 3 of the 4 nights for free. Additionally, we received a $40 retail promo to use along with $75 in casino/slot credit. We booked very early allowing us to arrive on a Saturday. Great deal, couldn't pass it up!
We hadn't taken an airport shuttle in years. I printed up a discount coupon On-line for the Grayline shuttle and presented it at the kiosk outside the baggage area. Even though the coupon had no expiration date, it was refused by the ticket agent as being old and not usable. There was 3 other shuttle companies right there, so I choose Bell Trans to take us to our hotel. I now remember why the couple of extra bucks is worth it to take a cab; Poor customer service, stopping at 3 properties before getting to our hotel and chatting with social defects en route was all akin to bamboo shoots under the nails. No more Airport Shuttles for me, and NEVER will I take a Grayline tour.
At The Mirage, we had a deluxe king on the 14th floor looking south. (Arriving on a Saturday, all the "upgrade" possibilities were gone). The room was fine, no complaints. My weird comments on the room would be that it smelled of bathroom cleaners when we arrived (I had to air out the room); the proximity of the closet door to the bathroom door is a poor layout, the KING bed seemed very small for a 'king', and we had a used coffee cup in our room that was never removed by the cleaning staff... it seemed like a game to see if they would notice it after a awhile. We had a nice view of the pools and the strip. We had a stocked (and chargeable) mini fridge, nice linens, and the complimentary soaps, lotion, shampoo, etc. were very nice.
The Mirage is undergoing a tasteful and low key makeover. A corporate brown pallet mixed with the Beatles and touches of the Bellagio would best describe it for me. I think the decor works great. The hotel personality changed dramatically on Monday when a hardware convention hit town; from the hoards of middle age men making asses of themselves right down to the young hookers in the guest room hallways discussing their conquests (overheard on my way to the ice machine). I'm not a prude but, a little discretion please!
We saw two great shows while in Las Vegas, LOVE by Cirque Du Soliel at The Mirage and La Reve at The Wynn. I booked our tickets to LOVE 3 months in advance and sat front row. It was awesome. Even my wife (who is not a Beatle fan) enjoyed the show (and I've taken her twice). La Reve (The Dream) is the most enjoyable, bazaar, romantic, athletic, and artistic Las Vegas show I've ever seen. It was created by 'Dragon' who's been credited for much of the success behind 'O', 'A New Day', (the Celine Dion show), and many others. We got a 33% discount on La Reve using an e-mail promo from Travelzoo.com.
I did some on-line research before this trip to find where the half way decent video poker could be found mid-strip. If I went up 50% or more I'd cash out and keep going. This has always been a successful strategy for me, if I stick to it. We checked out, and played at, the new Palazzo, the remodeled (Aladdin) Planet Hollywood, The Wynn, TI, Mirage, Caesars, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, Rio, The Palms, and The Casino Royal.
We ate at the Mirage, Rio, and Wynn buffets as well as the The Burger Bar (at Mandalay Place), Toby Keith's Place (at Harrahs), and the Deli at TI. All of these are great for their own reasons. There are so many great places to eat in Vegas and I wish I had more time there just to eat.
Transportation was very easy; we walked, took the free shuttle from Harrahs to the Rio and back, and bought one 24 hour bus pass for $5 each. The taxi back to the airport was $12.50 (before tip) further making me wonder why I ever thought that an airport shuttle was a good idea.
We shopped at the 'Miracle Mile Shops' (the former Desert Passage), The Grand Canal Shops, and The Forum Shops. I met Pete Rose, popped into Margaritaville, Casa De Fuente, and watched the Giants beat the Packers while enjoying a mojito and smoking a fantastic cigar.
We always pack a lot in but, you can in Vegas, everything is right there.
Can't wait to go again in 6 months!
1-Do not sit at any game, no matter how small, without using the casinos' reward card. You would be surprised at the free stuff for the modest player.
2-Sign up for e-mail offers, at the on-line guest book of every property you would even consider staying at.
3-Compare all major group travel websites, airline websites, and property websites before you book. Most of the time my best deal is booking the hotel separate from the air.
Glenn from Illinois