Will Post as a reply
Will Post as a reply
Background: We are a couple in our 30's, this was our 8th trip to Vegas and we mainly did some low rolling gambling, enjoyed many different restaurants, did a bit of shopping and relaxing. We went to the Neon Museum and went to Dig This Las Vegas, the heavy equipment playground. I'm going to post in categories. I've tried (for the first time!) to link some photos so please bear with me if it doesn't work!
We flew US Airways via Philly on the way out with an early AM flight. We were up at 4am (midnight Vegas time) to make our flight. Why do I do that! It’s because I love arriving in Vegas early to enjoy the first day, even if I’m a little tired! No delays or issues on the flight out. We found the seats/legroom pretty spacious.
On the way home we were on a red eye with united via Newark. It was delayed about an hour once we were on the plane, but ended up in Newark only about 30 min late. Our seats were basic coach, no upgrades with extra leg room and the seats were tiny! It was one of the most uncomfortable flights ever in terms of small seats and lack of legroom, but fortunately I was able to sleep most of the way to Newark.
Cabs- Got cabs from airport to Palazzo, downtown X2, and to “dig this”. Generally good cabbies, no overt long hauling that we noted. No issue/attitude at the airport when we requested “we would not like to take the tunnel route please.” We had an awesome cabbie home from downtown the last night, just hilarious in general telling us about his medical problems (should you really be driving a cab???) and razzing us about starting a family just like my mother was on the trip with us.
Limo to and from Hotel 32- was great, on time and friendly. No problem getting the cab to pick up from a non-airport location.
We stayed at the Palazzo for our first two nights of the trip to try out the north strip area and we were very impressed. I had highly debated encore vs palazzo and palazzo vs palazzo prestige pouring over past posts on the forum and settled on Palazzo regular suite for the dining options, proximity to Lagassie’s stadium where we had reservations for Saturday night and lack of prestige because there were too many good breakfast options on the north strip that I didn’t think we’d use the prestige lounge to the fullest. We inquired politely about upgrades at check in but weren’t offered anything that would have been a better deal than if we booked it ourselves so declined. Of note, I booked the cheapest rate from the Palazzo website, opting out of any “suite deal” that gave some coupons for places I didn’t think we use. It was about 10 bucks cheaper that the “suite deal” but we ended up getting the coupons at check in anyhow!
The room we got was great, high floor overlooking the Wynn and Wynn golf course and we could check in when we arrived at about 2pm. The room was very spacious for a regular suite and had a great bathroom with long soaker tub, separate shower, makeup table and double sinks. I don’t know what brand shampoo they had but it was great. The hair dryer was nice with multiple heat and speed settings. The bed was comfortable and the sunken living space was nice. I wondered how many drunken people fell down the steps in the sunken living room over the years. The one problem we had with the room was that it had an adjoining room and the sound barrier between the rooms was non-existent. I think it was a bachelorette party next door and they were loud! However, we were exhausted our first two nights in Vegas as we were adjusting to West coast time and no amount of noise could have kept us from sleeping! They didn’t offer any options of late checkout due to high capacity which would have been great, but I have come not to expect this as an option (even for a fee) from previous experiences.
Hotel 32- Loft suite 60/Penthouse 7
I am a huge fan of Hotel 32 and this was our third stay here. We always stay at the Loft level of room because it is the lowest level that gets you a Jura Espresso machine and an awesome bathroom- large soaker tub and incredible “car wash- like” kohler shower with regular faucet, body sprays and overhead rain fall shower.
This was the first time I had any problems at 32. We were staying for 5 days and by the first morning we realized that our shower wasn’t working properly, specifically the overhead rainfall option wasn’t working. We reported it to the Suite attendants and went on our way. The next morning we tried again and the same problem and reported it again. We were still enjoying the room but were disappointed that one of the important amenities to us wasn’t functioning. By the third day and the third request to the suite attendant I was getting a bit fed up. The worker said “oh I know about that, yes it’s broken and the room will have to be torn apart when you leave so plumbers can fix it, Sorry!” I was really annoyed because I had to hound them for the information and it appeared that she had this knowledge at an earlier time and failed to communicate it back to us. There was no offer to switch rooms at this point so I was upset. Thankfully, the next time I was up to the 32nd floor, Joel, the suite attendant extraordinaire, immediately came us to us and said “let’s make this right.” He did what I expected to be done in a situation such as this, offer to switch us to another loft suite. We were on our way to our appointment at the Neon Museum so it wasn’t convenient so we declined but appreciated the gesture. He offered to give us a F & B credit to compensate so we accepted that and were pretty happy.
The next morning (day before we checked out) I ran into Joel on my way to grab breakfast and he said he had talked to the manager about our shower issue and was very sorry about the malfunction and that they would like to move us to a penthouse suite for our final night. That’s the type of service Joel gives- above and beyond. All the bad experience with the other worker was erased, I was very happy! He took me on a tour of one of the penthouses and said we could have that one or wait an hour or two as they made up penthouse 7, which was the only strip facing penthouse with a pool table. We were ecstatic about getting to stay in the penthouse and opted to wait for the strip facing one. It was incredible. It has all the amenities of the loft plus more. It has a sink next to the Jura espresso machine, a second half bath, a pool table, a full length mirror, a separate dressing table in the bathroom, the shower is bigger and there is an infinity tub instead of a Jacuzzi soaker tub. It’s also larger in general and has about 5 more TVs. It was awesome. I’m happy to report that the shower functioned properly and that I made up for missed showers in the loft, having 3 showers and 2 baths in an 18 hour period! Joel was also able to accommodate a late checkout on our final day which was fantastic and gave us some extra time to enjoy the penthouse. Overall, the penthouse was incredible and I’m so happy we got to experience it but I don’t think I’d pay close to double what the loft costs to stay their on my own dime.
Below is a looooong list of all the places we ate at. I tried to include the total cost and a “grade” to give you an idea of how good it was, taking into account food quality and also value for price. We’d actively seek out eating again at the places with “A” ratings!
Grand Lux Palazzo- we had our first lunch here and were overwhelmed at the size of the menu. We asked the waiter for suggestions and ordered the tomato and avocado salad (good with a nice amount of fresh basil), sliders (delicious), buffalo chicken bites (ok), and sausage flat bread (ok). Total $40. Grade: B
Canaletto- Venetian. We went here the first night, just after 11 pm (7pm by our internal clocks). We were disappointed that Wolfgang’s Postrio was closed but were happy to find something available at that time of night. DH had sausage pizza (yes the second time that day!) and I had a creamy pork, bacon, and mushroom pasta dish. The pork was pitiful- no seasoning or flavor, I could barely tell it was pork. It tasted like regular pork stir fry strips from the supermarket that had just been fried with nothing else. Fortunately, the dish didn’t need them and the bacon and mushrooms were delicious and the sauce not overly heavy for a cream sauce. Total: $46. Grade: C
Bouchon- Venetian- Really loved bouchon. Nice strong coffee. We ordered the croque madame and chicken and waffles. We both liked the croque madame the most. It is served with a ridiculous amount of fries. They also brought out bread prior to the meal at brunch, which was homemade French bread in the shape of leaves and strawberry jam. We also ordered the 4 pastry deal (oh the gluttony!) just to sample a few and each ate a quarter of: pecan sticky bun, strawberry croissant, chocolate croissant, cheese Danish. We were going to try a scone instead of the chocolate croissant but we were told it was lemon flavored and DH doesn’t like that so we passed. FYI the cheese Danish is also lemon flavored cheese! We both thought the best by far was the strawberry croissant. Don’t expect a typical flaky croissant- it is basically a croissant that is squashed, covered in strawberry preserves and then a delicious crumble. Our second favorite was the pecan sticky bun. DH was expecting it to be more “cinnabon” like with ooey-gooey delicousness and it wasn’t. The pecans were roasted nicely and the caramel had that delicious “almost burnt” taste. Total cost: $84 (had enough food probably for 4 people). Grade: A+
BLT Mirage- DH had a turkey burger- good but nothing special, I had a special burger that was BBQ pork, with deep fried truffle mac’n’cheese- wow! It was tasty. We shared waffle fries (nothing special) and deep fried oreos, which we both agreed didn’t taste as good as they sounded. It was served with 5 oreos and the smallest side of ice cream, a couple tablespoons in a typical butter side dish. Total cost: $52. Grade: B
LaGassie Stadium- We went here to view the UFC 159 event that was taking place in New Jersey. There was a $50 per person minimum to sit at our own sofa with TV. I had read a lot about the food and wasn’t expecting much. It was worse than expected. All food we had was not appetizing and it was pretty difficult to reach the $100 mark as the food is not that expensive. We got a bucket of coronas, a “knock-out” cocktail in honor of the fights- not very good. We are nacho fans and going into it I knew it was “cheese sauce” not real cheese on them but it was really bad, thick, sauce that completely ruined the nacho chips underneath. Next we had a giant pretzel with “cheesy beer sauce.” This gets good reviews on yelp so I had higher hopes but there was no beer flavor to the sauce whatsoever. It tasted exactly like the sauce on the nachos and by that point we were completely turned off to it. We had Emerill’s New Orlean’s shrimp that smelled “fishy” and had a metallic taste, just awful. We decided to switch to sweet stuff and the famous banana cream pie was equally disappointing- slices of over-ripe banana layered with plain buttercream. The highlight of the meal was a milkshake with two warm chocolate chip cookies- tasty. Our service was very good and despite the bad food we would definitely go to the stadium again for the atmosphere during a fight or sporting event. Summary- bad food, awesome sporting environment. Total- $126. Grade: D for food, overall B+
Society Café Encore- I was so excited to try the frosted flake French toast and sticky bun, only to find that they had been removed from the menu 2 days earlier! The waiter said people found them too sweet! I couldn’t believe it as they both had great reviews on yelp. I opted for the new cinnamon toast crunch French toast and DH had the steak and egg sliders. We had a side of bacon (3 slices for $6) and hashbrowns ($4). The French toast was okay but the sliders were amazzzzing! The muffin is a little greasy, but not enough to take away from the pure deliciousness of the dish, so good! They have a bowl of Swedish fish candy instead of mints on your way out of the restaurant which I thought was cute. Coffee was okay (we like it stronger) and service was good. We had to wait about 40 min for a table at 10am on Sunday. Total: $69. Grade A
Wichcraft MGM- good for a sandwich fix. Two sandwich combos with chips, fruit and bottled drink for $33. Grade: B
Ping Pang Pong- Gold Coast. Two words: walnut prawns. I should explain, everything we had at PPP was excellent but the prawns were like “what is happening in my mouth “so good. A word of warning- they are sweet, very very sweet. DH and I almost thought they could pass as an excellent dessert if not for the slight savoury taste of the prawn shining through. Take a prawn, fry it in a light batter, cover it with a sweet sauce (DH swears it was cinnabon icing), and top everything with candied sesame seed covered walnuts for an extra crunch. So good, very rich, a couple of bites are plenty. We also had the BBQ pork fried rice- not on the menu but they can make it- excellent, DH declared best fried rice he has ever had, potstickers (decent) and gobo beef- the most tender beef I have ever had. Overall- insanely delicious. Total cost with 2 pop: $58. Grade: A+
Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill Caesars- We went for lunch and they don’t serve complimentary bread at lunch so we got the pretzels with beer cheddar and mustard sauce to start. The beer cheddar sauce had a nice beer taste but was a little gritty in texture, which took away from the dish. I helped myself to a big dollop of mustard and immediately felt like I had eaten a spoonful of wasabi with immediate clearage of the sinuses. As tears streamed down my face the waiter reappeared and pointed to the mustard and said, “oh, there’s a kick to that”- you don’t say. It was good, but a little goes a long way! I had the fish and chips and was a bit disappointed, the fish lacked the described “ale flavor”. The tartar sauce was tarragon flavored and good. DH had the beef cheek sandwich and it was good. We finished with sticky toffee pudding as I am a huge fan of GR’s Steak sticky toffee pudding and it was no where near as good as Steak’s. Not in the same league. The cake was not dense and the sauce lacked the deep rich flavor of steak’s version- not worth it! Overall $82. Grade: B-
Jaleo Cosmo- First time for us to try Spanish tapas and we were very impressed. The best dishes were: bacon wrapped dates (7 per order), veal cheeks with olive oil mashed potatoes (the potatoes were outstanding), pressed ham, cheese and truffle sandwich, and the sliders with bacon- literally the best sliders I’ve ever had. Other good dishes were gambas shrimp (ordered with a side a plain bread to soak up all the delicious juices) and pan con manchego. The only things I wouldn’t order again were the tuna salad sandwich- too much mayo and the fois gras Canelones- too rich. The rosemary lemonade was amazing. We also finished the meal with flan, which was excellent. We had heard a lot about the tiny portions here but were surprised at the size of the dishes, definitely more than the 2 or 3 bites we were expecting. We arrived hungry and ordered 8 tapas plus dessert and were stuffed! Total $172. Grade: A
One disappointing thing was that we had them check for DH comp dollars to pay for a portion of the meal and they said their was nothing on the account but when we went to the players club they said he had $90 comp dollars (this was from previous stays at cosmo, not related to gambling so I’m not sure how there comp system works but I’ve never received close to anything like this from mlife!) We checked to see if it could be applied to the food bill, as we didn’t have any further meals planned at cosmo but they said too late! Oh well, I ended up getting a nice new ring from one of the shops on the second floor so it was a win for me!
Gordon Ramsay Burgr PHo- We are GR and burger fans so we were excited to check out this place! Unfortunately we were disappointed. We thought the jalapeno poppers had too much breading and basically got them for the gimmick to see who would get the “hot” one. In the end we couldn’t tell which one had the seeds left in! The biggest let down was my Hell’s kitchen burger- it needed seasoning big time (and I don’t put extra salt on food). DH’ s American burger was great and the truffle fries were tasty. The onion rings were average, wouldn’t order them again. Total: $72. Grade C-
Mastro’s Ocean Club- City Center. I had chosen Mastro’s as our fancy steak dinner over GR Steak this trip based on yelp reviews and was really looking forward to it. The service was amazing and food delish but we had one issue. We ordered the tomato and burrata salad to share to start. It was good but the tomatoes were “tooth sensitizing” cold and didn’t have a great tomato taste. We shared a tomahawk steak ($98 with about 22 ounces of meat!), garlic mashed potatoes, creamed corn, mushrooms and a half order of crab gnocchi.
Here’s the issue- we decided to sit together in booth section of the seat and when the steak arrived it is on a 400 degree Fahrenheit plate. So all of the sudden we are cuddled together in a booth with 800 degrees of heat pouring onto us. DH had to remove his sport coat, me my cardigan and we just couldn’t cool off! It also made the food extremely hot. DH burned his uvula on the gnocchi and said although it was warm on the outside, he said the inside was a boiling mass of heat. The gnocchi was a heavy dish and when put on the hot plate the oil seemed to separate and slick up the entire plate. It did taste good after I tried it when it cooled off. The waiter was excellent and offered to exchange our plates for regular temperature ones but for some reason we declined.
The steak was amazing, especially the “cap” portion- so tender and flavorful. The sides were good, mushrooms especially but I could only manage a few bites before I was excessively full. I hadn’t eaten very much and stayed away from the large bread basket to save room for everything but was so full, I don’t know if being so hot contributed to this. We also hypothesized that the gnocchi expanded in our stomach like those expanding toys that grow when you put them in water. Not sure if that’s possible but something definitely made as full, fast!
We knew before going that they had a famous dessert called butter cake that we had to try- I don’t know if it was because I was so full, but I didn’t enjoy it that much. We left the restaurant with a full size bag of leftovers that we enjoyed later. Overall, I was disappointed that we didn’t go to GR Steak instead but it was nice to try a new place. Total: $252. Grade B
Magnolia’s Four Queens- stopped in for a quick lunch. Service was friendly and fast and the prices awesome. I had a delish club sandwich and DH a chicken salad sandwich. Total: $21. Grade B+
MC Pub- Went to the MC Pub after being given a F & B credit for room issues. I had previously been unimpressed with the Pub but figured I ordered wrong so this time I went straight to the burger section! I did a build your own with Kobe beef, irish cheddar, garlic aioli, tomatoes and mushrooms. It was great. DH went with a pub burger and liked it. For sides he had beer battered French fries and they were great- you could really taste the beer flavor! I had sweet potato fries which were sad, lukewarm and limp and served with marshmallow sauce- yuk! It was sweetness overload. We also had a starter of a cheese quesadilla- it was nothing special. Service not great. Total $52. Grade: B-
Julien Serrano Aria-our second Spanish tapas experience. We found the portions here to be smaller than Jaleo, and overall not quite as good. The best things we had were bacon wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates (3), tempura ahi tuna , mushroom risotto, stuffed piquillo peppers (2). Other good items (but not sure if I’d order them again) were: tuna cones (3), gambas shrimp (spicy!) and sliders. We had a pistachio “tart” (it was more of a flat cookie) for dessert and I wouldn’t recommend it, nothing special. We were satisfied with the selection for lunch but not stuffed. Total: $125. Grade: B
Wolgang Puck MGM- our go to spot for the truffled potato ships, so yummy! I also had a club sandwich with salad (average) and DH had a sausage and basil pizza-he liked it the best of all pizzas/flatbreads of the trip. Total: $57. Grade: A-
MC Subway- DH’s favorite subway for breakfast subs (he had one everyday we were at Hotel 32) because they freshly cook up the eggs into an omelet and have guacamole. I had a breakfast sub one morning as well (usually I just grabbed a quick breakfast of yogurt parfait and frittata as the hotel 32 lounge) and it is really good and cheap! Total: about $7 per sub. Grade: A (DH says A+++)
Dig This Las Vegas-
We had a groupon for a Big Dig (90 min session on bulldozer or excavator) and both DH and I used the excavator. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get there from the strip and it was “rush hour” traffic time (our appointment was at 10am) so to be on the safe side we left 1hour and 15min early. Guess who arrived 1 hour and 10 minutes early for their appointment? It was us! We watched their looping TV advertisements about 8 times before our appointment time came around but I was glad they were already open when we arrived and that we didn’t have to wait outside in the heat (it went up to 99 that day). We spent about 90 min in the air-conditioned excavator and it was so much fun. My favorite part was actually just digging a hole, but we also stacked tires and played basketball, gathering up basketballs and dumping them into the tires. Overall, a great time. I thought it was worth the groupon price (2 for $250) but not sure if I’d do it again at full price ($250 each).
loved loved loved this! What a great place. We spent a morning here based on recommendation from the forum and had a great time. You learn lots of interesting factoids about the history of vegas and the signs are awesome, highly recommend!
Worhall out west Bellagio- interesting. We went because I had free platinum card admission. I thought is was funny that I had to silence my cellphone but there were some kids running and yelling and bashing around the “silver clouds” balloon exhibit, while the parents and museum attendants just let them run wild.
Mirage Secret Garden- again used the platinum card for free admission (thanks for the tip TAers!) and loved it! The dolphins were amazing! There was a young dolphin named Miramar who was particularly playful and loved showing off for the crowd. The lions and tigers were mainly napping but it was still awesome to see them.
Shopping- Didn’t do too much. I got a ring from the Cosmo shops and DH a shirt from the fight shop in Miracle Mile (a traditional stop) and a polo style shirt from Hugo boss in Forum shops. We didn’t get a chance to hit up the outlets this vacation but that’s okay because we had no room for major shopping as we were traveling with carry-ons only.
Nice pics. Good eats as well!!!
Oh, the gambling gods were not looking favorably upon us this trip. We came home with exactly zero percent of our allotted gambling money this trip but didn’t have any unscheduled stops to the ATM so I guess that is a win.
My favorite game is blackjack and I’ve slowly become a better player over the past few trips. Before going on this trip I practiced hard and for the first time was absolutely confident in my basic strategy knowledge. I used “wizard of odds” to make a custom strategy plan based on the rules of where I play most (monte carlo- 6-8 decks, dealers hits soft 17, surrender available). I had plans on when to stop when ahead but unfortunately I was never up more than a couple hands! I was just plain unlucky with the cards I was dealt. We played at MC, Mirage, Golden Gate, The D, Binions, The Plaza and Gold Coast. Once between DH and I we sneaked out with $100 profit, but for the most part broke even or were down each session. I was disappointed to see about ½ the monte carlo low stakes tables (5 or 10 dollars) now pay 6 to 5 on BJ, not just in the party pit as was the case in our last November visit. And they were just as busy as the 3-2 tables! Booo!
I had one bad experience when playing BJ without DH with some drunk jerk who keep calling me “girl” (not in a friendly way) who berated me for not being a “team player”. Here’s the scenario- we both have hard 12’s against the dealer’s 2. He stands (by basic strategy for this game he should have HIT). I hit and bust with a 10, then the dealer pulls an 8 (technically would have been MY eight if he played basic strategy correctly) but he’s sitting there saying I don’t know how to play, hitting when the dealer has a bust card, not taking one for the team, blah, blah, blah. Anyhow, I’m not one to be confrontational and he didn’t seem to be someone open to constructive criticism and I know the dealer is clueless and wouldn’t back me up (advising people to double 7s---whaaaaat?) so I color up and get away from that toxic table. I never, ever criticize others play, even when someone confidently splits 5s against the dealers 10 (and loses both hands with their two 15’s vs the dealers 20- saw this at Binions) and am open to offer my opinion on basic strategy moves but don’t care if others around me are playing their own strategy. Anyhow, it bothered me for a while but fortunately it was the only sour blackjack experience of the trip. We had an awesome fun time playing at a full table at “the D” with some newlyweds who kept hitting the side bet, probably the best table of the trip excitement-wise, we played for a couple hours and left with an extra $20 and a few drinks into us!
I didn’t get to try out Roulette or craps this trip. I don’t allot any funds to this, but try them out if I have some extra money to play with when the blackjack tables are kinder. Hopefully, next time.
Sports bets- I love betting on UFC matches when we are attending or watching the fights. Unfortunately I only went 3/5 but hit with an underdog pick on a fight that wasn’t televised so ended up with a small profit, otherwise I would have been down about half my money. It was exciting because I didn’t know the result of that fight until I handed the ticket over and the cashier said “winner!”
Slots- I know slots are a money suck and have poor odds but they are fun and I play them for the entertainment value and free drinks. I love wizard of oz and was crushed to find out MC took out their bank of 4 machines, leaving only 2 for the whole casino. FYI I think they moved to Luxor, as they had 8 machines. I played more of the hangover machine and find it equally entertaining. No big wins on slots, once or twice won 20-30 bucks. We also donated $30 to the Lion’s Share Progressive at MGM, which was fun to search for and thinking maybe we’ll be millionaires. FYI its just outside the high limit slot room.
We love Vegas and I know we’ll keep coming back, just not sure when. The weather was gorgeous this trip, but a bit on the hot side! We always treat gambling money as “entertainment” money, we just found that on this trip it’s not so entertaining when your losing! At any rate we'll be back, not sure if maybe next time we'll stay downtown for the cheaper gambling or up the gambling budget! Hope everyone enjoys their upcoming trips to Vegas!
Thanks for a great report, I loved all your food pictures too. And the pictures of the itemized receipts help too. Now I have a few more places I have to try on my next trip.
Thank you for posting your report all at once so we can enjoy it at our convenience.
It isn't often we get info concerning Hotel 32 and the pictures are appreciated.
I've seen others wax poetic about PPP's Walnut Prawns. But I love their San Pan Tiger Prawns, so it's unlikely I will give them a try.
Sounds like a very nice trip. Thanks for the report.