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VEGAS!!

Postby Venom » Tue May 03, 2011 9:35 pm

So the wife and I are planning a mini-getaway to Sin City. Probably a 4 day 3 night excursion.

I've never been, and I was hoping to gather some info on best places to stay, see, dine, etc.

Will more than likely take a half a day to see Hoover, just because. Other than that...who knows.

Anyone have any info or "best practices as to not lose your wallet" in Vegas?
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby scottaa1 » Wed May 04, 2011 4:22 pm

I've never been, so no, no advice. I'd probably be part of the minority crowd that was more interested in seeing the dam and other local landmarks. I've never been a gambler and the shows don't have any interest for me.

I'd probably just blow my wad (of cash) in the brothels and then get on a plane home.
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby Venom » Wed May 04, 2011 7:05 pm

scottaa1 wrote:
I'd probably just blow my wad (of cash) in the brothels and then get on a plane home.


Luckily you were more specific :-b
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby knapplc » Thu May 05, 2011 7:07 am

Unless you really like melting, do not go in the summer. My only trip to Vegas we went in August - huge mistake.
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby biju » Mon May 09, 2011 10:34 pm

Alright, having been in my early 20s well before the price of airfare hit the moon and the proximity of Seattle to Las Vegas I've been 20+ times, most recently a month ago (to the day!).

I have some questions for you that I think will help me understand your trip and what you're looking for...

1. Are you more likely to... gamble (and what type of gambling: slots, poker, video poker, blackjack, craps, etc.), drink until your liver quits, see shows, lounge by the pool, see sights, hit the strip clubs, or eat a gourmet meal?

2. (And I know this is going to sound strange) Do you have a budget you need to keep to, meaning that $15 taxi rides can't be a 6 times a day thing?

3. How important is a really nice hotel room to you?

4. Is there a specific night you really want to dress up and go to a nice restaurant (if you aren't already planning on hitting all the "foodie" type places)? What would that "ideal" food be?

----

For me personally, here's what I like to do:
When you arrive in McCarran and head to your hotel in a taxi, make sure to tell the driver to take "the back road" and certainly not the highway. That will save you $10 each way. Most drivers don't try it any more, but some will if they think you're green.

I tend to stay at the Imperial Palace. It's really not a great hotel but the breakfast is relatively good and cheap and for how I do Vegas I don't normally remember the room too much--it's a place to crash and that's it. (If I were going to solely lounge by the pool it would certainly be Mandalay Bay as a priority.) The Imperial Palace is centrally located on the strip so walking to most places is within a mile. Keep in mind that the hotels are *huge* so sensible shoes are a necessity even if you plan on staying within your own hotel; and don't bother trying to walk from the strip to downtown. It will be all day and you'll be mad you did it.

Buses seem like a good idea but usually take a long time to get somewhere. From the strip to downtown is about $20 each way in a taxi, but it's worth noting that the tables are cheaper there than they will be on the strip ($5 blackjack/craps is rare now).

The idea of playing penny slots while drinking for free doesn't work. The penny slots now are computer run and they can actually cost more than the standard quarter slots with all of the lines and progression you can play. My trick: saddle up to a bar and put $20 into a video poker game. Just take a drink each time you press a button and make sure to tip your bartender $1 for each free drink. You'll be fine within about 45 minutes and probably only down about $10 + the $6 for your drinks.

If you want to get into the VIP areas of clubs you have to dress up. The clubs inside casinos tend to have folks out promoting them around 4pm or so on weekend nights and if you're dressed up you'll get in for free (they'll give you a pass to come in later--show up closer to 11pm if that's your thing).

My finacee and I are big on eating at the fancy places where ever we go and for Vegas I would highly recommend Bouchon (of Thomas Keller fame, the man behind The French Laundry). It set us back about $240 for dinner and drinks (lots of drinks...), but was one of the best dinners we've ever had. If you go there, ask for the "Bouchonette" dessert that isn't on the menu.

If you have ever been to Munich and relish your visit to the Hofbrauhaus, or think that would be a great thing to visit, you're in luck. Las Vegas has an authentic Hofbrauhaus and yes, the pretzels are made with the same type of love they have in Bavaria (lye dipped and of perfect texture just like Oktoberfest). It's within walking distance to the Hard Rock so you can do both if that's your thing, although be warned both of these are off the strip and will require a taxi both ways (about $15 each way).

If you rule the roost in your local hold 'em games you're going to love Vegas. Too many people want to do the tourist thing and try their hand at pushing all-in. If you understand general betting concepts like pot odds, you're going to clean up. Just identify the guy who is doing the same thing as you ahead of sitting down so you can sit to the left of him.

If you like the idea of table games, hate losing money, but also don't care if you drop $50 and want to have fun, figure out how to play Pai Gow Poker. You can play it screaming drunk because the dealer will set your hand for you if you need them to. It's a fun one to play with the Mrs. if she's not a table game player because of its low barrier to entry.

Downtown is fun at night because of the light show, but you certainly can skip it if that's not your thing. I think they run every hour on the hour once it gets dark. Make sure to watch your wallet down there though as people prey on folks not paying attention to their surroundings.

Anyway, I'm sure if there are more targeted questions I can answer them. Enjoy your trip! ;-D
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby shawngee03 » Tue May 10, 2011 4:22 pm

i too have been multiple times....and yes Imperial palace is the place to stay. cheap, but right in the middle of everything. across the street from Ceasar's Palace and Bellagio, close to the Venetian, Planet Hollywood, and all the older but fun casinos. Planet Hollywood is awesome if you are wanting to pay more

my favorite place to gamble is Casino Royal. cheap table games and cheap drinks. like above said...drinking free really doesnt work out...so be prepared to spend money on drinks even in a casino. the older dirtier looking ones have the best drink prices of course...the nice ones will get you for $6-8 a drink..so watch out.

if you can make it....sit down at a $5 table at like 2 am and enjoy the show. this is where i get most of my gambling in. the free drinks are actually possible now, as its not prime time anymore. the dealers are awesome late night, everyone is drunk, and you seem to win or at least maintain much easier than during the day and early night

drinking on the street is legal...so take advantage. i find i have the best time when i get a big frozen drink(the outside bar in front of Ceasar's has a great selection of frozen drinks), add a couple shots, and just go walking up and down the strip seeing all the lights and sights. i never spend too much time in any casino....just enough to get my feel then im out seeing what else Vegas has to offer
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby The Artful Dodger » Tue May 10, 2011 6:44 pm

biju wrote:My finacee and I are big on eating at the fancy places where ever we go and for Vegas I would highly recommend Bouchon (of Thomas Keller fame, the man behind The French Laundry). It set us back about $240 for dinner and drinks (lots of drinks...), but was one of the best dinners we've ever had. If you go there, ask for the "Bouchonette" dessert that isn't on the menu.


I love Bouchon, just so happens to be one of my favorite restaurants on the Strip (and in Beverly Hills too). I've been to fancier places in Vegas like Robuchon and Pierre Gagnaire's Twist, but the best dining value for a fine dining establishment is Bouchon, for me.

I don't have much gambling advice, but here's some additional tips...

For a hotel, my rule of thumb is if you're going to stay in Vegas for 3-4 days, you're more likely suited for staying at a fairly decent hotel on the Strip rather than splurging. Think Luxor. If it's just a weekend like the typical LA weekender does, it's a perfect place to crash. Odds are you're not likely to sleep much anyway. Anything longer than that and you're better off staying at a pricier place because you'll have more downtime and will have some time to take advantage of the amenities. Another thing you have to consider is location. If you want to get around to the other attractions down the Strip or just walking around the Strip in general, I probably wouldn't stay too far south/north on the Strip. The monorail is convenient though. If I'm there for the weekend, I'd go with Luxor. IMO, Four Seasons, Venetian, and Wynn/Encore are the best places to stay on the Strip if you really want to splurge. FWIW, I haven't been to the new CityCenter where all the yuppies tend to stay and the even newer Cosmopolitan.

As far as day trips from Vegas go, two places I'd take over Hoover Dam any day: Red Rock Canyon State Park and a tour of the Grand Canyon. I've done a helicopter Grand Canyon tour and it's brilliant.

Regarding shows... Depends on what you like. Shows can be pricey and some sell out faster than others (Phantom of the Opera and Blue Man Group generally do).

Back on topic of food... The Strip probably has the highest concentration of world-class restaurants, but there's a good variety off it for any price. One of my favorite Japanese places is Raku in Chinatown, Rosemary's west of the Strip (French), and you have to try the Hash House for some crazy breakfast dishes.

Regarding weather... best time to go is September/October or in the Spring. Vegas either gets too hot or too cold and you have something of an in-between there. Mind you, it's still hot in say, September (100 degrees tops). I have a habit of getting sick every 3 out of 5 times I visit Vegas at least, no matter the weather. !+) Just something to keep in mind.
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby Venom » Mon May 16, 2011 9:47 pm

Thanks for the great info all.

To answer your specific questions biju...

biju wrote:
1. Are you more likely to... gamble (and what type of gambling: slots, poker, video poker, blackjack, craps, etc.), drink until your liver quits, see shows, lounge by the pool, see sights, hit the strip clubs, or eat a gourmet meal?

2. (And I know this is going to sound strange) Do you have a budget you need to keep to, meaning that $15 taxi rides can't be a 6 times a day thing?

3. How important is a really nice hotel room to you?

4. Is there a specific night you really want to dress up and go to a nice restaurant (if you aren't already planning on hitting all the "foodie" type places)? What would that "ideal" food be?



1. Me: Gambling, drinking, strip clubs. Wife: Shows, pool, sights. :-b

2. Probably going to rent a car at the airport. I heard you can valet everywhere and just tip 3 or 4 bucks per time. Beats cab fare.

3. Not very. A 2 star would suffice as long as there is a casino attached.

4. We will want to try a good seafood place, and obviously the popular steakhouse.
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby glackk » Tue May 17, 2011 3:44 am

Ah Vegas. The 3 hour drive from LA is way too short for my weak resolve to resist. ;-)

As mentioned Imperial Palace is the cheapest in the Harrahs group of hotels and it's pretty centrally located on the strip. I've noticed that the casino is often a bit smoky compared to the other casinos. Ballys and Harrahs are a step up and a little nicer. Luxor and Excalibur are the cheap end of the MGM group of hotels but they're located on the south end of the strip. I stayed in downtown for the first time last month and it was actually a refreshing change of pace from the bustle of the Strip. Less glitzy but lots of Hawaiians make it really laid back. I'd say save that for your next trip if anything. The experience of staying on the Strip is a must if it's your first time.

The nice thing about staying in a cheap hotel is that the table limits in the casino will be less. AND it's awfully convenient to be able to just go up to your room to sleep when your night is done gambling/drinking instead of having to drive/cab it back. You can find blackjack tables for $10-15 per hand as opposed to $25 minimum at the higher end hotels. Usually you can find a $5 craps table. If you're looking for lower limits you'll have to go downtown or off Strip. Free drinks all night while gambling always nice (+ $1 tip).

It's pretty cool just to walk through the high end hotels and marvel at the sights. Bellagio, Wynn, Aria, Cosmo, Venetian have some pretty ridiculous decorations.

Personally I try to get in an all-you-can-eat buffet whenever I go. Bellagio, Wynn, Rio all have stellar buffets, but expect to pay $50 per head and wait a while to get in during peak hours.

Some random stuff to check out:
Bellagio water show
Bellagio gardens
Chandelier Bar at Cosmo
the tiger exhibit at the Mirage
City Center
Vegas fashion outlets (for the wife?)
gondolas at the Venetian
Forum shops at Caesars Palace

Oh, I've heard that slipping a 20 with your ID and credit card when you check in, while asking if there are any complimentary room upgrades can sometimes get you one. Worth a shot right? O:-) Haha.
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Re: VEGAS!!

Postby biju » Wed May 18, 2011 2:18 am

Venom wrote:Thanks for the great info all.

To answer your specific questions biju...

biju wrote:
1. Are you more likely to... gamble (and what type of gambling: slots, poker, video poker, blackjack, craps, etc.), drink until your liver quits, see shows, lounge by the pool, see sights, hit the strip clubs, or eat a gourmet meal?

2. (And I know this is going to sound strange) Do you have a budget you need to keep to, meaning that $15 taxi rides can't be a 6 times a day thing?

3. How important is a really nice hotel room to you?

4. Is there a specific night you really want to dress up and go to a nice restaurant (if you aren't already planning on hitting all the "foodie" type places)? What would that "ideal" food be?



1. Me: Gambling, drinking, strip clubs. Wife: Shows, pool, sights. :-b

2. Probably going to rent a car at the airport. I heard you can valet everywhere and just tip 3 or 4 bucks per time. Beats cab fare.

3. Not very. A 2 star would suffice as long as there is a casino attached.

4. We will want to try a good seafood place, and obviously the popular steakhouse.


I would strongly suggest against renting a car for many reasons, but the easy ones are driving around from casino to casino while drinking (as it is rather easy to over-consume in Vegas), and the amount of time it takes compared to a taxi. I don't know about you but I'll pay for extra vacation time and retrieving a valeted car takes more time than you would expect, especially if it's busy. I've done it before (actually, I didn't even rent as I was driving my own car) and didn't think it was worth it and opted to cab around most of the time. But if you're set on getting a rental for those external trips (such as Hoover Dam) it's worth mentioning that every hotel has a car rental within the hotel so it's easy to rent for a single day.

Anyway, I just read about a seafood (maybe sushi?) place in Vegas...I'll try to dig it up. For steak, you're probably going to find someone else that can give you a good place as the one time I tried to hit a steak place we ended up at the Peppermill. Not that it was bad...or good. I was "tipsy" that night and really don't remember much except the ambiance seemed to inspire me to drink Makers Mark straight up. About a bottle's worth. It was fun until the morning for sure. At any rate, I cannot recommend because I have no idea if the food was actually good.

As for the hotel with a "requirement" of casino, price, pool and shows I'd actually stay "next door" to the IP at the Flamingo. Prices are still solid there and has a much better pool area. You're still in the heart of the strip and will have many, many choices on your other items.
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