JR Swift’s Blog

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Some thoughts on the Vegas trip

Posted by jrswift on April 17, 2007

I’m not going to post a full-fledged trip report here because not all that much happened last week that is all that interesting unless you were there. I thought I would post reviews of some of the places I went and things I did.

The Flight: Another trip on Southwest. Usually always go that way because they fly nonstop out of Kansas City and I prefer to spend my time in my destination, not in airports along the way. Checked in online and got the coveted “A” boarding pass on the way out. Window seat right over the wing and a pretty good trip. Cloudy most of the way but a nice fly over of the Grand Canyon. Pretty darned big hole in the ground. Flight back was a “C” pass but still ended up with an aisle seat. Very amusing crew on the way back and a good trip. I’ll give Southwest a B+.

The Hotel(s): Stayed at the Gold Coast. No real complaints about the hotel. Room similar to but a bit smaller than the Orleans. Bathroom a bit small and felt smaller because the door opened in, not out. Free coffee in the room, free local and 800 calls from the phone and a 32″ LCD TV mounted on the wall. Decent selection of cable channels and the bed was comfortable. Ended up with room 911 (I don’t think that’s lucky) but had a nice view of the Palms hotel and most of the South Strip. I’m only giving them a B- because the package I booked online said I would receive several free buffets and I didn’t get them. Called to complain and they swore there was no such package available. Still $50 a night ain’t too bad.

Also spent Friday night at Harrahs and the room seemed pretty nice. Good view of the Mirage and part of the Strip from the window and a much bigger bathroom. Don’t know about the beds as I slept on the floor but not a bad place if the price is right, which it usually isn’t. I’ll give it a B for quality and a C for value.

Places I visited for the first time included five casinos which aren’t new but were new to me. Checked out four smaller casinos a bit off the strip as well as the (fairly) new Hooters Casino. Ellis Island is decent but not very elegant with cheap food and gambling and I enjoyed my time there. The Tuscany has a smallish but very neat and tidy Casino not too far from the Strip and they gave me $5 in free play when I signed up for their slot club. The Westin Casuarina is probably a nice hotel to sleep in but the casino was pretty lifeless and I wasn’t impressed. Also got around to visiting Terrible’s Casino. It was a bit like Ellis Island in being pretty busy and obviously appealing to locals as well as visitors. I kind of liked it. Hooters was OK. Yes, there were Hooters girls but they weren’t any more attractive than the waitresses at any other casino. Still, the place is a lot nicer than it was when it was the San Remo so I guess it is an improvement.

Ellis Island: B

Terrible’s: B –

Hooters: B –

Tuscany: C

Westin Casuarina: D +

As for food, I ate at three buffets. The Gold Coast breakfast buffet was pretty good and cheap ($7) but how much can you screw up breakast (C +), the Bellagio for lunch was outstanding as always and even at $20 a pop is an easy “A” and highly recommended and the Flamingo for lunch was just so-so. We had coupons so it was $8.99. At that price a solid “C” but at the the regular price of $13.99, it is a “D +” at best.

Ate at four coffee shop-type places as well. The Terrible’s cafe had very slow service but my $6.99 Chicken Fried Steak was pretty good and, there was so much of it, I couldn’t eat it all (B -). The Ellis Island restaurant was not bad at all. The service was decent though it took a while to get my check. The food (I finally had the $4.99 Steak Special) was pretty solid and a heck of a value at that price. I’ll give it a “B +”. Had the Graveyard special at the Gold Coast coffee shop and it was quite tasty. Good solid Steak and Eggs and I’ll give it a “B +” as well. Finally, had a late dinner at the Harrah’s Coffee Shop and it was very tasty. On food quality alone, it would be an “A -” but the service was slow and price was about twice what it should have been. Overall, a “B -” Otherwise I just snacked. The Pizza place at the Palms was overpriced (big surprise) but the snack bar Mermaids downtown was pretty good and you can’t beat a 99 cent hot dog.

Other observations. The walk from the Gold Coast to the Strip isn’t bad at all. Easier to take the shuttle but it isn’t too far to walk if it isn’t too hot or cold. Still like the Palms. Didn’t have much luck there playing quarter video poker but I played penny slots for an hour and a half and actually came out ahead. Drink service was good and, for my money, they have the best-looking cocktail waitresses in town. The Rio just doesn’t do it for me. Never got a chance to try the Seafood buffet but nothing there makes me want to stop and gamble, eat or anything else. The La Bayou downtown now makes an even larger “yard drink” and it is over the top. I had one and wished I hadn’t the next day. I swear the drink weighed 5 pounds. At $17, it was a good deal as I didn’t need to drink again for two days. LOL The El Cortez has definitely tidied itself up a bit. Much cleaner, less smokey and it is now one of the nicer places to play (and probably stay) downtown. The Bellagio and the Wynn took out their Keno lounges. They were so nice too, so “boo hiss” to these places who are now “too cool” for keno. Caesars still has a nice keno lounge and the Gold Coast was pretty good too. The El Cortez wanted a “drink ticket” so they kind of suck too.

I played a little bit of live keno and had no luck. Played Deuces Wild video poker and consistenly lost. Had good luck at the old “Jacks or Better” video poker but bad luck playing “Bonus Poker” this time. Played “Caveman Keno” on the machines quite a bit and actually won 900 nickels once so I came out ahead on that game. Also found a couple of places with my favorite penny slot: Little Green Men. Played quite a long time overall and came out a bit ahead. Tried the new “Deal or no Deal” penny slot but it ate my $10 very fast. Everyone else seemed to be hooked on it though.

So that’s about it. A pretty good trip as I didn’t lose too much, had some good times and made it back alive. I’ll probably start posting here on some other topics in the weeks to come. Don’t know how frequently but I hope some of you will find your way here and check out what I have to say. Take care.

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One Response to “Some thoughts on the Vegas trip”

  1. shane said

    “…and you can’t beat a 99 cent hot dog.”

    My inner Beavis is snickering but I won’t let him near the keyboard.

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