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Las Vegas…again

Posted by jrswift on May 29, 2008

So I went to Las Vegas again at the start of this month and I haven’t really blogged about it at all. Maybe I don’t have a whole lot to say or maybe I’ve just been lazy. It is probably a little bit of both. This was the 15th trip in the last 12 years and change and I don’t have a whole lot to add to my earlier remarks about the city. Nonetheless, I’ll post a short trip report with some highlights.

Did the whole Sunday through Friday trip this year for the first time in several years. This pretty much completely skips the expensive Vegas weekend hotel rates but potentially exposes you to some pretty crowded airport/flight conditions and isn’t always conducive to getting the cheapest airfares either. I was able to book far enough in advance to avoid the latter problem and I just dealt with the former. One of the flights was literally full and the other one was pretty close so that wasn’t too comfortable, especially ending up in the back row next to a smelly guy on the way back.

Went with my friend JT and we spent a little time with our mutual friend Jason as he was there during the same time we were. JT likes to gamble and can spend hours on end at the tables so this was probably the closest thing I’ve had to a solo trip in quite some time. I still had someone to go eat with and share a room with but I could go off and explore on my own without feeling like I was leaving him out.

We stayed at the Gold Coast for the first three nights and then moved to the South Point for the last two nights. Cost was very reasonable and the rooms were nice. The South Point is way the hell south of the Strip though it is on Las Vegas Blvd but it is still very new and the room was on a par with most anywhere else I’ve stayed and had a nice 42 inch TV which is biggest I’ve ever seen in a hotel room. They also have a strip shuttle and a free shuttle to the airport which saved us a pretty costly cab ride. Got a lift from the GC to the South Point from Jason and his mother which was very cool and so our transportation costs were quite low for the trip.

As far as food, we did try a couple of new places. We ate at both the buffet and the coffee shop at the South Point and it was decent for the price. Neither place would be worth making a special trip but are fine if you are staying there. Also ate at both the buffet and coffee shop at the Gold Coast and they were also fine. Had the T-Bone steak special at the GC and it was quite good as well as being very filling. As for fine dining, I guess that would be our trip to the Wynn buffet. We have gone to the Bellagio each of the last 3 years and are big fans of the buffet there and, after trying the Wynn, I think I still prefer the the Bellagio. That being said, the Wynn buffet is very nice. The setting is relaxed and quite attractive, the staff was very attentive without being intrusive and the food is excellent. Definitely the best cheesecake of the trip but few of the other selections stand out in my mind. Like the Mirage or TI, I thought it was good but not spectacular and I doubt I will make a special effort to visit again unless I am in the area or with a friend who wants to check it out. Otherwise, it was mostly little snacks here and there and a couple of nights my dinner was essentially Budweiser. Oh well…it is Vegas.

Along those lines, I was never out particularly late and I never slept in on the whole trip. I actually ate breakfast (in the morning) three of the five mornings and was actually up one day at 6:30. It may have been partly that I was tired when I arrived and so I got into the habit of crashing early. It is also true that we really didn’t go out and drink to excess any of the nights we were there. Along the same lines, there were several things I didn’t do on this trip which are usually required activities. No trip downtown, no trip to see the Bellagio fountains, no trip out to the Hard Rock and, for the second year in a row, no trip out to the Orleans.

Did however see a few new casinos so I’ll give my impression. Got a ride out to the Summerlin area and spent some time at both Red Rock and the Suncoast. Red Rock is a beautiful casino and I could definitely see myself spending some time there in the future. Didn’t gamble much there except for a few games in the keno lounge which is very nice but walking around you can see that they put a lot of money and thought into the place. Attractive cocktail waitresses and clientele and just all-around beautiful place. The Suncoast (not surprisingly) is just another Coast-style casino like the Orleans or Gold Coast which means that, while I generally liked the place, it is not really a destination, just a comfortable place to stay and gamble. Also visited the new Pallazzo at the Venetian and was quite impressed. Didn’t just look like another generic high-end hotel/casino which is nice. And, of course, we spent a fair amount of time at the South Point. Another of the Coast-style casinos but maybe a little nicer. Had a fair amount of good luck playing the machines there so I spent quite a bit of time doing it over the last two days. Good drink service and a large (though not huge) variety of machines and gambling options. The Race/Sports book was nice though I didn’t gamble there.

As for gambling, I did what I usually do. Spent a little time playing keno (no luck at all this trip) and the rest split between penny slots and nickel video poker. Didn’t have that much success as my big win was $30 off a brief visit to a quarter video poker machine. Finally spent that afternoon betting the ponies this year (at TI) and I have to say it was quite enjoyable and a good way to kill some time. Didn’t really lose much money though we didn’t have any good wins either and the cocktail waitress was very attentive once she realized we were tipping.

Overall it was a fairly relaxing trip and I didn’t really spend much money. I’d say the cost per person with airfare, hotel, transportation, parking was only about $400 which is very good indeed for five nights. It was probably the least “touristy” trip I’ve ever had but, when you’ve been as many times as I have, there isn’t all that much you are just dying to see. I keep thinking I might finally make it back this year on my birthday but who knows. I could definitely see reducing the trip length to 3 or 4 days the next time as I think I usually pace myself the first couple of days of the trip anyway and, with a shorter stay, I could just skip that part. Anyway, I don’t think this was all that entertaining but now you’ve been brought up to date. Have a good one.

4 Responses to “Las Vegas…again”

  1. […] Talk to the author know. […]

  2. […] Original post by jrswift […]

  3. Las Vegas said

    After your fourth time in Vegas you shouldn’t have much to add. The first time in Vegas is magical, second time is alright, third time is the same old stuff all over again. I know the pain of being in Vegas more than once and you have been there 15 times already. Ouch well hopefully next time you have a better place to stay in.

  4. Thanks for the very real and solid post about Las Vegas.

    I agree… South Point is a decent place to stay with free shuttle and good food. But… it isn’t anywhere near The Strip. Not like staying at Orleans and similar!

    Funny you mentioned cheesecake because that has always been one of my defining factors in the overall judging of a buffet!

    Must give you huge credit for seeing may of the “locals” casinos are attractions. 99% of visitors here will never see or check out what you did. Nice to see that someone is seeing more than just The Strip.

    Ted Newkirk
    Managing Editor

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