This was our anniversary trip- 26 years since our wedding and our first trip to our now-favorite destination- you guessed it- Las Vegas.
We got incredibly good airfare from Spirit out of Detroit. Of course they do try to make up for it with impossibly tight and uncomfortable seating, charging for checked luggage and charging for beverages during the flight. We also experienced turbulence as we approached Vegas which was a bit unsettling for many of us.
Despite all that we were so happy to be in Vegas! We rented a car through Payless using the Breezenet.com site to find the lowest prices. Our first destination and home for two nights was the Gold Coast. We have stayed at over twenty hotels and, as a hotel, Gold Coast is near the bottom of the list. I chose it because of the low cost poker tourneys and BINGO- which we did take advantage of- both days. In fact I managed to place in the money at one of our poker tourney outings. My husband won a BINGO game also so these were the highlights of our stay at Gold Coast. We ate at the buffet (C rating) and at Ping Pang Pong (B rating) which is a unique dining experience.
On our first night we went to Wynn to see Spamalot with half price tickets through an internet special. Never go to a show on your first night in Vegas. It was a fun show but we were dead tired and I think I even fell asleep a couple times despite the hilarity. Hubby loved it and laughed heartily throughout. Rated: B+.
On our second night we went to see Celine Dion, an anniversary present from hubby. What a grand treat this was! I’ve always wanted to see Celine but had no idea that her show would be such a HUGE production with just as much to see, going on all the time, as there was to hear with her lovely music. It was magical. Definitely an A+ experience! We followed the show with a pizza at the California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage. Past experience has been very good, this time the pizza was just so-so. Rating C+.
Monday was moving day. Before heading downtown to the Golden Nugget, we found our way to the much recommended Hash House A-Go-Go, on Sahara. Here we had our most memorable meal of the trip. The portions were huge. I had a one pound hamburger with blue cheese with a side of mac-n-cheese. Hubby had one of the Hash/Eggs Benedict specials. We left half of the food on our plates even though every bite was delicious. Another A+ experience.
I tried the twenty-dollar-trick at check in at Golden Nugget and… it worked! We were upgraded to the Spa Tower. The room was large and beautifully decorated and we would rate it an A- (hey, no flat screen TV) experience. After making the downtown rounds we brought deli sandwiches to the room from Binion’s for an early night.
Tuesday was our favorite day. As a surprise for our anniversary, I rented a cabana at the Nugget’s poolside. We are not “pool” people normally but this seemed like it would be a luxurious diversion and it was! Although I reserved the cabana several months in advance I was told that it wouldn’t be confirmed until close to the date. I read somewhere that since there are a limited number of them, they like to keep their options open in case a high roller happens along who wants a cabana. Well they never confirmed it so it was a pleasant surprise to find out that morning that it was reserved under our name! We had it for the entire day (9 am- 9 pm) and could come and go as we pleased. The pool is called “The Tank” because of the shark tank enclosed in the center of the pool and it’s been getting a lot of press lately because it just opened last spring and it is unique. There is a water slide/tube that goes from the third level down through the shark tank into the pool. Our cabana was on the third level overlooking the pool. Of course, I did go “down the tube” --not once, but twice! Mind you, I’m not little and I’m not young…so this was quite a feat for me! The cabana itself has two chairs and a love seat, a flat screen TV, a small refrigerator, 4 lounge chairs outside, loads of towels and a safe. The refrigerator came stocked with bottled water and a large fruit, cheese and cracker tray that served as a meal for us later in the day. The cabana manager spent time familiarizing us with the facilities and visited several times during the day to see that we were comfortable. We had our own cocktail waitress as well who came by regularly. It was gloriously sunny day so we were able to sun ourselves, read, watch TV, swim and just have a slow day of luxury, It was a great place for people-watching too, as we looked directly over the pool. They even have a few gaming tables at poolside so we went down and had a session of blackjack in the middle of the day.
We topped this day off with our annual trip to the Golden Gate deli for the famous shrimp cocktail. This is the evening that gambling finally turned around for us as well. I finally had a winning session at Let It Ride (with the three card bonus bet) and then hit my first 4-of-a-kind on a DDB video poker back at the Nugget. We trolled Fremont Street once again. I think Fremont Street is such an exciting and fun place- I love being down there at night. We did see part of one of the new stunt shows on the street- amazing!
Wednesday was leaving day – but not until 10 pm. Nevertheless we had to pack up and check out in the morning. We packed in a full day of gambling stopping at Ellis Island for lunch, then Planet Hollywood, to see the changes, and then on to The Orleans where we spent the remaining part of the day. Ellis Island was a huge disappointment in nearly every respect. We had been there once before for the steak special and weren’t terribly impressed but thought we’d give it another try. We also had POV coupons for dining and gaming so that lured us in. When we went to order lunch it was like a game, “no you can’t have that with a coupon”, “no you can’t use the coupon with any specials”, “you must have your slot card for this” (a quick trip to the slot host to print a new one), etc. It seemed we didn’t get what we wanted, we didn’t get any deal and the food was not that good. Rating: D.
Our visit to Planet Hollywood didn’t start out too well either. The valet refused to park us without a hotel key. In all of our trips to Vegas we’ve never seen this happen before. We were directed to the parking garage and we circled forever before finding a spot. The parking garage puts you at the Miracle Mile Shops- farthest from the casino. Needless to say, we were pretty grouchy by the time we got to the casino. Interestingly, the ambiance of the casino had a calming affect on us. It is spacious and well appointed in a soothing design. Some casinos are so garish but this new décor was relaxing and appealing. We spent some time in the sports book relaxing and did some gambling before finding our way around the Miracle Mile back to our car. Then it was off to The Orleans for the purpose of trying to win some of our money back and just having fun, before leaving town. Played a little of everything, including Let It Ride, Blackjack, Video Poker and finished it off with a winning session on slots. Didn’t recover all our losses but it gave us some going home money and that’s good enough for me. Had our last meal at Friday’s, rating A-, before heading for the airport.
We had an uneventful trip home, arriving in the early morning hours in Detroit.