Well guys, here's my trip report, hope it's of some interest.........
Flew out with Virgin from Gatwick on Sunday - got to be honest, felt quite cramped in Economy, flight was full so no 'upgrades' available. Food was poor and service was similar (It took them an hour to clear the trays after the 'main' meal). The TV in the back of 'my seat' was broken so I had no TV at all on the way over!!
Landed in Vegas early afternoon, after a 10 and a bit hour flight, not too bad, certainly better than the 16 odd hour flight if you change somewhere on the way.
Got a cab downtown to the Golden Nugget where we were staying. Check-in was real quick, no hassle, I had pre-booked the room through Hotels.com and saved about 40% on what the hotel were charging themselves. Having stayed in the Nugget for the last two years we knew what to expect although having new owners (Harrahs) we wondered what might have changed. We were staying at the Nugget for 7 nights then moving on to the Orleans for 4 nights. We normally stay on strip for the second half of the holiday but decided to try soemthing different this year.
Our room was very nice....as usual for the Nugget. The first thing we noticed was how busy it was, with the preliminary matches going on over the road at Binions for the World series of Poker, it was VERY busy, especially as the Nugget is THE 'classy' hotel downtown. The GN has just reopened it's poker room, now the game has really taken off again, although they've been a bit sneaky as they've 'taken' about 40% of the Pool area to put the Poker room in!! This makes things a little more cramped around the pool area and sun beds almost impossible to get between 11am and 3pm. (We got down there early each day)!
As we'd been up since early morning UK time we just had a mooch around the casino's downtown and watched a bit of Poker action over at Binions for a while before grabbing something to eat and played a bit of Video Poker in the evening before going to bed around 11pm.
Up at 8am'ish to grab a coffee and get down to the pool.......we like to treat Vegas as a kind of beach holiday during the day then hit the casino's/shows/restaurants etc in the evening. The weather was a bit cloudy over the first few days but was still around 84-86 degrees clearing up and warming up after a few days to 90-94 degrees.....lovely!! The good thing about going in early-mid-May is that the evenings are nice and cool around 66-70 degrees, perfect for walking around, unlike late May/early June when it is 95 degrees at 01:30am!!
We saw many famous faces playing poker at the Nugget and over at Binions, the actual WSOP didn't start for a couple of weeks but a lot of the big names were playing, probably warming up for the big event!!
We ate at a few of the 'cheaper' casino's downtown, and to be honest, the food was ok but nothing special. Binions coffeeshop did a nice brekkie tho'.
We spent the first few evenings downtown, I had no luck on the tables, losing at pretty much every game!! We had some small wins on VP, but nothing major. We then decided to get the bus up to the Strip on the 5th evening. You can catch the 301 or 302 from the end of Freemont St. down towards El Cortez casino. It's only 2 dollars per trip (or you can get a day pass). It's no hassle and a cheap way to get to the strip. We decided to go up the Eiffel tower at Paris hotel as we had been up the real one before but wanted to see the view at night from the top. It's an exceelent view, right across from Bellagio, we saw the fountain show from above!! Quite spectacular.
We decided to try to eat at 'The Cheesecake Factory' in Caesers. We had to put our name down and go back 30 mins later as it was so busy but it was worth it. Excellent food and the portions were ENORMOUS! Don't have a starter, the main meal is more than enough. I'd highly recommend it tho', very nice indeed and fairly cheap.
We got the bus up to the Strip a couple more times over the next couple of days as we weren't staying on the strip this year. We managed to get hold of some tickets for the new Cirque de Soleil show - Zumanity. It's very good but not quite as good as Mystere in my opinion I haven't been fortunate enough to see 'O' yet but hope to in the future.
We had a good night on VP in Caesers, ending the night about $350 up which made up for dismal efforts on the Let it ride poker tables!!
The monorail isn't open yet which is a shame, they are still testing it at the moment.
The following Sunday we checked out of the Nugget and got a cab to the Orleans. I'd got a pretty good rate there and I'd heard the rooms are bigger than most. It took a total of 45 mins to check out of the Nugget, jump in a cab, get to Orleans, check in and get to the room, pretty damn good I'd say!
The room was bigger than 'normal' with a view over the Pool, first impressions were very good. The pool area is large and there were only about 15-20 people down there, I've never seen so much room around a pool in Vegas! We ate in the hotel a few times, Sazio's, an Italian did some nice Pasta, I didn't like the layout/decor of the restaurant much but the food was pretty good and a reasonable price. The best restaurant, and a bit of a surprise to be honest, was Canal Street. It's the 'gourmet' restaurant of the hotel and is quite posh looking from the entrance. The service was first class and the food was excellent. I would highly recommend it for an evening. The price is still very reasonable, I think it set us back about £40 for main meals/desserts/drinks for the two of us.
Another good thing about the hotel is that there's a free shuttle bus all day/evening down the the Gold Coast casino and the Barbary Coast (on the strip) it's free and you don't actually have to be staying at the hotel to use it so if you're on the strip and you want to take a look at the Orleans, wait outside the Barbary Coast and a shuttle will come along every 15-20 mins.
The casino in the Orleans was very quiet on the whole. The hotel also has an 80 lane bowling alley and a multi-plex cinema so we went to see a film one night......very nice and a pleasant change for a holiday in Vegas!
My bad luck on the tables continued with more losses, on Roulette, Blackjack, Three card poker and Let it ride poker. Small wins occasionally on VP kept us going but it was bad overall.
I really wanted to play some Texas Hold 'em poker this year as I've been playing on the Internet for about a year on and off now and fancied playing on a table for the first time but with the World series going on, there were so many professional/semi-professional players in town (even more than usual)!! That I decided not to.....a decision I now regret big time, especially as my luck was so poor on the other table games.
With a couple of days to go, I finally got to do something that I've wanted to do for years.........I went to the 'Gun Store' - about three miles down the road from the 'Tropicana' hotel. you can hire guns there, they have a range out back. I hired an M16 machine gun, a Glock automatic pistol and a .44 'Dirty Harry' Magnum - Oh my god, it was fantastic!! Controlling the M16 was real difficult, how the soldiers are accurate with it I don't know!! The Glock is so light and very easy to aim and fire with little recoil. The Magnum is heavier and boy does that recoil after each shot!! Such a buzz. My wife got some good photo's during the shoot. The whole lot cost just over £50, probably the best £50 I have ever spent in Vegas!! there's a web site you can check out for it.....http://www.thegunstorelasvegas.com
We spent our days by the pool at the Orleans, soaking up the 90 odd degree sun and I got a bit hooked on their Strawberry Daiquiri's - very nice!!
Towards the end of the holiday we decided to visit 'Shark Reef' at the Mandalay Bay as it was one of the few places we haven't been to in Vegas over the last 3 years. It's very well set up, not really worth the money (I think it was about $14 each). A very nice collection though.
You can actually touch some sharks and Rays in a shallow pool, a bit like Sea World in Florida.
Before we knew it, it was all over. The end of the holiday. 11 nights is certainly long enough, especially for Vegas 'veterans'. We were ready to go home. The flight was delayed an hour coming home but only took just over 9 hours to actually fly home which was nice. Again the food was poor, service was better tho'. I don't think I'll pay the 'extra' to fly Virgin again, the only plus point is the flight times - which is a big plus mind you.
This will be our last trip to Vegas for a couple of years, we've been in every hotel, seen all the sites both locally and a bit further away ie: Grand Canyon, Hoover dam etc. So we'll give it a break for a while.
Vegas is still our 'favourite place' to holiday to, if you haven't been.....try it. It's not just about gambling, there's so much to do and see and you get better nightlife than you'll get anywhere around Southern Europe!
See ya in a couple of years Vegas!!
Ta for the PM, I was dying to know how it went
I will keep you up to date on Vegas stuff, and by the time you get back there you will be gagging for it again<g>.
Praps you should try the WSOP qualifiers for next year on Laddies? I shall check out the poker for you at the GN!
Ta for the info on The Orleans as well, we shall probably pop over there one day from the Barbary Coast to use the pool and the spa, and just to have a general mooch around
I'll do a couple of hotel reviews Luci, in fact I've stayed in a few hotels in Vegas now, I'll do several!
Had a good morning yesterday online, played in a cash game on Ladbrokes for about 80 mins and was $230 up........just as I was thinking about quitting for the day, I lost a big hand and went down $80. Still nice to make a profit but I need to be more consistent I think!!
Yes.......sold Lotus Elise 1999
and bought a Lotus Elise 2004!! yeaaahhhhhhh
Just thought I'd change to my initials now.......keep people guessing!!
We had planned to go to Vegas for our 10th anniversary and renew our vows for a laugh but I want to go sooner now!!
P.S. - must admit - the gun range is top of my list. I'll certainly be checking that out.
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