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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12th, 2016
  • Did You Know?

    • • LV's McCarran International (LAS) is the 8th busiest Airport in the U.S. and number 23 in the world, with 41.7 million passengers
    • • 79 percent of McCarran's departures and 82 percent of arrivals are on time, the average departure delay is 52 minutes and arrival delay is 50 minutes, and cancellations are at 0.6 percent
    • • McCarran Airport is only two to four miles southwest of most Las Vegas Strip hotels
    • • Metered taxi fares to major hotels on the Strip cost approximately $15–$25. A consolidated car-rental center is three miles from the terminal and is accessed by shuttle bus. ScottyVegas always rents a car.
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Eats from our January 2016 Trip – The Buffet Yard House Cravings Feast of not so Grand Buffet

LasVegasFood

Yard House – Located near the High Roller observation wheel at The Linq is Yard House. Nice looking place with good service and 100 beers on tap plus good, very reasonably priced, eats… do I need to say more? Sure I do! If the already mentioned didn’t spark an interest than these tips should:

Tip: GREAT Lunch Specials and Happy Hour (M-F, 3-6)

Tip: The Club Sandwich is da bomb! Seriously large sharable dinner portion.

Mirage’s Cravings Buffet Cravings is a solid buffet option with several themed stations with a variety of consistently good food options. Since we often stay at The Mirage Casino Hotel we’ve visited this buffet probably more than any other.

Tip: Buffet includes unlimited draft beer (Budweiser and Goose Island IPA) and house wine (a red and white)

Tip: Active military receives BOGO or 50% off

Excalibur’s The Buffet – If in the neighborhood and hungry for a buffet that won’t break the budget consider The Buffet at Excalibur. This recently upgraded buffet is well appointed with the usual buffet fare. Taste and selection is pretty good and the dessert area has a crepe station that I always look forward to.

Red Rock’s Feast Buffet – Located 30 minutes west of the strip in the Red Rock Casino is the Feast Buffet. And a feast it is!! This is one tasty, well appointed, clean buffet. I can’t think of one thing that didn’t taste good. We went for lunch and it was very crowded but service and food item availability surprisingly excellent!

Tip: Excellent weekday pricing (with players card), Breakfast under $7.50, Lunch $9, Dinner $14

Tip: Same quality and pricing can be found at Green Valley Ranch which is also a Stations Casino

MGM (not so) Grand Buffet – Saving the worst for last, you’re welcome. Wow, what a disappointment this buffet was. Went for dinner at around 5pm ($60, $30 each) and lunch was still being served. Talked to the manager as he happened to walk by. He admitted that the kitchen was slow transitioning (lunch ended at 3!) to dinner. I told him food dishes were empty and the place was a mess, and he agreed! Ironically there was plenty of cheap pizza coming out of the kitchen. No Thanks, refund please.

Tip: If something isn’t right, say something. Vegas usually makes things right without hassle

The manager said a buffet remodel is underway and asked us to give them a second chance after completion. Since I’ve had good experiences with the Grand Buffet in the past, I just might do that, but not until the remodel is complete.

 

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The Wonderful World of Casino Buffets

Excalibur buffet

Excalibur BuffetThis was our first ever visit to the Excalibur buffet. Freshly re-opened 12/2014, so everything was shiny new. The buffet itself offered a good selection of breakfast and brunch foods. The made to order omelet was large and delicious. I couldn’t help to indulge in the crepe station. The fresh baked muffin wrapped in a napkin was wonderful on the flight home. The buffet has a self-serve drink station with a nice variety of options. Weekday Buffet price was $17.99 each.  (Visited 1/2015)

 

Monte Carlo buffet

Monte Carlo 1This is a middle of the road buffet option in the land of buffets. Went for a weekday brunch and the breakfast items were of decent temperature and quality. Lunch items were disappointingly cold, when they were supposed to be hot. Selection was limited but adequate. It was very slow when we visited so maybe this contributed to our experience. Neither a fan, nor a hater on this one but the Excalibur, Orleans down the road, and Palms has it beat hands down with price and quality. (Visited 1/2015)

Ellis Island Steak Special and Other Budget Conscious Dining Options

It’s funny, when many people think of Las Vegas they think of cheap buffets and eats. Unfortunately those days are long gone from the strip. Instead celebrity chef named and other fantastic restaurants dominate Sin City these days. But not all is lost. Here are a couple places and ways to eat well and save some money.

Ellis Island

Looking for a good steak dinner at a fantastic price? If so, then read on because this little gem just might be one of the best deals going. If you rent a car (click for rent a car tips post) while in town then it should be a no brainer. Located just off the strip, on Koval (behind Bally’s/Paris) a block or so south of East Flamingo Rd is Ellis Island Casino and Brewery.

Image

This is a no thrills local’s casino near the big boys. This place offers great black jack and video poker payouts and wide selection of good food.  Okay so here’s the deal, for $9.99 (as of 1/2014) you get a 10 oz steak, choice of potato, vegetable of the day, salad, and a 22 oz Beer or Root Beer! Also, don’t expect to see this special on the menu or advertised anywhere in or around the casino because you won’t find it, just ask for it. I’m not a steak expert or pretend to be so I’m not sure of the cut. But what I do know that of the 4 or so times I’ve had it, it’s been good every time.

Warning Be warned this is not your Bellagio/ Steve Wynn property crowd here. This is a blue-collar working man’s casino that offer’s big bang for the buck.

Idea!: While you’re there why not sample some of their micro brews while playing 3-2 Black Jack or 9/6 Video poker or check out their highly rated karaoke nights?

Like this?: Check out my Mr. Lucky’s $7.77 Gambler’s Steak Special post

Buffets

Craving a buffet? Here’s a few that will satisfy your hunger and budget. All are off strip but offer breakfast and lunch buffets for under $10 with player’s card. Just another reason renting a car in Vegas for me is essential.

  • Palms Hotel and Casino just off the strip on Flamingo.  Besides a fantastic room, you can get a very good buffet and food court offerings.
  • South Point Hotel and Casino, several miles south on Las Vegas Blvd. Good buffet, good sports book, and lots of cheap table games.
  • Green Valley Ranch Hotel and Casino, okay this is a personal favorite all around, I just plain out like this place. Located in Henderson 12 miles from the Strip.
  • Orleans Hotel and Casino just off the strip on Tropicana, solid buffet and not a bad place to stay and play at either.

Tip: You can almost always save a few bucks at Casino buffets/restaurants by showing your players card

More, more, more…

Don’t have a car while in Vegas, no worries, check out these tips.

  • Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com – Possibly the best way to save on meals and entertainment.  I subscribe to both and regularly receive email announcing offerings.  Like with anything, always read the fine print before you buy.

Tip: Start watching a couple months before your trip and purchase deals as they pop up. Usually deals go like, get $40 for $20.

  • Restaurant.com – Many, many, opportunities to save money here. sign-up for email and receive discounts off certificates. Here you buy gift certificates at a discount.

Note: before you buy review the menu and minimum purchase requirements

  • Happy Hours – Nearly all restaurants have some type of happy hour specials that discount food and drinks.  Check out my Get Happier in Las Vegas with Happy Hour Specials! post
  • Casino food courts – Most casinos on the strip offer food courts with your usual fast food fare and some decent offerings for example, Earl of Sandwich (our go-to quick fix place) in Planet Hollywood, delicious!
  • Split a deal! Most portion sizes are huge, instead of stuffing yourself, consider splitting a meal with someone. Besides it’s hard to drink all that “free” booze on a full stomach.
  • Eat a late lunch and save. Lunch is cheaper than dinner and often goes until 4pm.

Why not?

Now that you saved a few dollars why not splurge and treat yourself and that special person to a fabulous meal. Like I said, there are plenty of wonderful, world-class restaurants to choose from in Fabulous Las Vegas!

Bon appetite!

2011 American Casino Guide and Coupon Book

Here’s a guide no casino enthusiast should be without! It’s loaded with information and COUPONS!! In fact, the cost of the book (under $13 at Amazon) is easily recouped by simply using a coupon or two. On our last trip we used MANY and saved tons. For Example:

  • $25 in FREE slot play at Venetian/Palazzo
  • $10 in FREE slot play for all slot club members at Hard Rock
  • Many table game match plays
  • Lots of food discount coupons
  • 2-for-1 cocktail and VIP entry to V Bar (Venetian)

See the entire coupon list yourself by clicking here.

The book also contains information on just about every casino in the nation like number of rooms, casino size, restaurants, Buffet Prices, and so much more.

Interested? If so, please purchase by clinking here, you pay the same price I make a few cents, we both win! Thank you in advance – ScottyVegas


Trump Plaza Atlantic City Review

Our first Atlantic City trip in May of 2010 left us with a favorable opinion of the City. So when we received the November Edition of the monthly Trump Plaza newsletter announcing among other things a complementary two night stay, we decided it was time to head back for another quick one night, two day trip. I called and reserved the room for one night, November 7, 2010.

When we arrived it was only 9:30am. We attempted to check in but the host said we would have to wait until checkout which is 11:00am. We checked our bags with the hotel’s concierge and proceeded to hit the casino floor.

The Plaza isn’t a large casino but offers a decent variety of slots, video poker and table games. On our last trip the plaza seemed to give me more play for my dollar so I was eager to drop some coin and play a few slots. During the time we were there Trump was offering Black Jack minimums of $1.00 but with a .25 cent fee per hand! First time I saw this little trick but regardless of the increased house advantage the tables where filled. I really enjoy playing in this casino the waitress service is fantastic (as is most of the casinos in AC), the drinks are tasty and they play some good music at a volume that is just right.

We came back around noon and quickly checked in. The hotel clerk said she got us a nice ocean front room in the east tower room 882. The elevators were just a short walk from the casino floor. Access to the rooms is very secure as there’s a security guard that checks your card just before you need to swipe it to go through doors that lead to the elevators. Once in the elevator you need to insert your card in the elevator before it allows you to press your floor button. Anyway our room was just off the elevator which was convenient.

The room had two double beds and was average in size. I thought from some pictures I’ve seen and the general decor of all the trump properties that the color gold would be everywhere making it all very gaudy.  Though there was some, everything was nicely decorated. The entire room was clean and it was very comfortable. The TV was your basic tube style but had a good selection of channels.  The best part of the room was its view! Staying on the eighth floor offered some great views of the Ocean and some of the boardwalk. I enjoyed chilling out on the bed watching the wave’s role in.

We tried the Plaza buffet, it was small with limited selection but what I had was tasty.

Tip: When you get a players card they give you a coupon book that has a buy 1 get 1 buffet coupon. Even if you already have a card, which I already did, they gave me one when I asked.

The cost of the buffet dinner was $18 dollars, so not bad with the coupon.

From what I have seen the plaza’s rates are very reasonable throughout the weekdays but shoot way up for Friday and Saturday nights this seems to be the case throughout the  Fall, Winter and early spring months. As the weather warms the rates increase throughout the summer regardless of day.  Next to the Plaza (just a short walk) is the Tropicana and on the other side is Caesar’s Palace (very close) which connects directly to Wild Wild West and Bally’s casinos.

Tip: It appears that room comps are very easy to get for the non-summer months as I have received them monthly now and I am a very low roller.

All the employees we talked to at the Plaza were very friendly and eager to help.  Our overall Plaza experience was very positive and would certainly stay there again. With all this said I easily give The Trump Plaza Atlantic City three out of five chips.

Review: Palace Station Hotel and Casino

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas2

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas2

Leading up to our January 7 – 12, 2010 trip we received a post card in the mail for a free hotel stay in a deluxe room (Standard) at select Station Casino’s. After looking up reviews and locations we decided to take Stations up on their offer and selected Palace Station. We thought, what the heck, we’ll save money and besides we like trying new properties.

We arrived in Las Vegas late Thursday night, 1.5 hours later than planned due to Snow and de-icing out of Detroit Metro. We headed straight for Palace Station, of course taking Las Vegas Blvd even though there was a quicker route. Anyway, the Check-in process went very smooth and quick as the registration host was extremely friendly. The elevators were conveniently close by as we headed up to our room on the 27th floor. I joked to my wife as I noticed the 27th floor was the top, Penthouse baby here we come. When we got out of the elevator we noticed immediately how nice the hallway was, it was much nicer than expected.

2411 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV‎ 89102 – (702) 367-2411

Our room 27-727 was just down the hall from the elevator. We opened the door and again were surprised, as we entered the small hallway to the main room. The room was very Large with a King size bed, end tables, Full size couch, Large coffee table, Table and chairs, and a huge entertainment center with attaching bookshelves which housed books and various knick knacks. However, a large plasma TV was the center of attention. There was also a bar like counter with a sink for convenience.

Moving on to the bathroom, it was huge! Large jet tub, glass shower, double sinks with granite countertops and vanity, and large surrounding mirrors. There was a small flat panel TV for your viewing pleasure while getting ready. The toilet was behind a separate door for privacy.

The entire suite was about 35 by 30 feet long with 12-15 foot ceilings. A window made up the entire wall over looking downtown Las Vegas with Circus Circus and the Stratosphere in plain sight. It was an awesome view in the morning as the mountains surrounded the city.

See for yourself, youtube.com video walkthrough:

Well after we put down our bags and looked around the room we were ready for something to eat so we headed downstairs. There is a Starbucks, Bakery, a restaurant, Subway and Buffet on the premises, unfortunately they were all closed. So we decided to head out for a quick bite since we were practically starved. Across the street were several restaurants, most were closed but two, a McDonalds and an In-n-Out Burger. I hate McDonalds but have heard many positive things about In-n-Out so we headed for the drive thru. In-n-Out lives up to its motto “Quality you can taste”. Prices were reasonable and the food was good.

After eating we headed back to play around for awhile. The casino was your average “locals” style casino with a variety of new and old slots machines. Table games had better than strip odds and low minimums with seating available. As typical with locals casino’s their video poker machines had better payouts too. There is also a small sports book on the property.

Regarding Drinks, overall waitress service was good with drink quality average.

Along with the free night offer was a buy one, get one free buffet coupon. So the next morning we headed to the buffet. Breakfast is regularly $6.99 each so for a mere seven bucks and some change we both ate. The Buffet was clean and inviting with ample selections to choose from though nothing to rave about. It most certainly was adequate and met its purpose of supplying us nourishment for the day.

Though I wouldn’t want to stay here for an entire Las Vegas trip, mainly because of its distance from the strip, I would definitely consider it again if arriving very late or other like reason.

Overall the room was clean (with exception to minor hard to reach areas) and comfortable. We were pleasantly surprised by our suite upgrade. Our morning buffet was good and so was the Starbucks coffee. Palace Station offers many slot and table games to choose from. Casino vibe was that of a typical locals style casino indicated by a mix of both locals and tourists. Hotel/Casino staff was friendly and accommodating. Therefore, I am giving Palace Station a rating of 3 out of 5 chips.

What would you NEVER do again in Las Vegas?


Las Vegas Strip

Originally uploaded by scottyvegas2

Oh what a great question this is. I frequently peruse and participate in forum discussions at Trip Advisor. Someone posted this question and as you could imagine it received an overwhelming response with over 120 replies. I found the replies both entertaining and informative. They kind of answer many questions people ask or wonder about when planning a Vegas trip. The replies have confirmed mental notes I have made to myself, “NEVER eat at the Riviera Hotel Casino buffet again!” and so on…….

Since I enjoyed them so much I thought you might enjoy them as well so I went through them all and plucked out my favorite, cleaned them up and made a few comments. Regardless of how many times you’ve been to Vegas you should be able to take something away from these.

TipTrip Advisor is a great site for hotel reviews and everything else trip related regardless of where you’re headed. I use it to get hotel price ranges, see honest photos taken by reviewers, and to review area attractions. I highly recommend it, check it out.

 

Forum Replies:

NEVER go to Circus Circus or Slots a Funk (Fun) again!

I would NEVER do so much shopping without working out how to get my purchases home first – or leave shipping everything until the last day!

I’ll NEVER spend New years Eve in Vegas again

I will NEVER leave Vegas before 6:30am – You don’t know how bad this is until you’ve done it, avoid if at all possible

I will NEVER eat at the IP (Imperial Palace) buffet again

I will probably NEVER go to Las Vegas with family (parents, sister, brother, niece, ect.) again. I find it very hard to have an intimate family time in Vegas.

I will NEVER go when money is so tight I have to watch every penny.

I will NEVER take a red eye flight to Vegas without having a room ready when we arrived.

I will NEVER take money from an ATM from my credit card. Fees are ridiculous.

I will NEVER visit Las Vegas for only one or two nights.

NEVER ever keep playing the same slot machine, because I was stupid to think it’s going to hit.

I will NEVER stay at a dump like the Riviera again to save money

I will NEVER book a red eye flight home when checking out of my hotel at 11 am that day – Having a rent a car is priceless in this situation

I will NEVER put more than $20 in a non-paying slot thinking that “it is bound to start hitting!”

I will NEVER stay Off Strip again. I am a Strip person, through and through.

We will NEVER see the Blue Man Group again – This one surprised me, but there were several postings, I guess it’s not for everyone

We will NEVER go with family & friends who only have a $20 budget (per day)! – I can’t even imagine!

NEVER get lured into Casino Royale with “free money” from their Zoltar fortune-telling machine. First you had to sign up for their casino card and then learned that you will be playing certain “special” slots machines with the credit to win a chance at a pot. It took forever to lose all our “free money”. We should have just walked away. – Been there, done that, live and learn

I will NEVER go to another timeshare presentation – that was 3 hours wasted out of 4 days of precious Vegas time.

I will NEVER walk from New York New York to the stratosphere because it didn’t look that far. – Distances are deceiving on the strip
and the sidewalks aren’t straight

I will NEVER ever go with none gamblers again they stand behind you and say why do you think this is fun? What is the attraction? As my other friend said they just “sucked all the fun out of gambling”. – Once again, I can’t imagine

I will NEVER remember that the Tropicana casino is not worth walking across the bridge to visit it.

I will NEVER gamble more than the amount I plan for each day. Never chase comps!

I will NEVER again go see the Show in the Sky at the Rio. – Don’t get me started…

I will NEVER go to Las Vegas and think I will get by on my winnings.

I will NEVER go over my personal drink limit while gambling. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I will NEVER book a flight somewhere else with an 8 hour layover in Vegas. Sounded fun at the time. I lost more on that layover than our regular vacation.

I will NEVER again stay in 5 hotels in 6 nights.

I will NEVER forget that I’m in Las Vegas on vacation, and given my limited time there, there are some things more important than saving $10 on something….

I will NEVER stay at a hotel with the idea that it’s just a place to sleep and clean up at. I discovered that a nice room DOES matter.

I will NEVER drink too much and spend the following day or two trying to recover- Vegas time is too precious – Amen

I will NEVER ever go with friends who bring their kid! – See Post: Children in Vegas

I’ll NEVER go to Bonanza (world’s largest gift shop) again

I will NEVER again worry about a strip view when I NEVER look out the window once after the day I arrive….I would prefer a better room that a better view.

I will NEVER again buy new shoes for a Vegas trip

I will NEVER stay at the same hotel for 6 years (MGM). Once I started checking out different hotels (off and on the strip) I was addicted. – I love trying new hotels

NEVER buy a wristband pass to a club from the street promoters even if they are legitimate, they will tell you anything to sell you the wristbands. – Never buy anything from a street vendor/person

I will NEVER again decide it is a great idea to do a round of golf midday when the temperature is 120.

I will NEVER again leave all my money in Vegas again!

Have your own “NEVER do again in Vegas” you would like to share? Well go ahead leave it in comments.