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    Viva Las Vegas!!May 12th, 2016
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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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Excalibur is like White Castle

ExcaliburLasVegasNot because they’re both “castles”. It’s because Excalibur may not be your first choice, but in the end it doesn’t leave a bad taste either. It has its purpose and that purpose for me is inexpensive consistent lodging. The rooms are clean, bed and pillows comfortable. We usually end up here when conventions or major events are going on causing other preferred options to go through the roof price wise.

Tip: I’ve stayed in both towers and Tower II rooms are, in my opinion, nicer/better condition.

Tip: Food Court upstairs offers many less inexpensive food options.

Excalibur_Pool[1]Never chilled pool side but it didn’t look bad from the 25th floor.

The casino and castle grounds could use some modernizing like neighboring properties New York New York and Monte Carlo.

In the end, a solid choice for budget conscious visitors (Stayed 1/2015 in tower II room 25-251)

Criss Angel – Don’t Be”LIE”ve this Cirque du Soleil LIE

Don’t Be”LIE”ve this Cirque du Soleil LIE. This show is NOT an “illusion spectacular” nor are there 40 “mind-blowing illusions”. This was a slow and boring let down. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, Zarkana, and Zumanity, I would, and have recommended each one of these. If you want to see Criss Angel save your money instead go to youtube and watch his video’s, then read his Wiki page because that’s what you will see at the show…. Seriously!

UntitledThis “fast paced” show was horribly slow. The I’m so cool Criss brings a 16 year old on stage, and then has an older woman tease the kid, so Criss can make “jokes” at his expense. This show was extremely awkward. It left many people looking around in disbelief. To be fair, some people, but very few, did seem to enjoy this miserable show. I think the overwhelming majority were to stun at the only illusion Criss and Cirque managed to pull off was to make the money paid for this show disappear.

This show stung so bad that we won’t be attending another Cirque du Soleil show doing our next Vegas trip. We decided instead to explore other Vegas offerings for a while. Listen to the reviews and pass on this show!

January 2014 Trip – Reviewed – Old and New Again

With our January 24, 2014 Vegas trip fast approaching I can’t help but find myself getting excited. Leading up to each trip I always try to loosely plan out things I want to see and do. Here’s what I have planned this time around, I guess you could call it, old and new again.

O’Sheas

osheas

The new O’Sheas, after being closed for over a year and a half it has reopened and from the sound of it better than ever. I’m really looking forward to drinking an Irish beer in this dark stained wood casino.

Flamingo

For this trip our new hotel to stay at is the Flamingo, yeah I’ve wrote bad things about this hotel in the past but this time around I have high hopes for their newly updated FAB rooms. They look great from the pictures and for the price at $26 per night just couldn’t be beat. Well not so fast, they now add an $18/night resort fee but overall still a FABulous deal.

Last time we stopped in the Flamingo it was absolutely hopping with a surprisingly younger crowd. Maybe it’s the Jimmy Buffet “casino” that’s doing it, whatever it is I’m looking forward to staying and playing here.

Downtown: Downtown Grand and Container Park

fabulous-downtown-las-vegasThe Downtown Grand  opened in late 2013, noted as the first new hotel to open downtown in 30 years, this off Fremont Street, former part Lady Luck Casino looks great from the pictures. On paper this place sounds like a winner though early reviews suggest otherwise. From what I’ve read gaming is less than stellar with poor video poker and black jack odds and slots tighter than a hungry boa constrictor, never the less I am eager to see for myself.

Downtown Container Park opened in November 2013, personally I’m not a shopper or remotely interested in shopping but this unique idea sparks my curiosity enough to go check it out. Located on Fremont Street, kiddy corner from El Cortez Hotel Casino, is the new 34 outlet style mall made up of all steel prefab shipping containers, some even stacked three tall.

To be honest I’ve never been a fan of downtown, but I’m starting to have a change of heart. With so many improvements going on, better video poker odds and lower table game minimums than the strip plus an overall fun atmosphere I foresee myself spending more time in this forming, much improved, playground.

Cirque du Soleil

ZumanityShow selection for this trip was an easy one, we are seeing Zumanity at New York New York. Simply could not pass up the fantastic deal we got from MyVegas.com, $53 (tax included) + 4k in MyVegas points for TWO tickets. Zumanity will be our 4th Cirque show and I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Tip: Have a Facebook account? Play MyVegas.com and earn REAL points

We had a GREAT trip, here are my REVIEWS

Zumanity

Best Cirque du Soleil show ever? No, but it was truly enjoyable. I’ve seen KA, Mystere, and Zarkana, all of these share commonality. Zumanity the edgy side of Cirque is well… that. Unlike other Cirque shows where sitting a little farther back is better, Zumanity is intimate so sitting closer is a plus. Nudity, profanity, sexuality, yes all here. In bad taste? Well that’s subjective. Sitting in the front row was an elderly (late 70’s/early 80’s) couple. I kind of watched them to see their reaction and from what I saw they held hands, laughed, and enjoyed the show along with everyone else.  

If you’re easily offended or prudish choose another Cirque show otherwise buy a ticket and enjoy the show.

Tips: The stage was small as was the theater itself. The best seats are definitely surrounding the stage. Get a drink before you enter the theater, but ask for it in a cup, yes they let you bring it in.

Click to EXPAND FULL REVIEW

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: Palazzo Resort Hotel and Casino

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When I plan a trip the dates we go are usually dictated by when I receive the cheapest airfare. Once airfare is secured I go looking for a hotel, car, etc.. Well for our January 7-12, 2010 trip I booked airfare in May of 2009! (Round trip ticket, including taxes and fees, $100 each).

When I started to look for a hotel I quickly realized we were going during the largest convention in Las Vegas, CES (Consumer Electronic Show). Because of the convention hotel rates usually go through the roof. So when I received a great deal from Excalibur I jumped on it. A couple months before our trip I received a post card from Palazzo/Venetian for $49/night, Sunday – Thursday and slightly more for the weekend. I called and inquired about the deal, they said the room was available for $49 that Sun and Mon. But then the person said that I had an offer available for 2 to 4 nights complimentary and he wanted to know if I was interested. Interested? Hell yes! I said. I then asked about that Friday and Saturday he told me that they were booked because of the convention, of course I thought. The only charge was the mandatory resort fee of about $15 per night. This covered internet, gym access and a few other things. Also I had the choice between either The Palazzo or Venetian properties. I selected the Palazzo because it’s newer and I prefer that casino. Further research confirmed I made the right choice as The Palazzo continuously receives better review ratings.

Sunday, January 10 just after noon we drove to valet to try to check-in early (normally check-in is at 3:00pm). As soon as we drove up we were treated like VIP’s, even though we were driving a rented bright blue Ford Focus. The valet personnel were very friendly as several of them greeted us even before we reached the doors. The registration desk was close by the entrance. The line was kind of long but there were plenty of registration staff on hand to move the line quickly. No surprise that the entire process was a breeze and everyone, and I mean everyone, greeted us like royalty. Elevators were across the casino but were directly off the casino floor. This is always a definite plus in my book. Security is located just before the elevators and they request to see your room key before allowing you to pass. This was a minor inconvenience but worth it I guess as there are some shady characters in Vegas.

Our room 47-727 was on the 47th floor overlooking the Northeast side of the valley and the Wynn golf course.

Check out this walk through VIDEO!!

Both my wife and I thought the room was outstanding. The decor and layout gave it a real “homey” feeling and not that of a hotel room. They did a great job dividing the room into sections without using walls. When you first walk in the spacious bathroom was on the left and included a nicely sized and conveniently located LED TV. As you enter the main room the king size bed was on the left and a 40 some inch LED on the right. Separating the bed area from a sitting area was a thigh high bench partition. The sitting area included a comfy wrap around couch with a good sized coffee table with another LED TV sitting on top of the snack station. In the same area was a small table with a couple of chairs and a desk for working which included an Ethernet cable for internet access, telephone, pen and paper, and a multi-function printer with USB hookup for continence.

Both the Palazzo and Venetian are upscale properties in a great area of the strip they are next store to the Wynn and across the street from TI (Treasure Island). Between the two properties are many dinning and shopping choices to choose from and browse.

The Palazzo and Venetian casinos are among my favorite places to gamble on the strip as they offer and wide variety of slot, VP, and table games. Their slot selection is a good mix of new and classic style machines. I always seem to be able to play here and consider it a good value for my dollar.

I rarely have problems with drink service here. Top shelf drinks are available and cocktail waitress ratio to patrons is good. Another plus is I find that their waitresses engaged and very friendly which is always a plus in my book.

Club Grazie is the name of the player’s card. Their comp program is competitive.

Tip: American Casino Guide – 2010 Edition, the annual guide to casinos across the United States, has many valuable coupons in the back of the book. One of the coupons is good for $25 in free slot play at either the Palazzo or Venetian for new club members. Even though I was already a Club Grazie member I inquired about the coupon and the hostess gave it to me AND my wife, that’s $50 just for the asking! Combined with the other coupons we used the cost of the guide was well worth the $13 we paid.

Tip: I am not a “High Roller” when it comes to gambling. But the Palazzo treated me like I was. It’s my understanding that if you cycle $50 through their machines you will start receiving 2-4 night complementary stays. I have received several, very tempting, postcards announcing this promotion since my trip.

In summary, our stay at the Palazzo was fantastic! We didn’t have a single complaint. Because of this we believe the Palazzo deserves 5 out of 5 Scotty Vegas Chips.