As the calendar shows April and temperatures spike toward fun in the sun, thoughts of a Las Vegas for spring break trip report and let’s get out of town vacation getaways cross the minds of many.
“People don’t take trips… trips take people.”
Everybody loves going on vacation-kids love it, adults need it, and the travel and hospitality industry banks on it. Dave the Builder and I have had slowed our vacation roll over the past couple of years. New career paths, project deadlines and family responsibilities will do that. Short weekend getaways and reading back over trip reports from trips of vacations past keeps vacation hope alive. Our son is home this week for his spring break vacation which will find me pushing back from the keyboard for a couple of days. I thought I would share our Las Vegas for spring break trip report from our 2008 with you. You may be asking yourself, “Who wants to read about a Vegas vacation from several years ago?” Call me crazy, but I’ll read a trip report about any town, anywhere, anytime.
Although prices, airlines names, hotels, restaurants and the live and in person names on the marquee change, the allure of the Vegas vacation remains the same. Travel deals, hotels, shows, dining, shopping and gambling- they’re all present and accounted for. I’ll post the report in a couple of installments as not to take too much of your time, bore you or both. As for staying on topic, you will find personal opinions and comments on design, decorating and architectural elements peppered throughout.
Getting There, Staying There… Air and Hotel
We used Continental OnePass miles (now United) for the airline tickets with the extra added travel bonus of no charge for our first or second bags due to acquiring our tickets before April 2008. Flying on reward tickets has the drawback of limited departure times. We chose the crack of dawn departure time of 5:40 AM CST which is early, but we look at like this- you arrive in Vegas around 8:30 AM PST with an entire day of Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas in front of you.
We came to the decision to go back to basics in terms of taking the Bellagio and Wynn way of doing Vegas off the table for this trip. Our last two trips bordered on decadent, and although we loved every minute of it, we were ready to take it in a casual flow direction. We almost caved with the great offer we received from Wynn, but our last stay was so near perfect I decided to just savor the memories. This is a short comment and review of sorts given to a fellow hey baby, let’s go to Vegas travel friend.
“Great detailed report. Aren’t they the best?!
I am in the great pay vs. comp room debate. We stayed at Wynn in 2007 for our 25th wedding anniversary. My tastes do not tend to favor the “Californication” decor, but the room delivered a studio apartment feel perfect for relaxing. It wasn’t until we checked out that I realized how much I enjoyed the room. The interior design and room decor was neither overpowering nor understated. It achieved what good design and decor does, it made a lasting impression. I will give Wynn and Encore more play in the future in hopes of scoring a comped room.
Some of our best Vegas memories are from our stays at Venetian and Palazzo. Dave and I love the decor, customer service and attention to detail. I have read negative reviews regarding the “fakeness” of the architecture and the use of plastic and faux finishes.
Grand Colonnade ~ The Venetian Las Vegas
For the love of all things Vegas, give it a rest! I’m an interior decorator, and even I don’t look that close nor care. Do you know the cost involved in attempting an architectural replication with authentic materials?
The suites of Venetian, Venezia and Palazzo are some of the best the strip has to offer. Yes, the property makes a fine impression on us!”
As soon as we got home from our last Vegas trip I went right into trip planning mode. Dave and I bounced plans and opinions around until we fined tuned the plan. Our hotel choices for this trip came in at everyone’s favorite Vegas vacation rate- comped.
Vegas Vacation Tip #1 (any other vacation destination applies here, too):
Experiencing sensory overload while in Vegas is to be expected. One tends to lose track of time, sleep and the ability to think straight. Over the years our trips have run the gamut from whirlwind in town for only 72 hours full tilt blowouts (younger days) to ten days and nights Vegas isn’t going anywhere themed trips. Regardless of the number of hours or days of the trip, I like to have a pre-trip pre-planned agenda to loosely follow as more of a daily guideline than a hard and fast schedule. Schedules and time commitments don’t really coincide with my idea of relaxing and recreating, but shows and dinner reservations wait for no one. Then there is the dreaded “what do you want to do today? I don’t know, what do you want to do today?” kiss of vacation death. If you’re not careful you will blow valuable vacation time suspended in decision mode. Besides, don’t we all do enough of that at home a la “what do you want for dinner? I don’t know, what do you want for dinner?” Yeah you do!
We try to put a new spin on Vegas each trip by staying at properties we have yet to stay at. I logged on to our MGM Mirage player club accounts and discovered a great offer from Treasure Island. We booked Treasure Island Tuesday- Saturday with $$$ in free play and two comped buffets included.
Taking aim at the Rio from our hotel room at TI. Note the reflection of my old Fuji Finepix Z camera in the photo. Great camera and a not so great photographer. I’ve come a long way, baby.
Caesars Entertainment came through with a Summerfest Slot Tournament offer of four comped nights at Rio with one night at $78. Our host from the Stardust is now at Rio, and with one well placed phone call we were set with all five nights now comped.
My, how the look of the Las Vegas Strip has changed over the years.
Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!
We landed at 8:49 AM PST, and after the usual airport doing that thing you do we arrived at Planet Hollywood’s front door around 10:10 AM. We wanted to kill an hour or two before checking in at Treasure Island. Dave the Builder loves playing blackjack at Planet Hollywood, and I couldn’t wait to hit Sephora, ABC, and L’Occitane. Dave won therefore he was a happy Vegas camper. I, on the other hand, contributed funds to the Vegas retail economy and county sales tax office. With goodies in hand we headed the rental car North to TI. The check- in line was wild at 11:45 AM, but the lines moved quickly. Stephanie at check- in was a delight to deal with, and after a nice conversation we were assigned room 31036 with exactly the view we wanted. The room was on the corner with one window facing Venetian and Las Vegas Boulevard. The other window offered great views of the Strip from Mirage to CityCenter. The bellman was up to the room with the bags in short order, I checked my look in the mirror, and it was time for our favorite lunch destination, The Palm at The Forum Shops in Caesars Palace.
The Palm Business Lunch is one of the best wins of every trip for us. We both ordered the filet with salad and Dave had Lobster Bisque for an appetizer. Our “we’re in Vegas” lunch was exactly what we needed. Well, almost. What we needed was to get our gambling on at Caesars.
On this our first day of gambling ~
Dave’s game of choice is blackjack, and my games of choice involve a comfortable seat, a button, a Shirley Temple, and some reel action. I was playing on a $1 WOF machine and just about to call it an evening when I got the bonus spin and the sweet cry of Wheel-of-Fortune sang out. The “wheel” landed on $500 for a nice ending to the Caesars afternoon. We dragged our tired bodies back to our home base of Treasure Island. I set the we’re in Vegas, baby mood by tuning the sound system to the smooth jazz station, turning the A/C thermostat to arctic blast, and pulling the drapes back for prime neon viewing. Sticking with our first night tradition, we ordered a light supper of French onion soup, chicken noodle soup, toast and milk for two and one of the best slices of cheesecake we have had in quite awhile from room service.
Blurred photo to match my blurred eyes. It’s been a long first day in Vegas
Our lovely evening ended at the embarrassing hour of 9:15 PM. I announced to Dave we are officially old as my head hit the pillow.
Stay tuned. It’s just getting good.