Vegas Baby!

Saturday July 27, 2013

Off to Las Vegas. In 2011 I was in Vegas 3 times for work meetings and it’s been almost 5 years since my husband Dennis has been. And, as much as I hate the heat, I love Las Vegas, and we were both excited for this last minute trip.

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We flew on Sun Country and splurged just a bit and upgraded to first class.  It was a great idea, Dennis was so much more comfortable. Free checked bags are included in first class…lovely not to have to carry them on the plane, and then we were given cheese and crackers as an appetizer, a full supper, wine, beer, hot towels after our meal and had use of the Digi machine to watch movies, TV, or listen to music. The seats were comfortable and the flight attendants nice and personable. It was s smooth ride into Vegas and Dennis loved the extra leg room and wider seats.

I didn’t pre-buy our airport/hotel transfers this trip so we had figured on taking a taxi after we landed in Vegas. Little did I know, Sun Country actually sells transfers on board the plane. They were $13 round trip for a strip hotel, same price we would have paid from a tour company, and a better value than a taxi so it was an easy decision. You need to use a credit or debit card (no cash sales on board the plane) and we were given a receipt and the 2 transfer coupons per person. It was fast and easy to purchase.

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I have never flown Sun Country into Las Vegas before but I have to say I liked flying into the smaller Terminal 3 versus Terminal 1 where Delta and the bigger airlines fly into. Terminal 3 reminded me a lot of the Sun Country terminal in Minneapolis (terminal 2), more conveient and less hassel. Las Vegas Airport Information

Our first 2 nights hotel stay were at the Trump Hotel Las Vegas. We stayed on the 51st floor, room 5106, a 1-bedroom strip view suite. It was stunning and our room had all the amenities the Trump Web site spoke about:

  • Breathtaking views of the iconic South Las Vegas Strip
  • Expansive family-friendly, non-smoking hotel suites
  • Private foyer entrance
  • European style kitchen with appliances by Wolf, Bosch, and Sub-Zero
  • Dining area with seating for four
  • Living area with sofa seating, coffee table and flat-screen, LCD HDTV
  • Full second bathroom with shower in living room
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows in living room and bedroom
  • Master bedroom with king-size bed
  • Luxurious bedsheets and plush down comforters and pillows
  • Italian marble bath with twin sinks, spa tub, separate shower and high-tech, in-mirror, plasma television
  • iHome music system
  • Wireless internet with on-site IT support
  • In-suite safe for storing personal items

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I loved the big plush bath robes they provided for our use while in the suite and having the 4 bottles of water was an added bonus. I also liked that we didn’t have to worry about “extras” within the room we would have to pay for – like so many hotels these days now have with stocked mini bars and things that are on sensors and if you move anything they are automatically charged to your room.

We received a $25 spa credit if we spent $125 in the spa (although not enough time to use it). We ate at the main eating area for breakfast. Coffee and pastries. I have to say, service was lacking, very slow, not what I expected when room services is guaranteed in 15 minutes or less – took us longer than that to get our food. I’ve never stayed at a non-gaming hotel in Las Vegas hotel before and honestly, I didn’t miss not having the casino right at our hotel in the least. Our stay was lovely, I would definitely stay at this property again.

After inspecting our hotel on Saturday night we headed across the street to the Fashion Show Mall. WOW – what a difference a day (well years) makes! The last time we were in this mall (at least 5 years ago – maybe more) it was virtually dead with very few people walking around and it just seemed desolate. Now it was buzzing with people and an abundance of shops and kiosks. From the mall we headed over to Treasure Island and explored for a while then across the street to Walgreens. We definitely do not have Walgreens like this in Minneapolis! This one was decked out. We purchased some beer, wine, and snacks before heading back to our room to relax (yes we are old).

Sunday July 27th, 2013

Dennis’s cousin John picked us up and we headed to the Hoover Damn. Having not been since before 911 it was interesting to see the changes they have made. You pass security to get into the area and they have created a new highway and walking bridge you can view the damn from. It was a really interesting way to see things. On our way back we were able to view a gathering of big horn sheep grazing in a park near the side of the road. John said for all the years he’s lived in Nevada he’s never seen a group of them grazing like that.  After a great day and wonderful lunch and time catching up with John and his wife Laura we headed back to our hotel and then off to see the Cirque Du Soleil show Mystere. The show was great and we had wonderful seats (definitely worth a little extra money for center stage seats).

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Monday July 29, 2013

I decided to check out Trumps pool this morning before we checked out of the hotel. It was nothing real fancy, big rectangle pool, with cabana beds around it that had to be rented. Otherwise they had loungers around the pool you could sit at. They did “police” the cabana beds – so you were not able to use them unless you rented them. I spent about an hour at the pool reading and relaxing before we had to pack up, check out, and head over to the Cosmopolitan hotel for the next 2 nights of our stay.

Apparently staying at the Cosmopolitan in the past had not left much of an impression on me because I honestly did not remember staying at this hotel before, although I quickly remembered I had stayed here when we walked into the lobby (Travel Leaders national meeting November 2011). The place was packed! It was about 11:30am and people were everywhere. Checking in, checking out, hanging about the lobby bar, etc. I found out that the hotel was hosting a teachers convention and that accounted for the abundance of check in’s. Apparently we were VIP guests (who knew) because we were upgraded from a terrace suite to a wraparound terrace suite,  suite 1701 to be exact, a handicap accessible room, so wide open areas were easy to get around and the showers were roll-in with benches and bars. Anyone who needed assistance should not have problems with this room. The room was HUGE and the balcony with the wrap around was pretty cool with a view from our master bedroom directly out to the Marquee Dayclub pool which incidentally becomes an extension of the Marquee Nightclub at night (more on that later).

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If you don’t have a problem with motion sickness, check out my Facebook page for a video tour of our room and wraparound balcony at https://www.facebook.com/wendy.mix

The fridge was fully stocked with items you “purchased” if you moved anything and they also had a little service tray with assorted snacks and yes, a “fun kit” with ….. condom, lube, and something else – I cannot remember…but the whole idea of this being placed at the back of the snack kit in the kitchen I found very comical. We were extremely careful not to touch/move anything from the fridge or snack kit because everything is placed on sensors and we didn’t want to be charged for anything (Walgreens was a much less expensive alternative).

Although having a wraparound terrace was neat a couple of things about the room were odd to me. For example. I was a bit disappointed that the room didn’t have a coffee maker in it – seems to me if I’m going to sit out on my wraparound terrace it would be lovely in the AM when it’s not as hot and I could enjoy a cup of java. Apparently the only way that is going to happen is if I order room service. I also found it very odd that the bathrooms did not have washcloths. They had big bath towels and what I consider a hand towel but no washcloths, and I found it a bit awkward using this larger towels. And when you open a bar of soap or shampoo / conditioner, can you not use it more than one day? Every time we would walk back into our room after housekeeping was in the room all the soap, shampoo, conditioner we had opened had been removed and new things laid out. It just seemed strange, especially with hotels all talking about being more environmentally friendly.

After we thoroughly inspected everything about our room we headed out to Planet Hollywood and the Miracle Mile shoppes to pick up our show tickets for the night and have lunch. V Theater is towards the back of the Miracle Mile shoppes – so we eventually got over to the box office to pick up our tickets for the shows. Then we had lunch at Cheeseburger Las Vegas, I would highly recommend it, food was great and service was excellent.  Then we headed to the strip to visit M&M World and Coke World. Well…having a foot injury (before we left for Vegas…but that’s another story) I was pretty exhausted and feeling awful by the time we made it to M&M World. So, we turned back around and headed towards Cosmopolitan.  I decided if I headed back to the suite to relax I would not go back out for the night, so back to Planet Hollywood we went. A few hours of exploring slot machines and killing time and it was off to our first show of the night.

Show # 1 – Country Superstars

Here’s how the show’s described online “Country Superstars is a fast-paced, concert style event featuring a world-class live band and tributes to some of the biggest names in country music history such as Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, and more! All ages.”

We are country music fans so I thought…sure, why not. The theater was odd. You walked into the room and it had a stage and then several rows of padded free standing padded chairs directly in front and to the side. Granted they were nice padded chairs, but cramped in with no arm rests…you better like your neighbors and not have very long legs. The live band that played for all 4 acts was excellent and consisted of a drummer, base guitarist, keyboards, and electric guitar player. The show touts “live music no lip-sync” – okay so…they have to be decent right? The first act was a guy impersonating Keith Urban. He looked pretty close to the singer but the voice…nope. It was almost painful at times listening to him, even the band members looked like they were having a really hard time listening to him. The next act was Waylon Jennigs and although he didn’t look too much like him, but he had a great voice and could sing, we didn’t mind listening to Mr. Jennings and the rest of the audience really enjoyed his act also. Next Garth Brooks. I guess if you have a beer belly, wear blue jeans and have a cowboy hat you can impersonate Garth Brooks? Not in my opinion. He was marginally better than the Keith Urban singer, marginally, and when you’re singing “Friends in Low Places” and expecting the audience to do 90% of the singing, well…you get the idea. I think the ladies sitting behind me (who were obviously well liquored up) were having the best time of all singing along with Mr. Brooks. Finally it was time to roll Big and Rich out.  The singers looked pretty darn close to the famous duo and acted like them also. The songs they sang were fun and upbeat and they had pretty decent voices; my second favorite act of the night. After the show you could do a meet and greet with the singers and and buy things – I didn’t see anyone stop to talk to them. If the band had been their I just might have walked up to them and complimented them on their skills. As it was, we couldn’t wait to head out of that room and we had just over an hour until the next show we had tickets for.

We had purchased discounted dinner as part of our show tickets so we decided to use them at the Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood. Unfortnately the line was over an hour and a half just to get a table, not enough time before our next show, so we killed some time playing penny slots and having a few drinks, then on to the next show.

V-The Ultimate Variety Show. “Comedy, magic, aerial acrobatics, dancing and some of the wildest modern-day Vaudeville acts you will ever see. V truly is the Ultimate Variety Show. All ages.

This show was excellent. I would highly recommend this show to anyone. We had great seats, left stage 2nd row. The acts all seemed to consist of former America’s Got Talent acts, or of that type of thing. The MC was an amazing juggler, 2 guys that were great tap dancers, 2 guys that were from South America that played drums and did some rope trick things, a young man and young woman who did some crazy roller skating things (kids do not try this at home stuff), and a group called MO5AIC who were pronominal, and a guy who put masks on 5 audience members and made them do silly stuff. The show was great – I would see it again and recommend it to everyone.

After the show it was a very late dinner at the Spice Market buffet and then back to our room. When we walked into our room we could hear music – that distinct loud beat of a nightclub. Dennis opened up the terrace door from the bedroom and the noise was quite loud. We could see people all dressed up and mingling around and we hoped that noise would settle down a bit. We were exhausted from our day and about 1:00am I decided to call down to the front desk and ask about the noise. I explained to the nice woman on the phone that the noise was so loud we could have been sleeping in the middle of the Marquee night club dance floor. She apologized and said they “must have a new DJ on tonight” and she would call down and ask them to check the volume. When I inquired as to how late the club was open I was told “it usually quiets down between 3:00am and 4:00am” – hmmm, you think they have had this complaint before? We tried turning on the TV and air conditioning fan but nothing could drown out the sound. We dozed in and out of sleep until about 3:30am when finally the music subsided. It was a a long day/night!

Tuesday July 30th, 2013

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After a night of very little sleep, we wandered out of bed late morning and decided to relax by one of the pools. Although, before we left we did call down to the front desk and they extended our stay until noon the next day and when we inquired about the nightclub they assured us that the club is only open Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights so we should have no problems with sleep tonight.

The Boulevard Pool was a nice size with plenty of lounge chairs and pool side wait staff running around in what apparently were uniforms? (the bikinis couldn’t get much smaller). We decided to eat and have a few drinks…chips and guacamole, steak quesadilla, a frozen margarita and a frozen daiquiri….$65 later…oh my….it was pool time. The pool was not crowded and refreshing. Note…wear flip flops from your pool chair to the pool…wholly cow, we nearly burned the bottoms of our feet on the concrete (apparently concrete heats up pretty well when it’s 102 outside!).

Later on in the afternoon we explored some more…Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and hey, why not the Cosmopolitan since it was our last night their!  We did notice, as we were heading to dinner at Planet Hollywood, that people were entering the Marquee night club. Okay … you’re kidding right? After what we were told…so I inquired with the man letting people into the club and when I told him what room we were in he just smiled and assured me that the party tonight was a private event and would not be as loud as when the nightclub was open (again – do you think this is a regular complaint they get?)  Anyhow, we had fun gambling and exploring until the wee hours of the morning on our last full day in Las Vegas, might as well right…their was a party going on at the Marquee night club again…although, to be fair, the music was much quieter tonight and we could hardly hear it from our room when the patio doors were closed.

Dinner tonight…..Since the Spice Market Buffet was having a Barbecue and Seafood dinner the night before that Dennis loved we headed back for dinner tonight. We decided to try out this 24-hour Vegas Buffet pass that was offered (read more here). After tax, and since we did not have membership to the total rewards, we paid about $119 for two for a 24-hour buffet pass. We figured it out … even if you only had dinner and 1 other meal it would more than pay for itself. If we would have thought about it ahead of time we would have purchased something like this for dinner one night and then had breakfast/lunch and dinner the next day also. The pass is good for exactly 24-hours and they put a wristband on you that you have to have on to use the pass.

Wednesday July 31st, 2013

Our Sun Country flight today was around 4:00pm so our noon checkout was perfect. We had the bellman hold our bags while we headed back over to Spice Market Buffet for lunch (convenient and good food…what can we say, creatures of habit). The transfer company back to the airport was right on time about 1:30pm and checking in at the airport was easy as could be. We didn’t upgrade to first class on the return trip home (we would have to have won big … nope, didn’t happen) so we paid to upgrade to exit row seats and paid to check our bag.  The flight home was fast and uneventful and again the entire staff of Sun Country was wonderful to everyone.

Overall we had another great trip to Las Vegas, even with the 100+ degree weather every day. I would stay at the Trump hotel again in a heartbeat, and even at the Cosmopolitan, although I would happily take a room nowhere near the Marquee pool / night club. 🙂.

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