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Vegas trip report: April 2018

Let me get this out there early: I’m a cheapskate. Especially on solo trips like this one, the cheaper I can make my Vegas trip, the better, as long as I’m not sacrificing time. Also, I get antsy staying in one place too long — I always want to go! go! go! to the next adventure. That said…

I had a conference scheduled for work on Tuesday through Thursday of last week, and chose to pad both ends of the conference with a little Vegas vacation time. I arrived on Friday morning, grabbed a rental car, and drove to Cosmopolitan, because it’s my favorite place on The Strip. I wandered through there, played slots for a few minutes, and won $10 freeplay in their “unlock & win” promo.

Next, I headed over to Bellagio and redeemed a reward comp for a “lunch buffet for 2” at the Bellagio. Redemption was easy. Although I asked, they couldn’t change this into two separate buffet passes, so one of the two passes was burned. Not a big deal; I expected it. The buffet was OK but non-notable. Wicked Spoon has spoiled me.

I left Bellagio and went to Caesars Palace to buy tickets for the Matt Goss show that night, using a $10 off coupon from the “American Casino Guide”. With the coupon, the cheap seat was a very reasonable $30.

Next, I crossed The Strip and wandered through The Quad. It’s looking really nice, except for their (temporary?) plain tan carpeting. Every leaf or piece of lint seemed to show up, making it look pretty bad. I like the stainless steel and red lighting vibe they’ve got going, and the construction walls are designed and wallpapered well enough that it’s hard to tell that there’s construction going on once you’re inside. I played some slots and some Three Card Poker, which put me ahead for what will turn out to be the only time this week.

I wandered down to Casino Royale, where their “fun book” slot bonus coupons have an additional restriction now: you have to play max coins. If I’m playing max coins anywhere, it’s not going to be at Casino Royale.

Back to the car, and onward to my hotel: Circus Circus. Don’t laugh — the room for Friday and Saturday night, plus $50 food & beverage credit, was comped through a myVegas reward. The check-in line was long, but I saw a sign in the VIP area indicating “Players Club member check-in” and only one person in that line. I have a Circus Circus players card from nine years ago, so I hopped into that line. Check-in was uneventful, except for two things: the clerk didn’t know how to handle the F&B credit (“go check at the players club”, he suggested), and he never took a credit card for a room deposit, which I though was a little strange.

The West Tower room I received was clean and functional, although the blanket was a little worn. The view was of Fontainebleu and what looked like an old monorail track (any idea what it is? This book says it opened in 1981 and was still used as recently as 2009, but I don’t believe it).
I headed downstairs to talk to the Players Club desk about my F&B credit, but the guy there had to call a manager, telling me to come back in 15 minutes. It was a profitable delay, as I pulled $30 out of a “Plants vs. Zombies” slot machine. The manager typed away on his computer, and then called *his* manager for additional help. She told him that the Players Club didn’t need to do anything — charge it to my room, and VIP services would credit the bill on checkout. Easy enough.

I crossed the street to Riviera to play single-zero roulette, and was bummed to learn that they’d gone back to double-zero last fall. I played and lost a match play coupon there. Back to the car, and valeted the car at Mirage. From there I walked to Caesars, where I lost $25 video poker, and caught the Matt Goss show, which was exactly as advertised: a Sinatra/Blublé-esque crooner with a great voice. I wasn’t disappointed, but it’s not a show that I feel I must see again. After the show, I wandered to Harrah’s, Wynn (amazing people-watching on Friday nights!), TI, and back to the Mirage, and then drove back to Circus Circus in the early morning hours.

I hadn’t had dinner yet, so I stopped at the deli to buy a sandwich. Because the front desk hadn’t taken my credit card number, I didn’t have room-charge privileges. Sigh. Back to the front desk to fix that, and then back to the deli for a decent French dip, which I ate upstairs.

Saturday morning at the casino
Saturday morning, I grabbed breakfast at “Barista,” a small place at Circus Circus. I then drove over to Palace Station and signed up for a players card, because they were giving away free digital coin-counting jars. The place was underwhelming, and the coin jar was, not unexpectedly, cheaply made. It did, however, give me a place to put all of the pocket change I collected during the week, which was nice. From there, I drove to Luxor, where I was unsuccessful in the 12:30 poker tournament. (Hat tip to Vegas, which is a great source to find out what poker tournaments are going on in Vegas at any time.)

I wandered to Mandalay Bay, caught the tram back to Excalibur, used a match play (losing again) at Hooters, lost money at Tropicana, and then redeemed a myVegas reward for dinner at Nine Fine Irishmen at NYNY. The food was good, but I ended up with a seat next to the kitchen *behind* the stage, with SportsCenter on a large TV to my right, which kinda ruins the atmosphere of the place. [to be continued]