Editor’s note: Another trip report to share. This time, we get a few notes from our friend, @indyjeffrey. He’s a White Sox fan, but we won’t hold that against him.
Trip Report – August 2016
My first trip since November 2014…it’s been a while.
Overview – spent a Sunday afternoon through Thursday morning in Vegas.
Stayed at Planet Hollywood for the first time (couldn’t pass up an avg rate <$40 including resort fee). The common areas are showing their age. Overall, PH was a nice place, the room clean, quiet, and comfortable; exactly what I needed. I found myself at the pool each morning looking to relax. The two PH pools are quite a bit disappointing for what one should expect from a newer Strip resort. They are small and there is limited poolside seating. Of course, further compounding the limited seating is due to the overabundance of daybeds / cabanas – I think too low a lounge chair : cabana/day bed ratio. Upside: one of the two pools is 21+, which made for a relaxed environment in the morning/early afternoon.
Would I go back and stay at PH? Yes, but it’s just a room, nothing fancy or special – which meets my Vegas requirement. It is not a place to take your spouse if you want to impress.
Heritage Steak at Mirage. We all need to treat ourselves once in a while and this was my splurge meal of the trip. What can I say; it lived up to my expectations. Everything perfectly done and tasted great. The service was very attentive. They offered a fixed price meal which included salad, entrée, and dessert for a decent price. I am a huge fan of GR Steak at Paris, this was as good.
I used a myVegas credit to cover a small portion of the bill. There was no problem using the credit. That said, I am done with myVegas. While I probably shouldn’t complain as I have not spent any U.S. issued currency to myVegas, the rewards, are no longer worth the time.
Best thing I should have done, that I didn’t even consider before arriving:
Gone to the Brittany Spears show. Prior to staying at the PH, I would not have ever imagined this would be so popular. Walking through the resort on Wednesday night, the line to get in was off the charts. There was a great buzz/vibe with the crowd, they were amped. While I am not a big fan of her music, to see the show (spectacle?) in a small venue, with that wired crowd, would probably be a really fun time.
Meal I can never get back:
Why? Why? Why did I waste a meal in Vegas at Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen & Bar? Went for dinner – it was close by – and it sucked us in. The food was not awful, but is not great either. Not even close. Most anyplace would be a better value than this place. So many choices and this was chosen. Still kicking myself.
I was playing Crazy 4 Poker (don’t judge) at Harrah’s and met a guy who, earlier in day, won $45,000 playing Keno. Vegas.
Best quote from crazy encounter:
Keno winner’s son, “That makes up for all he’s lost in the past 30 years.”
Biggest pleasant surprise:
El Cortez casino. (Editor’s note: Yes!) Prior to this trip, I had not spent more than 10 minutes in ElCo. This trip, I spend a few hours playing here. It’s very relaxed – not too busy – great games – quick drink service – and one of the few places I did alright.
Place I should have spent more time:
Not even close: Downtown Las Vegas. Such a great value. Better gambling, better rules, better value. The VP pay tables better. The restaurants (e.g., Pizza Rock happy hour) are just fine, and better priced. The drinks are just as good and better priced. Container Park. Loved it. In fact, went downtown Mon and Tues, though had originally planned only a Monday visit.
Best way to get to/from Downtown:
WAX — $2 each way/person – 20-25 minutes — if you are south strip or The D, this is the only way to go. Downside, you have to plan as it only runs about once an hour.
Topic I cannot stomach:
This trip: my gambling – worst results ever – ugh
My first trip to Las Vegas was June 1995, and as such, I am a fan of the themed casino. I think NYNY still does a pretty good job keeping the theme. On the opposite end, Monte Carlo is a mess. Paris is falling by the wayside. I used to love Monte Carlo, but at this point, I have no affinity for the place. I would not be surprised if the themed resort comes back in the future, but not anytime soon.
How to ‘fix’ Downtown Grand:
I hear lots about the problems of Downtown Grand, “people don’t want to walk there”, etc. The problem, in my opinion, is 3rd Street, between Freemont and Ogden is deserted. I may have seen a tumbleweed. Make that block so people want to walk down, and people will naturally flow to the Grand. As it is, the cinder block wall of the Freemont and the Beef Jerky Store are not cutting it. Find a way to develop that block.
Places I wanted to go, but didn’t make the time:
Hard Rock Casino, Hofbrauhaus, Pinball Museum, Carrottop, Tod English P.U.B., Skyfall/Foundation Room
Thanks for the great notes, Jeffrey. More love for El Co! And, yes, a trip to Skyfall is definitely a must do. Have a trip report you’d like to share? I’d love to post it!