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KenoQueen's Vegas Blog




Aria Birthday Trip
by KenoQueen
Posted: 7/17/2013 1:03:06 PM, Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Between my last birthday and this one, it has been quite a year, with a lot of ups and downs but I celebrated in my favorite place and thoroughly enjoyed it this year with a two night comp'd stay, some Freeplay and a great time for me, The Keno Queen!

My Mom came out to visit and we arrived at Aria Sunday afternoon in 118 degree heat, which really takes it out of you sometimes. I am getting used to it now but somewhere between 115-120 the body says, no, this is wrong! We quickly checked in at Invited Guest and got rooms very close to each other on the 53rd floor with a great strip view. Apparently the higher the floor the less rooms towards the top of the building and less walk to the elevators. The room stayed very cool throughout our trip as I set the temp in the room to 67 and left it there. Yes, I like it very cool, especially in June.

We all got settled in to vacation mode and hit the casino almost immediately. I ordered a Cable Car and starting playing my favorite keno machines, the progressives up front where 7/7 pays almost $8K, 8/8 about $9K and 9/9 and 10/10 were both over $11K About 15 minutes into our gambling session I hit 5/5 for $810 with four quarters in for a nice start of winning to the trip.keno win number 1 Shared my winnings with hubby and went off to get my $150 Freeplay loaded onto the card.

Normally I always split the freeplay with hubby but I played more than my usual share, and he didn't mind since it was a birthday trip. I gave him my card with $25 left on it and had no complaints. I played a few slots and had a few more cocktails but no other big hits. Also played Double SPT poker in five hands but didn't really win much of anything, still I enjoyed playing.

For dinner we decided on trying Aria's newly remodeled buffet and I was not impressed. The crocks and Dutch ovens sitting out for what looked like hours were very unappetizing and for $40 a head it was not worth it. Worse yet, a 4:30 AM indigestion attack reminded me it didn't agree with me completely, but Mom had a few free buffets with her room offer so we put them to use. It was not worth $40 even for free. Service at the buffet for drinks and plate clearing was also pretty poor and we didn't tip much of anything this time. Won't be back to this one for a while because the food just wasn't that good this time.

After dinner I sat down near the cage at the back of the casino and played Power Keno and a few other games including four-card with my husband. He hit for 7/9 for a nice hand pay of $1340, something that would become a trend this trip. It was his first hand pay this year on keno or anything else. We stayed up and gambled and enjoyed the cool of the casino and went to bed about midnight. When we got back up to the room, we found a nice dessert sent up for my birthday--chocolate-dipped macaroons and strawberries with a note from the hotel manager. They were soooooo good, and a nice touch from the hotel.

Up at 4:30 from the Aria buffet, I decided to go check on our dog at home early in the day so I could chill a bit more after taking care of him. I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks on the promenade level about 5:30 and the coffee, in a word, was shit! Either the Starbucks folks were not awake or they were serving old coffee, but it was awful and not very hot. I got the car from the valet at about 5:50 AM and they were actually slow there too. It took them till after 6 to find the car, and their excuse was that they couldn't find someone else's car. How many valets does Aria employ at 5:50AM, I think it was just the one!

I checked on my beloved dog and all was right at home, so back to the strip I went and got a cup of coffee at Jean Philippe, which was hot, not strong enough for my taste but it was fresh. Had a lemon raspberry muffin and enjoyed the rest of the morning with hubby and my mom.

I started playing Caveman Keno, a game I rarely play in $1's and had a blast hitting 4/4 with the two eggs open for a nice hit of $1184 without a 1099.caveman keno win

Later in the afternoon I decided to chill in the room for a bit after running some errands near home where the 118 degree heat hit me like a ton of bricks and I just wanted to cool off. Took a nice shower and chilled in the room 'til I heard my phone making weird noises and noticed my husband texted me a photo of another jackpot for $1340 for hitting 7/9 again. I continued to get ready to go downstairs and join hubby for drinks before dinner and got another text about five minutes later with the same jackpot of $1340.00, which made three for the trip. Apparently my husband had just been paid for the first jackpot and turned around five minutes later and hit it again. Some might call him The King of Keno, Yipppeee!

We had a great dinner at Javier's as we did back in January when we had a $100 comp to try it out. Glad we returned here for dinner as the food is great, lots of seafood choices, plenty of chips and salsa that are complimentary and quick service. Javier's is a find and I can only hope they stick around for a while. It's a good choice and reasonably priced for a hotel restaurant.

After dinner I ordered some Kahlua & cream and played the progressive machines again where I hit for 5/5 and 6/10 for another nice win without a 1099.keno win number 3 Two hits for 5/5 and three hand pays for hubby really put a spring in our step as it had been years since we came home with 3 1099s and extra cash. It was a great birthday and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We got up at our usual time and had coffee with my Mom before she drove home. Back home about 9 and relished the fact I would never have a 12-hour drive home like I used to. That used to be the biggest letdown of our trips and I am so glad to be only a 15-minute drive home, which feels miles away from the traffic-laden strip. It was good to be home, and oh so quickly.

Hope you enjoyed the read and the pictures.

tags: Aria, Javiers, buffet, keno

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TI/Palazzo A Tale of 2 Tourneys, and finally stickin' it to the Man!
by KenoQueen
Posted: 7/2/2013 12:01:37 PM, Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I recently moved from CO to NV and since moving here, I have stayed away from the strip on weekends, by choice but decided I needed a break as I was invited to 2 tourneys at TI and Palazzo.

After years of no offers from Palazzo and changing my zip code to a local one I suddenly had 6 offers on my acct, 1 weekly freeplay for $5, a giveaway or two and 3 slot tourneys. TI's started the 14th for 2 days (3 rounds) and Palazzo incorporating video reels vs. mechanical reels 14th and 15th,, also for 3 rounds.. I arrived at TI Thurs to check in and register for the 1st tourney and spin for freeplay for registering, what turned out to be a whopping $10!

Walked over to Palazzo afterwards and signed up for what sessions were left, being a 10:20AM 2:20 PM Friday, and 10:20 AM on Sat. TI's were noon/3PM//noon so I cut it close on the 2nd round but was still able to tackle them both without missing anything. Palazzo chose your machine numbers in advance which was a plus in my book, vs. TI's having to draw your machine number before each round. Having the machine numbers in advance was a big time saver.

After getting back from Palazzo I played keno and slots for a few hours and had a few cocktails and called it a day about 11. No big wins to speak of but had some decent play for a few hours. I tried quarter 4 card keno and didn't really hit anything better than 4/4 for $91.

I like TI rooms for a lot of reasons, but whenever I check in I always want a few more pillows. I called housekeeping and had them send up a few, so now I had 6, what bliss. I didn't sleep that well because the train ran at 4 AM and beyond! I slept thru the 1st one, but one every hour kept me up. I got up and showered and picked up a Starbucks and a scone and started my day.

I got to Palazzo about 10 to start the 1st tourney and was relieved to hear it was only 5 mins vs. the 15 I had waiting to go at TI. It's much easier to accumulate a high score on a video reel slot, as some of the spins were 150K each and it adds up fast. Palazzo tourney slot I was happy to see a score over a mill as the emcee said in order to get anything, you have to be over a million to get paid. Good to know for future tourneys unless they change the format and lower the spin values.

On a side note, being a NV resident Palazzo offered no room comps at all, just free entry into the tourney. Glad I had a free room for 3 nights at TI as it made it easier to compete in tourneys at once. One thing I will say about TI rooms, train notwithstanding the rooms are plenty big, beds are very comfortable, sheets, comforter, etc., all decent quality and you have a fridge and a safe, and a much bigger bathroom than a lot of strip properties. Palazzo bathrooms are not on par with those of Bellagio and Aria, but for a mid-level hotel, they're not bad at all. The room service quality of food, meh, but it was served promptly, and they do have a decent pizza joint, Starbucks, coffee shop, etc. so it's not like you have only one choice. Prices are moderate also. The main reason I like TI is that it's the only hotel I can say I have stayed at consistently and hit 5/5 on every stay. This time was no exception.

Back at TI I got a decent score but nothing to write home about: 9635. There were 14/15K's in the bunch and the theme of the tourney was Moustachio Bachio and the gag gift was a fake pack of stick-on mustaches, all black and thick, and women wearing them looked hysterical.Treasure Island tourney slot I have never seen so much about moustaches but it was a clever theme that worked with the emcee, who has been there for at least a decade. After 15 minutes of banging the buttons, them fingers hurt!

Walked back over to Palazzo for round 2 where the staff handling the tourney forgot to reset the machines and had to stop the tourney in the middle of it and start over again. What really cheesed me off was my score was so high at the 2 min mark pushing 900K with 3 mins to go, and losing the opportunity to place well in round 2. After completing the re-start round, I finished with a score of 858,900. I was not pleased but what can you do. Try for a great score in round 3.

I had at least 90 mins to relax and have a mimosa or two, play some 4 card nickel keno and glad I did. I hit 5/5 for 3000 on one bank of multi games near the cage and also again near Gilly's for 3216, all while enjoying great cocktail service.Treasure Island multi-card keno win I saw players tipping change that was under a dollar and thought, would it kill you to tip with a buck? It's less heavy than change, come on people prepare yourselves!

Finished round 2 at TI with a score of 5965, which in my view would take me out of the running since my 1st score was just average.

After the Friday tourneys were over I ran out to take care of some errands near home and grab a gyros from our local Greek restaurant, something I sorely missed while living in CO where there are no decent ethnic restaurants except for Denver; I hated Denver.

Went to Green Valley to pick up a BBQ set gift and back to the strip to chill for the night. So glad I had a decent meal for dinner as the BLT I ordered from room service Thurs night was ok, but the fries that came with it were plentiful but limp, and only warm, not hot.

After dinner I decided to play for a few hours and glad I did. It was fun, but bear in mind being a local resident now, I know why you avoid the strip, especially on weekends. It's a zoo and not the kind where the animals are nice. It's frat boys, drunks and more drunks, and drunk husbands who shouldn't really be husbands who just want to argue with their wives or girlfriends about why they were drug off to Vegas from Caly, and so on and so on. What caliber was being held to your head when your wife forced you into the car and off to the 15? I wish people would leave their marital spats at home. Grow up, we're all trying to enjoy our nice level of inebriation and gaming, while not being a witness to your lack of control with your spouse.

After witnessing my share of drunken spats I moved over to the wall of Quick Hits machines in front of the gift shop where a gent hit the progressive for $77K around 6 which I missed by an hour. I had been playing those same machines earlier in the day, but it was exciting to see a bunch of suits and staff resetting the machine. I talked to a cocktail server who told me that the weekends are busy and players are loud and crazy and it doesn't stop till about 4 AM. She was very attentive to me and my fellow gamblers who just wanted to chill, play and hear a few less blood curdling screams when someone won $5 on the electronic wheel machine.

I moved on to a keno machine that was friendly enough to give some back by giving me a needed 5/5 hit for $810. I played some nickel Ultimate X DDB 10 play and turned a $20 into well over a Franklin in about 10 mins. I called it a night about midnight and up to bed I went.

Saturday was a great day, even though I awoke with a slight hangover from the cocktails on Friday night. Woke up and showered, grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and headed over to Palazzo for my final round which went well. It's great to see your placement while playing on the machine and I ended at round 3's session with over 1.2M points and placed 2nd for that session. My first session was about 9th, 2nd 18th,m and final 2nd.

Afterwards I walked back over to TI for noon final round and finished with a decent score of 12K and change. I booked a massage at Qua for 3PM so I hoofed it over in the 100 degree heat in a fast 15 mins to arrive with plenty of time to chill before the massage. Being a Saturday, a day I never book massages it was bridal party day, oh joy! More crowds, yeah, gotta love it, NOT! Trying to use the Jacuzzi, arctic room, etc. were a no go for me, but next time definitely. Qua is a great spa, just a better spa with less crowds.

I walked thru Caesar's forum casino to put a few points on both mine and my husbands TR cards. $5 in, hit 3/3 for a fast $50 and I walked out with enough to keep the points on the cards active till December. Easy peasy.

Caesar's is a mob scene and here is proof on a Saturday afternoon about 4:45PM, as loud as the democratic convention without Mad Cow and Tingles!

I walked back to Palazzo by way of Venetian around 5 and glad I did. Apparently Sheldon turned the lights on in the casino as it seemed much brighter than before and it was a nice change. Very loud and crowded as it would be on a Saturday but at least it didn't feel like a cave.

When I got to Palazzo I put my card in a Quick Hits machine and it said gaming credits available so I knew I placed and what I saw was $100 which would have placed me somewhere between 20th - 100th place for a total score of 3.2 million points in 3 sessions. If I am invited again I will know how many points I would need to place higher than 20, but glad to have it pre loaded on the card. I played the Quick Hits a few minutes and got the bonus for 25 spins during which the 6 symbol progressive hit in the middle of it for an extra $150 and after investing $20, I cashed out at $262; oh happy day!

I then went over to a power keno machine and started using the freeplay and hit 4/4 with the bonus of landing on the last number for $300 bucks, which was another welcome win.4/4 power keno win Lastly I played Sex in the City original version and got the shoe bonus, my favorite and picked Samantha for the 5 spins which damn near filled up the board for $108. I cashed that ticket out and left Shelly's place with $650 of his money after using the freeplay. A nice way to end the two tourneys and finally stick it the man!

On a side note, while playing Sex in The City, I tried out the Drinks2U auto notification option on the machine, which will allegedly bring you a specialty or standard cocktail after you place the order. I ordered a Lemon Drop, but after 15 minutes it never showed up and I cashed out. Note to Shelly, Drinks2U only works when someone is paying attention to the software you've installed. Drinks2U was a miss this time. More like Drinks F U I think. Are you kidding; you wanna drink my booze while I take your money?

Back at TI there was a lit up board of names and placement in the Moustachio Bashio where you could view your placement and freeplay amount that was loaded on the card. I placed 34th out of 100's with scores totaling a bit over 28K for all three rounds. I preferred the Palazzo tourney for a few reasons over TI. The short sessions of 5 minutes on video reels is likely the wave of the future for tourneys and the ability to view your placement while playing, which is something you have no clue about on traditional reels. Also at the Palazzo tourney a TITO spit out your score at the end of each session so there would be no errors in the counts from staff taking down numbers by hand.

TI did have spin bonuses for freeplay based upon tier levels being reached for additional spins. 1st 1000 points earned 1 spin between 10 and 250 I think, 2nd spin for 3000 points earned me another spin between 20-500 in freeplay. It is also nice that TI has kiosks set up that allow you to swipe and spin without the need of talking to the walking dead standing behind the slot club desk. You stand in line to talk to someone who has been employed by TI since the beginning and still hates their job!

Upon returning to TI from Palazzo, I thought about grabbing a slice of pizza to take the edge off but the line was almost out the door, so I headed up to the room to order room service. Quoted 40 mins, arrived in 20 and the food was actually hot this time, who knew!

After dinner I just felt too tired to go downstairs and redeem the freeplay so I hung out in the air conditioned comfort of my room and 6 pillows!

I finally got a good nights rest even though I heard the train at 4 AM, I went back to sleep and woke up at 7:30 feeling a lot better. I grabbed a coffee and scone at Starbucks and then went to the front desk and grabbed a free LVRJ which I thought was nice as well. I walked back to the room with coffee, scone and paper in hand all before 8AM. It's all good!

After showering and getting a late check out, I went down to try my luck with my 34th place winnings and keno was not kind to me. Not even 3/3 to show for it, so I tried Monte Carol spin in dollars, which finally showed me some love. Two spins for 20 and 25 bucks, and 3 blue sevens for a fast 50, which brought me to $125 and I cashed out and left.

Next time I think I will play a Palazzo tourney that is mid week and skip staying at TI on a weekend entirely. I have another trip planned for my birthday in a few weeks and staying at Aria where I hope to hit the progressive on quarter keno if they still have those machines. I was lucky enough in January to hit 9/10 for a fast 5K but hopeful I can now get 10/10 or at least a handpay on my first birthday as a Nevada resident which in and of itself is a gift.

Hope you enjoyed the report!

KQ

tags: Palazzo, TI, Treasure Island, Slot Tournaments

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Slot Tourney Highlight a'coming!!
by KenoQueen
Posted: 6/11/2013 2:41:24 PM, Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I'll be participating in 2 (count 'em, TWO) slot tourneys later this week—one at TI and the other at Palazzo. More news as it happens!

tags: TI, Palazzo, slot tournaments

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Wynn Tournament Road Trip
by KenoQueen
Posted: 10:46:00 AM, Monday, August 22, 2011


I went out to Caly to see my Mom and we drove to Vegas on the 8th to attend a Wynn tourney that included 2 nights comp’d and a chance to win Freecredit in varying amounts from 1st to 50th place and double booked a room at Bellagio as well.

We checked in at Wynn about 1:30 on Monday and were given a room facing the golf course with 2 double beds on the 14th floor. The set up for the tourney required you to sign up and get your machine numbers and times to play in 2 ten minute sessions. I have to say Wynn has cheaped out as much as it could as there was no welcome gift, no drinks, no food, nada. I played at Wynn Monday afternoon and evening and had absolutely no play at all, with only 1 Keno hit for 4/4 for 728 quarters and very little else.

I placed well in the first round of play around 11K and then about 9600 on the 2nd round, which almost qualified me for the $150 Freecredit in 50th place, but I missed it by just 1000 points or 1 good spin of Red, White & Blue sevens. I have to say I won’t be back for any tourneys at Wynn because it just felt so scaled down from previous tourneys that it wasn’t worth the trouble of going. The tourneys are held on the casino floor at Encore, no longer in ballrooms so it’s a completely different set up than it used to be, when it was much more like a party.

On Monday night Mom and I tried Zooza for dinner, which served the driest sandwiches I have ever eaten and portion controlled fries, which may have totaled 15 in a small white bowl for $4. I know that I will skip Zooza in the future.

On Tues, we decided to move over to Bellagio to take advantage of up to 3 nights comp’d, 100 freeplay and $100 F&B. I made plat status on my last trip in late June and when we checked in, the nervous guy at check in assigned us to a room on the 25th floor, one of the newly remodeled rooms, which was fine, except it was the 3rd to last room from the end and Mom has bad knees so we had to get reassigned to something closer to the elevator. The 2nd room was much closer but stunk to high heaven of paint, resins and new carpet which became unbearable and we had to move again to the 28th floor to a connector room which was showing signs of age and falling apart all over the place. We decided one night was enough and checked out on Wed morning.

As for gambling, Bellagio provided a lot more play and I played my normal quarter Jackpot Party and Keno, which gave me plenty of play as I hit 3/3 and 4/4 on Keno to cash out a $175 ticket before going to bed. I also tried the Penny Quick Hits near the restrooms near Jasmine and as I slipped in $5 and started to play, I got a bonus which bumped up my bankroll. I bet $1.50 a few times and got the bonus for 20 spins X 3 and something else wild which I can’t remember. During the bonus round I hit for 7 Quick Hit symbols and won the $223 progressive + all the spin bonus monies and cashed out $243.00 on a $5 investment. This was fun and a lot more profitable than I thought it would be.

Mom and I had dinner at the Café at Bellagio and enjoyed a Greek salad, lettuce wraps, and fish and chips; chips that weren’t portion controlled and were easily triple what Wynn dolled out and used our F&B comp for it, and had still had plenty leftover to have room service breakfast the next morning before checking out.

Our Vegas tradition lately has been a stop at Cosmo on the way out of town and this trip was no exception. We went to Milos for the $20.11 lunch and it was as good as the last time. I had a shrimp appetizer, salmon entrée and the walnut spice cake for dessert which was fabulous. For such a bargain, I was surprised that the restaurant wasn’t packed as this is one of the best deals in Vegas and the choices are plentiful. The service is tops in my book.

Mom and I had a few hours after lunch to play and play we did. Upon entering the casino after a wonderful lunch I thought to myself, “my wouldn’t 5/5 fit the bill now?” I walked over to the same bank of Gamemaker Keno machines and slipped in a $20 and selected 5 numbers, and on the 6th game, I did get my wish for $800. I quickly cashed out that ticket and went in search of more Keno which I did find; a bank of 10 new machines tucked away in a little cubby near the front of the entrance to the casino from LV Blvd. These are the same type of machines that Cosmo has in the back near the Vitals store that include Caveman, 4 Card, Cleo, Power and regular Keno in quarter, ½ and dollar denominations and I had plenty of play for about ½ hour longer before we left to drive back to CA.

Closing thoughts: Bellagio has lost its appeal for me again as they couldn’t get a lot of things right, and no matter how many offers I get for free nights, F&B and Freeplay, the service is still slipping and I likely won’t be back unless the remodel is finished and the stroller problem is eliminated. Plat status does have some advantage at Bellagio as you are usually given upgrades at check in, including Salone suites, but the remodel will take another 6 months, and it’s only in the main tower. The rooms will remain the same in the spa tower and during the process, Bellagio is charging $30 extra a night for rooms that smell like paint! As for Wynn, it too has lost its appeal as it felt like everything was all about the money, cutting corners, not even a drink or a bottle of water for invited guests of a tourney. It felt so cheap to me that I won’t return, and without any play at all in their casinos at both Encore and Wynn, I would prefer to play at Cosmo or Aria in the future.

Hope you enjoyed the report!

tags: Aria, Wynn, Zoozacrackers, Bellagio, Café Bellagio, Milos, Cosmopolitan

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Birthday@Bellagio/Cosmo; Double Upgrade and a Baby Stroller Collision…
by KenoQueen
Posted: 3:15:00 PM, Friday, July 8, 2011


After months of planning for my big 50th, the day finally came to get on a plane and enjoy 4 nights in Vegas that I was looking forward to. We invited both our Moms to fly out and celebrate with hubby and I.

We flew Allegiant, the most fee-happy airline on earth from Colorado Springs to Vegas on Monday, the 27th and it was an hour late getting out because the plane was late in arriving. We were at the very back of the plane but were seated together at least. We arrived to another hour delay on the bags and a lot of pissed-off people at baggage claim. When one person stormed into the baggage office to be given excuse number 1, another fellow passenger would be given more excuses. After about a dozen passengers asked about the lengthy delay, my husband went into the baggage office and asked them to produce a live supervisor, not one on the phone. Shortly thereafter, the bags arrived. Coinky-dink? I think not. Arrived at Avis only to be told their computers were down and all the paperwork had to be handwritten. I had certificates for 4 free days which were also in need of processing. We finally got the Crown Vic and blew that hole!

Arrived at the Cosmo parking garage which was not as slick as I had read about with all the red and green lights, alerting you to open spaces, and after driving up and down a few levels we secured a spot near the West Valet entrance. Once we arrived at check in, getting a room was quick. East Tower 56th floor and of course the usual “you shouldn’t hear any noise” spiel, WRONG! We arrived in our room to find the safe didn’t work which we called "Beck and Call" (their one-stop source for all guest services) about but didn’t want to wait around for them to come up and fix it. We had a Terrace One bedroom w/balcony for $102 and no resort fees and it was great. I had read so many reports about housekeeping services greatly lacking but I proved that opinion wrong. Just for the hell of it, about 10 mins after arriving into the room I called housekeeping and told them I needed more toiletries. Within 10 mins a knock on the door and about 3 sets of everything were delivered. I shared a set with my Mom as it seems to be a family tradition. We just can’t get enough body lotion and shower gel in various scents. The bathroom was great with a Japanese soaking tub, and soap that had some sort of scrub or crystals in it with a scent of lavender. Very nice.

As for the high tech of the Cosmo room, everything worked, with the exception of the safe. We watched both TV’s, used the WiFi, phones, etc. and no complaints. The bathroom was large, had a separate toilet with a door, similar to the Palazzo without the lighting design flaw that Sheldon is so famous for. You can use the toilet and also benefit from a light switch on the wall for a change, who knew? The light switch in the entry way said hello and goodbye, like the usual drill, but the room worked for us and the bed was really comfortable. Lots of books, including one that looked like Japanese court-style porn, which Hubby told me (with altogether too much eye-brow-waggling) was a "pillow book" and was, in fact, Japanese court-style porn. Just imagine an instruction manual for how to maintain marital or un-marital bliss using pillows! These kids today with their hair, their clothes and their books………..

The shower was big with iridescent tiles and the soaking tub sits behind it. The whole bathroom really appealed to me and hubby liked the tub very much.

After we unpacked a bit, we headed down to the casino for a few hours for drinks and keno before deciding to have dinner somewhere. We were met with what I think is the best feature of the Cosmo which is good drink and floor service. As soon as I sat down to play Super Times play I was asked about cocktails and we ordered a Side Car and a 4 olive Martini for hubby. Drinks were brought by the 2nd hand in, first quad of the night. That’s a win in my book and the same great service continued as we searched for Keno machines that had been moved towards the back end of the casino. We played for a few hours, no big wins to speak of but enough play to be down only $100 each by the end of the night.

We wandered over to the hidden pizza place and picked up 4 slices and a couple of root beers and went back to the room. Had dinner, watched the big flat screens and tried out the tub and called it a night about midnight. We did hear the club bass for about an hour between 3-4 AM, but I slept right through it from 12:30-3 so it must not have been that loud. Best nights to be staying at Cosmo if you don’t want to the hear the Marquee is Tues/Wed, but Monday you’re stuck with it.

The next morning we took showers and decided to have coffee sent up via room service. Heard lots of stories about long hour+ delays but it was not true in our case. Hubby called in a pot of coffee and was quoted 30 mins, but since it was just coffee, got there in 15.

We ventured downstairs for a few last hours of gambling before picking up our Moms at the airport and we ordered Blood Mary’s which were fabulous, plenty strong and spicy and with big olives in them. What a breakfast of champions! While playing Game King regular quarter keno, my Mom called me on my cell and as we were chatting about her flight up pops 5/5 for an $800 win. Cosmo on a dollar bet pays $800 instead of $810, but hey a win is a win. I split the winnings with hubby and was now up for the trip.

On a side note I do have to admit part of my enjoyment of Cosmo was enjoying their Cosmos which I came back Thurs to drink all afternoon and evening. What makes them so good is the mandarin vodka they use and a dehydrated blood orange slice that floats around in the drink. I was enjoying eating the oranges as much as the drink. I am not normally a vodka/splash of cranberry juice kind of gal, so when I tried one it was fabulous and I continued to drink them, in this case for days. It’s no wonder my husband calls me Alcoholica when we’re in Vegas.

We checked out, with about $22 worth of points applied to the bill and off we went. Our host was able to check us out over the phone and were given a later check out at 1 PM v. 11 AM which was nice. I didn’t get the attitude of “sorry I can’t” but more “yes, I can do that” attitude and that speaks volumes for service, which helped us with having a more leisurely morning before heading back to the airport. We stopped at In-And-Out but it appeared to be about a 90 min commitment with the lines inside and out and we were hungry since we skipped breakfast so we opted for Wendy’s instead. Next trip when it’s not the lunch hour. We made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s for a bottle of Christilano and Prosecco and some baklava and giant cashews for the room and headed for the airport.

We drove to McCarran, parked the car and picked up both Moms’ before heading to Bellagio to try and get the same floor assigned to all three rooms. Bellagio was as crowded as ever and we checked in about 3 PM, for what I thought was going to be an upgrade to a Salone Suite from my host for my birthday. Carmen at check-in had other plans and started to show me the room that I was originally booked in, and then started flipping over pages in a book to let me know I had received a double upgrade to a penthouse suite. What a surprise this was for me and so happy to have it comped for 3 nights to celebrate in with hubby and both Moms. We were able to secure 1 room for hubby’s Mom on the same floor and my Mom was a few floors down, but same elevator bank. It all worked out fine and we thoroughly enjoyed the suite, had champagne and baklava one night and I enjoyed two bathrooms and free WiFi for 3 days.

We ventured over to Paris for dinner at Mon Ami Gabi on Tues night and it was fabulous. I had scallops, my Mom had salmon, hubby had the pork chop with a baked tomato that was the size of a large orange, and mom in law had French onion soup and tomato salad. For dessert we all shared the Banana crepe in what would be record time. After dinner we played in the casino at Paris for about a ½ hour and it felt like a dump compared to Cosmo and Bellagio. You would think that with all the money going into renovations at Caesars properties, they could find a way to get rid of the dark screens on all the keno machines. It was so dark it was depressing and off we went back to Bellagio.

I played several different machines at Bellagio including Sex and the City, Dream Card Poker and few hours of keno but no real success at any jackpots. I did play some dollar spin machines across from the keno machines and managed a double spin for about $280 so I cashed out and called it a night. I managed to drink many Cable and Side Cars while playing and they were as wonderful as always.

Wed morning I ran down for coffee, cheese Danish and a muffin from Palio, which is the only place open at 6 AM. No matter where I wake up, the body says 6 AM, get up!
Even in Vegas no matter what time I go to bed, I am always up way too early.

We met for breakfast later at the café where we shared pancakes with fruit, bacon and eggs and the waitress brought around a little cake to celebrate my birthday. Service at the Café was bad enough to almost walk out, but once the order was placed the meals were served within 20 mins, which I know seems long, but our waitress looked and acted like that out of a Russian death camp. She had a glazed-over look about her and had to have been tortured in another life.

After breakfast I played for a few hours with the Mom’s and hubby and hit a surprise Jackpot Party in quarters that afforded me a 3x multiplier, Dance Party and Whack the Pooper for a $482 Jackpot party on a 20 coin bet, which I quickly cashed out and split with hubby. It’s a win, not a 5/5 keno win, but a win, and the small TITOs I had, added up to still be $100 up for the trip after 2 days of gambling.

We had dinner reservations at Prime for 7:30 and we arrived on time and seated with a great fountain view. Mom’s and I had filets and lamb chops for hubby. We had sides of spinach, mushrooms, gingered sweet potatoes and potatoes Daphneois (spelling). All were perfectly prepared and service was impeccable. As always Prime never disappoints.

We had a few drinks and gambled a few hours after dinner till my feet couldn’t bear my cruel shoes any longer. We went up to the room and relaxed and fell into that big Bellagio bed.

Thurs morning we were up early, I made a coffee run for everyone and delivered it to the Mom’s before we were off to take hubby’s Mom to the airport. In my quest to catch up with a scooter and a way too fast walking spouse, I tripped over a baby stroller on the hard floor in front of the lobby. When I got up I saw stars and knew right then and there this might be my last time to Bellagio as the kids are getting to be a problem. It was full of strollers and too many kids in December and it was worse this trip. I was helped up and brought to my feet, but no security guards ever came over to check things out. Luckily I landed on my knee and hip sideways and no broken bones but had there been, I would be contacting counsel to litigate the matter by now. Pardon my French but f&^%#ing baby strollers have got to go! Stop making Bellagio like Disneyland and keep it safe for me, the average 50 year old.

Okay, I have said my peace and can move on. After we took mom-in-law to the airport we had lunch reservations at Milo’s at Cosmo with my Mom who treated us to the $20.11 lunch special they have going. As we were seated the waiter came over and wished me happy birthday with a generous glass of champagne, Appetizers were great, lots of choices, Mom had lamp and I had the special fish of the house and hubby had the best salmon. Dessert was walnut cake all around and it was fabulous. Some of the best service I have had at lunch in years. I would go back to Milo’s in a heartbeat. The wait staff was a cordial and friendly as they could be and yet they left you alone to enjoy the company of your party, so that was a plus.

We played a few hours at Cosmo and then took my Mom to the airport about 4. We then decided since we didn’t want to risk another stroller collision, we would leave the car at Bellagio and walk on over to Cosmo to play and enjoy more cocktails before having dinner at Cosmo.

Since the pain from the fall was now starting to sink in, I thought why not a couple of Cosmos and keno. We played for hours until we decided to go try the buffet which had no line at all. We both had some points on our Identity cards which wiped off ½ the bill for the buffet, so that was a plus. All the meats, salads, desserts, and hot dishes were individually served in dishes you could take away, so fewer chaffing dishes full of food were sitting around. Service for plates being cleared away and drinks were swift and the desserts were above par. Hundreds of choc covered strawberries, 20 flavors of gelato, candy, fresh fruit, and crème brulee, all wonderful and so uncrowded. There were less than 100 people having dinner at about 8PM.

After dinner we ventured out to take a walk around the Bellagio fountain show and back to Bellagio. We did witness a young couple having a full-on argument to which many of us standing and enjoying the fountain show looked behind to look and say with our own expressions “go take your unhappy marital life and share it somewhere else”, to which they made a hasty retreat. Thank God! Nothing I hate worse than having a nice meal and relaxing time ruined by idiots who don‘t have an “inside” voice.

We played at Bellagio a few hours longer but I was not able to connect another 5/5 to end out the trip. Friday morning we were up and out at 10:30 to return the car and head to the airport. We did make Platinum status sometime between Tues and Friday and did pass by the slot desk to get new cards. I found out a few days later that Cosmo will match our current cards to their platinum as well, which affords us wonderful perks I intend to take advantage of when we go back for hubby’s birthday in December.

All in all another year, a great birthday trip and even though I had a slip and fall, I feel okay now. The drinks really helped, and they were oh sooooooooo gooooood.

Hope you all enjoyed the trip report. I know it was lengthier than usual but it took 50 years for the experience to share with all of you.

tags: Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Milos, Mon Ami Gabi, Marquee, Prime

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Wynn, Bellagio & Cosmo
by KenoQueen
Posted: 5:30:00 PM, Friday, May 13, 2011


I went out to Caly to see my Mom and we drove to Vegas on the 8th to attend a Wynn tourney that included 2 nights comp’d and a chance to win Freecredit in varying amounts from 1st to 50th place and double-booked a room at Bellagio as well.

We checked in at Wynn about 1:30 on Monday and were given a room facing the golf course with 2 double beds on the 14th floor. The set up for the tourney required you to sign up and get your machine numbers and times to play in 2 ten minute sessions. I have to say Wynn has cheaped out as much as it could as there was no welcome gift, no drinks, no food, nada. I played at Wynn Monday afternoon and evening and had absolutely no play at all, with only 1 Keno hit for 4/4 for 728 quarters and very little else.

I placed well in the first round of play around 11K and then about 9600 on the 2nd round, which almost qualified me for the $150 Freecredit in 50th place, but I missed it by just 1000 points or 1 good spin of Red, White & Blue sevens. I have to say I won’t be back for any tourneys at Wynn because it just felt so scaled down from previous tourneys that it wasn’t worth the trouble of going. The tourneys are held on the casino floor at Encore, no longer in ballrooms so it’s a completely different set-up than it used to be, when it was much more like a party.

On Monday night Mom and I tried Zooza for dinner, which served the driest sandwiches I have ever eaten and portion-controlled fries, which may have totaled 15 in a small white bowl for $4. I know that I will skip Zooza in the future.

On Tues, we decided to move over to Bellagio to take advantage of up to 3 nights comp’d, 100 freeplay and $100 F&B. I made plat status on my last trip in late June and when we checked in, the nervous guy at check in assigned us to a room on the 25th floor, one of the newly remodeled rooms, which was fine, except it was the 3rd to last room from the end and Mom has bad knees so we had to get reassigned to something closer to the elevator. The 2nd room was much closer but stunk to high heaven of paint, resins and new carpet which became unbearable and we had to move a 3rd time to the 28th floor to a connector room which was showing signs of age and falling apart all over the place. We decided one night was enough and checked out on Wed morning.

As for gambling, Bellagio provided a lot more play and I played my normal quarter Jackpot Party and Keno, which gave me plenty of play as I hit 3/3 and 4/4 on Keno to cash out a $175 ticket before going to bed. I also tried the Penny Quick Hits near the restrooms near Jasmine and as I slipped in $5 and started to play, I got a bonus which bumped up my bankroll. I bet $1.50 a few times and got the bonus for 20 spins X 3 and something else wild which I can’t remember. During the bonus round I hit for 7 Quick Hit symbols and won the $223 progressive + all the spin bonus monies and cashed out $243.00 on a $5 investment. This was fun and a lot more profitable than I thought it would be.

Mom and I had dinner at the Café at Bellagio and enjoyed a Greek salad, lettuce wraps, and fish and chips; chips that weren’t portion-controlled and were easily triple what Wynn doled out and used our F&B comp for it, and had still had plenty left over to have room service breakfast the next morning before checking out.

Our Vegas tradition lately has been a stop at Cosmo on the way out of town and this trip was no exception. We went to Milos for the $20.11 lunch and it was as good as the last time. I had a shrimp appetizer, salmon entrée and the walnut spice cake for dessert which was fabulous. For such a bargain, I was surprised that the restaurant wasn’t packed as this is one of the best deals in Vegas and the choices are plentiful. The service is tops in my book.

Mom and I had a few hours after lunch to play and play we did. Upon entering the casino after a wonderful lunch I thought to myself, “my wouldn’t 5/5 fit the bill now?” I walked over to the same bank of Gamemaker Keno machines and slipped in a $20 and selected 5 numbers, and on the 6th game, I did get my wish for $800. I quickly cashed out that ticket and went in search of more Keno which I did find; a bank of 10 new machines tucked away in a little cubby near the front of the entrance to the casino from LV Blvd. These are the same type of machines that Cosmo has in the back near the Vitals store that include Caveman, 4 Card, Cleo, Power and regular Keno in quarter, ½ and dollar denominations and I had plenty of play for about ½ hour longer before we left to drive back to CA.

Closing thoughts: Bellagio has lost its appeal for me again as they couldn’t get a lot of things right, and no matter how many offers I get for free nights, F&B and Freeplay, the service is still slipping and I likely won’t be back unless the remodel is finished and the stroller problem is eliminated. Plat status does have some advantage at Bellagio as you are usually given upgrades at check in, including Salone suites, but the remodel will take another 6 months, and it’s only in the main tower. The rooms will remain the same in the spa tower and during the process, Bellagio is charging $30 extra a night for rooms that smell like paint! As for Wynn, it too has lost its appeal as it felt like everything was all about the money, cutting corners, not even a drink or a bottle of water for invited guests of a tourney. It felt so cheap to me that I won’t return, and without any play at all in their casinos at both Encore and Wynn, I would prefer to play at Cosmo or Aria in the future.

Hope you enjoyed the report!

tags: Milos, Wynn, Bellagio, Cosmopolitan, Café, Zoozacrackers

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Christmas at Bellagio, A Crowded Mess
by KenoQueen
Posted: 6:37:00 PM, Sunday, January 30, 2011


Been a long time since I posted a trip report and even though I know Christmas and New Years are still long past, I will write about a few highlights as I have been asked and will oblige.

For years I have threatened my husband that if we worked hard we would celebrate Christmas @ Bellagio, all the while thinking it would be a good idea. Boy was I wrong. I booked the tickets on Frontier to fly out of DIA on Christmas day, and even though the flight was late in the day, 5:45PM, it took an eternity to get to the airport. It seemed like it was an all day event, which on Christmas day was a real let down, as we had no time to eat anything all day, until we arrived at Bellagio. Our flight was fast, and we rented from Hertz where I reserved cheap, cheap and got upgraded to a Mustang convertible which was a blast to drive.

We checked into Bellagio around 7PM and my host gave us a free lake view upgrade standard room in the main tower with a great view on the 28th floor. Room was very comfortable until the next morning when we noticed it felt very stuffy in the room even with the air on. Found out after maintenance showed up that the motor in the a/c had blown out and needed replacing. Quick fix and all was well.

For dinner on Christmas day we chose the coffee shop to sit down and have our first meal of the day. Went to the players club and was told line passes were only given out for the coffee shop and not for the buffet which I found odd. The rep at the club said because of the holiday, they weren’t allowed to give out line passes. The line for the buffet all 3 days of our stay was to the guest elevators entrance; the longest I have ever seen it.

We had a nice Greek salad to share, hubby had spaghetti which was great and I had a Reuben, which sounds like an odd thing for Christmas dinner but we were starving. Skipped dessert and had cocktails in the casino to start gambling after dinner. No real hits, no big wins, but did get some play. I did play some double double bonus dream card poker for 90 dimes a pop and did manage to turn it into a $400 win with quad aces and kicker for 4000 dimes. Hit and ran away from that machine to play Sex and the City and went to bed relatively early before midnight. Let me not forget to mention that the crowds at Bellagio and all over the strip were horrendous on Christmas day and thereafter. Case in point was the Bellagio conservatory, which took 10 minutes to get from the entrance to the café because it felt like we walked thru 200 people getting there. Awful! Everyone showed up with a million strollers in tow. Not the quiet Vegas around end of December I am used to.

The following morning we walked to Palio for coffee/muffins/Danish and settled in for a few games of keno by the Carmel entrance. The morning was quiet with fewer crowds and strollers and we headed over to Caesar’s to play a little while hubby signed up for a noon poker tourney. The pay tables for keno on ALL games at Caesar’s are so bad I won’t play keno there any longer, but did play Jackpot Party and Money Storm where I was able to land 37 spins after retriggering a bunch of times on the bonus. Kept me playing for ½ hour or so and I walked back over to Bellagio to play SATC, Cleo and Poker Keno and a round of quarter super Jackpot party. No big wins but I did manage to get a few hours of play. Later on in the day, I went back up to the room to shower and change and the room felt a lot more comfortable with a new motor running the a/c and heating. For dinner we tried Olives for a change and glad we did. We split the calamari appetizer which was prepared differently than in most restaurants and tossed in a sauce which I liked, but liked the traditional option better. Bread basket with olives and 2 olive spreads were great and we both had a glass of Pinot Noir to go with Oso Bucco pasta for hubby and Sea Bass (pan roasted) for me. The meals were wonderfully prepared and service was good. We skipped dessert and had coffee. I was surprised to get my husband to Olives because usually he doesn’t want to dress up at all for dinner, but afterwards said he would go back to Olives. This was my first win on the restaurant front!

Since Cosmo had opened just 10 days prior to our arrival at Bellagio, we decided after Olives to go walk over and check it out. The casino reminded me of a mini Aria, without the cave feeling; a lot more light and great lighting from all the chandeliers. Service on the floor by male cocktail servers was great, and the attitude of the casino seemed to be one of wanting to please, especially for being the new kid on the block. We were signed up for slot cards while playing and the machines had a lot of the same tech feeling as Aria with a touch screen for service or comp balances, point balances, etc. Husband held his own on keno and I played a few rounds of SATC but no big wins to speak of. I give Cosmo a plus for having decent Keno pay tables 810 for 5/5. I racked up a few hundred points on the card and hope to get offers in the future to stay as it had a great vibe to it. Since Cosmo is managed by Marriott and I have silver status with Marriott Rewards, I could look forward to upgrades that have nothing to do with the slot club. That would be a change for me.

Monday was spa day for me at Qua at Caesar’s and I was so glad to get there. My shoulders have taken their toll on me lately from working too many hours and not enough relaxation time. I chose the $99 mid week 50 min massage and it was worth every cent as the masseuse used hot towels and laid them across my shoulders while lying on my stomach for the 2nd half of the massage and I walked out of Qua on cloud nine. My husband called to tell me that he chopped 1nd and 2nd at a tourney at TI, so he was feeling good himself. He then played in a 2nd tourney and placed in the money again which made him happy enough to dine at Isla at TI before playing at another one scheduled for later that evening.

Let me first say it’s been years since service was so bad in a restaurant for me that I stiffed a waiter but it did happen on this trip. We were double booked at TI this trip for 2 nights comp’d, $50/freeplay and food and beverage credit so I thought that Isla was the wisest choice for dinner. Apparently the night we were there around 5:45, the restaurant was just coming off an extended closing for the holidays and was its first night back in business. There were only 2 waiters on duty and the place filled up quickly and it because obvious to both my husband and I that it would be long for anything, chips and salsa took 20 mins, entrees over an hour, check another 10 mins, at which time we knew that management was cutting corners on staff on the wrong night. We approached the front desk to ask to speak with the manager and my husband told her in no uncertain terms, “you the manager here? Want to compliment you on your menu, the food is excellent but you have a full restaurant and 2 waiters attending to about 40 + tables, so this is all you’re doing, you know that don’t you?” To which she looked at my husband and said “yes”. There was no apology, nor any other response, so we walked out of the restaurant while leaving no tip for the waiter. Isla has had it’s moments of bad service but this took the cake.

I took the rental back to Bellagio and played there for our last night while hubby played another tourney at Caesar’s and had a blast winning back money I had given up the first day and ½. I got lucky on a hunch playing Super Jackpot Party in quarters for a party that started with a pooper, then a 2nd chance and it was a multiplier for 5 times whatever box was opened, first box was 90, then a dance contest, then whack the pooper and I walked away with about $300 from 1 party. I call that a win. From there I went back to SATC and ordered what became my drink of choice at Bellagio, a cable car. I sat down and proceeded to hit the Miranda and Charlotte progressives and a dress bonus that turned that session into another $300 TITO and decided to take my cable car over to Cleo Keno and play for a little while longer and held my own with a few more bonuses and went to bed ahead. Hubby came back over and said he was done with tourneys for the trip and we decided to crash early for the night. Our flight home was to be mid afternoon but since we had a rental to return, we wanted to allow enough time to return it before catching our flight.

All in all a good trip but the crowds/kids/strollers drove me nuts. Cosmo luckily was not too crowded and did have one very drunk and loud blackjack table that did take a way from part of our enjoyment but not enough to dissuade us from going back to play there. I really liked the vibe of Cosmo. I won’t be going back to Vegas in December again but staying closer to home and trying for January instead.

Hope you enjoyed the trip report, albeit a bit late.

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Birthday Trip for Mom
by KenoQueen
Posted: 4:56:00 PM, Friday, January 8, 2010


After a very quiet Christmas and New Years, I was off to meet my Mom in Vegas for her 77th birthday.

Day after Christmas I caught a flu bug that would not leave and finally after 4 days I got a fever, which broke in 2 hours and the cold and cough and sore throat started to move through me quicker. I stayed in bed, drank Theraflu twice a day, but still felt like crap until the day I left at which time I had a coughing fit on the way to the airport and at DIA. If you saw me in the United terminal, I was the gal coughing and gagging into her purse! Embarrassing, oh just a tad……….

After we both arrived at Mc Carran, we boarded an Executive shuttle that took 20 minutes to get loaded up and get going. We were booked for TI for 1 night and double booked at Monte Carlo and Aria for 2 more nights. I had never stayed at Monte Carlo but the offer was for $100 Freeplay, up to 3 comp’d nights and $250 resort credit, which we used up on meals throughout our entire stay. Mom had an offer from Aria for $109 a night and grabbed it. I tried to make the room at Monte Carlo lived in each day, and grabbed bottled water on the way out. The resort fees were still billed to my folio but the resort credit covered them at check out.

TI-First let me say that all the gloom and doom and comments about how Phil is ruining this once decent property are true. It’s becoming what I like to call a dump! For starters, the invited guest line had 1 person manning it, and with only 1 couple ahead of us to check in I figured I would be outta there in 5-10 mins tops, WRONG! The guy behind the desk was so busy trying to build a relationship with this couple that he forgot he was in the service industry and other people were waiting. No relief in site, I used the old, “I’ve been staying at this hotel since 93” and walked into VIP check in where no one was checking in, asked the gal behind the desk if she could do me a favor and check us in because it might be tomorrow before the other guy finishes with his 1 customer of the night. VIP was great, they allowed us to check in quickly and we grabbed a chewy oatmeal cookie and cold water on the way out. Whew!

TI rooms in a word are starting to slip. Beds are still comfy beds, plenty of towels, but the shower head was in need of repair, to at least caulk it back on to the wall. The enamel in the toilet was wearing and it looked shabby. We were on a high floor but still heard ambulance noises and did not sleep as well as we did at Aria.

We redeemed our freeplay at the players club and new cards were given out that are yellow and gold and white, same number as I had before. The computer system went completely down for about 90 minutes so all the slot machines and video poker were not allowing gamblers to cash out with a TITO and had to get hand paid, regardless of the amount. Mom and I decided to have dinner at Isla, and wait out the technical difficulties in the casino. We arrived at Isla at 7:30 to find a virtually empty restaurant, on a Saturday night mind you. Service at Isla was good, fish tacos, chips & salsa were fresh and fajitas were also good. We washed it all down with raspberry margaritas. I told our server it was my Mom’s birthday and she told me that they no longer give out desserts for birthdays, which I thought was a sting. I am sure Phil had something to do with that.

After dinner we decided to try our hand at using the Freeplay and everything in the casino was back to normal. I played Ultimate X poker in nickels and hit quad 2s, no kicker for 1200 and cashed out. Played a very loud unicorn type game, very high tech and fun. Played 4 card keno, picking 3, 4 & 5 numbers but no great shakes. Blew thru my ½ of the Freeplay and gave the rest to Mom, she played penny games and did not have any sizable wins. On the way back to the elevators we tried the 4 card Wolf Run machines and they were quite friendly. Gambled $5 and turned it into $60 in a matter of minutes, and this was without the extra spin bonus. I love that game; it reminds me of coyotes howling at home, and then our dogs chiming in.

Off to bed around midnight. Tomorrow would be moving day.

Got up and fetched Starbucks for me and Mom to wake up. Showered and dressed and ordered a decent room service breakfast. Blueberry pancakes, eggs, juice, coffee and everything was fine. What annoyed me was no local paper or any paper at all unless you wanted to buy the Sunday paper for $2.50 which they try and sell you a few times during the process of placing a breakfast order. Lots of hotels still give the Sunday paper or some paper daily, regardless of the day.

We packed up and blew this hole! Off to Monte and Aria. Took a cab for a little under $10 and the driver dropped us right in front of Aria. Check in took about 25 mins as the agents were a bit pokey, but we were given a room on the 24th floor facing the mountains, the highway and surface streets leading into Mandarin. The room although near the street side, was very quiet, much quieter than you would expect, and certainly quieter than TI.

Aria truly is a whole different ball game when you line it up with others like Bellagio and Wynn. I have to say cave comes to mind, but a very high tech one at that. The casino is too dark. When you think of Wynn and Encore casinos you think of the entrance and as you walk to the casino you are hit with natural light from behind and on the side. Bellagio may not have natural light coming through the casino, but the lighting is ample and the lobby gains light from the conservatory to some degree. When you walk into Aria, yes it’s a stunning example of modern architecture but it’s a cave, I felt like I needed a flash light to get around in there! The signage sucked out loud and it’s so easy to get lost, even after 2 days of staying there, it was still unclear how to get out to go to the tram. I also just remembered what cheapened the experience of Aria for me was the glass doors leading into the casino from the tram where you could see fingerprints and decals from Christmas still left on the doors, up to the 5th of January. The doors at Bellagio and Wynn are not glass, but heavier and I prefer them. Glass doors leading into a casino remind me of downtown, sticky and dingy. I didn’t like them.

As for the rooms at Aria, all I can say is wow! As you approach the door to gain access to the room, you simply wave your key in front of the door lock; no fiddling with key inserts; nice touch. Bedside controls were sometimes a bit hard to master but the ability to control everything from 1 place was great. Bathroom amenities were plentiful and housekeeping kept us up to our eyeballs in body lotion, bath gel, soap, hairspray, toothbrushes, shave gel and razors, you name it they brought it, and fast! For those who have commented that the bath amenities were unscented, they are not, but have a lovely light green tea/citrus scent. Loved the safe in the nightstand in between the 2 queen beds. Very convenient and also big enough for a lap top.

The Aria had bathrobes hanging up in the closet that were your standard white with a medium blue logo on them, but you could not buy them in the hotel gift shop because of some patent snafu! Another loss in revenue that could have been prevented prior to opening. I normally wouldn’t bother mentioning things like bathrobes but these robes were unique in that they were plenty long enough and big enough for a tall man or anyone else with some meat on their bones, I being one of them. They were warmer than most spa robes and very soft and comfortable. I might have bought one, but MGM has to get permission to sell it to me first! What nonsense.

Also, we were on a non smoking floor but our neighbors were smoking for 2 days during our stay and you could really smell it coming through the vent in the bathroom where the toilet is. Stunk up the whole room. We called the front desk who were apologetic of course and offered to move us, but we didn’t feel like it so we stayed put.

After getting checked in & settled we ventured down to the casino to try our luck and have a much needed cocktail. I played lots of HD looking video keno but only managed to hit 240 quarters and that was it. The machines at Aria were not in a giving mood, so we played for a little while and I went to check in at Monte Carlo.

Was coded to VIP check in and I have to say they could not do enough for me. I was assigned a room on the 31st floor, offered to have my boarding passes printed anytime, given a late check out at check-in, charged $50 a night vs. the standard $100 for incidentals and invited back for wine, coffee in the morning, drinks, etc. The attitude was “glad you’re here” and for a first timer at Monte, I have to say I was very pleased with their service and attitude. I went up to see the room, no flat screen tv, but bed was ready to be slept in and I moved the pillows around and made it look slept it as best as I could. Bathroom was good sized with a shower/tub enclosure. Plenty of towels, nice smelling bath amenities and very quiet from what I could tell.

Off to the players club to activate Freeplay and try out the café for lunch.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of very new machines that Monte Carlo had and the good drink service. I had a champagne or two while playing a variety of games including Super Jackpot Party, Cleo Keno, and some machine, a few years older with a hamburger, fries and shake theme where you climb your way to the top which is a 5000 coin jackpot. I was able to climb to the level just below the top prize and cashed out $100 ahead. Was a fun game and the bonus was a long one for me, as was the bonus I had while playing Super Jackpot Party. I have always loved this game and was playing it in 2 cent denom when I got my first party that included a dance party, prize multiplier and several whack a poopers that went on and on and on, as well as picking a party saver 4 consecutive times. I originally started with $5 and cashed out $108. I had 3 parties in a row and then a surprise party right after that.

I also had a bit of luck on Cleo Keno playing 3-4 coins and scored about 800 on 1 bonus round hitting 6/7, so I cashed out a few hundred ahead on that one. I also played Money Storm for a nice profit, and some other wheel bonus game where I had double on 7s and cashed out also $100 ahead. It was a day filled with bonus after bonus and a winning day.

For lunch Mom and I tried the café at Monte Carlo and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had a great menu, great service and fabulous fare. I am not normally a café or coffee shop person, but this ended up being our most popular place for meals and it was cheap. Mom and I shared a berry salad with feta cheese and spinach leaves, a Rueben with fries and iced tea. Service was exceptional and we knew we would be back.

We played a few hours longer and enjoyed more cocktails throughout the afternoon. The casino was quiet at Monte but a lot more profitable that Aria was. For dinner we decided to try Dragon Noodle. The restaurant was very quiet until after we sat down and people started milling in in small numbers, but at lease the restaurant was half full when we left. We had Wor Wonton soup, pan fried dumplings and Walnut Shrimp which were all fresh and very tasty. One thing I will mention about Wor Wonton, it seems to be a favorite soup when you are feeling poorly or suffering from a cold. Their soup was piping hot, full of lean chicken, baby corn, etc. and very flavorful. I thoroughly enjoyed their soup. Also, service was outstanding. Would definitely eat here again, probably for dim sum, which they serve daily 11-4 PM.

After dinner we wandered back to Aria and found that the new Sex and The City Machines had been installed. This game was a blast even though I didn’t get the ring or shoe bonuses. Still it was pennies and it is set up like the 4 card games like Wolf Run and Cleopatra. Mom did better than I at SATC but no big jackpots to report.

We headed up to the room a few hours later and enjoyed a thoroughly comfortable room and beds that made you think you were sleeping on a cloud. The bedding at Aria is better than Wynn in my view.

Up at 6:30 I showered and got dressed to fetch Starbucks from Monte Carlo and bring it back for Mom. The showers at Aria are unique in that the tub sits behind the shower so two can use it at once. The shower head is square and the pressure could be better but all in all it was fine, no cold blasts, just smoke coming from the vent to make you feel like you were showering in a bar!

Walked back from Monte with coffee and pastries for Mom and got our day started. I did notice that no employees were really around at Aria to open doors, which would have come in handy for me while I was carrying a tray of coffee and breakfast. It’s bad enough they have glass doors to make you feel like your downtown, but having no help was not a good thing.

After breakfast from Starbucks in the room we ventured out on the tram to Bellagio to see if we could get one last peek at the Christmas display to no avail, they were putting up the Chinese New Years decorations and the conservatory was closed. Took a few photos of the holiday floral arrangements and the “fat horse” in the lobby. Still great photo ops.

Played at Bellagio for several hours and again, got more play from there than Aria. I went to the usual keno room where one gal hit for 5/5 in dollars over $3300. Good for her, keno is alive and well. I lost about $200 playing keno and decided to try my hand at other machines, and glad I did. I was playing a 5Times machine in quarters and hit 2 lavender 7’s and a 5Times for 350 quarters and a few other small wins, cashed out a $100 ahead and then wandered back over to the keno room area but decided to stop and try a 2Times, 4Times machine and put a $5 bill in it, hit a 2Times, 4Times and red 7 for 400 quarters and cashed back out what I had lost. Went back over to keno and held my own for a few hours, and got a call from Mom she was ready to go have dinner and go back over to Monte. Fine by me, I was even for the day.

We decided to try the buffet at Monte Carlo and I must say it was not dinner, but a journey through iccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! No other way to say it. The only carved meats they had were prime rib, when turkey or ham would have been nice. No fresh seafood at all, very limited salads and when I went to the pasta station to have some fettuccini, I took 1 look at the water being used to heat up the noodles and decided against it. The dessert area was marginal at best and for $19 a head, I am glad I didn’t pay for it. Service was also poor and we stiffed the wait staff as they let the plates pile up and offered no service at all until the end.

Back out on the casino floor I played more Cleo keno and the unicorn bonus game and decided to call it a night early. Back at Aria Mom and I played SATC again and enjoyed a glass of champagne and headed up to bed earlier than usual as we were both tired.

Woke up Tues morning our last full day and Mom decided she didn’t want me trekking through the ugly glass casino doors from Starbucks and decided to splurge for room service coffee. We ordered just a small pot which they said was just 3 cups but it was more like 6 as that pot was full. They also offered a complimentary newspaper, nice touch. It arrived in 20 mins and we enjoyed waking up and getting ready for the rest of the day. Coffee was wonderful and strong enough to hold up to ample amounts of cream.

We packed up our suitcases with and overabundance of shower gel, shampoo, etc and decided to call for a late check out as our flights did not leave till 5PM. Aria staff was nice enough to give us till 2PM. Made life easier for both of us.

We ventured back over to Monte Carlo for our last breakfast at the café and this was the best breakfast we had the whole trip. Fluffy pancakes, sausages perfectly cooked, a mushroom and cheese omelet, orange juice and coffee. Best mushroom omelet I have ever had and great service.

After breakfast we played for an hour at Monte and I checked out via VIP and had the same warm welcome checking out as checking in. Tips were the only thing left on the bill and we used up all but $12 of the resort credit, although not from lack of trying. We checked out of Aria and headed to the airport where I breezed through security with extra bottles of shampoo, body lotion, etc. from 2 hotels without being noticed. I would definitely double book the same hotels again. I saw photos of the Hotel 32 rooms and it looks very nice. I would stay there in a minute.

Elements Gift Shop @Aria-for me I always love to venture into the gift shop at hotels and I don’t know why. After staying at Aria for 2 nights, I never once set foot into Crystals, but thoroughly enjoyed an hour in Elements. They had a large selection of candles, bath products, scented hand creams, foot creams, perfumes, leather goods, tee shirts, etc. The store was well organized and had testers out for everything which impressed me. I thought it was a great store for buying gifts. I loved it.

It was a very relaxing trip and I didn’t have any coughing fits on the way home. I give Monte Carlo high marks for service as it was an unexpected pleasure to play and dine there. I got a lot more play than at Aria.

Hope you enjoyed the report, albeit a longer one than usual.

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