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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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