BigAZMarty’s late Septemeber – early October Las Vegas trip report
So we recently got an AT&T priority seating ticket package for Imagine Dragons that put us in the Jack Daniel Lounge side seating at T-Mobile arena, and while it wasn’t inexpensive it was still better than the MLife pre-purchase seating so we decided what-the-heck let’s make a short vacation out of it. We put in for 4-days off, which spread across a weekend, so a 6-day trip. We were actually planning to originally to drive in, but Southwest just happened to have a great deal on flights in and out of Las Vegas and our hometown and we could actually go after work on Wednesday night. My wife and I checked MLife, booked solid and I think the cheapest we could get with Gold MLife was at NYNY for over $650 + Resort Fee and taxes and no free play or food. We looked at our favorite Caesars locations and settled on a Planet Hollywood Resort Room, and since we were flying in we did have to pay for the extra night but the rest was Comp’d, we had free shows with Caesars as well as the Diamond Lounge (Planet Hollywood’s Diamond Lounge is one of the better ones with more modern lighting and big screens throughout as well as a decent food bar and excellent drinks).
The day of the flight we both had work; my wife doesn’t really have an office in her office building so she works from home a lot. I did have to work; I rush home and pick her and the bags up after changing into comfy travel clothes. We fight rush hour and still make it to the pre-paid terminal parking in time. We self-check bags and print our boarding passes (YE! TSA PRE-CHECK printed on it!) drop the bags with the appropriately checked and labeled bags and off we go, through the fast line and to the gate. We wait and wait and then wait some more… the flight crew is late so they can’t board (This is the 2nd time this has happened at Southwest this year). Finally, they arrive, they rush that boarding and we’re up on time. It’s a quick flight while it says about 1 hour it’s actually about 45-minutes of airtime.
We enjoy looking out at the Las Vegas night sky as we approach and then land. We pick up our bags and while we were thinking about using Lyft or Uber, the signal was a little weak and the Taxi was right out the door from our Baggage carousel. So off we go to the taxi and literally into the taxi as we arrived at the Taxi line with no one in it. We say Planet Hollywood and off we go with no tunnel detour, no distractions and straight to the hotel. Best taxi ride ever and only about a $20 with tip…. cash of course. We hop out, grab the bags and head in, we notice that the Diamond Check-In is closed after 8:30 pm and they had dedicated Diamond/Seven Stars line at the normal front desk. Now we had a chance to do the auto-check in and use the kiosk to grab keys but the last time we did that at MLife it was not the best floor. I wanted to see if they’d upgrade us to a higher floor or better view room, so I did the $20 trick, and voila, we not only get a Fountain View room but upgraded to the nice Resort Vista Suite! Best upgrade to date! I’ve reviewed these before and the Resort Vista Suite rooms ending in 80 have the bidet in them still after the remodel. Great view of Paris, Bellagio, Bally’s, Caesars Palace and to the other side Cosmo and a little of Aria. We unpack and head down to get some play in to see what changed. We stop at Yolo’s as we’d not eaten since lunch, all good still. We notice that the floor cash/ ticket machines have moved a bit but the machines are still pretty much in their normal locations. We play VP for a while and hit some small 4OAKS and then call it a night.
The bed is comfy but the HVAC is somehow a little off, at night I have to drop it down to 66° so we don’t wake all warm and moist. We wake early and we order breakfast from room service, still, the same menu that is a variant of the old Planet Dailies menu. Planet Hollywood has juggled some of the furniture for a better layout, the loveseat is up against one of the windows now and the table and chairs have been moved to that hall room back near the entry door, so much better walk space and much easier to get food service in the room. Breakfast is excellent; we shower and head down to explore more.
We get over to the Earl of Sandwich/ Sports Book area and notice that G2E has some new machines up where our favorite penny slot once was (we so miss you Elvira!), in its place is a My Cousin Vinny and a Tim McGraw video slot bank, and more Buffalo in there as well. No one was playing My Cousin Vinny or the Tim McGraw slots so we skipped them. We walked Miracle Mile shops and did our ABC store stops to pick up the 1L water that is on sale for $1 (bought 4) and some snacks. We plan out our path for the next day to T-Mobile and decide we’ll take it easy the day before. We play a shit ton of VP (.25¢ DDB)…. my wife and I hit enough 4OAKS to stay afloat for the day and we tried various Penny Slots and such, I did a .25¢ Top Dollar after having a brutal session on Heidi’s BierHaus and quadrupled my money to make that back. My wife and I hit up the North Nestlé’s Toll House for a little late night nom nomming. I head to the room as my luck has expired for the day and wife is up in the room in another hour or two after her luck runs down for the day.
Concert day, we wake up and decide to eat early at Ringers, we find during the week they only serve one side of the bar, while you can sit on the other side no one will come to serve you (of course we missed the seat clerk and the bartender didn’t think we were after food). So after about 15-minutes of watching horse races (and I kid you not my wife picking a horse and NOT betting on it….it freaking WON at 8:1 odds…I was just flummoxed as she’s done this before). I ask the bartender does the server ever come over to this side, and he said oh I thought you were just watching the horses. So we move and get menus from the very friendly and busy waitress. The menu has been expanded to include regular burgers now on top of the Pin-Up Pizza and Sliders they used to serve. We eat then play some and head back to the room to get everything situated for the concert. Off we go to Bellagio as we want to get me a new Gold MLife card. While we are sitting there we notice that there is the Wizard of Oz machine that has the tornado’s on it in a set of two. I get nothing but the wife leaves up $160 on a $20 which is nice. We hit up the Conservatory fall display and enjoy the new setup, my wife and I hit that little gift shop right next door but nothing really worth carrying around.
We walk to the tram station while noticing the pools at Bellagio are rather packed; we board the tram and go to the Monte Carlo/Aria stop. I stop there and get some new pool deck photos (see here) and head into Aria for a bit. We play for a bit there and then walk over to Monte Carlo, and boy that’s changed a bit, a lot of construction walls and the walkway is now set up similar to how Bellagio walkway is back to Tram Station, it now goes by the windows that look out (these were previously in the Pub). Everything is painted a bright white with a dark green with silver leafed pattern carpet in the hallway. It’s nice and fits the new Park theme. Video poker was limited to about 15 machines that we could find outside of the bars. We do some walkthrough and the new section is having a lot of work being done on it and one of the security-guards says it may be open tonight. We spot an Elvira slot and say we hope so since my wife has been having Elvira withdrawals (Elvira is usually very good to my wife for some reason). We play for a bit and it’s close to show time at T-Mobile and we walk to the arena.
On entry, it comes across as a little sparse as you can see the outside shell and its minimalist on the inside until you get into the actual seating areas. Sections 4, 5 and 6 are on Jack Daniels Lounge side, these are normal lower sections but with a dedicated lounge and bathrooms. It is a rather nice setup. Included are pictures before the show. The seats are leather or pleather and middle armrests are able to be raised and hidden between the seat which is nice. What that means is that the cup holder is now hitting you in the shin on the seat back in front of you and the spacing there is a tad tight but not bad. Wife and I enjoyed K-Flay (think Lorde meets Twenty One Pilots), some of GroupLove (they got screechy for a bit and were annoying…but did an excellent Sabotage from Beastie Boys)… and then the problem started. Imagine Dragons took forever to start, and once they did they were excellent, another really really good show but we could tell what the problem was… one of the “floating” monitors that stretch up from behind the drummer to overhead of the lead singer position was loose and dangling… they had it secured but it was never in alignment with the rest and by mid-set it and the lower monitors were all off. A lot of local shout-outs since Imagine Dragons are local to Las Vegas band and family and friends were all in attendance.
After the set and encore we leave and head back to Monte Carlo…. the new section is open and it’s also that stark bright white paint even the ceiling, my wife and I get some seats at Elvira, first go around wasn’t too good so we switch seats and this time we both win and leave with more than we put in (thanks, Elvira!). We walk through Aria and Crystals and come across the walkway to the Planet Hollywood entrance that has the Pinks Hot Dogs near the doors. My wife says she’s going to grab something to eat, I’m beat and head to the room. She comes up and has a rather interesting story which hasn’t happened to her before; after she gets her Pinks order she gets on the elevator and there are 2 drunk guys that start to hit on her and ask for a 2-on-1. She politely ignores them and gets out of the elevator on our floor and makes sure they aren’t following her to the room. She’s a little disturbed since she’s mature (looks to be in her mid-40’s) and the guys were in their late 20’s to mid-30’s…. she said must be a heck of a set of beer goggles. We hit the sack after the meal.
It’s Saturday and my wife has free tickets for a show; we think we’re going to see the Circus show at Paris (because the Total Rewards desk people are clueless and don’t know show off-dates). We go to Paris and well, no luck. We play a bit and have brunch at the Paris Buffet, it’s really good so we will definitely go again. We head back to Planet Hollywood because there is a 4:00 pm Murray the Magician show that we get tickets to for free. We attend the show and it’s pretty amusing and funny, Murray is fairly self-depreciating so much so he weaves what you think is a failure into his show and pulls off some nice tricks. Surprise of the show is Larry the stage manager who is a card Phenom and fun to watch as well.
After the show, we head out to Sugar Factory for some Gelato and right as we leave I get hit on by a fairly short gay gentleman. I have no idea what he was doing but he says “Oh my, you are a big hunk, can I have you for my Birthday…. oh and today is my Birthday!” I could not keep a straight face and my wife was chuckling… saying “how do you like it now?” (In reference to her elevator ride the night before) as we keep walking and ignoring the guy. We do the store walk because we want to walk off the gelato. Once we get to the other side of the casino we sit and do the VP, it’s fairly stiff today so I suggest we move to the machines that didn’t pay and it works, we start to hit on 4OAKS, I get a Straight Flush and my wife hits a 4 Aces with Kicker. It’s a little late so we get our AAA Booklet from Miracle Mile shops and head to Auntie Anne’s for a pretzel deal (BOGO). We eat and head back and play a little more, she’s having a much better time at it when we get back so I opt for the room and she says she will be up later when her luck switches off. Somewhere in this timeframe, she gets her 2nd creepy guy that just lurks behind her seat and stares at her, and for some reason, neither the drink staff nor security seems to be around (funny she says because the drink staff was on a 15-minute rotation before the guy shows up. Once he leaves she heads back to the room and tells me all about it.
Sunday we get up very late, shower and start to look at Sports Book, Blondies, and PBR for seats for the afternoon games (Cardinals vs 49ers). No one has seating, so we head over the Nacho Daddy’s on the outside of Miracle Mile shops on the Harmon Street side. We ordered queso and endless chips to start and start to watch a game that was just freaking awful. By end of the 1st quarter, we order the rest of the meal because we know this will be nothing we really want to see. Lucky for us there was some NFL channel issue and it would scramble so they switched it off. We get the Cheese Enchiladas and chow. We check out and head back to the casino, we play for a while not doing so well when my wife’s luck suddenly starts to pick up. I play on the one 100 play machine that had been in use the whole time and I suddenly understand why when I go from $60 to $140 in about 10-minutes…. I play it down to $120 and cash out. A quick check on my wife and she says she wants a Hexx float and she will meet me back in the room. She gets her float and then decides to come up while OT is happening, lucky the TV showed the winning kick. We decide to head back down and try it again, I find a nice machine and proceed to knock down several 4OAKS’ on one machine for several hours. It’s close to 10:00 pm and I’m starting to trend down so my wife says she’s picking up and to go ahead and go up to the room. It’s 10:00 pm and I turn on Fox as it’s the only local news on at 10:00 pm in Las Vegas…..the rest will be in Part 2. Up to this point, we’ve had a really great time except for some strange guys lurking or hitting on my wife while I’m not in her company.
[Photo Cred. BigAZMarty & LasVegasJunkie]