Casino/Hotel Reviews Trip Reports

June ’17 Trip Report

Behold my final trip before I retire from the Vegas media scene. Don’t worry, I’ll have more posts and podcasts for the next month or so. This was one of my longest trips in a while and I was excited to try a few new things. Here we go:

Friday

Maverick Helicopter

I wish I had done this sooner. The $100+ price tag for 15 minutes of flight time never seemed like a good deal, but I’m glad my family suggested this. Worth every penny and then some. The pilots are first rate and the ride was surprisingly smooth. I had never been in a helicopter before, so it was all new to me. If you’re on the fence about a helicopter tour, don’t hesitate to book a ride on your next trip.

Saturday

Luxor

Checked into the Luxor. I was comped for a Tower room. It’s a considerable upgrade over the basic Pyramid rooms. I have yet to try the updated Cleo rooms, so I can’t comment on those. However, if you have the option for $20 or less a night to get in one of the Towers, I’d do it.

The rooms were clean and comfortable, about all I needed for this trip. Others in my group staying the pyramid rooms noted they were in need of updating but were fine enough for the price.

If you’re checking into the Luxor and have a straightforward reservation, opt for mobile check-in. The line is considerably shorter. I’d guess that, on a busy day, you’d save 25+ minutes of line time- precious moments in Vegas.

Despite having my room comped, I was able to redeem a $50 freeplay MyVegas reward. I had heard rumblings that this wasn’t allowed in their T&C’s, but I had no problem doing so. I used it on a terrible VP machine…still no royal.

Overall, the casino is fine. It was lively during our trip. Table minimums were around $10-$15 for most games. Those looking to class it up could easily head to MB and those on a more modest budget will find Excalibur amenable, either way is always good to practice with online slots before heading to the casino.

Downtown

We went downtown after everyone was able to check-in. Of course, we went to Pizza Rock. While it may be a bit redundant for me, they’re great about getting bigger groups in. We had 8 total. Pizza Rock allows you to put your name in and they’ll text you when the table is ready. So, what to do? Gamble, of course.

We had an hour wait, which we were expecting and isn’t a big deal with so much to do around. We opted for some light gambling at Downtown Grand. The group quite liked the laid back atmosphere. I played a few hands of VP and came out a few bucks ahead. Not bad for killing time.

Pizza Rock was as consistent as ever. Afterward, we headed to the D to let the Vegas virgin give Sigma Derby a try. It slowly ate our quarters as we slugged a few beers back. We then sat at one of my favorite VP bars, Vue Bar. It’s not as raucous as downstairs but the service still has the signature D flair. The D was new to everyone in the group besides me, but it was a hit.

Looking to explore more, we trotted down to Container Park, another new attraction for most in my pack. We found a new favorite spot for me on top of Oak and Ivy. There’s a rooftop patio that can be accessed by snaking around to the back of the container. Great cocktails and perfect weather made for a really nice visit.

We ended the night back at the D. I was up quite a bit from VP at this point, which is shocking for me. Laying my head on a pillow in Vegas with more money in my pocket? Weird.

Sunday

We had an uneventful breakfast at Luxor’s cafe. This was followed by some light gambling on the property. I sat down at a Shoot-to-Win craps game. My 21-year-old craps newbie brother saved what would have otherwise been a normal losing session for me. Despite only having a $2 minimum, I finished up about $40.

The main event today was slot golf. We took a Lyft to Harrah’s to start our adventure. There were 4 teams of 2 so we visit 8 hotels for our 8 hole game. We stopped at every casino south of Harrah’s until we hit PH, stopping for drinks at the Linq and Paris. Our final hole was the Cosmo. We settled in at the Chandelier Bar before dinner. Thinking about it now, this has become my absolute favorite spot in all of Vegas. I like VP and good cocktails- Chandelier has plenty of both.

The bartenders were fantastic and I didn’t find the drink ticket system to be an impediment to my drinking. I was able to share superfluous tickets with my mates.

For dinner, we ate at Holsteins. I didn’t find it to be worth much hype, but it certainly wasn’t terrible and not a bad value. Half our group headed back to Luxor after dinner, but us youngins took my youngest brother on a tour of center Strip. Bellagio was a favorite of his. We ended our night at Montecristo at Caesars Palace. A nice cigar and cocktail is a good way to finish the day.

Monday

This was pool day. We had a cabana reserved at MGM Grand for $400. The lazy river location was great, but the service was pretty slow and the cabanas could have been a little cleaner. No leftover food or anything, but somewhat dirty from the elements. It’s still a great value and I recommend it, hoping this was just an off day.

I took a trip to Town Square’s Lazy Dog for dinner to meet some family. Town Square, just south of Mandalay Bay, is a good spot to meet locals if you’re staying on the Strip. It’s easy to get to and there’s plenty of parking.

After dinner, I met up with the rest of the group for a “good-bye” drink at Skyfall. I was the lone body staying an extra night. The service at Skyfall was fantastic and it was great to see everyone wowed by the view.

Tuesday

The rest of my group left for the airport, so I stuck around the Luxor and played some pai gow poker. If you’re looking for a great game to sit, relax, and score some drinks, pai gow is perfect for you. While it’s hard to find a table under a $10 minimum, with so many ties it’s not a very volatile game. It’ll take a long time to lose. I think most $5 players will be comfortable at any table $15 and under. I introduced the game to a few people this weekend and they took to it well.

I ate at Citizens at MB for the first time. Standard, upscale prices for simple breakfast food. Bar service was fast and pleasant. It’s a decent option you’re in the area.

Given that this was my last full day, I wanted to have a rental car to make a few stops. I opted for Silvercar. I found the entire rental process pleasant. A Silvercar rep will come and pick you up at the off-site shuttle stop and get you squared away. I had a discount code, so the total rental, inclusive of taxes and fees was around $70.

Serendipitously, a true low roller haven was directly east of the rental car center: Joker’s Wild. Noon on a Tuesday at Joker’s Wild is something. The only crowded area was the $1 craps table. I bought in for $100, the only bill I had on me, and it was a rare occasion in which I was a high roller.

It was quite an experience, to be sure. It’s not necessarily worth the 30-minute drive, but I had time to kill and it was fun tossing around the orange 25 cent chips. I cashed out with $101.

I took the drive up Boulder Highway to the Downtown Grand, where I had a comped stay for the final night of my trip. I wasn’t charged a resort fee, which was a pleasant surprise. I played a losing session of VP before heading out to meet my family in Summerlin for dinner.

I went back to Fremont for my final foray. I had a strong urge to play VP at Boar’s Head bar at MSS. The bar was packed and, frustratingly, only about half of the patrons were playing. I took a final walkthrough of each casino until ending up at DTG to end the night with some losing craps and VP. Fitting for me, but fun nonetheless.

I found that introducing Vegas to people is just as, if not more fun than going through the typical Vegas grind. I rekindled an appreciation for sights and places I had long ignored. As always, I look forward to future trips, whenever they may be.