Saturday, January 11, 2014

Las Vegas 2013 - Recap

We were in Las Vegas from December 15 to the 28th after driving across the country from Florida.

We stayed at BlueGreen Resort on Tropicana just off the Strip down from MGM. It is a very nice resort with an indoor pool. We had a clear view of the airport and could also see Luxor and THE Hotel run by Mandalay Bay.

 It offers a shuttle service which runs every hour on the half hour with some restrictions. It stops in four places, Wynn’s, Treasure Island, Monte Carlo and Luxor. It is not the most convenient service. It would be better if it did as some others do, make one central spot such as Harrah’s and run more often.
We had a one bedroom, partial kitchen. These are small units but adequate for Vegas as you don’t spend much time there. The staff is amazing and so very helpful. There is no hard sell timeshare, you simply say not interested and they leave you alone.

BlueGreen is located in a small mall with a Subway, Burger restaurant, ABC store, pizza, and a liquor store.
We checked in around 5 PM and had intended to do groceries but after being in the car for seven hours we opted instead to get a bottle of wine and order a pizza from the wood-burning restaurant downstairs. Perfect.

Monday was groceries at Smith’s and then we went for burgers at the Burger Grind. This is a cool place where you are given a clipboard and you check off your order.

As always Las Vegas was decked out in her finest holiday attire.
Our first stop using the shuttle was Wynn’s, one of my favourite casinos to visit as they do an amazing job with their Christmas decorations.

Then over to the Fashion Show Mall to get a birthday present at Pandora’s for a friend.  While there, DH bought me a bracelet (I had been holding out as I have three charm bracelets at home, 1 silver, 1 gold and my mother’s silver). BUT I had bought a charm at Disney World so......... I selected the Welcome to Vegas charm.

We decided to visit some of the older casinos way off the Strip. Some were quite sleazy but we liked Sam’s Town.

We were expecting friends to join us on the Saturday and knew we’d be out and about so we mainly relaxed and ate in. Also we had spent two months (January and February 2013) in Las Vegas!!
The weather this year was at least ten degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer than last year, a nice change to be able to wander without a hoodie during the day.

We were excited to pick up our friends on Saturday morning; however, they ended up surprising us arriving by another gate.
Loaded up the car and headed to the resort. They were booked into the “lock-off” part of our unit.
Lunch at Burger Grind with calamari (really good) and burgers. Then we did another grocery run.

We took the shuttle to Wynn’s to show them the decorations which they ogled with oohs and ahhs.

We strolled on the Strip, stopping into the Palazzo where we were served delicious apple ciders by elves and walked through Emeril Legassi’s Stadium, the ultimate sports bar where reservations are required. 

Back into the sunshine, we admired the Venetian holiday display.

Through Harrah’s and the new LINQ casino, quite disappointing, before we reached Margaritaville.
The guys were able to stand outside and smoke their cigars while D and I sat at the bar where we watched the volcano erupt.

We went into Flamingo where D and I decided to play the one armed bandits. I played $5 and cashed out at $40. D also played $10 and walked away with $28.
Then D went to a machine that we had no idea how to play and managed to put in $10 and walked away with $32.

Dinner was back at the condo for pizza and wings.

The next day we took D and A to Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

 It is like a rock and roll museum with many displays of band equipment, costumes and photographs plus guitars lining the walls.

We stopped for some liquid refreshments along with pretzels and cheese fondue.

We went over to Luxor, Excalibur, NewYork New York, with a stop at Nine Irishmen.

Excalibur was the only casino that I have ever been approached by Security and told we couldn’t take photos.

We took a cab to Fremont Street to see the light show and the sights.

We planned to have dinner at an Italian place we enjoyed several times last year. Alas, it was no more. So we settled on Joe Vicari’s Andiamo located in The D Hotel. 

Tucked back on the second floor the restaurant had an old-fashioned elegant atmosphere decorated with warm woods and romantic booths set with white linens.
Everything was perfect. Check back on Friday for details of our meal.

Monday we took a drive to Red Rock Canyon which absolutely blew them away. Here's a link to our visit last year.

We opted for a late lunch or lupper at the Red Rock Casino at The Yard House because they have ahi tuna and an incredible selection of beers!! 

 We initially knew The Yard House from Honolulu and then discovered this location in Las Vegas last year.

Then a stop at Walmart for D to hopefully (not) find her favourite chocolate bar.
Tuesday is a special day D's birthday and we started with champagne for breakfast.

Then we hit the Strip for some serious walking with our first stop in MGM.

A visit to M&Ms is always fun, even to our skeptical friends.

Next door is a  Coca Cola store complete with the polar bear that you can have your photo taken with.

  It is funny the things you do with visitors that you haven't done before. We decided to do their "around the world" tasting. For $7 you get a tray of 16 samples of local sodas from exotic places such as China, Africa, Mauritius and England.

Planet Hollywood was next on the list where you can stand outside and get a great view of the world going by or go shopping in the Miracle Mile shopping mall inside. We did both.

You can also get a good view of the water show at Bellagio although you can't hear the music as Planet Hollywood is belting out tunes.

 We crossed the street for a visit to the Downtown Center as it is called, comprised of a series of rather new, very upscale casinos such as the Aria and Cosmopolitan.

The shopping mall section of the hotel contains many fine stores.

By now we were feeling a little peckish for a small snack and went into Todd English PUB.

The best deep fried pickles I have ever had!

 The birthday girl was given a free drink.

Time to get changed for a special surprise birthday dinner at Gordon Ramsay's Steak in Paris Casino. Read all about it at this link!

Wednesday – Christmas Day

We headed over to Mandalay Bay to an Irish Pub called Ri Ra for a big Irish breakfast.

Then we decided to check out Bellagio and Caesar’s Christmas displays even though the crowds would be brutal.

Thursday we headed out to the Hoover Dam as they had not seen the bridge. It seemed everyone else in Las Vegas had the same idea for Boxing Day as the traffic was horrible.

We had planned to take them to the brewery in Boulder City for lunch but it was closed for the holidays. Instead we went to The Dillinger and had a good lunch consisting of wings, burgers, philly steak.

We made a stop overlooking Lake Mead.

When we were here last winter and again at the Eiffel Tower bar we were told that the best ribs in Vegas were at a casino off the Strip favoured by locals called Ellis Island which also made its own beer. We decided that this would be fun to check out.

It certainly had that old style "charm" but unlike a lot of comments I read it did not "stink" of beer and cigarettes". It is small and quaint and according to the guys their beer was excellent.

We thought we had selected the restaurant with the ribs but instead we ended up with the most amazing inexpensive meal anywhere in Vegas.

9.95 for a prime rib dinner with salad, baked potato and green beans.

Friday was a morning of chores, hair cut, packing and then we headed out to drive the Strip.

We strolled along the section where the wedding chapels are. I posted about this last Valentine's Day.

For lunch we went to Fremont St and the Main Street Casino.

 Headed over to the Fashion Show Mall to pick up a charm.

We decided to go back to Ellis Island Casino, 1) because it is a hoot and 2) to try the ribs.

December 27 we leave for Los Angeles.

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