Las Vegas 2014

I wasn’t a Vegas person and I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to go to Orlando either. Since I have been lucky enough that work has sent me to both cities for many years now, my opinion of them has changed.

When I am in Orlando I can drive to International Boulevard, City Walk or other touristy areas after work every day. When I am in Vegas I can take the tram or walk to the strip once work is done.

 

The Flight

I hit Delta Gold Medallion on my Spain trip. I was anticipating that I would be upgraded to first class on the Vegas flight. I was wrong. I couldn’t even get exit row. That just lets you know how many people fly more than 25,000 or more per year.  Other than that it was a nice flight.

 

Springhill Suites

 

My room at Springhill Suites
My room at Springhill Suites

 

This was my fourth year in a row coming to Vegas. I started out at The Hard Rock. I discovered that the previous person teaching the Vegas classes was paying over $3000 a day for the banquet room and food. I don’t take in $3000 a day so I decided to move to a different hotel. Believe me, it was hard to give up the comped suite at the Hard Rock.

My next hotel was the LVH. The charges were half of the Hard Rock. The problem I encountered was their shipping receiving department charged me $.75 per pound to receive and ship my equipment. That cost me about $1200 extra and they didn’t even bring it to the banquet room.

I walked past the Springhill Suites when I was staying at the LVH so I had our travel agent check it out and the banquet charges were very reasonable. The banquet staff was the best I had experienced.

The nice thing about it was it didn’t have a casino. When I was at the Hard Rock and LVH students would occasionally come back late from lunch or break because they were gambling. It wasn’t a huge problem but it did slow the class down from time to time.

 

Vegas

At this point I know my way around The Strip and I have a routine and favorite casinos. When I have time I will take the tram from the LVH all the way south to the MGM Grand and walk back along The Strip stopping for dinner and a little gambling.

I am a scuba diver so I can spend hours at an aquarium watching the fish.  After I set up for class on Monday I went to the Mandalay Bay Aquarium, Shark reef.

 

Shark at Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay
Shark at Shark Reef in Mandalay Bay
Ray at Shark Reef
Ray at Shark Reef

 

Food

During my stay in Vegas I had dinner at Diablos in Monte Carlo. The food at Diablo’s is just okay but I like Diablo’s because  the front end of the restaurant is open air so it feels like you are eating outside and it doesn’t hurt that the waitresses are really good looking.

 

Tuesday I had dinner at Blondies Sports Bar in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center. Wednesday I was Hecho en Vegas at the MGM Grand.

Hecho in MGM Grand
Hecho in MGM Grand

They had really hot habanero sauce. I had a student tell me that the Riviera had the best $20 steak in town. I went there Thursday and it would have been a bad steak, even for $10. I had the best meal of the trip on Friday. I had a steak at the Yardhouse. It was great compared the steak the previous night.

 

Yard House
Yard House

I usually stop for a beer at Pub 1842 in the MGM Grand when I get off the tram. They have a great beer list and the bartenders are friendly.

 

Gambling

I’m not much of a gambler, I’ll play video poker or penny slots. My favorite penny slots are at the Monte Carlo. You have a chance (in hell) at winning an Audi A4. I usually win when playing these slots. I was up $60 the first time I played them.

They have penny slots with a chance to win an Audi A4 at the MGM too. I tried it Thursday night but I had better luck at the Monte Carlo. I went back Friday night and dropped $20. I also didn’t have any luck playing video poker at the Bellagio.

 

Duvel and Video Poker
Duvel and Video Poker

 

Another favorite of mine is Pub 1842 in the MGM Grand. They have a great beer list and the bartenders are friendly.

 

Pub 1842 in MGM
Pub 1842 in MGM

 

Friday Night and My Return Flight

 

I had a red-eye flight home. It departed at 1 am Saturday morning. Since I had time to kill I took the tram to the MGM and walked north on Las Vegas Boulevard. I gambled at MGM at the penny slots and lost. I stopped at the piano bar At New York New York to see if the amazing piano player that I had seen there the previous year was playing but he wasn’t so I kept going.

I stopped at Monte one last time to see if I could the Audi. I lost $10. I walked through Aria and Cosmopolitan and stopped at Bellagio to play video poker. Lost some more money.

I went across the street to the piano bar at Bally’s and watched some karaoke and then dueling pianos. I finished my evening playing video poker at Wynn. I love the statue of Popeye at Wynn. There were always two guards watching the statue. They told me it was worth millions. If it was I would expect more than two guards.

 

Pub 1842 in MGM
Pub 1842 in MGM

 

I went back to my room, packed, showered and caught a taxi to the airport. I was pleasantly surprised when I was upgraded to first class. I arrived in Minneapolis at 6 am. I swore that this was my last red-eye flight.

 

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