Las Vegas: June 2006

SCENE: You only live once, so sometimes it’s important and extra special to do something completely irrational like flying to Las Vegas to celebrate a birthday. Well, that’s exactly what we did! Nick has always talked about wanting to bring in his 30th year in style. Namely, Vegas style. So, when his birthday was about 6 months away I began sending out emails to all his friends about spending a June weekend in Vegas. I researched airline prices, hotels, and things to do in the city of sin. One thing I learned almost immediately was that Vegas was NOT cheap! Our American Airlines tickets were $300 bucks a pop and the the hotel (which isn’t a NICE hotel) was 140-150 a night. I knew our booze and food bill would also NOT be cheap. This splurge of a trip would cost us almost as much as our all-inclusive week long trip to Cancun at a 5 star hotel! But, it would be worth it (and it was) to give Nick this wonderful birthday present. In the end, the trip was priceless. Twelve of Nick’s closest friends also indulged and spent the weekend in Vegas with us. And we had a blast!

PS: Nick hit the jackpot and won lots of money the 1st night in Vegas. His winnings paid for our trip (now, THAT’s a great birthday!)

Below is the Flamingo eview I wrote for Tripadvisor:

We stayed at the Flamingo June 16-19 at a rate of $140 for Saturday, $150 Sat, and $150 Sun (booked directly through hotel). Overall, the location gets 5 stars & the hotel itself gets 2 stars. YOU CAN’T BEAT THE LOCATION! It’s perfect. You’re directly across from Ceasars and within walking distance to Harrahs, Bellagio, Ballys, and Paris. The monorail is also close (but expensive!!! 5 pp per ride or 9 pp for 2 rides.) The rooms are spacious, but in desperate need of a face lift! I’ll go into more detail below. In conclusion, I’d recommend the hotel if you’re on a budget or if you ONLY want a room for the bed/shower. Who spends time in the room in Vegas anyway, right?

CHECKIN: ONLY check in at the airport. No lines! The lines at the hotel are HUGE! The check in desk is next to luggage claim. Several friends checked in at the same time so we got our rooms together. Nice touch. We bought transportation through the hotel, but it’s a rip off! You can save 2 bucks pp and buy tickets for the same exact shuttle outside! The shuttle makes several stops, so it’s not direct either. If there’s no shuttle at the bus stop, then you have to wait in 100+ degree heat.

ROOM: We had room 8096 and it faced Ceasars and the strip. Lovely view that we didn’t ask for. The room DEFINITELY left something to be desired. Orange carpet, ripped comforter, moldy bathroom, markings all over the cabinets, smell from the drains, thread bare towels . . . I could go on. At least the beds were comfy. And there was hot water. I have stayed in dive hotels before (ie: road trips, college days etc) so I can firmly tell ya: it’s dive hotel quality. Our friend’s room that adjoined to ours had blue carpet and decor and looked much nicer than our orange room. The maids came everyday.

RESTAURANTS: We ate at Margaritaville and the downstairs cafe 3 times. Cafe had good breakfast. Service at Margaritaville lacked luster. We sent a search crew out to find our waitress at one point. If you have a large party (ie: 4 people or more) you cannot be seated unless everyone is present . . . similar at all restaurants in Vegas. Just so ya know. We had a group of 18 so when are buzzer when off to be seated at Margaritaville (after an hour wait), you can imagine how difficult it was to round up all 18 people from the casino. Thank goodness we did it in record time because our tables were almost given away.

POOL: Small, but sufficient. All chairs in the sun are taken by 9am, I’m not joking either! Try the frozen appletinis! They are yummy!

CASINO: Old, worn down. There are so many beautiful casinos nearby, there’s no reason to gamble at the Flamingo. Hard Rock was voted best, then MGM, then Ballys. Other nice ones are Bellagio (but a bit stuffy), the Palms, and NY NY).

SHOWS: If you only see one, and you’re on a budget, check out Harrahs Improv Comedy Show!! It was the best 20 bucks I spent all weekend. The comedians were hilarious and had our group in tears for the entire hour.

CHECKOUT: You can checkout in your room. Very nice touch IF there isn’t a faulty charge on your room. We were charged for 4 bottles of water even though we only drank 2. We didn’t feel like waiting in the 2 miles line downstairs for an overcharge of 14 bucks.

Next time, we’ll probably think about staying at a nicer hotel like Paris. We like the location, but not the hotel.

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