And I got a bad case of it…
Next month will be a year since my last visit to my favorite destination. Since my first visit in 1994, I’ve returned each year and for a few years it was twice a year. I stopped counting after 25 pilgrimages so I really don’t know how many times I’ve been to Vegas.
Intensifying my fever is that two weeks ago a co-worker who’s a Vegas virgin sought my advice about her first visit which she’s planning for May. Like Pavlov’s dog, talking about Vegas triggers my psychological salivating for the Strip.
Worse, another co-worker spent last week in Vegas. So it was a tough week for me imagining him soaking in the pleasures of the Strip while I was at work. I’m not an envious person except when I someone I know is in Vegas and I’m not.
One way I coped was to start planning this year’s trip. Thanksgiving week has been a favorite time to visit but now the week after Thanksgiving seems more appealing. I can take advantage of the two extra days off to work in some non-Vegas tourism before we leave.
With specific dates selected, I checked out a Vegas hotel deal consolidator site and learned that the Flamingo has $25 rooms Sunday through Thursday. Flamingo is my favorite Strip hotel because of it’s “ground zero” location on the “fabulous four corners” of the center Strip. To the northwest is Caesar’s Palace, with Flamingo to the northeast. On the southwest is Bellagio, with Bally’s /Paris to the southeast.
I also like Flamingo’s “no setback” construction. One step off the sidewalk and you’re in the casino. Getting into some of the other Strip casinos, such as Caesar’s and Bellagio, can seem like a mini-Australian walkabout.
I’ve not settled on Flamingo just yet. I’m sure I can get a similar rate at Orleans, my favorite off-Strip hotel. I like the Orleans because their standard rooms are larger than Flamingo (and most other Strip properties). The bathroom has a window you can open and there’s a second phone right by the toilet paper dispenser. (Not that anyone’s ever called me when I was…conducting business.) Getting to the Strip is not a problem since Orleans has a shuttle to the fabulous four corners which runs 9 AM to midnight.
Vegas appeals to folks for different reasons. Susie and I love Vegas because it’s a great place for hanging out. We just stroll a portion of the Strip each day at our leisure and do a whole lot of nothing. Very relaxing. We also enjoy the shows but there’s not too many left we want to see that we’ve not seen, so we’re beginning to enjoy them again. This trip, we may see “Phantom” again.
My friend Patrick, who was in Vegas last week, likes Vegas for the dining. In an earlier life, he owned a restaurant and was the chef. Last year, his home’s kitchen remodel was featured in a national magazine. So he’s very serious about food.
Patrick’s wife is executive director of a statewide association. She travels frequently throughout Florida, the Southeast and the country on business. Consequently, she’s racked up a gazillion frequent flier miles and a ton of hotel points too. Not too long ago, they used those airline points to fly to Montreal for a long weekend.
So they’re not the type who’ll stay at The Dew Drop Inn. In Vegas, they’re staying at one of the few hotels with no casino: the Mandarin Oriental, one of the top hotel brands in the world.
My enquiring mind got the better of me and I checked on the room rates for Sunday through Thursday, when Vegas hotel rates are lowest (unless there’s a huge convention or event). At many Strip properties, you can get a room at one of the top casino-hotels, such as MGM, for no more than $80 on Sundays through Thursdays. The lowest rate I found at the Mandarin website was $220 a night.
And I know they didn’t dine anywhere but the top restaurants. They won’t hesitate to pay $50-$75 each for dinner as long as the food is top notch. And since he was a chef, Patrick is very particular about food quality. (Susie and I might spend $200-$250 for meals the whole week, which is easy since a decent steak dinner can be had for no more than $10.)
But that’s why I love Vegas. Whatever your budget, Vegas has something for you. If you want more than a $10 steak, there are numerous creme de la creme steak houses where $10 might get you a side salad.
Another reason I love Vegas is that it’s always changing. The Mob Museum
recently opened, and we’ll be checking it out. O’Shea’s, one of the Strip’s iconic (and disappearing) low roller havens, will be closed by the time we arrive. But it will reopen, along with a new area to hang out.
If I can’t be in Vegas, then I like to hear about other folks’ trip. So I’m looking forward to hearing about Patrick’s adventures Monday.
If you’re planning a trip to Vegas, or just want to indulge some Vegas voyeurism, check out my Vegas website.