Monday, August 29, 2011

What I Learned on My Las Vegas Vacation

I took a (relatively) spur-of-the-moment trip to Las Vegas last week with Michele, so we could, once again, bask in the blistering heat of the desert. And blistering it was: It averaged about 105ยบ when we were there, which was pretty awesome, because when it's that hot, you don't even sweat.

I didn't actually learn that much while there--Vegas is for playin', not learnin'--but it did leave me with a few thoughts worth bullet-pointing.

* The Paris Hotel and Casino has the French thing down pat, but not in the way they probably want. The service is rude and sucky--just like in the real Paris! When we arrived at the hotel, they had a line for check-out, but didn't have anyone checking people in. Granted, we were there in the morning, before the official check-in time, but jeeze. You're a hotel. Get your shit together! So we, and about a dozen other people, had to wait, and wait, and wait until ONE person opened up a check-in counter.

The Paris also advertises that they don't charge a "resort" fee, thus making you believe their rates are good. Thing is, they charge for EVERYTHING aside from the room, so, essentially, you have to pay that "fee" anyway. The gym costs 25 bucks a day. Want to use the Internet? No such thing as free wifi there! They charge 15 bucks a DAY for in room Internet only. Meanwhile, across the street at the new Cosmopolitan, they have free wifi in the entire freakin' casino. (Also, upon check out, we saw they tried to charge us twice for that Internet, and then when I got home, I saw that they charged my credit card AND Michele's for it. OMFG!)

The night before we were leaving, I called and requested a later check-out, which they granted, giving us till 1pm. That didn't stop the maid from pounding on our door 12:15pm telling us we were supposed to be out of our room. There went her tip!

In the past, I've had a fine time staying there, and being able to sunbathe under the Eiffel Tower is still a hoot. But I can't see myself staying there ever again.

* If you want good service, you need to get the hell off the Strip and head to Fremont Street, or other parts of old Vegas. The Strip is never going to lack in customers, so they don't have to bother with things like "fast" or "friendly" service.

For our first dinner, we went to Hugo's Cellar in the Four Queens on Fremont. This place is seriously old school. They give roses to all the female guests, prepare salads table side, give you a palate cleansing sorbet between courses, and complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries with a bowl of whipped cream for dessert. The cocktails are also huge. It's pricey, but worth it!

Our second dinner was at the Golden Steer, an old steakhouse off the strip on Sahara. It was kind of dead the night we were there--which I certainly don't mind!--but I can imagine the place would be a ball when the bar's hoppin' and the piano is being played. It's your standard steakhouse, but we did get another flaming dessert, the preparation of which you can see below!

* Everything in Las Vegas costs money, even the free stuff.

* Las Vegas is a mixed bag. It's always a hoot, and I will never turn down a trip there. But it's not really a place to relax, so Palm Springs will remain my go-to-desert destination.

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