Bear N Mom - Travel - Las Vegas NV
Arriving at McCarren Airport is a true treat. Bing Bing Jingle Jingle -- You have already entered the surreal world of the Wishes Can Come True. Slot machines everywhere and you haven't even opened your luggage yet. Let's leave those for the last shot at fortunes as we leave to go home (it can and does happen). Okay, let's get started on our dream world vacation. Travel light with only carryons and you are on your way. A short hop on the airside to landside shuttle and you have your choice of shuttle packages to and from hotels of interest, shuttles to car rentals or taxi service at the main entrance. My personal advice is to grab a shuttle to the hotel of your choice unless you need to be somewhere at a specific time. For our vacation this year we chose to do a car rental because we needed to be downtown for some tournaments.
For this vacation we chose to stay at the Hilton Grand Vacation Club on the Strip. It is halfway up the strip and approximately halfway between Tropicana Blvd. and Old Downtown Las Vegas home of Binions and the World Series of Poker. The accommodations are lush and the rooms are a cut above the normal hotel accommodations. This is because the owners pay maintenance fees annually to keep up the site and the furnishings on the properties. As an owner, I find it relaxing to be able to check into a suite rather than being cramped in a one bedroom. True, most only go to Las Vegas to gamble or to see the bright lights and spend very little time in their rooms; but I for one am prone to go go go and then relax relax relax. With the full apartment style I can go shopping and save myself the expense of eating out or just look for coupons and eat at all the buffets and overstuff myself. This trip, I chose to walk next door to the local CVS and buy cereal and milk for a fraction of the cost of eating in the Deli which the resort has on the first floor of the building.
Kitchens are equipped with all the appliances such as blender, toaster, microwave, electric stove and oven and dishwashers.
Owners maintenance fee includes having laundry facilities in the suite and I personally love going home with all clean clothes the same way I left for my vacation. There is a personal washer and dryer situated behind Hutch Style Doors in the kitchen area.
The master bedroom comes with a walk in shower behind a privacy door that allows you to bathe or just take a shower. With two people traveling you can be doing both. In today's traveling world most rooms include ironing boards, irons and the bathrooms have built in hair dryers.
Internet access is available and for owners it is free of cost with the Hilton Grand Vacation Club.
The only difference in staying at a timeshare is that you don't have maid service every day to change towels and make your bed. Let's be honest here--do you get a new towel every day at home or use it more than once. But, if you are staying a week, the maids come in on day four and change out your towels and clean the apartment. To my way of thinking it doesn't take but a second to pull up the sheets and coverlet on the bed and I'm off again to do what I have planned for the day.
Out and About on the Strip
I'm one who loves to walk and that's what you will be doing a lot of if you plan to do sightseeing on the strip. There are outside shows to see and plenty of inside shows to see. You can do your whole Vegas experience on a budget if you just walk around and see the sights rather than spend a lot of money on shows which can be quite pricey.
There is the Mirage Experience which boasts the Volcano between the hours and 6 and 10 PM daily. You don't want to miss this extravaganza of beautiful reds of flowing lava and pools of fire.
Right next door is the Treasure Island pirate show each night but as a word of advice this one is not for children. There is a showgirl type segment that is explicitly not for young people or the prudish oldsters.
Next door to Mirage on the other side is Caesers Palace which if you have any infirmity you will need to invest in a scooter to do all of this sightseeing.
When I first started visiting Las Vegas it was a true treat to wait for the white crossing sign and then run across the boulevard and to the next sight or casino. Today, the city of Las Vegas has come up with the overhead cross walks which allows you to get over the bussling traffic in safety. But again, but the infirm this means you need a means of transportation to get you from casino to casino.
There is so much to see and too little time to see it all. This trip we stopped at Circus Circus. That was a major disappointment to us because to my way of thinking there is no reason for a major resort to be as dirty and dilapidated in appearance as this casino was. I'm sure that is due to this resort making the most of trying to attract family travel which is not in my way of thinking the best city to take children. Las Vegas after all is nicknamed Sin City.
The Stratosphere was very beautiful and the self parking was one of the closest that I had the pleasure of using. Gambling is gambling any place you go in Vegas and the same popular slots can be found in every casino along the Strip.
The Venetian boasts a beautiful pilazza with every type of shop imaginable and below the walkways you can view a gondola which is open for rides.
The Encore and Wynn Hotels and Casinos are next to each other and make it accessible to play in either casino.
MGM has to be the longest walk from self parking to casino of any casino I visited this trip. But, once inside the hotel and casino there is room after room of slots, table games and every type of entertainment you are looking for.
Off the strip on Tropicana we visited The Orleans which is one of my favorite casinos when I'm in Las Vegas. Besides that I love to dine at TGIFridays and there is one inside The Orleans. I normally get a gift card for Fridays before I leave for this trip because I plan to spend one evening at The Orleans.
Downtown Las Vegas
Where do I start with this part of the city that deserves a lot of attention by itself. I guess we will start with the Freemont Street Experience. This is a light show that runs every hour on the hour overhead on Fremont Street. It is an entertainment show that you have to see to know exactly what I am talking about. It is a series of lights that create the illusion of a show that lasts approximately 10 minutes and mesmerizes every person who ever saw it. There are four individual show and you have to see them all to fully enjoy the Fremont Street Experience.
Moving on to Binions the home of the World Series of Poker. This little casino recently closed it's hotel facilities as well as it's 24 hour a day dining room. They now focus on poker tournament play and casino area. Their doors are never closed onto Fremont Street and it is just a stones throw away from the Fremont Street Experience every night. I personally like to play at this casino and usually do the Texas Holdem Table when I'm in Las Vegas. In place of the 24 hour Dining Room is their 24 hour Cafe which boasts the Ultimate Hamburger. I have tried the experience and it is worth the Special price and is served with potato salad.
Being a player's club member at Binions I was surprised to find that I had my points still on my card from my prior 2 visits to Las Vegas. What was particularly nice was the fact that I could use those points as actual dollars at the various food spots and gift shop. By playing and swiping my card daily I earned additional prizes and was very happy to receive a $10 coupon for my food orders at the Cafe.
Binions is now owned by the 4Queens and that is where you stay if you in Downtown Las Vegas for a poker tournament at Binions. They have the quick dining facilites such as Subway and pizza available for the person who is in a hurry to get back to the tables or slots.
The Golden Nugget takes up the most acreage in the Downtown area and is a very up to date facility with the most recent slots. We ate at one of their restaurants and the Spinish and Mushroom Omelette was too much food. It was well worth the price and excellent.
As far as parking, if you start at Binions you can valet park for the entire day and the only cost is the tip you give the valet to bring back your car.
I have to mention that halfway back to the timeshare on Las Vegas Boulevard is the famour Gold and Silver Pawn Shop that you have seen on tv. The store is not as well lit as on TV but is like any other pawn shop except they have all of the memorabilia from the Strip on display for your visiting pleasure. It was raining the day we visited and they warned the tourists that if the store became too crowded they would ask you to leave. I made a very nice deal for an old piece of jewelry and I came away satisfied that what you see on tv is the true scoop.