We just got back Sunday (6/27) and it has been hard to get back into routine. We were supposed to be back Thursday (6/24), but our flight was canceled.
I have to say that we are not really impressed with Allegiant Air. Their prices seem cheap, but they add fee after fee. What was supposed to be $160 round-trip ticket (total), turned out to be almost $400. One thing I notice at the airport was a sign that said they would charge $5.00 if they had to print boarding passes, so they suggested to download their app. I thought that was ridiculous!
The day we left home (6/20), our flight was delayed three times. We were supposed to depart around 10:30, but didn’t leave until after midnight. The day our flight was canceled, we spoke with two other passengers. One gal said they canceled her flight two times in one month. The other one said that she had to reschedule her flight because they kept delaying it, which then she ended up being five minutes late and they wouldn’t let her board.
So the last time I was in Vegas was about 20 years ago… I was with my parents and was not old enough to drink or gamble. So for this trip, I had plans to drink and do some gambling. The whole trip, I probably had about four alcoholic beverages and we gambled a lot more than I expected to.
Before coming to Las Vegas, I knew that it is an expensive place, but I was not expecting to be paying $7.00 for one bottle of water. We brought our personal water bottles on this trip, but there were no water fountains to be found (should have known).
We stayed at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino – Caesars Entertainment, which was on the strip. We enjoyed our hotel room — It was rather large for the two of us, the bed was very comfortable, and it had adjustable AC. It wasn’t creepy, dirty or have a weird smell. One thing that we were not impressed with was that they offered free Wi-Fi, but you were only allowed to connect two devices, additional devices would be $14.99/each. We brought our tablet (to watch movies), laptops (for schoolwork) and of course our cellphones.
We arrived at our hotel around 3 AM or so, and it was not what I was expecting. I don’t know if it is because I was tired or I just forgot what the casino life is like (I worked in a casino for 5.5 years), but I was amazed at how busy and awake the hotel was. People were walking around half dressed (you’d think they were on their way to the pool), purchasing coffee and alcohol, and just having an overall good time. The vibe of the the first floor perked me up, so by the time we got to the hotel room, we were wide awake. So what did we do? Went back downstairs to gamble. We didn’t spend too much or even stay that long, but it was nice to take our time without worrying about having to wake up in time for something. He played a few table games and I played slot machines.
When we finally went to bed, we didn’t wake up until almost noon. One of his must things to do was check out the buffets. Unfortunately due to Covid, a lot of them were temporarily closed. But we saw that the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Buffet was open and decided to go there for brunch. We spent about 10-15 minutes walking to the MGM Grand, not knowing that there was a 5-minute monorail ride that we could take. It was very hot, something that we are not used to. By the time we got there, the buffet line was crazy long, and it was going to close in an hour. We were starving, so I chose to eat at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. We were overheating from our walk, so our waiter had to come by every few minutes to fill up our tiny water glasses. It was lunch time so we settled on Chinois Chicken Salad (candied cashers, crispy wontons, and mustard vinaigrette) and Pepperoni Pizza (arrabiata sauce, red onion, fresh mozzarella, and hot sauce). We really loved the salad; it was big enough for two people. The pizza was good, but it isn’t something I would really order again.
After lunch, we stayed a little longer to gamble. We found a video roulette game that we both enjoyed – he was better at it than I was, so he won the money we played back. After a little gambling, we decided to take in the sights while we slowly made it back to our hotel. That is when we discovered the monorail!
I made the mistake of wearing sandals that I’ve only worn for a few days 3 years ago on a trip to D.C. My feet were hurting a lot during this trip! Note to self: Bring a third pair of shoes or bring well-worn sandals.
Before our trip, we bought tickets to a Monday night show. The Ultimate Variety Show at the V, which is located at Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Because they want it to be a surprise for new and returning guests, we were not allowed to take any photographs during the show, which was completely understandable. They had maybe six or seven acts – one act gave me so much anxiety, I spent a lot of the time looking away. I laughed a lot at two of the acts, there were a few interesting ones, and a few that seemed more like “fillers.” One act called on four volunteers – props to them, I would have not been able to go up there. And the host of the show picked on a guy in the front named Roy – they were hilarious!
After the show, we did a little drive-by gambling (played $20 in a few slot machines) as we were heading out to go back to our hotel. We realized that we could get to our hotel through the Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. It is so nice how a lot of the establishments are connected to one another – nice way to escape the heat. Once Paris Las Vegas turned into Bally’s, we discovered our hotel had a lot to offer! We thought it was just a place to stay, but nope, we were so wrong.
- Shopping & Stores
- Blu Pool Las Vegas – we unfortunately didn’t make it to the pool, but it looked really nice!
- Real Bodies Exhibit – human anatomy – we thought about checking this out
- Twilight Zone themed Mini Golf & Arcade
- Casino bars
- Fitness Center
- Various stands, including massage and temporary tattoos – I tried to convince him to get a tattoo, haha!
- Food Court – Johnny Rocket, Pan Asian Express, Nathan’s, Subway, Sbarro and Blizz Frozen Yogurt and Crepes.
Because our sleep schedule was off (we stayed up until 3 AM), the days blended together. When our Lyft driver, Kevin, picked us up from the airport, he recommended a few places to eat. Kevin also recommended to make restaurant reservations wherever possible. I have never used Lyft/Uber as much as we did in Las Vegas. It’s amazing how much you learn about someone in a 15-minute drive.
Tuesday evening, we had dinner at RA Sushi Bar, which was a recommendation from Kevin. This place was nice, but the music was a little too loud. I had to raise my voice when talking, and felt like everyone could hear what I was saying. Our waitress was kind, but she paid more attention to him rather than splitting her attention to both of us. This happens a lot, anywhere we go. They do this until they realize that I am the one with our credit card. Our food was delicious, we ordered more than we could eat and I finally had an alcoholic drink! We ordered more than we could eat.
After sushi, we visited the Bellagio Hotel & Casino, hoping that he could get in to play a little poker, but unfortunately the waitlist was very long. Traffic to the Bellagio was terrible because they had a sport event that evening. Our Uber driver did a quick illegal stop and we hopped out in front of the Bellagio Fountain and decided to wait for the water show. The water show only lasted a few minutes, but it was beautiful and so fun to watch! It’s free too, so I recommend you take a few minutes to watch! 🙂
Since poker was not happening, he decided to stick with me and play slots. He said that he never really got into playing slots, mostly because he did not really understand it and that they don’t payout as much or well as table games. We had fun with a few games, mainly because we kept getting the bonus rounds and it kept paying us back our money.
Wednesday, we literally played a slot machine for nine to ten hours straight. We had discovered this game the night before, but only spent a couple of hours on it. Waitresses make rounds and make sure to stop by players who sit at machines for long times (they are the ones who tend to spend more money). One waitress kept stopping by at least once every 30 mins, and so I finally decided to order my second alcoholic beverage (lol). I have never played a slot game for that long in one sitting. Some players kept coming back to see if the machine was open, and were surprised that we were still there. There was an upsetting incident where we had spent a lot of time trying to get a certain bonus round – we both knew that it was going to happen, but it was taking so long that we decided to stop. As soon as we got up, a guy jumped onto the game. We left for 1.5 hours and walked by the game on our way to pick up our pizza. Someone had gotten the bonus round! We were soooo sad – we had gotten the bonus spins up from 76 to 120-something. It would have been really neat to experience that many bonus spins! But now he understands why I find slot machines to be really fun, haha! 🙂
We ordered a Meat and More Meat – Deep Dish Pizza from Giordano’s. It’s another place that Lyft Driver Kevin recommended. It was pretty good pizza, very filling (we were starving and I forgot to take a photo). I took some photos on our way back to our hotel.
We had a lot planned for this trip – there were so many things that we wanted to do… Visit the Shark Reef Aquarium and Minus5 Ice Bar at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, eat a various restaurants and buffets, visit Fremont Street, and whatever else we came across that was interesting. But really, we felt like we didn’t do much, yet we did enough. It was a nice, relaxing trip – it was what we needed individually and as a couple. This trip reminded us how it is important to get away from our everyday routine to be able to ground ourselves and connect with one another. I hope everyone makes it a priority to do this, even if it is a staycation for a day or two!
So back to Thursday (6/20), the day we were supposed to head home. We missed our kitties and puppy so we were looking forward to getting back to them. Checkout time was noon, but we left earlier so that we can make it to the MGM Grand Buffet for brunch. We brought our luggage with us and was thankful for the monorail!
When we were seated in the buffet, he said that it wasn’t the buffet he remembered going to when he was younger. Turned out the one he really wanted to go to was The Buffet at Bellagio, but unfortunately that was one of the buffets that are temporarily closed. The MGM Buffet was okay, in my opinion. One guy got mad at me because I “cut in line,” but really, he was waiting in the sliced meat line. One of the staff kept having to tell the crowd that they were standing in line for meat, and that if they aren’t getting any, they can just move along. I felt better after she announced that.
We took an Uber to the airport and got there really early… I think three hours early. There were hardly any seats for us to sit at, so once we sat down, we didn’t move. 15 minutes after were supposed to be boarding the plane, they made an announcement that the plane was going to be ten minutes late due to weather. They announced this a few times then announced it was canceled. I have never experienced a canceled flight, so this was quite stressful for me. They offered to fly is into two other cities, but they are 3-5 hours away from home and we didn’t want to ask someone to make that drive. We had looked into renting a car, but there is a car shortage everywhere right now.
So there we were, having to stay another three days and did not have a place to stay. During the cancelation chaos, I had sent a message to my parents letting them know what was going on. They offered to help us if we needed it. I eventually had the thought of asking my dad if it was possible to use his hotel reward points. My parents travel a lot so he is a “diamond member” with one of the hotels. He was able to book us a hotel studio room after 10-minutes! We called for an Uber and made it to the hotel.
I made the mistake of giving him the wrong address and wasted $25.00 (it was a busy time, so Uber prices increased). Apparently there are two Home2 Suites by Hilton in Las Vegas. I was glad that we weren’t staying at this Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas Strip South. The front desk girl was not very personable and she didn’t really seem to want to help us. We told her that we had a reservation to check-in that day, and when she looked, she said we were to check-in on Sunday… which was weird. We asked more questions and she said that “she would have look into it…” but just stood there. So I told her that I would have my dad check in on it since he is the one who made the reservation. After I said that, she perked up and said that was a great idea. I think the only reason I would want to stay there is that they have a pool.
We called for another Uber and went to the right hotel — Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center. We were immediately greeted by a gentleman, Patrick, who was very friendly and had great customer service. Even though he was with a guest, he still took a second to say Hello! Because we were considered diamond members, we each got a gift bag with bag of pretzels and a bottled water (free!). He was sure to give us all the details and said to feel free to contact them if we needed anything. One thing that was cool was that we could text them questions! I was concerned about clothing since we didn’t plan on staying three extra days, and so the first thing I asked was where the nearest laundromat. Thankfully they had one in the hotel! The hotel also has a fitness center, but unfortunately no pool. Also, they have wi-fi and we were able to connect all of our devices for free!
We stayed in a studio room, so it had a fridge, dishwasher, microwave, coffee pot, etc. We were able to adjust the A/C, it had a television, couch, and even a table on wheels. We thought about going grocery shopping so we wouldn’t spend too much money, but the thought of taking an Uber to the nearest store and back just seemed too much of a hassle. There were many fast food places within walking distance: In-N-Out Burger (which we had Thursday evening), Jack in the Box, Wendy’s and even a Chevron gas station. The hotel offered breakfast every morning, so that helped us save some money.
We decided that we would stay in on Friday. We ordered from Yummy Chinese Restaurant through Uber Eats and watched Ghost Busters on the TV. I am very picky about Chinese food, but their Chinese food is sooooo good! We made sure to order extra so that we could have left overs. I caught up on sleep (a little too much) and he was able to get some work done.
Because we were staying an extra day, his mom paid for us to take a tour bus trip to the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon. We booked our Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour & Hoover Dam Photo Stop with optional Skywalk through Viator.com. Saturday morning, we walked from our hotel to the Excalibur Hotel & Casino, it was about a 10-15 minute walk. We left at 6:15 AM to make sure we had time to get there and figure out where the bus pick-up area was.
The bus was one of the deluxe busses – but we were under the impression that it would be fancier. It said that it had air conditioning, roomy seating areas and outlets so we could charge our phones. It indeed had A/C, but the seats were smaller than airline seats, and the outlets were not working that day.
Every seat was filled – I think there were 52 passengers? The first thing they have you do is fill out a breakfast and lunch card. The tour included breakfast, which was at the Omelet House. They had a simple menu, which could not be altered. They didn’t have gluten free options, so it made me wonder what they did for those who had Celiac disease or other dietary restrictions.
I do not remember our tour guide’s name, but our bus driver’s name was Bernie. Our tour guide was quite entertaining. He said that he was from D.C. and moved to Las Vegas when he was 21 to become a professional poker player (which only lasted a few months). He then worked with the city, but then was laid off so he pursued his comedian career while being a tour guide. He gave us many recommendations on what to do in Las Vegas… I wish we had taken this tour at the beginning of our trip, then we would have done a little more during the week.
Our first stop was the Hoover Dam Memorial Bridge for about 25 minutes. It was just enough time to hike up the hill, check it out and take pics. It was really cool to see, but we wished the dam wasn’t closed off.
After the Hoover Dam, we headed to Grand Canyon West. We did three stops: Eagle Point, Skywalk, and then Guano Point. On the way there, we drove by a movie set (can’t remember which movie) and also drove through Joshua Tree Forest.
Eagle Point: We stopped here to for admission to West Rim. There isn’t a lot other than restrooms and the gift shop. They had many beautiful pieces hand crafted items (pottery & jewelry), as well as clothing and general souvenirs.
Skywalk: While waiting in line, they have artwork, photography, handcrafted items to look at and you can read about the history of the Hualapai Tribe. My boyfriend was trooper and walked the Skywalk with me. Cliffs aren’t his thing… I on the other hand have no problem — I like to walk on the wild side, lol. There were a handful of photographers working the bridge, and we got 5 photos taken. You can get more taken, but I didn’t want to stay on the bridge. But our pictures were cute, and he bought all 5 photos for me.
Guano Point: This is where you get to hike the top of Guano Point for amazing views or just wander around the rim. We stayed around the rim, but it was still breathtaking! We were also provided lunch (again, no meal alterations), and enjoyed it under a tent. There were so many huge ravens around waiting for crumbs!
It was a great experience and I highly recommend taking a tour if you have the time! Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed this really long post!