Viva Blah Blah Blah...

We went to Las Vegas last week and I returned on Monday to over 800 e-mails (not counting the personal ones) in addition to my regular workload, so needless to say, I’ve been a bit behind. Things will smooth out eventually. First post has to be some stuff on the trip. I managed to read Incubus Dreams by Laurel K. Hamilton while traveling and as T so eloquently stated, it is pretty much a very graphic porn novel highlighted by a weak story line. Laurel, my dear, please get yourself laid so you can go back to writing engaging stories.

We also stayed in the Palace Tower at Caesar’s Palace, which is now a hotel I can officially not recommend to anybody. Visit Caesar’s if you want, but don’t stay there. Here is what happened to us. I made these reservations in July for my family, in honor of my Grandmother’s 80th birthday, which was last week. I made the following requests on my reservation.

3 rooms on the same non-smoking floor; adjoining doors not necessary.
2 of the 3 rooms should have 1 King bed, and the 3rd should have 2 doubles.

Now, I don’t think these are necessarily unreasonable requests. I worked in professional sports for a while, so I have seen some people get unreasonably picky about their accommodations, but I don’t think I did. It all seemed straight forward to me. Apparently, however, Caesar’s disagreed, so here’s what we had when we arrived.

3 rooms on 3 different floors
All 3 rooms had 2 double beds
1 of the rooms (T’s & mine) was on a smoking floor.

Way to go customer service on that. When I inquired about my original requests, I was informed that they were too full to accommodate me. In July? Hardly. To add to the adventure, the rooms weren’t exactly clean. You have to not dust a long time to grow 3 inch long dust bunnies on bathroom light fixtures. My mom’s shower had scunge in the bottom. Word to the wise, just avoid the hotel in this place, they can’t service their clientele. I will say that Caesar’s also owns the Paris, and we had a great experience there on our last trip.

My other great disappointment was with our car rental from Dollar. I don’t rent cars very often, but there must be something to the “we try harder” ads and the like. When we arrived in Vegas, it was pouring rain. We were shuttled to the car pick up lot and I went in to pick up my car. The lady behind the counter told me since I had my paperwork to just go find the car we wanted, the keys were inside, and we could go and check out. Well, I had reserved a full sized car, so we schlep our luggage in the rain, about the length of a football field, only to find that there is not one full sized car in the lot. It was a mini-van jungle out there, and I couldn’t do it. So, we return to the building where clerk #2 instructed us to go to a tent (that didn’t keep out the rain by the way) and wait. After a good 5 minutes, T asked a lady who was hiding out under the tent in a PT Cruiser, “hey, what about that Dodge Durango?” Bingo! Upgrade and out…So why were we waiting again in the freakin rain?

Returning the car was a separate adventure. We dropped the car and were shuttled to the airport by this creepy ass mulleted David Hasselhoff looking guy. I learned something from “Mullet Dave”, however; you are supposed to tip your rental car shuttle driver. I honestly did not know that. I thought he drove you to the airport and let you out. So we get out of the car, running a little late and with the airline check-in line a mile long. Dave says, “so are you going to tip me, or what?”

I was a bit surprised at that, as I was always under the impression that a tip was something optionally provided by a customer, not expected. My first thought, was, “dude at this point, you’re just a panhandler, and I don’t give money to panhandlers,” but I decided to be nice (it seldom happens). I reached into my wallet and pulled out the only small bills I had and gave them up. Note to self: every time you’re nice, you pay for it.

I kid you not: Dave held out the money to me and said, “are you really that broke?” I should’ve just taken it back. Were it not for fighting luggage and attempting to keep up with my husband the gentleman, who had already headed toward the terminal, I would’ve slugged the guy. Needless to say, Dollar didn’t make a repeat customer out of me.

Reading this, you’d think I had a miserable time. Not so, at all. We did have a lot of fun. I enjoy spending time with my family and enjoyed the vacation. I have to say though that not being a gambler that I’m pretty much done with Vegas, in that most of the strip is an overpriced mall. Simon, which is the management company that runs the Forum Shops as well as some of the others, is the same management company that runs the Houston Galleria. The Houston Galleria has more to it than walking the miles and miles of strip hotels, so what’s the point? Visit Houston; it is cheaper and you can get more stores in less exercise. No wonder we Houstonians are a bunch of fat-asses.

We also ate at Mesa Grill (Bobby Flay’s restaurant), which was pretty good. I think Bobby is trying waaaay too hard to make every single little thing gourmet-ish with his ancho-chili mayonnaise, his chipotle-garlic crème fraîche, and his cactus pear margaritas. Sometimes simpler is just better, especially with southwestern cuisine. A quesadilla is just that, even with caviar on it.

I think the best meal of the trip was at a restaurant downtown at the Golden Nugget called Zax. We ended up there because we non-planners didn’t make Friday night dinner reservations, and the concierge got us in on the condition we could get there in 20 minutes. It worked out for the best. We had great steaks, D’Andre provided almost New Orleans caliber service, the décor was great, and the atmosphere was lively. If you’re in Vegas, go there. It will make you happy.

I think next round, I’ll be lobbying to go to NYC, LA, or Chicago. We’ll see.


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