Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 6th, 2015 at 11:36:43 PM permalink
So um, are there any particular guidelines for posting trip reports? Is it ok to post a link to my blog where I have it published along with photos? Or would it be better to post it here in text format? Still rather new here and don't want to inadvertently mis-step. ;) I can certainly revise my posting and delete anything that's out of compliance. (Not sure if linking to my blog is considered self-promotion? It's just a dinky little thing and not any kind of revenue generating site.)

=====================================================

It's been a month since my trip and it's taken me a while to find the motivation/time to write it all out. I tend to be a bit verbose so in the interest of not repeating myself too much, my blog links to some individual components (mainly restaurants) that I've published on Trip Advisor.

Bellagio Trip Report June 7-9

Is it weird that I meticulously keep track of all of our trip spending? I've long since graduated from having to travel on a shoe string budget but I think I still maintain those roots of wanting to get the most bang for my buck and wanting to know where every dollar was spent. I also find it helpful to share this info in the hopes that it will help someone else to save money. ;)

I do enjoy spoiling myself now that we can afford to do so. But that doesn't mean I have given up on wanting to get a good Value for my money. Anything that I spend money on, I want to feel that it was really worth it. I like digging for a good deal on something whose worth is a lot more!

Here is a basic breakdown of our trip budget.

Tips - $55.70
Food - $182.25
Shopping/Entertainment - $262.59
Room Cost - $264.32
Gambling Money In - $644.00
Transportation - $162.11
Total Spent - $1570.97
Money Won - $553.95

Net Spent $1,017.02

I always intend to try to have a cheap trip but invariably I end up splurging on something that pretty much blows the budget up to something obscene. This time, it was the tickets to see Le Reve but it was a show that I enjoyed very much so it was worth the splurge. ;)

We flew on Southwest and used miles for free air tickets paying about $36 out of pocket for Sept 11 fees and Early Bird check in for my husband. The non-stop flight over was uneventful. I brought along my free drink vouchers but hubby did not wish to partake so I tucked them away for the return flight.

We decided on this trip that we would not rent a car but take taxis or walk. I had planned out our full day to stay at the Bellagio hotel, sleep in and lounge at the pool so that we would not have to incur any taxi fare costs that day. Based on my estimate of transportation needs, the taxi cost would have been about equal to the cost of a car rental. But we would have had to wait for the valet to bring our car around or walk to the self parking lots. We ended up shaving a small amount off of our taxi budget estimates by walking back from our evening show. All told, we only took three taxi trips for a total of less than $40. Tips added an additional $7. The bulk of our transportation costs were for parking our car in an airport area garage and getting it washed - $85.

One drawback that I was aware about for taking the taxi though is the often long line up of people waiting. This was especially true at the airport where we spent a good 30 minutes winding through the queue which was a lot LESS enjoyable than a Disney themed one. At least it was covered so we were out of the hot sun but it was still an uncomfortably warm temperature. When we finally got into our cab, the taxi fare from the airport to the Bellagio was a very reasonable $17 plus $3 tip.

We arrived at the Bellagio and were met with another huge line to check in. :( It took us 45 minutes to make our way to the front desk to check in. I've left a seperate review of my stay at the Bellagio so I don't clog up this trip report too much with redundancies.

When we got into our room, I took a few photos and simultaneously started settling in while getting ready to go out for the night. We had tickets to see Le Reve for the early 7pm show time and I had planned for us to get there ahead of time, pick up our tickets from the box office and have a light early dinner. Everything worked out according to plan and after browsing the different restaurants at the Wynn and Encore, we opted to eat at Wazuzu. Here is my review of our dinner at Wazuzu on Trip Advisor. We also took some time to wander around the Wynn/Encore ground level a little bit and enjoy the atmosphere. I found it to be relaxing, similar vibe to Bellagio but more laid back and much less crowded.

...continued...
Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 6th, 2015 at 11:39:51 PM permalink
Part 2

After dinner we saw Le Reve which I had heard was a step up and off of the Cirque evolutionary tree. The Wynn website has a $30 per ticket discount when you book your tickets at least 30 days in advance. There is still a $15 fee to book online so that plus taxes cut into the discount somewhat. Before taxes and fees however, the $30 discount brought the price down to $104 per ticket. With the discount, taxes and fees, all together, we paid $245.30 for both tickets. The seats we got were moderately good and not too close to the circular stage Sec F, Row F, seats 5 & 6. The VIP champagne seats are up at the very top of the round seating theater. You will be able to see exactly what seats you will be assigned at the time of purchase. Over the course of a few days, I checked the other dates and times that we would be available for this trip and booked these on day 31 prior to performance. I could have gotten slightly better seats (Sec F, Row F, Seats 3&4) only because they are a teensy bit closer to the aisle for easy in and out access, but that was the 1st day I started checking the seat availability and I didn't know if I could get any better ones by waiting. Turned out that I couldn't. ;) For the three other shows I checked, the late show and both shows the following day, the seats were slightly closer to the stage in row D. I was happy with our seats and don't know if we could have gotten better pricing. Tickets for Tonight is always an option but there is no guarantee that seats will be available on the day of performance which is when they are able to be bought from T4T.

Overall, I enjoyed Le Reve. There were a good number of high dives into the pool and the specialized stage and effects are pushing the show technology. But I felt that the attention was meant to be on the show technology more than the performers and my enjoyment preference is for amazing performance rather than tech. I also felt that the vocal recording of Steve Wynn at the end of the show was self congratulatory and pretty tacky.

After the show, my husband grabbed a $7 mocha latte from the café and I bought two cloisonné magnets from the gift shop for $15. I picked up a casino players card and we stayed to gamble for a short while. It was here at the Encore that we first discovered our favorite slot machine - 1,000,000 degrees! We first noticed it because it is a big, wide machine with a bench seat meant for two and we always like to look for those so we can sit together. :) We both won and lost and eventually quit once we broke even on our losses.

After leaving the Wynn, we walked over to the Venetian where I had planned for us to stop at their Food Court for a cheap, late 2nd dinner. We both ended up ordering from Tacos & Ritas and I wrote up a review of our meal on Trip Advisor.

The Venetian was pretty crowded and a little bit rowdy sounding and we didn't stay to gamble there. After finishing our meal, we headed out across the street to the Mirage to see if we could catch a volcano show which we still haven't seen after 5 trips to Vegas together! Our timing was off with the volcano erupting every half hour on the half hour and we had just missed the last one 10 minutes ago. Since we didn't want to hang around and wait on the sidewalk another 20 minutes for the next showing, we decided to just skip it and catch it on some other future trip. We walked back to Bellagio past Caesar's Palace and I enjoyed the rest of my Mango Margarita in the dry evening heat.

Upon our return to the Bellagio, we skipped any further gambling and headed back up to our room where I enjoyed a nice soak in the deep bath tub before bed.

...continued...
Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 6th, 2015 at 11:41:16 PM permalink
Part 3

The following morning, I woke up late and let me husband sleep in even later. I headed downstairs for coffee and breakfast pastry at the Café Gelato. The line here was much shorter than the line across the hallway at the actual coffee shop. They were able to make all of the same types of drinks here at the Gelato shop so this is a good tip to save on some time. The gal who rang me up helpfully let me know that refills of regular coffee (Americano) are free for the rest of the day if I just bring my cup back. We definitely made use of this money saving tip and stopped back in twice more for coffee refills. I chose a blueberry muffin which was big, expensive and dry. :( I left most of it for my husband.

I stopped off to try a couple of slot machines before heading back up to the room to see if my husband was up yet. I am right in their Gen-X demographic sights when it came to certain licensed machines - namely the Flintsones and the Jetsons slot machines. I lost about $20 in each machine before calling it quits and heading back to the room. The bonus rounds are quite fun for the Flintstones, I have to say! They're pretty frequent as well compared to some other machines but they unfortunately aren't often enough nor do they pay out a whole lot. But it is very nostalgic and entertaining! :) My favorite part of the bonus scenes is when Wilma vacuums across your play board with her miniature wooly mammoth and leaves a trail of "Wilds".

After getting my husband up and feeding him the rest of the coffee and muffin, we headed out to the pool. It was almost noon by then and the pool was quite hot and crowded! We wandered around the entire pool area for about 15 minutes and there was no shade to be found. I even stopped a pool attendant to ask if he had any ideas but unfortunately he was not able to provide much insight. We really lucked out and I was extremely grateful that a mystery couple let us know that they would be leaving and we were welcome to take over their pair of loungers and umbrella! Yay! They really saved us as I'm not sure if we would have had to go back up to the room. As a licensed esthetician, I ordinarily try to stay out of the suns damaging UV rays as much as possible. Even under the protection of the umbrella, we forgot to re-apply our sunscreen as frequently as needed and got a teeny bit red on a few exposed areas like shoulders, tops of feet and backs of neck.

The pool was very well represented with Bellagio employees who came around to ask if we needed any food, drinks and even a poolside massage! I opted to grab a light lunch on my own from the trusty Café Gelato instead. I ordered the Asian tofu salad for my husband and a Mediterranean cous cous salad for myself and a fountain drink to share. I asked for the soda and ice in two separate cups so we could each have our own cups and not waste space in the cup for the ice. The Café gal also very helpfully gave me the tip that fountain drinks were also able to be refilled for free as long as I brought my cup back. Another good money saving tip to know! This light lunch was a bargain $23 plus $2 for tip.

We both enjoyed our salads poolside and the portion sizes were just right. We were planning on having the Bellagio buffet for dinner and didn't want to overindulge on this late lunch. While I did go back in to Café Gelato for a free refill on my soft drink, I also want to mention that there is free water available at the pool next to the liquor counter and at the napkin counter in Café Gelato.

It was probably around 4:30 or 5:00 before we decided we had had enough of lounging at the pool and were ready to call it a day. We headed back up to our room to shower and change back into casual clothes for dinner. After getting back down to the casino floor, we headed over to the M Life desk. We play the MyVegas game on Facebook and needed to redeem our vouchers for $25 of free play each and the Bellagio dinner buffet. MyVegas has gone through a few changes over the past 2+ years that they have existed. The rewards catalog has shrunk and the points needed to redeem have gone up. But for a free program (payment is completely optional) you really can't complain even if "the good old days" of the program were a lot better. I've definitely gotten my fair share of free offers and enjoyed every bit of them. :)

Once again, the crowds were abundant at the line to get into the Bellagio dinner buffet. :( I think we waited about 40 minutes which was just 5 minutes shy of our 45 minute wait to check in the previous day. Once inside we enjoyed our dinner with our quirky waiter. ;) He was adequately attentive though would try to come by and clear our plates too soon. I wrote up a review on Trip Advisor or our dinner experience at the Bellagio Buffet.

After dinner we tried our luck at the slot machines using our $50 of free play. The free play didn't last long and we eventually moved over to using our own money. We did enjoy a nice long 90 minute stint on the 1,000,000 Dregree bench seat slot machine which was a real treat for me because my hubby does not usually enjoy gambling. We ended up feeding that machine about $300 before we finally got an exceptional bonus round with 20 free spins at 3X bonus! We walked away from that machine with a $400 cash out voucher which helped us break even on our previous slot machine losses at the Flintsontes and Walking Dead.

Being at a single slot machine for so long is thirsty work! ;) My husband enjoyed some Jack & Cokes and I indulged in a pina colada from the cocktail gal working our area. I have to say that I don't normally have a lot of hope in the free drinks offered but I really enjoyed my pina colada! It was well made and smooth with no big ice chunks in it. Also, I'm not a big drinker and for some the weak piddly amount of alcohol in the free drinks is a drawback but I loved that the low level of alcohol in my drink was just right for me! ;)

After cashing in our voucher at a machine next to the Flintstones slots, I couldn't resist losing another $20 in the hopes of seeing Wilma vacuum with her mini wooly mammoth. Ah well! We headed back upstairs for bed and I started getting a head start on packing up for check out in the morning.

...continued...
Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 6th, 2015 at 11:44:40 PM permalink
Part 4

In the morning, I had set my alarm to wake me up around 7 so I could call down to the front desk and ask about getting a late check out. We were granted a 12:30 check out with zero hassles so I went back to bed to catch a few more zzZzzs and enjoy sleeping in without kids.

Around 10:30am I woke up again for good and got dressed. I had remembered that I still had another $10 of Freeplay that came with the room reservation that I had neglected to collect at the M Life desk yesterday so I headed downstairs to do that. I resisted the temptation to play my $10 without my husband and instead took some time to wander through the conservatory. The check in line was about half the size that it was 2 days prior - maybe because it was still the typical check out time. I still think that 20 minutes is too long to wait to check in. :/ There are a few selected pics from the Bellagio Conservatory posted on my blog Bellagio review.

Somehow, the Conservatory just wasn't as interesting of a feature this trip when we happen to be staying here. Maybe it's psychological because in a way we are paying to be here to enjoy this but staying at the Bellagio was such a crowded experience overall that it just took some of the novelty factor out.

Around 11:00 I headed back up to the room to check on my husband and for final packing up. Around 11:30 we were ready to head out but we took a last trip down to the casino first to use up my $10 of Freeplay while still holding onto the convenience of having our luggage in a room and a private bathroom handy. It didn't take long and using up the $10 of Freeplay was a bust. I needed to use $4 of my own money in order to use the Freeplay but we decided to cut ourselves off from putting any more of our own funds into those darned machines. ;)

Finally when we were really ready to go, we collected our things from the room and used the in-room TV check out feature. I felt a little sad rolling my luggage through the casino out the lobby door. I'm not sure when I'll be able to come back for my next trip. The taxi ride back to the airport was uneventful and it was cheaper than the ride from the airport. We paid $15 and a $2 tip for the driver.

Once at the airport, we headed over to our Vegas tradition of having lunch at the Jose Cuervo Tequileria. It is one of the few sit down restaurants in the Southwest wing and I have come to look forward to this tradition. Here's my review of our lunch at the Tequileria on Trip Advisor.

After lunch, we didn't have to wait long before boarding started for our flight. My husband's Early Bird boarding number was much better this time around and we were able to sit together much closer to the front of the plane. Our flight was full and volunteers were sought who would be willing to give up their seat in exchange for a $250 future flight voucher and re-routing on a flight with a stop. We opted to stick with our nonstop flight home to see the kids sooner rather than later. :)

We had a smooth flight home and picked up our car from the parking garage paying $65 for 3 days of parking and $20 for the exterior car wash. Luckily I have a stockpile of gift cards purchased from Costco at a 50% discount and was able to use that for the parking fee. The car wash fee needed to be paid for separately and was not eligible for payment with the gift cards. This did bring down our net payment for the parking to just $32.50 or about $11 per day.

All in all, though it was a short trip, I always enjoy spending time with my husband without the kids. It is a much more relaxing and different vacation experience. I am hoping to stay for three nights the next time we go to Vegas and would like to try a standard suite at the Encore. :) We still have a gift card for the Eiffel Tower restaurant at the Paris Hotel that expires in mid-January 2016 so I know a future trip is on the horizon!

Fin
beachbumbabs
Administrator
beachbumbabs
Joined: May 21, 2013
  • Threads: 99
  • Posts: 14229
July 7th, 2015 at 12:12:21 AM permalink
Chereya,

I don't think there's any one way to do a trip report. I'm not used to seeing all the 3rd party links in one, but I don't see any harm in doing it that way. I like very much that you broke it into 4 sections, and it's very well written. Thanks for taking the time!
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
  • Threads: 424
  • Posts: 24199
July 7th, 2015 at 12:41:13 AM permalink
Best trip report I've ever read. An intelligent
woman can write a better report any day
than a man can. We tend to gloss over all
the great details. Good job..
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
1BB
1BB
Joined: Oct 10, 2011
  • Threads: 18
  • Posts: 5339
July 7th, 2015 at 3:26:40 AM permalink
I enjoy trip reports and found yours to be comprehensive and very well written. Reading it will give potential visitors a good idea of what to expect at these venues. You obviously enjoy writing!
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 7th, 2015 at 12:53:30 PM permalink
Quote: beachbumbabs

Chereya,

I don't think there's any one way to do a trip report. I'm not used to seeing all the 3rd party links in one, but I don't see any harm in doing it that way. I like very much that you broke it into 4 sections, and it's very well written. Thanks for taking the time!



Thank you, BBB! :)

Quote: EvenBob

Best trip report I've ever read. An intelligent
woman can write a better report any day
than a man can. We tend to gloss over all
the great details. Good job..



Thank you, Bob! :)

Quote: 1BB

I enjoy trip reports and found yours to be comprehensive and very well written. Reading it will give potential visitors a good idea of what to expect at these venues. You obviously enjoy writing!



Thank you, 1BB!

I don't know that I enjoy writing per se... I like being helpful to others and that gives me a purpose in writing about my chosen topics. I am a stay at home mom (have a side business I participate in infrequently) so online format provides the bulk of my interactions with other adults. In real life, people present their persona with their choices in clothing, mannerism, activity, who they interact with and where they wish to be seen. All I have are words with which to represent myself online. It doesn't bother me how others choose to represent themselves online but I have high standards for myself to adhere to. And my kids. ;) They don't like that I make them learn and practice cursive but it's practically a dying art form at this point! Unacceptable.
EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
  • Threads: 424
  • Posts: 24199
July 7th, 2015 at 1:06:52 PM permalink
Quote: Chereya

They don't like that I make them learn and practice cursive but it's practically a dying art form at this point! Unacceptable.



I had to fill out a form in longhand
last week and could barely do it.
It's been years since I wrote anything
by hand, besides grocery lists. When
I was done it was barely legible.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Chereya
Chereya
Joined: Jun 7, 2015
  • Threads: 10
  • Posts: 80
July 7th, 2015 at 1:49:51 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

I had to fill out a form in longhand
last week and could barely do it.
It's been years since I wrote anything
by hand, besides grocery lists. When
I was done it was barely legible.



Oy vey, lol! Use it or lose it ;)

  • Jump to: