Viva Las Vegas!
Well, it has happened. I turned 40 yesterday (15 December). To celebrate, I went with 7 other guys to Las Vegas–one of whom also turned 40 last month, so it was a kind of dual birthday bash. I know what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas (or, as I saw on a T-shirt, “What happens in Vegas stays on Facebook and YouTube forever!”), but here is a trip report anyways :).
The flight departed roughly on time (8:26am) and we had an uneventful flight from RDU to ORD aboard a McDonnell Douglas MD-83. We had a bit of a layover in Chicago (about 2 hours), so we hung in the (very large) Admiral’s Club there which was all decked out for Christmas. Incidentally, as a Protip: in the very back of that lounge are 3 Eames chairs of the stationary variety. Very nice to kick back in!
We left ORD en route for LAS on AA1775 on board the same type of aircraft, and in the same seats (consistency is a Good Thing(tm)). This flight left about 15 minutes late which I still consider to be on time. Just over 3 hours later, we landed at LAS and hopped into a car headed to The Palazzo where we had 3 Bella Suites for the group. The Palazzo is a very nice hotel which has the added benefit of being a Priority Club property where I have Platinum status (this, btw, afforded me absolutely zero benefits at the hotel–only the 50% points bonus).
The service at the hotel was very attentive (as you would expect at a fairly high-end property in Las Vegas that houses a nice casino. The first night there, we ate at Picasso located at Bellagio. This restaurant is known for the Pablo Picasso artwork adorning the walls. There are about $30MM worth in the facility. That certainly makes an interesting backdrop to a fantastic dinner. I didn’t snap any food photos, but I do have the menu which I can add to the post with an update. After dinner, we hit the casinos–basically for the next 3 days. Most of our play time was at Palazzo and Treasure Island–the latter because it was right across the street and had some lower-stakes tables still open as the nights wore on. We did hit Caesar’s Palace for one afternoon as well. In addition to the casinos, we also hit up the sportsbook at Caesar’s and spent Sunday morning at Lagasse Stadium where the jambalaya and chicken wings were unbeatable.
The last night there, we checked out Blue Man Group at the Venetian. This show was a lot better than I thought it would be–and I thought it would be good. A fantastic way to spend 90 minutes being entertained.
We crashed out pretty hard on Sunday night and got up Monday morning to head to the aiport. When we arrived at our gate at LAS, I asked about an Admiral’s Club (or any other 3rd-party lounge that would take Priority Pass) and was informed, much to my surprise, that the only lounge in the aiport was a United lounge. This was a bummer, but not too terrible since I only had an hour or so to kill once I got through the terrible experience that is security at LAS. Protip: security takes about 45 minutes at LAS–plan accordingly.
We hopped aboard another MD-83 for flight AA348 to ORD and started our return trip (incidentally, we had the same seats again–3rd time :)). This flight left about 10 minutes late, but arrived about 15 minutes early as we had a nice tailwind. Unfortunately, all this did for me was make my 3-hour layover in ORD 15 minutes longer. Oh well, thank goodness for those Eames chairs! After the layover, we climbed aboard a smaller Embraer ERJ-145 for flight AA4241 which again took off on-time (that’s 4-for-4 if you’re keeping tabs) and arrived about 15 minutes early for my ride home.
If you’re interested, here is a link to a PhotoBucket album with some more pictures from the trip.