There and back again….

Alright so the only thing Hobbit like about me is my somewhat hairy feet, but I still love that title.

Last weekend my lovely fiancée and I went on our much-anticipated trip to Las Vegas. It was her third or fourth time, and my first. Over all it was an astounding experience. The two greatest highlights being, watching my fiancée win a $2,200 jackpot on the penny slots and the absolutely mind-blowing experience of seeing Garth Brooks live. I have some notes at home on my Xoom of some traveling/Hotel stuff that I’d like to talk about in a later post. I don’t have them with me at the moment, so I thought I would just talk about the trip tonight.

We flew out last Thursday night, and that brought a certain degree of madness with it, because of the power outage in San Diego which had cancelled a number of flights and people were running around trying to find new flights that would bring them close enough to San Diego to drive the rest of the way. The flight to Vegas was one of the louder more boisterous ones I’ve ever been on. I guess that’s to be expected right? I got to blow my fiancée’s mind though when I insisted that we sit in the Emergency Escape row. This was a South West flight and we had pretty good A priority boarding so we actually had the option. She had never sat in the emergency row before, but I’m quite tall, so it’s something I do whenever I get the chance. She hadn’t realized just how much more space there was. So much so that she snapped a picture with her iPhone and uploaded it to Facebook before our departure. We got into Vegas around 11:30 at night. We checked-in to our room, ran upstairs and dumped our carry on bags and went back downstairs to the casino to start our gambling.

I love Vegas

We stayed at New York New York, and over all the best part of the casino was the Party Pit, the little area of tables (mostly Black Jack) where they have a stage in the middle and hot cage dancers up on it. I knew at that moment, that despite the ever-present cigarette smoke, I was going to like Vegas! I didn’t snap the picture above, but that’s a pretty accurate representation of what I found. And I only have a mild case of whiplash from all the girls on bachelorette parties running around in low and short cut dressed. Apparently Halloween is the holiday when every girl gets permission to Ho it up, but Vegas is the city where ever girl gets the same permission. I’m not complaining. I love that city now!

The fiancée showed me how to play the penny slots. And by the end of the evening I was $80 up, which was nice. Too bad it didn’t stay that way. Vegas ended up keeping $240ish from my bank account, but that’s what I had gone into it being comfortable loosing.

We had massages the next more which were so-so. Honestly, New York New York isn’t exactly known for their spa, but the Spa facilities set my expectations pretty high for the massage itself, and it just didn’t live up to the expectation. Nothing worst in a masseuse then cold hands. And I know they’re in the middle of a dessert and it’s fraking hot outside (it was 90 degrees when we got off the plane at 11:30!), but the room doesn’t need to be freezing cold either, that probably contributed to the masseuse’s cold hands. Over all the whole service was just very rushed, her hands were moving at a frantic pace. And I couldn’t tell if that was just her “style” if she was phoning it in or what. I was talking to the Spa Director at my property and he said that there are a lot of half assed massage schools in Vegas where they just crank out massage therapists like any other trade school. It was a very weird experience for me, because I’ve had so many great massages where I work, and from a large variety of therapists. At first I just thought that maybe I wasn’t shutting off my manager brain and I was being too analytical about it. In the end, I did ask to speak with the spa manager after my massage. She came down and not wanting to be one of “those guests” I prefaced the conversation with my business card and saying “I’m in the industry, you don’t have to do anything for me, but I feel like you need this feedback.” I told her how the facilities were spotless, the Reception staff and Locker Room attendants were great, and then I gave her my big but about the massage itself. I prefaced the whole thing by saying she didn’t have to do anything for me, and so she didn’t do anything but thank me for taking the time to give her the feedback. It was a very practiced and easy customer service response on her part. And afterwards I felt better for having at least gotten it off my chest. Next time we’re in Vegas I want to try the spa at one of the places that are more known for having a mind-blowing spa. I already have some suggestions from my Spa Director who says his favorite place in the world is Vegas.

The fiancée and I spent out afternoon gambling and getting lunch. At one point I topped out at about $125 up after hitting the black jack tables (minus the dancers because of the time of day), but that all got sucked back away. I was across the casino watching another $20 drain away into a penny slot when the fiancée called me. I could barely hear her over the noise of the casino finally she’s like “Can you just come here. I don’t know, but there’s something wrong with the machine I think.” I got there to find flashing lights, and her machine’s screen announcing her $2220 jackpot and asking her to please wait for an attendant to come give her her money! It was a really cool experience even though it didn’t happen to me. We drew the attention of a couple of onlookers, the general sentiment being “I didn’t know a penny slot could give out that much!” and “How did you do that?” Really? Like we can replicate it with an exact series of steps? I’m pretty sure if we could, we’d never ever leave Vegas. We’d be professional penny slot players!

Once we had her money firmly in hand (she let me hold it a little bit). We went off to a bar for a celebratory drink. Then up to the rooms to get ready for the concert.

I’ll say more, but I’ll just preface the story by saying, Best. Concert. EVAR.

Garth Brooks is a consummate show man and entertainer and from the very moment he walked out on that stage he was electric. I didn’t do very much research into the show before we went, but it’s literally a one man show. He doesn’t have a band out there with him. It’s just Garth, a guitar, and a couple of bottles of water. The theater is incredibly tinny (maybe 1,500 people?) which is an incredibly intimate experience when you’re dealing with such a seasoned performer. Before he “retired” he was playing packed stadiums and blowing people away. In a space that small, you could just feel every body in the theater quiver at the same frequency as his guitar strings. And he’s out there incredibly casually, just some black boots, jeans, a checkered button up shirt with a T-shirt underneath, and a ball cap. It’s like he came out to play the stage at his favorite dive bar. The first half of the show is Garth talking about his life and growing up and the music that influenced him most on his path to becoming a performer. He sprinkles the show with stories and little covers of songs that were meaningful to him from other artists or highlight the story he’s telling, and you laugh a lot throughout the show. It’s almost stand up comedy between his little bits of music, but it’s more like you have a good friend who’s great a captivating a room with funny anecdotes. Then about half way through the show, he dives into his own catalog of music and it just cranks up to 11 from there. At least half the audience is singing along, either out loud or just under their breaths. And then comes the most amazing part, he turns up the house lights and takes audience requests and questions. He only took about 4, but that’s mostly because every song has a whole story around it for him to tell. I’m not ashamed to say that when considering all the songs of his that I just love, that I froze in a moment of pure overload and couldn’t even attempt to stand up to be one of those 4 requests because I had no idea what I would say if he called on me. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know about that part of the show before hand because I would have been contemplating it for the last 2 months since we bought the tickets.

Anyways, it was an amazing experience. If you even half way like Garth Brooks, go and see the show because you will not be disappointed.

The rest of our trip was kind of a whirl wind. We went out for a very late dinner with one of my fiancée’s friends from high school. He lives in Vegas now and he showed us around a little bit. We wandered around the Venetian and Palazzo Hotels. The concert was in the Wynn and that was an absolutely beautiful hotel. All 3 of them impressed me far more than New York New York which I just found a little cheesy. How can you even compare the New York New York to the Venetian especially the freaking canals through the hotel? Really? Although the price probably reflects that….

I think that just about wraps up our trip. The flight home was quiet and uneventful. We got back exhausted and a little forlorn to not be away somewhere adventurous together. We’re already plotting our possible return trips. I want to see David Copperfield next!

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  1. #1 by HoaiPhai on September 15, 2011 - 12:11 AM

    Thanks for sharing (boy, I could use a vacation… I’ve had one in seven years). Some of my favourite performances were in tiny places in which you could hear the singer’s car keys jingling in their pockets you were so close. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  2. #2 by Matilda on October 2, 2011 - 9:57 PM

    Winge! winge! winge! your poor girlfriend. I Hope she leaves you at home next time and you can give yourself a massage.

    • #3 by hotelnerd on October 3, 2011 - 7:41 AM

      I’m afraid I don’t understand your objection.

  1. Travelling tips and stuff… « hotelnerd

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