Oh Las Vegas, better known this trip, as Lost Wages. I was so looking forward to our annual mother daughter 5 days before Christmas trip this year, as work had seriously put me for a spin. We did the usual: Hawaiian Airlines Premium Economy Class, 4 nights at the Wynn Las Vegas, 3 shows, and a day spent in downtown Freemont street, My mother’s favorite area.
We booked our flights around the later part of October, hoping to score a great deal. Unfortunately, Hawaiian Air has a pure monopoly on the whole price thing since they really are the only commercial airline to fly direct between Honolulu (HNL) and Vegas ( LAS) Premium Economy was a ghastly $900 per person, probably the cost of a first class domestic ticket in the STATES. Oh well, we wanted to have additional space .
Hawaiian Doesn’t offer much along the lines benefits for flying Premium Economy except, priority boarding and a few inches more of leg room. We must have waited too long, as the row I always enjoy flying on from Premium Eco , row 11, was all taken, so we secured the row directly in the back of it, Row 12 Seats E and G on the dated Airbus A330-200. Sad looking plane, although Hawaiian has secured or rather outfitted their planes with new Lie flat seats, these, were not those! Here’s a lay out of the plane Hawaiian Airlines A330.
Our flight was jammed packed, and it was nice to see a few of my work mates flying along with me. Well, 2 were lucky enough to score and upgrade to 1st… Bastards lol .. This was a red eye flight , which means no food just some drinks to tie you over. The plane was a few minutes late due to it arriving a little late from Vegas, but we were all swiftly boarded and next thing we knew, we were airborne, and I was already feeling the effects of my mini xanny.
The flight took little over 5 hours, and we arrive in the brisk morning at 6:20 am Las Vegas time. I’m really amazed at how beautiful the terminals are now at McCaran International Airport. A huge escalator down, a quick shuttle train, 5 minute bag wait, and we were exiting the warmth of the terminal to frigid 28 degree weather with high wind velocity. If that didn’t just wake us right up.
I procured an UBER and was lucky enough to take advantage of their American Express/ Uber promotion of 2 up to free $65 journey from select airports, with LAS being one of them. So naturally I requested an UBER Select, and within 4 minutes a lovely S class Mercedes Benz picked us up and whisked us away to the Wynn Las Vegas. You can find the promo link via the AMAZING Points Guy, offer valid until the end of the year : The Points Guy’s Uber/ AMEX Promo Info
We arrived at the Wynn , hearts beating , as it was all about to go down. This must be the trip I win the millions, well at least the hundreds of thousand 🙂 The hotel was very quiet, not like the last time we visited at the same time a year ago Las Vegas 2015
Check in was absolutely wonderful! A little bit about the deal I scored this time around. Last year, I was lucky enough , by sheer luck, to secure a casino host, I guess we spent a large enough amount to qualify ( that doesn’t always mean that’s a good thing 🙂 ) I called our host right after we purchased our tickets on Hawaiian and told her the dates. I asked besides the normal marketing promotion of 3 nights, $250 casino credit , and 2 buffets if there were anything else we would qualify for. She said yes, by combining my mothers play, we were able to get an additional 4th night free, which meant we didn’t have to pay for a Saturday night ( they never really do that ) So that was a huge savings of about $250.
When we got to the Wynn however, I was blown away to know that not only did we get those 4 free nights, we also got no taxes, and no resort fees on top of that. Another unheard of experience. WOW!!!! And the cherry on the lovely cake was that we got the Higher floor , and a room right next to the elevators so my mom doesn’t have to walk a mile to the room . SCORE!!!
One of my work mates, Newton, was actually in Vegas ( on our same flight) on a long layover on his way to London and France from the holidays. Because his flight didn’t leave until 10 hours later, he wasn’t able to check his bags in, so I offered him an opportunity to store his bags in our hotel room. We dropped our luggage off and headed to my OpenTable Reservation at Jardin, just like last year. The food was great, and we were so eager to finish up and hit the machines/ tables. We started off at the Encore, where, I quickly lost $200 trying my luck at the new Game of Thrones game. Damn them winter came and took all my money swiftly. Then we moved to the Wynn, where I proceeded to deposit another $400 swiftly into the machines. I just couldn’t win a thing , and I was getting pissed. Time for a break definitely
I said my good byes to Newton, who lost my mother’s room key, twice! It was nice and fun and I wished him a lovely journey. Now it was time for provisions, as usual , I headed off to the Palazzo Hotel, which is connected to the Wynn , well not really, but connects to the Wynn via an open air bridge, where I would go to Walgreens to pick up our bottles of water at a more decent price then the ones in my room, which would be the equivalent of a price of a small meal at Chipotle. Jesus! Well i just had to stop and try my luck in the Palazzo. Another $200 down on the Mega Bucks, and a few other games. Yes, that’s $800 down in just a few short hours. I tried my luck on the Diamond rush game and went up $300 in a snap. Ok withdraw, withdraw and get out there. I stopped by quickly at Barney’s New York to see their sale and see their newest perfumes. I love perfume shopping. Alas, nothing piqued my interest. While at Walgreens, I got a call from a very dear and uber long time friend, Roxanne , who said she was at my hotel waiting to see me. OMG i better get over their pronto, as it’s been years ( even though I come every year) since I’ve last seen her. She’s been living in vegas for quite some time now.
After much searching for Roxanne all over my hotel since she said she was on the millions of Buffalo games they have in the casino, we were able to catch up. We gambled all over, and that quick $300 i made, went down to nothing. Yet it was a lovely time catching up with her. Somewhat the highlight of the day for me. She is in good spirits and his happy with her life.
I forgot to mention that on this trip I’m on the hunt for a few brand new slot games. World of Wonka topped my list as it looked so amazing to play online. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it the Wynn. Cher is another game I’m so excited to play because I love her ! She’s my 2nd mother . hahaha.. Nope not at the Wynn either. Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and the new buffalo games were however, at the Wynn. And neither did me any good. Oh well still on the hunt for World of Wonka and Cher.
I caught up with my mother a bit later, who had a very sour look on her face. I guess she too hasn’t been having the best of luck . We went up to the room to start unpacking . I needed to start getting ready soon as I had a show at the Palazzo theater, Baz Star Crossed lovers, to see. I love soaking in the Wynn’s gorgeous bathtub, its so heavenly.
We headed over to the Palazzo hotel, and I told my mother to enjoy gambling here, while I go watch my show.
Baz Star Crossed Lovers Was absolutely amazing! If you love Baz Lurhmann films such as The Great Gatsby, Romeo and Juliet, and Mulin Rouge , then you will be in absolute tears watching this show. They sing all the hit songs from all the movies, along with fantastic performances. The voices on these performers were amazing and I was definitely in tears. The layout of the show is really interesting. Once can have stage seating , table seating, or couch table seating by the runway like I did, or basic theater seating. Please go for the couch table seating, as you can see the entire show up close and be in comfort. Word of warning, they fit 3 people to a couch so you may end up sharing your couch. I had 2 hot men next to me and I was a bucket of nerves. Cocktail service is also swift and quick and all you need do is press a light and they cometh. The show which went on uninterrupted for 1.5 hours was excellent and a nice way to end my first day in Vegas. Yes I said end , as I was tired, and bitter from all the losses.
I found my mother and starved to the brink of extinction, we hurriedly ran next door to the show room to the Grand Luxe Cafe for a much needed bight to eat. We each ordered a pasta dish, and fortunately it came out like lighting. Chow down and a take out later, we were headed back to the Wynn for our much needed sleep session. Ok maybe just a few more hours of the gamble ( I ended up taking out another $500) My luck wasn’t great, but at least I went up ( by up I mean I gained a little more than the last $500 I took out) , so I decided its time for a coma tosa.
Oh Please oh please let it be a fruitful day . hahahaha. Woke up this morning, head downstairs to the Cafe to pick up our coffees and that delicious Almond Pastry. Wow it is so delicious. Decided to put in a $20 real quick in the single bar dollar machine that plays the cup game, won $150, and felt it will be a great day.
Woke mother up to a drop dead gorgeous view of the Red Rock mountain range, and a stunning clear day. The weather looked fresh. We gambled downstairs for a few hours and headed out to the Fashion Show mall for a bit of shopping and to get us away from our now continuing loosing streak. After a few hours of diligent shopping, we headed over to Treasure Island Casino.
Treasure Island Casino: This place is always so dumpy , and full of questionables ( yes I’m a snob , deal with it) trying to hit me up, Annoying! I immediately found the World of Wonka Slots right by the sports book and next to the escalator that leads to the new Marvel exhibit and the bridge over to Fashion Show Mall. At $6 a pop for max bet, $200 went really quickly and the umpa lumpa bonus I got was horrible. Really? AT $6 a pop I don’t get more than $14 for the Umpa Lumpa Bonus? WTH? I did really well at this other Diamond Rush game, and up $400, I decided to return to the Wynn, where I would visit with my other really dear old-time best friend from Highschool days and partner in Crime Stacy. She’s been living in Vegas for 3 years now, and in the past our paths didn’t allow a crossing. We laughed, drank, gambled and caught up. It was awesome and really showed how much I missed her.
I had a concert later that night at the Orleans Hotel and Casino to see Leanne Rhimes in concert. I’ve never been to the Orleans, so thought it a perfect opportunity to check out the casino ( supposed to have looser slots) and all the while catching my show. Stacy followed us over and we gambled here and there, and again, this casino like TI was full of questionables, there really isn’t anything out there like the beautiful Wynn. Pricey, yet absolutely beautiful with beautiful people. Hey I wanted to live in the fantasy as I’m on vacation ….
Leanne Rhimes show was good but boring, and after she decided to take her heels off, I B lined it straight to the exit before she was even done. Her voice is absolutely amazing. Funny story actually, I went the wrong way to the show room and ended up the escalators as I was following people. They lead me to a room and I was like ” um this isn’t the show room” . The guy at the door said, no it isn’t this is the meet and greet, and I’m sure you’ll run into her on your way down. Sure enough as I was leaving to go to the actual show room, I hear ” na na , na , na , na, the boys …. ” there in her tiny skinny glory with beautifully straight blonde hair, was Leann Rhimes singing ” My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” That was odd.
The Orleans is HUGE. They have their own Show theater, Bowling alley, Movie theaters, restaurants, tons of slots and tables, and a convention center. Wow huge. I guess since it’s off the strip, Boyd wanted to have a place where one can just stay and do everything in one place.
After the show I caught up with my mom, we went to have some Chinese food, and a bit of a gamble later. And in true fashion of this trip, I was down hundreds. Time to go back to the Wynn… Pronto!!!
After much losses and then a surprising $600 up before I retired for the night, I was very hopeful this morning. Come on big bucks. We went about our normal routine of me going downstairs to fetch us our coffee and pastry and with me putting this time a $100 in while I waited with no luck. Ugh. I just can’t seem to Win at the Wynn. Last year, one morning just like this, I hit $1400 while waiting, and it was my first hand pay ever.
Today Mother and I have tickets to see Michael Jackson’s One at the Mandalay Bay Resort hotel and Casino. So I thought that we should go on a little adventure and start at the MGM , cross over to the Flamingo, the cross over to the Luxor, and then to the Mandalay gambling along the way.
I love walking around our hotel as it is always filled with such class and beauty. I especially love hosting cocktails at the Tower Suite bar as it is gorgeous and not to mention the bathroom is stocked with mouth wash , hair spray and condiments. Amazing. Hoping that everything would definitely look up at these south end strip casinos, we fired up the Uber app and got ourselves a very chatty Cathy New Yorker older gentlemen driver. He was hilarious until he started to flirt with my mother. My mother in all full glory told him how lucky she is because she has the best husband. Crickets lol Oh mother sometimes you really amaze me hahahaha…
The MGM Casino is huge , and dark. I didn’t remember it being so dark some 11 years ago when I first visited. Well then again I was a bit intoxicated and was heading to Studio 54 … My luck wasn’t there either, and after finding the World of Wonka slot, max betting and hitting the actual bonus, I only came up $25 . $25 on the damn bonus at max bet are disgustingly horrible odds. To add insult to injury, my iPhone 7+ went on the fritz, and froze up in the off mode. My heart sank as it is everything to me. I know too much technology dependence. But it also means I can’t get a hold of my mom in big casinos which means hours of searching for her tiny self. Finally after doing a hard restart, it fired back up, I located my mom and we booked out of there like our tights were on fire. I forgot to add that the 3 card poker table ate me up so quickly as well. Really not happy about it.
We crossed over to the Flamingo hotel, which looked brightly lit, yet extremely dead and small. Like it’s a museum or something. Bored immediately, we walked over to the Luxor. And by walk over I mean a huge city block over and across a busy highway as the bridge that connects to the Excalibur was closed. My mother always wanted to visit this quiet casino. Starved , we lunched at a hot dog place, nothing but the best fine dining for us. The Luxor Hotel and Casino is really beautiful. I know it’s not fancy schmancy , but to me its clean, spacious looking and very unique and beautiful and having never been to Egypt , It is the closest I can get for now. The casino wasn’t too kind to us here either, and before I spend my entire bank roll for the day, we headed over to the Mandalay Bay Hotel Resort , Casino and convention center. First mom need to use the powder room so I decided to play the scary but fun dragon machine. At $6 a pop for max bet, I’m so glad I did. I hit the bonus and $400 up later I cashed out immediately with a smile on my face and headed over to Mandalay.
We passed through a mini mall of shops ( nothing great) on our way to the Mandalay. There was a really nice art museum/ shop of a famous photographer, I can’t remember his name though.
I picked up my tickets at the One show room , and we immediately proceeded to gamble. I sat down at the World of Wonka slot, and $100 later, I left upset with this machine. Never again! Bitter table for 1 please. I decided to walk around the casino first to take it all in, as I have never been there. I visited their small shops, and enjoyed roaming through the casino. I sat down or rather hopped on an off at many different machines, all not budging for a second to give me anything back. Ugh Ok I’m going to continue to walk around and visit the Delano hotel which is connected to the Mandalay.
Delano Hotel: WOW the lobby so closely resembles their South Beach Miami sister. Absolutely stunning and gorgeous, and I can only imagine the rooms. There is no casino there, and everyone who was lounging around was so quiet doing so, that it was a bit eery. Yet luxury oozed out of the lobby of this hotel, and if I didn’t get free rooms at the absolutely gorgeous Wynn Hotel, I would totally be staying here.
I found my mother about an hour and a half later, and her frown was so ugly that I decided to pick her up a huge margarita mug. Her frown turned upside down and I reminded her that show time is in 45 minutes and we need to be seated in a half hour for a small mini show they do before the start of the show
When the time came, we headed in to our show. Using the bathroom first of course as all this alcohol definitely makes my bladder a bit loose ! The bathroom had a line so long that we hopped over to the Delano to use their super CHIC bathroom. So gorgeous, even my mother was in awe.
Michael Jackson’s One Cirque Du Soliel Show was absolutely hands down the best Cirque show I’ve ever seen. It brought out so many different emotions and memories. The music of course is absolutely divine. Who didn’t love Michael Jackson? The music spanned his entire career. It was really raw at times, and absolutely stunningly beautiful at other times. The performances are amazing and not too much acrobatic which gets me bored. There were definitely a lot of messages through the performances and it was just spectacular. My mother can’t stop talking about it. She normally gets bored after a half hour of Cirque type of shows . Really do yourself a favor , even though its costly, book and see this show , it is amazing.
After the show, we grabbed another monster margarita mug and headed back to the Wynn, to meet up with another sister friend from my Childhood , Genie. This trip is filled with sisterly love 🙂 Back at the hotel, my mother and I grabbed a quick dinner at Alegro, their lower end ( but not by quality standards) italian food restaurant . MMMMM It is so gorgeous and delicious. LaterGenie and I hung out and played a little and cocktailed a bit while we caught up with our lives. It was really lovely seeing her.
Day 4: Our final full day and night. We arose later than normal because I spent the rest of my night last night on the tables and with all the alcohol consumption I partook in , rest is what I needed most.
Today we decided to start our day at the North End outlet Mall and try our luck shopping . The odds are much better with satisfaction. 🙂 Got some really good deals and found some really amazing finds . I’m super satisfied. But shopping tends to do that to me.
After we headed to the Cal, my mother’s favorite Hotel and Casino. She stays there 4 times a year. They have recently renovated their casino, and it looks finally, modern and nice. The gambling wasn’t great for me there either, so I headed out to that spectacle called Freemont Street. I walked through cockroachville Binions and into the Golden Nugget. I’m still hunting for Cher, and I haven’t seen her slot anywhere on the strip. I didn’t see it here either, so down the street I go popping into every casino starting all the way down at the D. CHER!!!!!! Yes I found her and she took all my money that greedy little…. I mean oh mother Cher I found you . HA! I thought maybe if I try Freemont maybe they have a better Cher machine. They have her but better she is not. Ok well then never mind lets just go back to the lovely Nugget, the nicest hotel and casino down there. OMG I found Cher again , I guess I wasn’t looking hard enough, but never-the-less, she took my money that mean old piece of …. I mean Oh Mother Cher. I returned to the Cal to find my mother in the same predicament she’s been all trip, Loosing! We decided to head over to Main street, to which it did me absolutely no good at all , albeit a few hits on the Flintsones slots, I did horrible especially with the tricky Cambodian lady with too much makeup on who kept taking my chips on 3 card poker saying ” oooooh you leave , I take all your money, no gooo” YOU !!!!! lol
Fortunately I had to return to the Wynn to meet up with my friends . So off we went back to the Wynn and another stop at Alegro for dinner as we were starving. They were filled to the brim , and I was told I wouldn’t be able to get in till another hour and a half, but of course I was already a step a head of them. As we were speaking with the host , I was already on OpenTable making a reservation for 10 minutes from now. Smiling he acknowledged it, shook his head and say we’ll have a table ready for you shortly. Another spectacular meal. We did meet a really nice German family who wanted to teach us German, to which my mother replied in her own German with a Japanese accent, to their surprise. Again my mother amazes me. HA!
After Dinner, I headed to my other favorite meeting points in the hotel, Parasol Down. I scored a lovely 6 seater with couch right next to the lake of Dreams and under a heating lamp. One by one my friends showed up. First up, Ms Sunny. Now I’ve known Ms Sunny for years while living in Minneapolis. We partied together and always had a fabulous time. Last year our timing coincided and we were able to see each other after years as she was in town working at a hospital. This year I texted her again right before December rolled around to see if she would be in town. She wasn’t sure, but just my absolute luck ( with things that matter in life) she was going to be in town at the same time I was. So it was lovely that we would be able to see each other again and catch up on our lives before the alcohol gets to us. She looked spectacular .
Next up was Michelle, a Hawaii native who lives in Vegas and whom I’ve come to know from my work on Set. She’s one of those featured extras you can’t help but love. And hey she was so kind enough to come out after a long day to see me. She’s really a sweet heart and she came baring gifts. The Korean skin care mask kind , my favorite!!! Finally the grand DIVA himself, Brandon sashayed down the escalator and to our table in full DIVA fashion. Now Brandon I’ve know for so many years back to when I was living in Hawaii as a young adult, and every single trip I take to Vegas, he insists on taking time out of his absolutely busy schedule to come and visit with me or to take me out to party. Last year we met up at Parasol down with Sunny so they have been acquainted. We all caught up with our lives, enjoyed our delicious cocktails, and laughed our asses off. The evening shows that happen at the Lake of Dreams every half hour are always different and cool. As the hours slipped by , one by one they left me. This is probably the last time I’ll see Brandon in Vegas as he is moving with his Boyfriend to Austin Texas where everything is Big. Sunny and I decided to retire indoors for a few more cocktails but this time at the uber comfortable Tower suites Lounge.
The lounge was teeming with security. There were important VIP’s from China there along with a very mysterious Large Red Box. We kept trying to figure out what it was in there. Money? Jade? Secret Santa names? Alas, the assistant who was always on her phone, snapped her fingers pointed at a few men sitting there and one of the security opened the secret box and took out 3 huge cigars. Oh its a humidor …. geeez I preferred the secret santa names better. Sunny and I caught up some more, and then my mother joined us for a cocktail. After about an hour and a half I was ready to retire. We said our good byes and with hope that we will reconvene this time next year. Fingers crossed.
Day 5: Last Day, Home Bound!!!
I woke this morning too lazy to go down and fetch us our normals from the cafe. Mom came in around 5 am this morning , 4 hours after I already headed to bed. This lady I tell you! I decided to order us room service so we didn’t need to do anything but pack and get ourselves together. Breakfast was good, not superb like I’m used to having here. I forgot to mention a few things that has changed about the Wynn Hotel.
- They are expanding to add another hotel behind the Wynn and Encore,
- They are creating a water park or what not where the current golf course is
- La Cave, Parasol Up, Sinatras, and a few other restaurants were closed for renovations while we were there which was a huge bummer for me.
- There is current construction in front of the Encore and Wynn
Which is why we didn’t spend time at the other fabulous restaurants there which I was dying to try like Cost del Mar… Closed 😦
Check out was a breeze , and absolute breeze and we stored our suitcases with the Bell Desk. Mother ran to the machines for her last big try. Our flight doesn’t leave until 5:15 pm and we didn’t have to leave for the airport until 3:10 pm. So we have a good 4.5 hours left to do whatever. I of course went back to Fashion Show mall to hit Saks , Nordstroms, Ted Baker, and anything else I didn’t check out. I didn’t find anything worth buying, but on my way back to the hotel, through their canal of shops, I did stop by their Wynn Home store which finally was having a sale. Last year i bought a few lovely ornaments for my tree there at 50% off. This year their sale didn’t start till the last day I was leaving. Scored a lovely Red Fox ornament. And I’m all complete. I collect ornaments throughout my travels every year as they remind me of places I’ve been.
Well you know the rest. Grabbed our bags, uber to airport, check in , line up, security, last chance slots , board flight ( full by the way) and headed home. One note though, Hawaiian does give a full meal and free red or white wine with your meal so that was fabulous.
This trip was very disappointing money wise, it was not lucrative at all. But fun I did have as I always tell myself that win or lose I’ll have fun. I also was so lucky to be paid a visit every day separately, by one of my closest sisters, and finally my last night full of wonderful friends. So it was really a beautiful trip. I also enjoy doing it with my mother. Even though we love to argue constantly ( we are too much a like ) It’s nice to see her smile.
I’m of course excited to be back next year, which I hope I hit the big one and have a blast doing so.
Thank you and Viva Lost Wages!