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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pillow Talk in Vegas

Cromwell, Vegas, Las Vegas, Strip
Pillow Talk at the Cromwell
December. The word comes from the Ancient Greek for “seek warmth, watch football.” Striving to honor our great ancestors,I headed to Vegas. Tis the season, for sharing, caring, and family, but also pointies galore, royals, and meaningful football played in a foot of snow on a vivid, floor-to-ceiling screen. Besides, the cowboys were in town. (Not those Cowboys, not yet.) It’s Rodeo Time. Really, though. NFL, NFR, NFE (No F-ing Event), whatever. Let’s gooooo.

This trip turned out to answer a question I hear people ask all the time: I have a cold. Should I still go to Vegas? I’ve planned for ages. I have the time off work, the flight, the hotel. It’s finally go time, and boom--throat tickle, cough, runny nose, and congestion settle in. know, I know. The answer is stay home, rest, Vegas will be there for another time. I get it.

But. It’s Vegas. Come. ON.

I didn’t decide to go until the last minute. The steroids had kicked in nicely. I was no longer in the contagious stage. My ten-year-old expressed her support on our sidewalk:

So, I went.

Beaver Creek, Frontier, Colorado, flight
Beaver Creek, Colorado from the air
(It really is called Beaver Creek, you sickos.)

I love to fly. In spite of the hassles, flying is magic. And flying to Vegas is the best magic of all.
In late November, Hotwire offered a crazy good deal. $50 for a 5 star hotel, including weekends. Oh, yes please. In case you’re a Hotwire newbie, you agree to pay a discounted rate for a unnamed hotel. The approximate location, hotel class, guest ratings and amenities are provided, but not the name of the hotel. The hotel's name is revealed when you pay the nonrefundable rate. Using or, a person can get a good idea of what hotel it will probably be.

I’ve always wanted to stay at the Bellagio. I’ve stayed at 26 properties in Vegas (many more than once. I'm looking at you, Hard Rock) including Encore, Caesars, and my most recent fav, the Cosmopolitan. Hotwire made my Bellagio dreams come true. At $50/night, on a Saturday (and Sunday) night during the National Finals Rodeo. The resort fee isn’t included, as you intrepid long-time Vegas-goers already guessed. Still.

Here’s the room:

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas

The tub is calling me:

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas
Hello Beautiful, indeed.
Not a fountain view, but definitely an excellent close second.

Pool view from the room

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas
Pool view from the pool

The people-watching here proved to be way different than downtown. People had fancy clothes and foreign accents. Most of them wore a fairly serious countenance. Maybe they were joyful on the inside? I was. People-watching blossomed on a whole new level. Getting over a cold, with considerable less energy than my usual kinesthetic frenzy, slowed my roll in a way that made me marinate in Vegas in new ways.

I figured the minimums at the Bellagio would be too high for a low-roller like me. But I also figured I should give them some play since they gave me a great deal on an experience I’d wanted. I put a hundy in a triple-play machine just outside the bathroom near the buffet, and this happened:

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas

Bellagio, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas
Ming Voucher!
Yippee! An hour in Vegas, and I was up $600. I knew just where I’d be headed with that $600.

But first, I wandered over to Ellis Island to sample their batch of in-house, home-brew, heavy duty eggnog. Ellis Island has done some major upgrades, yet retained its low ceiling, dive bar mystique. Perhaps mystique is pushing it; it’s no Frankie’s Tiki Room, or anything. Frankie’s Tiki reeks of mystique. Ellis Island shrugs its shoulders and says, meh, yeah, maybe we got mystique. They do have a promo kiosk you can swipe your card and win all kinds of goodies: $5 off a BBQ plate, free square during football Sunday, free Uber ride from Ellis Island to the airport, HJ on your BD, and free parking. Ok. NO free HJ, ever. And parking is still free there, anyway. When people who drive (gads! Who are these sober people?) gripe about parking fees, I recommend Ellis Island parking if they’re staying on the east side of the central strip. I really think I could walk to Ellis Island faster than relocating my car at Planet Ho.

Just sayin’.

Ellis Island, Las Vegas, Vegas Strip, Vegas
Ellis Island Nog (and BYOC)
One last cool thing about Ellis Island: They have a William Hill Sports Betting app counter there. I had a coupon for a free $25 if I deposited $25. I downloaded the app, signed up at the kiosk with the help of EI Counter Dude, made a deposit, and boom. I was all set for Sunday football with $50 to bet, and only $25 of it was the Bellagio’s. (Mine, I mean, it was mine.) The betting app is a modern day marvel for those of us who dread losing stuff, ie, sports bet tickets, and dread making sports bets lest we wander far (or at all) from from that particular casino sports book, or get up early before the book reopens, or fly out before the sportsbook reopens, or myriad other hassles of redeeming your winning sports bet ticket. Solved. There are WIlliam Hill locations all over Las Vegas, where they will give you lovely green cash for the little numbers on your phone. No going back to the casino where you placed the bet required.

Next stop: gotta go see the boys at Main Street Station, at Boar’s Head bar. Jose and Robert provided the warm greetings and warmer drinks. Because of my cold, tea with honey, lemon and Maker’s Mark (or, ahem, Marker’s Make, depending on my level of, err, “congestion” that day.) I’d lost my first beautiful Bellagio Benjamin to an extended session at Ellis Island (bartop VP while watching the close Army/Navy game, but won some back at craps.) VP at Main Street took care of the rest.

Then this happened:

Vegas, Main Street Station, DTLV
Winner, winner at Boar's Head the guy next to me. He did a cash and dash, sprinting out the doors.

After a few hours of tea, Maker's, prednisone, and six 4-to-a-royals, I Uberftyed back to the Bellagio, and back to the bankroll I began with. I soaked in my ginormous tub, and stretched out like a starfish in the plush bed. Even though the TVs are newer and larger at the California, there was a certain tingle about that massive room overlooking their decadent pools below me. I was giddy to be able to step out of my room and run the strip in the morning, even though the breathing issues meant I had to, against my nature, forgo running. And sleep in. In that bed. Ahhhhhhh.

The next day, football Sunday, held untold joys both new and old. And more winnings at Bellagio’s multi-play spin poker. And two OT NFL football games.

Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story.

    1 comment:

    1. Great beginning! Love the $4000 win (next to Joan) just like so many of the great jackpots that Flusher sees (next to HIM).


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