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This is Diane and Dave's Weeklong Trip to Las Vegas, September of 2006! (Before this trip my mother had been recuperating from a long illness, preventing her from traveling. Since she and my father couldn't use their timeshares, my mother graciously allowed us to use a week from one of them for this trip. We picked the Tahiti Village. My camera/cell phone ate a bunch of my photos, so a few pictures displayed here I actually I got from somewhere else.)
On Wednesday afternoon we arrived at the Las Vegas airport, rented a cheap car, and then drove to the Tahiti Village. We were immediately astounded at how huge and nice the suite was, especially with all of its amenities. One of Diane's few regrets is that she didn't get to soak in the big jacuzzi tub. The staff was almost uniformly friendly and dedicated to making sure everything went smooth as glass. Timeshares are a ripoff, don't buy them, but the Tahiti Village gets a recommendation from us. Thanks again Mr. and Mrs. Hinman for letting us use the timeshare!
I really wanted to visit the Tao Restaurant in the Venetian, so we had dinner there. The staff was friendly and professional. The decor was amazing! The music was perfect! The appetizers were some of the best food I've ever had! The drinks were wonderful! The entrees were good, but I had expected excellence by then. Especially when the bill came to $150 for the two of us. Diane liked her entree though, so maybe i'm just griping. Overall though, highly recommended.
Then it was off to the Grand Canal Shoppes and the Gondola Rides. The Venetian's shoppes are nice. I've found that the shopping at the major casinos are more or less the same. They just offer different merchandise of the same type. Same thing with the cheaper casinos, they also offer the same stuff in relation to each other, though it's cheaper, tackier, and gaudier.
If you want a luxury shaving kit with a camelhair brush stroll over to the "shoppes" or the "via." If you want an Elvis Bust that also excels as a lamp or an ashtray head to Orleans, The Gold Coast, or Riveria. You'l find good upscale stores at The Bellagio, Ceasar's Palace, The Wynn, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, The Aladdin, Bally's, and The Paris. You can also usually get the cheap stuff at one of the souvenir stands on the strip. In all cases the merchandise is almost always overpriced, though still enjoyable. But I digress.
The Venetian's Gondola rides are $15 per person, where four people share, or you can get a private ride for $60. They last about 15 minutes. I liked it and Diane really liked it. If only it was under a moonlight night with soft music in the background and a glass of wine and some cheeses, etc. etc. That would be fantastic. Our gondolier did a great job, he had a wonderful Italian voice, but it could have been more romantic. We spent most of our time getting to know the gondolier or the other couple.
Then we finished wandering the shoppes and went across the street to watch the Sirens at the Treasure Island (I mean the "TI"). Diane really liked this, but I thought it was silly. Basically you get to watch well built men or slim stacked women prance around and lipsync to silly lines and/or loud music. There's a couple of explosions and some acrobatics.
The TI has changed a lot over the last ten years. There's no dealers or attendants dressed in silly pirate costumes, and they don't say Matey anymore either. Las Vegas in general has moved away from the silly costumes and the themes of the past. Now everyone focuses on luxury, ostentation, and elegance. This has drastically reduced the laugh quotient, but you also don't feel silly from your surroundings while stuffing bills into slot machines. The TI is nice, but it's not on par with ultrapremium casinos. It is cheaper though.
From there we went back across the street to the Wynn. We wandered about until we found the Lure UltraLounge. Or at least until we thought we had. I confused the Parasol, which is quite a nice lounge itself, with Lure.
The Wynn in general has astonishing, fantastic, breathtaking decor. One review says the Wynn has "gorgeous natural light, a beautiful waterfall, incredible colors, and more flowers than a president's furneral." It certainly is the best looking casino (and the scenery is free to look at!). When I die heaven will be an Italian villa decorated like the Wynn. Perhaps Lure is worth the $20 cover. Next time I visit I will find out. Then it was back to the hotel and sleep.
( 1 --> We found a deal at the airport, VIP passes into 12 nightclubs $120. We thought about taking it and I'm glad we didn't. Vegas seems to be swimming in free passes, and a number of the clubs have no cover charge nights. If you hustle a little you can skip most of the cover charges.
2 --> I called every single nightclub and bar before we landed in Vegas and confirmed their hours and cover charges. Then I found a graph in the local entertainment weekly that disputed what I was told earlier. I also sometimes called the clubs from the hotel before we headed over, and was often told something different then too. Eventually I realized you never knew what the hours or cover charges were until you arrived at the club itself. )