Thursday, March 19, 2015

What NOT to do in Vegas

Vegas Reviews (also known as Vegas Play and Fun ) began on Facebook, in 2009, to help newcomers become familiar with the Las Vegas Lifestyle and NOT leave Sin City disappointed. 

And I will tell you why?


In 1980, our first traveling experience to Vegas, was the most interesting.  

Back then, we stayed at the Maxim Hotel and Casino, (the property today is The Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa). 

Our plane landed at the McCarran Airport sometime in the middle of August. 

Collecting our luggage, we were whisked outside to the summer's hot Nevada desert.  Not realizing at the time, transfers to the hotels were suppose to be planned before you arrive.  Unfamiliar with our surroundings, we figure it would be safe to take a taxi. Hopped in and gave our destination,"The Maxim, please." 

We were excited! 

You could see the Vegas Strip from the airport, it was glorious, to say the least. I said to my wife,"Won't be long, and we'll be in our hotel in no time!" 

Well, that wasn't the case at all.

Our driver decided to take us on a scenic tour, arriving 45 minutes later. I still remember to this day those shocking words by our taxi driver," That will be $100." 

My mouth must of dropped to the floor, I said,"Excuse me, but HOW MUCH???"

Once again, he looked at me with his hand out," $100"  

Say what?  

I asked him if this was the shortest route to our hotel.
He wasn't going to take any guff from us and repeated," Listen. Do you have a problem hearing, I said the fare is $100." 

I grumbled.

Taking out our hard earned cash, I asked him to give us a hand with the luggage. He told me he's way too busy, another customer was waiting.  Needless to say I was up-set with this mans service.  He popped the trunk. I barely removed the rest of my luggage and his tires were smoking out of there. 

Yup, the trunk was still open.  And seriously, the tires were smoking! 

Coughing up the smoke I remember ranting at my wife," I'm going to phone that company and give my what-fore." 

I actually said a lot worse, but you get the idea.  

My wife told me not to worry about it, after all, it's our vacation.  Let's make the best of it. 

So we did.

[Apparently, this kind of Taxi Service is called," LONG-HAULING".  It's actually illegal !]*

Today, I arrange my transfers to and from the hotel before I leave.  I haven't used a taxi service since.  


Heading into the Maxim hotel, we were greeted with the longest line-up I have ever experienced in our lives (including today).  It would make Disneyland lines look like a walk-in-the-park.  You could tell the girl at the front desk already had a long day.  She was short tempered and proceeded to bark instructions at us.

We just looked at her with our WIDE-EYES, figuring everyone in Vegas was like that.  

All we wanted was to get to our room, that was it.  Our travel from Montana, to Vegas was over eight hours, with a stop over in Salt Lake City.  A  waiting period of 3 hours until we finally ended up in Las Vegas. 

Back then, we didn't have a straight flight, like you can today.

After two long hours of checking in, our room on the 4th floor looked ok.  But then again, we never had anything to compare it to.  

Opening the dusty drapes by hand, our view in the distance was the original MGM Grand Hotel.  The MGM Grand Hotel wasn't straight across from Maxim, but it was easy enough to see, just by pressing the side of your face against the window. 

I would imagine Sammy Davis Jr. would be on the top penthouse of the MGM.  Not sure if he was or wasn't.  All I remember back then, there were a bunch of billboards signs showcasing Sammy Davis Jr.


We arrived in August, just months before the MGM Grand Hotel was involved a deadly fire, killing 85 and injuring 785 in the worst disaster in Nevada history.*

The hotel was sold in 1985 to Bally Entertainment Corporation for $594 million.*  


In the early 1980's, mega hotels hadn't even been built yet. 

The MGM Grand was the biggest hotel in the world at that time with over 2000 rooms.

It wasn't until Mr Steve Wynn decided to build The Mirage in the mid 1980's, did Vegas take off into a wild construction frenzy, building Mega Resorts worth hundreds of millions (today it's billions) of borrowed cash.  

Mr Wynn's legacy, The Mirage Resort and Casino, was indeed very impressive. It featured 3000 rooms, an active volcano out front, a tropical paradise inside and eventually showcasing entertainment of white tigers by Siegfried and Roy by 1990. 

Vegas Resorts today are luxurious and are designed to pamper their guests.  The bigger pockets you have, the more lavish your experiences can be.  There's no limit to the possibilities. 


We were so exhausted the night before, our first night was sleeping.

It wasn't until the next morning our eyes opened to the clanging sound of cold hard cash dropping into, what seemed, like an endless bucket of slot machines.  Bells were going off, announcements were being heard and guests were racing over to the cashier with their little buckets filled to-the-brim of either pennies, dimes, nickels or quarters. 

We were in Heaven - the glorious Casino!

Well, that's what we though.  It was rumored people were making tons of money in Vegas.  

Well, OK. 

That's what our travel agent said.  And we could now see for ourselves, it was true!  After all, Grandma's were lining up with two to three small pails of cold hard cash. 

It had to be true, right? 

We dove into the casino, grabbing the nearest slot machine, dropping quarters like madmen.  After hours upon hours of loosing our cash, we realized by the end of the day, we had spent our "cash fund" in just one day! 

Both us decided to grab something to eat. The all night restaurant was just a hop, skip and jump from our machine. After midnight the restaurant was serving steak and eggs for only $2.99. That was a full 7 oz steak, two eggs, a pile high of hash-browns and your choice of toast.  

What a deal! 

Oh wait a minute.  We just spent all day and night spending our only cash. So, maybe it wasn't such a good deal after all.   After our early breakfast, it was now 2:30 am.  Our ears overheard the table behind us talking about, how the establishments filled the rooms with pure oxygen, so you would feel WIDE-AWAKE.  

So, that's why we weren't tired. 

At least, that's what we thought at the time.  You know - Green horns!  

Suddenly our slot machine we labored throughout the day, started making a lot of noise. Bells and Whistles were going off, attracting a crowd.  We quickly learned this guy placed in the Max (three quarters - TRIPLE SEVEN) and won the JACKPOT! 

Oh NO!

Not our machine, it just can't be!  We painfully watched, as the man in the suit collected his winnings.  And I might add, grinning from ear to ear. It  was strange to me, he was carrying a briefcase.  Never did figure that one out.  Why was he in the Casino carrying a briefcase? 

Devastated, we headed back to our room, realizing we had to come up with some kind of plan.  Our stay was for another four nights, which started from the Sunday to Thursday.  My wife mentioned there were these cool credit card machines.  All you had to do was check-in with the cashier to get more credit. 

Now, that was a BIG mistake.

To make a long story short, we ended up spending more money, leaving Vegas with a hefty credit card bill.


To add insult to injury, I lost our safety deposit key. Of course, I headed to the front desk to see if they could open it. They said," Sure. All we have to do is get a locksmith to drill the safe for us. But the cost would be around $250 plus the damage to the safe.


It was then I remembered, it could have possibly been lost at the pool.  Back then, the pool closed around 4:30pm to make sure everyone was back inside, spending money at the Casino.  I remember pleading with the front desk to have someone open the pool, so I may have a good look.  She frowned, then pointed at this largest security man, I have ever seen. He must of been 300 lbs, 6'- 5" and strong as an ox.  He could have easily picked me up, shook me like a rag doll, with ease. 


It turns out, he was the nicest man on the planet. He not only let me into the pool area, he helped me find my keys!  The key in question must of fell out of my pocket, through the plastic lawn chairs into the unexpected grate, laying below in a small pool of water.

I was soooo relieved! 

That one trip to the pool saved me over $400.   I couldn't thank him enough, so I gave him a $20 bill.  

I learned earlier that day, while suntanning at the pool, MAKE VERY SURE you give a better tip then $0.50 cents.  The pool bartender quickly educated me on my tipping practices. 

Today, it's common to give your barmaid or bartender $2 -$5 tip, depending how the service is.  Mind you, when the cash is low, I pass a dollar each time I'm visited with a drink. 


My above story tells how frightening things can turn out in Vegas, if you aren't prepared.  Las Vegas and its establishments are constantly changing things around, so you have to be well aware of your surroundings. It's important to know when it's time to stop gambling or in some cases, not at all.  

Make your trip in Vegas a FUN event by planning ahead and reading about some helpful tips.  Be sure to check out the Las Vegas City website for more helpful hints and don't be afraid to ask for assistance from the hotel you're staying at.

Most are more than eager to accommodate your wishes.  

And don't worry, the Resorts will catch you poolside, charging alcoholic drinks as much as $20 per tumbler.  Mind you, in today's Vegas you have FREE options, even if you aren't a big spender or whale.  For example, if you play MyVegas Slots or MyVegas Blackjack app games, you can receive free rewards for buffets, entertainment and up-grades on rooms. 

And, if you are a professional gambler, you already know about the extra comps waiting for you in Vegas, from free flights, entertainment, meals, rooms and transportation.  

For the rest of us? 

We rely on the gracious Vegas resorts with their low offers, free up-grades meals and entertainment.  

But first you must get there. 

I hope my story gives you an insight of what can go wrong and how to avoid it in the first place.  I'm just another tourist, like you, who loves going to Vegas. 

If you have a FUN Vegas story or not so fun, please share below. 

We are VEGAS LOVERS - come join in on the FUN.


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