Monday, May 20, 2013

myVegas Baby! Day 1: Mandalay Bay

As we usually do, we took US Airways Flight 1797 from PHL to LAS Sunday morning. And as usual we got to LAS about half an hour early. That turned out to be a good thing because there was a lengthy line at Budget car rental. There were no lines at the other rental agencies so that's a lesson learned: pay a few bucks more and skip the 45 minute line.

Our first hotel this trip was Mandalay Bay a short drive up Las Vegas Boulevard. We turn the car over to the valet and head to check-in where, miraculously, our room is ready. Very nice room as you can see. The "playpen couch" (yes, that's what Mandalay Bay calls the odd square couch partly visible in the foreground) is sort of odd. The backs at the seating corners are too low to be comfortable for reading and get in the way of other activities.

The bathroom is plenty large with a double vanity, shower, and spa tub. The toilet has it's own little room, complete with telephone.

The spa tub easily fits two somewhat chubby middle aged folks like ourselves. It takes about 8 minutes to fill, so factor that into your planning.

Still being on Philadelphia time we were pretty hungry so we wandered around Mandalay Bay looking for something light. Lo and behold! Red Square had just opened for Happy Hour!

Smoked Salmon "Pizza"

Siberian "Nachos"
Most of the small plates were $9, bottled beer $4, and cocktails $6. We polished off the two plates above with a couple beers - just enough to make it to our 7:00 dinner reservation. (And yes, the place is really dark and I was "that guy" who fired off the flash.)

The Steakhouse at Camelot
Sunday dinner was the first of our myVegas food rewards: a $150 credit at Excalibur's Steakhouse at Camelot. The picture makes it look pretty snazzy, but it's definitely not a fancy place.

Service was very good and the meat arrived as ordered. The sides were just OK - there's not much you can do to screw up asparagus but why would you slice the mushrooms?  Since the beef is roughly on par with what you can get at any large grocery store (USDA "choice" according to the menu) and the atmosphere is "family" this isn't a place I'd seek out a second time.

As we left the restaurant we decided to hang out in the casino a while - after all, we were using a couple thousand dollars worth of comps. I must say, the contrast between Mandalay Bay's casino and the Excalibur was night and day. Mandalay Bay was quiet, with an empty feeling. Excalibur was packed with people having a good time. So we gambled a while, lost about $80 and were ready to head off to bed (still on Philadelphia time).

On the way out, we came across the first of a number of Viva myVegas QR codes on a sign outside Dick's Last Resort restaurant. These codes are scattered around several of the MGM resorts International casinos. You scan 'em with the the iOS Viva My Vegas app to wine small prizes, mostly game chips for the myVegas Facebook game.

Coming Soon: Day 2 Mandalay Bay, Bellagio Buffet, and Love!

Day 2
Day 3
Days 4 & 5

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