Saturday, May 25, 2013

myVegas Baby! Day 2: Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay Wave Pool
Waking up way too early (still on Philly time) we make good use of the big shower and then lounge around until restaurants start to open for breakfast. (Sadly, the era of 24 hour cafes in Las Vegas seems to be coming to an end.) The in-room WiFi works well and I use the Photon Browser on my iPad to collect our myVegas daily spins and send gifts.

Eventually 7:00 AM rolls around and we wander out to find something to eat. Since it's convenient we decide to hit Raffles, Mandalay Bay's formerly 24 hour cafe that's now open less than a third of the day:  7:00 AM - 2:30 PM. I have the French Toast and Beth goes with Eggs Benedict. And of course coffee. Service is excellent and the food is fine but Raffles is a bit pricey - if we were paying for more than a few meals this trip I think we'd make an effort to locate something a bit cheaper.

After topping up our gambling funds (our bank refunds ATM fees so we can ignore the $5.99 fee the casino ATMs charge) we look around the Mandalay Bay casino for some less than ruinous video poker pay tables. Finding none, we decide to make our way toward Bellagio and Mirage where we'll be redeeming our lunch buffet and Love rewards.

The MB-Luxor-Excal tram wasn't running yet so we strolled through the retail area to Luxor where to our surprise we find some quarter 9-5 Jacks or Better VP (98.45 %) just in front of the steakhouse we'd be eating Wednesday. So we sit down to play a bit, lose pretty quickly and decide to move on through to Excalibur (which is already busy). We make it up to Monte Carlo and hop on the tram to Bellagio

There's no line at the MLife desk and we have our buffet pass in a couple minutes. We wander through Bellagio and cross over to Caesars Palace. Window shopping in the Forum Shoppes slows the journey, but it doesn't take too long to get to the Mirage.

Redeeming show tickets is like the hotel room rewards. You make a reservation by phone and instead of the check-in desk you go to the box office to pick up your tickets. Once again, no line (hey, it's still early) and no problems.

At this point we have three or four hours before we can reasonably eat lunch so we decide to walk the east side of the strip. As you may be aware, Caesars has a couple big construction projects  going on.

The Imperial Palace has been renamed "The Quad" and is getting a full makeover of the public spaces. Unfortunately, the rooms are still pretty shabby and are not scheduled for renovation at this time. The exterior is being re-skinned and the main entrance has been moved to the north side of the building, facing Carnival Court:

Standing in front of the Carnival Court Bar looking South West
The Quad's casino was a big mess with new machines still going in. It does look pretty nice and obviously it's way cleaner than it used to be.

New Machines in The Quad
The main part of the construction is happening in an area that will be a pedestrian mall called "Linq". The left side of the picture is what used to be O'Sheas (apparently there will be a new O'Sheas somewhere in the Linq). In the far background you can make out the legs of the big observation wheel.
The Linq
The other big construction project is a gut rehab of Bill's. They say it will re-open early next year as Gansevoort Las Vegas.

Bill's Gut Rehab
Eventually Beth suggests it might be time to maybe start drifting in the direction of lunch so we cross back over LVB and stroll up to Bellagio. The Buffet reward includes a line pass, so we skip a depressingly small line and head in. 

The Asian Plate

Assorted Asian style items. The sushi rolls were better than average for a buffet but that rice takes up a lot of valuable stomach space. The spring roll was tasty but drippingly wet and a mess to eat. The pork bun had a rather leathery exterior and too little filling. The best of the batch was the noodle salad though it could have been a bit spicier.

The Meat Plate
Chicken, pork ribs, flank steak, mushrooms, and creamed spinach. You'll get better ribs over at Ellis Island's barbeque. Though meaty, they had an odd dry texture I didn't care for. The chicken was much better, well cooked and juicy. The flank steak was also nicely done. Both sides were good.

Dessert Plate
The only disappointment on this plate was the little pecan pie at the top left; the filling had nearly hardened into pecan brittle. For some reason the standout was the oatmeal raisin cookie.

After lunch we, well, went back to the room to take a nap.

Cirque du Soleil Love. What can I say? We're of the age that makes us suckers for anything Beatles. It was, in fact, the first CdS show we saw in Las Vegas and to be perfectly honest we were planning to see it again even if we had to pay. It's great and probably the only CdS show that has a coherent plot. See it if you can.

Being a Monday night it's not a packed house and after we locate our seats I head back out to the lobby to grab a couple of adult beverages: a Here Comes the Sun (Captain Morgan Rum, mango, orange and pineapple juice) and a Can't Buy Me Love (Absolute Citron, lemonade, and cranberry juice). Yes, they're expensive but we just cashed in $341 worth of free tickets. They're also delicious and large. The big ones have three shots (or more - tip the bartender when you place your order) so the price isn't really outrageous by LV standards.

After the show we gamble a bit in Mirage and come across these:

Silver Strikes in The Mirage
Those slot machines are "ancient" Silver Strike machines. They're quarter machines with a 3 coin bet. The cool thing is that if you hit certain combinations you get a  "Silver Strike" token like this:

Silver Strike from The Palms
You can collect 'em or cash 'em in at the cage like any other chip. There are less than a dozen of these mechanical machines left in Las Vegas and the manufacturer no longer supplies parts so it's another part of somewhat "old" Vegas to check out if you can.

Since I have to drive back to Mandalay Bay we wrap up the evening early (we're finally on Las Vegas Time) and head back "home".

Day 1
Day 3
Days 4 & 5

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