After about 6 hours, we landed bright and early to around 39 degrees Fahrenheit (a drastic contrast to the 80 degrees warmth in Hawaii). I wanted to try out the Bell Trans VIP Shuttle (share-a-ride; $28 pp. round trip to the strip), so prepaid a few months ago. Interestingly, their system charges you the day before your pick-up/ drop-off (unlike their parent company--Presidential Limo--who charges you in full right after booking).
I had to phone the transaction in as I encountered issues on their website. It would let me fill in everything till the end, but the "next" button was missing to complete the transaction. I tried it several times with various internet browsers (Firefox, Chrome, and IE; nothing worked). After a few tries, I gave up and pick up the good-o-telephone. Needless to say, when I got a live agent, they sounded irritated with me when I wanted to book it through them.
I had printed my confirmation e-mail at home and upon landing, walked to the Bell Trans kiosk at Terminal 3 ( the same one you would purchase the regular shuttle from). The staff radioed in our ride, printed out a voucher, and we waited a few minutes. Our driver was Steve and he arrived in a nice black Sedan (it looked like a newer model of the Lincoln Town car). He was super friendly and welcomed us warmly. We had the car to ourselves.
Once we settled in, Steve offered us a variety of alcoholic drinks from his hidden stash but we declined as it was only around 7 am. He asked us if there was any place we wanted to stop by such as the liquor store. How can we say no? Though sadly, we were too early and the store was not yet open. He dropped us off at Paris and we bid him good bye with a $25 tip for his trouble.
We found the restaurant hidden all the way in one corner of Bally's. To kill some time (about 1 & 1/2 hrs, we played various slots). The cocktail waitress came super fast.
An order of Mimosa for me please? What a great start! After milling about a bit, I found a Top Dollar.
Money in, then a few hits later the Top Dollar symbol shows up on the 3rd reel. First offer: 1000 credits ($250). I hit the TAKE OFFER button so quick, then diligently collect next. Then it was off to another machine.
I know I played the 5-reel Megabucks next for a few minutes, then cashed out (of course with no wins). I jump from machine-t0-machine so often than I don't commit them to memory.
Once it was closer to the opening time of 9:30a which is when our reservation was, we stood in line to check-in. A line had already formed, but there was no exterior waiting area.
We heard the hostess saying loudly to the customers before us "would you like a glass of champagne while you wait?" We were so psyche for our turn. My thoughts were "what great service". I walked up to the counter, excited and happy to tell her my name for the reservation, coupled with my best smile and greeting. She checked us in and told us to wait on the side. That was IT...no champagne offer. What had just happened? She had offered it to everyone before us. After, we saw her offering it again. The table beside her was filled with glasses of champagne so it wasn't that they were temporarily out.
This was not the impression I was looking forward to. It felt like she was discriminating. Everyone but us got a glass. We were in what I would considered business attire, so it wasn't that we weren't following dress code...if there was one. The group that preceded us wasn't dressed up that much anyway.
While we were standing and waiting to be seated, a female server inside was kind to tell everyone waiting, "why are you guys standing outside, there's plenty of seats in here (in the lounge area), feel free to sit down."
We were led to our table pretty fast (I think by the Maître d, though I can't be certain since none of the staff wear name tags). While sitting down, we observed the same hostess personally walking in a few groups and sitting them down inside the restaurant. My jaw drops (in my head).
Was it because we were Asian??
Hugo really changed things around. Really attentive, entertaining and super humorous. He made us almost forget about the unfair treatment from the hostess with the very first glass of champagne and their cheesy popovers.
Throughout the course of the meal, we kept hearing the constant popping of champagne corks left and right.
Another bummer was at opening, their omelet station wasn't working. So we didn't get to try as we were stuffed (mainly with champagne). By the time it was fixed, we were getting ready to leave. The bill was around $184 (with a separate tip for Hugo--I thought I put $50, but looking back at the receipt it was $60. Must be the champagne getting to my head).
At the end of the visit, my Fiancé pointed out the same hostess was passing out stems of individual roses to all of the female patrons leaving. But when we left, she didn't even acknowledge us (no thank you). What in the world?
- Good popovers with Gruyere cheese.
- Great service inside the restaurant.
- Unlimited (real) champagne.
- Several made-to-order Eggs Benedict (Lobster, Prosciutto Eggs, and Steak).
- There is Filet Mignon and King Crab.
- Service by their hostess felt discriminating. From reviews online it seemed like our experience was atypical though.
- What I thought would have been the highlight of the trip were the lobster tails , but they were overcooked. The flavor was a bit bland, and the texture was not succulent; instead rubbery.
- The sushi selection was disappointing ; it didn't seem too fresh.
- The dessert selection was very small, so we didn't partake.
- The omelet station was out of order.
This visit has left me very perplexed. Although we had a wonderful server with unlimited Perrier Jouet (we both probably drank one bottle each), the food was lackluster and not executed well. The best thing were the popovers and the Prosciutto Eggs Benedict. But, sandwiched with the experience from the hostess made this trip not so great.
After brunch, we walked through Bellagio to see the Conservatory. It was under construction so all we saw were pots of scattered flowers, a huge crane, and conception drawings of the plans. Sadly, the display didn't finish until the day we left (so we didn't get to see it this trip). My fault for not double-checking their official display schedule.
Next, we walked to the Louis Vuitton boutique at Caesars Forum shop. No...not to buy anything, but to visit our friend that works there. (My fiancé learned his lesson in the past, because when he offers to buy, it would be silly not to take him up on it!). We originally had booked our stay this trip at Caesars but after reconsideration, decided to cancel because we don't like the long treks even if the room was free.
Our friend was going on break in an hour, so we walked around a bit more. Or in my case, I sat down for about 45 mins and did some people watching (my feet was killing me at this point, with several blisters to show for it. I have walked the strip before in these same heels and it was ok but I guess times have changed).
We met up with our friend at the Forum Shop food court. As we were still full from the buffet earlier, my Fiancé and I shared a soda and a platter of fried goods from Philips Seafood. Pretty good finger food from a food court I must say!
The items were seasoned well.
[Check-in to Paris]
Our room was fine for the most part. We mainly booked Paris because of the location and I like the Casino layout and higher ceilings. I did find hair on the bed, but thank goodness not the curly kind. I can live with that. There was a candy wrapper on the floor though in one corner. For the most part it looked pretty okay other than the really scratched up furniture and wall trim. I did find some holes on the box spring.
After assessing the room, these were the pros and cons of the Red Room (we didn't book a room with a view so was graced with view of the airport and the adjacent parking lot. I was fine since we're not in the room for long anyways, but my Fiance was sorely disappointed. No we did not try the $20 trick) :
- There's a coffee maker! (Granted its some generic brand but at least there's one with 4 coffee packages and individually wrapped cups).
- The mini-bar area is cleared out completely so you have use of a free fridge to stock up on drinks.
- The room was pretty quiet other than the occasional noise from people walking right outside the door. The insulation on the adjoining rooms were not a problem.
- By the phone, there's a multi-purpose charging cord (for Android/ I Phone). Pretty handy.
- The toilet is way too low (especially for my Fiance) if you are tall you will have to make some adjustments.
- The toilet paper is 2-ply (see photo) and is like "sand paper". My Fiance's remark was "even Treasure Island has better TP than Paris." We never thought we had to pack toilet paper before. I understand the hotel uses it because it helps to prevent clogs, but on the skin it is not the greatest feeling.
- The sink wasn't that clean (my Fiance dropped his phone by accident and it was full of white blobs. We also found small hairs at check-in).
- The water pressure in the shower is average, kind of on the weaker side. We would have preferred it to be stronger.
- Some channels on our TV didn't work well and would stutter sometimes. I disliked that every time the TV is turned off, they default the volume on the loud side once you turn it back on again.
- The pillows were not too comfortable.
- The linens are on the thin side, and the mattress is a bit lumpy.
- There's nix's all over the furniture and wall trimmings. Even though the Red Room is supposed to be more updated than the standard rooms, its starting to show it's age.
- We disliked that there's no master light switch. Instead you had to turn on/off every lamp individually. Perhaps we're spoiled a bit by other hotels?
- There's no security at the elevators checking key cards.
Afterwards, we wandered over to Cromwell where I proceeded to play some Megabucks. We always try to make a stop here every trip since it's one of the few places my Fiance can't lose track of me due to the small footprint of the casino floor.
I really like their 5-reel Megabucks. There's been a few times where I can sit here for 20-30 mins on my initial coin-in ($100) and sometimes still be up a few bucks at the end. Well, not so great today. But hey, it's the Megabucks, I pretty much expect to lose. I did kill about 15 mins with $200 so I think it wasn't a terrible run. I played some Pinball too, but no luck.
After seeing Lucky Cat gone, we did the next best thing we could think of...playing slots. I usually love the Cosmo for their amazingly fast and efficient cocktail service. But today, something is seriously off. I didn't get offered once in about 45 mins. Yes, I do jump from machines quite frequent but that's never been an issue before. I did however, get ID'd (the nerve of them to ask without offering me a drink...just kidding).
I did ok at Cosmo, probably ended up more or less even on slots at the end of the day (or what I tricked myself to believe). The only game I remembered playing here was a Power Strike and got a fast hit for free games. I'm pretty sure I played a few Top Dollar and other 3-reel games (Double Diamonds; 2x,3x,4x pay, etc.) with not much results.
Later my Fiance told me the same guy did the same thing to another person. I guess that's the true sign of a gambling addict?
It was now almost dinner time but we were still kind of full. We saw an opportunity here. Hidden Pizza (not on the hotel directory, but it's right next to Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill on the 3rd floor). It's been on our list for the past few trips but we were always full whenever we walked by.
We followed the wonderful smell into Hidden Pizza to find the staff watching the football game on TV (Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots). Apparently the staff really dislike the Patriots (and voiced it pretty loudly). The chef declared then and there that he was going to make a Bronco's special if they won (even thought hey weren't Bronco fans). The Broncos won while we were munching on our Pizza. But we didn't come back again to see if the chef held up on their declaration. It would have been really cool to see though.
After devouring the Pizza, we headed back to Paris and called it an early night (I think it was around 10 pm). I was getting really sleepy since I hadn't slept a wink on the plane.