This is a post about my family’s second trip to Las Vegas. My wife, 15 month old son, and of course the babysitters…erm I mean grandparents, and I all piled in my SUV and off we went. This time it only took us about 5.5 hours to get to Las Vegas and the drive seemed to go quicker since I let my wife drive about 2 hours into the trip and we left at 5am.
We were initially going to use the Myvegas 25% off promotion for our hotel room, but we did find a better promo for Vdara, which essentially meant we paid $50 more than my vegas discount but in turn were given $150 in food and drink credit that could be used at Vdara and the Aria. Here is the link for it that expires 7/31/2017 https://www.mlife.com/en/offers/royal-offer.html?kbid=335345. This deal seems to be offered only once a year, but it can be quite lucrative.
We ended up paying $ 378.69 for Vdara (2 nights) since there was a Cosmetic convention in town plus the $150 credit
This exclusive offer is awesome, but if you’re able to time it up perfectly and it can actually be at a negative cost! Like at MGM Grand reservation Earning $2 because you pay $148 and get $150 credit
A month before I did actually sign up for the Mlife credit card (will do a post on it soon) which gives you 10,000 of teir credits for discounts on hotels and comps, plus it gives you automatic Pearl status which is like a 10% discount on anything Mlife related.
The Drive over:
We left for the trip from Phoenix at about 5am on the road. This seemed pretty easy since we now have a decent routine of where to stop along the way to change our baby. We stopped at McDonalds for breakfast, Flying J for gas, and then 99 cent store for the essentials (paper towels, baby food, water, etc) right before we hit the strip. Or just a order a big Frito-Lay snack box from amazon for about $15.
I am confident that getting your baby a brand new toy every trip will keep them satisfied for a few hours in the car, I got him this.
We arrived at about 11 am (check in was scheduled for the standard 3pm) in the hopes they would get us some sort of upgrade because it was a Sunday and most likely would be less occupied.
We used the valet service with my Dad-mobile and got our bags over to the bellhop, who was actually pretty nice. We were then directed to the check-in area. Although there was not much of a line, we received Priority check-in with my MGM Credit card.
I approached the desk and went back to my roots and tried the $20 trick. I believe it worked since we initially booked the cheapest deluxe studio rooms. All I said as I handed my drivers license +$20+MGM Credit card was “Can you please get us on the same floor and perhaps a view of the Bellagio fountains?” (Knowing full well there is a Fountain view room they offer for about $50 more per night).
The front desk employee smiled and said she could possibly get us a nice upgrade. She had to go in the back and speak with a manager or something (meanwhile my wife was pacing back and forth with our son in the lobby who had started to get fussy, which was to be expected given the 5.5 hour drive over plus the multiple stops along the way).
About 5-10 minutes pass as employee returns and says there is one room ready for a free upgrade with the city pool view, and one that has a view of the Bellagio Fountains that was still occupied, but they are on the same floor. SOLD!
I decided to time a video of checking in, to room which was super fast at 1 minutes and 37 seconds!
Around 11:30 am we decided to give my parents the city room on the 42nd floor.
My wife, son, and I to get the Fountain Room since my son loves watching the fountains in action. We waited in my parents’ room with our luggage and anticipated the call from the desk to tell us the room number after it has been cleaned. Long story short it took until freaking 1:30 pm for our room to be ready; they said over the phone the previous guests were not leaving and they had to knock on the door to get them out. It was frustrating since my son was ready for his afternoon nap and was getting quite cranky. Once we got to our freshly cleaned room we had to make another call to get the crib for baby boy to take his nap, which only took them about 5 mins to deliver to the room. In retrospect, we should have brought a little Playard for my son to roam around since he could have a little more freedom while we relax.
Major thumbs up for the big window with motorized curtains, my son loved looking down at the strip. The room was actually in the perfect location because it was right next to the elevator and we did not hear much noise from drunk people late at night. The wonderful thing about the room that I forgot to get a picture of is that there was a drink bar refrigerator and also an empty refrigerator next to it.
My wife and I enjoy the variety of toiletries offered at the places we stay. The bath soaps and shampoo were provided by Vive, and were decent.
During this trip, my wife, son, and I mostly stuck to restaurants in the Aria since Vdara only has one restaurant and bar area and it is about a 3 minute walk in the shade from the Vdara to the Aria. There is a good variety of restaurants at the Aria, so we did not feel too limited by our selection of restaurants this trip. We did eat at the Burger Lounge at the Aria to get our start using the credit. The burgers were pretty good but if I had to compare it side-by-side with a burger from EggSlut, it would definitely lose. I had the Free range turkey burger there.
We were discriminated against at the Cucina by Wolfgang Puck (located in the shops at Crystals) which I will never return because despite having available tables they said they that they were full. It was clear that most of their customers at the time were young and I did not see any families. They pretty much saw that we had a baby with us and turned us away because the baby wouldn’t mesh well with their current crowd. They tried to apologize by giving us a 20% off next time coupon which is silly because the Yelp app gives you the exact same discount. The last offer was for us to come back at two and a half hours later when they would be less busy. My wife gave the woman a “are you out of your f-ing mind?!” look while I calmly told the lady that would be our past son’s bedtime and would not be possible. I think what pissed me and my wife off most was that I called Cucina prior to walking over there and had asked if they had high chairs for infants, to which they replied that they did and told us to come on over.
We did take the Aria Express for the very first time and seemed it to be pretty efficient in my opinion. So we ended up going to the buffet at Monte Carlo which was decent because they had a good assortment of meats at the carving station (we were able to get our money’s worth) and there wasn’t a wait when we went in there for dinner. $28 a person though was barely worth it. As pictured below the self adhesive disposable placemat for my messy boy is totally worth the small cost.
After dinner we did decide to browse around the Bellagio because we definitely love seeing their flower exhibit because it changes every season!
I did place UFC Bets at the Aria sports book which is pretty small they got the job done.
I also gambled at the Aria and was not a fan of the dealer customer service. And what I mean by that is when I spend few hours at the blackjack table if there was someone new that is not experienced usually give him some guidelines and what to do but I did not see any of that.
On the second day, we ordered food from The market cafe’ at Vdara. The food was was actually really good. I got the lobster omelette, my wife had crepes, and my son a fruit platter which was huge. For lunch, I stopped at the Vice Versa bar at the Vdara. The food was delicious. We had the rock shrimp and Grilled mini brioche sandwiches.
The side door is also walking distance to Bellagio which I was unaware of so if you wanted to take a look at the garden in the morning I would definitely recommend a quick little jaunt to there. It will say to Bellagio tram on the sign.
My wife and I were pretty excited for our date night. We decided to see Ka and go to dinner before the show. We ended up going to Lemongrass at the Aria Hotel and the food was pretty good. Lemongrass is a Thai restaurant; my wife adores good Thai food so I thought it would be nice to indulge her and go there for our date night. I will write a longer report later but the service was a bit slow even though they were not that busy.
After our meal, we decided to head over to the MGM Grand so we took a Lyft $20 referral code here: THE240356 for new users. Before we knew it our driver had arrived and we were on our way!
I was really excited to see Ka Cirque du Soleil because everyone was telling me that it was such a great experience. Mainly because it was following a storyline rather than some random acrobatics. Even watching the trailer here makes it seem amazing. What turned me off personally to the show is that it went a little long and did not have the most exciting segments mixed in. There were some parts where there was a girl spinning a baton for 10 minutes which seemed pointless. I honestly almost fell asleep. However, my wife really enjoyed the show. She was on the edge of her seat throughout the show and was oo-ing and aaah-ing at all of the risky tricks. Our goal is to see all of the shows I will report back next time we may go see Zumanity or O. The show was at the MGM Grand as many of you now is one of the largest casinos in Vegas because they have a huge amount of rooms.
Our baby boy did go swimming for the first time and he didn’t seem to love it or hate it. He kind of just splashed around a little bit – here are his pictures. Nice tip for anyone that is going to Vegas is that to avoid any of the party people drinking just go before 11 AM and you should be in the clear.
At one point during our trip, our son did have a fever of 100F. He didn’t have much fun the second day/night.
On the morning of the third day, all of us went to Hash House a go go which was an excellent choice for breakfast. We went to the restaurant located at the Rio Hotel. I noticed that this hotel does not have any sort of valet fees at all which might make it a good stay in the future when we go see Penn and Teller. Even though it is a much older hotel than the other ones nearby, it still seems pretty solid and not very ghetto.
My one major gripe about this Vdara was that when we were going in and out of the hotel we noticed that there was a lot of trash left outside for many hours in front of the other hotel rooms. They seem not to regulate that very much.
Overall it was another successful trip I would visit Vdara in a hearbeat. Cheers!
Hotel: [usr 4] Pretty good, but could have a few more food options.