Las Vegas Journals

Christmastime in Sin City (Plus Some Best Ofs)

Best of IgoUgo

A December 2008 trip to Las Vegas by Carmen

The Paris Hotel Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada More Photos
Quote: This was my first December trip to one of my favorite cities, and Vegas does Christmas like it does everything - go big or go home. Having been there so many times now, I also wrote a few "best of" journals to help people planning a trip.

What's Vegas Like in December?

Christmas Time in Sin City

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Bellagio Rocking Horse Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Like everything else in Vegas, Christmas is BIG. It’s everywhere during the month of December, and it’s kind of a unique holiday experience. I read that Las Vegas is the top Christmas destination in the U.S. and having now been there during the holiday season, I can see why. You see, in Vegas, they don’t do just a Christmas tree, they do the BIGGEST, BEST, MOST SPARKLY Christmas tree. They don’t do Santa, they do Elvis Santa. They don’t do snow, well, actually, this year they did do snow. We had flurries one day we were there, and on the day we flew out, a record snow storm blew in behind us. See?! Even snow in Vegas, when they get it, they go all out. And if they didn’t get any snow, the ...Read More

Where'd You Stay?

Caesars Palace

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Location, Location, Location"

Caesars Palace Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
We managed to snag a great "Please come to Vegas, we’re really hurting" deal that included airfare and 5 nights at Caesar’s Palace, including an upgrade to the Forum Tower. I’ve stayed in many a hotel in Las Vegas, but this was my first Caesar’s Experience, and never let it be said that I’m not up for something new, so we booked.I’ve got to say that it was one of the nicer hotels that I’ve stayed in during my trips to Las Vegas. (See my Best Vegas Hotels journal.) The property had everything you could ever want, and a staff that nearly fell over themselves to make sure you were having a great time. Admittedly, it was the slow month of December in the middle of an economic crisis, but it wa...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Caesars Palace
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 731-7110

What'd You Eat?

Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Payard Chocolate - Follow Your Nose"

Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro  Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Payard Chocolate Shop has one of the best marketing strategies I’ve ever witnessed. Pump the smell of luscious chocolate through the casino and the room towers, and then let the masses follow their noses to the establishment. It worked on me! Every time we went to our room, we would pass Payard and smell that chocolate smell and crave the sweets they had inside. So much so, that we stopped in the little restaurant – open only for breakfast, brunch and lunch – to have breakfast. I ordered a chocolate waffle with bananas, and Jim ordered a two-egg omelet. If there were two eggs in that omelet, they had to have been ostrich eggs, because that was the biggest omelet I’d ever seen in my entire ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro
3570 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas 89109
(800) 634-6001

Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "A "Cut" Above When it Comes to Steak"

Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino  Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
No trip to Las Vegas is complete without at least one splurge on a fantastic steak dinner. We did our research online before we arrived, and decided that we’d try Wolfgang Puck’s new steak house, Cut, located in the new Palazzo. Because it was so new, we couldn’t get much feedback from those we asked, but hey, the menu online looked good, and it’s Wolfgang Puck, so how bad could it be. The only bad thing about the place was the prices. Even though we’d seen the menu online, clearly, times are bad, because the prices had increased significantly. I think we were in a bit of sticker shock. Once we recovered, I think we developed a good plan to order good food and not break the bank, so we did...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino
3325 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 607-7777

Le Village Buffet

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Crepes - I Keep Talking about the Crepes!"

Quote:
I think I have written about this buffet in almost every Vegas journal I’ve written for IgoUgo, but folks, it’s THAT GOOD. If you don’t eat here, you’re just crazy.Among my friends that have visited Las Vegas, and among those who really want to visit Las Vegas, the Le Village Buffet is possibly one of the most talked-about spots on the Strip. And it’s not just us, it gets voted the best breakfast in Vegas almost every year by almost every entity that makes such a list. You’ll likely want to avoid it on a weekend day, unless standing in line doesn’t bother you. Weekday mornings still find a line, but usually one that moves a little faster and doesn’t wind around the casino. Week...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Le Village Buffet
Paris Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada 89109
(702) 946-7000

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino: Carnival World Buffet

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "Around the World Foods That Should've Stayed Home"

Quote:
I’m always raving about the Paris Breakfast Buffet, and rightly so. But this visit, we came across a coupon for the Rio Breakfast Buffet, and so I thought I’d give another establishment a chance to knock the Le Village Buffet off it’s top notch.The draw of the breakfast buffet at the Rio is that it features food from around the world. The idea is good in theory, and is even good in just a few of the foods. However, it was far inferior, and at $20 a pop (before coupon) it’s really not worth the money.Now, I think if you arrived early, on a weekend day, when they keep the food flowing and it doesn’t sit for a while, you might be more satisfied. However, when a breakfast burrito s...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino: Carnival World Buffet
3700 W Flamingo Rd
Las Vegas, Nevada 89103
(702) 777-7757

Do Anything Fun?

Luxor Las Vegas

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Carrot Top - Surprisingly, Hilariously Funny"

Quote:
We agreed to see two shows when we went on our December trip to Las Vegas. One picked by me, one picked by my boyfriend. Who knew that it would be the "guy show" that would come out the winner of the week?I was weary when Jim told me that he wanted to see Carrot Top. I’d seen Carrot Top on TV before, and never been that impressed. I’d had one sighting of him walking between the Luxor to Mandalay Bay, and his little head with that big hair on that way over-worked-out muscular body just turned me off. This is why you don’t judge a book by its cover. Yeah, he’s a prop comic, but he’s so much more than that. His hour and a half show is well choreographed, well thought out, and funn...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Luxor Las Vegas
3900 South Las Vegas Blvd.
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 262-4444

Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Phantom, the Las Vegas Craptactular"

Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
For some reason, the entertainment gurus in Las Vegas think that audiences can only pay attention for an hour and a half, so they took a classic Broadway musical and made it into a Las Vegas Spectacular version. It is my humble opinion, that in doing so, they tried to make a few "spectacular" special effects hold together a disjointed story, and to me, it was a huge disappointment.I’m one of the biggest fans of Broadway musicals that you’ll find, and I’m looking forward to seeing how The Lion King will play when it opens, full-Broadway time, in Mandalay Bay in April. I’d never seen the original Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, so it’s not a matter of poor comparison. It was a matter of a ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 29, 2008

Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular
3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.
Las Vegas, Nevada

Best of Las Vegas

Best General Vegas Tips

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Freemont Street Experience Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
People are always consulting me before their Vegas trip for advice on what to do, where to stay, etc. Here’s my greatest hits as far as general Vegas tips go.Stay on the Strip. Not to take anything away from the Hard Rock, Rio or Palms, but on your first (or any) trip to Vegas, you want to be in the middle of the action. The action is on the Strip. Stay there. Take lots of ones, fives and tens. It will help you make your money last longer. If you’re putting big bills in the machines, you’re going to lose the money faster. If your $10 runs out and you’re losing, you’re less likely to put that next $10 in. Plus, you’ll need the small bills for taxi rides (which are ...Read More
The Paris Hotel Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
I would say that the question I get asked the most from people who are going to Las Vegas is "Where should I stay?"There are so many considerations that go into answering this question. What do you want your Vegas experience to be like? Do you want to be in the middle of things, or just have easy access to the middle of things? What is your budget? When are you going? Etc. So I’ve put together this list, after 7 trips to Vegas in 6 years, to answer this question for my IgoUgo friends.1. Best place to stay, period: Mandalay Bay – this hotel is always tops on my list of recommended hotels in Las Vegas. There’s only one downfall that I can see, and that is it’s ...Read More

Best of the Beef - Vegas Steaks

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Delmonico Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
I consider myself a connoisseur of steak. It’s one of my favorite meals, and it’s one of the things I treat myself to whenever I go to Las Vegas. Come on, Vegas is a foodie paradise, so how can you possibly not get a gourmet steak by a celebrity chef while you’re there?Each trip, I’ve splurged on a steak dinner, and I now offer up my recommendations for the best places for the best beef. Best Steak #1: Prime, at the Bellagio – I don’t know if it’s because it was my first trip to Las Vegas, if it was because I was celebrating a birthday or if it’s because the food was just that good, but Prime is my #1 choice for best steak in Las Vegas. The restaurant has a brown and blu...Read More

Best Day Trips - Leaving Las Vegas

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Story/Tip

E.T. Highway Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Even for the heartiest gamblers, Vegas can get to be a bit too much. All the neon and noise seem to pound in your head. So, I recommend day trips to Vegas visitors, just to get out into the great Southwest and let your lungs recover from cigarette smoke overload. There are a few obvious opportunities, and a few not so obvious ones. Here is my list of best day trips from Las Vegas.The Grand Canyon – This is the pretty obvious choice for number one. If you ever have the chance to see one of the wonders of the world, take it and grab hold of it as tight as you can. Standing on the edge of the great chasm in the earth that is the Grand Canyon is an experience in awe. My firs...Read More

Best Ways to Lose Your Money

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Elvis Penny Slots Photo, Las Vegas, Nevada
Quote:
Play blackjack. Let’s get this straight, all the odds on all the games play in the house’s favor, otherwise, there wouldn’t be much of a business in casinos, right? However, blackjack is one of those few Vegas card games that, if you play by the mathematics and the general common sense of it all, the house holds less of an advantage. My trick is to NEVER play blackjack on the Strip. Why would you play $15 a hand on the Strip when you could play $3 and $5 hands on Freemont Street. Plus, the dealers are a little more "by the business" on the Strip, and the dealers on Freemont Street – and the pit bosses – will look at your hand and tell you how to play it. Binions is my favorite for blackjack, an...Read More