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SDGonzo's Trip Report

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  • SDGonzo's Trip Report

    TR 8/8 - 8/14: 7 Day Party (on the cheap)

    Trying to add some value to this TR. I like to take advantage of deals wherever possible. I'm not the guy who's going to drop $5k at Wet Republic (although I met that guy at Centrifuge bar).

    The forums provided so much useful information for our trip, I thought I'd provide some helpful tips in return, both confirmations of things discussed here and things we discovered on our own. Hope its helpful.


    Arrived at McCarran around 10am. Wife was expecting us to grab a cab, but George from Presidential Limo was waiting for us at baggage claim (Forum Thank you #1). This was SUCH a good move! For $63 (+ $10 tip) he met us there, took our bags, gave her a rose, had a bottle of champagne (plus bottled water - bonus) waiting, gave us a nice ride in the stretch, and let us arrive at MGM Grand in style. Well worth it!

    Backtracking a bit - We did use the airport checkin for MGM right next to baggage claim (Forum Thank you #2). Good move as there was no line there and a HUGE one at the hotel. Had noted in the reservation we were celebrating our anniversary. I was set to try the $20 trick, but she started off checking for upgrades without being asked. She told us she had no suites available, but would give us a high room with a strip view. Thought about tipping her anyway, but it seemed like she was just giving us the room we were supposed to get so I held back.

    Got to the hotel and headed for the champagne brunch. We got the package with the daily buffet. (Forum Thank you #3 for pointing out the package on Many others here apparently have used this as well so I'll just share a little on the buffet. The food was very good, and although the options didn't change much, there was enough variety for us to enjoy it. We stayed at MGM four days, and by the end we were pretty sick of the buffet, just because it seemed like we spent so much time there. Lines were mixed - couldnt seem to really predict when they'd be the busiest, but the longest we waited was about 20 minutes. In fact, one morning the lady remembered us from the previous day and stamped our receipt with Line Pass, so we could skip the wait. Woohoo! Buffet VIPs Baby! Highlights of the buffet: Sunday night they had grilled NY Strip steaks. Surprisingly they were seasoned and cooked perfectly and very tender. I went back and complimented the cook and he seemed genuinely surprised and grateful for the compliment. Also the sushi was also a nice surprise. The assortment of mexican food was tasty as well. Thought the weekend buffet was supposed to include champagne but it did not. However, you can order an endless glass for $2.50. Um, yes please.

    Wife enjoyed a mani/pedi at the spa while I explored MGM. It is quite large, but honestly not quite as big as I expected from other reviews.

    Had tix for Judas Priest and Whitesnake Saturday night at Thomas and Mack. Forgot them at home like a big dummy, but the arena left a new pair for me at WillCall with a $10 reprint charge. Taxi to T&M was $13 plus tip. ($3 was spent waiting at one light) The show was pretty awesome but it would have been nice to be on the floor. Had a few drinks there - $13 for a beer and a vodka cranberry is a lot better than you can get on the strip, lol. Taxi back to MGM was $10.

    We had visited the podium for Studio 54 earlier in the day and got on the guestlist for that night. Rashad Lewis of the Orlando Magic was going to be there for a surprise bday party. Unfortunately, either the dehydration or the 5 glasses of champagne had given me a BRUTAL headache by the middle of the concert, so we called it an early night.

    Best Tip of Day One: Presidential Limo and the Airport Check-in Kiosk for MGM

    Next up: Body English, Cathouse, Wet Republic, and more deals
    Blackout Artist
    [email protected]

  • #2

    Quick breakfast at the buffet then hit the pools. Headed to the Director's Pool since it is adults only (Forum Thank you #4). It was nice, and peaceful....this is gonna sound bad but let's just say you didn't have to worry too much at this pool about being outshined by "The Beautiful People", lol. It was pretty much just average folks.

    Took a nice little afternoon nap since we had a big night planned.

    Blew some money on the penny slots, enjoyed some comp cocktails and then back to the buffet for dinner.

    Ok, here's my contribution for a deal: Text the word "offers" to 50435. MGM will text you back various deals including BOGO cocktails at the hotel bars (Centrifuge is the best by far) and also Free admission and free cocktail at Wet Repbulic. This saved us a ton!

    My buddy Chris from got us on the guestlist for Body English at the Hard Rock Sunday Night for "Sunday School". Ladies dressed in schoolgirl outfits get free champagne all night. I call this a "Win-Win". :-D

    Cab from MGM to Hard Rock was $10. Thanks to Chris we bypassed the line to get in, wife was free and I had to pay only $20 cover. BE was slamming - unfortunately too much so. After a couple hours there we couldnt take the crowd and bailed. Earlier we had met a promoter in Luxor who offered to get us in free to Cathouse (one place we wanted to check out anyway), so after leaving BE we decided to take him up on it. Cab from Hard Rock to Luxor = $13.

    OK - here's my next lesson: If you don't know already, ALWAYS ask what's going on at a club before you go. My new promoter friend (not Chris) failed to mention that it was "Closet Night" at Cathouse. Yeeaaaahh. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it would have been nice to be more prepared. On the plus side, my wife didn't get hit on all night, lol. But the music was awesome so we stuck around for a while. Walked back from Luxor to MGM.

    Best Tips of Day Two: Text "offers" to 50435, and contact Chris at

    Next up: Wet Republic, cheap beers, Blondies, Tabu

    DAY THREE (Monday):

    Decided to try Wet Republic. We were getting really confused as there were promoters handing out passes for reduced admission, plus a WR host near the pools offering to put us both on the guestlist, but all that would do is get my wife in free, plus them saying that hotel guests get in free. Lots of conflicting information, but I was determined not to pay cover. (Normally I think its $20 for ladies and $50 for guys) All I can say is WR is one of the highlights of MGM. It was spectacular. The pool was beautiful, the people were beautiful, they had a DJ playing awesome music, the drinks were nice (but pricey of course), it was just a fantastic way to start the day. I used the text offer mentioned earlier to get my free cocktail. We just lounged around and enjoyed the atmosphere for a few hours. It started to get pretty busy after 1pm.

    Decided to walk up the strip as we had debated about seeing Wayne Brady and wanted to check on tickets at the Venetian box office. They were pretty pricey at the MGM concierge and the 1/2 off ticket place was out of them. It was pretty hot but we'd duck inside somewhere from time to time to cool off.

    Stopped outside Casino Royale to try their promo Free Slot Pull thing. Wife won $100 slot play and I won $50. Ok - don't get too excited here. You go inside to get your coupon. There's only a certain bank of machines you can use it on. They're $1 machines, and it's jackpot or nothing. You must get all 7s and you only get cash for the maximum payout. Kind of a waste of time. But, we got a couple cocktails while doing it, and the bonus was this place had $1 Michelobs. Slapped the bartender a five ($1 tip) and walked out a happy two-fisted couple.

    Went in to the Venetian and the line for the box office was huge. In the end, we just couldnt stomach the price for the Wayne Brady tickets, so we decided to pass. Probably would have really enjoyed the show, but as the title says, we were doing this "On the cheap".

    On the way back stopped into the Miracle Mile shops at PH for dinner. Had heard good things about Blondies sports bar in there. They had some really tasty sweet habanero wings and some pretty good beer as well. Get the MM Shops coupon book first though for $10 off a $20 purchase.

    Back at MGM, put our names on the guestlist for Tabu (hotel guests free cover) and went to try out our free slotplay that came with our package. I hate slot machines.

    Anyway, Tabu was alright - pretty small, more of a lounge. Danced for a few hours then called it a night.

    Best Tip of day three: Wet Republic (Worth staying at MGM just to get in free), $1 Micks at Casino Royale

    Next UP: Ellis Island, Hilton Tempo Lounge, Downtown (Beauty Bar, 99 cent shrimp, $1 beer), Studio 54
    Blackout Artist
    [email protected]


    • #3
      DAY FOUR (Tuesday)

      Skipped Wet Republic because there was some industry volleyball tourney and we figured they'd be packed. Had the buffet lunch then headed out. This was my day to try some gamblin. I'm not a big gambler at all, but wanted to try a little blackjack if I could find some $5 tables. We had some really good coupons from Ellis Island so we walked over there.

      We signed up for their players' cards, then waited for some BJ seats to open up. One table cleared out completely, and I plunked down my $50. Yeah - I had five hands in a row where I was dealt 12-14, and the dealer had a ten up. I think overall I won one hand. I had asked earlier if MGM offered free lessons but they did not. Got free lessons later at PH - a little too late.

      But Ellis Island still paid off. They have fantastic onsite microbrew. I had the amber and my wife had the hefeweis. (They also had a light and a stout) Great beer and $1.50 for a 20 oz draft! We also had American Casino Guide coupons for four free drinks from them, plus BOGO menu items, so we had dinner there. Got their mozzarella sticks (fantastic) and shared a king cut prime rib which came with salad, veg, potato, and another beer. Total for dinner = $19 including tip!

      After that we wanted to go to the LV Hilton. We debated about taking the Duece but decided to walk. People ask a lot about distances and walking. Let me just say unless you have health problems there's no realistic reason why you can't walk to just about anywhere on the strip. We walked from MGM to Ellis Island, and from there to LV Hilton, in 100 degree heat. Now if we were dressed up fancy or something or in a hurry we might have chosen differently, but just know that it can be done.

      Anyway, on Tuesday nights ladies drink free at the Hilton's Tempo lounge so we went there to get the wifey liquored up and enjoy the live entertainment. It was a classic cheesy Vegas lounge act, but it was really fun. They had a dude on a guitar and a lady (zebra-striped cowboy hat and all) singing everything from Tina Turner to Led Zeppelin to Gloria Estefan. We danced a little and had some fun there, then caught a cab to Fremont Street.

      It was sorta dead there, but there was a live band playing. We strolled around a bit then journeyed a little past the canopy. We stopped into a local dive called the Beauty Bar and had a beer. Cool little place that gives you a feel for how the locals hang out. Went back down under the canopy and stopped to use our BOGO coupons for shrimp cocktail. Shoot I can't remember who had it, but we had the best 99 cent shrimp cocktails I've ever had, lol. Then we stopped at another casino and grabbed a few $1 Coronas, strolled around Fremont a little more, and took the cab back to MGM.

      Stopped at Centrifuge bar to enjoy another BOGO cocktail. This bar really is a lot of fun. The servers are very energetic and get up and dance on the bar every once in a while. We were on the guestlist for Studio 54 that night, so we changed and headed down to the club. Once again, MGM guests can get on the guestlist and skip the line and cover. Pretty cool club but once again it just got way too crowded for us. Danced there for a couple hours then called it a night.

      Best Tips of Day Four: Don't be afraid to walk a little bit and save on cab fare. Check out Ellis Island for $5 blackjack, a good cheap meal and GREAT cheap beer - but be sure to bring your ACG coupons!

      Next Up: More Wet Republic (partying with new friends), A Planet Hollywood hookup (did the $20 trick work?), Celebs on the Red Carpet, and Voodoo lounge
      Blackout Artist
      [email protected]


      • #4
        DAY FIVE (Wednesday):

        One last breakfast buffet (love those omelets), then check-out, drop our bags at bellstand, and one last visit to Wet Republic. Kept my roomkey so I could show it for free entry, then also showed the text for our free drink tickets. Did I mention I love Wet Republic? No DJ today but still playing decent music and a good crowd. We hopped in the pool to join some people who were playing volleyball, and soon after we met our new best friends. Turns out Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (yes, from Forrest Gump) in Santa Monica has a group of like 30 employees who make an annual pigrimage to Vegas, and they were there partying at Wet Republic. After getting schooled at pool volleyball, we just hung out, laughed, had some drinks, and got to know these guys for the next four hours or so. Scottie, Griff, Steven, Lindsey (dead ringer for Drew Barrymore), Natalie, Marci and Mike - what a great group and a lot of fun. They invited us to join them later at Lavo, but we had other plans and werent sure we could make it.

        After probably too much sun and fun, we left and grabbed our bags to head over to Planet Hollywood. We were originally going to walk, but navigating the sidewalk and then the MM shops and PH Casino with our bags just didnt sound like fun, so we cabbed it.

        As soon as we got there, I was once again thankful for MGM's airport check-in. Even with five reps working, the check-in line was ridiculous! Eventually we got to a rep, and I had determined ahead of time to try the $20 trick there. I was very polite and handed her my cards (with the $20) and told her we were celebrating our anniversary. We chatted for a bit while she looked up our res. She first checked to see if she could get us a better view - got us the 26th floor with a view of Bellagio fountains, the Eiffel Tower, and the PH pools. Not too shabby. Then she talked about the "Drinks on us" promo they have. We had booked under a 2nd night 1/2 off offer, so they wouldnt let her do the drinks promo also. But she said "Luckily I know the codes so I can put it in manually". So she handed us our coupons and drink tickets - One free bottle of liquor for each night's stay. We didn't exactly need more liquor, lol, but we were very grateful and she earned her $20.

        The room was pretty nice - a little smaller than our Grand Tower room at MGM, but more updated and definitely a much nicer bathroom. We rested a bit, then cleaned up and headed out for dinner and our evening plans.

        When we got downstairs, we realized they were just starting a Red Carpet celebrity event for the movie premiere of "The Goods". We're not big autograph chasers, but figured what the heck, we're here - let's see some stars. Had to wait nearly an hour for them to come out, and the crowds made it pretty hard to see, but there was Will Farrell, Alan Thicke, Dane Cook, Kid Rock, Holly Madison, Rob Riggle, Jeremy Piven (star of The Goods), and a few others. Funniest was the short Asian guy from The Hangover and The Goods. He was wearing a sportcoat with no shirt underneath it, and on his chest had written "The Goods" - with an arrow pointing down, lol. Quite a character.

        After that we went back to Blondies for a pizza, then walked down to Paris to catch the shuttle to Rio for Voodoo Lounge. The free shuttle is nice, but there's no organized line. We got there about ten minutes before the shuttle, and when it arrived, two couples who had not been waiting jumped into the group and got on the shuttle in front of us. The people right in front of us were the last ones to make it on that shuttle. We were a little peeved but it could be easily remedied if they'd just make some kind of organized line.

        We had been to Voodoo last trip, and it was a mixed experience. My wife had a Witch Doctor with dinner, and I swear it was virgin. She drank the whole thing and felt/tasted nothing. (Plus they were out of dry ice so it wasnt even smoking) After dinner that time, we went up to the lounge and Renee the bartender made her a second one which was much better, but drinking all that sweet stuff messed up her stomach. This time we were pleasantly surprised to find Renee still working there. I reminded him of our last visit and he said "Well let's get Dani good and drunk this time then, shall we?". He makes a serious drink and is great with the flair as well.
        We only stayed at Voodoo a little while after that, and decided to call it an early night. Took the free shuttle back, and walked the strip a little bit before turning in.

        Best Tips for Day Five: Try the $20 trick at PH! Or at the very least, just be very friendly and polite and it certainly helps if you're celebrating something special. Talk to new people! Vegas is a great place to meet new and interesting people from all over the world. Wet Republic! Wet Republic! WET REPUBLIC!!!

        Next Up: (Over)indulgence on our final day. A SuperSexy Dinner and an even Sexier club to end the trip
        Blackout Artist
        [email protected]


        • #5
          DAY SIX (Thursday):

          Time to go out with a bang! Had breakfast at Planet Dailies, then sat through the free blackjack lessons (Wish I had them two days earlier). Lunch at Earl of Sandwich, then a little shopping to pick up stuff for the kiddies. Then it was time to get ready for our big night.

          Made dinner reservations online for 6:00 at Striphouse, and told them it was our anniversary. Apparently that's a little early for the dinner crowd, as we had the place all to ourselves. Ordered a nice bottle of Penfold's cab-shiraz, and shared a wonderful bone-in ribeye for dinner. The restaurant is very sleek and sexy, and the food was fantastic. After the meal, the waiter asked us if we would like to hear the dessert choices. I responded "Oh, you know what we want!" "Ah" he replied, "the 24-layer chocolate cake it is". That's right people. 24. Layer. Chocolate. Cake. (Saw it on Travel channel or something) They brought it out on a plate with "Happy Anniversary" written on the edge in frosting. They also brought us two complimentary glasses of champagne. Fabulous meal. We left there feeling a little tipsy and with about two hours to kill before our big night out at Tryst.

          So we went back to our room to, ahem, "pre-game". I had packed a bottle of my favorite vodka from home and picked up some mixers. When we were ready to walk down to the Wynn, I mixed up for my wife a nice cranberry champagne and myself a little vodka/cran for our walk. We had a nice leisurely stroll enjoying the fountains and other sights on the strip.

          We got to Tryst a little after ten, my friend Chris from once again having put us on the guestlist. I was a little freaked out cuz there was a huge line already, and the guys with the clipboards said it was the guestlist line. Crap!

          So we stood in line smiling patiently, waiting to get the attention of the clipboard guy. Word of advice - if you want to get into one of the hotter clubs like Tryst, dress to impress. I think that really did it for us. Most guys were in the usual jeans and striped button down shirt. I had kicked it up with a classy pair of slacks, a nice, tailored shirt, and a sharp vest. My wife looked stellar as always. Well we only had to wait about five minutes when clipboard guy comes over, takes our names, and escorts us past the line into the club. I happily took our free passes, smiled at the cashier, and made our way inside.

          Tryst is da bomb. Place is huge and beautiful, and while it did get crowded, it wasn't as mad as Studio 54 and Body English. We were dancing by the waterfall and having a glorious time. Then we met some more new friends. Kind of a quirky story but these two guys from Phoenix were planning to travel to Sydney, but went to Rome instead - where they happened to meet two sisters from Sydney. Now just a few weeks later, they were all in Vegas together staying at the Palms. One of them bought us all a round of shots ($12 each - yikes!), we danced for a while, and they invited us into their VIP booth. Yeeaaahhh. I shoulda stopped there. Someone kept handing me drinks, and well things started to get pretty fuzzy from then on. I texted my friend Chris about getting us all into an afterhours club and next thing I know, well it was Game Over for Gonzo. God Bless my wife for getting us back to our room and getting me into bed. I've never been that messed up in all my life. Like I said - we went out with a bang.

          Best Tip for Day Six: If you like clubs, definitely try Tryst - and Dress to Impress! Know when to say "When".

          Next Up: "And on the seventh day...."

          DAY SEVEN (Friday): Ok, so the title says 7 day party. But in reality - well hey even The Big Guy rested on the 7th day, right? Yeah, I destroyed our seventh day. It was all I could do to drag my sorry butt and our suitcases down to the mezzanine level and crash in a chair while my wife got a bite to eat and did some last minute shopping. Our flight left at 5pm and it wasnt until about that time that I finally started to feel human again. I think my buzz finally wore off about the time we got to church on Sunday, lol.

          All in all it was one helluva trip!
          Oh - one more word about MGM: Here in Ohio, state law makes all public establishments smoke-free. We're really spoiled by that but hadn't found places in Vegas to bother us too much with the smoke. But each morning at MGM, we woke up very congested and having lots of breathing trouble - I think the smoke really got to us there, although maybe it was just cause we spent so much time on hotel property? Either way, we didnt have that problem at all at Planet Hollywood.

          Patrick and I exchanged texts and facebook messages hoping to meet up on Thursday. But evidently his crew ended up at Tao instead of Tryst, so we never managed to connect. That was a shame.

          Thanks so much to everyone who offered tips here on the forums! They helped us so much!
          Blackout Artist
          [email protected]


          • #6
            hahah thanks for the pointer on "Closet" night man.. I will remember to stay out of there.

            PS. I booked the MGM package with 2 for 1 buffet.. its going to come in handy.


            • #7
              this was a good trip report - - tells all the good deals man. thanks! will use it when im back there


              • #8
                Very very well done D. Your experience at the MGM just gave me some pointers. Thanks man.

                Tabu - I know its free when you stay there but can you enter at any time or before a certain time like Midnight?


                • #9
                  My pleasure. Glad to provide some helpful tips.

                  Funny thing was, Cathouse was really rather enjoyable even being "Closet night".

                  I believe MGM guests do have to get there by midnite for Tabu and S54 guestlist.


                  • #10
                    Sweet. Thanks for the info man. I'm stayin there but not sure if I have time to go before midnight. I was hoping I can sneak it like after 2 or 3am when I'm tired of the bigger clubs.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the info, I texted offers to 50435 and received the BOGO cocktails and free entry to Wet Republic. Does SD in your name stand for slickdeals? As in


                      • #12
                        Glad it worked for ya. Nope, the SD is geographic. Stands for my former home, and where my heart still is.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dr3w View Post
                          Thanks for the info, I texted offers to 50435 and received the BOGO cocktails and free entry to Wet Republic. Does SD in your name stand for slickdeals? As in
                          SD stands for San Dieeeezy 619... Cisco can elaborate


                          • #14
                            so you actually text the word "offers' to 50435 ??????
                            Blackout Artist
                            [email protected]


                            • #15
                              yea whats the scoop on the texting... 50435 is like some funky # Do they charge you extra for texting those?