Date of Trip: December 31, 2008 to January 04, 2009
Hotel Stayed At: Palazzo
Report by: RRJ <> From: Texas
This was our sixth trip to Vegas but the first one since 2000. I found the Palazzo through an online search. We were familiar with the Venetian and decided to give it a try. The hotel is an all suite hotel and is a sister property to the Venetian. Together they form the largest resort in the world. My wife and I are not gamblers. We go to Vegas for the shows and to just get away.
Our suite was on the 12th floor. We ask for and got a Strip View suite. Our suite looked out across Las Vegas Blvd toward Treasure Island. We arrived around 6:00 PM on New Year's Eve. We had reservations at Carnevino, an Italian steakhouse in the Palazzo. The food was very good but a little pricey at $189.00, or so I thought. The biggest change that I noticed in Vegas since 2000 is the price of food. We have been going to Vegas since the early 80's and remember the $7.99 Prime Rib Buffets all up and down the strip. Those days are gone. We ate at three buffets during our stay; Excalibur, Rio and Wynn. The cheapest of them was $38 per person.
A little about the buffets: We ate at Excalibur on our 2nd evening as we were going to a show at the Luxor. The food was unremarkable but plentiful. They did have Prime Rib but it was overcooked. We ate the Seafood Buffet at the Rio on Saturday PM as we were going to a show there. Of the three, I thought that this one was the best. The dining room was not as big as the Wynn and the selection was not as great as Excalibur but the food was hot, plentiful and good. I had five plates of crab legs and would have eaten more but we were late for the show. From all accounts, the buffet at the Wynn is supposed to be the best in town. We tried to get in three different times but there was a minimum wait of one hour and, on one occasion, an hour and a half. We finally got in on Sunday for their Champagne Brunch. Granted, it was not their full blown buffet, but I was disappointed.
We were greatly entertained on this trip. On New Year's Eve, we went down to the strip, which had been closed to traffic. We walked North past the Encore, crossed the street and came back South past the Treasure Island. We found the area barricaded and could not get to the Mirage. We later found out that Robbie Knievel was jumping the Volcano that night and that was the reason for the barricades. We crossed back over to the Venetian. By that time, the strip was getting so crowded that you could hardly move. So, we opted to go back to our suite and watch from there. That was probably our best move of the trip. We could see the fireworks at TI better from our suite than if we had been on the street. Plus we got to see Robbie jump the Volcano on television.
Thursday evening we made reservations to see Carrot Top at the Luxor. We had seen him on the Tonight Show and other programs and weren't sure that we would like him. We were pleasantly surprised. He put on a very good 90 minute show.
Friday we went to the Matinee performance of the Blue Man Group. This is a very good show. It is high energy and goes for over 90 minutes. If you like percussion, this is the show for you. That night we went to see David Spade who was in town for three days to give Wayne Brady a break. David put on a good show. I had heard parts of his material before but the show was still good.
Saturday we booked a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon. At $249 per person, this is a must do. They picked us up at the Venetian and took us to Boulder City airport. After a brief safety video, we boarded the helicopter and were airborne. Our pilot's name was Joe and he was very knowledgeable and entertaining. It took about 30 minutes, at 140 knots to get to the Grand Canyon. On the way we went over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Flight time at the Grand Canyon was about 30 minutes. We saw the canyon from above and below the rim. The return trip also took about 30 minutes.
Later that evening, we had reservations for Penn and Teller at the Rio. These guys put on a great show. If you like magic, don't miss this show. After the show, both of them were outside the showroom signing autographs and joking around with the crowd. We got both of them to sign our program and I got a picture of me and Penn.
Our flight out was at 6:50 PM but check out at the Palazzo was 11:00 AM. We left our luggage at Guest Services and set out to explore the Strip. My wife started to have some pain in her neck. So, we cut the exploring short. We were going to watch the football playoff game in the Sports Book but they wanted a $75 minimum, ($150 per couple) to watch the game. So, we decided to go to the airport a little early. This turned out to be a good thing, as US Airways was backed up. The line at curbside check-in was all the way down the sidewalk. We opted to check-in inside. The line inside wasn't any better. The terminal was literally filled with US Airways passengers. Since we already had our boarding passes, we were able to bypass the long line. It still took us about 30 minutes to get our luggage checked.
The trip was great. We loved the Palazzo and will stay there again.
RRJ <> - Texas