We took off 40 minutes late but made up time in the air, arriving into Vegas just after 11:10. We then waited for 20 minutes for the door to the airplane to open as the jet-way driver was apparently new.
I like to rent a car in Las Vegas because I enjoy the freedom a rental car will give me (even if I don't use it that often). I got a good deal from Budget ($19.95/day) and got into a new Daewoo with only 77 miles on it. The cost of the car was probably what we would have spent on taxis anyway (plus we got to go to Red Rock Canyon and downtown).
We checked into Treasure Island and they put us into a smoking room. It was after midnight so they didn't have lots of rooms left in their inventory. We had no view and also our room was the last one on the floor (a long walk from the elevators). I made a request to change and the next day they moved us into a Strip-view non-smoking room on the 16th floor. The view was to the south (looking at Mirage and all the way to NYNY in the distance) -- really great. The accommodations at Treasure Island were very nice and I would recommend it.
I had been to Vegas 6 times before but this was my girlfriend's first trip. I wanted to show her everything. We ended up doing so but we exhausted ourseves. I had been once previously in the summer but I didn't remember it being so hot. Temperatures were easily over 100 everyday and the winds (HOT winds!) were very gusty. So gusty, in fact, that they cancelled the pirate show in front of Treasure Island. Just being outside could drain your energy, without factoring in the miles we walked each day.
I hadn't been for over a year and hadn't been to Mandalay Bay, Paris or the Venetian. All 3 of those hotels are really wonderful. In fact, I plan on staying at Paris or Venetian next time. The only problem with Mandalay Bay, in my opinion, is that it is so far south. I prefer being more central. But Mandalay is a terrific hotel.
I was at the new Aladdin the day that it opened and it is really a great property. The casino is large but it was packed. Obviously, the crowds will thin after the novelty of the newest hotel in Vegas wears off but I really liked it. I still am not sure what audience they are trying to go after. I don't see them stealing the high rollers from the Bellagio, Mirage or Caesars. It wasn't as upscale as the Venetian but probably higher than the MGM and Luxor crowd.
The Aladdin has the Desert Passage mall, a HUGE shopping mall. It is easily a mile long and has a great Arabian theme. The shops are upscale. It wasn't so long ago that the Forum Shops at Caesars had the exclusive on shopping but now with the Venetian's Grand Canal Shops and this tremendous shopping area at Aladdin, Vegas can now be considered a shopping destination as well.
We are not high rollers but I enjoy playing for entertainment. I would highly recommend going to the Sahara. They advertise $1 blackjack and literally half the tables there are $1 or $2 tables. Plus, the hotel is MUCH nicer than any of the places downtown that have low limits.
Danny Gans -- he is really talented and I would definitely recommend him. Tickets were $69.50 plus tax but he was worth it.
Mon Ami Gabi - the steakhouse at the Paris. They serve steaks pounded thin and served with a mountain of delicious fries. Dinner for 2 with appetizers (escargot and onion soup) and 2 glasses of wine came to $80.
Postrio - Wolfgang Puck's Italian restaurant in Venetian. Very good and not too unreasonably expensive. Dinner for 2 was $50 w/o drinks. Hey Wolfie, gimme a break with those $3.00 iced teas.
Free entertainment: Pirate Show at Venetian, Volcano at Mirage, Fountains at Bellagio, Masquerade at Rio, Freemont Street Experience. I had seen all of those things before but my girlfriend (the first timer) loved it.
Red Rock Canyon - I always go because I enjoy nature and Red Rock is close to Vegas (19 miles west). If you don't know how to get there just take Charleston (the major road that is just north of Sahara) and go all the way west. ($5 entry per car to maintain the facilities) The scenery is beautiful and it is a wonderful contract to the excitement and action of the Strip. You can go there, drive the 13-mile scenic road and be back in Vegas in only 2 hours if you wanted. A great afternoon trip.
Sahara for low limit gambling. Much nicer than the downtown places (and also cheap Strip places like Casino Royale).
Free trams: Treasure Island to Mirage; Bellagio to Monte Carlo; MGM to Bally's; Excalibur to Mandalay Bay. It SURE beats walking!!
The hot weather (but we chose to go in mid-August so its our own fault). America West Airlines - nonexistant on-board service and we almost did't get on our flight home because it was oversold. Only drinks on the way back as well.
We had a wonderful trip and can't wait to go back. Thanks to all the people who supplied such great advice on this board.