Author: Ralph K
Date of Trip: May 2009
The pervasive belief in the importance of celebrating a birthday is a motivator to gather in special places to recognize the anniversary of one’s birth. So it is with our family. Normally, the celebrant selects the location. The destination this year was Las Vegas over the Memorial Holiday Weekend. With the extremely hot weather of the previous week, we wondered whether we would be prepared to deal with the temperature, given that the invitees were coming from more temperate and even much cooler climes. As it turned out, the cooler Nevada weather prevailed and we were graced with cool temperatures in the low 90-degree range – ten degrees cooler than prior weeks.
The birthday celebrant is age 25 and bears the experience level of one twice her age. She enjoys daily life to the maximum to the point that when she dies, she will slide into death as a baseball player slides into third base under the hand of the base-person attempting to tag out. Her enthusiasm to new experiences with friends and family is a magnet drawing those persons to engage themselves in her pursuits.
Just as all roads lead to Las Vegas, most airlines fly to Las Vegas. Guests arrived for the festivities from Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Boston, Raleigh, and places beyond. Spirit Air service from Detroit billed $ 275 each on special rate while $262 special rate from Fort Lauderdale. Southwest, American, NW/Delta offered similar rate structures for summer flights. Air tickets were ordered on line.
Guests selected different hotels so all could see each facility. Excalibur Tower Two and the Pool area have been upgraded in the past two years and the hotel offered competitive daily rates ranging from $40 to $200 nightly depending on the day of the week. Some elected to room at the Planet Hollywood where there is a nightclub and great pool. Some chose the Treasure Island for its pool and social offerings. Each facility ranks high on evaluation and each is serviced by the $6.50 Shuttle Bus from airport. Hotel reservations were completed and confirmed on line. Excalibur offers a 2 for 1 price 4PM to 6 PM Buffet for $20. The choices are across the board and so designed to satisfy the taste of every guest. Other meals are priced according to the facility and correspond to the prices in the various lounges. The nice restaurants are both in and out of the Hotel/Casino Facilities and each offers a menu selection to satisfy each person. There are choices for each pocketbook and activity level. Some on-Strip bistros advertise special drink and food prices to fill the long tables with revelers.
Entertainment choices are abundant and easily purchased on site. Given the crowds expected for the holiday weekend and our interest in the Blue Man Group at the Venetian, the tickets were purchased via phone for pick up the day before the show. $140 tickets were discounted to $102 upon presentation of an AAA insurance card. The $102 includes an unavoidable $10 service fee. The show was dynamic and an exciting presentation. Our tickets were in Row 7 so we were just behind the rows in which patrons wear rain smocks to protect their clothes from paint splatters from stage. We were advised it would be bitter cold in the show and brought jackets only to find that it was comfortable.
The Deuce is a Las Vegas Strip Hop-On/Hop-Off bus offering a one-time ride for $3 or a 24-hour daily pass for unlimited rides for $7. The bus runs 24 hours. In the heavy traffic, the bus fails to move you fast and so you must allow extra time to get to the destination and settle in for a longer ride to go a short distance up/down the Strip. If three persons were transferring to the airport, the taxi cost from Excalibur would be around $15 as opposed to $19.50 on the shuttle. The Shuttle cost becomes a better price the further up the strip you move from the airport. Due to the crowded airport, it is prudent to arrive to allow the recommended time before your flight. Never did we witness a situation of a hostile employee in any facility nor did we see an unhappy guest situation. The courtesy with which each facility employee responded to guest inquiry was remarkable and signals an attempt to satisfy each guest and bring each guest back to Las Vegas and its offerings. The fact that guests were happy evidences that guest satisfaction must be high across all the facilities. We had an opportunity to visit the Valley of Fire where the red rocks pop up from the surface for miles. The rocks are pock-marked by the wind erosion as the stone is very soft. The Valley is in a State Park, which offers camp sites in select areas near and among the beautiful rock formations. Some rocks bear the colors of the rainbow and others are majestic in their own way. We walked or hiked down to a Movie Set deep in a ravine before visiting the Guest Information Center. The drive is approximately one hour out into the desert from the Las Vegas Strip and one you are encouraged to experience. Carrying and drinking water is imperative because the hot desert sun can dehydrate you before you know it is happening.
In Summary, the trip was a grand success for each person had a wonderful time and all blended together well in sharing the celebration and making memories to last a lifetime. New faces met, while known from a distance, became new special friends. All arrived safely in Las Vegas and returned to home safely to look forward to the next exciting trip of 2009. On the anniversary of her birth, my daughter thanked me for her life.
Thank you for the opportunity of sharing.