Thoughts On The Venetian

This was my first time staying at the Venetian and I still like it as a casino, but probably not as a place I’d like to stay.

The vibe in the casino is nice and relaxed but fun and the crowd is in the middle of the age types – somewhere between younger people and older people.

One of my favorite places in the casino was the sportsbook.  It’s pretty big and since it wasn’t NFL season it felt like a respite from the rest of the casino.

One great thing is that the Venetian sportsbook still gives out drink tickets with bets.  I received a few with my losing bet, but at least I was able to cash them in for a few awesome glasses of Blue Moon.

While I was at the sportsbook bar I cashed on 4 aces in Double Double Bonus Poker!  I was only playing $1 since I threw it in waiting for my beer.  Too bad.

I found the Venetian pretty crowded all day and night as there were a lot of tourists and families with children.  I’m a single dude and screaming kids are not what I want in Vegas.

The Grand Canal Shops were crowded with browsers, shoppers, eaters and drinkers.  I tried to avoid the shops during operating hours because of all of the people, but was happy to sneak in to grab some coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  Also, during regular hours the shops also had this CREEPY live statue.

The Venetian has done a great job branding themselves as a semi upper class family hotel without being stuffy.  It’s taken years to get that kind of equity.

On the other hand the Palazzo, which is relatively new, has not yet reached a similar critical mass.  The Shoppes were dead like they were on my other two visits.  However, for the first time in three visits the casino floor was PACKED on a weeknight.  Maybe there is a turnaround slowly happening at the Palazzo.

Food options are another thing I liked at the Venetian.  There is both quantity and quality.

The food court by the casino is easy to get to and has a nice variety of food as well as free wifi.  The full service restaurants are good as well and Delmonico is one of my favorite steakhouses in Las Vegas.

I tried First Food and Bar, which is hidden between the two hotels, and it was excellent.  It wasn’t too crowded and had interesting food such as cheese steak dumplings and ahi tuna nachos.

One negative for me as a solo traveler this trip was that there was no iphone reception inside of the Venetian Grand Lux Cafe.  I hate eating alone and keeping my head buried in my phone is usually a good trick to pass the time.  Unfortunately I couldn’t do that while eating lunch inside the restaurant.  So I scarfed down this BBQ pork sandwich and headed out ASAP.

On a better note, I was able to sit “outside” the following morning and grab some steak and eggs.  My favorite hangover remedy.

Overall, I enjoyed the Venetian and will likely continue to make it a place to visit when I’m in Vegas, but I don’t see myself staying there again. There are a lot of positives about the casino, but the wear on the rooms and the hordes of families and tourists give me reason to go elsewhere.

However, the Palazzo is both empty enough for me most of the day, but crowded enough at night in the casino to feel alive.  If given the chance to return, I would highly consider the Palazzo.

Solo Travel – Las Vegas

My trip in April to Las Vegas was my first alone.  I don’t vacation much alone, bu I decided that this trip was meant to be – friends or not. As it turned out, my buddy bailed on me.

It wasn’t until last year where I realized that solo travel was a “thing”.  I met Gray from Solo Friendly and now vegassolo on twitter and have slowly learned about it.  Gray and I even contributed our solo experiences to each others blog.

My solo trip to Atlantic City
Prepping for a Vegas Adventure

I learned a few things on this trip to Las Vegas alone.  First and foremost, Las Vegas is a great place to travel alone.  I figured that I wouldn’t have a shortage of things to do and i didn’t.  I gambled, napped, ate, laptopped, drank and gambled whenever I wanted.

Sleeping, Gambling & Drinking

Since I don’t sleep much, I’m used to gambling alone to start the day.  However, things got a little more sketchy as the day went on and as the drinks flowed.  I had a pretty awful run at 3 card poker at Planet Hollywood one afternoon, but it didn’t bother me too much as I proceeded to have way too many Grey Goose & Soda’s.  This lead to a “nap” from about 6-9pm.  I wouldn’t normally have done this if I was with friends as we probably would have had dinner planned in that time frame.  Traveling alone made this not a big deal.  I didn’t have to be anywhere and had nobody waiting on me.  That was kind of freeing.

On a related note, Earl of Sandwich is an excellent spot to get a quick bite to eat at Planet Hollywood.  It reminded me of Quizno’s.  Not bad, but not the best sandwiches on the earth.  I’m a New Yorker and nothing beats a New York deli sandwich. I’m a bit of a snob about that.

Eating

I’ve mentioned in previous trip reports that I like to share excellent meals with friends, but when I’m alone I really don’t worry about what I eat and where I eat.  This solo trip proved that as I ate at Grand Lux a lot since it was in the hotel I was staying.  The only trip I made for food was to Burger Bar, where I ate at the bar.  The other meals I had were overpriced fast food.  Never again will I allow myself to fall prey to the $15 hot dog combo at Nathan’s at the Venetian.  Which leads me to…

Planning

I was stoked to have nobody with me which lead to me not planning anything.  I’m not an over planner, but I do like to make sure I maximize a trip.  For example, my trip in December had a night planned at Wynn.  My friends and I planned a night at the casino based around dinner at SW.  Simple plans like this allowed me to get to specific casinos.  I realize that without a plan it’s much easier to be lazy about leaving home base.  For future solo trips I’ll make sure to plan things out a little.  I’m not best left to my own devices. 🙂

Twitter

If you follow me on twitter you know that I love to tweet.  I found twitter to be an asset for traveling alone.  I shared tales of where I was visiting or checked out special events at the casinos, stayed in touch with people I had met on twitter that lived in Las Vegas and more.  It also provided me with a fun way to walk the strip.  I stopped at every casino between Palazzo and Planet Hollywood and tweeted.  It was a good excuse to stop and take in the sites.

Overall

Overall, I had a blast solo tripping to Las Vegas and it’s something I see myself doing again.  I’ve learned a little on how to maximize my stay without adding stress.  If you need some time away from the world Vegas is a great place to explore and have a good time alone – whether you gamble or don’t.  Feel free to comment or email or tweet with any questions.  I only grazed over the trip here.

My Vegas Vacation – Eating at the Grand Lux Cafe

I love a good meal, but I like sharing good eats with friends.  As I mentioned last year in a guest blog at Solo Friendly when I travel alone I usually eat more casually.  If I’m hungry, I’ll eat what’s nearby as opposed to planning my meals.

The Palazzo was my home casino so I mostly ate there.  The restaurant with the best variety at the Palazzo/Venetian complex is easily the Grand Lux Cafe.

I had to catch up with a little work when I sat down for my first bite in Las Vegas.  I really just wanted a beer, but I knew I had a full night of drinking ahead of me so I made sure I had something in my stomach.

I was the only person in the bar area and the lone waitress was VERY attentive to me.  She came over about 5 times while I was on a call to take my order.  The fifth time she came over I felt bad for not ordering and just asked for the best burger on the menu because there were so many to choose from.  Of course, no tomatoes please.  Half a beer later this monster came out!

I don’t recall the name and don’t see it on the menu, but it was braised short rib on a bacon cheeseburger.  Whoowee!  This was overload, but it wasn’t bad.  It was very salty and I didn’t finish the whole thing.  Any more I would have gone to my room to nap.

I don’t think I’d ever order anything like this, but it wasn’t bad and I’m happy to have had something different.  Later that evening I started heavy drinking at BNBLV.

For years I’ve told friends that the Grand Lux Cafe at the Venetian has the best steak and eggs in Vegas.  I still haven’t found any better.  This is the best breakfast after a night of drinking.

The steak is seasoned pretty heavily with salt and pepper.  Most breakfast steaks are pretty bland.  I think that’s what makes it so good after a night of drinking too much.

After a night of less drinking I tried a more traditional breakfast at Grand Lux of bacon and eggs.  The bacon was nice and crisp and this made for another winner.  4 cups of coffee didn’t hurt.

Sitting “outside” at cafe at the Venetian Grand Lux is a nice place to people watch.  They sit most single diners outside, so it’s not awkward if you’re alone.

Sometimes in Vegas I’ll forget to eat if I don’t have plans.  My last night was a night like that.  I was having a good time at the sportsbook and lost track of time and after a losing session of blackjack I realized that it was late and I was hungry.  I rolled up to the bar at the Grand Lux once again and grabbed another quick bite.

The waiter recommended something that the restaurant was out of so I ended up trying the pot roast.  This was another experiment for me.  I can’t remember the last time I had pot roast.

The pot roast was ready for me in just a few minutes.  It was very pretty to look at and it wasn’t bad at all.  It probably isn’t something I’d order again, but it did the trick and I was back out for some more blackjack in no time.

The food at both the Venetian and the Palazzo Grand Lux Cafe’s were both good.  The breakfast was fantastic.  The service was excellent.  The only “complaint” I had was a waitress trying to serve me while I was on the phone.  That’s not a bad thing.

I ate more meals at the Grand Lux Cafe than anywhere else.  This is a good option to have at a casino in place of the traditional coffee shop.  The Atlantic City casinos could use a restaurant like this.