I'm back from my trip to Las Vegas. Thanks for answering the questions I had before I left.
It was a great trip. My wife flew out with me, but left a couple of days before I did. I went to the conference (ApacheCon) during the day and she went gambling ;-(
We stayed at the Luxor - which was very nice. It was clean, fun and had a lot of good shows. The food was good too. The Luxor has an Egyptian theme with all sorts of faux-Egyptian monuments, but it was more fun and interesting than tacky.
The Blue Man Group show (at the Luxor) was outstanding. It was one of the most entertaining shows I have ever seen. Well worth the $72 (?) tickets. I've had one of their albums for a while so I knew the music part of the show would be good. There was so much more to the show than the music though.
I also checked out the Midnight Fantasy show (also at the Luxor). It was OK, nothing to get too excited about. It was mostly a "topless dance" show with a comedian and a guy tap dancer thrown in. The comedian was good (but not pretty good) and I could have done without the tap dancer.
There were a number of other shows that I wanted to see, but ran out of time - O, Zumanity, Rita Rudner (sp?)
I gambled a little bit. In my first session of blackjack, I won $30, but stopped when my wife ran out of cash (not a good sign on the first night). Like the loving husband that I am, I gave her my $30 winnings and went to the conference the next day. I came back that night to discover that not only had she last "my" $30, she also lost an additional $80. This isn't as bad as it sounds. The way I look at it, it cost me $110 to have something to tease her about for the rest of our lives - not a bad deal.
My next session of blackjack did not go so well. I got 4 - $5 chips and lost 4 straight hands in less than 1 minutes. I took that as a sign that I should stop there while I was still $10 ahead.
I also checked out many of other hotels on the strip. Here are some of my random observations:
Mandalay Bay - very classy place, very clean, good gambling and outstanding food and bars. The RumJungle bar was amazing. It had about 20 rum drinks and the ones we tried were good, but it's decor is really what set it apart. They made it look like you are in a thatched hut in the middle of a monsoon in some South American jungle. They have cascades of water running down the walls and "torches" to provide illumination. The wait staff was also very outstanding (nuff said).
Excaliber - seedy, tacky and the food was only tolerable. We went to their breakfast buffet and at one point I realized that I couldn't tell the "baked fish" on my plate from the "cheese blintz".
Bellagio - very nice and classy with a nice casino. Reeks $$$$$
Venetian - very nice, cool "canal" in the middle with boats that you could ride one, but when we went, we could not walk 100 feet without being accosted by a marketing type about buying something.
New York, New York - OK
MGM Grand - nice
Paris - nice, but very crowded. It would probably win the "skimpiest outfit for casino worker" award though.
Tropicana - seedy
Boardwalk - don't bother
If I get another chance on going to Las Vegas, I would check out: Luxor, Bellagio and Mandalay Bay.