Some totally subjective ratings for our recent Las Vegas vacation. One mug means it's useless and five mugs means it's the raves. These are mugs of beer, you know.
- Allegiant Air - four mugs. Definitely would use this airline again. Although the jet was an MD80, sans reclining seats, it was properly maintained and comfortable. We were located in aisle 18. I would pay the extra four to ten dollars and move forward if I use them again. I would also pay the extra ten dollars for priority boarding. http://www2.allegiantair.com/
- Vdara Hotel & Spa - three mugs. It's comfortable and I wouldn't spit on it but I'd take a pass on returning to it. We felt it was a hotel searching for an identity. The mandatory extra $25 per day resort charge for your Internet connection, daily newspaper and two small bottles of water is a crock and its location is cumbersome. We walked to the strip by following laborious labyrinths. Its little market's food choices are overpriced, with a limited selection. On the consolation side of our balance sheet, we were on the 38th floor and had a great view of the Bellagio's Dancing Fountains and the strip. http://www.vdara.com/
- The Vdara Death Ray - three mugs. It's a great conversation piece. My wife's favorite activity, other than going to the shows, was reading a book poolside in the sun. After exercising one morning, I went searching for her. She was reclining in a hot shady part. As soon as I arrived, I recognized that the building was reflecting and focusing the sun. Mentioning it to someone later brought revelelations of the Vdara Death Ray. The hotel doesn't like talking about it; I think they should embrace it and sell tee shirts - "I survived the Vdara Death Ray". But that's me. Here's the Las Vegas Review's tale: http://www.lvrj.com/news/vdara-visitor---death-ray--scorched-hair-103777559.html
- Hash House A Go Go restaurant (in the Quad) - two mugs. This was my wife's dining choice for breakfast Wednesday morning. She was less pleased with it than me after our dining experience. I passed on any of the heavy duty breakfast offerings, like fried chicken with pancakes, opting for eggs scrambled with avocado, bacon and green onions with the grilled mashed potatoes. The potatoes were your basic lumpy mash potatoes, and the scrambled eggs were good but the food took a while to get delivered and the biscuits were barely warm. The coffee was surprisingly delicious. Called 'Peerless', it turns out the restaurant imports the beans and roasts and grinds on the premises. They do a good job.
- The Smith Center for the Performing Arts - where "Anything Goes" played. Five mugs, the highest rating I give anything in my Vegas exerience this year. I would definitely return to it. Opened in March, 2012, it's a lovely building, rich with art deco touches. We were in a mezz box with seven other people, almost dead center, and comfortably enjoyed the show. Small touches made differences, like waiting areas with chairs and divans, and balconies where you could step out, breath and check out the Vegas scenery. http://www.thesmithcenter.com/
- "Anything Goes" - four mugs for the overall production, five mugs for the star, Rachel York as Reno. She could belt it out. After watching her performance, I wondered who starred int he movie and the original broadway play, and wasn't surprised to find Ethel Merman previously had the role. York channelled Merman in some instances, without Merman's curvaceous presence. http://www.rachelyork.net/Visitors.php/Home/
- "Jersey Boys" - four mugs. This musical was presented in the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and the venue felt a bit cheap and beat up. The production itself was a little choppy, starting late, with an awkward feel. But the performers brought energy, good singing voices and Jersey accents to a compelling, fascinating story about the American singing group, the Four Seasons.
- Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria & Cucina - four mugs. Good pizza and salads, fresh, but overpriced. What, sixty dollars for the meal with one beer, including tip? Yet it was probably our best Vegas meal. http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restaurants/fine-dining/53877
- Fashion Show mall - or any of the malls we visited - 2 mugs. They were just more malls, glitzed to be more but in the end showcasing most of the typical stores found in America's malls from coast to coast. Malls seem like the most homogenized experience in America, as exciting and individual as an Interstate highway. These, though, didn't have book stores.
- Touts - one mug. I know these folks need to make a living. All of them were friendly and polite, but I wearied of having someone approach me with deals on Grand Canyon tours, shows, dinners and tours every twenty to thirty feet.
- The Bellagio's Dancing Fountains - four mugs. Mesmerizing to watch, especially the dance, like a ballet, to Celine Dion singing "My Heart Will Go On".
- The Bellagio's Chocolate Fountain - I'm ambivalent about the number of mugs to give this wonder. On one hand, I want to celebrate anything where white, milk and dark chocolate is flowing - but - it's the 'highest chocolate fountain in the world', twenty-seven feet. They don't mention that most of that twenty-seven feet is hidden. Plus, it flows. I was looking forward so splashing chocolate.
Plus, it was encased so we couldn't touch it or smell, let alone skinny dip in it, per my plan.
I think preventing skinny dipping was their plan.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com