Just Go: Ramblings on Vegas in the Era of COVID-19

Be responsible. But just go.

Because you can tell yourself that you’ll go after they ease restrictions, and when they do, you’ll see the inevitable upticks, and you’ll think twice.

Because you’ll tell yourself you’ll go when the vaccine is ready, except delays in distribution will disrupt your plans. Again.

Because you were about to go but got word that a friend of a friend got it while in town. What you didn’t hear was said friend of friend never washes his hands after using the bathroom.

We can’t win this right now. We probably won’t win this for another year. So be responsible, find a mask that’s comfortable, practice having it on the majority of the day, stay the fuck away from other people, and if you’re healthy, just go.

As my friend @D2tigerbaby said so eloquently, sometimes you just have to rip the band-aid off. If you don’t go now, you’ll continue to find statistics that’ll discourage you from going.

Valet was Noir only. I flashed the Plat, slipped the guy a Jackson, and parked it out front no problem.

When I stepped into Bellagio, panic. I hadn’t seen this many people since a convention I attended in January. My head started spinning, my heart racing. Then I got drunk.

You have to make reservations everywhere. I missed my Sadelle’s reservation by nine minutes. They wouldn’t seat me. I was too drunk to care.

I chugged a bottle of water by the pool and forgot to place my mask over my mouth. Security was courteous about it. They didn’t have to be. I was too drunk to be offended.

I pulled up to a plexiglassed pai gow table. It sucked for about five minutes. Then I got drunk. Then we started making money. Then we bumped so many elbows, fists, and high fives against the glass to warrant tipping the cleaning crew after we cleaned house. And of course I washed my hands after.

All glassware outside of bars and restaurants is plastic. That doesn’t change the alcohol inside it.

Be courteous but get drunk enough to have the courage to respectfully tell people that you’d like the elevator capacity limited. Everyone will be understanding; most everyone wants the same.

Moral of the story: it’s the same Vegas if you’re drunk enough.

All the doors had switched to motion sensors. They made a hell of a display cleaning every surface. I welcomed the welcome packets that included masks, generous amounts of sanitizer, and my personal favorite, bottle opener/door opener/elevator button pusher/brass knuckle. Use it.

The city loves you. The rates are better, the comps are better, and your tips go further. There’s less smoke in the air.

There’s. Fewer. Kids.

Just go (but maybe stay away from grandma and grandpa for a couple weeks after).

The Two-Bedroom Skyloft at MGM Grand: Not Some Fuckass Marquee Suite

$1352. That was the nightly rate for a two-bedroom, 3000 square foot Skyloft at MGM Grand… for a weekend… my birthday weekend. Taxes, fees, everything. You usually can’t score that on weekdays, weekends hover closer to $2500, and even recessionary rates of ten years ago never got this good. And so, some ten months prior to my arrival, I kindly let MGM withdraw the first night’s deposit and locked something in.

But I also knew it wouldn’t be that easy…

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Encore Boston Harbor: Las Vegas, MA

Outside of Vegas, I try to get the most bang for my buck. California casino? Where I go is based on the deals I find rummaging through my inbox. Reno, Laughlin? If the whole thing’s not comped, forget it. Even during my one trip to Macau, the value proposition was at the top of my list.

But in Vegas, something special overcomes me. The moment I pull up to Mirage, or Bellagio, or Wynn, I don’t give a flying fuck about my wallet, bank account, or assets; for the next couple days, I’m living a goddamn fantasy. No other place in the world inspires careless frivolity and financial irresponsibility the way Vegas does.

“Hold my beer.”

-Encore Boston Harbor
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MGM Grand: It’s Time to Get MGM’d

I recently visited MGM Grand, a property I’d only ever had fond memories of but had not stepped foot in since indulging in 16 courses at the fancier of the two Robuchon restaurants over a decade ago. A relic of early 90s family-era Las Vegas, MGM’s theme celebrated classic Hollywood glamor. Having booked a two-bedroom Skyloft and several standard rooms for a potential birthday trip, I figured I’d walk through on a little reconnaissance mission—what will the table minimums be like for my friends and I, how are the public spaces holding up, and do I even like being here?

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JetSuiteX: Here’s a Review, But More Importantly…

JetSuiteX is an airline that, as of this writing, only flies between points in southern and northern California and Las Vegas. So why should you—someone reading this shitty, infrequently updated, and highly esoteric blog about Vegas—care? Why should I even bother writing this review? Is it the no-wait, no TSA, drive-up-and-fly-out private jet-like experience? Is it the first class legroom and unlimited drinks?

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Nick Papa2.0: The Renovated Lanai at The Villas at The Mirage

This review is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Alan Reed, an even bigger Vegas fan than I. The Mirage was his favorite property and I would learn at his memorial that he spent his final night in his favorite city in one of these suites.

In the late 90s, my family and I would take a two-car caravan to Las Vegas once or twice per year. We’d almost exclusively stay crammed between a couple rooms at Luxor and Dad would occasionally splurge upgrading one to a Pyramid Corner suite. At 590 square feet, teenaged me felt like a king luxuriating under the slanted windows in a hot tub that—perhaps thankfully—always smelled overwhelmingly of bleach. At home, early stages of the internet meant that I could peruse tiny gifs of fancy suites before a landline call interrupted my hotel fantasies loading at dial-up speeds. Read More

A Christmas Story: Vegas Edition

Limos, fancy dinners, and suites. Chock it up to the ultimate example of first world problems as we Vegas diehards routinely do the same things chasing the memory of how pleasurable these luxuries were the first time we experienced them. I’ll gladly continue this routine but I’m fully committed to the belief that the memories made from all the limos, fancy dinners, and suites the town has to offer pales in comparison to the shenanigans that seemingly develop organically with strangers. Read More