Wednesday, July 19, 2006

VEGA$, Baby

Talk about an adventure. Prior to getting my ass blown off in Iraq, one of my old roomies from college started putting a plan into action to get a bunch of us ROTC clowns together for a reunion. His plan: Get to Vegas, enjoy. Simple, eh?

Well, one heck of a lot of drama (and trauma) later, and Carren an I were off like a prom dress to sin city. I had planned for this trip to be fun, exciting, and most of all, spontaneous (which means I didn’t plan for anything other than a plane ride there and a place to sleep.

I did, however, contact the USO. I wanted to meet Wayne Newton, and thank him for all the work he’s done for the USO, and for taking his time to visit wounded service members, and travel to far-off lands to give a simple night of enjoyment and relaxation to those who need it most.

Alas, I received word that Mr. Newton would not be in LV for the length of our trip. Bummer.

The trip started with our link-up with friends at the airport. We’d been on the ground for all of 10 minutes (I think) before we’d found a bar and gotten started on our vacation. I think it was almost 11 AM. After we’d all arrived, we beat feet to the hotel. TAXI!

When we arrived at the Bellagio ( has the best air+hotel deals, by the way), I went to the desk to check-in. I was told I’d have to go through an unmarked set of doors to a VIP check in desk, since I was booked in a Penthouse suite.

Crap. I remembered looking at the suites (just morbid curiosity on the price) when I was booking, and now it seems that I may have hit the wrong “Book it!” button, and would be either out a large chunk of change, or Carren and I would be sleeping on the sidewalk.

The VIP lounge was beautiful in and of itself. A free top-shelf help yourself bar, $3.50 white/milk/dark chocolate covered strawberries (made on site at the Bellagio’s in-house chocolatier, wines, champagne, cookies, coffees and teas, and other assorted lickies and chewies, all for the taking, as much as you want, as often as you want. I was definitely in the wrong place.

Diffidently, I approached the counter, where a fashion-model look-alike lady assisted me with check-in. I was in the spa tower, room 27631, and I’d need a special key to access the suite, and the elevators leading up to it. I kept asking “Are you sure this is my room?” “Is this going to cost more than what I booked it for?” “Are those strawberries free?” And finally “Why am I in this suite?”

“Let me look it up sir… Oh I see. You were upgraded at no charge by the CEO, after contact from Wayne Newton. How many keys would you like?”

Astonished, Carren and I grabbed our bags and headed for the elevators. We got to our room. The Bellagio penthouse suites are 1500 square feet of luxury. A guest potty, and a his and hers potty. Hers with a whirlpool bath, sitting area, potty and water fountain bidet, his with a glass-door shower that is also a steam room with bench seats and potty. A king size bed with two huge ceiling to floor windows with automatic drapes and curtains, a living room, wet bar, and entertainment area.

About the time we picked our jaws up off the marble floors, the doorbell (yes, doorbell!) rings, and a man with a bucket of champagne and two glasses arrives, carrying a note: “Sorry we couldn’t be in town this week, hope you like the room and enjoy your stay.—Wayne Newton!”

It gets better, more to follow. Including pictures…

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