I mean, it's already been terrific, but it's time to kick it up a notch..
7:30 AM - OK, I suppose that's a respectable time to get up. Better than yesterday at least.
9:00 AM - Hibernation ends at a pretty reasonable hour, again. Yay for Good Morning Bear!!!
9:30 AM - Down to the Paris buffet for some sustenance. Food is pretty good, as usual. This is a decent buffet, not up to the standards of the great Vegas buffets, but it's perfectly tasty. The highlight is made-to-order crepes...well, that's not much of a highlight for Tracey, of course, but it's pretty good for me. What is NOT good for me, though, is that the lineup for that station is 17 people deep. No exaggeration. I don't need a crepe that bad.
10:45 AM - We are done, and packed, and ready to get our car from the Valet. We are going to do some shopping today (I realllllly need new shoes, since the ones I brought down fell apart (literally) at Sea-Tac, and I've been walking around on 1.5 shoes since we got here. First we are going to stop at our resort, and I'm sure it's too early to check in, but at least we can leave our bags there while we shop.
11:15 AM - We arrive at our resort, the Hilton something-or-other (it has changed names since we last stayed here 4-5 years ago and I really can't remember the name off the top of my head). It's at the North end of the Strip, almost as far as the Stratosphere, so maybe a bit less convenient than the one we stayed at last year, but it's beautiful. Upon entering the property, we are pleasantly greeted, asked our name, and whisked off to a desk away from the normal check in desk. I'm expecting this is so they can really nail us with the timeshare pitch, but no, they are just checking us in. As RCI members, they are taking extra special care of us. This is the opposite from the norm; generally since we are what is known as "exchangers" (ie this is not our home resort, and we exchanged our weeks at our home resort, through RCI, to get this one), we get the vibe that we are just a little less welcome than the guests who own timeshares at this resort. This is NOT the case today however, as they check us in quickly and they even have our room ready for us, more than 4 hours before actual check-in time. I believe that is a first.
The very lovely lady helping us out does give us the usual spiel about the property and resort and offers us a bunch of stuff to spend 60-90 minutes in a presentation, but when we decline she is pleasant and doesn't push. No pressure at all.
Oh, if this resort is so awesome, why haven't we stayed here in 4-5 years? Well, this is where being an "exchanger" is a problem; in order to keep lots of availability for their owners, they don't allow exchangers to come back to the property time and time again. It's called the "1-in-X" rule, where X is the number of years between the time you are allowed to return. This one has a 1-in-4 rule, so we can't come back here for 4 years. This is very common in the timeshare industry, and that is why we bounce around so much. The resort we stayed in last year has the same rule, so if we want to come back to Vegas for a week next year, we will have to find another resort or stay in a hotel.
12:00 PM - Up to the Outlet Mall where it is so incredibly hot that people are going up to cops, begging them to shoot them. 200 points to the first one who correctly identifies the movie that is from.....
We hit the Nike store, Calvin Klein, and a bunch of other stores, and are done in about an hour. And I mean done. Like D-O-N-E.
Back to the resort where we drop off our treasures and then head out to Target to pick up our supplies for the week. We get just enough stuff to ensure we'll be able to eat a few meals (most breakfasts) in the room. Given how much time we expect to spend at the resort pool, it just makes sense to eat here a little bit. Of course, there will be lots of great food consumed at buffets and restaurants as well.
This resort has a much better pool than the resort we stayed at last year. This one has one huge pool (opposed to 5-6 little pools), a restaurant/bar, and scantily clad waitress service. OK I don't really remember what they wear here, I'm just being optimistic....but there are definitely waitresses.
3:30 PM - Back with our groceries and we are unpacked, a half hour before we expected to even be able to check in. We hit the jackpot with this room too, as we happened to get one of the few suites with an in-suite laundry set. Nice bonus. If we are smart, we'll go home with mostly clean clothes, removing the need to do a bunch of laundry as soon as we get home.
Oh, and there is this thing.....
Tracey hopped in there a few minutes ago, and said "see you in a couple days". She's barely exaggerating. Bears really do love Jacuzzi tubs!! Our first appearance of "Giddy Bear" this trip.
4:45 PM - We never bothered to eat lunch so I'm now hungry, and I heat up some butterfly shrimp that we bought at Target. Tracey has a nice gluten free casserole awaiting her once the bath ends. IF the bath ends.
While Giddy Bear enjoys her bath and I am typing up this blog entry, we are enjoying a nice bottle of Gray Monk Kerner which came down in our luggage with us. I figured it would be the perfect bottle of wine for just this occasion, and getting a bottle on the plane is never an issue with the travel wine bag we bought. It really works. We also picked up 3-4 decent bottles at Target...they don't have great wine, but they have some pretty good cheap stuff. One of the bottles was $9! Dean bought $9 wine!! Inconceivable. To be honest, though, we bought the same bottle last year and it's terrific for the price. It is always listed as a "best buy" in various wine magazines. I've seen it receive scores of 88 or 89 points from various reputable wine critics. It's a steal.
5:15 PM - Tracey has been in the bathtub for 40 minutes and the tub is about 1/10th filled. The water pressure is so low there must be something wrong. Time to call the front desk.
5:35 PM - Problem solved. Technician came up, removed something, and the water came rushing out. Excellent service and Giddy Bear is happy again! No word of a lie, she is actually chuckling from the tub as I type this :)
Into bottle #2 tonight, a terrific Chardonnay from Hartford Family Winery. This is actually the wine that made us notice this winery, and we love them. In fact, we love them so much that on Friday, the day we were on our way to Las Vegas, we placed an order with them for a case of their wine to be shipped to our package receiving place in Sumas to come back across the border with us. We were in Bellagio the other day and what did we see? This Chardonnay, which is...how would I describe it....sort of their generic wine? It's listed as "Russian River Valley" and you can't even buy it from the winery, this is one that they ship to restaurants and retail stores....but the wine is terrific. It's a far cry below the quality of the stuff we are picking up on the way home, but still of a very high quality. This is one of our favorite wineries and we actually just joined their wine club the other day. Fantastic.
8:00 PM - After a long bath and some food, we head down to the pool to relax a bit, and relax we did. It was so magnificent, in fact, that we now have to rearrange our entire schedule to ensure that we have time to spend at this pool in the evening as much as possible. It was the perfect temperature. Sure, a few more kids than we expected at this time of night, but whatever. I guess they are on vacation too. Vacation from what, I wonder? Vacation from their everyday stressful lives of doing nothing and sucking off the government teet?? Oh well, they weren't overly intrusive, and we thoroughly enjoyed our evening. Oh, and they do have an "adults only" section with some chairs to relax on and a fantastic, huge hot tub. Wonderful.
9:29 PM - Back in the room to watch a little telly and wind down for the evening. It has been such a great day and we have 5 more of them ahead of us before we fly home on Friday.
Pina Colada count still sits at 1, but that will at least double tomorrow, I guarantee it. Still have not wagered a dollar. That probably will change at some point this trip, but not likely tomorrow.