Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shopping in Vegas: Four malls I like for very different reasons

During my Spring Break trip with Hayley, I got to experience more of the shopping side of Las Vegas than I'm used to. It was part of the entertainment plan I had to keep her, well, entertained. She loves to shop in San Antonio, and I figured it'd be a great way to spend some early afternoon hours before our evening shows and meals. I saw more shops in four days than I've seen in all of my previous Vegas trips combined.

Normally, I don't go near a shopping area in Vegas unless A) I really feel like people-watching, B) I am eating at a restaurant located in or near the shopping area, or C) I forgot something very important at home that I can't do without.

Like most malls in the U.S., there are plenty of food court-type options available for those who need a break and a little sustenance from all the foot-pounding they endure. The four malls we visited have a few similar food stalls and options to things you might find at your local mall, but the shopping areas themselves have very different feels to them. Let's take a little visit, shall we?

Miracle Mile Shops - Planet Hollywood
These shops probably have the worst layout of any mall I've ever been in: set in a horseshoe shape AROUND the Planet Hollywood casino, it is literally a mile from one end of the shops to the other. There are two things that save this mall from going onto my "do not visit" list: 1) there are two entrances from the mall areas directly into the casino, so you can stop roaming the mall area if you so desire, and 2) they have a "cut across" so that you don't have to make the entire mile-long trek ALL the way around it if you know of a shop that's somewhere near the middle on the other side of the mall.

The shops within are a mix of upscale, like Versace and Hermes, and affordable, like Hollister and Guess for the teen set. There are more of the latter, though, so you don't necessarily have to break the bank to do a little bit of shopping in here. Hayley's favorite place to shop was Max Rave, a shop that can only be found at one of our malls locally, and they have some really great deals on clothing. In fact, she walked out of there with 26 items of clothing for under $200, so I find that to be a really good bargain, indeed.

The restaurants include Earl of Sandwich (one of our favorite places to eat a good sandwich) and Cabo Wabo Cantina, which is a hugely popular bar and grill in Vegas and is always busy.

This mall is easy to navigate, but the floors of are still covered in the uneven tiles left over from the previous Aladdin decor, and they are definitely hard on the feet. If you plan on traversing the entire area, be sure to wear comfortable shoes or be prepared to make a few stops along the way.

For a complete list of the restaurants, shops and entertainment available in the Miracle Mile Shops and to download a detailed map of the mall's floor plan, visit their website:

Fashion Show Mall (across from Wynn and Encore)
A truly typical American mall on a bigger scale, Fashion Show Mall has the major stores that probably anchor your hometown mall; Nordstroms, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillards and Macy's are featured here, but a variety of specialty stores and truly "mall" shops like Kay Jewelers and Bath & Body Works are found here, too.

The problem with this mall is the sheer amount of open and wasted space. There are three levels of shops, and they are spread out with a lot of wall space in between. While this would be great in most places, in Las Vegas it's a bad thing for me, personally. I already walk a LOT when I'm in Vegas, and having to walk such a long way just to get to the next shop is a bit of pain. Add on a somewhat grumpy teenager who doesn't like to walk and it's even worse.

What do I really like about the mall? They have several live fashion shows that take place daily near Saks Fifth Avenue. The fashion show runway comes up from the floor, and there are lots of couches and tables placed around the runway area for your comfort. It was a great way to relax in between shops, and a nice way to check out some of the latest styles from some of their anchor stores. Very interesting.

Another great thing about Fashion Show Mall is the food. I don't mean the regular food court fare, either, but fantastic food from national chains Maggiano's Little Italy (so yummy!) and California Pizza Kitchen, plus a few more unusual choices to boot. For a place that really IS a big mall on steroids, their food choices are great.

So, while it's a lot of walking, the ability to take a break and see a fashion show before heading to dinner at a great restaurant on the property make it okay in my book. The fact that the floors are NOT made up of uneven, old-looking tiles is another benefit for my feet.

For a listing of shops, restaurants and other activities, visit their website:

Forum Shops at Caesars - Caesars Palace
A formidable pile of stones, mortar and quite a bit of plaster, the Forum Shops at Caesars is by far the most spectacular of the four malls in my opinion. Once again, the floors are made up of uneven tiles, and your feet can take a beating.

The Forum Shops are accessible directly from the Strip or from the Caesars Palace casino, so it's easy to find your way in and out. The recent addition in 2008 of 500,000 square feet (yes, I mean half a million) of additional shopping and eating space make it one of the largest in the country at almost 1 million square feet of retail spaces and restaurants. The newer addition boasts a three-story, spiral escalator while the original mall area can lay claim to another wonder: a sky that changes from dawn to dusk over the course of an hour. Check out the statuary and shows throughout the mall - where else will you see Elmer Fudd dressed as a Roman senator?

I am not particularly fond of the newer part of the shops because it is difficult to navigate the turns or find your way from one level to another without getting completely turned around and lost. The original area of the mall is set in a basic "T" formation, so you can backtrack easily to find your way to the casino or to the outside world.

As a whole, the Forum Shops contain a host of upscale shops that I can't even afford to walk into, including Louis Vitton, Chanel and Coach, but they also have a few "normal" mall shops like Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch. What I really like about the Forum Shops is the people-watching opportunities that you find at every turn. So many people from so many extremely different walks of life all over the world visit this mall daily just to window shop and gawk because of its central location and size, and just watching them react to the scenery and changing sky is interesting and very entertaining.

The restaurants here include Trevi (see my review from a previous trip), The Palm (where David Cassidy often dines) and The Cheesecake Factory, so there are tastes and price ranges for everyone.

The Forum Shops are located mid-Strip, and they are easily accessible by car, bus, taxi or on foot. For a complete listing of shops, restaurants and shows, visit their website:

Grand Canal Shops - The Venetian
Entering these shops is like entering Italy itself, with frescoes painted on the ceilings and strolling musicians and street performers wandering hither and yon. Like Caesars' Forum Shops, you can access the shops easily from the Strip and find your way into the casino with no problem at all, but the maze of shops and walkways heading to Saint Mark's Square can be quite intimidating for someone who is directionally challenged. The shops themselves wind around and follow the basic route of the indoor canal, and several bridges allow you to access one side or the other in order to get to the shop you've been looking for OR take a better photo of the gondoliers as they pass underneath your feet.

I would say that this would be the best mall for people-watching in Vegas except for the fact that the mall walkways are separated and you can't really position yourself to watch people effectively unless you're sitting in Saint Mark's Square, which is open but not conducive to watching people without being obvious. Otherwise, it's very much like Caesars' Forum Shops in both quality and quantity of shops. One has a changing ceiling, and the other has an river running through it. It's all about what you're looking for.

The Grand Canal Shops do have some really great options for foodies, including restaurants owned by Mario Battali, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck (they all have restaurants elsewhere in Vegas, too, so don't get too snobby), as well as the restaurant with the "Best Bathroom in Las Vegas", Zefferino's (check out my restroom review) not too far from the mall entrance. The listings include Grand Lux Cafe' in the restaurants, but that is only accessible from the casino floor as far as I know.

This is the only place in Vegas you can find genuine Venetian glass or masks, so it's definitely the place to visit if you're looking for a truly unique collectible. However, like some of the other malls, it also has a floor that's hard on the feet. Why the owners of these beautiful, expensive buildings insist on laying floors with uneven tiles is beyond me! The same effect could be achieved by getting tiles that LOOK old, but are far less difficult to walk on.

For a complete listing of shops, restaurants and entertainment, visit their website:

So my shopping report comes to an end. My feet hurt just thinking about it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Traveling with teens in Vegas: some observations and suggestions

After my recent trip to Vegas with my daughter over Spring Break (and with my mom in tow, as well), I feel I have a new insight into keeping teenagers entertained in Sin City. It was quite an experience, but we enjoyed it from beginning to end.

Believe me, before I even booked this trip I went through a huge list of pros and cons, debated my sanity for even thinking about taking a teenager to Las Vegas, and wondered how people would feel about my decision to expose my daughter to all things Vegas. Here's what I discovered along the way in the planning, the preparation, and in the actual trip. I hope something here will help someone else trying to plan a trip to Las Vegas - or anywhere else with an adult theme - before they get in too deep.

Discuss the proposed plans with your spouse or significant other. This is truly the most important step in the process. My husband was a bit leery about the whole idea at first because he wouldn't be going along, even though Hayley was the one who broached the subject and it wasn't my idea AT ALL, I swear. Once I had my proposed plans in place and could show him that I would be keeping her busy and away from the casinos and exposure to X-rated stuff as much as possible, he was okay with the idea (he was still not 100% comfortable because, well, it's Vegas, but he trusts me and knows I'll make good decisions). The fact that my mother was coming along? Even better! Four eyes watching out for his only child were better than two.

Know your child's mental age - as well as their physical age - and what they can handle. There have been too many trips where I've seen very small children out on the Strip at 11:00 p.m., crying because they are tired, or hungry, or bored, or all three. I've also heard stories about people letting their 14-year-old children spend time alone in an arcade while they gamble or spend time elsewhere. No and NO! If you're taking a child on ANY trip, you should not disrupt their normal schedule, and you should not leave them alone to entertain themselves on a family trip. If you are not willing to take care of your own children while you're enjoying Las Vegas, you might need to think about another vacation destination or seriously consider a babysitter. You're not only cheating your whole family out of a great vacation, but you're also disrupting EVERYONE ELSE'S.

Verify the age limits for shows and restaurants before you go (or book). Some shows don't allow children under the age of 12; others don't allow children under the age of 5. There are quite a few restaurants that follow the "absolutely no children under the age of 5" rule, as well. Check their websites or give them a call before you get there so that you're not disappointed and have to make a sudden change of plans.

That's the last I'll say specifically about small children - on to the teens!

Plan out the days - or nights - according to your teen's interests and temperment. If your child is a late riser but likes to stay up late at night, then plan for later meals and shows so that you're not rushing them out the door and constantly waiting for them to get up and get ready. My daughter is a night owl, so late night show options fit her very well. Finding places that served all-day breakfasts were beneficial, too, because she loves pancakes with bacon and eggs for breakfast - even if it's noon.

Get your teen's input on shows and entertainment before you plan and go. If you know your child would never go see a big production show, don't bother getting tickets for one. Give them a list of the shows you're willing to pay for...and willing to see yourself. Set a dollar limit if you're on a strict budget and let them pick their favorites and put them in order of preference. Then you can decide how many - or how few - you actually see. There are so many options in a wide range of prices that you're sure to find something you can all enjoy (and you can afford). But please don't get tickets to a risque show that will only embarrass you AND your teen; there's no need to see something that makes anyone in your family uncomfortable while you're on a family vacation.

Get your teen's input on restaurants and buffets, as well. Got a picky eater? Maybe a buffet is right for you, and maybe it's not. Selections on a buffet are usually very wide-ranging, so there's more chance that they'll be able to find something they like. If you're not willing to shell out the cash for a higher-end buffet, maybe try one that's a little less expensive but still gets very good reviews on a regular basis, like Gold Coast. Also, know your child's specific likes and dislikes when it comes to foods so that they're not ordering a grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich at every meal. Hayley is a steak lover and a sandwich lover, so I knew that restaurants that had great selection of either one would be a hit. She also enjoyed the buffets, though, so we certainly mixed it up.

Plan for down time. Even though you may have an energetic teen (I don't), don't forget that Las Vegas can be very overwhelming to your eyes, your brain and your feet. Plan for some relaxation in the room or by the pool so that you both don't collapse before you're done. Take along a deck of cards or a game you enjoy as a family so that you can relax in the room after you've wrapped up your explorations for the day, as well.

Keep a schedule or a to do list. Even though you should plan for down time, you should schedule enough activities to keep you occupied, or keep a list with some great options should you decide NOT to do something you'd originally planned on. When traveling with someone who can't gamble, you can't suddenly make the decision to go your separate ways for a while. So, keep some ideas handy.

Get feedback from your teen during the trip. Tying into my other suggestions is talking to your teen about what you've seen and done so far. They didn't like all the walking today? Maybe a taxi ride tomorrow would be a better idea. Like a later start? A little pool time - or TV time - might be a better way to start the day.

These are just some ideas to get you started, and I hope they help if you're planning a trip with someone under the age of 21. Always use common sense when planning your family vacation to Las Vegas, and be sure that everyone is comfortable with the ideas you have so that everyone enjoys the trip.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jasmine Brunch @ Bellagio - April 25, 2010: A Review

Our group - Standing: Terri, Bonnie, Michelle and Tania
Sitting: Lynn, Diana, Robbie and Deann (me!)
Bonnie's pretty birthday present from the restaurant

While planning my April 2010 Vegas trip, I read a message board post by one of my friends at LasVegas4Ever which mentioned a new Sunday brunch in Las Vegas. The Jasmine Brunch Buffet at Bellagio sounded really good, but at $55 per person it also sounded really expensive for my usual Vegas budget. After much discussion on the topic between several members of the board - and after seeing the DELICIOUS photos posted by our friend, Diana, who attended the brunch with her husband a couple of months before - it was decided that it would be a good idea to try the brunch as a group while we were all in town for another LasVegas4Ever meet, as we'd be unlikely to try it individually or with some of our own, less adventurous dining companions.

Diana made an 11:00 a.m. reservation for us and secured a wonderful table by the front windows overlooking the Bellagio Fountains for our group of eight ladies. We arrived almost at the same time and were waiting by the doors before they opened at 11:00 a.m. on the nose. Diana was right at the front of the line, and we were all led to the far end of the restaurant, gawking as we walked. As we made our way down to our table, the Bellagio Fountains came alive, playing the Star-Spangled Banner. What a setting! We were entertained by fountain shows every 5 minutes after that for the entire meal.

For those who don't know, Jasmine is a Chinese restaurant by night (they open at 5:30 p.m. for dinner customers), but the decor is decidedly upscale and English formal. It was a beautiful setting for our little party, and we took turns taking photos of everything from the dishes on the table and the designs on the walls to the food, the flowers and the ice sculpture that made up the buffet displays.

We were attended by two waiters (wait staff? wait persons?), and we were presented with drink menus for their selection of unlimited champagne by the glass...if we wanted it. Before you decide this buffet is not that expensive after all, the champagne you choose is added to the $55 price; same goes for any coffee, tea, or juice you decide to drink while dining. It certainly adds up on the bill, but it was worth every penny. Two of the ladies opted for champagne, while a couple stuck with water or juice and a couple others (myself included) ordered both juice AND coffee. I like to enjoy my buffets with plenty to drink.
The waiters also brought a three-tiered cake stand with a selection of fresh fruit, mini muffins and jams to start off our meal. I didn't try any of them, because I was looking forward to sampling the buffet choices, but I heard from those who did that everything presented was absolutely as delicious as it looked.

We took our cameras to photograph everything in sight before we headed off to get our first plates of food, and our beautiful, butterfly-covered China plates were replaced by white plates with simple gold borders. It's probably better they did this, as I believe one or two of the ladies at my table were thinking of putting a butterfly plate in their handbags!

The buffet selections included traditional American fare, such as omelets and eggs, and more exotic Asian dishes, including Kobe Beef Roulade and Wu-Xu short ribs. They had some of the best cold salads I've ever tried, including the very popular Kalbi-glazed Jidori Chicken Salad (we all want this recipe!). It was all very beautiful, very delicious, and too much for me to try. Another waiter prepared Peking Duck table side for each guest, and although my friend Lynn said that the pastry was a bit too puffy, the taste was still spot-on in her opinion. I had never tried it before and have nothing to judge it against, but it was very good.

Included in the buffet price is the best thing any buffet could ever have, but only a few do: a dessert room! Several tables topped with scrumptious, bite-sized morsels and tiny dessert cups were waiting for us, along with a chocolate fountain and many different dipping options. I could only manage four small desserts myself - yet another reason I will have to go back and try it again!

We were stuffed, but we enjoyed the food, the conversation and the company so much that we stayed for almost 2 1/2 hours. It was a truly enjoyable way to spend my last day in Vegas before I headed back home to reality.

At the end of our meal, one of the waiters brought the checks, and I was surprised to find that they remembered that it was Bonnie's birthday (we mentioned it when we sat down) and included a beautiful Jasmine ornament with her check - so cute!

In the end, the cost for my brunch was $88. That included my coffee and my juice, and the automatic tip for a large party of eight. The cost was the same as one of the ladies who'd ordered champagne, so it was not a bad deal for the total experience.

Before we left, we had one of the waiters take a group photo of us in front of the windows, and we decided that we'd DEFINITELY like to go back and try it again. Plans have been made for another Jasmine Brunch Meet in October, and I'm already looking forward to it with my mouth watering.

On a scale of 1 to 10, this brunch buffet rates a decidedly delicious 10! I would give it more points if I could, because the whole experience was just that wonderful.

To make reservations by phone, call 702-693-7223. The brunch buffet is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. There are rumors that the buffet may be extended to Saturdays, too, because it is very popular. I think it would be a welcome addition for the Bellagio, as it is was a very welcome treat for my vacation.

If you'd like to view their complete brunch menu, you can check it out here:

Mac King Comedy Magic Show: Review

I went to the Harrah's Concierge Desk on the third morning of my April trip and traded the voucher I received at check-in for a free ticket to Mac King into an actual ticket to Mac King. Finally! I’d been trying to see him for years!

I selected the 1 p.m. show because I had extensive plans for the evening and wanted to have plenty of time to get ready and meet my friends. (He has a second show at 3 p.m. daily, and they are exactly the same.) Mac King performs in Harrah's Legends Theater, which is on the 3rd floor of the hotel and casino. The escalators and elevators are located in the middle of the casino, next to the Cashier's Cage, and not difficult to find at all - just look for the overhead signs. I arrived just before 12:30 p.m. and went upstairs to join the line, and we waited all of 5 minutes before they opened the doors and started letting people in.

The seating for the show is General Admission; first come, first served. I was seated in the 3rd row back from the stage, off to the right, five seats from the aisle, and it was a really good seat. I wanted to try and figure out the sleight-of-hand tricks he performed, but I knew that would probably not be possible (it's fun to try, though). It should be mentioned that the theater is also home to the Legends in Concert, so it is quite a large venue for Mac King's smaller, more intimate show, and about 1/3 of the theater was filled when the show started. Still, not a bad crowd for a twice daily show.

I must say that I really enjoyed it. It’s not a big-time magic show by any means, but Mac King gets the entire audience involved and it’s quite entertaining from beginning to end. He has several tricks that involve audience participation, so be aware that you could be selected to come up on stage and take part in the show. (One of the participation tricks involves children, and two others involve adults.)

Even though I laughed throughout the show, my two favorite parts were the “cloak of invisibility” - if you could just see his face! - and the goldfish trick. I can’t even begin to explain what either of those look like, but I laughed pretty hard at the first one and was complete amazed by the second one. I have no idea how he did the goldfish trick because it involved two real, live goldfish and his mouth. Sounds gross, but it was pretty cool. At the end of the show, I really wanted some Fig Newtons, too, as his love of the sandwich-like cookie is referenced - and they are used - throughout the show.

The show lasts about 1 ½ hours, and it’s a great afternoon diversion. I would recommend it to anyone who'd like to see a magic show in Vegas but isn't willing to pay $50 or more for one of the bigger names. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 7.5 for good, wholesome afternoon entertainment in Vegas.

Tickets are normally $24.95 and include one drink, but hotel guests generally receive a buy one, get one free voucher OR a free ticket voucher when they check in, so don't be afraid to ask if you're checking in and don't see one included in your packet. In addition, there are also $6.95 and buy one, get one free coupons in most Las Vegas magazines that you can find in your hotel room or in the Las Vegas taxis, so there's another option if you don't want to pay full price for the show. The show is dark on Sunday and Monday.

You can also visit Mac King's website for more information:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Planet Hollywood's Spice Market Buffet - a review

During my April 2010 trip I finally got the chance to try Planet Hollywood's Spice Market Buffet. I tried it as part of HET's 24-hour "Buffet of Buffet" pass, and I'll have to admit I was more than a bit disappointed in it. I have a feeling, though, that I'll be back to try it again at a future date because a lot of things were not going well that day: I'd been on my feet almost non-stop since early in the morning, I wasn't feeling very well in general, and they were still working out the kinks for the "Buffet of Buffet" passes and how they'd work for their guests. The 24-hour pass had only been in existence for a couple of weeks before I arrived for this trip, and I consider that brand-new.

I came directly from CityCenter - where I'd been lost inside of Crystals shopping area for almost an hour - and I was really already dead on my feet. That's not a good start for reviewing ANY buffet, so I don't know that this will be fair as most people really like this buffet and it's huge selection. My intent was to just sample some unusual items on the buffet so I could say I’d finally tried it. I was pleased that there was no line, and the cashier said I could either get a wristband or just put the buffet info on my HET card and swipe it every time I wanted to use it during the 24-hour period. I chose the card option because I don’t really care for wristbands, and I just had to present my HET card and ID when I went for subsequent meals.

The Spice Market Buffet offers its lunch menu until 3:30 p.m., and I was severely disappointed that most of the dishes were empty at 2:20. Really? The buffet wasn’t crowded, and they still had over an hour to serve people on the lunch menu. I went back and looked at a few of the options again a few minutes later, but the few people who were in the buffet had descended upon the food as soon as it was placed in the warmers and they were empty again. They definitely need to work on replenishing the food selections in a very timely manner given the popularity of some of their exotic seafood dishes; if you know it's going to be a popular selection, make more of it for your guests.

In the end, I tried a delicious shrimp and pasta dish in a thick cream sauce, some buffalo shrimp that was way too vinegar-y and not very good at all, an antipasta salad that was okay but really needed more seasoning, and I ended with a freshly prepared Bananas Foster crepe for dessert that was absolutely awesome. I wish I'd gone back for seconds there!

There were so many other dishes I would've liked to have sampled based on their descriptive labels, but they were never available. I'm definitely beginning to think that popular buffets such as these should start to pre-portion their offerings into smaller dishes so that people can take a SMALL portion instead of grabbing everything on the warming table and not allowing anyone else the opportunity to even get a BITE - there are many other buffets that do this very well. As a rule, I take a small sample size of everything because I know I can always go back and get more, and I prefer to sample, not gobble. I always say "You can always get more, but you can't get less." I wish more people would take this approach to buffets!

I was suddenly glad I wasn’t paying $18.99 for one lunch, to be sure. Harrah’s Flavors Buffet is still the best of the HET buffets I’ve tried, and that's where I'm setting my standard for HET's "Buffet of Buffets" after trying 4 of the 7 available (Harrah's, Flamingo, Planet Hollywood and Imperial Palace being the ones I've tried so far). When compared to Bellagio or Wynn, though, Harrah's is definitely rated a very low third when it comes to my favorite Strip buffets so far. I can't imagine any other buffet on the Strip getting near Bellagio or Wynn when it comes to quality, selection and service.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood at a poorly showing 5 (barely) based on this visit. There was so much to improve on. My waitress was very attentive, though, and I'm hoping that the good personal service I got is indicative of the food service and selection I should've gotten. Next time...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Harrah's $34.99 24-hour "Buffet of Buffets" Pass

Harrah's properties recently came up with a pretty nifty little deal for their 7 properties: a 24-hour pass to all their buffets, with no limits or dining restrictions. They are calling this the "Buffet of Buffets", and it is a big hit.

The new 24-hour buffet pass was introduced in late March for a mere $29.99, but was raised to $34.99 shortly after I tried it in April . It's still not a bad deal at all for the price. If you think about it, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner (or any combination of the three) would set you back far more than $30-$35 for the buffet meals at any of Harrah's properties: Harrah's, Flamingo, Imperial Palace, Caesars Palace, Bally's, Rio and Planet Hollywood.

You can purchase your 24-hour buffet pass at any of the buffet locations, or purchase your pass at one of the Total Rewards booths on any of the casino floors. You also have the option to either A) get a wristband marked with the time and date of your initial purchase, or B) just have the buffet info added to your Total Rewards card and present it to the cashier upon entry into the buffet. I don't like wristbands, so I just had mine added to my card.

Once your 24-hour buffet pass is activated, you have 24 hours from that time to partake of as many (or as few) buffet meals as you wish. You can dine at different properties or choose to take your meals at the same property - again, there is no restriction.

Since the "Buffet of Buffets" offer has become EXTREMELY popular, your best bet is to hit the buffet of your choice at an 'off' time (late or early), or look forward to spending part of your time in a very long line. I was lucky enough to hit early meal times for Planet Hollywood and late times for Harrah's, and I missed the crowds both ways.

An added benefit to those holding an HET Platinum or Diamond Card - no waiting in the "regular people" line! You can use the HET Platinum/Diamond entrances, but be aware that even the people who spend a whole lot more money in the casinos than I do are also finding wait times for their meals.

For a review by some crazy people who tried ALL SEVEN of the HET buffets in the 24-hour period (and are probably still recovering from it), you can find their experience here:

Keep in mind that everyone has their own opinions of "good" and "bad" buffets, and I personally didn't care for the Planet Hollywood buffet because it was not stocked at 2:00 for lunch. I have separate reviews for the Harrah's buffet and the Flamingo buffet already posted (both of which I liked and continue to like), and I will be posting my review of Planet Hollywood's buffet in full shortly.

Here is a link to Harrah's "Buffet of Buffets" advertisement:

Happy eating!