Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Aliante Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, Review.

First of all, I love Station Casinos. Visit Vegas and play at one. Make sure you use a Station Casino player's card. Earn points. Depending on how much you play, you'll even get free rooms; like us. That's why I love them. That's why we keep going back. I have stayed at The Red Rock Station Casino, The Sunset and now for the first time, The Aliante. So....what did I think??

The Exterior
The Aliante Hotel. The casino entrance is just to the left. You can pull up in valet. Valet parking is almost ALWAYS free. You just need to tip. The elevator is right inside to the rooms. If you travel light, you won't need the bellmen to help.
The Aliante. As you can see here is about 9 stories high. Very small, especially compared to their sister hotel The Red Rock. As much as I adore the Red Rock, it was nice to have the small intimate feeling here at The Aliante.

Extremely well kept pristine grounds. 

Gorgeous cacti and desert vegetation everywhere.

Just to the left of the hotel entrance. This is a small parking space for quests to unload if not using valet. There were also many handicap spaces here. You'll find a small food court and as you can see form the awnings a nice new TGIF. We enjoyed a meal at Fridays and the food and service was great. The Feast Buffet was great, just like the Red Rock, but not as crowded!!!
View from the left.  Keep in mind we checked in around 12 noon.  A room was ready.  When I requested a pool view, at noon this was the best he could do. Now, if you have been to Vegas you know that on the Strip you will often be charged at least $60 more for a view. So, I am not going to complain! The view was fine. Besides, I didn't want to look at the pool, I wanted to just be in it.

The Hotel Lobby
Hotel Lobby, entrance behind Stan and Lucas. Nice, open and modern. Valet desk is behind them.

Exploring the lobby. Registration was to the right. The elevators  straight  ahead. To go to the pool you come right out of the elevators and head out those doors behind Stan. Easy and  convenient.

The lobby was nice, with it's over-sized elegant objects and sleek feel.
The elevators. We never had wait, since there were only a few floors. Another nice  advantage to a smaller hotel. By the the morning just past the elevators....fresh coffee bar. Help yourself. Make a nice coffee, the way you like and head over to the casino! That's what I did. Pays to be the morning bird. I got to go down and gamble every morning. I am convinced the slots are better than too. 


 We had a two queen non-smoking room. The rooms are perfect. They aren't huge, but all you need. Modern and clean.
Here you can see the bed close up. funky pillows and nice reading lights.

Again, small, modern and simple. Nothing to blow your mind, but everything you need. I liked that the TV swiveled and that there was a desk. I always take my laptop with me. Resort fees were about $12 a day and it includes internet. Most places charge that or more and it doesn't include the internet. Always check before booking in Vegas. Ask about the resort fee.

Nice big window that Lucie enjoyed.

Very small bathroom as you can see. Not many towels. Exactly four for the four of us.  The first night we had no hand towels. The towels themself....very small. Not much bigger than a hand towel.  I like the big huge beach towel wrap around you twice type you get in most 4 star hotels. These towels weren't good at all. The tub was nice and deep, though. Great for a bubble bath. At 5 feet tall, though....hard to get in and out of. If you are elderly, forget it. To get Lucie in we had to lift her. This didn't pose any major problems for us, but I can see where it might. Could be very dangerous.

Again, modern elegant and everything you need...just small.  I have a love hate/relationship with the magnifying  mirrors at hotels. Depressing, mind opening and I am thinking....maybe necessary. I believe there is a small light over the toilet, but it wasn't working for us, so the bathroom was super bright and we had to just put the make-up mirror on for a relaxing bath. Bring bubble bath, candles, etc. It's a very nice soak.
                                                                    The Pool

 The pool is a very important part of our stays in Vegas. We will not stay where the pool is bad. We love the pool, we go almost every morning with the kids and we want to feel like we are on vacation in some far away tropical spot while at the pool. I know. I know. I have said it before, but the pool at the Aliante is SMALL. However, keep in mind that there aren't many rooms here, so it wasn't crowded and again JUST right. Beautiful surroundings. I knew it wouldn't be like the Red Rock pool ( huge with water fountain in the center, etc.) But, really it was just as nice.

I mean, what's not to love? This could be anywhere. That's what I am always telling people. We come to Vegas  every year. It costs a fraction of the price of flights for the four of us, rooms for the four us, in some exotic country far away, etc. So, this is why we take the kids to Vegas. We love the pools. All morning long with our hotel newspaper and mimosa or two, a Bloody Mary, you name it. By the way....the drinks were fantastic and you'll pay half of what you have to pay on the strip or even at the Red Rock. In Vegas I usually pay at least $21 for a drink at the pool. Here they were $10. LOVE it.
This is a salt water pool. I loved it. Wasn't harsh on our suits or hair. Can be harsh on your eyes, so goggles were great for the kids. There were three or four little spray fountains up and down the pool. The kids had fun with those. Can you see them behind Lucie? The cabanas were great. People renting them for the day were obviously enjoying them. Indoor/outdoor seating, a TV, etc. We might do that the next time. It's very easy to stay at the pool all day!

Other Things To Mention
There is a Starbucks a block away.
There is a huge public park a block away with water features, a huge play structure, a water fall and geese. It's a great spot to walk if it's cool.
There is a Winco supermarket and a Target Greatland not to far from the hotel.
Service was great on the casino floor in the evenings....grab coffee in the morning. Service was VERY slow.
If you have a car in Vegas, I highly recommend The Aliante. It's about 15-20 minutes from The Strip, but, we have learned to really appreciate that. The Aliante would be a perfect spot for girlfriends, families and seniors. Don't come here if you are looking for a wild'll be bored and disappointed. If you want to get away from it, not pay and arm and leg and be close enough to enjoy The Las Vegas Strip when you want to....The Aliante is for you.

I know....The Red Rock, The Red Rock...but, check it out:

Here is the Aliante:

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Palazzo, Vegas

Happy Memorial Day!

While on vacation we made our regular stop off at The Palazzo. We always have our car and hotel hopping is very easy. So we just drove right into The Palazzo parking lot, took the elevator and checked out their ever changing display. I was happy to find the display was set for Memorial day.

I am not surprised that The Palazzo was paying their respects. They are known for doing wonderful things, especially for our troops.

Take a moment and watch this touching video. The Palazzo thanks some wounded soldiers with an all expense paid well deserved vacation.

Happy Memorial day.......

Miss you Daddy.

My Daddy....1938-2008

Friday, May 25, 2012

We Are On Vacation

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. We have been on the road. We had two nights in Disneyland and are on our fourth night of six in Vegas. I have taken lots of pictures and plan to post....posting about a great local park in Vegas, our Hotel Aliante, and a great dinner at Bouchon....We are having a lot of fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Michael Mondavi Winery

Strolling through the wine country on a Saturday afternoon, we stumbled on Michael Mondavi Winery. I had already been to Robert Mondavi years ago, so I was excited to see this. I loved the simple, cozy, country feel to this winery. While enjoying the wine we learned that The original Robert Mondavi winery was purchased by another family. This winery however, is still owned and run by Michael Mondavi (Robert's Son) I love the fact that this winery feels like a big home in the country. It's got a great feel to it. 

Kicking back in the country with wonderful wine. What could be better? Can't you just see this  tractor in it's "hay" day (sorry) filled with fresh grapes? Love it.
Look at this front porch, is this not inviting? You can get your sample and come on out to the porch and enjoy it.  What's not to love?

Is this not cozy? Your only problem is deciding  where to enjoy your scrumptious wine...too many choices.

Every winery in California offers lots of goodies for sell, wine (of course) gourmet treats and lots of kitchen gadgets.  If you are like me you will be tempted in every winery. We often collect gourmet delights to enjoy with a bottle of wine when we get hungry.

Lucie loved the fireplace. The weather was perfect outside, but this really added to the ambiance...having a fire. Don't you love this mantel?

Let's not forget why we are here. The Michael Mondavi Spellbound wines were to die for. Delicious. Most wineries charge for tasting now. It's was only about $12 a person and we got to sample 6 different wines. Keep in mind that they are hearty samples. We usually go for 3 white and three reds. What ever your choice, you can't go wrong.

Just when I think my day can't get better,  I am told I should take a peek out on the back porch....are you kidding me?
I am in love. It's so serene. Look at that view.

Leaning on the railing with my wine. Ahhhh.....

Perfect place for a picnic next time. Most wineries are very open to you picnicking on the premises.

The property is gorgeous and well maintained. Have your cameras ready!

Everyone had a fun day.

Time to hit the road. We  had a blast in the open air. But, remember drive carefully when sampling.

Until next time...........

  Visit their site to learn more about this amazing family!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

4 Th Street Berkeley, California

Back to Berkeley again today for the final vote in the French election. We met up with our French friends who were voting as well. After dropping the envelope with a simple sheet of paper with the candidate's name of choice, into a clear ballot box, we were off to eat.

Sophie suggested 4 Th Street in Berkeley. She always knows were to go. She never disappoints. What a wonderful spot. Tree lined streets, outdoor cafes and shops galore.

We started with Lunch at Cafe Rouge. Great place with a wonderful causal atmosphere and great food.

Preparing oysters and other seafood treats. 

Lunch was de-lish....and wait until you see their market! If you are a vegetarian, I am very sorry. You won't like these pictures. Total culinary delight. If, you lived close by you could make some wonderful meals from their market.

My head was spinning. So many choices. On the right are all different types of freshly made ravioli. Up above....all kinds of house made pates. STOP!!!!!
All house made pastas.
Say, "Cheese."

Hum....and for dessert:

All I can see are the pink and green Princess cakes. My favorite. Have you had one? If, not. Get one ASAP. Instead of fondant, it's marzipan.

La Mere Pollard, in case you can't make it to Mont. St. Michel over the weekend.

Okay....let's go on walk now! I am stuffed!

4 Th street is amazing. Such a great feel. Laid back, casual, and relaxed. Everyone shopping and strolling about. The shops are fantastic. You can visit Sur La Table, The Crate and Barrel Outlet, The Garden Shop, Spas, etc.

Wine shop outside of The Pasta Shop (The Market at Cafe Rouge)
The entrance to Cafe Rouge

Just at the end of this street in front of Peets Coffee House....there was live music adding to the great atmosphere.

The Garden Shop. Unique high end garden decorations. Amazing things.
Inside the Garden Shop...gorgeous colors.

Zuti Bistro. All open air, looked great.
Beautiful sunny day on 4 Th Street, Berkeley.
chocolates, gelato, and fresh, yes, please.
We will definitely be going back. Such a fun day. So much to see and do. It's been great exploring Berkeley during the French elections. Sometimes you just don't take advantage of the great treasures close to home. I recommend taking a Saturday or Sunday and just taking off and being a tourist close to home. We don't do it often enough. After all, we have busy lives and really we just don't think we have the time. These are moments I'll remember. Not washing the clothes, or mowing the lawn....