Dollar Rent-A-Car: A
Pretty easy to hop a shuttle from the airport to the Rental Car Center to grab our car from Dollar. We got a great rate from Hotwire ($30/day all in, including the outrageous rental car taxes) and the counter agent tried to talk us into an upgrade from our booked full-size (tried to position it as a "wedding discount", which it wasn't), but we passed and stuck to our Ford Fusion, which was fine for the week. Returning the car was easy and super fast-- literally done in about 3 minutes from the time we pulled in to the time we were able to grab the shuttle back to the airport.
Upon check-in, I was told that they had no reservation on file for me. Thankfully, I whipped out my trusty wedding binder and showed them the e-mail from my MB coordinator that had our hotel rezzy and confirmation numbers. The clerk excused himself and went to the back to see if he could make sense of why they didn't have my reservation, and it seems that my entire reservation was cancelled two weeks before we arrived because they "never received the necessary deposit." I was never told by my MB coordinator or THEhotel itself that a deposit was even needed (let alone never received any communication that my room was cancelled because they didn't receive said deposit), so it seems like there's a massive communication breakdown there so be careful if you're an MB bride and you're booking your hotel room through the chapel. Thankfully, there was another room open so they just made me a new rezzy, but if they had been fully booked we would have been in trouble. What's more, at check out I went to go confirm that the rate they gave me was indeed the negotiated bridal rate I was originally supposed to be given (as opposed to a non-discounted rate), but someone (we have no idea who-- both of our parents swear it wasn't them) paid for our hotel room so we never got to see.
Aside from that, though, THEhotel was great--the Bell Desk staff was AMAZING and helped us a ton throughout the week, housekeeping was nice and the view from our room was fantastic. It was also nice to be in THEhotel as opposed to MB because we were slightly removed from some of our guests and it was a bit calmer. Our room was a tad small for having 8 women get ready on wedding morning, but we made it work.
Burger Bar @ Mandalay Place (Wednesday lunch): A
We did an impromptu lunch here the first day our arrived. We had 16 people and no reservation, and they were able to take us almost immediately. It's super casual but the food is good and our server was awesome--very attentive, friendly, and made efforts to crack jokes with our guests. They also had some neat/unique milkshakes. Good casual lunch or dinner spot.
Wicked Spoon Buffet @ the Cosmopolitan (Wednesday dinner): A
We made a reservation through Cosmo Group Dining several months in advance (very easy to work with), and they set up a wonderful table for us (we had 17 people) and kept it for us despite the fact that we were 30 minutes late. Food was amazing, service was great (much better than when just FI and I had eaten there by ourselves in January) and our guests loved getting that Vegas Buffet experience on their first night there. The only downside was that we had to confirm our headcount 5 business days in advance and between then and the night of, two of our guests had to drop out so we still got charged for them in the end. Aside from that, though, this was a great first night dinner.
Fit for a Bride dress steaming: A-
I shipped my dress out about 3 weeks in advance and Debi was fantastic about calling me the moment it arrived. When I made the reservation with her online, I explicitly noted to drop the dress of at the THEhotel bell desk at 4:30pm on Wednesday, and received a reservation confirmation with that directive in it. I sent my mom over to the Bell Desk to wait for it at that time (I was out on a Costco run getting booze for Friday's Meet & Greet event) and by 5pm she called me to stay that it still wasn't there. I nervously called Debi and she was like, "Oh hey, we were waiting for you to call us and tell us your room number!" I was a bit peeved about this because 1) my mom sat there for about 40 minutes by herself waiting when she could have been entertaining/spending time with our guests, and 2) I explicitly chose the "drop off at Bell Desk" option (there's a "Drop off at your room" option that costs $30 more) and was never told to call them with my room number anyway, so I was a bit confused as to why it never got delivered on time. Thankfully, we were there early enough that we just arranged for Debi to drop it off on Thursday to the Bell Desk instead. Just a minor communication breakdown and not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I wasn't psyched that it became an issue. That said, the dress arrived and it was beautifully steamed and stuffed, so she did an amazing job and that's the most important thing. Still an A- for overall experience.
Gardunos @ the Palms (Thursday lunch): A-
Took my girls here for Bridesmaid Lunch, and it was cheap, good, and they had some interesting and tasty margaritas. We sat outside by the pool and it was lovely.
Drift Spa @ the Palms (Thursday Bridesmaid outing): A+
I got my bridesmaids hour-long massages and 25-minute "Glow" body scrub packages as their BM gifts. I don't mean to toot my own horn (beep beep), but this ended up being an amazing idea. By the time Thursday rolled around, I had already been in Vegas one day and I was stressed beyond belief trying to see all of our guests. This was an amazing bonding experience and both my massage and body scrub were FANTASTIC and I felt like a different person by the time we left. The girls loved it too, and it was a nice calm activity that we could all do together amongst the madness. The spa itself is really nice-- there's a lounge room, a pool/hot tub room where we all sat around in our robes and just had our feet in the pool, and a co-ed Hamam which was a little weird (it honestly felt like you were stepping into a giant vat of Vick's VapoRub...I couldn't breathe, haha) but was neat to try out. TravelZoo.com always has a ton of spa packages that usually include a massage and some other treatment for $99. I've seen the Paris, Planet Hollywood, and Tropicana spas all be featured lately with these packages.
Bayside Buffet @ Mandalay Bay (Thursday dinner): A-/B+
Had a quick dinner here with some family before my bachelorette party on Thursday night. I was expecting a bit more from MB and it was only okay-- the quality of the food/selection was just okay for the price (they would have had to knock off another $4 or so off the dinner price for it to be really worth it), but that could be because we were spoiled for having eaten at Wicked Spoon the night before.
Olympic Garden (Thursday Bachelorette party part I): A+
My MOH got some kind of bachelorette party package for us through a concierge service, and after hopping in our limo, our first stop was OG to see the famed Men of OG. Truth be told I did NOT want to do this (I'm okay with watching, but I had never been to a strip club before--not even just the regular kind-- and I get skeeved when people get in my personal space like that), but this was THE hit of the night. Be warned, these men are AGGRESSIVE (hey, they're trying to make a buck), but we all had one lap dance (which was one of the most simultaneously scarring and hilarious experiences of my life...you must do it) and then watched the dancers on the stage, all of whom were great and entertaining. The drinks here were cheap and we had the most amazing time--2 hours here literally felt like 20 minutes and we almost didn't want to leave to go to Tao.
Tao @ the Venetian (Thursday Bachelorette party part II): B+
We hopped back into the limo and headed to Tao for the second part of our bach party. Because we used a VIP service, we met a host and were escorted in, which is the only way you should ever even attempt to go to Tao. This was my first time there and I've been to Vegas clubs before, but never have I seen lines like this...it was a GD circus. Once we got in, the club itself is neat in terms of decor and the music is good. We were dancing in the VIP area and one of my girlfriends accidentally knocked over the ice from someone's bottle service (it's easy to do because of the layout of the space-- the tables aren't separated enough from the main dance floor) and the bouncer FLIPPED OUT and told us to "get the F out and go home." So that was lame-- she honestly wasn't even drunk and we got a total pretentious vibe from the place so we just left at that point anyway.
Raffles Cafe @ Mandalay Bay (Thursday breakfast and Thursday night drunken post-bachelorette munchies): A+
This place rocks. Open 24/7, the selection is great the prices are good. Food is amazing for a 24/7 cafe. I almost wish I had eaten here more than twice.