Arun is Bringing You...Your Daily Remedy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Doing Vegas the Right (and Wrong) Way

Every time I get back from Vegas, I tell myself, "Arun, you amazing guy you - Vegas is fun, but instead of coming here every year, go somewhere new!"

In theory, this sounds like a brilliant plan each time I say this to myself, but every year, someone, or something comes up where I would be an idiot not to go. Generally, I make it a rule to avoid such situations of idiocy.

So this year, again I had no such plans of visiting Las Vegas. I've been four times, and sure each time has been filled with chaos and adventure, but how about saving my time and money, and doing something different?

Then I found out about the "Super Duper MBA Vegas Weekend of Madness"(not the official name, but I find this more descriptive) that happens every year in Vegas. Basically, Caesar's Palace puts on a huge poker tournament + festivities for MBA students around the world to come and enjoy.

I was skeptical at first, until I started getting emails from people who have been before:

"You HAVE to GO!"
"Event of the YEAR!"
"Can't MISS weekend!"

Ok, I'm convinced.

Rule number 212 in "Arun's Guide to Lifetime Awesomeness" states: "Thou shalt not pass up awesome opportunities or adventures when phrases like 'can't miss' are tossed around"

I'm not one to break my own rules, so as you can see, I had no choice but to book a flight.

So why is this weekend so great you ask? Well for starters, the deal is unbelievable. For $70, you are entered into a Poker Tournament on Friday (cash prizes for the top 20 finishers), a two hour dinner event with Open bar on Friday, and an open bar at a club on Saturday.

Yes, you heard that right. In the city with probably the most expensive drinks in the country, we are drinking for FREE both nights. Suffice it to say, no one was drinking anything less than Patron, Belvedere, and Jack Daniels for the entire weekend, and an hour into every event, no one felt ANY pain ;)

Seriously, it's worth entering an MBA program just for this trip alone.

On Saturday, while watching football at a sports bar in New York New York, we actually ran into the "Lingerie Bowl Girls" who apparently play football in, well, lingerie at half time during the Super Bowl. That's some of em in the picture up top.

But wait...if you've read the title carefully, you're probably wondering, "Gee Arun, this sounds like an amazing trip of awesomeness that I'm extremely jealous of, but what's this about the 'wrong way'?"

Good Question.

So the original plan was for a bunch of us to get this 2500 square foot suite in Caesar's palace. It would have been a bunch of us running amuck in this awesome suite having a lot of fun...But then, at the last minute, people started bailing for cheaper options. At that point, I thought the Presidential Suite might be a little much for me (but, then again, I have always thought of myself as rather presidential).

At that point, our options were limited and I left it in Jeff's hands to book us a room. Unfortunately, with only a couple of days before departure, there wasn't much in terms of selection.

Welcome to Imperial Palace - possibly (for lack of a better, more PG word) the luxury slum of Vegas.

So we walk in, and immediately I know I don't belong...lets just say the tenants of "I.P." (I refuse to call this place a "palace") aren't exactly lookers (yes, materialistic and judgmental, I know, but you weren't there, and we all know how amazing I think I look).

We are greeted by a broken automatic front door which meant all weekend, people were bumping into each other going in and out of the exit.
Check-in took forever, and once we finally checked in we made our way to the "Capri" tower which was not in the same building as the rest.

I got excited thinking the "Capri" must be the luxury tower of I.P. Maybe this place won't be so bad after all!

Welp, we make our way through some building with stained carpets and wreaking of cigarette smoke. Totally disgusting. We're searching for our room and finally see a sign that directs us through another door.

Now we are OUTSIDE. On one side is what looks like motel rooms, and on the other is a parking structure with car alarms resounding. At the end of the walkway, we see our rooms.

We didn't even walk in. We marched back to the front desk and "upgraded" to a room in the main tower. Of course, only one of the three elevators worked which means it took like 20 minutes to actually catch an elevator with enough space to squeeze a couple more people in.

The funny part is, during the initial check-in (before we had seen the room) Jeff was joking to our friend Carlos that we may have to "slum-it in the room next to them" to which the check-in clerk scoffed, "Huh! They are NOT slums!"

Au Contraire, mon frere.

Calling it a slum was probably a nicer term...these were more like "projects".

I was so embarrassed by our abode, that when people asked where we were staying I'd simply point in the direction of I.P. (which was conveniently located right across from Caesar's Palace), and respond, "We're staying at the Palace!"

But at least now I've seen another side of Vegas. Not everyone can afford the best of the best (including me) but if there's two things you should take away from this post, they are this: 1) NEVER stay at I.P. and 2) join an MBA program to go to this event next year.

And next year I'm definitely getting the damn suite.

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