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New Year's in Reno

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Joined: 23 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Jan Tue 08, 2008 3:16 pm    Post subject: New Year's in Reno Reply with quote

We were already booked in Vegas when the Fitzgerald’s free New Year’s Eve offer arrived. Free?! Yup, three days 29th-1st. It took R and me about 2 minutes to decide, and I was cancelling that portion of the Vegas trip, we’d still go down to Vegas for a couple of days, but after Reno.

Prior to the Reno portion, we took a trip to Spokane to spend Christmas with R’s family, so from December 19th to January 6th, we were only home 3 days. As I type this, I’m still tired, but happy tired, you know, that ½ smile, vacant look that only comes with destroying most of your brain cells through constant drinking, smoking, gambling, and overeating. R got on the scale last night and saw he gained 14 pounds during this period, I, being female, know better than to get on a scale so soon after the debauchery. March will be soon enough.

We flew to Spokane on the 19th, came home on Christmas day, hung out with the local family and then drove to Reno on Saturday the 29th. We were excited so rose early, only to see chains were required over the Sierra’s (we’re in Davis, CA). Awk!!!! We have to get over the hill, I don’t care if I get stuck on THAT side, but get me to the party! We checked the conditions until noon, they opened up, we ran to the car like we were on fire and we were on our way.

The roads were busy, wet, but manageable, and we counted ourselves lucky every mile we got closer without putting chains on. We traverse about 20 miles an hour with chains, and that can add hours to the 2 hour trip! It was snowing early, about 3000 feet, but not sticking because it was in the upper 30’s. However, by Kingvale (5000 feet), it had begun to stick, it was a little slippery, and I chewed off both mine AND R’s fingernails. I think we were past the point of Cal Trans stopping traffic for chains, and we sailed/slid into Reno by 3 PM.

So how has the Fitz changed with the new ownership? Too early to tell I think. However, I did notice some things. First, and most important, the free offers are pouring in-every couple of weeks so far. We were there two weeks before this on a totally free offer that included room, beverage, food (not Limericks) and $200 cash. While we were there, the NYE offer came in. Before we headed up the mountain, an Elvis party invite arrived for the weekend following NYE, also gratis. We booked it, more excited about the freebies than really asking ourselves “do we really want to spend this much time at the Fitz?” (Ultimately the answer was no). Also, the employees seem excited about the new owner, and I haven’t noticed any leaving.

Physical changes? They continue to have the worst HVAC and water system I have ever seen. I don’t even have the heart to question them on the problems, they are a fact at the Fitz. Most queries are met with shrugs and a bit of disbelief as to your not knowing they can’t do a damn thing about any of your complaints, at least not without a major redo. I heard new carpet was the first change to be made, as of last week, nothing- same with the elevators, no improvement. Rooms are the same. They have moved around the machines, taking out some, but mostly just confounding you on where is the Super Cherry machine now?! The public bathrooms are still scary.

Food? If you can believe it, the buffet has gotten worse. Before, it was passable with careful choices, now it just plain sucks at every level. It has acquired the real level of the mythical reputation of Circus Circus years past, I believe the problem is in the substandard ingredients, margarine rather than butter, other faux dairy, lower grade meats, and uninspired preparation. Avoid. Molly’s is fine as a coffee shop, don’t deviate from the standard American fare, and you’ll be fine. Limerick’s is a cut above. Do they have separate storage for their dairy? “No-no, don’t use that! Its REAL sour cream, reserved for Limerick’s, the plastic crap in dry storage is for the buffet!”

After checking in, and tossing our bags in the room, we headed to the bar. We had the “VIP” badges so were able to head up to the bar for our first drink. That’s about the only time we use them, as during play, the cocktail service is pretty good. We decided to stick with video poker to conserve bankroll, however, there is not a lot of playable video poker here, so we were not hitting. To break the unlucky streak, we headed to the Nugget for an awful awful burger, good as always. Their machines now have ticket out, so you can play without waiting for the hand pay’s on dollar wins. We played and lost until about 10 PM and headed back to the room.

The next day we ventured out, starting with Cal Neva’s Top Deck Restaurant. Gotta love their Big Win Breakfast, 3 eggs, choice of breakfast meat (no not steak, sheesh!), hashbrowns, toast and 3 pancakes, R and I split this, and left some behind. $4.95. I had stopped for a comp at the player’s club before, so a $3 tip and we were outta there. Off to Bonanza. I like this joint. Small, clean, fast service and different games. $20 lasted through 3 Jack on the rocks (me, R less-he’s driving) and we headed to Atlantis. $10 free slot play here, 1 martini, and we left even for Carson City.

Fandango had $15 free slot play and $50 in any restaurant for us. We played for free, ate for free, and headed back to the Fitz. It was on the drive back that I realized I had only spent $20 in gaming between all the casinos that day, and we hadn’t gambled at the Fitz yet, hmmmmm…….

We tried the 50 play penny video poker at the Fitz, down $60 each before we even saw a cocktail waitress! What! All that conserving all day long, we hit the Fitz, and we’re down 3 times as much in a few minutes. We stop video poker and try the Goldfish game in the front. What a hoot! R played the Groucho game next to it. For the next couple of hours we played there, staying even (or as known at the Fitz, winning), drank too much, since we were in our own hotel, no driving, and had a late night. We tried to switch to water at some point, and were berated (in a friendly way) by the cocktail waitress, so with that little bit of encouragement, continued the drunkfest.

The next morning, we headed back to Cal-Neva for the same breakfast/comp deal-ee-o. Nice. After, we tried some video poker, we lost, and then decided if we were going to lose, we were going to laugh, so we moved to penny’s. Mr. Woo was nice, giving R $70 off a fiver, and at least 3 chuckles and one good belly laugh (the bonus that netted the big win.) Since this was NYE, we decided to go back to the room for a nap, movie, whatever (shad up) and pace for the late night.

We headed out again about 7:45 PM, for the “gourmet” dinner and party for “VIP’s”. It took place in the buffet, were any of you there? The hosts all formed a welcome line, and one of them walked us to a table, down in front, by the dancing and music. There was only one other couple that looked as young as us, as the average age was in the 60’s I’d say. Unfortunately, there was no bar, just cocktail waitresses, for the large room (200 people, maybe), and after ½ an hour or more, one came by. Honestly, that’s an eternity when the only amusement going is people watching, which I don’t really do well, and appearing to have a good time for the people watching you. The music was a 20’s-30’s sound, but not the remodeled “swing” sound, but some abstract music grandma wouldn’t even like, complete with the old 33 record scratching sound, (okay, I made that up, but it was bad really). The food was sit down, and our place setting’s had a NYE hat. Guys and gal style. R put his on, and looked really hot, I mean sexy, not hot in temperature. I don’t like hats, because they make me hot, (in temperature), and I don’t like conforming to crowds. R kept trying to get me to put it on, and I finally kicked him. No, not really, but I gave him “the look” and he moved on.

Once we saw that the party offered nothing in booze, food, music and fun companions (I couldn’t hear the folks at the other end of the table due to the music), we wondered how long we had to wait to get some grub and split. Also, this was NYE, 9 PM now, and I was stone cold somber, not even one drink. Now I don’t normally get drunk, and never on NYE, that’s for amateurs. I drink, but pace, so I don’t miss out on the fun. But nothing was happening here, oh wait! A cocktail waitress. Since dinner was starting to be served, I ordered cabernet sauvignon, and knew I was in trouble when the waitress said, “huh?” Yup, I got some see-through sour red crap. However, the food was surprisingly good. Interesting green salad, filet mignon with halibut and some pasta, all specially seasoned. We didn’t wait for dessert, and left after the last bite was swallowed.

By the time we hit the casino, it was crowded, hot and a bit hectic. That’s okay, we do this every year (usually Vegas or Carson, first time in Reno since moving away), and knew what to expect. We moved around, had a hard time getting a drink, until the previous nights’ waitress saw us, ran in for hugs, and loaded us up. (Yes, we tip well, or drink fast, anyway, the combination loads her pockets). I couldn’t believe the amount of suits, staff, cops, rent a cops, and security working this night. Honestly, it had to be a 3:1 ratio. What were they expecting? Riots?

Before you knew it, it was midnight, and we were standing outside looking at the fireworks, we used the valet exit, as the street /front door was impossible. I lasted about 2 minutes, it was freezing! It felt like 0 with the wind chill. R made it another 15. He said it was awesome! The best he’s ever seen! But said let’s head to the room since the folks were pouring in. When we hit the room, we noticed the fireworks started up again. We watched them from our window, wondering why we didn’t realize we could see them this way. We went to bed, as we were heading to Vegas the next morning at 6 AM. Of course we couldn’t sleep and stayed awake until 4 AM, we almost left for Vegas, but figured a few hours of sleep would be better than nothing.

We had planned on going to Vegas for 3 days, and then heading back to the Elvis freebie on the way home. However, even before the weather would have made it impossible to return, we cancelled and stayed longer in Vegas. We ended up spending the same in Vegas as Reno, even though it was almost twice as long a trip in Vegas. I think this was due to Fitz’s. R and I agreed that we couldn’t really remember many winning trips, 1 out of 5 maybe, and by winning, I mean taking home some of your gambling budget. It’s hard to pass up the freebies, but I’ll have to factor in the losses to consider going for every offer. I don’t think I’d pay for Fitz right now, not to warn you all off, but there are nicer properties with nicer amenities, such as water at night and real food on buffets, with playable machines.

We’re meeting some Spokane family in February, and will be staying at the Fitz, though I booked the other family at El Dorado. Until then, the question is can I stay away from Reno through my next 4 day weekend in January? Hopefully there’s no free offer in the mail today…..
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PostPosted: Jan Wed 09, 2008 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reno Lady,
Great Report as always. Glad you had fun. Did you spend any time gambling at the Cal Neva? Sure nice of you to take the time to put together a great report. I sure enjoyed it.
Dave Very Happy
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PostPosted: Jan Wed 09, 2008 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Dave. Great, detailed report - makes me want to go to Reno...oh, wait....

Thanks for telling all about the party. I've been invited to them, but sort of figured they'd be like you described, so never went. You have confirmed my suspicions.

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PostPosted: Jan Wed 09, 2008 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report. Nice an detailed. Thanks for posting. Sounds like you had another fun trip. That party though sounds pretty lame. Something tells me you wont be doing that again. Now you know though. Laughing
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PostPosted: Jan Wed 09, 2008 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the nice replies!

Dave: We like their breakfast, so usually play an hour or so at the Cal Neva. We definitely do better there than the Fitz.

John and Alison: You know it was the let down of the party that made us cancel the Elvis thing, it just wasn't any fun. R used to bartend at Fitz about 8 years ago, he'd work some of the parties and said they were better. They must have been, with an actual bar, and R said they always had nice food set out. The sit down style is boring, with no mingling and waiting for your food and beverage, I'm not patient.
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PostPosted: Jan Wed 09, 2008 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reno Lady, What a great trip report. I love all the details and we also got the New Years Eve invite and Elvis but couldnt make it.(Im glad we didnt after reading about the dinner etc.) It sounds like you had a great time and Im glad to know about what isnt happening at the Fitz Crying or Very sad I thought they would be improving things by now. We might go in February as Jim needs 2 more credits on Southwest for a free trip. Barb
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PostPosted: Jan Thu 10, 2008 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Last year was when Fitz offered the free room and $100 cash, February 8th, I think. It's also R's birthday month, but we haven't received that flier yet, so who knows?
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