I'm just finishing up my stay in Las Vegas, where I was at a "wolf pack" style bachelor weekend for my friend and co-worker Gregg. I think the statement "what happens in vegas stays in vegas" is a good protective strategy. I do not personally have anything to be ashamed of - just to be clear - but I have witnessed a substantial number of occasions of impaired and questionable judgement. That said, I do want to share a few details about some of the ridiculousness I endured.
First off: This whole thing was planned by Gregg's brother Mark, and Mark apparently has some "VIP Dreams" - The overall strategy for the weekend appeared to be "Pay a lot of money for a table at a hip place, buy a lot of alcohol, and sit for a long time". The issue appears to be that there are different levels of VIP, and they will give you the absolute minimum level possible.
Cases in point: Saturday we had a cabana at the Hard Rock Rehab pool where a really very good Trance DJ (Paul Oakenfold) was playing. The Cabana was for 8, but there were only seats for four butts, it was next to a speaker stack, and it was obstructed view of the pool area - we basically got an armpit cabana. Then Saturday night, we reserved a table at XS at the Winn Encore - apparently a very hot spot. The cabana we got was in the very back of the grounds, as far from anything as we could be (though to be fair, close to a bathroom), and outside with no misters or AC, so it was over 100 degrees in our little deathbox. At least this one had room to sit, even if the seats were in the hotbox.
At both of these, we had "Bottle Service", which involves $300 bottles of Vodka (the same bottle you can buy for $20 at... um... anywhere) and pitchers of mixers and ice for you to make your own drinks. At one point, bottles of champagne started showing up. I was not doing the accounting, but I'm fairly certain that our party spent over $5000 between the table fees and drinks at these two venues. My credit card was nowhere near this, and I limited myself to bottles of water, but I'm fully expecting Gregg's brother to start pinging us with desperate emails to help him pay this off... Emails I plan to ignore.
The group was a mix: 2 of us are Gregg's work buddies, his brother, and "bros" from the past - frat brothers, former co-workers. The Bro Pack was a hard drinking crowd, and we had one who showed up at midnight Friday, partied straight through to Saturday afternoon, and disappeared, not to be heard from again. Another was supposed to be the "governor" of the finances, keeping tabs on the costs - but he incapacitated himself early on Friday and spent the entire rest of the weekend maintaining a level of blitzed out staring straight ahead, leaving Gregg's brother to pretty much run wild with the extravagances. Anyway, the rest of the BroPack had a laser-like focus on "partying", and to tell the truth, I'm still not sure of all their names.
As far as we could tell, Gregg was having a great time, and in the end, that's pretty much what this weekend was about. But truth be told, I strongly suspect we could have had at least as much fun with an epic steak and martinis night at a restaurant in Philly... and saved a hell of a lot of money.
Two observations about the HardRock:
1) The Hard Rock Hotel is LOUD. My room overlooked to pool complex, and from 10am to midnight, I was treated to extremely high volume music - be it non-stop dance trance, to rock, and this morning, hip hop. This made it hard to take naps. Last night, the band "Filter" was playing - a 1990s one hit wonder - Hey Man Nice Shot. If you do check out the song, it shouldn't be any surprise that the music is not in any way my style. Their soundcheck was very long, and the tech REALLY wanted to get that kick drum sound right. So yeah, a lot of noise.
2) The Hard Rock Hotel Pool is NOT my scene. I made the observation that if a neutron bomb went off in the pool area, there would be terrible losses in the areas of Tires Plus Assistant Managers, Hair Salon Receptionists, and health club personal training package upgrade salespeople.
Finally, if I do come back to Vegas (and I'm not sure I care to at this point), it will be at a grown up place like the Bellagio or Venetian. These kids are killing me.