Monday, January 5, 2015

A Golden Trip

Living It Up in Luxury 
December 2014 

This December Chris and I were lucky enough to have a free weekend without the kids while my parents had them in Arp for an extended Christmas vacation. We debated how we would spend these 3 days without them since this was a "few and far between" type of situation but we decided that we would travel to Lake Charles and go to L'auberge du lac Casino. We had been to L'auberge before and absolutely LOVED it. In fact, for the past 6-8 months we had received numerous "complimentary stay" offers from L'auberge. Unfortunately when I called to take them up on this offered they informed me that it did not apply to "holiday weekends". I fought with them for quite some time but eventually decided we would take our money (literally) over across the street to the BRAND NEW Golden Nugget Resort and Casino. In fact, the Golden Nugget offered us a lower priced room without having to be a part of their "membership" club. We were so excited to see the highly acclaimed resort and compared it our previous experience at L'auberge
Our 1st view from the Lake Charles I-210 bridge.

Arrival and Room
We arrived at The Golden Nugget around 3pm which was an hour prior to the marked 4:00pm check-in time. I was curious to see if we would be able to check-in and get in to our room but we had no problem. From the minute we stepped inside the doors we were highly impressed and was left in awe.

Outside this beautiful resort! A 5 Star in my book! 

A view of the pool, which was not yet opened, and expected to open in March 2015. 

A view of 2 of the 7 different restaurants inside this resort!

We were floored by the hotel lobby and resort on the lower level but it was topped off by the remarkable and amazing "beach" view room we had. This was the best hotel room I have ever stayed in and it was only 12 days old. In fact, one of the room service ladies told me we were the 2nd couple to stay in that particular room. 

The bathroom of this amazing hotel room. 

A view from the entrance of the room... The sectional was amazing for lounging and reading books.

A view of the bed... which was incredibly comfortable I might add!

The room had an eat-in bar/ booth.
That was one of the amazing aspects that completely blew me away!

A view of the amazing 6 foot bathtub and a curtain that you could pull back to see the rest of the room! SO COOL!

A view of the room from the balcony!

The view of the "beach"... That part might have been lacking but was still cool or in-land Louisiana!

Winner, Winner 
After exploring the room we decided to go and explore the hotel lobby and resort area of the property. We started by getting in line to join the "24 Karat" club that the Landry's company and The Golden Nugget offered all of it's guests. After this we went on to the casino floor to see what kind of trouble we could get ourselves into. Trouble was a perfect way to describe the next few hours. Much like L'auberge the Blackjack and Roulette table games had very high minimum bet levels. We were used to the $5 minimum bets from The Firelake Grand in Shawnee so the $15 and $25 minimums were really high for our blood. We started playing roulette and I quickly went down while Chris maintained even. That was until he went to the $25 blackjack table. Here he went down nearly $150 within 6-7 hands. Fortunately, in hind sight, there was not a spot at that table for me so I was not down as much as Chris was. We decided to stop the bleeding and go to dinner. 

Far East Dinner 
The Golden Nugget is owned by the same guy that owns all of the Landry's restaurants, the Galveston Pleasure Pier and so much more. So with that being said all of the restaurants were part of the Landry's franchise. We absolutely LOVE all of the Landry's restaurants and have 2 separate loyalty cards, which allow for you to accumulate points from eating at all of the Landry's properties. The Golden Nugget had several of our favorite Landry's restaurants including, Landry's Seafood, Grotto Italian Cuisine, Salt Grass Steakhouse and Cadillac Mexican Cantina but we opted to try something new in Lillie's Asian Restaurant. This was one of the best decisions of the trip as it was some of the best Asian and Sushi I have EVER eaten.

This restaurant was so cool and I only wish it was in Houston!

The Shrimp Lo-mein I ordered! It was INCREDIBLE to say the least!

Chris ordered the Shrimp and Scallop Udon bowl.
It is not what he expected but he LOVED it!

A sushi sampler platter that did not disappoint!

"The Nugget" sushi which was EASILY the best either of us had EVER HAD! Yummy!

More Luxury 
After dinner we headed on over to L'auberge Casino via the brand new boardwalk. This was awesome because it was only 1/4 of a mile from door to door and the weather was amazingly beautiful for a December night in Louisiana. We got to L'auberge and they had high table minimums too so we decided to play video Roulette for a $5 minimum hoping we could do well... BUT NO SUCH LUCK! Then we decided to head back to The Golden Nugget and explore it more and try our luck on some video poker. We watched some college bowl games as well as some Sunday Night Football and then called it a night and headed back upstairs. The room was once again mind blowing as this was the time we got to enjoy all of it's luxuries such as an enormous shower and bath as well as a large couch sectional to sit and read on or watch TV from the 40" screen. The modern decor and luxuries made it one of the best hotel room experiences of my life. I highly recommend staying at The Golden Nugget even if you are not a gambler!

Merry Christmas from the highly decorated L'auberge!

No Alarms Monday 
For the first time in a long time we did not have to turn on our alarms NOR deal with our kids who are early morning risers and morning people. This made for a lazy and full relaxing morning. Chris decided to go for a jog, which turned into a 7 mile run thanks to a very foggy Louisiana morning and unfamiliarity of the resort. We went and tried to find some more LSU attire for Chris and the kids (No such luck oddly enough) and got Chick-fil-A breakfast. After we ate we decided to go to the highly acclaimed Coushatta Casino/ Resort in Kinder, LA which was another 40 miles and 50 minutes from our hotel. So many of my friends from school and elsewhere had spoke highly of this resort and even strangers that we talked to at The Golden Nugget said it was worth the drive because they had lower table minimums, looser slots and an overall great "Comping" casino. We drove to Kinder only to find it was not even as nice as the massive Firelake Grand in Shawnee. It was in fact an Indian casino but just like L'auberge and Golden Nugget it was not nice to us! We lost another whopping amount at $5 Blackjack BUT we did get a free $5 slot play (Which of course we lost).

The 1st look at Coushatta Casino... Looks JUST LIKE Firelake Grand (our home casino) in Shawnee, OK!

Rest and Relaxation 
We made our way back to Lake Charles and back to The Golden Nugget. Chris decided to go and try to take a nap while I went shopping at all of the boutique shops inside the Golden Nugget and L'auberge. I was not able to find anything within my budget this close to Christmas but it was cool to dream! 

Chicken Dinner- The BEST Casino Buffet 
We knew we wanted to try The Golden Nugget buffet because having been to many casinos in our last 8 years of marriage we had tried numerous buffets and classified them as so. This did NOT disappoint. In fact this buffet had several international options such as Mexican and Italian and a local favorite of Cajun. The Mexican food was perhaps the best and that is because the chefs work at both Cadillac Mexican Catina and the buffet. The same was true with the Grotto and Salt Grass chefs. This was amazing because it was like being able to go to ALL the Landry's restaurants at the same time. The price tag was steep at $26.99 BUT we did get "Landry's points" to earn multiple gift certificates which made it more enjoyable. 

This buffet also offered items such as prime rib, shrimp cocktail, crawfish stuffing, meatballs, lamb chops, cotton candy (yes they had an actual machine) and even Italian gelato. We stayed in the buffet for nearly 2 hours trying to enjoy it all but there was just not enough room. We were reminded of why we got so big in the first place. Needless to say we had a "double pink drink" (PLEXUS) day the following day.

A view of the amazing salad bar section of this buffet... Unfortunately, I have taken the "You don't win friends with salad" mentality when it come to buffets. Thank you Chris Davis!

They had enough cocktail shrimp to feed a small army!

The AMERICAN section which featured New York Strip steaks and Prime Rib!

The Cotton Candy machine... SO COOL! Especially on a buffet!

Mini Red-Velvet truffles... YES PLEASE!

Chris enjoying some Cotton Candy!

Loving EVERY minute of this trip!

See you in 60 days Louisiana 
We checked out of our hotel around 10am and headed to get breakfast and then make one final pit-stop before we headed back to the great state of Texas. Last trip we ended at The Isle of Capri Casino and I made back all of my losses. We were hoping for the same but that was not the case. Chris lost even more but I was able to win back some of my losses but not all of them. However, the craziest event happened while we were playing at the $5 blackjack table. There were thunderstorms everywhere and the casino lost electricity... not once but 5 separate times. It was crazy "LIDS ON, DECKS COVERED, CHIPS IN HANDS" the pit boss yelled. It became pitch black and it was literally hard to see anything. The 1st few times the generators came on but on time #4 the blackness lasted nearly 2 minutes. That is when the yelling started from other people playing at other tables. Chris and I were on a roll at this point so we decided to stay and play a little more. The lights turned off one more time before we decided to leave to try to beat any more of the thunderstorms on our 2.5 hour drive home. 

It was an amazing trip, despite our losses and we were incredibly impressed with The Golden Nugget. It, obviously, is not a place to take young children BUT it was a great getaway for tired parents. In fact, it was just what the doctor ordered for these two tired teachers and parents. In just 60 days we will be back in the great state of Louisiana headed towards New Orleans to board the Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas for our 9th anniversary cruise. Thank you Chris for treating me to this FANTASTIC weekend! I had a BLAST! I LOVE YOU! 

See you soon Louisiana! 
God is good... All the time! 

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