A colleague of mine from New York flew directly to Las Vegas, and we met at our hotel, the Aria. Our time on the ground was less than 24 hours, and we got right to work.
While not my favorite hotel in Las Vegas, the Aria is new and clean - and does not have billowing shower curtains. I’d stayed here earlier in the year, and reviewed the property as part of that stay. My room this time was identical to the room I had last time.
Set well off the strip, the Aria is principally a corporate/conference hotel (versus other big strip hotels, which while also suited for conferences, have much more bling). I find the property to be amongst the most sterile of the Strip casinos. While there are a few tourists at Aria, each time I’ve been here, quite a few people are wearing those silly conference name tags.
In any event, my stay was uneventful.
Our business consisted of three activities: dinner with client, gambling with client, golfing with client.
For dinner, we went to Milos at the nearby Cosmopolitan. An outpost of their original New York location, the quality of the fish was very good. Their selection of fish, however, was reduced, and more oriented towards whole fish which are to be shared compared to NY.
Our client, an investor, was kind enough to pick up the tab for dinner. However, in an attempt to be subtle, he had palmed his credit card (Amex Black, no less!) and tried to pass it to the waiter. The way he moved his hand to pass it to the waiter, he ended up hitting the waiter squarely in the groin! While not a hard hit, you could see from the waiter’s reaction that he hit him “where it counts.” So much for subtle. It was, however, very generous of him to pick up the tab.
The senior guy from the client went home, but the junior guy stayed out with us for a bit of time at the craps table. After about 30 minutes, he left to go home. My colleague and I stayed up for a while. I stayed at it the longest – but had the most to show for it at the end at least!
After a solid two hours of sleep for me (four for my colleague), we met our client for a round of golf in the morning. I’ve played at Shadow Creek and the Wynn course (among others), previously my two favorites in Las Vegas. This time, we tried Rio Secco. My colleague said the caddies were “special” at this course…he was right!
Basically, this course's competitive advantage is they have young, quite attractive girls working as caddies. Compared to the usual old men we get as caddies near where I live, this certainly livened up the golf experience. These young ladies knew how to bring some fun to a foursome.
The caddies, called T-Mates, don’t actually carry clubs – they just ride along in a separate golf cart and help find your ball, root you on, etc. They wear clothes, but not too many.
Talking with our caddie, she said there were basically three categories of groups:
- Corporate guys like us – who "generally keep it clean"
- Japanese businessmen – who "put their hands all over us”
- Bachelor parties – “where invariably one guy’s pants come off ‘by accident’ by the fifth hole!”
I think our caddie was a little loose with the phrase “Japanese businessmen,” but I get her point about each of the groups she described.
Our caddie described herself as one of the more tame ones; “others are quite a bit more adventurous.” While she and us were "unadventurous," we all had a great time – and most importantly got a big financial commitment from the client at the end of the day. Time and money well spent.
If you are looking for a memorable round in Vegas, I'd highly recommend Rio Secco.
We bid our clients farewell at the course and hustled to the airport to make our flight back to New York. For some reason, despite our travel policy allowing for premium cabin travel for flights over a certain length, my colleague was booked in back. Our flight was full, so he was stuck – in a middle seat, not in EconomyComfort even. (The flight wasn't full just a day earlier, and he could have gotten in front had he been paying attention.)
I was in front, but other than a snapshot of my halal meal, coming off of two hours of sleep and 5 in the hot Las Vegas sun, I slept the entire way home.
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Despite having a good deal of fun, it is important to remember this was a business trip. Thankfully, it was very successful on a number of fronts. The line between work and pleasure is a blurry one for me. I think that is a good thing!
Rio Secco Golf Glub