I know they claim "it's a dry heat" but it was 104 when I got off the plane at 11:30 p.m. on Friday and it felt searing. I took a taxi to Bally's and checked in. They gave me an upgraded room, almost a suite. Which is sort of a waste since the only time I spent there was getting not quite enough sleep.
The Flyertalk event was pretty much just a Saturday night dinner at Battista's Hole in the Wall, which is remarkably unchanged over the years. I stayed at Bally's and had dinner at Battista's back in the 1980's so this was a somewhat nostalgic weekend. The food is good for what it is (your basic red sauce Italian - I got the eggplant parmesan), the portions are huge, and you get unlimited house wine. It was a good place for a largish group. Surprisingly, most of the conversation was about what folks had been doing during the day, rather than about frequent flyer miles. Of course, two people did pull out their mileage-earning credit cards at the end, splitting the tab between them. The usual rule is that using your card is the organizer's privilege and everybody else pays cash.
Anyway, the main new thing since my last trip to Vegas is City Center. I was not especially impressed. It is sleek and modern and shows too much of the influence of Frank Gehry on modern architecture (though he did not, apparently, design it). Crystals holds excessively luxe shops, while Aria is the main hotel / casino. (There is a non-casino hotel called Vdara and a Mandarin Oriental which I ignored.) I did have some excellent gelato at the latter. (I skipped lunch as I'd had a large and excellent breakfast at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in the Flamingo. That also had the side effect of a multi-song earworm. I had to avoid the Mirage at night in order to keep from being stuck just on "Volcano.")
In short, the architectural peak of Las Vegas was reached with Paris and the Venetian and I will find things less appealing until they go back to outrageous themes instead of shiny assymetry. I still figure it's worth going every 2-3 years to see what's new.
My other observation is that there are a lot more penny slots than there used to be. I like that since I prefer losing my money 10-50 cents at a time. I lost some, then won some back and still have enough in my gambling budget to have a good time on my birthday trip to Monte Carlo.