Vegas .. where the parties never stop
Ticked this one off my bucket list last weekend, when I went to Vegas for the first time just to see what everyone is raving about! We stayed at the Flamingo hotel, just because it’s a ‘classic’ – the first hotel on the strip and built by Bugsy Malone. As a hotel, it’s nothing to write home about, but it’s in a great location, and has a great pool … and we weren’t expecting to spend much time in the room. After all, Vegas never sleeps!
Las Vegas is an assault on the senses – neon lights, music, the noise of the slot machines – 24/7. You don’t come to Vegas for a quiet get-away – this city is a crazy, non-stop, 24/7 Disneyworld for adults! It’s fun – take in the sights – and catch up on sleep when you get home.
The hotels are out of this world – HUGE (the MGM has about 5000 rooms!), and are generally totally over the top. Here are a few of my favourites:
Venezian – amazing – with a canal around the outside and on the inside, with gondolas and punters who sing opera as they punt you along the restaurant and shop-lined cobbled streets. The domed ceiling is painted like the sky to give the impression that you are outdoors in the bustling marketplace.
Paris is another favourite of mine, with an Eiffel Tower which is half the size of the real one. Take the elevator up in the daytime or at night for the full aerial view. Check out the restaurant at the base of the tower, Mon Ami Gabi – reasonable prices (hard to find in Vegas), patio seating and great crepes.
Free stuff to do:
Apart from checking out the hotels, check out the fountain shows outside the Bellagio at night. Impressive! There’s also a pirates show outside Treasure Island and the Volcano show outside Mirage.
Tips for not spending a fortune:
Don’t gamble away your life savings! We have no idea how to gamble – it took us a day to work out how to put money in the slot machines – so this wasn’t an issue. Play on the ‘one cent’ slot machines if you just want to play.
Food is expensive – but look out for the coupon book with discounts on restaurants and buffets. Many people go for the buffets, but they are not that cheap and unless you are a huge eater, might not be worth it. Check out foodcourts and the delis in the casinos for cheaper options.
The alcohol flows 24/7 – you’re never far away from a bar or a margarita stand in the street – however, it’s not cheap (unless you’re gambling big time … and then it’s free!).
We saw Zumanity and the Lion King, which were both excellent. The Lion King tickets were free .. hmm, let me rephrase that, they cost us 2 hours of our time attending a timeshare presentation.
The Titanic exhibition was also well worth visiting. The admission ticket is a boarding card with a name on it, and at the end you can check to see if you survived or died on that fateful day. Needless to say, I died – and Jacek, my husband, must have dressed in drag as he survived (wasn’t it women and children first??). Very sad that 1,500 people died, and only 700 survived. The exhibition includes a big chunk of the side of the ship, recovered from the bottom of the ocean (nearly 2 miles down) and tons of crockery and personal belongings.
Las Vegas is very laid back – the good thing is that you are never under-dressed or over-dressed. Tuxedos and clothes that barely cover the essentials are equally accepted, and there’s no issue with walking around the streets with a beer, or a litre of margarita, or a yard of ale in your hand.