Vegas had always been on our list to visit while living on this side of the world and we are so lucky that we made it happen in our first year. We had been talking about it, looking at hotels and flight prices for a few weeks when one evening, D suddenly snapped his laptop closed, exclaiming “I’ve done it! We’re going”. He had booked us three nights at The Venetian. I couldn’t wait! Three nights exploring the glitz and glamour of the lights of Vegas. Bring it on!
We arrived at The Venetian hotel on a Friday evening and quickly made our way to the check-in desk. I had read several things online about offering tips to the clerk and asking if there were any complimentary upgrades available. I was super cocky about this before hand, but soon chickened out when faced with the human behind the desk. We did receive an upgrade to a higher floor and a pool view though, not bad for mentioning you were newly weds (well, three months married is still “newly wed”, right?).
Arriving in the evening meant that we didn’t get to notice the view we had been given but the room itself was something else. For a standard room, it was pretty awesome. I know that The Venetian boasts some of the biggest rooms on the strip and they were right. It had to be one of the comfiest beds I’ve ever slept in, too.
But the casino’s, I know that’s what you all want to hear about! The first thing that hit us was the smoking. Smoking is legal inside almost everywhere, with the exception of places that serve food, elevators, etc. But coming from a state where it is hardly seen/smelt, it’s a shock. It reminded me of walking into the social club where we used to go as children and being hit in the face with cigarette smoke mixed with stale beer. It wasn’t something that I got used to either; I noticed it everywhere.
That aside, we did enjoy ourselves! The casino floor is a whole other world. People flashing around so much money and not batting an eyelid if they lost hundreds of dollars on one hand. It certainly wasn’t how me and D’s weekend was going to pan out. We set ourselves a limit and drew out $200. When it was gone, that was it. Game over. The ATM charges are enough to put you off taking out any more money, anyway!
Having been at work on the Friday, we decided that we wouldn’t spend all night in the casino, as alert and awake as we felt from the cool, oxygen-filled air that you are forced to inhale. We flopped into the humungous bed and decided to venture out of the hotel and explore some of the other hotels that Vegas houses the following day.
We spent the day walking in and out of all of the big names: Ceasars Palace, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Luxor, New York-New York. They all are spectacular in their own right. Out of all the hotels that we saw, our personal favourite had to be the MGM Grand. The casino seemed to be the most user-friendly and had the best atmosphere. We spent a few hours there, enjoying a new-found love for the Roulette tables.
But not wanting to spend all of our pretty greens in one day, we moved on and found the infamous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. As with everything, there was a queue to have your picture taken (how very British!). Don’t be fooled by this! It’s a scam. There are signs everywhere saying that you can’t be charged for having your own picture taken, even if it is by Elvis himself. There are plenty of tourists there so anyone you ask will gladly return the favour for snapping their own portrait.
Having booked our trip through Expedia, we earned $200 resort credit to be used at the hotel on food and drink, so we decided that a fancy meal at one our their restaurants was needed, and as lovers of steak, we had to choose Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro. To say it was tasty was an understatement! The food, the wine and the creme brûlée was heavenly. Having once walked miles through Paris to find a quaint French bistro serving the very same, I was glad we didn’t have to venture out of our hotel for this one. Everything from the decor to the service was immaculate and we weren’t rushed through our meal. Even when we asked for a 20 minute break before serving dessert, we were not let down. Enjoying the people watching and the great wine (I know I’ve mentioned it twice now, but it really was tasty wine!) made getting dressed up really worth it.
After dinner, we decided to hit some of the casinos at the other hotels. And of course, you can’t come to Vegas and not witness the incredible Fountains of the Bellagio. The water show takes place every 15-30 minutes throughout the afternoon and evening and it has to be seen to be believed. The water is just one part. The lights and music just make it! One tip though, if there is even the tiniest bit of wind, make sure to stand up-wind. You don’t want your makeup and hair failing you before you even get to make your grand entrance at the casino.
On day 2, being so close to it, we decided to hire a car and drive to the Grand Canyon, Arizona. It meant an early start and several hours on the road, but someone did think about it and the road there takes you straight over the Hoover Dam. Pretty thoughtful, hey? The numb bums, tired eyes and stiff legs were all worth it. The Grand Canyon is just something else. There is no way you can imagine it’s size without having seen it. We ventured to the south rim and a little further east. Tip #2: if you are planning this trip, make sure to wear decent shoes (not flip flops!) as you can see so much by doing a little climbing. You can even find some awesome “sit and think spots” if you are daring enough!
As me and D only had 2 full days in Vegas, we spent most of this time exploring and walking around, trying to take everything in. We did make the most of the food and drinks on offer (hello Shake Shack!) and spent money in virtually every big casino there. If we were to go back, I think I would insist on a day/afternoon spent relaxing at the pool, especially if we returned to same hotel. There are so many other things that we did miss, including the old town, also known as the downtown area, where they have the Fremont Street Experience (something that was recommended to us, but we ran out of time).
Las Vegas will most definitely be a place that we revisit. Even with all of it’s “tacky” lights, questionable shows, and a different Elvis on each corner, I think I left a tiny part of my heart there ❤ .
Have you been to Vegas? What did you enjoy the most? Is Vegas somewhere you would like to see before you “pop your clogs”?