This photo is was on my phone from years ago, source unknown
We first went to Vegas a number of years ago, for B's 30th! I was slightly apprehensive before we went, wondering if it was going to be as sleazy and in your face as some tv programmes or films. I needed have worried, we got there and I loved it! But why do I love Vegas, I honestly think there might be too many reasons to list, but here are some of my favourites: the weather and the epic swimming pools to chill out in; the gambling, especially blackjack! I love to play it but even if you don't, the sheer number of gaming tables and slot machines mean you could lose a few hours people watching; the Cirque de Soleil shows, so many of the hotels have one, but we went to see O at the Bellagio and literally sat on the edge of our seats all night. To this day I have never seen a better live show; the food! Oh the food (I really feel like I need to take Bex to Vegas, she would be in heaven!), from secret pancakes are not on the menu (you have to know about them to order them!) to dressing up for dinner at so many amazing restaurants, Vegas is foodie heaven; the shopping, I'm not sure that it would possible for there to be more designer shops on one street than you will find on Las Vegas Boulevard! In my experience the staff were all very nice and let you fawn over everything from designer handbags to $$$$ jewellery, I guess they never know if you've just won it big!! Thankfully Vegas also offers shops for us mere mortals and I can happily lose myself in Sephora for hours; and lastly, there's just the spectacle of Vegas and the strip itself. There's the lights and the themed hotels, the glitz and the sheer size of Vegas, it really has to be seen to be believed.
These photos were taken by me from the O programme I bought at the show
The first time we went to Vegas was in August 2007 and it was HOT. I booked pretty much our whole stay as I was trying to keep it as a surprise for the birthday boy, we ended up staying in a so many hotels! I wanted something amazing for his actual birthday so booked a suite at the Venezia Tower (within the Venetian Hotel) for two nights over his birthday. I paid quite a bit for two nights and then we upgraded even further when we got there! Upgrading on check in it my absolute top tip for Vegas. From that experience onwards, we always asked about upgrading and always either got something for free or paid a nominal charge (something like $25 for our stay) to get a better room or access to a free breakfast each day.
On that first trip we stayed in Circus Circus, The Venetian, the MGM Grand and the Luxor. I think the Venentian was our favourite given we had so much included, the conceierge was amazing and even booked us front row balcony tickets for O and we spent a whole day chilling out at their pool and spa, complete with a fabulous massage. I did also love the Luxor, despite being an older hotel on the strip, the fun of being in a hotel that's actually a pyramid was fab! We had booked a standard (cheap) room and paid $30 in total, only £15 given the exchange rate at the time!, to upgrade to a suite. Our suite came with a hot tub that you could sit in and view the strip. Amazing. Just don't do what I did and fall asleep in the hot tub when you are slightly tipsy at 5am. Luckily I had already removed the plug before actually falling asleep...
As a surprise on B's birthday we went on a helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon. It was the first time either of us had been in a helicopter and we loved it. We flew out to the canyon and had a champagne lunch down in the canyon and as we flew home the sun set and we were treated to a quick tour of the strip lit up in all it's glory.
Another discovery we made in Vegas back in 2007 was Peter Lik a photographer who has a number of galleries in Vegas, including the one in Caesars Palace that we visited. We loved the colours in his photographs and spent quite a long time exploring the prints in the gallery. We ended up buying two of his limited edition canyon photographs, Angel's Heart and Secret Veil. Angel's Heart, below, is my favourite given the purple hues and I love having these pictures on our living room wall as a reminder of Vegas.
The last time we went to Vegas was actually on my 29th birthday in January last year. I am sensing a theme for our Vegas trips! We had been in New York for 6 nights and then headed to Vegas for 8 nights. This time we stayed at the Encore, part of the Wynn Resort, after it was highly recommended by friends. It's also near to the middle of the strip so we were happy with the location relative to the other hotels and attractions. Our room also happened to look like this....
Again we managed to blag an upgrade, this time for free and just to a room on the top 10 floors. Apparently you usually have to pay extra for these are they have the best view of the strip. And what a view. I tried so many times to get a good picture of the strip at night, but I could always see myself reflected in the glass. Our camera was brand new, having bought it in duty free at the airport, so we really couldn't work out which setting would capture the lights outside and not me. Ah well, we'll just have to go back right??
We spent a lot of time simply wandering around Vegas on this trip, finding new restaurants, exploring hotels we never visited the first time, watching the fountains at the Bellagio (somehow we missed them on our first trip!) and dicovering the best bar that sold margaritas by the yard! And it was right next to the Marc Jacobs shop, I was in heaven. We also hired a Mustang and drove out to the Hoover dam. So much fun!! The road bridge at the dam was relatively new and our sat nav didn't know about it, this caused nearly half an hour of us laughing a lot as we kept crossing the border from Colorado into Arizona and either gaining an hour or losing an hour. Writing it down it doesn't seem all that funny, but it was at the time!