Vegas is one of those places that is on everyone’s bucket list, and rightly so. It’s iconic and you need to go at least once in your life. Would I go again? I don’t think so. Is it one of my favourite parts of the US? Not at all.
Las Vegas wasn’t really my cup of tea. “The Strip” is a collection of palatial hotels in Las Vegas, each housing its own theatre and casino, plus numerous restaurants. Malls are also contained within hotels, so you can’t escape the trilling of slot machines (which starts at baggage claim at the airport, believe it or not.) Because it is so hot (around 45 degrees Celcius when I visited, in July), we went from one air conditioned space to the next, barely managing 5 minutes walking on the street.
The hotels are all ridiculously over the top- the Venetian is a replica of Venice, complete with its own canals and gondolas, while the Luxor is reminiscent of ancient Egypt, built in the shape of a pyramid, with a massive sphinx at the entrance.
I’m one for natural beauty and my favourite way to explore a city is on the streets, on foot, so I quickly grew tired of constantly seeking air conditioned salvation.
I stayed at the Four Seasons on the end of the Strip, which didn’t have much of a Vegas feel to it, a welcome respite from the rest of the city. Unlike the larger hotels, where it’s common to wait more than 30 minutes in a queue to check in, my stay at the Four Seasons was hassle free, with welcome added extras, like a “house car”- a complimentary vehicle ready to drop guests off anywhere on the Strip. www.fourseasons.com
The Strip is literally 5 minutes away from the airport, so don’t be conned into spending a lot on airport transfers. There are limos everywhere, and the drivers keep trying to bargain with you to get you to take a limo ride. In terms of hotels, I would suggest staying on the Strip so that you can have the view and so that you can tell everyone you’re staying on the Las Vegas Strip J, but if you want to stay slightly away from the Strip it’s not a huge deal.
While I didn’t do any gambling, I was thrilled by the entertainment hub that is Las Vegas. Shows, clubs, fine dining, exhibitions- you could be kept occupied for days, provided you’re willing to cough up – these attractions don’t come cheap.
One show that is worth its ticket price is Le Reve. The entire show is performed in an aqua theatre- basically a multi dimensional swimming pool. The theatre is intimate, leaving you captivated by the artistic athleticism and aerial acrobatics displayed by the performers. www.lereve.com. We also saw a Cirque Du Soleil show which was good but I think all Cirque Du Soleil type things (acrobatic shows) are pretty much the same…
During the day, activities are mostly limited to shopping and gambling, but there are a few great exhibitions worth seeing. I thoroughly enjoyed the Titanic artifact exhibition at the Luxor hotel, which has been running since 2008. Visitors are guided through a replica of the ships lobby, guest rooms and dining area. You are also able to see a piece of the ship (the largest solid piece that has been recovered to date), a life size replica of the iceberg that determined its fate, plus the actual personal possessions of some of the guests. www.luxor.com/entertainment/titanic
We spent one day doing the Grand Canyon. We decided to do a helicopter tour to save time, which would have been fine if we didn’t get sick. The constant oscillation of the helicopter gave us motion sickness, and while neither of threw up we were both pretty close. This took away from the experience somewhat (while I was in the air I just wanted it to end and for us to be back on the ground) but nevertheless, it was still amazing to see it from above and I’d still recommend you do it, just take motion sickness meds!
We also went to a club, and that was really cool, even though it was just the two of us. It felt very surreal to see a club exactly like how it is in the movies.
I think two days is more than enough in Vegas. Book a few shows, eat, gamble just for fun, and walk from one mall to the next and (window) shop. After that, move on and go see a city that is more authentic!