Monday, 7 November 2016

Road Trip Part 6; Las Vegas

 I was SO excited to go to Vegas, which is funny as it really didn't start out that way. My original thought about Vegas was that it was going to be one of those places that I might as well visit, but that I wouldn't necessarily enjoy. However, the closer we got to the trip, the more excited I found myself being about just how much there was going to be to do there.

The plan for Vegas was simple. The first night there we already had plans - I REALLY wanted to go to a buffet whilst there, and spent ages researching the correct one. There is a post on this conveniently coming up on Wednesday, so you can see where I chose and what I thought about it then :-)

 The rest of the plan was that on our full day in Vegas, we would walk all the way up the strip during the day, and all the way down the other side during the night. Of course, stopping off wherever we felt like on the way and armed with a list I'd made about what free things we could do whilst there!

 This was made particularly simple by the fact that we were staying in a motel just behind the MGM Hotel, which is conveniently more or less at one end of the strip, so it was straightforward. We don't regret staying in a motel here by the way - I was originally disappointed as we were going to be staying in the Stratosphere, however when Chris joined us it became too expensive and we had to switch to a motel. However, the motel was actually far closer to the strip despite the Stratosphere seemingly being on it, and therefore it worked out much better for us. Plus in Vegas, as well as the costs of the hotel you also have to pay a resort fee when you get there - the motel didn't bother with that and we weren't actually there much at all so we don't feel like we missed out.

 That being said, if I was to recommend you a hotel in Vegas and you want an ACTUAL strip hotel, I would tell you to stay in New York New York. It was my favourite by far - and I say this as someone who actually really dislikes NYC! It had a great feel and atmosphere to it and I loved the theming to it. Caesar's Palace would be my second choice.

 Vegas actually has plenty for you to do. I was surprised at the fact that the majority of the casinos all ended up looking exactly the same as each other - I thought they would put more effort into theming, but most places didn't. BUT, there's plenty for you to go and look at. Most of the hotels are really interesting to just walk around and explore. Of course you can go and see the gondolas or you can go and look at some of the rollercoasters, but I loved the little things like going and seeing some flamingos in their garden :-)

 It is a hideously tacky place, but I actually really liked that. I LOVED the buildings and the designs they've put into it, and how places like Caesar's Palace can come across as such a lovely and luxurious place despite the fact it is themed around ancient Rome - Somehow, it just works! And there are so many things to come across - you can go and see the big fountains at the Bellagio of course, but nearby we found some smaller fountains dancing to Disney songs and as they weren't one of the main tourist drivers we had no problems finding an easy viewing point and watching them for ages.

 Of course, you also get the street actors. I don't know if that is quite the right word for them. Dozens of girls wearing bras and police hats trying to get you to go and take a picture with them. An absolutely terrifying Chuckie. Of course, a fat Elvis. Lots of people trying to sell you things and handing you cards to their casinos - and, oddly, someone trying to hand me and Chris discounted wedding packages.

 Although, ACTUALLY, the wedding scene in Vegas is actually quite nice. I know that when people think of Vegas they think of being married by Elvis, and while I'm sure that is still something that actually exists, we didn't see any of that. What we did see what the option to get married in the flamingo garden underneath a waterfall with a cute little garden chapel, and we did see what looked like a very luxurious wedding at the Bellagio where the bride and groom came out afterwards for some professional photos in front of the fountains. We certainly did see our fair share of people in wedding dresses, but I would only say that one of the weddings we saw actually looked tacky - the rest looked really nice, and I have told Chris that if we ever did get married I think Vegas is the way to go - it's also significantly cheaper than anywhere else that I've seen!

 There is regular shopping in Vegas as well, and me and Chris spent more time in Bed, Bath and Body Works than anywhere else. As Chris has never been to the US he had never been in one before, and he really likes candles and hand washes and things like that so our friend got very annoyed with us as we spent about two hours there walking around sniffing things. Chris got a regular hand wash and really regretted not getting more as he get through it ridiculously quickly, whilst I left with three perfumes and really regretted not getting some Autumnal candles too.

 The majority of the shopping is luxurious brands though, which we weren't really interested in.

 In terms of food options, you've got some great choices, particularly if you're willing to splash out or want a buffet. As I've already mentioned, check back on Wednesday if you'd like to see the buffet we ended up picking! There is also a surprising amount of piano bars, and plenty of your ordinary pizza, fast food and whatever else. But do remember that a lot of it IS expensive, and in the end we ended up going with food courts for lunch as it was just coming to too much. That being said, the food courts were good quality so this wasn't such a bad thing.

Las Vegas, Nevada
 We didn't see a show whilst there, mostly due to bad timing although price was a factor as well. The shows there are VERY expensive. We wanted to see one of Cirque's shows, but the two we were interested in weren't showing on the days that we were there. Instead they had one that looked like bad burlesque that none of us were interested in, and a Beatles themed one. None of us like the Beatles, but I still thought the show looked good, but it was pricey. My friends reluctantly agreed to come along but I could tell the price was really putting them off and that they were only willing to go along because it was something I was interested in, so we decided not to do it. Had Penn & Teller been performing on the night we were there, we would have happily paid to go and see them.
 While walking to one end and back is something you CAN do, you probably shouldn't. If you have more time in Vegas than we did, don't do this! It was SO PAINFUL. Our feet were in agony towards the end. We'd also left it far too long to eat and by the time we started looking we were absolutely starving and were only coming across expensive options. In the end we ended up paying way too much for a regular burger as we needed to eat to stop ourselves from killing each other. Some resorts are also further away than they look. We had three remaining resorts and though they were all right next to each other, it took absolutely ages to walk to each one, let alone the walking we did inside of them. So Much. Pain.
 Overall though, we all really enjoyed Vegas. I will say I don't necessarily see myself going back because I feel like I have done enough of it, but it is still a place I would recommend people put on their list. There is plenty to do there, and I do think it has something for everyone. Even if you think you'll struggle to get past how tacky and ridiculous it is, it is one of those places that I think everyone would find something fun.
Trevi Fountain at Las Vegas, Nevada


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