Sunday, February 5, 2012

Viva Las Vegas

My husband and I just got back from a three night stay in Vegas. We had an absolute blast! We recently went in September for his job, and I have to admit-I did not have the best time. Sure, I had fun because we were together but our location wasn't ideal and it was a pain to get anywhere. So, when we had some airline miles we needed to use, we decided to give Vegas another go-with my only request: stay in a a good part of the strip and stay in a nice hotel. Here is my review of fabulous Las Vegas!

We stayed at the Bellagio. I was so excited to be staying here. I don't really have a bucket list-but if I did, this would be something that I would be able to cross off! In my opinion, The Bellagio defines Vegas. Beautiful scenery, hustle and bustle, and of course, the infamous fountain show. The Bellagio is in an ideal location of the strip. We stayed at the Tropicana in September-which is at the very beginning of the strip and NOT ideal. So staying at the Bellagio was a wonderful change. It is located in between the newer Cosmopolitan Hotel and the popular Caesar's Palace. The check in process was a breeze-we arrived at the hotel around 11:30 am and had no problems being there way before check in to get a room. We requested a higher floor and they honored our request by putting us on the 24th floor. Our room was simply fabulous. We were in the "resort deluxe king" room and everything in this tower had been updated. Modern furnishings, including a lighted wardrobe, 40 inch flat screen TV, comfy bed and a separate seating area made this hotel room a nice treat to come back to after losing all of your money. ;) The bathroom was also well done. With a separate shower and tub, this bathroom did not feel like a hotel bathroom-it felt like something you would have in your own home.

Some of the downsides of this hotel was that the mini-fridge was well stocked. Why is this a downside? Well because every single item in the mini fridge has a motion sensor-so if you move one thing, regardless if you used it or not, you would be charged. We had planned on buying some of our own beer and wine to put in the fridge but this limited that for us. It wasn't a huge deal in the end because we just used the ice machine and that was fine-but it would have been nice to have the option of having a separate mini fridge. If that is the worst thing to say about a hotel, then I think that's a good thing!

Things to do in the Bellagio:
  • Go to the casino (if that's your thing)
  • Visit the conservatory and botanical gardens. This is a must! The theme while we were there was Chinese New Year and the scenery was spectacular
  • See the glass sculpture in the lobby (Fiori Di Como)
  • Gallery of Fine Art (we didn't do this)
  • O by Cirque du Soleil
  • Last but not least-watch the fountains of Bellagio, especially at night. The fountains are so amazing and they are timed to old classics, like Frank Sinatra
What we did
Rob and I did not see any shows while we were in Vegas this time around. We figured that people watching was a show in itself, and we had alot of fun just walking around to the different hotel and casinos. Here's where we went:
  • Planet Hollywood (directly across the street from Bellagio). We really liked this place and will probably stay there next time we go to Vegas. It has the "miracle mile" shops which is basically a huge mall and plenty of choices of restaurants and things to do.
  • Monte Carlo. We took the tram at Bellagio to get here, which was free and really convenient. We both felt that we got the best service here when we gambled-meaning we got free drinks often! We came here twice during our stay.
  • Paris. A really neat casino, that of course includes the Eiffel Tower ride. I highly recommend that you do this. It is 46 stories up (which is half of the real Eiffel tower, we learned) and you can see the entire strip. It was beautiful at night and we got some great pictures. It's about $10.50-$15 per person, depending on what time you go.
  • Caesar's Palace. Huge casino, huge hotel, HUGE mall. Both Caesar's and PH had a new H&M store. Caesar's also had Cheesecake Factory and a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, just to name a few.
We tried to eat as reasonably priced as possible and I think we did a pretty good job, considering everything is overpriced in Vegas, especially the restaurants. Here is where we dined:
  • Earl of Sandwich in Planet Hollywood: we loved this little sandwich shop so much that we actually ate here twice. Once for lunch and another time for breakfast. The food was really good and it was about $11/per person.
  • Cabo Wabo Cantina in Planet Hollywood: we ate dinner here in our last night in Vegas. They have a patio that faces the fountains of Bellagio and the rest of the strip. It was a really fun atmosphere, the service was great and the food was delish. Price: about $15-30 per person, not including drinks.
  • The Pub at Monte Carlo: not my favorite. It's a typical pub with typical pub food, but the atmosphere was bland and they were surprisingly not busy at 7:30.
  • Breakfast Buffet at Bellagio: You have to eat a buffet when you are in Vegas, right? Right! Their breakfast buffet was massive! It had a great selection of food from omelettes to French toast, fruits, cereal-you name it they had it. We got their at 7:00 am and by the time we left around 8:00-the line was already out the door. Price: $15.95/per person
  • Cafe Gellato at Bellagio: just your normal gellato shop. nothing too special
What to Expect when you go to Vegas:
  • Expect to do a lot of walking, no matter where you stay on the strip. Granted, it does help when you are staying somewhere more centrally located, but you will still do a ton of walking, no matter what.
  • Expect to overpay for just about everything. Food, drinks, shows, etc. You name it, and it will be twice the normal amount. Why? Because they can and you will pay it. Tip: since you can walk around with alcohol in Vegas, check for convenient stores inside the hotels. A lot of them do have good deals on beer, wine and mixed drinks.
  • Expect to get hassled by promoters wanting you to come to their nightclubs, people asking for money, and handing you "business cards" for escorts. You just have to ignore it and laugh it off, otherwise it'll really annoy you.
  • Expect to see alot of WEIRD people. You'll know what I mean.
  • Tip your cocktail waitresses when you gamble. You're getting a free drink and they will keep coming back if you tip them well. Yes, even when you just play the penny slots like we did!
  • Expect to have a TON of fun! Vegas is definitely a place that you have to go at least once, and if you have a good experience, you'll want to go again! Do your research on where to stay because it really does make a big difference.

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