After two years of being shut down, my gals and I couldn’t stand it anymore, so an educational conference was the perfect excuse for a ticket out of town. Las Vegas was our destination, and a few extended days of fun were certainly in order. The four of us left no adventure behind as we literally walked for miles, testing all different styles of restaurants, entertainment opportunities and excursions.
I haven’t been to Vegas in 15 years, and I was surprised to see how actual “clean” it is. Construction is at a minimum, but even so, construction sites are very well-maintained, and they make it easy to still get around.
Vegas is quite expensive, so plan accordingly. For the nicer restaurants, meals run $80-$90 with a drink. Hotel spas run around $200 an hour and reserving a nice lounge chair in the private pool area will run you $75/day.
Now to the Vegas experience.
#1 Entertainment – Hands down (or should we say cards down), America’s Got Talent Champion, Shin Lim wins for the entertainment experience in Vegas. Also appearing on stage was AGT’s runner-up, Colin Cloud. The two together provided an experience of a lifetime that left everyone stunned and scratching their heads. Audience involvement was the key. Most of all, both entertainers were incredibly gracious and so appreciative to the audience for being there. It was honest and heartfelt. I have seen many shows in my lifetime, but this one, it’s worth the trip. Without a doubt.
#1 Restaurant – Now for the meals. Our days were packed with food experiences. From American to Asian cuisine and even a few food street trucks and burger joints, we ate our way to every recommended place. It wasn’t a discussion for even a minute – Mott32 at the Venetian was absolutely the best meal. Mott 32 takes a modern approach to Chinese cuisine, embracing traditional recipes with innovative cooking techniques. Noted in Conde’s Nest Traveler Magazine, this meal experience, including the wonderful staff, was simple perfection all the way. Highly recommend the dumplings, for sure.
#1 Hotel – The Bellagio – First of all, room service is top quality. The amenities are so abundant you honestly would never have to leave the hotel, if you didn’t want to do so. There is a beautiful view from about every room. From a shopping experience to the security at each elevator, it felt there was more than enough staff (and we were here during the Billboard Music Awards weekend) who were lovely and accommodating. This 24-year-old hotel doesn’t look at all worn. The hotel pools were stunning – and there were multiple to choose from. Whether you chose complete privacy in a cabana or a simple lounge chair with a towel, you never felt crowded. We stayed on the Stay Well Premier floor of the hotel. Air purifiers were abundant (which was nice after walking through the crowded, smoky casino) and the cleanliness of each hallway, elevator and room was impeccable. Oh, and have we mentioned the fountains?
#1 Excursion – Papillon Tours – The Grand Canyon Experience was one of the most experiences of a lifetime – but only if you don’t mind a fabulous helicopter ride. Papillion Tours takes guests on a spectacular Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon West Rim, located within the Hualapai Nation. Our adventure began with our delightful pilot, Chris from Norway who took us on a breathtaking 35-minute flight through the Grand Canyon. This airborne journey included fantastic aerial sights of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River. We stopped for a two-and-a-half-hour journey at the Skywalk and then to Guano Point. Couple of things to note: the Skywalk will not let you take your own pictures; however, there are plenty of spaces to take pictures and selfies, capturing some of the most brilliant sites in North America. Definitely a hit on the “things to do” list. Certainly pricey, but worth it.
So, if you’re thinking about a long-weekend destination with the girls (and you’re over 21 – it IS still Vegas, ya know), Las Vegas might be a pleasant surprise. So grab that short flight for some amazing sites and exquisite food. Most of all, remember to laugh and bond with those you love. That, and a visit to the classic Las Vegas sign, will give you a weekend you won’t soon forget.