Sin City, City of Lights, The Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas has racked up the nicknames, but does it live up to the hype?
In my opinion it certainly does! If you’d have asked me 6 years ago, my answer would have differed. I honestly imagined the city as a Blackpool in the sun (Sorry Blackpool!!) But, a family wedding in the Nevada gem 5 years ago opened my eyes. Fast forward to 2017 and off I went once more. A long weekend in Las Vegas was the perfect start to our American Honeymoon!
How to get to Las Vegas
If you read last weeks post on organising our honeymoon, you’ll know we booked our whole trip with Travel Counsellors, including our flights. Our 11 hour flight from Manchester Airport to Las Vegas Maccaren, with Virgin Atlantic, was exceptional. Considering my ‘day job’ is as a make-up artist, it was ironic to have a flight full of beauty consultants heading off to a conference in the sun, joining us on our flight (and onto our hotel would you believe). However, this seemed to be in our favour, as a flight attendant quickly whisked us off to an empty row and handed us each a glass of fizz to enjoy before take off- a very welcome start to the honeymoon!
Return flights to Las Vegas in April with Virgin Atlantic costs around £900 per person
Where to stay in Las Vegas
During our first trip to Vegas we stayed in the iconic Flamingo. It’s a fun and relaxed hotel, perfect for family or group holidays. But when it came to our honeymoon, we wanted something a little more special. The Signature at MGM met that brief and more. In fact, It was absolutely gorgeous!
As one of the only hotels in Las Vegas without a casino, The Signature at MGM consists of three, 38 storey golden towers, situated just off the strip, adjacent to the famous MGM Grand.
We booked a Deluxe Balcony Suite for four nights, and were delighted to find our room was up on the 32nd floor! You know those lift journeys where your stomach takes a second to catch up with you? Yeah, it was that high!
Our room consisted of a kitchenette, sitting and dining area, king sized bed and a bathroom even Julia Roberts in Pretty Women, would have envied.
And that’s before you stepped out onto the balcony! With views over the bustling strip and serene desert, it was the perfect welcome to our home from home.
The only downside? The 15 minute walk to actually get out of the hotel and onto the strip. But then this is Vegas- with so much to see and do, you won’t be heading anywhere in a rush!
A Deluxe Balcony Suite for four nights in April costs around £750 before city tax.
What to see in Las Vegas
What’s not to see! Suggesting you can see and do everything in this city in 4 days would be completely unrealistic, but if you prioritise whats important to you, you won’t miss out.
For us, this trip was all about embracing Las Vegas and appreciating the grand scale of it all. We stepped inside most hotels for a cocktail or a flutter, caught the Bellagio foundations and spent an evening at The Freemont Street Experience, all the while absorbing the electric atmosphere.
The magnificent hotels and glitzy casinos are at the heart of Las Vegas and you can’t spend a weekend here without exploring them. From the less luxurious Luxor, Excalibur and Treasure Island to the regal Encore, Caesars and Venetian, the casino’s all feature similar slot machines and gaming tables, so there is something for all tastes.
Personally, I love the glamorous side to Vegas, and could happily spend a night sipping cocktails upon the leather recliners, under the chandeliers in the buzzing Wynn!
Intrigued by Las Vegas drinks prices? This is where it gets interesting!
Prices at the bars and clubs can be really eye watering, but it’s a different situation when having a flutter in the casino! Catch the waiter’s eye whilst trying your luck at winning some dollar and they’ll happily serve you your tipple of choice in exchange for a tip (around 1 or 2 dollar bills per drink). I supped on sparkling wine, cocktails and premium spirits and in turn saved a fortune over the weekend! Of course, just make sure you know your limits when it comes to the gambling side.
The hotels don’t only house casinos though. You’ll find designer stores, haute cuisine restaurants and swanky bars. Plus if you visit in the summer months you can even take advantage of outdoor spa’s and pool parties.
Catching a show
Las Vegas must be the only city where you can see Britney one night, Celine the night and end the weekend at the Cirque de Soleli. With tickets available in advance or sometimes even cheaper on the day, catching a show is a must during your trip.
We picked up some last-minute seats to see Rod Stewart from Tix4Tonight for the same price as a typical arena concert in the UK. The theatres are generally smaller than our arenas, meaning you get a much more intimate experience so it’s worth every penny.
Penn and Teller however, we booked in advance. And I hate to tell you, we really didn’t rate it. There wasn’t much magic, the drinks were EXTORTIONATE and they didn’t keep us on the edge of our seat. On our next trip, we’ll definitely be adding a Cirque du Soleli to our list instead!
Heading down town
In need of some nostalgia? You can’t visit the strip without heading downtown and experiencing the Vegas of old. Take The Deuce bus from your hotel down to the Fremont Street Experience for only $8 for a 24 hour ticket. The buses run every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day and it’s the quickest and cheapest way to connect New to Old Vegas.
Some of the areas between the two areas might be a little rough round the edges, and I’ll admit I felt at little uneasy around some areas near the SLS and Stratosphere when on foot. But, if you want to have a peek at the famous wedding chapels up close, jump off the Deuce and see them for yourself! I couldn’t resist grabbing a pic with the pink Cadillac at this chapel!
You’ll hear Fremont Street before you even catch sight of the array of neon signs. The area is simply buzzing, and I’d suggest visiting late afternoon with the intention of staying on into the evening. Try your luck at the Golden Nugget gaming tables, grab a picture with the Binions million (it’s free!) or fly over the street on Slotzilla ,before settling in the for light show. The light show begins at around 6pm (depending on season) with a show every hour. In between you can wander down to many of the music acts performing on the pedestrianised street and dance the night away.
Make sure you tag any photo’s you post during your time here with #FremontStreet for the chance to be featured on the worlds largest Instagram wall, which covers the entire space above the street. (Yes, we did it, and I thought I was a celebrity of the night, ha!)
Fancy a cocktail whilst your here? Check out the stylish Commonweath or text them for the code to their speakeasy The Laundry Room, for a more intimate drinking den. We didn’t and I really wish we did!
Where to eat in Las Vegas
With a la carte restaurants, buffets and fast food vendors round every corner, you’ll never been hungry in Vegas!
No American holiday is complete without a visit to a buffet, so we decided to try a brunch and dinner service during our time in Las Vegas. The Flamingo Paradise Garden Buffet costs $24.99 (around £18) and includes unlimited mimosa and bloody Mary’s alongside more sweet and savory options you could ever imagine. Grab a window seat to admire the views of waterfalls and flamingos whilst slowly grazing over your brunch and planning your day ahead.
Catching the volcano show at The Mirage one evening is an absolute must. Teaming it with dinner at The Mirage buffet Cravings is an even bigger treat. Unlimited wine and beer, live cooking stations and world-wide cuisines, you’ll be seriously spoilt for choice!
Having been on the pre-wedding diet since Christmas, during the day we took full advantage of the American fast food we don’t have over here in the UK. Taco Bell, Johnny Rockets, In N Out and Fat Burger– we tasted them all- and my waist line and I don’t regret it one bit!!!
Off the beaten track
Now I couldn’t tell you about our recent trip without throwing back to one of my favourite Vegas experiences of 2013. The Grand Canyon.
Mum and I decided on a whim to book a helicopter flight with Maverick Tours. The Flight at Sunset- Silver Cloud Experience was one I’ll never forget, and has definitely made my feet itchy for another helicopter trip sometime in the near future.
The excursion heads out from the airbase just off the strip, to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before arriving in Grand Canyon’s West Rim. I don’t know what I really expected of the Canyon, but its so incredible it’s indescribable. As the sun sets you fly back towards the strip and capture the view as the city’s lights are waking the for night- real goose bump creating stuff!
If you have the budget to book with Maverick, you won’t regret it.
If you don’t, head over to LINQ and jump onto the high roller for fabulous views of Las Vegas and beyond.The wheel is 107 feet taller than the London Eye, making it the world’s largest observation wheel! It’s heaps cheaper than the Grand Canyon trip, at $25 per person, and only takes 30 minutes.
Love it or hate it?
Many say Vegas is like marmite- but if your pretty certain you’ll hate it, it’s still worth a visit. You just never know, you might be just like me, and not get enough of the place! If you are tempted to visit Las Vegas, why not pin the image below?!