VIVA LAS VEGAS (TRAVEL BLOG)

Last week Paul and I came back from a brilliant, albeit a rather sweaty week away in Las Vegas.  We had previously visited Vegas for a few days during a road trip and absolutely loved it, so we wanted to give it a proper go doing the things we hadn’t done before. Let’s be honest here, there’s no place quite like Las Vegas…

We arrived around 1.00pm after a surprisingly easy breeze of a flight, which felt more like 5 hours than 10. I watched ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ (WAY better than the shitty Force Awakens) and I also started the series ‘Westworld’ which is awesome and I can’t believe that I hadn’t watched it before. Security took fucking ages as per usual with the US, which is understandable, but it doesn’t help that we were stood in front of some absolute bellends for 2 hours straight. Sigh.

We stayed at The Luxor, which is one of the cheaper alternatives. I think the last hotel we stayed in, The Monte Carlo, was much better, but we had a pleasant enough stay.  The hotel is Egyptian themed, and it’s actually in the shape of a huge black pyramid. The pool area was really nice with 3 huge pools to choose from when they were actually all open… For some strange reason, at one of the hottest and busiest times of the year, there was a shortage of lifeguards, therefore only being able to use one of the pools sometimes. Because The Luxor is an ‘MGM Resorts’ hotel, we got to use the pool facilities at neighboring hotel ‘Mandalay Bay’, so it wasn’t too bad as it’s one of the best pools in Las Vegas!

On the day we arrived, we fought the jet-lag and managed to stay up until around 11 pm which was a huge achievement as we were absolutely shattered. We made our way to the main part of the strip, and I must say that seeing the lights was just as incredible as the first time we saw them. 🙂 We had a bite to eat and of course a little go in the casino, then a couple of beers in the ‘New York, New York’ hotel (I do love that place.) The heat was unbearably hot, and it was still over 40 degrees even though it was night-time!  The weather was one downside to the trip, as there was a heat wave – even locals were saying that it was far too hot! Some days it reached 46° so imagine how 2 British people, who class it was ‘hot’ in the mid 20’s felt in that heat 😦

On the second day, we woke up feeling as fresh as a daisy. We got ready and made our way down to breakfast, at what ended up being our regular spot for a deliciously overpriced breakfast. Yay! I had my usual toast, hash browns, and sausage.  Paul always went for a healthier option, which is probably why he lost weight and I gained 4 pounds. 😦 We spent a few hours in the pool; the water was so nice to cool down in. Who knew that Vegas could be so relaxing? The intense heat took it out of us, so we went for a sleep for a couple of hours before heading out for a few drinks and a gamble. Standard. We ate at my beloved Taco Bell (❤) I do love Taco Bell, especially the cool ranch Doritos Taco’s they have, which I’m kinda glad we don’t have any of them where I’m from, as I could quite easily become addicted to the bloody things! I think they’re the reason that I’ve come back fat, lol. The Taco Bell was also their flagship restaurant, where they have a dj and sell alcohol too (yes really.) The music was horribly loud and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I wouldn’t have minded if it were actually decent music, like Twenty One Pilots (I say Twenty One Pilots because they are quite literally played everywhere in Vegas, which is amazing because I am a massive fan.)

 The third day was the day when we found out that we could use the Mandalay Bay pool, so we headed over there and found a spot on the manmade beach that they’ve got. With it being one of the hottest days we had, you couldn’t even sit for long as the sun lounger was scorching hot, so we ran on what felt like boiling hot coals to cool off in the lazy river, then made our way to the massive wave pool, which was just as fun as it sounds! 🙂

When evening arrived we arranged to meet up with my friend Hallie, who I met in California and has just recently moved to Las Vegas. I was very excited as she had booked for us and our boyfriend’s to go in a limo down the Las Vegas strip, which turned out to be awesome. We met them at The Linq hotel, after a very stressful and hot walk which involved a lot of weaving in and out of the hotels just to feel the air con (Yes, it was that hot.) We managed to get a good view of the Ballagio fountains, which looked even more spectacular than we remembered. We finally arrived at The Linq and had time to introduce our boyfriend’s to each other before getting in the limo. Going down the strip in a limo was a very surreal experience, and I am so glad that we did it. The chauffeur very kindly took us to the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign, which was handy as that was something that we didn’t do last time and wanted to do before we left. Afterwards, to our delight we got a lift back to The Luxor so we didn’t have to endure that horrendous heat. We said our goodbyes to Hallie and Josh before Paul and I headed up to bed as we had a long day the next day…

The fourth day was indeed a long day, and that was because we did a 5 hour drive to visit The Grand Canyon. We could’ve gone to the much closer West Rim, but we figured that if we’re only going to do this once in a lifetime, then we may as well go to the National Park and see the real thing. The drive was pretty boring after a while to be honest, and usually I come prepared with a wide arrange of music to keep us occupied, but I didn’t remember to bring an aux cable, so only had limited music available which were on Paul’s phone. Paul and I share a similar music taste these days with Arcade Fire being our favourite band, so luckily he had enough songs I liked to keep me from going completely insane.

The Grand Canyon National Park  cost $30 to enter. We were informed that the ticket is valid for a week if we want to revisit, which I think is pretty good value as there’s so many little vantage points scattered around the park. I think it’s pretty obvious that we didn’t return given the length of the drive, but $30 was worth seeing a famous landmark like the Grand Canyon, and the rangers do a fantastic job of looking after the visitors and the upkeep of the park.

 We couldn’t believe the sheer size of the thing, and we just stared in awe at what was in front of our eyes. I personally enjoyed the views at desert view the most, and I particularly enjoyed going in the watchtower and getting an even better view! Another positive factor of the day was that the weather was a lot cooler in Arizona than it was Nevada, so it was definitely nice to get a break from the heat.

On our way back home we stopped off at a joint Taco Bell and KFC, much to our amusement when we got so confused at the layout of the building that we actually walked around trying to work it out, only to get shouted at by a drive through operator to get off the drive through! Oh dear. How cool is it that you get a hybrid fast food though? Paul got a KFC, and I of course got my beloved cool ranch Doritos taco. The drive back were draining as hell, so once we got home we were that exhausted we had our obligatory nightcap earlier than usual…

After the long day we had previously, we made sure we had a beast of a sleep in before having a couple of hours in the pool, before sticking to our plans which were to revisit our favourite hotels from last time that we had yet got to see since our return and also check out the hotels that we missed last time. Being the hottest day so far, we grabbed a couple of beers to walk down the strip with.  Paul chose a Bud Lite, and I went for the same but the lime version, which was so incredibly refreshing in taste and also just holding the cold beer in our hands were amazing.

First up was The Mirage, which we went in last time to see the show ‘LOVE’ which is based on The Beatles’ story. The Mirage is a lovely hotel, but there isn’t as much to see as the others so we decided to give it a miss this time. We then went on to visit The Venetian, which we agreed that this was both our favourite one. I love The Venician because you actually feel like you’re in Italy. Outside you’ve got a lovely little walkway towards the main entrance which is surrounded by water and Gondola’s. Inside is when it gets well and truly amazing though! The ceiling is painted like a realistic sky, and you really do feel like you’re in Venice. You’ve also got the gondolas flowing down the river (yes, the hotel has a river flowing through) and you’ve got beautiful sounding singers serenading people in the Gondola’s. I think this is so romantic to watch, which is a really weird thing to say about a hotel lobby, but you need to see it to believe it. By this point, we were a bit peckish so we grabbed a sandwich from the deli there, then we heard a load of noise and looked out of the window to see a show containing a lady singing some opera, a man with a guitar, a man on stilts and a rather hilarious jester :’) 

After a mooch around the shops we headed out towards Caesar’s Palace, which is another one of our favourites. I’d say that it is similar to The Venetian as it gives you the feeling like it’s outside when it’s in fact inside, but this time it’s based on the roman empire. The place is bloody huge,  and we saw so much that we previously didn’t see. I think that out of all the hotels the shops are better at Caesars, and I enjoyed having a cheeky gamble in the impressive casino that they’ve got there.
After spending a couple of hours wondering around (and getting lost.) We then decided to brave the sweltering heat once again, before making our way to The Flamingo hotel, which was one that we hadn’t yet visited. The Flamingo wasn’t anything special if I’m honest, especially with how magnificent the previous 2 were, but I had read that they have actual real life Flamingo’s in the grounds, so we went to see the little pink lovebirds before taking VERY long walk back towards our end of the strip.

On our usual weave in and out of buildings to feel the air con walk, we stumbled upon a quirky little shopping mall that had loads of restaurants and bars. Honestly, you could go on a night out here and never leave the shopping mall, its crazy. We were extremely hungry by this point as we hadn’t eaten much at all, so we checked out the menu’s of various places until we came across a something that we couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we saw that all lunch items were $5.99! We thought this was some kind of sick joke or a catch, but it was absolutely true. If you have ever visited Las Vegas then you’d know that food and drink is RIDICULOUSLY EXPENSIVE. I mean 2 beers are $20 in most places, even breakfast in our usual deli spot in the morning is $25 for the two of us. You must now be able to understand that this was very exciting for us, especially when beers were only $3 too. I ordered Salmon with potatoes and Paul got some beef with some fries, and I can honestly say that it was the best food I ate all week, as I don’t really like the food in America after a few days, so it was nice to have something that I’d eat at home. The place that we ate at was called the Ocean One Bar & Grill, and it is located in the ‘Miracle Mile’ shops, which is a part of the Planet Hollywood complex. Also, there’s a pretty cool rock bar there if you like rock music, aptly called…  The Rock Bar 😉

The following day was our last proper day, and so we spent a few hours enjoying the pool as much as we can, which was nice as it was a little bit cooler. I bought something called a sea-wag (gotta love that name) which is basically a sleeve that goes over your phone so your phone is waterproof. I’m proud to announce that my phone is still intact, and even though it was quite expensive for what it is, it’ll come in handy when we go to Bali as we’re planning on going white water rafting. Also we got some absolutely hilarious selfies of us underwater, as well as some nice photos of us by the pool to look back on in years to come.

We were planning to have a fairly chilled night on our night due to us having to be up early for our flight the next morning. Oh how naive we were! We stupidly had 3 or 4 beers down the strip, then made our way to ‘Beer Haus’. After playing Jenga whilst drinking out of a Stein and getting thrashed by two 10 year olds at table soccer*ahem* football, we thought we’d go have one or two in The Rock Bar that I mentioned earlier. I enjoyed it in there as it was the first time that I’d actually listened to decent music in a bar since we arrived as Vegas unfortunately has a serious absence of rock bars on the strip. 😦 Of course if you know me, then you’d know fair well that one does not simply have a sophisticated night after a few drinks, especially on a Friday night in Vegas…

Usually Paul is sensible enough to prevent us for making bad decisions such as going   full on party mode when we have to be up at 6AM for a 9 hour flight. Paul was not sensible, as Paul was around 5 pints in at this point *facepalm* I had the bright idea to contact Hallie and Josh, so we can say goodbye properly and of course carry on the partaaaay. Hallie suggested that we go to bar called ‘Gilley’s’ that was situated within the grounds of ‘Treasure Island’, a hotel we’d actually missed out. I was a bit dubious at first due to how rowdy it seemed initially,  but it was actually amazing and it’s a shame that we only came across it on the last night. Gilley’s is a real country and western bar and  I felt like I experienced the America that I always dreamt of experiencing here with the thick southern accents, the cow-boy’s, the rodeo bull and the line dancing. I was actually in awe at how in sync the line dancers were with each other, and the music that they were dancing to was a real band which made it even better. Hallie and Josh bought Paul and I some Fireball Whiskey (mm anti-freeze) for some liquid confidence before we gave the line dancing a go. And yes, we sucked at it.

Ideally, we should have gone home afterwards, but we agreed to go to a shisha bar, or ‘hookah lounge’ as they call it over there, which I think sounds like pure filth haha. I only smoke when I drink sometimes, and Paul wouldn’t smoke if you paid him a million pounds, in fact I would go as far as saying he detests it. I shared a hookah (lol) with Hallie and had a little dance whilst the lads had a pint together. I have no idea how long we were in there, but all that they played was gangsta rap and all usually I would hate that, but all I can remember is I was ENJOYING myself. Damn, that anti-freeze must be good. 😉

We got to bed around 3AM, after a rather embarrassing dispute with the lady behind the counter in the hotel shop. I genuinely thought she charged me $10 for a packet of crips, so after causing a scene, I rushed to find my trusty knight in shining armour to rescue my seemingly rogue spare change from the clutches of this evil woman… Only to be told by my knight in shining armour that said change is hanging out of my pocket. Duh. Cue an embarrassing trip to the shop to apologise to the poor lady, I then had to try to drag Paul out of a bar that was showing the ‘British Lions’ rugby match. I think it goes without saying that we had a little too much to drink!

We certainly said that when we woke up absolutely pissed out of our heads, I genuinely don’t even remember checking out of the hotel lol. I was also convinced that I had left my bag of make up (my literal nightmare right there) at the hotel once I was on the plane, but luckily drunk Amy still had her priorities in check and remembered. 😉

As I’m writing this I’m giggling to myself, and I’m sure you are too, Paul. Afterall, it wouldn’t be a holiday to Vegas if you didn’t go slightly crazy whilst there. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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