Between The Hangover and Katy Perry’s Waking Up in Vegas, the last few years would have any pop culture-savvy individual thinking Vegas was about nothing more than drinking, partying and waking up with empty pockets and a heavy head.
There is a nugget of truth to that, but my experience of Vegas was so much more than just partying – and yours can be too.
Where you sleep – or where you store your stuff depending on the type of holiday you have – will largely come down to budget.
If that’s not a word in your vocab (lucky you) then the Wynn and Encore (3131 S Las Vegas Blvd), the palazzo (3325 S Las Vegas Blvd) and the Bellagio (3600 S Las Vegas Blvd) is your top three. ( Image by Corinna Witt )
If you’re looking for something without a theme, try The Cosmopolitan (3708 S Las Vegas Blvd) for toned-down decor and when gambling’s really not your thing, look for a non-gaming hotel such as the Four Seasons (3960 S Las Vegas Blvd).
Those with a little less cash to burn should check out the West Tower at Circus Circus (2880 S Las Vegas Blvd), Planet Hollywood (3667 S Las Vegas Blvd) or the Luxor (3900 S Las Vegas Blvd).
Foodies will lurve the gastronomic smorgasbord in Vegas.
If you’ve got some big winnings to burn, Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand (3799 S Las Vegas Blvd) is an absolutely must-visit for French cuisine. Robuchon also has a slightly more low-key option at the MGM Grand called L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon.
For Japanese you can’t go past nobu (4455 Paradise Rd); try Firefly (9560 W Sahara Ave) for tapas; Lola’s (241 W Charleston Blvd) for southern soul food; and Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace (3570 S Las Vegas Blvd) for some of the best desserts you’ll ever eat. ( Image by @apollo3 )
In my opinion, you just can’t do Vegas without digging into a breakfast buffet – the Wynn takes the cake (or, rather, the eggs and bacon) in this category. It will change your mind about the quality of buffet food forever.
While I definitely recommend you hit a casino at least for a little while (when in Rome!), there are plenty of options for play beyond the slot machines and poker hands.
You can, and should, lose days checking out the incredible interiors of the hotels and shopping the luxury stores inside. My top tips – there’s no better way to see the mini-Manhattan of the New York-New York Hotel & Casino (3790 S Las Vegas Blvd) than the roller-coaster and don’t miss the free Bellagio fountains show outside the hotel.
Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium (3950 S Las Vegas Blvd) is incredible and one of few in the world that allows anyone with a dive ticket to swim with sharks. If that’s a little much, The Mirage’s (3400 S Las Vegas Blvd) Dolphin Trainer for a Day program is undoubtedly one of the coolest offerings in Sin City. ( Image by joanna8555 )
Even if you’ve seen it elsewhere, Cirque du Soleil is superb in Vegas. There are a number of different shows at various venues, and while the tickets can be pricey, the shows will truly blow your mind. For something different, the Bellagio offers a Master Sommelier’s Wine Classroom and a series of interactive cooking classes with world-famous celebrity chefs.
Before I left home, I asked my travel agent for some tips on escaping the bright lights and razzle-dazzle of Vegas, and every snippet of information I received was invaluable.
Just 30 miles from downtown Vegas, glistening Lake Meade is the perfect place to wind down and explore natural Nevada. Red Rock Canyon similarly gives you the chance to switch off and get an outdoorsy fix.
Of course, there are also plenty of spots to relax by the pool and some seriously beautiful day spas where you can choose to indulge in a treatment or buy a day pass to take time out. I did this at Aria (3730 S Las Vegas Blvd) and had an incredible day recharging my batteries in ultra-luxe surroundings.
Whatever your heart desires is available in Las Vegas – all you need do is roll the dice.
Author: With a short attention span and a desire to see it all; travel is one of Chloe Schneiders’ favourite topics to explore again and again.
Featured image by m j c