Friday, April 22, 2011

Top Ten Chic Chickpea Encouraged Experiences: Las Vegas Edition

Finally, the promised post on (and links for) the Top Ten Chic Chickpea Encouraged Experiences.
I thought I would be conventional and start with Las Vegas as that was the first place I visited on my trip, I must admit I struggled a little though as I wanted to try and make each top ten item unique and so much of this part of the trip was spent either shopping or eating (how I prefer to spend so much of my time really) so I have included one item (number nine) that I actually did on my last trip to Las Vegas but that I feel is absolutely essential if you can manage to do it.

Without any further ado I present the list:
Number One:
Have dinner at one of the many fantastic restaurants at the
Wynn or Encore. I highly recommend the Society Cafe or Bartolotta.
This is a statue outside one of the entrances to the Wynn. So pretty.
Number Two:
Go up the 'Eiffel Tower' at night. Oh yes, I know it's not Paris (It's Paris Las Vegas) and I know it is a little cheesy (okay, a lot cheesy) and I know Gustave Eiffel is probably turning in his grave, but the view is absolutely unparalleled and there is no better vantage point for the Bellagio water fountain show. For the romantics there is also a restaurant inside. 

Number Three:
Breakfast at Grand Lux Cafe. I am not a fan of buffet so I ordered off the a la carte breakfast menu and it was sublime. Not only that, the staff were very friendly and the atmosphere suited both solo diners and those in groups. Bonus: Only a few moments away from the Palazzo shops!

Number Four:
Go shopping. I am not a gambler, I always tend to give the 'house' any money that I lay on the table so I prefer to shop because that way I know I am going to win! Las Vegas is heaven for those of us with a sartorial weakness; exclusive labels are neighbours with more accessible chains in the shopping sections of each casino and just a short taxi ride away is the Las Vegas Premium Outlet. My pick for high end shopping would be either The Shoppes at the Palazzo or the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. I would encourage anyone who is wanting to purchase an item from Fendi to visit their Palazzo store as the staff is wonderful and attentive.

Number Five:
Walk the strip at dusk. Deserted in the morning, crowded and neon starlit at night, dusk is my favourite time to walk the strip. As the sun goes down over sin city take a stroll down Las Vegas Boulevard and see the city take on a different light and the glow of the dying day paint the distant mountains and remind you that you are in the middle of some very beautiful desert country.
Number Six:
Spend at least one night somewhere luxurious and make use of all the amenities in your room. I am not usually an advocate for spending much time in a hotel room when you could be out exploring the place you came to see. However, if you have a spare evening in a really nice hotel enojoy it! My room in the Venetian was so exquisite that I didn't feel bad about spending a lovely evening inside luxuriating in all the in room experiences I could. Run the bath as warm as you dare, use every single towel they supply, watch the junky TV that you never really watch at home (while soaking in the tub if you are as lucky as I was to get a room with a TV over the bath!) and take your time getting ready to go out. When do you really get to act like a princess who doesn't have to clean her own bathroom and wash the towels?

Number Seven:
Casino hop and appreciate the effort that has gone into creating each of these places. It really is Disneyland for adults. Even though it is all a facade a lot of people have worked very hard to make Las Vegas as enticing as it is and a lot of people work very hard to keep it as clean as it manages to be. Each casino is like a world of its own and while they are all there trying to do the same thing (entertain people and make a lot of money), each has a unique vibe that is created by the themes, structure and mood of the buildings and interiors.
I liken it to seeing a photograph of an historic place, you can capture the beauty but never the authenticity and history of the original.

"Paris" Las Vegas

The Venetian "canals"- nothing like Venice, but still beautiful.

It also has to be likened to Disneyland - see they have candy too!
Candy apples of all different varietals (none natural I'm sure) just watch out Snow White!

Number Eight:
Get dressed up all fancy and see a show. Las Vegas hosts wonderful performers and world class shows every day. Cirque du Soleil has shows at multiple casinos (just pick a performance you can't go wrong here), Phantom of the Opera plays at the Venetian, Jersey Boys, the Blue Man Group, Human Nature, Celine Dion - the list is endless and you are sure to find someone who plays your kinda tune. It is always best to book ahead if you want to see a certain show, or get the best seats (trust me, people were queued up for ever to get tickets the night I saw Cirque du Soleil last time I was in Vegas) but if you aren't too fussy and love a bargain try Tix4Tonight or keep an eye out on the show's hosting casino website for last minute sales.

Number Nine:
Take a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon. This is an experience that should be on everyone's bucket list. There is simply no way to capture the true alien beauty and exquisite natural architecture of this place, Ben and I were comparing notes and we came to the conclusion that no mere photograph or video recording can convey the feeling of being over and within the solidified history that is the Canyon. Many people take the bus ride out to the rim but to understand the sheer size and appreciate how it carves it's way through the land, and to get views of the Hoover Dam and the mighty Colorado River you really have to see it from the air.

Number Ten:
Hire a limousine for the round trip between airport and hotel - trust me, this is how you get in the mood for Vegas! I don't really think this needs much explanation, however the justification I give is that after a (total travel time) of over twenty hours I was allowed to spoil myself by having someone waiting for me who would take my bags, call me ma'am and give me a glass of champagne. At the end of the trip you know that someone will get you to the airport on time, and it stretches out that holiday feeling just a little longer. It's also a whole lot more fun than a shuttle bus and if you are travelling with a group it isn't really that expensive. I recommend Bell Trans, their limousine drivers and service centre staff were all charming!

So there we have it. My Top Ten Chic Chickpea Encouraged Experiences: Las Vegas Edition. I hope that this might be useful for those planning a trip or provide inspiration for those contemplating an escape to sin city.

Next up: Top Ten Chic Chickpea Encouraged Experiences: Sensation San Francisco.

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