Saturday, December 1, 2012

Vegas, Baby!

The last weekend of July 2012, A and I headed to Las Vegas for some brief alone time and to celebrate C and B's bachlorette/bachelor party.  Despite a rocky start for C and B due to a weather delay and some brief weather delays of our own, this was a great way to close out a really crazy month of traveling!

Neither A nor myself have ever been to Las Vegas, and the excuse to visit to celebrate my oldest friend's bachelorette was the perfect opportunity to go!  C and B chose to stay at the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino and although it is not a fancy hotel, our room was newly re-done (nicely so), very comfortable and spacious and had an enormous bathroom!  We also had an excellent view of the Strip (in particular the Wynn and Encore Hotels and the Shops at the Forum) and the nightly Treasure Island Pirate Show and I would recommend Treasure Island as excellent value for your dollar.

Treasure Island!

Pool at the hotel

View around the pool

View from our hotel room!

A and I arrived a little more than a day ahead of everyone else, and had time to explore.  We went up and down the strip, browsing the Shops at the Wynn, Ceasars Palace, and taking the public bus upon the recommendation of the concierge (the cheapest way to travel as cabs in Vegas are very expensive and you don't want to walk in literally 108 degree weather) to go the top of the Stratosphere Hotel upon the recommendation of my friend K who has been to Vegas many times.  The view from the Stratosphere was incredible (you're about 112 stories right above the Strip) and we rode the Big Shot ride on the tower, which shoots you up and down the very top of the tower.  The ride must be all of 20 seconds long, but that's enough--we both felt like we were going to free-fall onto Las Vegas Blvd!  Highly recommended for the incredible views of Las Vegas and the surrounding desert from the tower and for the thrill of the ride itself.

The Stratosphere... the tower is on top of this!

108 stories up at this point!

Las Vegas. Blvd.

Beautiful mountains in the distance

We had a nice afternoon  trying not to burn our skin soaking up the rays (and avoiding spontaneous combustion... DANG it was hot) and relaxing at the pool at our hotel (although I didn't experience the drink that comes in a toilet shaped glass... yuck).  That evening, upon the recommendation of my friend A, we went to the Paris Hotel and Casino, for the sole reason of dining outside at the delightful steakhouse Mon Ami Gabi, which is located directly across Las Vegas Blvd. from the Bellagio.  We ate delicious steak with pomme frittes, drank champagne with St-Germain and had the perfect view to watch the Bellagio light/fountain show (multiple times).  It was a great day and date night!

Ready to go out!

View of the Bellagio from our seats on the terrace of Mon Ami Gabi

"Paris" Eiffel Tower

The Bellagio and foot traffic

The next day, C and B arrived along w/ C's sister M, and C and B's truly awesome (and newly engaged) friends K and M.  We started with cocktails outside by the water features at Wynn's Parasol Down bar.  It was so hot that after about 2 or 3 minutes in direct sunlight, my iPhone quit working.  That dry heat is crazy because you don't realize how hot you are until you're REALLY hot!  After heading back to our hotel to relax, we cabbed it to the Aria Hotel to eat dinner at the truly awsome restaurant Sage (thank you Yelp for another fabulous suggestion!).  We got the early dinner tasting menu (get seated by 7pm; you'll still qualify for the "early" menu and save $40/pp off the normal tasting menu rate) and all 7 of us agreed it was one of the best meals any of us had had in a long time.  Worth the money and the ambiance is beautiful and a nice break from the insanity often present in Vegas.

Water feature at the Wynn

Groom and Bride-to-be Enjoying drinks at Parasol down

Laides ready to leave for dinner

Ready for dinner at Sage-entire group

Inside Sage

After dinner, and a brief visit to see the opulent lobby and famous ceiling and florals in the Bellagio, it was time to get down to bachelor/bachelorette business.  A and M took B off to gamble, and upon the recommendation of the cabbie who picked us up from the airport (and Yelp), we headed to XS in the Encore.  (Sidebar:  The Encore (and the Wynn) have put some serious thought into unique and ornate decor and it's worth visiting both just to check it out).  This is (and probably will be) the swankiest club I've ever been to and the clientele and prices reflect it (fancy a $22 single vodka and soda and a $50 entry fee if you're a dude??)--Prince Harry was there about a week after us!  We had an awesome time celebrating C and finished off the night meeting up with the boys back at one of the bars at our hotel.

Ceiling at the Bellagio

Bellagio gardens

Inside the Encore

Enjoying Club XS

Lobby at the Bellagio!

All in all, a great trip!  If I go back to Las Vegas, A and I both agree we'd like to see the surrounding desert/natural features rather than spending the entire time on the strip; as appealing as the open drink policy is, we'd like to see the desert too!

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