Ashleigh Ellis, one of our customer support team was lucky enough to visit Las Vegas last year. We asked her what she got up to as well as any top tips and recommendations. See her account of her exciting trip below!
‘A little over 6 months ago, my partner decided to book us a trip to Vegas as a special treat and I have to be honest – I really wasn’t all that keen. So why have I just returned from my second visit to “the most amazing place in the world”? Here are just a few of the reasons:
‘The Strip’ – this is a 4 mile road, lined with the some of the world’s biggest hotels, resorts and casinos. To say that these hotels are spectacular is an understatement, as each hotel seems to be trying to outdo the next with its very own sense of style and entertainment. This is where Vegas earns itself the much deserved title: Entertainment Capital of the World.
In the Bellagio Hotel where we stayed, for example, there is a huge conservatory space and botanical garden. The theme changes for each season and when I went in March the conservatory was filled with beautiful butterflies (real ones!) to signify the start of spring. One of the best features of the Bellagio is the dancing water fountain display at the front of the hotel. During the display the water is made to elegantly move in time to music and is famous worldwide. The display is free and takes place every 15 minutes so I would highly recommend you take the time to see it.
A little gem we came across for evening entertainment was the Carnaval Court Bar at Harrahs Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, featuring a 360° bar, plus a stage which is home to some of the best house rock bands I have seen. These included The Whippets and our favourites…The Garage Boys. The bands take the stage in the afternoon and play until midnight, after which the DJ will see you though to bed time!
Your chances of spotting a celebrity while in Vegas are pretty high, but if you would like a guaranteed sighting why not visit Madame Tussauds (located in The Venetian Resort Hotel and Casino), where you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous. This can be pricey so I would recommend booking The Venetian Romance Package as you get the Tussauds entry, a gondola ride and lunch!
Vegas also has a choice of rides to rival any theme park and The Stratosphere should be on any thrill seekers must-do list. Rides such as ‘X-Scream’ (imagine a giant see-saw), makes the most of it’s positioning on top of the 866 foot building, by propelling you 27 feet over the edge of the tower and leaving you to dangle and um… enjoy the view, before pulling you back and doing it all over again! Sky Jump, also at The Stratosphere, is a controlled free fall which is both terrifying and amazing. All you have to do is take one small step off the platform and fall 108 floors to the bottom!
Shopping is a big draw in Vegas and firm favourites with bargain hunters are The Premium Outlets (North and South), The Miracle Mile – which is located next to The Planet Hollywood Hotel, and The Forum Shops, in Caeser’s Palace. The Forum Shops are worth visiting for the experience alone as they are set in a dark and stormy, themed indoor shopping centre. The ceiling for this centre has clouds rolling overhead and at regular intervals a thunder and a lightning storm erupts, with actual rain falling from the ceiling!
As this was our big annual holiday, we splashed out and flew with Virgin. I’m 5’6” and was dreading the 10 hour flight, but have to say I was impressed with the seats as they were extremely comfortable and even ‘roomy’, with plenty of space between my knees and the chair in front. Virgin make a big deal about their on board customer experience and thankfully they did live up to expectations. We flew from Gatwick, from which Virgin has daily flights to Vegas, but they also fly twice a week from Manchester.
My Top Tips…
To avoid disappointment book shows or tours before you go as it can be a bit overwhelming the first time you visit. I find it helps to start at one end of the strip and work your way to the other over the course of the holiday, otherwise you’ll be doing an awful lot of walking, which is not ideal if the weather is hot! No matter how you do it, be prepared for a lot of walking and pack your most comfortable shoes.
Take a trip to the Grand Canyon West Rim and try out the Skywalk. If you have a hire car, don’t be tempted to drive there, you will have to park ‘near’ the Skywalk site and then pay for parking plus a short transfer bus! Instead, ride in air-conditioned comfort all the way from Vegas, bypass the queues to park, and marvel at the 4000 foot drop as you walk out onto the Skywalk.
If you’ve been lucky with the casinos, consider visiting the Grand Canyon by helicopter, or upgrade your bus trip to a bus and helicopter trip! It isn’t much more expensive and is even more thrilling than walking out over a 4000 foot drop on the Skywalk! These can all be booked on the Las Vegas section of the Travel Republic website.
Lastly, always remember ……what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!’