So before I arrived in Las Vegas in July 2009, I expected it to be quite tacky and a bit mad, and I wasn't sure at all if it would be my type of place. In fact going there at all was a spur of the moment decision made by myself and my best friend when a group of our other friends invited us (and we may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time), and on the 7 hour bus journey through the desert straight after a 4 hour flight from Chicago to L.A (and we had stayed up the night before packing) I was beginning to have second thoughts... but I must admit that as soon as the bus pulled into Vegas, the over-the-top crazyness of the place won me over instantly. All my tiredness evaporated, being replaced by excitement and curiosity, and I was bouncing off the walls in my eagerness to explore.
We stayed in 'The Mirage', http://www.mirage.com/ , with nine of us sneakily sharing two rooms, which I would recommend doing as the rooms and beds are very spacious and it actually worked out very cheap (about 20 dollars each for two nights at the time). We stayed for two and a half days and two nights and I think that while we might have liked another day or two it wouldn't be advisable to go for more than 5 days to a week, unless of course you are extremely into gambling and/or drinking, although then maybe you should avoid the place altogether for your own good!!
|One of our hotel rooms (there was also another smaller bed)|
If you wanted to, I think you could easily spend your entire time within your own hotel, as all the big hotels have multiple restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, gambling facilities (of course :P) and much more. Also, it is VERY easy to get lost inside them and the staff are extremely vague with their directions towards the exits, which are never signposted (surely a fire hazard?).
However, I would definitely suggest that you at least take a walk up the strip and call into a few of the other main ones as well as your own. The first evening, after watching the volcano show outside The Mirage, we decided to take a walk around looking for somewhere to eat and exploring Caesar's Palace, which includes a huge shopping centre as well as all the other 'basics'.
|Volcano show at 'The Mirage'|
|More of the amazing volcano show|
|Shops in Caesar's Palace|
Out of all the hotels, on our trip we unfortunately only had time to see the inside of The Bellagio and Caesars Palace, as we spent one day in the discount shopping malls outside the main strip and also visited Madam Tussaud's http://www.madametussauds.com/LasVegas/Default.aspx
I would definitely recommend a visit as it's quite reasonably priced compared to Madam Tussaud's in other locations and we got some great pictures there. At the time I think we paid $18 each, however the website says the walk up price is now $26 and the online price is $20.
The discount malls are good if you are looking for cheaper designer labels, however if you're on a budget as we were, they may not be worth your time. There are some shopping centres on the strip which may be more suitable to those in search of a lower price range, and of course, there are many interesting sights to be seen when taking a walk along the strip. Here are but a few... :)
Surprisingly (as I am a complete foodie), I can't remember any of the food I had in Vegas, apart from the fact that it was fairly overpriced, although we got a decent enough three course set menu in one of the restaurants in The Mirage! An important thing to know in relation to this actually, is that all the atms inside of the main hotels/casinos will not allow you to take out less than $100 so be prepared for this!
Despite having every intention of doing so when i arrived in Las Vegas, I didn't gamble a single penny. I think I was too overwhelmed by all the different games/machines/etc to even think about which one i would try. However, if you are looking for cheap drink, apparently if you sit at the machines, waiters come around with trays of free drinks even if you're only using the very cheap slot machines. Obviously, this combined with the high availability of atms with a large minimum withdrawal amount can lead to disaster so keep that in mind.
As for nightlife, if you are looking for a crazy, memorable (or completely impossible to remember) night 'The Hangover' style, you won't be disappointed!! The first night we went to one of the smaller clubs in the hotel 'Revolution' for a quiet few and headed to bed relatively early and relatively sober, but the next night, wow did we make up for it!!
|View from our hotel room|
|More of the view|
The second night, we started off in 'Jet', the bigger club in 'The Mirage'. During the day people approach you on the street offering to put you on guestlists especially if you are in a group (and girls) and it's definitely worth saying yes to all of them as you will get to skip the queue and also usually some drink vouchers. In the club, we met some people staying in the penthouse of Caesars Palace who invited us to come back later for an afterparty, but in the meantime we decided to head over to 'The Palms' http://www.palms.com/ which we had also gotten on the guestlist for. We ended up in the club up 55 floors, with a smoking area balcony which overlooked the whole of Vegas, a seriously amazing sight!
|Even pictures can't capture it accurately!!|
Then, we were invited to sit at a VIP table with three music producers, and a large amount of free drink (again it is beneficial to go in a group of girls), and from there we went back to Caesars Palace to the suite party!! Pictures and stories from this night will have to stay private I'm afraid but suffice it to say that 'The Hangover' really is awfully close to how Las Vegas really is so be prepared for some madness!!