Las Vegas in the Summer

The nomad finally made it to Vegas this summer for a business conference. Las Vegas tends to be one of those places on the bucket list mainly because of all the things you have heard or the movies you have seen set in Vegas, so when  the opportunity arose, with free accommodation at the Mandalay Bay Hotel for the duration of the conference, I said, “of course”. Sin City –  the lights, the glitz, the glamour, the day parties, the night parties, the food, the shows, the crazies, the casinos, it was all that and then some.

THE GOOD

1. One word: Luxury . You are spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury in Vegas, the extravagance is mind blowing, the marble floors, the chandeliers, the waterfalls, the glitz and the glamour, all perfectly designed to play with your emotions and get you to spend. I especially like the connectivity of the hotels, warrant they all managed under the same brand, but the accessibility is brilliant, with each one still having its own unique features and attraction.

 

Mandalay Bay Hotel

Mandalay Bay Hotel

Mandalay Bay Hotel

Mandalay Bay Hotel

 

Luxour Hotel

Luxour Hotel

2. There is something for everyone in Vegas, you don’t have to be a gambler to venture to Vegas, I didn’t gamble one dime in the time I was there, excess tends to overwhelm me. If gambling is not your thing either, there are lots of restaurants to choose from in various categories and pricing, there are endless amounts of shows daily and many main acts passing through on selected dates, there are endless pool parties, night clubs and bars, don’t miss the amazing view from the Mandalay Bay hotel sky bar on the 64th floor, day trips to other locations including the ever popular one to Grand Canyon, I did that one, it was meant to be one of the highlights of the trip, I will tell of that adventure in another post. Shopping, shopping and more shopping, all the luxury brands name stores are there, in all their glory, and the major department stores such as H&M, Forever 21 and Aldo are all there too. There are also 2 outlet malls, north and south to satisfy all your shopping needs. Vegas also has entertainment for the kids and the young at heart in the form of amusement parks, the major one being on the compound of Circus Circus hotel, for the golfers there are a few golfs courses as well, and when all that is done, Vegas is an ultimate people watching location.

Mandalay Bay Pool Side

Mandalay Bay Pool Side

The view from the Mandalay Bay Hotel

The view from the Mandalay Bay Hotel

3. Not everything has to cost money, you can spend a day on the strip taking in all the free attractions at the various hotels, there is the famous water show outside the Bellagio, you can go see the nature center at the Flamingos or the volcano at the Mirage to name a few. Not to left out, Fremont Street Experience, which is a bus or taxi ride away from the strip. You must experience the randomness that is there, especially at night, I dare you to count the amount of times you say “no way”.

Zip line at Fremont Street

Zip line at Fremont Street

Fremont Street

Fremont Street

Freemont Street

Freemont Street

 THE BAD

1. Vegas heat is no joke. Whose brilliant idea it was to host a conference in Vegas in the summer, I will never know. To say Vegas is hot is an understatement, I am an island girl and have never felt heat like that in my life. The conference rooms were very cold as most of the hotels on the strip are, but the outside felt like 50 degrees. I now understand what it means to be in the desert.

Captured this photo from a passing bus, that about sums it up.

Vegas heat is no joke

Vegas heat is no joke

 

The moving bar, Las Vegas

The moving bar, Las Vegas

2. Vegas prices are crazy. Yes, we have all seen the photos of the luscious looking cocktails from Fat Tuesday and the other bars on the strip, what you haven’t seen are the prices. Now I have travelled the world and have never seen prices like the ones in Vegas, cocktail prices run from USD$15 and up, my question how does one get drunk in Vegas on these prices, but people do it each and every day and night. Cosmetics and every day items are almost double the price of other locations as well. All is not lost though, depending on the time of the year and the day of the week, you can catch a bargain on the hotel rooms, of course not on the weekend when folks descend to live it up. For tours I would recommend booking online, it’s way cheaper than the “deals” they offer you on the streets. A Grand Canyon tour sold on the street for USD$139 can be booked online for USD$80/85 and everyone will be on the same bus.

Las Vegas Cocktails

Las Vegas Cocktails

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

THE UGLY

1. Vegas is a dump, I know I am being harsh and there are many who would not agree with me, but once you take away the man-made built up glitz and glamour of Vegas, it really a dump with no real culture besides getting drunk and loosing your mind or your money. Behind the glamour you see the faces of the tired, probably not very well paid workers who really can’t be asked, you can tell in the customer service, its cordial and efficient in most cases but certainly not friendly or genuine. When I travel unless I am in Asia or a remote location where the colour of my skin sticks out, I appear local, which is always my intention, because of that I find locals will gravitate to me whether its to ask the time, general conversation and in some cases ask for directions, I always find that comical. Vegas was no exception, but the startling reality was that most of those persons were either drunk or high or as one guy boldly told me, “drunk and high at the same damn time” and it was barely past noon.

2. Vegas never sleeps, that’s one of the unique features of the place, that’s why people go there. However, children including young babies in buggies at 1am and 2 am strolling the strip with parents is not cool. One morning while passing through a hotel casino at 6:30 am while going to wait for the Grand Canyon tour bus, I saw parents on slot machines and gambling tables with children next to them.  Those babies look so tired they were glassy-eyed.

 

Circus Circus Hotel and Amusement Park

Circus Circus Hotel and Amusement Park

In a nutshell, Vegas has now been crossed off the bucket list, but without reason I won’t be running back. Its too far, for me that is, for a few days of play and it doesn’t have enough culture or oomph to bring me back. I enjoyed the luxury but I am not ready to become a tourist.

Viva Las Vegas!

Gondola rides at the Venetian

Gondola rides at the Venetian

Flamingos at Flamingo Hotel, Vegas

Flamingos at Flamingo Hotel, Vegas

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

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