I started my 2016 pretty unconditionally by planning a quick 2-day getaway with my hubby to Las Vegas, which was the highlight of my family Christmas vacation in the States back in December.
We packed lightly, left the kids at my sister-in-law’s and headed to the city that never sleeps.
We got to the Excalibur Hotel (where we were staying) on Sunday January 3rd at around 5:30 pm. We checked in and went up to our suite on the 27th floor to be mesmerized by the breathtaking view of the lively Strip. The first thing that caught our attention was the Manhattan Express, which is the crazy roller coaster of the New York New York Hotel, so we put that on our to-do list and rushed to shower and dress fancy for our exquisite dinner at the Top of the World restaurant up on the 106th floor of the Stratosphere Hotel. I had made a previous reservation so we were so excited for the second-to-none dining experience (review to come soon).
We took a cab and went to have our amazingly romantic, candle-lit dinner, after which we explored the lounge up on the 107th floor. Then we went up to the 108th floor and that was on another level. The cold January breeze, the lights, the people, the music on the roof with a live view while helicopters pass by at a proximity: it was simply amazing to just take that walk and take epic photos with all of Vegas behind and beneath us.
It was past 11 pm and although that is really early for Vegas, we were tired and decided to take a cab and head back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
The next morning, we had coffee and doughnuts at Krispy Kreme and went out to explore the city by day and visit the surrounding hotels.
Knowing that we were going back home the next day, we decided to visit as many places and hotels as possible and take a gazillion photos. I had a plan: go into each hotel for a few minutes, take a quick look, take many photos and then gaze at the latter later for as long as I pleased to admire all the details. There was no time for contemplating details and ending up visiting only a handful of hotels!
First on the list were the luxurious MGM Grand and then the exotic Tropicana Hotel.
Next, we crossed the bridge connecting the Excalibur to the New York New York Hotel and spent quite some time there. This hotel really resembles the narrow streets, small shops and towering buildings of New York.
We went there again and again. I think I left a piece of my heart at this hotel! After all, it’s home of Hershey’s Chocolate World where we bought some yummy chocolates and where I found a specific brand that my brother had asked me to buy him.
After a few hours of sight seeing, we went back to the New York New York Hotel and had lunch at Shake Shack. My hubby and I were starving so we had 2 hamburgers each! We devoured them so quickly that there was no time for feeling guilty about it 😛
After lunch, an afternoon nap was crucial to regain the energy for our night out to continue exploring Sin City.
After our siesta, we browsed the web a little, set out a plan, got dressed and left for our nightly adventure! While my morning outfit was leggings, a T-shirt and sneakers, I wanted to look street chic at night so I opted for a blouse, black pants and black flats, topped with a red jacket as it was pretty cold.
It was 6:00 p.m. sharp. Our first stop was the Mandalay Bay hotel which we reached using the tram.
Then we decided to take a 20 minute walk to reach the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign to take souvenir pictures. We met quite a few tourists there and spent a good 30 minutes just snapping photos and chatting with complete strangers. To tell you the truth, that felt refreshing!
Heading back north of the Strip (another 20 minute walk), we visited a souvenir shop before going to the Luxor.
We then went back to the New York New York Hotel, only this time it was to ride the Manhattan Express! The tickets were for $14 as far as I remember, and you pay 50 cents to use a locker, as no cameras or cell phones are allowed on the ride. Ugh! I put my phone in the locker along with my bag, but my hubby, being the rebel he is, decided to sneak in his cell phone. The guards don’t search you, as they know everyone does that 😛 I will remember the Adrenaline rush and the thrill for as long as I can remember! Oh, and we managed to record one heck of a video that we will watch every time we feel nostalgic 😀
After the roller coaster ride, we continued to visit all the hotels on our path to the south of the strip, stopping for pizza and pasta at Sbaro before finally making it to the Bellagio Hotel at 11:00 p.m. where it was time for the Fountains show. Right on time! We stayed there for an extra 15 minutes and were lucky to catch another show, and then we entered the Bellagio, which was the most beautiful and most luxurious among all the ones we had visited! We were a bit tired so we rested for about 15 minutes before heading to the Caesars Palace and touring it.
Next up, we headed to the Flamingo hotel, which we were told was the oldest in Las Vegas. Our goal was to see the pink flamingos, which we did, only it was past midnight and they were all asleep 😀 we did manage to wake a duck up while we were videotaping the experience.
We sat outside and took another rest. After all, we had been walking for 6 hours straight! I called my mom back in Lebanon and spent a good 15 minutes on the phone before telling her that I really had to head back to my hotel room lol.
We walked and walked, entering a few more hotels on our way back to the Excalibur, which we reached at 2:00 a.m. What a night it was!
On Tuesday morning, we opted to have a good cup of Starbucks and contemplate the passersby outdoors. It was probably one of the best morning coffees I have ever had in my life! Everything seemed so calm and serene, and we talked about our stops for the day before it was time to head back home at night.
I took a long business call from a dear client of mine in Lebanon and then we got up and decided to visit the few restaurants that we missed the night before.
It was raining but that was probably the most pleasant walk in the rain I ever took! What I loved about Vegas was the free and super fast WiFi all over the city. We took a few more souvenir photos, crossed a few more bridges and visited a few more places before arriving at the Paris Hotel where a beautiful bistro called Mon Ami Gabi caught our eye and it was already time for lunch so we waited to be seated, and let me tell you: the expression “it was well worth the wait” is but an understatement. The bistro faces the Bellagio and the food is spectacular! I’ll write all about it in a review soon 🙂
We headed back to the Excalibur where we had coffee with Najib who happened to be in town for the CES. That was ending our getaway on a really cool note. It was really nice to finally meet you, Najib! 😀
So that was it: 48 hours in Fabulous Las Vegas. We were told we’d be lucky if we could visit a handful of hotels, and before we even knew it, we ended up visiting 15 hotels: Excalibur (our stay), the Stratosphere, MGM Grand, New York New York, Tropicana, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Aria, Vdara, Planet Hollywood, the Cosmopolitan, Paris, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, and Flamingo,. We might have visited more but that’s all I can remember!
There are so many more hotels I would have wanted to visit if time allowed it. So, until we meet again, Las Vegas!