What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but I wouldn’t be very good at my job if that were indeed the case! 😉
Last month was my 6th visit to Las Vegas and yet the first time I have visited a) out of season and b) with a boy! (Mems of course ;)). There’s so much to see and do on the 4 mile stretch of vibrant lights and 24hr entertainment that it just keeps beckoning me back year after year!
I usually stay for a week or so when travelling to Vegas, often combining it with an LA stay but despite the long flight times Vegas is a favourite for weekend breaks. With this in mind I wanted to write up a 2 day guide to the strip for those of you planning a shorter visit. The strip can be very daunting to visit and the city itself can be terribly overwhelming if you are only planning to stay for a few days.
So, if you are panning a weekend in the bright lights here’s my personal recommendations:
Get Breakfast at a Buffet
There’s one thing you absolutely can’t miss out on if you are a foodie in Vegas – the famous hotel breakfast buffets! Imagine everything you could ever want in a buffet (discounting the fact that it may well be 9am!) and it’ll be laid out for you. Pastries, cheeses, meats, Chinese, sushi, hot soups, fresh fruits……the list goes on longer than this post could handle! The buffet’s vary in price as per the hotel but for the fee of one breakfast you can stock up for an entire day! Most luxury hotels have a buffet, I personally love the ones at Aria and Rio 🙂
Spend a day by the pool
For those of you that are party animals make sure you book a space at one of the infamous Pool Parties, with DJ sets from Clavin Harris, David Guetta and Steve Aoiki (to name just a few) Vegas’s pool party season which runs from April-September is my all time favourite way to spend the day! The best day-time pool parties are Liquid, Encore & Wet Republic. If you have never spent the day dancing to a full DJ set in your bikini with a cocktail in hand and the sun beaming down on you, I dare say, you haven’t really partied 😉
For those of you wanting to simply chill out by the pool and skip the party some of the best resort pools are at Encore and Caesar’s Palace.
Visit the Grand Canyon
If you want to step outside of the craziness for a while one of the world’s wonders is just a 30 minute helicopter ride away. It’s a pricey way to spend the morning but a once in a lifetime experience. I took the ride at sunset and enjoyed a little picnic with the local squirrels in the canyon itself. It was my first ever helicopter ride too so it will always be a memory that is close to my heart!
See a show
If you take nothing else from this list of see’s and do’s take this one! The abundance of shows in Las Vegas makes it somewhat of a crime not to see one. I personally always book a Cirque du Soleil show, they have always been a favourite of mine and I have yet to be disappointed. The Bellagio and The Wynn both host the most spectacular in terms of staging, both shows O & Le Reve (pictured above) feature water and incredible acrobatics. My other favourite was the Michael Jackson’s ONE Cirque which plays in Manadaly Bay. Top Tip: Go to one of the booking offices that offer on-the-day discounts, most shows will be featured and even if you save 10/20% on the full priced ticket it’s well worth it! I usually go to the ticket office that’s next to Margaritaville.
Go to a concert
In keeping with Vegas’s wonderland theme there is a number of residential superstars to allow you to go and see a concert during you weekend break. It’s a fun way to really take advantage of all that Vegas has to offer, especially if it’s one of your childhood greats which is so often the case! I was lucky enough to catch Mariah Carey during her residency and it was amazing! Think of how many times you have sat refreshing ticketmaster when you favourite act releases their tour dates, well in Vegas you simply go to a ticket office and book for that night 😉
Eat out at a restaurant with a view
There’s a number of fab eateries in Vegas, so get dressed upon night and treat yourself! Yellow Tail in the Bellagio is my personal favourite, the view of the strip is incredible and the Pan-Asian cuisine is delicious, I’ve dined here 3 times and loved each time. Being a party visitor it’s rare for me to dine out as I tend to grab and go or get food included in my pool bed bill so to make the effort of booking a table proves just how great this restaurant is!
I am sure you were scanning the article for this one from first read right? Yes, Vegas is a party town so clubbing is pretty much essential! Some of the most outrageously exceptional nightclubs call Vegas their home. Most nights are dictated by the DJ that is booked for the evening but talent on the decks aside my favourite clubs are Marquee, XS, Encore Beach Club and Drais. I tend to spend my partying energy on the day time pool parties but on the off chance we make it out in the evening my first choice would always be a night swim. XS is home to the best evening pool party there is, you can opt to attend in evening clothes as per a usual club night out or you can arrive in your swimsuit and jump straight in! The pool usually has fun inflatables and props and everyone is in the best mood – there is just something about age randomness of it all that creates all the fun!
Top Tip: If you are unsure what club to visit and how to get in etc my personal trick is to post up and instagram picture and hashtag #Vegas & #VegasNightlife and it usually takes 5 to 10 minutes before a club promoter comments with their number 😉 I find it’s always easier to get in on a list with someone, especially if you are a mixed group or mainly girls.
Shop til’ you Drop
If you are looking to burn a whole in your pocket (asides from the obvious gambling which we’ll get to later) then there’s absolutely no shortage of shops to do so! Whether you are looking for some designer splurges or an outfit for that very evening, you can’t walk for 3 minutes without being greeted by a shopping centre. My favourite places to shop are at the Venetian and Caesars Palace, both of which are their own little spending wonderland!
Gamble, Or Not
I’m adding to the list an obvious here, Vegas is of course the gambling centre of the world. It’s personally not for me, in the 6 times I’ve stayed here I have gambled twice and losing money in the space of 2 minutes does not really appeal to me. As a bucket list tick head to one of the lower minimum tables and once you’re up walk away!
Scare yourself silly at the Stratosphere
Strictly for thrill seekers, at the end of the strip lies and tall thin hotel called the Stratosphere which houses the scariest fair rides in the world! 3 individual rides that are all places at the very top of the building, 350m in the air the scariest of all is the Big Shot which shoots you out 160 feet in the air at 45 miles per hour, you are strapped in but trust me it doesn’t ease the fear one bit! When you complete all three rides you genuinely feel like you can take on the world!
Where to Stay in Vegas
Then there’s the matter of which hotel to book, I can only give you a round up of locations that I have personally stayed at but in my opinion they were all fab! To give you a background before comparing the three theres a few things to note about Las Vegas’s luxury hotels. They all house a number of designer shops and boutiques, a casino and a number of restaurants and bars. That is on top of the usual resort amenities such as the pools, gym and valet services.
I would thoroughly recommend staying on the Iconic Las Vegas strip and in each case paying that little extra for a strip view when booking you room, if you have travelled all that way you need to be close to all the action! Taxis are expensive and hard to flag down on the strip so staying within walking distance is imperative in my opinion!
The Best of the Best – The Wynn & Encore
This hotel is a spectacle from the moment you walk up the entrance’s path. With colourful displays adoring the walls, ceilings and floors. The fresh scent in the air is worth bottling up for a fragrance and the addition of mosaicked butterflies on the floor really stole my heart!
The rooms are the most spacious of all the hotels I have stayed at and the most instagramable in my opinion 😉 We booked a panoramic suite and I have to say, it’s one of my all time favourite hotel rooms. The view of the strip is not the best I have seen as the hotel is situated further away from the strip but the floor to ceiling windows make up for the distance.
The outdoor space is pristinely kept and superbly dreamy. During the summer season (April-September) the Encore beach club hosts some of the hottest and biggest pool parties of the season. With huge acts like Calvin Harris and David Guetta regularly making an appearance, a party in this resort whether it’s a daytime pool party or a night swim is not one to be missed! The Encore also hosts the best night swims in Vegas (Encore beach club & XS) – a pool party that takes place in the evening – without a doubt my favourite memories of vegas have been made in the questionable waters of these very night swims 😉
Staying at the Encore also gives you access to the Wynn’s facilities so if you fancy a change of scene for the day you can wander over to the other side 😉
Where the Cool Kids stay – ARIA
Aria will always have a special place in my heart as I have stayed there 4 times, I would go as far to say it’s my personal favourite. I appreciate the grandeur and spectacular rooms at the Encore but Aria is the place I call home in Vegas. It’s perfectly located in the centre of the strip, the interior is laid back and modern and the pools are always buzzing with just the right people. There is also the addition of a private party pool called liquid which is my favourite place to spend the day in Vegas. It’s smaller than most private pools but that makes the parties even more fun in my opinion, the vibe feels like one big house party!
Classic Vegas – Caesar’s Palace
This was the first hotel I stayed in Vegas, it’s definitely your classic old skool hotel. Everything you imagine Vegas to be, it is! A Vintage casino floor, the wow factor lobby, a number of fab restaurants, bars, shops and sizeable rooms that have amazing views of the iconic strip. The pool is large and sociable and there is an adults only Venus pool for those of you wanting a slightly plush day in the water with table service and comfy poolside beds. In my opinion Caesars Palace is the best location on the strip, it’s also a more affordable option for those of you wanting the glitz and glam without the highest price tag.
That’s it from me on the Vegas front, let me know if you have also enjoyed any of these awesome activities by commenting below and if you have any other recommendations I’d love to hear them, I’m heading back there next year 😉