Viva Las Vegas- Elvis was right!
I finally get Las Vegas. During my hotel career I had the opportunity to come to this city 5 or 6 times. Always staying at the JW Marriott or the MGM Grand on business, always eating at glorious restaurants, even saw Las Vegas at night by helicopter. But not until I came with my sister and mom did I truly understand why people come back over and over again. The nickel slot machines and a hotel room overlooking one of the true man made miracles was the start. Here’s a brief recap from Vegas’s newest fan!
- The Drive from LA to Vegas- you go thru the desert- Death Valley and right in the middle of nowhere is Baker, CA and The Mad Greek Drive In and truck stop! The Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives needs to come here. It was so good we stopped both going and on the way back! Gyros, Greek Salad, homemade strawberry milk shakes all at a very reasonable price! And beyond tacky with their greek decor!
- You drive for a few hours through the desert and then suddenly, out of nowhere — VEGAS!!!!! The hotels appears in the distance like a mirage. My sister started talking about the slot machines and playing the penny slots, the nickel slots and the quarter slots. I just didn’t understand. I thought the slot machines were boring, tedious and just plain silly. But, I was wrong…..
- We drove up and down the Vegas strip before checking into the Bellagio hotel. A mass of humanity everywhere you looked. No one would ever believe it was late September. Thousands and thousands of people walking and walking. Lights, music, and bigger and more dramatic buildings no matter where we looked.
- Then – Bellagio http://www.bellagio.com/ A most magnificent hotel. In front of the hotel is an incredible man made lake. Every 30 minutes during the day and 15 minutes in the evening, the lake comes alive and “dancing” water fountains set to music put on a display you can’t believe. And the musical selections are everything from Elvis singing Viva Las Vegas to Liza singing Cabaret. The lobby features a $10 Million Dollar glass ceiling sculpture of flowers by Dale Chihuly http://www.chihuly.com/ Here is a small picture of this truly unique work of art.
- Upon check in we were whisked up to the 19th floor. We had a room that looked right out on the lake and fountains and directly across the street from our hotel was Paris Las Vegas. Another great hotel. There is an almost life size version (at least it seems that way) of the Eiffel Tower. Gorgeous!!
- The most amazing thing about casino hotels – you have to pass through the casino to get everywhere – to your room, to the pool, to the shows. And there are no clocks in casinos. The lighting is set to be the same no matter whether it’s 12 noon or 12 midnight.
- I could go on and on about Vegas but let me just say – WE LOVE DONNY AND MARIE!! Saturday evening we went to the Flamingo hotel and saw Donny and Marie Osmond in concert. We had seats directly in front – 2nd table from the stage. Donny and Marie came on stage and it was nonstop for 90 minutes. They both looked great and sounded fantastic. But the best part – toward the end of the show, after my sister and I had danced, and sang and screamed along with the other 40 something and 50 somethings girls, Donny danced right out onto our table and….. TOUCHED US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He shook our hands and danced back onto the stage. WOW! We didn’t want to wash our hands ever again. Great entertainers. The best concert I’ve seen in years. And the even better part is Donny is 51 and Marie is almost 50. Even if they’ve had a “little work done” it truly didn’t matter. No doctor could give them that spirit and energy and desire to entertain and please. Americans always love a come back story and these two are the come back story of the year. http://www.donnyandmarie.com/ is their website with snippets of their show. This picture of them is actually on the side of the Flamingo hotel and is easily 20 stories tall. Such fun seeing them smiling down at us!
- Lunch was at Bobby Flay’s restaurant, Mesa Grill. I love Bobby Flay from the Food Network, but I honestly didn’t expect his restaurant to be as good as it truly was. EXCELLENT food, over the top service and genuine warmth from the entire team. Highly recommend you visit one of his three restaurants. http://www.bobbyflay.com/
- Sunday was loads of fun. My mom and sister kept stopping at the slots and “throwing away” $10, or $20. We went to Caesars Palace Forum shops http://www.swankyvegas.com/ and watched people and shopped. Bought new eye makeup from the MAC shop from a girl with purple hair and eye makeup, but she was used to middle aged women shopping in her store and gave us great advice and sold us the exact right items. Went to the Kate Spade store http://www.katespade.com/ and purchased a new purchase that is beautiful and very grown up …. We saw another show – Cirque de Soleil’s Mystere. http://www.cirquedesoleil.com/ never quite understood how everything fit together, but that’s the magic of Cirque.
- We were heading back to our room and decided to play the slot machines again. I humored them and we sat down at the 5 cent slots. Well — my sister pushed the button and ding, ding, ding, ding, ding…… the machine started going crazy. The numbers started going up and up. The machine was making lots of noise. We started laughing – but I was also thinking – “Did we win it big? When were the #s going to stop?” Finally – it stopped at 919 credits. Of course, remember – it was the nickel slot machine but it didn’t matter – WE WON! We cashed out and my sister had won $52.00. Not a huge amount of money, but certainly something. Mom didn’t win much and we decided we were done. We headed back toward the room but decided to spend $2. That way, we would walk away with $50 (because we knew we were going to lose). We found a quarter slot machine. My mom put in her dollar and my sister put in hers. My mom immediately lost. 4 pulls of the machine, 4 losses. My sister pushed the button and….. ding, ding, ding (again) —– my sister won $30! She spent 75 cents and won $30 on 1 pull of the machine!! So, we walked away with $80 after spending about $10. But more than that – we had such great fun and I finally do get it. The money spent on the slots was “entertainment”. No different than spending the same amount of money on a show. And the fun of it is – the next pull or the next bet could be the one where we might win a million dollars. Of course – my warning – always gamble responsibly.
- We went to bed that night after having a terrific time in Vegas still talking about us “winning big”
- And the next morning, off we went – back toward LA, back through the desert, back past The Mad Greek and on to Seal Beach, CA for the next part of our West Coast Birthday trip.