Las Vegas Travel Diary

 In Travel, Travel Diary

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For someone who is terrified of flying, I seem to travel quite a bit. Look forward to weekly Travel Diary posts about destinations from Europe, to the Caribbean, and everywhere in between. Here is my Las Vegas Travel Diary to help you get a sense of what my trip was like, and perhaps score some intel on what to do (or what to avoid).

 

Las Vegas… Not my most favourite place in the world, to be honest. I went for the first time last year with my man and some friends. He enjoys going a few times a year to eat, gamble, and party with his friends. So I was fortunate to have very seasoned Vegas-goers to introduce me to the whole 24/7 experience.

However, I move at a more geriatric speed and found the whole thing to be super overwhelming. Granted, we were able to eat some incredible meals and have a grand ol’ time together, but next time I would probably prefer to be dropped off in Palm Springs instead.

 

Where I Stayed

During my first visit, we stayed at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Traveling with return guests who have amassed special offers and comp has its benefits. Also, they have the insider knowledge of where to go and how to do it. Gamble, dine, shop at the hotel = collect points. Points = benefits.

I think the hotel’s comp policies must have changed since our stay during Labour Day 2014 because during a subsequent stay, our group of friends has sworn never to return. My sister had a similar experience when she was at the Cosmo for a bachelorette party and the hotel caught fire. When the group complained to the front desk that there was no communication about the fire (which was visible from their room!), the on-duty manager actually reamed out my sister and said she was free to stay at any other hotel. Totally bizarre customer service when all other properties are all about being at your service. Video below c/o the most “memorable” bachelorette party.

I recently returned to Vegas for a trade show and stayed at the Venetian. The customer service experience here was much more pleasant, though I thoroughly dislike large properties that feel like factories. (Hence why Las Vegas is not really my kind of town). The smoke in this hotel (via the casino) was so bad that my colleague lost her voice and we had perma-blood shot eyes throughout the whole stay. It was kind of a miserable time.

Cosmopolitan

Pros: Shiny and modern décor, lots to do within the hotel itself including Jaleo, Holsteins, and the secret pizza place

Cons: Apparent change in points/rewards leaves little benefit; extremely poor customer service; elevator situation was a disaster for us

Rating: C-

The Venetian

Pros: Good if your trade show is being hosted in their expo centre, very large rooms. The best part for me was Bouchon Bakery so that I could at least get a jolt of good coffee and a croissant in the morning.

Cons: If you have smoke sensitivity or asthma, you’ll probably want to die in the on-site restaurants; extremely pricey for what you get; layout is beyond confusing lest you want to sit down at a slot machine. Terrible if you want to grab a bite to eat during a trade show – all the on-property restaurants were full and there are few reasonable take-out options.

Rating: B-

 

I also had the opportunity to hang out at the Wynn last year, which I feel is probably a property much more my style and speed. I really dislike being around belligerently drunk people, and that’s what I would often have to navigate at both the other hotels. Granted, at the Cosmopolitan it was young party people who did things like rent scooters or get IV drips, whereas the Venetian had a lot of the trade show clientele. I actually yelled at one drunken idiot who started badgering me about my sweatshirt as I was speed walking through the casino. “Don’t look, don’t make eye contact!” I thought to myself until I had to turn on my heel and tell him to buzz off.

I’d rather be at the spa.

 

When I Went

My first trip was during Labour Day weekend, which is definitely not the right time to visit for someone who hates crowds of drunk people! The second trip happened in early November, which included a sudden drop in temperature from one day to the next. Definitely not pool weather.

 

Who I Traveled With

The first trip was with my man and some friends – a great bunch of people. The second trip was with some colleagues.

 

What I Did

The best part about the first trip was being able to get out and eat delicious food at amazing restaurants. We were able to dine at STK, Jaleo, Holsteins, and China Poblano in the Cosmo. We also headed to Nobu at Caesar’s Palace for our favourite must-have rock shrimp.

https://www.caesars.com/caesars-palace/restaurants/nobu

Unfortunately, I threw my back out during both trips from having to walk and stand so much. I am not inclined to walk the strip ever again.

I think the key thing to enjoying Las Vegas is to go with like-minded companions. Are you there to pre-game Pedialyte, drink a ton, and dance till the late hours at the Skrillex/Diplo double-header? Are you there to go to a stunning meal and savour the wine or find whatever you can? Are you there to gamble until 4am or recharge at the spa? I am more than happy to bow out and turn in early for the night if I don’t feel like stepping in to heels, so it’s critical to me to be with people who let me do my thing.

 

How I Got Around

I’ve had the experience of flying both WestJet and Air Canada (YYZ –> LAS) and was actually appalled by how bad the Air Canada experience was. My colleague was stuck in the back and they ran out of food altogether for the morning flight. Seems a little terrible for a busy plane full of people who are all predictably heading into Vegas for the big trade shows. WestJet, as usual, was awesome. Though both flights were on time and decent all around. Upon landing, it was just taxi to the hotel and that’s that. If you want to head to the outlet mall (or In-N-Out) you can rent a car. The Cosmo had a rental desk right in the hotel.

 

Ratings

Travel: A (straightforward and easy for the well-traveled)

Accommodations: B

Food – On Resort: A+ (one word: delicious)

Food – Off Resort: B-

Activities: B (mostly dining or shopping which is pointless in the hotels unless you’ve won a lucky jackpot)

 

Gallery

 

 

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