So this was my 3rd stay in Vegas, and I thought I’d share some impressions and tricks I’ve acquired along the way. I get to travel with the husband and we get to visit Vegas almost every year lately. Neither of us gamble but have both found ourselves liking Vegas a lot more than we initially thought we would. This latest trip was from March 2 to 7.
Transport: We both flew in separately, him from Ottawa on WestJet and myself from Cancun via LAX on Delta. We flew out on the redeye to Baltimore on Spirit Airlines. If you haven’t tried Spirit, I strongly advised against it. I knew it would be more ‘barebones’ being cheaper but never expected such little legroom and such hard seats. Both being over 5’7’’, we struggled to find a comfortable position with our knees wedged in the front seat pocket rod. When the flight attendant cannot check if your carryon is under the seat, there is no legroom. Most uncomfortable flight I’ve ever had. And don’t get me started on the ridiculous luggage fees. The words 'we have started our descent' never sounded so good! Oh well, live and learn!
I had rented a car but when I booked it months ago, the first few days were only $16, but if I selected the whole week, I would get a rate closer to $40 a day. Here’s one of my tricks: I booked the car for the 3 first days and once I got to Vegas, asked what the rate would be to extend it, sure enough, the rate was still $16 a day for the remainder of the week. I saved over 50% over the rate I would have had if I had reserved the whole week. I’ve done this a few times…
We were booked in the Palazzo for the week. I found the Palazzo quite convenient location wise, the parking was so easily accessed from the room and it wasn’t a struggle to find a good spot, I loved that. The exit on Sands Av easily led to the highway, very useful. The room on the 15th floor had a decent view, was quiet (except for a permanently running fan in the bathroom), also had a convenient printer. The thing that ticks me off in these fancy places though is the inability to have a fridge. I found myself missing my one-bedroom apartment at the MGM Signature, which is still my favorite place to stay. Being non-smokers, the Signature also has the advantage of shielding us from casino smoke. Thankfully there was a Walgreen’s very nearby for water and other things.
The Walgreen’s…. My go-to place. I was there every morning for coffee, fresh juices (you can stray from their juice menu, they will make you anything you want), took me a couple days to realize that they will also toast your sandwiches and I then took advantage of that often. Toasted egg breakfast sandwiches, fruit cups, yogurt and granola, that place had all kinds of goodies. On top of it, the service was fantastic, the people behind the juice counter were friendly and at times very funny (looking at you guy who answers the Walgreen phone “Enterprise, Rick speaking”).
A little tangent on service…. I work in the service industry and was frankly blown away with the quality of service in Vegas. Everywhere. I don’t know what’s in the water but I wish I could infuse some of it to my employees. It seems to come so naturally too. Not sure what the secret is.
Entertainment: Now that’s what I come to Vegas for, the shows! I am a MyVegas player so I redeemed two free tickets to Love and Zarkana. On our last night, both the husband and I went to see O. We had in the past seen Mystère and Kà from the Cirque. After seeing all this, for both of us, the top-contender remains Le Rêve, a non-cirque show. If I rate the Cirque ones, I would say from most liked to least liked: Zarkana, Love, Kà, O, and last is Mystère. If I tell you that I really loath clowns, you may understand my ranking. The more clown-heavy, the least I’ll like it. O was probably the biggest ‘disappointment’. I didn’t find the aquatic element as present and well-used as with Le Rêve. The clown-bits were way too-long and unnecessary. (A clown-lover may think otherwise!). For the inflated price, it didn’t rock my socks off. I’m glad I saw it because after years of wondering if I would like it better than Le Rêve, I have my answer.
Also somehow ended up at a Céline Dion concert. I’m not even a fan but I’m from Québec so I’ve known Céline for her whole career, she’s truly a living legend there. My husband kept suggesting I go as guys from his conference had found themselves liking it more they had expected. One day I walked by Tix4tonight and saw tickets at 50% and thought ‘why not?’. Some very positive points: the musicians were numerous (counted 28!) and ultra-talented. Céline clearly is not one ‘is this my best angle?’ diva, close-ups showed wrinkles, screens projected less-than-flattering footage of Céline in her early days. Good for you girl! Her voice is truly one of the best, that fact I can admit whether I like the music or not. She sang mostly stuff from other people, which I found was a negative (was I really longing for more Céline originals? Guess so!). The banter between songs was over-rehearsed and stiffly delivered. Céline is clearly not the best actress/comedian. The crowd was mostly middle-aged and seemed to enjoy the show. I must confess to getting teary-eyed during her ‘Ne me quitte pas’ from Jacques Brel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m00PGQycrg). It’s a very sad song… She had me!!! Conclusion, glad I went, would not make it a tradition.
Food wise, we tried a few of the Palazzo offerings (liked the mini-buffet in the morning at Grand Lux Café), went to In n Out, Chipotle, Panda Express had a 2for1 at the MGM Buffet (god, that was salty!). For me Vegas is not my foodie destination (granted, probably because I refuse to pay $400 for a meal for two).
The rest of my time was occupied bargain hunting at Ross/Target!
If you made it to this line, it means you read through my rantings and for that, I thank you.