Viva Las Vegas
It’s nearly February. This means January is nearly over. Which means next week will be December. Why the unreasonable freak out? Because I know if I don’t start actively planning and researching for my next overseas trip, months will pass me by, and when I find myself stuck with a b grade Los Angeles hotel because everything else was booked out, I’ll be kicking myself.
Once a year, Kevin and I disappear to the USA for at least one month. We usually plan this getaway for the middle of the year because of three very special dates that fall in June; my birthday, Kevin’s birthday, and our wedding anniversary. It just so happens that it’s summertime in the US and it’s the perfect opportunity to escape Sydney’s winter chill, even if only for a few weeks. This year is different though...we're taking some extended time out because of one teeny tiny little detail; I'll be turning 30.
So to get myself inspired to start actively planning this trip, I spent some time over the long weekend going through past travel photos. I stumbled upon a photo album from our time in Las Vegas almost 2 years ago. Now, I’m pretty sure that we wont be stopping through sin city on our next trip, mainly because I’ve been to Las Vegas three times and I’d be happy to visit a city that I’ve never been before, like Portland or Seattle. But after revisiting these photos, I realised that there’s so much more to Las Vegas than casinos, bright lights and hangovers. Amongst all the noise and chaos, we found some diamonds in a city full of rhinestones and created some awesome memories along the way. Here are some suggestions inspired by my favourite moments during my last trip to Vegas.
Disclaimer: marriage ceremony not mandatory, but highly recommended.
5. Chocolate soufflé at the Eiffle Tower Restaurant
Touristy, a little funny, and as set up as they come, the Eiffle Tower restaurant on the strip is connected to the Paris Hotel and boasts a pretty decent soufflé flavor offering. I tried the lightly flavoured banana soufflé as well as the perfectly fluffy chocolate soufflé. I gladly finished them both. My pick though, was the chocolate that was generously topped with a decadent chocolate sauce. Definitely one for the chocoholic. www.eiffeltowerrestaurant.com
4. The buffet at the ARIA Resort and Casino
If all that time at the spa wasn’t enough to indulge the senses, then here’s one for the lips. I had my fair share of buffet sampling during my time in Las Vegas, and I can surely say that the ARIA buffet ranks number one for service, quality, and options. Plus there was no way I could write up a list of my favourites in Las Vegas and not mention a buffet. I was particularly impressed by the quality and presentation of the desserts, and thought that this might have a little something to do with the influence of French pastry master, Jean Philippe Maury, the Executive Pastry Chef at ARIA Resort and Casino. www.aria.com/dining/restaurants/buffet
3. The Spa at the ARIA Resort and Casino
This is a must visit for when the noise of sin city gets a little too much to bare, and it’s time to detoxify the body and clear the head. For a nominal fee of $30 for one whole day of access to the spa, you can enjoy a self-guided day of rest in a space that’s designed for total relaxation. The Spa at ARIA features 62 treatment rooms that offer a full array of treatments and therapeutic experiences, while the Salon at ARIA offers pampering services that are perfect for those of us who want to look and feel awesome for a big night out. But without having to spend a cent more than $30 US, you can access the best of the facilities including the Ganbanyoku heated stone beds (where I fell asleep for 2 and a half hours), a stunning shio salt room, the outdoor therapy pool, the Fireside Lounge (perfect for bookworms), and access to the state of the art ARIA Fitness Centre. With complimentary hot and cold beverages, fruit and wholesome snacks, I recommend packing everything you need for a day of dipping in and out of pools, saunas, and reading by the fire side. And don’t forget to pack a killer outfit and makeup for your night out, as the facility also features a fully equipped dressing room with everything you need to gear up for a big one. www.aria.com/pools-spa/spa-salon
2. Le Reve at the Wynn Hotel
If you only see one show in Las Vegas, let it be this one. Le Rêve – The Dream is a spectacular show that invites its audience on a mysterious journey through the dreams of a woman falling in love. From start to finish, the Dreamer captured me as she took me on a journey of romance, fear and fantasy in an intimate aqua theater-in-the-round. From a stirring high-dive to an underwater tango, Le Rêve – The Dream will have you gripping the edge of your seat, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be wishing you were a dancer. In the one trip, I saw this show twice, just in case I missed anything the first time, and I'll gladly see it again. www.wynnlasvegas.com/Shows/LeReve
1. Get married with Elvis
Oh yes, we did. It was one of those afternoons where we decided that we had seen and done everything we wanted to, including outlet shopping. So I suggested to Kevin, “Wanna get married again?” Within the hour, I had the The Elvis Chapel booked for us to renew our vows. The package included our photographer, videographer, a limousine transfer to our hotel, a single rose for me, and of course our celebrant, the real Elvis. I picked up my gold prom dress from a bargain basement type place called Ross for a whopping $40, and it was 2 sizes too small. So in true Vegas fashion, I squeezed myself into that bad boy, and tied a leopard print scarf around my neck for good measure. Top it off with a little DIY hair and makeup, and this wedding cost me less than the veil I wore on our first wedding. www.elvischapel.com