Paris hotel, with a mini Lourve, Opera and Eiffel Tower / The floral fairground in The Wynn
Following on from my LA round up we moved on to the one and only Las Vegas. I didn't really know what to expect, other than craziness. The drive took around 4 hours (4 and a half if you include stopping to take some outfit post pictures - here) through the desert before you suddenly find yourself in a metropolis. It's a surreal experience during the day; wandering through Paris, New York, Egypt... Crazy. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel just off the main strip, which I'd recommend to anyone looking for a solid night's sleep in a good bed with a very good pool outside. The rooms are pretty basic, but when in Vegas you aren't going to be spending much time there. For £50 a night, I thought it was brilliant.
The famous Ceasar's Palace / The Alice in Wonderland garden inside The Bellagio
The hotel had it's own casino and restaurants (from Nobu to diners to juice bars) but we were keen to get straight into the thick of it in the centre of town, so we hopped in a cab and had a drink in The Cosmopolitan, before eating some outstanding Spanish food (including croquettes out of a shoe) in Jaleo. It was there the sheer size of the hotels there dawned on me. Think of it as a Westfield for shopping, drinking and gambling. There is no reason you'd ever need to leave; you can even smoke inside. We moved on and went to The Bellagio, watching the famous fountains before going on to view the beautiful Alice in Wonderland style gardens inside the hotel. We then went and lost $20 each on the roulette machines before heading to bed.
Eating tapas out of a shoe at Jaleo / The Bellagio's famous fountains at night
On the second day it rained. It happens 4 times a year and it happened to us. So Olivia and I went over to Premium Outlets where I bought about £500 worth of J Crew current season pieces for $80. I can't recommend it enough if you have the time and want to get away from the casinos for a couple of hours. We next went to my favourite place in Vegas, the Stratosphere Tower. It's like walking into the 1970s, a total time warp. We ate (the food... just go with it, luxury it is not - but it's worth if for the experience) in the rotating bar on the 85th floor, meaning you get a 360 view of Vegas and the surrounding desert over lunch. Oh, and people bungee jump from above you as you eat.
Desserts at Buddys, inside The Venetian
In the afternoon we "did" the hotels, which takes a while so here is my summary: Mandalay Bay is the best, something completely luxe about it. The Wynn is enormous and best seen and night, they also have a floral fairground which you really need to see (we also went to Tryst, their enormous club with a waterfall in it - really, really cool). The Venetian is an experience, though essentially a shopping mall with a canal - see it, but no need to stick around. The Palm is looking very tired, but worth visiting to see what Vegas was all about back in the day. We also wondered up to the iconic Vegas sign and watched a couple get married, before photobombing them completely to make sure we got our snaps sorted...
the floral fairground at The Wynn / Photobombing a wedding at the Las Vegas sign
That evening we had a date with the lady herself, Britney Spears. She is resident at Planet Hollywood at the moment, although she does only do 3 or 4 dates a month. The stadium only has capacity for 4,000 so it's impossible to get a bad seat, so if you're booking don't worry about being right at the back. It was amazing, even if I'm certain she mimed the whole way through. She "sang" all of the classics, and some more. Her dancing isn't quite the same as her Slave 4 U days but with all that nostalgia bouncing off the walls (and sugar from the mojitos) it's impossible not to have a good time.
slight selfie fail at Britney Spears concert
The next day we went shooting at the Gun Garage where I discovered a new skill for hitting the Bullseye (no one was more surprised than me...) before heading back to LA for a final night. There were lots of things we'd have liked to have squeezed in, but hey - it gives us reason to go back! We were really surprised to hear the Elvis museum has closed... and I'd have loved to have seen the neon graveyard and to have done the roller coasters at New York New York...
The canal boats in The Venetian / at the shooting range
So, here (in my opinion) are the best things to do in Las Vegas:
. Eat at The Stratosphere and look out for Marg, the waitress from Long Island - she's ace
. Go to the Mandalay Bay hotel and see the sharks and tide machines (not in the same tank), and from there walk to the Vegas sign (10 minute walk)
. Take ID everywhere with you, even if you're 75
. Wear flat shoes, you'll be walking a lot (rather than paying $10 in cabs every half an hour)
. Book things - we fell short as we thought you could just turn up everywhere. Not the case.
. Wear a watch... because you won't find a clock in the whole city
one of Vegas' many wedding chapels