If you plan on visiting Las Vegas in the near or more distant future, do not expect it to look, sound or feel like any of the places you have visited so far. It simply will not meet your expectations and you might either end up disappointed or completely overwhelmed.
After we got back from our California vacation, we were pretty sure that this will be it in terms of travels for the rest of the year. But then a window of opportunity came up and we quite spontaneously hopped on a plane for a long weekend in the famous desert city.
Speaking of the desert: the middle of the Summer with 40°C (104°F) heat in the shade is not typically the type of weather I would pick to be outside. At such conditions, you might rather find me hiding at home, with the A/C turned to max, sipping on ice cold lemonade while getting lost in a good book and waiting for temperatures to normalize. But I figured, it cannot possibly be that bad, relying on a low humidity which apparently makes high temperatures much more tolerable.
We caught a pretty good deal at one of the major resort-style hotels just off ‘The Strip’ and were in awe about the sheer size of our hotel building. If you have ever been on a cruise ship, this is exactly how it felt.
Our premise featured numerous restaurants, bars and coffee shops, a major casino floor, several pools, an enormous gym and spa area (I counted 100 treadmills which were all occupied at one point), a wide variety of shops and stores, quiet areas to relax in front of a fireplace and every other amenity you can imagine.
Just stay away from the mini bar, if you do not plan on spending 20 bugs for Fiji water and even more on all the other items you will find in this carefully stocked fridge.
It even had its own air train station from where one could easily get to some of the other spots in Vegas, if walking was not an option (it mostly is not at this heat) as well as its own Uber stop with simple access to the airport. You basically do not need to leave this gigantic fully air-conditioned zone of food, fun, shopping, gambling and whatever else one might have in mind, if that is what feels right.
While we tried to make complete use of our hotel offering in the short time that was available, after dinner, we stepped outside, strolled around on The Strip and took in the beautiful scenery of this crazy city.
Fully illuminated and with upbeat music playing everywhere, it gave the impression of a major amusement park for adults. If you have ever watched ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, this is exactly how it looks, still 20 years later.
Albeit being a city where people head to for gambling and partying and where alcohol is floating in masses, Vegas offers a lot more than that. So, if you are already married, have no appetite in being drunk all night and gambling is not your thing, here are a few alternative options:
- Hang out by the pool and watch others do the same, while sipping on iced cucumber water (they also serve it with Vodka, so nobody will notice that yours’ is ‘virgin style’).
- Hit the gym and you might be rewarded with stunning views over the city or a bunch of tropical palm trees.
- Spend hours at the spa and enjoy one or more of the many wonderful however slightly overpriced treatments.
- Shop yourself broke in a mall (watch out: most of them only carry luxury brands; but if that is what you want, this is the place to be).
- Check out fine dining restaurants, where some of the best chefs in the world are creating mouth-watering dishes (many of the world’s super chefs were trained in Vegas and some even returned).
- Visit a show or concert, there are plenty to choose from each night (we went to Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O’ at hotel ‘The Bellagio’).
- Explore a museum or take a drive to near-by Hoover Dam (which supposedly is absolutely worth seeing).
You will find that a weekend is more than enough for a visit to Vegas. Perhaps just pick a different month than August, unless you want to walk around in what feels like a Finnish sauna, just with clothes on and a little bit of desert-style wind around your nose.