Stephanie’s Vegas Trip

I was lucky enough to have spent 3 nights with Westjet and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and getting to see all this fantastic city has to offer. Over 100 agents from across Canada had been invited to join, which is the largest agent trip I’ve ever had a chance to participate in. It was a total whirlwind of a trip!

 

I started this journey with a 6 am flight from Saskatoon to Vegas, through Calgary, with Westjet. Everything was on time, and ran without incident. I was greeted at the airport by a Westjet and LVCVA rep, and then shuttled to my hotel. There are 4 different hotels we were split up into, and lucky me, I got to stay at The Venetian. I’ve never stayed at such a beautiful hotel – grand frescos painted everywhere, crystal chandeliers and marble floors. I was wowed once again in my suite, which was over 700 sq ft with a sunken living room, luscious king size bed, double vanity, soaker tub and 3 TVs. It almost felt like too much room for just one person.

 

Vegas Suite 1

Vegas Suite 2

 

After settling in, my afternoon was free so I head out shopping. I planned to take the bus up to the north premium outlets. You can buy a 24 hour pass for $8, or a 3 day pass for $20. This will get you unlimited travel on The Deuce and the express lines. It’s the SDX line that takes you to the outlets, as the Deuce only goes as far as Freemont Street. It took about 30 minutes from the stop in front of the Wynn (there is a stop in front of the Venetian, but I missed the bus and decided to walk a little further.)

 

Group activities were planned for 5:30 on the first night, so after shopping I made my way back to the hotel to change. My group from the Venetian walked to the Wynn for a great reception hosted by the hotel management. Oh my, the Wynn is beautiful! The flowers in the lobby are flown in from Holland every 3 weeks or so, and they have a Ferrari dealership on site. I was blown away. During the reception we mingled with agents from across Canada, Westjet members, and tourist board staff. The food was amazing; I had a fantastic mushroom risotto, and an absolutely delicious Peking duck rice bun. The balance of the evening was free, but since I had been up since 4 am, all I could manage was a walk to Harrah’s before I had to turn around and head to bed.

 

The next two days were full of events hosted by the hotels, Westjet and the tourist board. Tuesday we started out at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country bar with breakfast and a day of networking with different suppliers – hoteliers, attractions, golf, weddings and shows. There are so many things to do in Vegas besides gambling, it’s impossible to fit them all in with just one visit. We ended the afternoon with a few beers and bull riding; however I was not brave enough to give it a go. A few people were, and I’m sure it’s a lot harder than it looks. I have poor balance on flat ground, so I had a feeling the bull and I wouldn’t get along.

 

For the evening we had a reception hosted by the Cosmopolitan in the absolutely amazing Chandelier bar. It’s the largest chandelier in the world at 3 stories high, and made with over 2 millions Swarovski crystals. I was in heaven. The service at the Cosmo was top notch, and the reception appetizers were delicious. I wish I had more time to explore the hotel. It’s very modern, and one of the few hotels on the strip where most rooms have a terrace. After the reception, we split into 6 groups to attend different shows or activities. I was with the group to the Cirque du Soliel show Mystere. If you have never seen a Cirque show, I highly recommend it as the acrobatics and athleticism is outstanding. The show was at 9:30, so by time it was over at 11:15, I was pretty exhausted. Since we didn’t have a huge meal prior to the show, I was on a mission for food. I wasn’t really up for sitting in a restaurant for 90 minutes for a full meal, so I went to the Grand Luxe Cafe at the Venetian and got a nice turkey sandwich to go, which I took back up to my room to eat. After a long day, it was nice to just relax in bed and catch some zzzzzz’s.

Vegas Chandelier

 

On Wednesday, the group split up for the morning, and we each went to a different hotel for a site inspection. My group headed to Treasure Island, which luckily is just across the street from the Venetian. Another great hotel, TI is not part of any major chain in Vegas. It’s a “boutique” size hotel for Vegas, though it still has around 3,000 rooms, and most things are compact around the casino floor. They are also building a new shopping complex on the façade of the hotel, which should be opening this fall. We also had breakfast at the buffet here, which was delicious and offered something for everyone – made to order omelets, eggs benedict, hash browns, sushi, fruit, and an assortment of breakfast meats. The hotel was at full occupancy, so we were only able to see one room, a petite suite. It’s a bit larger than the standard room, with a sitting area and split bathroom design, but the decor and general layout are the same.

 

After we were finished at TI, we headed to the Monte Carlo to meet up with the other groups for lunch and games hosted by MGM resorts. Lunch ended up being only about 2 hours after breakfast, so I didn’t have anything but a small sandwich. MGM hosted their own customized version of Scene It, which is trivia game about movies. They gave out prizes with complimentary hotels stays, but I was not a lucky winner. I guess I’m not as good with movies as I thought I was, but it was still loads of fun.

Afterwards we were split into groups again for another activity. I chose a visit to the Mob Museum and a ride on Slotzilla, which is the newly renovated zip line on Freemont. The museum was great, but I definitely could have had more time there. We had just under an hour, and I probably could have spent three. There is everything from Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Frank Lucas, and Lucky Luciano, to a piece of the wall from the St Valentine’s Day massacre, history on the mob in Vegas, and different movies based on mobsters. It made me want to go home to watch Casino and American Gangster.

Vegas Mob Museum

With a few free hours that afternoon, I decided to go check out the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. With over 170 stores, there is something for everyone. If you love to shop, be sure to pick up one of the discount coupon booklets, which are worth over $2,000 in savings. The coupons don’t expire right away, so you can use it again or give leftovers to a friend who is going later.

For the third and final night, we headed to the Flamingo for dinner at their steakhouse, Center Cut. What another great meal! We started out with a seafood platter, which had crab legs, shrimp and oysters. I’d never had an oyster before, so another agent showed me her way to eat one – lemon juice and Tabasco. It wasn’t awful, but I don’t think its top on my list to order again. The rest of the meal however, I could eat every night. A Caesar salad to die for, grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a fillet mignon that melted it my mouth. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again. As dessert was being served, a few speeches were made by Westjet and the LVCVA, when a surprise visitor came by – Donny Osmond! He was just stopping by the restaurant kitchen to get a salad before his show, and decided to come in and say hello. What a great way to end dinner!

For one final activity, we had a ride on the High Roller, which is the newly opened observation wheel. At 90 feet taller than the one in London, it’s the largest observation wheel in the world. The ride is approximately 40 minutes, and the views are amazing. At night you can see all the hotels lit up, the Bellagio fountains, and the city all around you. It’s just breathtaking. Each capsule holds up to 40 people, and they can even be booked for private functions and weddings!

Vegas High Roller

So thus ends the night and now we had to part ways. Unfortunately I had the earliest flight back home the next morning, so I had to miss the breakfast windup. I said my goodbyes to the Westjet reps and the many new friends I’ve made, and made my way back to my room to pack. I can’t wait to go back to experience something new next time. Viva Las Vegas! Until we meet again.

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Las Vegas

Day One:

Well it’s that time again.  We are off on our family trip to Las Vegas me and my 4 sisters and my Mom.  Always a good time.  We arrived in Las Vegas on time.  I have arranged for a limo transfer which was a surprise for my family.  Ted, was there waiting for us with his sign, helped us with our bags and then off to the limo.  It was great to see the look on everyone’s face when the limo pulled up.  There were roses and champagne waiting for us in the car.  Now that’s the way to start a vacation.  We asked Ted to make a stop at the store so that we could get a few things and then off to the MGM Signature Suites where we are staying.   The boys at the front took out bags and off we went for a drink by the pool.  Soon, we were able to check in to our back to back suites.  This is really neat.  It has a main door and then a small hallway with two doors so we just opened the doors to the rooms and it was like a two bedroom suite.  The rooms are beautiful with a small fridge and kitchen area, large bathroom with Jacuzzi bath and a balcony that looks to the strip.  We are located behind the MGM Suites so it is a walk to get to the strip.  If we went through the covered walkway to the MGM, we were about 15 minutes from the strip.  If we went out the front gate, we were about 3 blocks from the strip.

Our room at the MGM Suites

 

 Our first stop is of course the Ross store not far from the MGM.  We bought more than we could carry so off to New York, New York for something to eat and a well deserved drink.  On the way we decided to stop at Tix4Tonight.  This is a discount shop for show tickets.  We decided to go to Menopause the Musical the next night and bought our tickets for $35.00 which was a lot less then the going rate.  Going to Vegas with first time people is always fun.  It can be really overwhelming at night when all the lights come out.  A quick walk home through the casino and then off to bed.

 Day Two:

We had decided to go to the Outlet mall on the North end which is the one that is a cluster of brand name shops.  We decided to take cabs instead of the bus as we wanted to get there early before the rush.  When we got out front, there was a limo sitting there who was happy to take us to the mall for $65.00 about $10.00 per person so we hoped in and were whisked to the mall.  Love riding in a limo.  He told us that because he picked us up at the hotel, we had to pay a little more as the hotel wanted a cut.  We took his number and called him for the return trip of $35.00. 

I love the North Mall.  I like that all the shops are in easy to find rows and you are walking outside instead of an air conditioned mall.  You name it, all the brand name shops are here.  You had to look around a bit but there were definitely some good deals.  The only thing I found strange is that there were no restaurants, just a food court.  You could easily spend the day out here and your life savingsJ.  We headed back to the hotel to hit the pool before the show.  It was about 37 degrees so the pool was a given.  There are 3 pools at the MGM Suites and they allow you to take in your own drinks as long as there is no glass.  If you stay at the MGM Suites, you can also use the main pool at the MGM but we didn’t have time today.  Our show was at 5:00pm at the Luxor hotel so some of use took a cab ride which was $7.00 and some of us walked (hello blisters).  Not a great idea to walk in heals.  When we arrived at the Luxor, of course I was the silly one walking; we found 2 of our sisters at the oxygen bar and 2 at the regular bar and the oxygen bar was more expensive.  You see them all over Vegas now.  Our show was in a smaller theatre so there were no bad seats.  If you know or know someone in menopause, you will find this musical so funny.  Each song is written around a menopause symptom.  I will never be able to listen to Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys again without a smile.  After the show we took the monorail (which is free) to the Excalibur where we went to Dick’s for supper.  Not for the faint of heart.  You don’t go for the food but more for the show.  The waiters are supposed to shout at you and just be real dicks and they do a great job.  We never laughed so hard and then they come around and give you hats to wear with totally inappropriate sayings that I won’t even mention here.  It was fun to walk around and just read the hats.  Not everyone gets them but it looked like a classroom of people wearing dunce caps.  Lots of stag parties here.  They usually have a live band but not tonight.  We left here and bought a few slush drinks and headed home.  We had such a great time tonight and I think we laughed so much my sides hurt.  Looking forward to sleeping as the beds and the bedding at the MGM Suites is awesome. 

Day Three

Today was going to be our site seeing day.  We got a bus ticket and then just stopped at some of the hotels along the way.  We stopped at the Paris hotel as our Mom wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower.  While some of us went up the tower, the rest of us just gambled.  Not too much money was spent and some of us even came ahead.  We walked from The Paris to The Venetian hotel.  In the heat it was a bit of a walk.  It’s crazy to see beer trucks on the sidewalk selling beer and seeing people walk around with all these beer.  Not what we are used to.  The Venetian is definitely something to see.  With the gondolas going through the hotel and some great shops it was fun to walk around.  Two of our sisters decided to get a plaster head (I know it sounds funny) of themselves by an artist at the hotel.  They are like a Bosson heads and are mounted on a frame.  They actually looked like them.  We went to the Fashion Mall to Macy’s and then bused it back to Caesars Hotel.  Once we were done we headed back to a restaurant that was recommended to us by a friend in Saskatoon.  The restaurant was the Battista’s Hole in the Wall.  It was behind the Flamingo Hotel and is an older Vegas restaurant. We went right at 5:00pm when it opens to get a seat otherwise we would have to have a reservation.   It is literally a hole in the wall with a couple of different rooms.   The menus are on the wall and the price includes all you can drink white and red wine.  Now this was up our alley.  The walls were covered with pictures of all the famous people who had eaten there over the years.  The food was good and it was not long before the restaurant was full.  Then back to the hotel to get ready to go to Fremont Street.  We used the same bus tickets that we bought in the morning since they are good for 24 hours and headed out to Fremont Street. 

The light show on Fremont Street during the Who concert.

 

I had not been to Fremont Street for a long time and it was much different than the last time we were there.  They still have the big screen that covers the street but now they play concerts for about 10 minutes starting on the hour.  While we were there, we seen Bon Jovi, The Who and The Doors.  Much better than the light show we used to see.  There was also a live band playing between the light shows.  We found a lot of different souvenirs here and the prices were better than on the strip.  A couple of us decided that we were going to do the zip line which was $20.00.  It is quite long and starts at one end of the strip and goes halfway down.  It is a must.  While standing in line we started chatting with a man from Texas who thought we were Irish because of our accents lol.  When we got to the counter we found that he had paid for us.  That was so nice.  Finally our Irish accents are paying off.  We spent about 4 hours here and then took the bus back to the hotel.  It was decided that we still needed to do more shopping so off we went to Walgreens which has a 2 story shop on the strip.  It you can’t buy it at Walgreens it doesn’t exist. We walked down to the Bellagio as my Mom wanted to see the fountain show.  The show that we seen was done to Celine Dion’s My Heart goes On, which is one of my Mom’s favorite.  The funny thing about Vegas is that you can’t catch a cab from the street.  We had to walk up to the Bellagio to catch a cab.  Enough for one night so we are off home.  

Day Four

Our last full day in Vegas.  We decided to sleep in and then went to Tix4Tonight to get show tickets.  When we arrived the Terry Fator show we wanted to see was already sold out so we booked the Rat Pack show at the Rio Hotel.  My Mom really wanted to see it so we bought our tickets and when we were there, they asked us about a dinner reservation.  I did not know that they did dinner reservations so they booked us into the Buzio’s Seafood Restaurant.  This was by far the best food that we had while we were in Vegas and because we booked with Tix4Tonight, we got a buy one get one free so in the end, 3 of our meals were free.  It was a great deal.  Something that we could not have gotten on our own.  Then off to The Canyon store for any last minute souvenirs.   Today we were off  to the main pool at the MGM Grand.  We had heard so much about it and thought it would be a great place to spend our last day and put up our blistered feet.  It started out great.  The weather was good and we were really impressed with the pools here at the MGM.  They have quite a few pools so we settled on the largest pool with the waterfall.  They also have a lazy river that goes around all the pools.  You can rent tubes to take your around.  We had been here about an hour and it started to pour.  They don’t see much rain in Vegas so the panic on their faces was something to see.  From hearing them talk, it was like a typhoon had hit Vegas.  Without any street grates there was nowhere for the water to go so there was a lot of water on the ground.  Back up to the room to start to pack and see if we needed to do anymore shopping.   Because our show was at the Rio which is not on the strip we called our limo guy and arranged for a limo to take us to the show.  Again they charged us $35.00.  Cheaper than a cab.  We went for supper and then off to the show.  The Rat Pack was really good especially if you remember Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.  On the way out, Dean Martin stopped to give my Mom a kiss on the cheek.  I swear she won’t wash that for a while.  On the way out, the cast was there to talk and you could get your picture with them.  After a little coaxing, my Mom went to have her picture with them.  It was great.  From there, we hoped in cabs to go to Harrah’s.  My favorite bar is right next to Harrah’s, the Carnaval Court.

Here the bartender is balancing a ton of bottles. Now that deserves a tip!

 It is an outside bar where the main bar is a circle with the waiters on the inside.  The great thing about this bar is the waiters all juggle the bottles as they make the drinks.  It is really something to watch.  There was a girl there that was just fantastic.  When we arrived the bar was full but after some time we all managed to get seats at the bar.  They also have a live band.  Just listen for the whistles which signal something is about to take place.  They had a fire show where the waiters juggled bottles that were on fire and balanced a stack of bottles on their heads.  What a great way to finish off a holiday.

Here the bartenders are juggling with fire bottles.

I love Vegas but it is not the cheap destination that is used to be but having said that, I would definitely think about Vegas as a holiday destination.  The weather for most of the year is very warm and if you don’t like the beach anyway, they have some of the greatest pools here.  Just bring in your own drinks and sit by the pool all day then off to a show and a great dinner.   There is no shopping like this in Mexico or the Caribbean and there is always something new to see and do.  Vegas gets my vote and we are already talking about our next trip back to Vegas.