For some months out of the year, I have the luxury of living in a new US city for a few months at a time because of work. One of those cities I got to live in was Las Vegas...Downtown Las Vegas to be exact. Now, there is a stark difference between the two area's: one being all about luxury and glamour, while the other is more modest and old school. Since there is nothing on the list that pertains to Downtown Vegas, I'll be solely focusing on the Strip. However, I think it's definitely worth a visit to Downtown Vegas if you have time.
I would say the closest thing the book mentions that’s located somewhat near Downtown is the Chapel of Flowers. I have no idea why Patricia would mention this in her book, but I still went ahead and visited the place. I couldn’t go in because I wasn’t getting married or attending a wedding, but I assume it was full of beautifully decorated flowers? It was voted best wedding chapel in Vegas, so maybe there’s a reason to the hoopla. I definitely couldn’t tell just by looking at the exterior, but I’ll let you be the judge of that. This is probably the classiest wedding chapel there is in Vegas, compared to the other more famous chapels like ‘A Little White Chapel’, ‘Graceland Wedding Chapel’, or ‘Chapel of the Bells’.
Now, I don't even know where to start when explaining the Las Vegas strip to you! How about all the entertainment that's available on the Strip? I've recently been able to see Britney Spears live and it was amazing. Yes, she dances and sings like a robot. But, she's also iconic enough that I didn't care. How could she not be on the 1,000 list?! Well, it's cause the Cirque Du Soleil shows are. And I've seen aplenty: Zumanity, Michael Jackson One, & KA. The one other Cirque show I'm aiming to see is ‘O’, but that's about it. After that, I'd be OK with not seeing another Cirque show again. If you haven’t seen one of their shows, whether in Vegas or on tour, you should definitely see them at least once.
Another reason people go to Vegas is for the food! There are so many restaurants there, and from all over the world too! Back in the day it was all about the buffet's. Now, it's all about famously branded chef titled restaurants, famous restaurant chains, or gimmicky restaurants. Although The Buffet at the Wynn is on the list, I can't really say its the best one out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty good buffet. But I personally like the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars or the World Carnival at Rio better than the Buffet at the Wynn. The Caesar’s hotel group offers a great 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet pass for about $80 plus taxes during the weekends, which I find great value in. If you time it correctly, you could probably fit in about 4-5 meals in that time frame.
If buffets aren’t your thing, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. From the List, there were only two restaurants mentioned. The first, Bartolotta’s at the Wynn, is now closed. Based off their menu, it seems to me they kept the Mediterranean cuisine and concept intact but just switched out the chef and title of the restaurant to Costa di Mare. The other restaurant, Picasso at the Bellagio, had spectacular dining views right in front of the Bellagio fountain. The restaurant only offers three types of prix-fixe menu, which includes a vegetarian option. I thought the restaurant was beautifully decorated and dimly lit, with indoor and outdoor seating options. We opted for the outdoor seating and were immediately in awe of the fact we would get to dine while watching the fountain show. On the website, it does say to dress elegantly with jackets being recommended for gentleman. But I really didn’t see that many people dressed up for the occasion, so don’t fret if you think you’re not going to be dressed appropriately. The food wasn’t as memorable as I hoped it would be. Our four course dinner didn’t have much star power to it unfortunately, and it felt like I was paying high prices for amazing views instead of an amazing dinner. However, Dixon really enjoyed his Meyer Lemon Cake dessert course. But I think that was the only positive comment that we spoke of during the dinner. Also, the service was lacking and could have made the experience a bit better. Overall, great views but the dinner courses could be greatly improved.
Once you had your fill of food, you’re going to want to take a nap. Well, we stayed at two of the hotels that were recommended by the List: Aria and Bellagio. My favorite between the two is Aria, and I’ll tell you why. Aria is right smack in the middle of the Las Vegas strip, also known as City Center. And on top of that, Aria is connected to the amazing Shops at Crystals. The hotel is very modern and tech friendly. The casino floor isn’t as big as the other resorts, but it still did the job of satisfying our gambling needs. I loved the big bathrooms with tub/shower combo, while the drapes can be closed or opened with the convenience of a button. There were two occasions we stayed at the Aria Resort, and both times (whether it be on the 7th floor or 15th floor) we had a spacious room. The resort also has a similar all-day buffet pass special, except it can only be used at the Aria Buffet. Blossom, their Chinese restaurant, was mediocre at best. And their 24/7 Patisserie never disappoints with quick food options and delicious pastries. If you need to fill your Starbucks addiction instead, there’s one on the second floor.
The second recommended hotel on the List was Bellagio. There’s a lot of things going for Bellagio, which is why it was one of the busiest casino resorts on the Strip when I stayed there. They have an amazing display of flowered art in the lobby area, that’s very reminiscent of the Rose Parade. For Bellagio being the most luxurious hotel in the MGM Resorts portfolio, I would have expected bigger rooms than the one I got. The rooms are much smaller than the ones at Aria. The decor from the exterior and the rest of the casino did not accurately reflect the decor in the bedroom. I don’t know if I had higher expectations since it was the Bellagio, but I was underwhelmed. The casino area is beautifully decorated and you can easily get lost in the shuffle down there. Since there’s more foot traffic at this casino, I felt I was inhaling much more smoke than I would’ve liked. The buffet at Bellagio was about the same quality as the one at Aria, but the decor looked dated whereas the one at Aria had a sleek and modern look. However, Noodles, the Asian restaurant at Bellagio, was really delicious and I recommend going for their dim sum.
Of course, there are many more hotel options. I’ve been fortunate to visit often throughout my life to experience both low and high end hotels on the Strip. Some of the more affordable options I would recommend are Luxor (it’s closer to the South end of the Strip), SLS (it’s far from the main action but lovely to stay at), Venetian (all the rooms are bedroom suites), Paris (quaint and cute), and Bally’s (no frills hotel but also located right in the middle of the Strip). Also, some attractions you should try to see while your staying on the Strip are the Eiffel Tower (located at Paris Hotel), the Fountain Show (at Bellagio), the Volcano eruption (at The Mirage), Fashion Walk, and the Golden Lion (at MGM).
I personally find great deals with Book VIP, and Las Vegas is one of the destinations they offer. So I'd recommend checking them out for packaged deals if you aren't into any of the hotels I mentioned above, and you can save some money while you're at it!