Vegas was fab- in fact, it was more than fab. I booked a first class ticket that stopped through Denver, and aside from a loooong wait for luggage recheck after customs, the flight was smooth and carefree. Surprisingly, it wasn’t much more to book a 1st class ticket, than it would have been to book coach and pay luggage fees. What’s up with that? I heard from a fellow passenger that congress is considering passing laws minimizing this… hurry up Cap Hill! Spirit Airlines has already implemented a $45 carry on fee!
Anyway, back to Vegas…
I’ve been to Las Vegas more times than I can count but I still find myself caught up in the pretty lights of the airport casinos. I’m not a gambler myself. In fact, the entire week I was in Vegas, I never so much as hit a slot machine. I know, I know, what’s the point of going to Vegas if I’m not going there to win, right? Well lemme tell ya- SHOPPING. RESTAURANTS. SHOWS. Mandalay Bay even has a faux beach now, complete with a wave pool and lazy river (I have GOT to get one of those for my house by the way!)
I had reserved a car at Avis… which I quickly changed my mind when I was told they would be running a hard inquiry on my credit report. Seriously? I have to take a ding on my credit to rent a car from Avis? I literally laughed at the guy behind the counter, who said he didn’t blame me and suggested I try Payless Car Rental. I did, happily, and was pleased to be offered a great deal on a luxury car. In fact, I ended up with a Chrysler 300 with a whole 2 miles on it and a new Garmin GPS system… which apparently was defunct because it kept repeating random words of advice like “Turn right on road” over and over- My passengers and I had a roaring time laughing and swearing at this thing while driving around in circles.
I love my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points, so of course I booked my usual stay at the Westin Casuarina. As always, the service here was outstanding. Special requests were met with a smile. The room was immaculate, spacious, and decorated with upscale furnishings including their well-known Heavenly Bed… which makes you not want to get up in the morning. As my readers know, I tend to get excited about the little things… like the fact that the Westin treats their floors with white tea and the fact that they have really great bath and body products stocked in their rooms. Normally, I pass on hotel supplies, but at the Westin, I’ve found myself asking for an extra bottle of their white tea body lotion. Shhh don’t tell anyone.
The Westin doesn’t offer airport shuttle service but they do have fast, and last minute limos on call. They also have a pool which has never been crowded when I’ve been there. My favorite part of staying at the Westin though, has to be their spa. Greeted with a smile, the spa staff will offer you plush robes, slippers, and just about anything you could need while you prepare for your massage, or head off to relax in their sauna and steamroom. This is definitely an opportunity to relax.
After getting my spa fill, my SPG points, and my extra bottle of lotion, I decided to give another hotel a chance. I moved, not too far, to the end of the strip. Beautiful inside and out, Mandalay Bay was quite the experience. The spa was high priced BUT, I did find out it pays to have a Players Club Card even if you’re not a gambler- PCC members may initially join for the points accumulated in the casino but during this trip, I discovered Players Card holders are eligible for a number of benefits, including airport shuttle transportation, dining discounts, shopping redemption, and… discount spa packages. Players Club Card information can be found here.
The rooms at Mandalay Bay were surprisingly large. The beds were comfortable- the pillows sucked and seemed to get smaller every day. I’m not exaggerating- my pillows were actually exchanged for smaller ones somewhere along my stay. Teenie tiny pillows just don’t measure up to the over-fluffed heavenly pillows of the Westin. The bathroom was impressive- loved the marble jacuzzi style tub that was separate from the shower. The flat screen in the bathroom was a nice touch as well, although I have to say the channel selection Mandalay offers leaves much to be desired. “Would you like to watch CNN or CNN? Or rent a movie for $13?” Needless to say, I rented a few movies… only to have to call downstairs when I realized I was billed a total of $243 as a fluke. Not a biggie- they reversed the charges within a few minutes… or so they said- I’m still waiting on the emailed final statement they promised me!
The concierge at Mandalay Bay was helpful, offering plenty of information about the area’s attractions. Shark Reef was actually in the hotel, but unfortunately it was closed when we went to see it. 🙁 Awww no sharks other than the ones in the lobby. We did catch Cher live at Caesar’s though. I have to admit, I was going along because Mom wanted to see her so bad and didn’t expect to enjoy the show as much as I did. I should have guessed she’d be awesome from the moment I saw her past costumes on exhibit. Any woman who would wear that stuff in public has GOT to be entertaining! & she was- my favorite line of the year, was Cher saying, “I don’t like to mix my testicular metaphors.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a 64 year old woman with a 20 year old ass say anything like that before. I laughed until I nearly cried and I’m telling anyone who goes to Vegas to try and catch her show.
My last few days in Vegas were spent doing a little something I call… SPENDING MONEY. I hit the shops in the Venetian, Caesars, and both outlet malls. Most women collect shoes, I collect designer handbags and living in Mexico, I’m a bit starved for the likes of Burberry, Kate Spade and Michael Kors. So starved, you may not be surprised when I tell you I had to buy another suitcase to bring home the new purses. That alone made Las Vegas a winning trip!
Heading back to Vegas in 2 weeks and looking forward to exploring kid-friendly options for my 4 year old niece, Emma. We’re booked at the Westin of course, and then the Venetian, planning to grab our gondola tickets just as soon as we get off the plane!