Las Vegas is a very strange city with so many aspects adult oriented yet heavily advertised as a grand place for families. It seems like almost everything is available in Las Vegas, and is extremely surreal given that its sits in the middle of the desert. Most of the visible action can be found on the main strip, fondly called The Strip with many of the hotels constantly reinventing themselves and building bigger, and better attractions and amusements to lure people to spend more time and money inside.
Obviously gambling is a huge attraction in Vegas with all the hotels, which are really just casinos in disguise providing accommodation, fully equipped with plenty of tables and lots of noise, lights and music to keep the atmosphere up. Unlike so many other American cities, it’s hard not to find places that are smoke-free – the best you can do is the filtered, oxygen-enriched and air conditioned air the casinos continually recycle as even the pavement is full of cigarette wielding tourists.
The following attractions were the highlight of my stay:
- A helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon – a definitely enjoyable way to explore the scenery and a good way to get up close to all of the detail of the canyon. Some of the canyon sits on Native American Reservation ground and our pilot, part Apache, gave us a fantastic appreciation and insight into all the things they go through. The canyon is magnificent though it presents enough evidence to show that there will be many water problems in the near future.
- Cirque du Soleil’s new show Ka – was my first Cirque du Soleil show and I can only recommend for people to go and see it. I was thoroughly impressed by how everyone from the ticket collectors, to the ushers all stay in character and work hard to keep everyone entertained before the performance. Then the show starts and then you witness the impressive set changes, the stunning visuals, amazing stunts, vivid live special effects and smooth flow between all parts of the show, and is best summarised as simply breath taking.
- The Star Trek Experience – was probably the best value for money taking a good half day to take part in both rides followed by the behind-the-scenes tour. I would never consider myself a trekkie and you should expect plenty of people on the tour that will be. My tour guide called herself a “trekkie-light” and gave a very good guide to the thinking and detail that went into the entire showcase.
- Bellagio Fountains at Night – was my most favourite night time Strip attraction, running every fifteen minutes and lasting almost ten. The light and water show, perfect synchronised to music is a huge spectacle outside the grand hotel.
Food options abound in Vegas from the very cheap chain outlets, and the over-nutritious casino buffets to the over the top and appropriately priced grander restaurants not to mention everything else in between. In my three and a half days there I only managed to fit in five meals at the following places:
- Caesar’s Palace buffet – recommended by Gerrod I thought I would try out the brunch and wasn’t disappointed by the quality of the food. Pepper covered bacon, a fresh waffle and omelette station all were things different from your average hotel buffet.
- Aladdin’s Spice Market buffet – was the largest variety of food offered I’ve ever seen. A floor below the casino offers the largest number of food stations each specialising in things such as Seafood, Soup, Salad, Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, American, Mexican and Dessert. I was impressed that the seafood station included crabs legs, prawns and sushi whilst the American one served ribs, rotisserie cooked chicken, duck, turkey in addition to rib eye and roast pork.
- Bellagio breakfast buffet – combined high quality with a large variety of offerings. Congee (asian rice porridge) is offered at the Asian station whilst two very efficient omelette station serve either sides. They also offer a dedicated fruit station churning out a variety of fruit salads such as a yogurt covered berry mixture and an entire pastry station offering all sorts of danishes, croissants, muffins with fruit sorbet and ice cream.
- Fireside – located in the Imperial Palace offers a variety of roast chicken and BBQ dishes in a white table-clothed dining atmosphere. My first taste of ribs in this visit to the states was welcomed with very tender and juicy ribs covered in a sweet and tangy sauce.
- Nobu – found in the Hard Rock Hotel offers modern concoctions of Japanese food in a stylish setting, an experience that I wrongly though would be reasonably priced compared to the London one. I would recommend sticking to the hot and cold dishes as the sushi, as fresh as it was, seemed overpriced. My most favourite dish of the night was fresh pan seared scallops served with an interesting and perfectly complementary wasabi and pepper sauce.
Las Vegas is an extraordinary city that I believe only the USA could ever host. Three and a half days is plenty to walk around and see almost everything. It’s not a city I can recommend for everyone but I know offers plenty of enjoyment for many others.