We just got home from Las Vegas about 1/2 an hour ago. It's been a very long day traveling home and we're both quite tired. As well, I only got about 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, which is about half of what I usually get so I'm quite exhausted.
We did have a great time and we enjoyed the shows and everything. We are both very glad that we went and that we did the things we did. I'm looking forward to showing you the few pictures that we took and to telling you everything but I'm too exhausted to do that tonight. Therefore, I'll update this entry over the next day or so.
Here's the update.... I haven't put the pictures up yet but hope to do this in the next day or so.
We stayed at Bally's. The first night we had a room that backed onto one of the elevator banks, so we listened to the elevators all night. This room didn't have a very good view since it was far away from the Strip. We requested a better room for the second night and got one as far away from the elevators as possible. It overlooked the Eiffel Tower from Paris Las Vegas and we could see half of the water fountains from the Bellagio. We could hear the music, too, which was cool.
This room was a long walk down a cold hallway from the elevators, but it was much quieter. We did prefer the outlay of the first room because it had a counter with a mirror in a separate area from the bathroom, which was a perfect setup to apply my makeup. The second room didn't have that kind of setup. It would have been perfect to have the first room in the second location. Still, the second room was nice.
The lobby at Bally's was fairly well laid out and it was pretty easy to find things. In our travels, we visited New York New York, Paris Las Vegas, Bellagio, Wynn, Aladdin, Caesar's Palace, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, MGM, Mirage, Harrah's, Rio, Bill's Gambling Saloon, Venetian, and the Four Seasons.
The high-end places like the Wynn, Bellagio, Four Seasons, and Venetian are beautiful. The ceilings are high, the carpet is soft, it's easy to get around, and they're well-signed. We couldn't smell much smoke in these places and everything looked expensive. The marble in these places was lovely and wonderful. The casinos had lovely ceilings, usually with draping and soft lighting. Even the slots areas didn't feel busy but felt elegant, spacious, and rich.
The one place that really stood out as being awful was New York, New York. It was loud, smoky, and confusing. We couldn't find our way through the place to find anything. Everything was crowded and it was hard to get around. Most places try to keep you in the hotel/casino because they want you to spent money, but they provide signs so that you can find your way out. New York, New York lacked these signs. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone.
The other places kind of blurred together. Each place has its gimmick and those were sort of interesting. Every single place is HUGE. You could walk around for hours..... and since we visited a lot of the places, you can guess that we walked for hours and hours :)
We had thought that we were going to eat at a really fancy restaurant at least once. That didn't happen. We had breakfast each morning at the hotel and it was so big that we really didn't eat much through the day. The last two days I had Cream of Wheat, which is one of my favourite breakfasts. I guess I was missing good old wholesome food. The servings were HUGE. You could practically eat for a week on one meal.
For lunches/dinners we tended to grab a small thing like a muffin or baked good before the show and then eat half a sandwich each after the show along with a pastry dessert.
As you know, I love love love love shopping. We went to the Fashion Show Mall, the shops at the Aladdin, the shops at Wynn, Venetian, and Bellagio, and wandered by the shops in every other hotel. Ian was very patient in shopping with me because I know that he doesn't like shopping at all. I appreciate his willingness to go with me.
At Fashion Show Mall, I managed to try on Christian Louboutin shoes :) I am a size 6 (36) in most styles and a 6.5 (36.5) in some specialty styles. Of course I couldn't afford these shoes, but if I ever see them for a cheap price then I know what size to buy :) I looked at a lot of clothing, which was fun.
At the Wynn I tried on Jimmy Choo shoes. I love them almost as much as Christian Louboutins :) I learned that I am a 6.5 (36.5) in these shoes. Again, I can't afford these shoes but I wanted to know my shoe size in case I see them for cheap.
Everywhere I went, I looked at dresses, handbags, and clothes. I wanted inspiration for the handbags and earrings that I make, and I wanted to look at the clothes made by some top designers like Roberto Cavalli, bebe, Chanel, Dior, and others. It was satisfying to look at all of these shops.
The Venetian shops really do have a canal running through them, and you really can ride a gondola (which we didn't do). That was kind of cool.
I'm not much of a gambler, but Ian sure likes to gamble. He did most of the gambling, but I tried craps at Bill's Gambling Saloon, blackjack at the Mirage, and table Texas Hold-em at Paris Las Vegas. I won money at blackjack and lost it at the other two games. I also played the slots and won some money there. Overall, I lost money, but I didn't lose as much as I thought I might.
Ian loves to gamble and spent most of his gambling time at Bally's in the Party Pit. He had a lot of fun. I think he ended up about even which is not too bad.
We bought a Monorail pass, thinking we would use it a lot. Well, we didn't; we only used it to get to Fashion Show Mall. The main problem with the Monorail is that the stations are at the backs of the hotels, so you have to walk through the hotels to get to the strip. It also doesn't stop near the Fashion Show Mall so we had to walk a long, long way to get there.
A better option is taking the city bus. It's $2/ride and $5/24 hour pass. It stops at all the major hotels on the Strip, which makes it better and easier to take.
Of course we took taxis to and from the airport and from different places when we were tired. It takes a long, long time to get down the Strip in a taxi because of the amount of traffic there. A good taxi driver will drive through parking lots or around the back streets to get you where you're going. A bad taxi driver will either drive up and down the Strip or will go WAY out of the way. It's easy to get a taxi at each hotel because the hotels employ people who can get you a taxi. Every hotel has a taxi line; stand in it and you will get on a taxi within about 10 minutes or so.
The bus tour to the grand canyon was fantastic. We got on a shuttle that took us only two blocks. The tour bus was comfortable; I'm glad we took it as it meant that we could see the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon without straining ourselves much.
If you're planning on visiting the Hoover Dam, you'll want to do it soon as they're building an overpass that takes you away from it. It's because of 9/11; they're worried that someone will smuggle a bomb of something and destroy the dam. Therefore, everyone going over the structure is questioned before they go over it. An officer came onto our bus each time to check that we weren't carrying a weapon or bomb or something.
We made two stops at the Grand Canyon to take photos. The first one was much better as the view was pretty and unspoiled by people's buildings. The second one was more historical as it had all of the hotels that were built to house people wanting to visit the Canyon. That stop was less fun because it was more touristy.
We first saw Zumanity, which is a Cirque du Soleil show celebrating sex and sexuality. It was very, very good. Of course the circus acts were amazing, and the strangeness of seeing the bare breasts did leave us. This show is rated adults-only and for good reason; they don't do anything overtly sexual, but it is very, very sensual in nature. If you are uncomfortable with some expressions of sexuality, including bondage and homosexuality, you may not like this show. We loved it; it was very, very good.
We saw Penn and Teller on the third night (my birthday). We thought that we would enjoy the show very much, but unfortunately it wasn't as good as we thought it might be. It was sort of funny but it wasn't quite as good as the tv show. There were some funny bits; just not as much funny as we might have hoped.
Finally, we saw O, another Cirque du Soleil show, and it was amazing. If you see only one show in Las Vegas, make it O. The choreography, costumes, and sets are spectacular. Even the theatre is wonderful. The fact that it all takes place on and under water makes it all the more amazing. Go see this show. Even though it's expensive, go and see it. We were up on the second balcony and could see pretty much everything, so you have a good view even in the cheap(er) seats.
Aside from the hotels themselves, the only other attraction we paid for was the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay. It was really cool. I love aquariums and this one was huge. Ian made me touch a manta ray that they had. They looked funny trying to get out of the pool they were in. I didn't think that they would be able to breathe air, but this one ray did everything it could to get out. It was a pretty good show; I'd recommend it.