For a classic bachelorette extravaganza, I went to Las Vegas with the bride-to-be and 3 of her bridesmaids. To my delight, the four-day trip included a pit stop in the Grand Canyon. I’ve been curious to visit the sin city for a while so this was the perfect occasion to quench this curiosity.
There is not much I can tell you about Las Vegas that you haven’t seen in films, TV shows, and popular culture in general. The city is exactly what you would imagine. The strip is an opulent street with a mix of over the top richness and fakeness visible in the hotels that want to mimic Paris, Egypt and Venice all in one place. This atmosphere of gambling, drugs, over-sexualization, party and life excesses made me a little uneasy.
We stayed at the Venetian resort. This humongous complex is the world's second-largest hotel, with more than 4000 rooms, has several pools, restaurants, casinos, clubs and an internal mall. It's built to resemble Venice in its architecture, it has internal canals with gondolas and ubiquitous renaissance paintings. You can easily spend your whole trip in the hotel without ever leaving it.
The city offers uncountable shows year-round and the prices range from free to more than $500.
Of course, the Bellagio's dancing fountains are a must-see. The best way to enjoy them is at the terrace of Gaby Mon Amour restaurant at the Paris hotel. While you enjoy your dinner you have a beautiful view of the fountains which are just across the street.
Las Vegas has also numerous award shows. We decided to see the Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson ONE. The amazing show has more dancing than traditional circus acrobatics and immerses you into the world of the king of pop. The custom-made theatre for the show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino allows you to have the show year-long.
The old Las Vegas
After 3 days of not exploring the city as I usually do, group trips can be difficult to please everyone. I decided to take an Uber and tour the city for half a day alone. I headed to the old Vegas to see the city’s signature neon signs of the 50’s and the iconic Las Vegas sign at the entrance of the city. Heads-up, these two destinations are not at a walking distance.
The old Las Vegas, also known as Fremont Street, gives you a glimpse of the other side of the medal, the addiction and the poverty that reigns over the city is not pretty to see. This was more evident as I went there in the morning where the city is still half asleep and half hangover.
Ever wondered about what was written behind the Las Vegas sign?
Where to eat:
The Venetian hotel offers many restaurants for everybody’s taste. At the Otto Enoteca, try the Cauliflower Frittelle, it is delicious!
The Bouchon bakery, also located in the Venetian hotel, has pretty good macaroons even though they are not as good as the ones baked by Ladurée in Paris (the real Paris... I’m extremely picky about macaroons).
Where to Party:
During the first day, we encountered a group of promoters and we bought tickets to Tao and Marquee nightclub. I’m not a party animal so I might not be the greatest reference for this. Visiting the stylish Cosmopolitan hotel for the Marquee was worth going there.
Where to shop: Las Vegas Premium Outlets North.
Getting around: I highly recommend taking a Uber or a Lyft. Drivers are friendly and going long distances will be more convenient taking a Uber than the buses.
Things I regret: Not going to the Neon Museum.
Things that you do not expect: The dry heat really hits your eyes as they become instantly dry. Also, there are sprinklers around hotels helping you survive the overwhelming heat of the desert.
The Grand Canyon
Imagine yourself at 240 m high in the Grand Canyon in the middle of the summer as the temperature rises above 35C and suddenly it starts to rain, then the rain becomes hail! Yes, you read that right, HAIL, in the middle of the summer, in the desert! At the top, the clay-like floor became super slippery and we were trying to climb down. Fortunately, we were able to leave without a scratch! What a day!
From Las Vegas, there are several tour companies that can take you to the Grand Canyon. The tours by bus have all the same stops: Joshua Trees, Eagle Point, Guano Point & finally the famous Hoover Dam. The bus leaves you at the first destination and then you to take a shuttle in between the stops. Besides the four stops, you can take a walking tour through a recreation of Native American dwellings. There is also a souvenir shop with Handmade Native American jewellery and crafts.
Through the drive, you can admire the desert and the arid scenery. A few RV in the middle of the canyon will make you wonder if they are imitating the scheme of Breaking Bad.
The most beautiful view is Guano Point. The colours, the altitude, the magnitude and dazzling lines really are a breathtaking beauty. It is considered a High Point Hike where you can climb the canyon and enjoy the view. Just try not to fall ;) as there are no barriers for your safety.