Since leaving the UK on the 6th of February, we’ve spent exactly 0 nights in a hotel. Granted, we’ve had some nights in AirBnBs & also had the luxury of staying with Mikeys auntie Denise in Vancouver, but since leaving Canada we’ve not had a night out of the van. Don’t get us wrong – the beds comfy and we have everything we need, but sometimes it’s nice not to have to prepare & heat up the water for a shower hours in advance. We were also getting pretty tired of trying to sleep at 30º with only a fan to aid our cooling so we thought we’d do Vegas properly – in a hotel!
On the drive down it was hard to contain our excitement, but it was even harder to decide whether we were more excited for a king size bed & an en suite or Vegas itself. As it turns out we had good reason to be excited for both.
We stayed at the Luxor, one of the MGM resorts. It was a 4* resort – none of the extravagant 5* $400 a night affairs, but for us a complete luxury. The hotel is designed to be shaped like a pyramid with quite a good effect, and is a walking distance to most things on the strip. We arrived early and couldn’t check it but it was Saturday of the world cup final and our intentions were clear – head to the closest British pub we could find! It was nice to have some atmosphere for one of the England games, just a shame about the result.
We took a cab back to the hotel room after, to check in and enjoy long long long showers and a whole room to ourselves! Then it was time to start on our mission – how can we do vegas on the cheap?
Cue Ellis Island. If any of you ever go to Vegas we insist you go to this bar & casino. It screamed value, in a town where drinks were so often $7.50 for not even a pint on the strip. This small bar is only 1 block away, and before 8pm draft beer was $1.50 a pint. Even after that, it was $2.25 a pint! We also snagged a 2 course steak meal for $10 each. We could go on… basically go to Ellis Island! Then we went to see Cirque de Soleil Mystere for some truly incredible acrobatics. While one of the cheaper shows, we were still dumbfounded by some of the feats of the performers.
Our second day we had no scheduled plan – quite different from our day of arrival. It was a day for wandering around all the casinos & hotels on the strip. Once again we were after a bargain and found Blondies – $4 for breakfast and with $2 draft beers it was hard to say no! Also a brilliant indoor night time display had us feeling like it was fine to have a pint at 11am.
Our favourite hotel by far was the venetian, with a surprisingly classy theme kept throughout and free opera shows on offer. The gondola looked great fun, but not worth the 100 dollars to hire it out… we also stopped by Caesars, and New York New York. We successfully executed the video poker trick – sit on the machines and play slowly until a waitress offers you a drink for free only we had forgotten our passports and they were quite hot on ID.
For dinner we headed to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, an international chain but one we had never tried. What they can do to shrimp there is magical… especially good was the coconut fried shrimp. Take us back to our happy place! Our next stop was a bar which Sophie & Tom had gifted us an unused groupon voucher for (thanks guys!). All you can drink of house spirits & beers, and some sufficiently cheesy karaoke. Judging by the confused looks on the bar staffs face we can imagine most people don’t come for a few drinks like we did. After wandering down the side street in between hotels we headed back to ours for another well deserved nights rest.
The time in vegas passed a little more quickly than we’d imagined, but it’s safe to say our perceptions of the place have definitely been changed from ‘I wouldn’t dream of going there’. It was probably helped by only seeing one stag do on our entire trip though!
Back into the van we are headed off to the grand canyon next – via another Groupon deal from Sophie & Tom. Egg Works allowed us to fill our boots for the drive out.
It’s been fun Vegas!