My last week has been spent in Vegas on the strip…….what a very different experience from five years ago.
The streets were being swept by giant street cleaning machines picking up any loose dirt from road construction. There were workers sweeping the sidewalks. Truly an impressive new front compared to the historical Vegas we visited where fliers were shoved in your hands at every corner and in-between.
This was a very pleasant visit at the Westgate for a four day visit and to the Stratosphere, aka Strat. One thing about hotel rooms in Vegas, often there are no coffeemakers in the rooms. At the Strat we upgraded (totally worth it) to get a refrigerator, coffee maker, safe, modern walk-in shower vs an old tub with shower. The room was completely renovated and very accomodating with USB connections and nice work space versus a round table and two chairs. The Strat was my economy find for the daily rate all in for under 100/night. Vegas does advertise super low daily rates buyer beware, the resort fee and taxes are often more than double the posted room rate.
Westgate is at the end of Elvis Presley Blvd and one block off the strip on Paradise,, right next to the conference center which is massive and still adding on. There is construction all over Vegas and it is a nice face-lift – more like a makeover. Westgate also has timeshares and if you want that sort of arrangement there are people in several places who will be asking you where you’re from. We were leaving most every day, wink, wink. Really it’s probably a great deal if you use the timeshare, but not so much my thing…..We did see quite a few brides in casinos coming from chapels in the hotels. The Strat has a “Chapel in the Sky” and you can bungee jump from the top. We spent the last night in the Sky Lounge at happy hour and it was a great half price value for anything on the menu for appetizers or wines, bar drinks. The restaurant one floor down revolves around the Strat at one revolution every eighty minutes with beautiful sunset views, strip or mountain panoramic views.
What a great food experience we had for breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi in the Paris hotel. Seated on a beautiful patio across from the Bellagio. This restaurant is a treat, the staff is amazing and work as a team attending your every whim. The coffee is a specialty for the restaurant and the smaller cappuccino is authentically Italian. There are so many options for breakfast. We had crepes, quiche, omelets and raspberry mimosas. This was a treat. We enjoyed so much we went several times. There is self parking for nine dollars behind the restaurant up the alley.
We like breakfast so we sought out the Egg and I, there are six locations around Vegas, we had to partake with a Bloody Mary . The come on was “We Bring the Heat”. I couldn’t resist. It was not so hot but super tasty and spicey. Loved it.
For lunch we found Ferraro’s during the week, an authentic Italian restaurant, can you tell we like to eat? Well it was totally worth it. The fish was cooked to perfection, the pasta was al dente, which we like but if you want limp pasta, just ask to cook it pasta al dente. The coffee is Lavazza which is not easy to find where we live but we had it in Italy and it is smooth and rich. Not bitter, you’ll remember after you have one cup.
Taxis are something to budget for. A trip to the airport could be under twenty dollars if you go straight down Paradise to McCarran airport. If the cabby directs the ride you will pay close to double and be taken on the interstate which adds time and distance. The Strat and Westgate has free parking for cars so we opted to rent a car for the week and we also wanted to drive to Death Valley which is an hour or better out of the city.
The scenery is beautiful and in Pahrump there is a winery and restaurant we have been going to for years. We enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and the local Nevada wine samplings. Now they have some super cool t-shirts, not sure to be repeated here but they are cute and play on words. Hint “three wined mice” .
The week was surprisingly relaxing, not what to expect in Vegas. Many shows to see, shopping to indulge in, etc. however we did the convention thing and had a new Vegas experience. Of course there were party animals and celebrations, shows and gambling in the casinos. There are helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon. On our anniversary we rented a convertible, turned up the heat and put the top down and bought a Bette Midler remake of Rosemary Clooney classics and drove to Angel Point, we still play the video. Viva Las Vegas et al.