Southern Yacht

My little take on plus size fashion, life, travel and smurfs

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Las Vegas - where we stayed and what we did

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

If you look online, there are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of posts about Las Vegas. Covering all sorts of topics from how to book, where to stay, where to eat etc etc.

So what can I add that's any different? Well, first up, a bit of back ground info - this was our 8th trip to Las Vegas! I really do think Vegas is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, there's no in between. I always wanted to visit Vegas as a child and from our very first trip back in 2001, we've loved it wholeheartedly.

And so, as you'd probably imagine, after all those visits, we've done most of the typical must-see attractions that all tourists do. Even so, Las Vegas is a city that is constantly evolving and changing and as it was 8 years since our last visit (!) there was plenty to see that was new to us. So this post is not an exhaustive must do/must see post, more of a taste of what we did this time around.

Flamingo Hotel and Casino

First up - our hotel. We've started trying to stay in a different hotel every time we visit in the (very optimisic) hope of eventually working our way through most of the hotels on the strip. This time around, we chose The Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

We had a tick-box list for our Vegas hotel. It had to be central, with a view of the strip (the name given to the main road through the centre), it had to have 'character' and finally, be within budget. Not much to ask then? After a lot of searching around, we narrowed it down to two hotels. Bally's or Flamingo. The deciding factor? The Flamingo had a wildlife habitat with real live flamingos in. Decision made! It's also the oldest hotel currently on the strip so plenty of character there.

We booked direct, and made sure to join the Caesar's Reward Scheme. Caesars owns a surprising number of hotels in Vegas and elsewhere so if you're planning on staying a while here or in another Caesars property, it's worth getting a reward account. It's free and gives you benefits other than just points.

Not going to lie - resort fees in Vegas are a shocker. Just be aware of them, take a deep breath and budget for them. If you want to stay central, it really is the price you have to pay. Some hotels are starting to reduce or waive them, but whether they'll ever go is anyone's guess.

Overall thoughts on The Flamingo? We loved it. We paid extra for a strip view, but didn't pay for one of the newer refurbished rooms which we felt was a good decision. Our room on the 16th floor was perfectly good enough: clean, spacious and very very comfy. Now, if you don't like 24 hr flashing neon lights, then a strip view room might not be the one for you! Luckily, we slept through the light shows every night no problem.

Las Vegas Flamingo hotel and casino

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip

Our room in the Flamingo Hotel

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip

View from our room overlooking the Las Vegas strip


The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge

This classic Las Vegas icon has been on my must do list for years. Unfortunately, it's destined to stay there. It's open 24 hrs but despite all our best planning, we still managed to pick a time with huge lines waiting to be seated. So a quick peek in, a little whimper at missed opportunities and The Peppermill was added right back onto my wish list for next time.

Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, Las Vegas


The Linq and High Roller

Last time we visited, this was still in the planning stage - so this whole area was new to us. A quirky, lively side area off the main strip, The Linq shopping promenade sits in between The Flamingo hotel and The Linq Hotel. You can even take a zip line from one end to the other if that's your sort of thing. At the far end is The High Roller, a 550 foot high observation wheel, currently the tallest wheel in the world. As we were guests at The Flamingo and Caesars Rewards members (remember the benefits...?) we got discounted tickets and quicker boarding. Although, mid-morning when we went is a pretty quiet time to go anyway and daytime tickets are slightly cheaper than night time. There's also a evening option of a pod with an open bar and unlimited alcohol if that takes your fancy!

The Linq promenade and the High Roller

View from the High Roller

View from the High Roller


Walk The Strip

Not one for the faint hearted - and truth be told, we could only manage half the length at any one time. But when you remember the strip is just over 4 miles long, the heat (over 100 degrees everyday we were there), we didn't do too badly. It's been said many times, but sensible footwear, lots of sun cream (factor 50+ for us) and as much water as you can carry is the way to go. We always started early in the day, caught the monorail to the end of the strip and walked back to our hotel which was halfway along. Mornings meant less heat, less crowds and much easier walking. It's been a very long time since we did this and although we were pretty shattered afterwards, it was worth doing for just to be able to see everything up close and without the crowds (plus there's air conditioned shops along the way like Sephora to pop into...).

View along the Las Vegas strip

Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

View along the Las Vegas strip

Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas


Visit a celebrity chef's restaurant

You'll spoilt for choice here and if you watch the food channel, you'll recognise a lot of the named restaurants. And if you're from the UK, be amazed (possibly dismayed) at how many restaurants and eateries Gordon Ramsey has. The other half's favourite chef is Guy Fieri so a visit to Guy Fieri's Restaurant and Bar was a must do. Heads-up, it's not cheap (as you'd expect) but a big part of the visit is the experience of going. Luckily, it didn't disappoint. The staff were lovely, the food amazing and the bill every bit as eye watering as you'd expect! Again, we went mid-afternoon so had time to relax and experience it all without the evening crowds.

Guy Fieri's restaurant and bar, Las Vegas

Guy Fieri's restaurant and bar, Las Vegas


The Flamingo Wildlife Habitat

Free to visit and some rooms in the hotel overlook this. It's a little hidden oasis in the middle of the madness of Vegas. There's scheduled feeding times and opportunities for photo shoots with the parrots (have to say - I was less keen on this, I never like to see that sort of staged interaction with any animal). Apart from this, the animals and birds in the wildlife habitat looked very relaxed and well cared for. You can even get married here if you want...

Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat

Flamingo Hotel Wildlife Habitat


Monster Mini Golf at The Twilight Zone at Bally's

What can I add to this! Who would have thought glow in the dark indoor mini golf would be so much fun, so much fun in fact, we visited twice (and you get a discount ticket for the 2nd visit). The staff were amazing and so welcoming. Wear white if you want to stand out (literally) and visit early morning if you want to pootle around at your own pace. There's also a mini arcade and a food court nearby with the best Chinese food. We seriously loved this place, if you want to visit it can be hard to find though. Just head for the food court and you'll find the signs for it eventually.

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas

Twillight Zone Monster Mini Golf, Las Vegas


So that's just a taster of some of the things we saw and did this time around in Las Vegas. We still have a very long wish list of things to do and see (Peppermill!) but that just means we have the perfect reason to go back again for visit #9

View of the Las Vegas strip


Thanks for reading

Cathy
xx




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