My high school friend, Kelly told me this summer she wanted to celebrate her thirtieth birthday in Vegas (not the actual day-Nov 1, but the general occasion, so I found a great flight, and a good hotel rate a month after her birthday). She invited two girls she works with, and I took time off work....more time than I've ever taken at once (since I only get 5 days a year for vacation type purposes, this was a big change for me). Our flight was designed to take off about 6:40 am, but due to the unusual snow in Dallas, and even more unusual snow in El Paso, there was a delay. We finally boarded at 7:20, whith the airport anticipating the freezing fog in El Paso would lift by the time we go there for our lay over. When we arrived in El Paso, this was not the case. We circled for thirty minutes, and then were diverted to Phoenix when the fog wasn't showing signs of lifting, AND we were the 6th plane in line to land. The flight attendant told us we 'should' have enough gas to get to Phoenix....he didn't mean it the way it sounded, but it sounded pretty intimadating! Other than that little blip, it really wasn't a bad thing. Southwest Airlines was our carrier of choice, and though there were no bells and whistles, I must say on the way to, and from Vegas we had delays, and they held the next plane for us each time, even though we were 30-40 minutes late, which was nice not having to worry about finding a new connection. We finally arrived in Vegas a little after nine. We were planning on taking a cab to the hotel, but then saw limos for 60 bucks, not bad, so we snagged one of those instead to start it out right. I'm personally not a fan of limos....I never have been, but....it's all about compromise (...as long as morals aren't involved, I can adjust! You will find this is the theme of this particular trip for me).
We checked into the Bellagio rather quickly, and dropped our stuff off, ready to get out and see the town. The Bellagio is beautiful, and their Christmas decorations were amazing!
They had trees, and decor everywhere, and one room completely dedicated to flowered decorations (huge ornaments made out of roses, bigger than life polar bears made out of mums, reindeer made out of nuts etc etc etc. (See my complete album for these details). We had decided to spend the extra money on the Bellagio as opposed to the other choices b/c we heard it was 'the' place to say. There were much better deals out there, but they did have a fairly reasonable rate, and we wanted to just enjoy the Vegas life for a few days. Again, I have to admit-it was NOT worth it. The rooms were nice, we had turn down service at night with mints on the pillow, the rooms were large, the bathrooms were amazing, but the customer service was AWFUL! Truly....awful! Our first room didn't have working air, the repair man essentially told us it was 'too bad' there was nothing we could do but change rooms....we packed up, and moved, and as soon as I took off my shoes, I discovered room number 2 had sopping wet carpets....since our stuff was still packed up, we asked to move again. This time we discovered the locks weren't working, after a day and a half of drama, going to the room, not getting in, getting (literally) more than ten keys, having repairmen come twice, having to call each time, and then being told who we needed to call from there, we asked to move again b/c each time we needed back in our room it took more than twenty minutes to wait for security or a bell hop (given the size of the hotel, everything takes forever, including just walking to our rooms). Room #4 had a shower that wouldn't drain, but that was so minor in comparison, we just gave up. I've never complained about a room before, and I usually don't really give rude people a second thought. There is so much more to the story, but....they were rude, and the hotel isn't THAT well maintained given it's reputation, my suggestion is to NEVER stay there...EVER! It was recently sold/bought by MGM....I believe it.
OK, our first real stop after the hotel was Serendipity 3 for lunch. This eatery is also in NYC, and I think they are based off a movie from a few years back, but it was FABULOUS! I loved our server (Bret), and the food was so good, all made from scratch. They are famous for their frozen hot chocolate.....we all agreed this was a well deserved reputation. They are pretty pricey, but I can't really say that I found a meal that wasn't pricey, and this was well worth the price.
Did I mention I LOVED our server? We loved him so much we went back the next day for lunch (and planned to go back day three, but were out too long).
After lunch we walked down the strip a little, and found a place selling discount show tickets. We grabbed some tickets at almost half price for Penn and Teller. We headed over to the Rio that night, and started out by eating dinner at a restaurant called Voodoo(we got 25% off the tab since we bought tickets to the show at their location). The food was pretty good, and the view from the 52nd floor was amazing of some of the sites of Las Vegas!
After dinner we headed to the Penn and Teller show. There were three seating levels, but the audience only filled up the bottom layer, so we were basically sat as close as the doorman could get us, which is a pretty nifty upgrade. Before the show we listened to a jazz band (right next to our seats), and the guy playing bass was Penn wearing a wig, but it's pretty hard to miss the obvious (he later played in the show). The show was very good, pretty incredible magic, and wit. Afterwards they came out into the halls and took photos with guest, and signed autographs.
I headed back to the hotel at that point, and the other girls went back to a club in the Rio (we could get in free with out tickets, but it's not my thing, never has been, never will be).
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