In response to a recent question kindly asking “What is a Gal to Do” in Las Vegas, I ventured out to the infamous city in early September to discover the answers first hand.
My trip was limited to four days and five nights. As an accomplished Travel Diva, I was up for the challenge… confident in my abilities to master the City that Never Sleeps in under a week.
Navigating the Strip:
First and foremost –this is no walking city. When looking at a map, hotels and streets appear very close in proximity; but don’t be fooled. The Strip is may be only 4 miles in length (generally not a great distance for someone who is active); But be forewarned, the effort and the time it takes to navigate the Strip from end to end can be frustrating and exhausting even to someone who loves to walk like me. The trek often feels like a lifetime especially during the summer months. Perhaps it is the congestion, constant distraction and heat of the afternoon that impact all sense of time; but no matter, Divas save the heels for later! Your feet will thank you. Cars, taxis and limos crowd the main drag leaving traffic to nearly a standstill at peak hours so don’t count on getting to your desired destination quickly. And, taxis can be expensive. Think NYC with a few dollars added on for the often miscalculated route.
Travel Tip: Taxis do not stop on the street. You can’t waive them down. You must pick up a cab at a designated hotel taxi stop. And, don’t be surprised to find a line.
But do not dismay, visitors have options:
- The Monorail. The jury is still out, especially with locals, on whether this is the most efficient form of transportation. The Monorail is a seven-stop, elevated system (3.9 mile route) that connects major hotels and attractions along the Strip. It may not be the best option for time sensitive travel; sadly, most of the monorail stops are buried within the bowels of casino hotels. Be clear, upon arrival to your destination, it could take you another 20 minutes to find your way to the Strip. My journey, via monorail and on foot, from the Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas Station to the Harrah’s /Imperial Palace Station to reach the Encore for a show nearly took two hours one way. Absolutely crazy! Despite the shortcomings, there is a silver lining. For large trade shows, conferences and conventions, the Monorail lives up to its reputation as the quickest trip on the strip; business travelers can skip the rental car and enjoy direct and stress free service to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Daily Rates are $5. Unlimited Ride Passes are also available. Visit the Las Vegas Monorail Website to learn more.
- RTC Bus System. The bus system covers the Strip and beyond. I learned very quickly that the bus can be your best friend. It is a Clean, Affordable and Efficient (before 12 noon and after 12 midnight) mode of transport. During peak hours (1p.m.-12 midnight)…expect the bus to be part of the traffic gridlock. In the late evening, one is likely to see a few colorful Las Vegas locals onboard. Great people watching and never a dull moment! A Three Day All Access Pass is only $20. And a 24 hour pass is less than cocktail -$7. Passes can be purchased at automated electronic kiosks at major stops on the Strip like Planet Hollywood. Special Note: There are a few special buses that run to the north end of Las Vegas (Fremont) on an alternate route – labeled WAX; these buses eliminate the multiple stops at hotels, completely avoiding Strip traffic. Be sure to pick up a bus schedule onboard or visit the Regional Transportation Commission website for a detailed schedule information prior your trip.
- Taxi Service: Expensive.Words to live by: Know and communicate your preferred route to cabbie before departing. Specifically, if you want to go to Wynn via Paradise Road…be crystal clear and concise in your instructions. Otherwise, you may be taking the scenic route. Average Taxi Cost along Strip: $12-15 (one way)
- Limo Service/Private Sedan: All services are not the same. In a city where gambling is sport, it is not prudent to roll the dice on a private transport experience or you may end up on a CSI episode. Whether it is a wedding/bachelorette party, anniversary event or private corporate outing, On Demand Sedan and Limo delivers. I put the company to the test with a last minute early morning request for transport to the airport. I was not disappointed. The driver arrived ahead of schedule. He was professional, courteous and engaging! Bottled water was readily available as was a friendly update on the local airport weather conditions. Expect competitive pricing (10-15% less than other car services) and exceptional service. For more information, visit the On Demand Sedan and Limo Website.
Hotels & Resorts:
Accommodations are as plentiful as the slots machines on the Strip. But as with the slots…it takes experience and a good eye to spot the winning properties in Las Vegas. I had the pleasure of visiting several and staying at four distinct hotel/resorts during my short visit.
A Favorite: The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
This high energy property, located at the intersection of Harmon and Paradise, is a walk (less than a mile) or shuttle ride to the Strip. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas offers guests perfect balance- a “stay and play” power vacation experience. The Hard Rock will keep you engaged, active and entertained….never having to leave its celebrity-infused party domain. Rooms are as distinct as the Hard Rock clientele. Choose from the Casino Deluxe Room with front row access to the wild weekend REHAB pool party. Or, opt for quiet luxury in the HRH or Paradise Tower with a beautiful suite complete with separate living/lounge area, oversized bathroom, private tower pool and all the benefits of an exclusive concierge service desk. At the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas….every guest is a winner!
Girlfriend Getaway Activities:
My calendar and cup runneth over!
Las Vegas is the epicenter for sensational shows, spa experiences, shopping, dining and excursions.
- For some SAFE SEXual healing – don’t miss the hot and steamy All Male Revue — the Thunder from Down Under Show at the Excalibur Hotel. Hunky male specimens with sexy Aussie accents will quickly get you fantasizing and fired up with their electric and erotic dance numbers. But, not to worry… what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So enjoy every naughty naked moment!
- Aria Spa Experience. A soothing and sensual experience. Whether you opt for a spa day pass or a signature treatment, you will not be disappointed. The Aria Spa is best known for its unique Shio Salt Room and Gabanyoku Stone Beds; both are medicinal with holistic healing qualities… improving respiration, circulation, and metabolism and cleansing the body of toxins and stress. End the afternoon with a dip in the Spa’s Infinity Edge Pool where you can relax, unwind in temperate waters and catch a glimpse of the Las Vegas Cityscape. For an exclusive pampered escape, reserve an Aria Spa Suite. Each Suite is a private heavenly haven complete with a Jacuzzi tub, comfort treatment tables and full access to a spa cafe menu as well as specialized services like manicures and pedicures. You even get your choice of music…so getting into the groove is easy.Visit the Aria Spa Las Vegas website to learn more about special promotions and schedule your visit.
- Pink Jeep Tours. Choose from guided city to desert adventure tours with daily pick up from all Las Vegas hotels. Enjoy a small group tour experience with less than ten passengers. Explore the rugged beauty of the desert landscape, learn about native traditions and the local flora and fauna or immerse yourself in the history of Las Vegas with Pink Jeep’s popular night city tour. I opted for the Red Rock Canyon Tour (four hours) to visit the National Park Conservation area just 20 miles west of downtown. Here you will see spectacular fossilized sand dunes and marvel at the colorful sandstone rock formations of the surrounding Calico Hills. To learn more, visit the Pink Jeep Tours website.
- Jersey Boys (The Palazzo) A tribute to legendary music group, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. The inspiring performance will ignite fond memories of young love and have you singing along in your seat. For tickets and schedule, visit the Jersey Boys website.
- Le Rêve (Wynn Hotel). A dream storyline set on a grand aquatic stage featuring an oversized custom water tank, a sophisticated hi-wire trapeze system and phenomenal lighting design. Add in an extraordinary team of artists, dancers, gymnasts, synchronized swimmers and vocal talent…and you have a recipe for a magical experience. Le Rêve is sure to capture your heart. For more information, visit the Wynn Las Vegas website.
- Dinner and Dancing at ENCORE. Ladies…the Encore’s Society Cafe has worked up a special promotion to please even the most discerning diva. The “Still Single Bliss Package” is the perfect way to get the party started with a few of your closest friends. Indulge in a private dining experience. The pre-set menu includes a welcome cocktail, appetizer, a juicy Petit Filet served with your choice of crab or shrimp and the perfect finish … a decadently delicious chocolate layer cake for dessert. Savour the bliss by dancing away the calories with included VIP admission to one of the Strip’s hottest poolside night clubs – Surrender – a 60,000 square foot oasis. Total Package Price: $100 per person (a $200 Value) Visit the Encore Website for reservations.
Fashionista Tip: Head out early and get in a little shopping before dinner at the Wynn Esplanade (right next door to the Encore)where you will find a plethora of upscale shops ranging from Dior to Louis Vuitton. Here, you can enjoy a little “Sex in Sin City” with a stop at high-fashion shoe designer Manolo Blahnik’s only U.S. boutique outside of the Big Apple.
Stay tuned in October for more; Tango Diva brings you the inside scoop on lodging complete with reviews of several Las Vegas area hotels and shares a fabulous find in Lake Las Vegas.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Photos courtesy of HRH Las Vegas Press Office
Aria Spa Photos courtesy of MGM Resorts Press Office.
Thunder Down Under Photo courtesy of Show Management.
Society Cafe Photo Image courtesy of Barbara Kraft.
Surrender Club Photo Image courtesy of Russell MacMasters.