Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas in Las Vegas

Welcome-to-Las-Vegas_sm

Here is a little review/pictorial of my long holiday weekend in Las Vegas with my hubbie!
Travel

BeautifulDaytogotoLV

Early Christmas morning my husband and I took off for the airport. We have flown on Christmas Day before, but I don't ever remember it being so busy at the airport as it :t was at 7:20am on Christmas morning 2009. We tend to fly Southwest when we travel to Vegas, mostly because we earn free flights through our credit card. I must say that even though you don't have assigned seating, Southwest is definitely my favorite airline!
Southwest
Even with the long lines, everyone was happy and helpful. I finally got my luggage checked 15 minutes before the flight left, with a "we will do our best to get your luggage on the plane, but we can't guarantee anything" from the attendant that I left my bags with. I barely made it through security, and ran with my shoes, and computer still in my arms down to the gate. The flight was full,  the flight uneventful as we made our way to Las Vegas via a short layover in Phoenix. We landed in Las Vegas about 5 minutes late and were VERY surprised to see my luggage almost  first coming off the conveyor! That's right, both pieces of luggage made it to Las Vegas (and home) with no problem. On the way home, we had a non stop flight to Austin that landed about 20 minutes early.
You rock Southwest!!


The Hotel
GVR-Sign

We had received a marketing postcard from Green Valley Ranch earlier in the year offering a two nights stay free, along with a $50 voucher at any restaurant and $50 in chips to play. We had spent our last Vegas vacation at the Green Valley and really enjoyed ourselves so we took them up on their offer!  The upscale hotel/casino is way off The Strip in nearby Henderson, NV. Since we rent a car while we are in Vegas, this really wasn't an issue for us. We have stayed both on the Strip and off, and the lure of lower priced, more luxurious rooms led us to Green Valley Ranch.

Room-View

We had a wonderful big room with a king bed, big bathroom with a separate shower and a lovely view of the mountains and pool. Our total 4 night stay, including a $100 dinner that we charged to the room cost less than $300. Granted, in order to get these comps we had to gamble in the Green Valley Ranch Casino for a specific amount of time (less than 8 hours).

The Casinos
We aren't big gamblers, but  we enjoy blackjack, video poker and after a couple of cocktails you can most likely  find us at a craps table. We did do most of our gambling at the Green Valley Ranch. We could usually find a blackjack table with no one smoking, but did get stuck at a craps table one night next to a man who just lit one cigarette after another and then just put it in the ashtray to let it burn...ugh.  The nice thing about Green Valley Ranch is that they have a whole video poker/slot machine section that is non-smoking.

Whenever we travel to Las Vegas, I make ask my husband to take me to the Bellagio Botanical Gardens Observatory for a photo shoot.

Bell-Flowers

Spring-Flower

With camera in hand, I headed for the Observatory to take some Christmas flower pictures except....the place was MOBBED! This was my fault as it was Saturday afternoon and everybody must have had the same idea.  Note to self (and anyone else listening) that if you want to take premo pictures in the Bellagio Observatory do it in the morning light (between 9am and 11am in the spring)early in the week (Monday or Tuesday)like the ones taken above. The shots below were taken on a cloudy Saturday between 12pm and 1pm, I am not keen on the lighting, and because of the crowds it was hard to pick and choose what I wanted to shoot.

Bellagio-Amaryllis

Polar-Bear-Bellagio

Bellagio-Horse

Flower-House


We also stopped by the new City Center and the Aria casinos. Once again, MOBBED, so we made our way back to the car and took in some "off strip" casinos.

These included:
Terribles
Terrible's, a local casino with fun, local patrons.

Red-Rock

Red-Rock-Canyon
The Red Rock Casino -  outside of Red Rock Canyon

M-sign
3- The M - A newer hotel/casino on the outskirts of the city close to the mountains.

The Food
As always, I am in awe of the food and alcohol in Las Vegas. This trip we didn't venture far from Green Valley Ranch. They have an Original Pancake House where ate breakfast more then once. I adore their potato pancakes and my husband swears that their french toast in the very best he has ever tasted!  We enjoyed tasty Italian food one night, the Green Valley Buffet and I even experienced the Cheesecake Factory for the first time! Regardless where you go, it is hard to find bad food in Vegas. We also made sure to visit west coast favorites that we don't have in Austin like In and Out Burger and Rubio's Mexican.

Entertainment and Overall
This was a very relaxing trip, we didn't see any shows, there is a new Cirque de Soliel show featuring Elvis that just opened that is on my list of things to do. We have seen and loved  most of the other Cirque shows and would highly recommend any of them!

Overall, for a relaxing time I am all about staying off the strip and visiting the strip if and when you want to. For a short weekend trip (Fri/Sat) I would recommend staying on the strip and enjoying the excitement it has to offer. Regardless, this is an excellent time to travel to Las Vegas. The rooms are inexpensive, with many hotels and casinos offering special room rates.

2 comments:

  1. Great photos, I love the flowers from the Botanical Gardens. Glad you had a fun time, it's hard not to enjoy yourself in Las Vegas. I wish we could have spend a little more time there in August but we were part of a desert race. Oh well, we'll just have to go back again.

    Happy New Year,
    Judy

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