The Antipodean's Guide to Las Vegas
There are few cities as polarising as fabulous Las Vegas. If, like me, you see Sin City as a legendary mirage in the desert – a place of curiosity where you can suspend reality and embrace the illusion for a few days – then read on.
Learn from my mistakes – these are the Antipodean’s top tips for an epic trip to Vegas:
DO look up concerts and event listings to find out who else will be in Vegas while you’re there. We discovered that Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour would be in town entirely by chance. Even if there’s nobody on tour, the resident options are pretty top notch. Whether or not you like the theme song from Titanic, Celine Dion has an unrivalled voice (and whoever told you she sounds like a strangled cat was just jealous!) She’s in perfect form and her show at Caesar’s Palace is the best in Vegas.
DON’T stay in a trailer trash motel just off the strip. Do it properly and stay in one of the real hotels! I blame the fact that we were there at high season and there were no decent specials for this amateur mistake. Though our location was surprisingly central, the Scientology paraphernalia in the reception was only the start of our eye opening experience there - we'll be going 5 star next time!
DO see a Cirque du Soleil show. Vegas is the natural home of freaky... so it’s the perfect environment for Cirque. There are around ten Cirque shows resident in Vegas at any given time. My personal recommendation is LOVE, at the Mirage. Sure, a circus show based around the music of the Beatles sounds incongruous... but just trust me, they pull it off! It helps that this theatre (in the round, of course) was built especially for this show – including surround sound speakers in every chair to ensure that every person has a perfect audio experience.
DO see more than Vegas – look at adding on some time at the Grand Canyon (it’s as mind-blowing as they say) or starting your Vegas trip in LA (flights are usually cheaper and the road trip is fun!).
DON’T get a pay-upfront loyalty card that makes you eat at the same place every day. I’ve found these cards great in other cities, but in Vegas the food options are endless even on a tight budget, and Planet Hollywood felt pretty boring by day three! The half price ticket booth on the Strip includes steep discounts on the many Vegas buffet restaurants, so give that a shot. But make sure you eat at one of the top places too (like the one at the Wynn). You won’t find them at the 50% off booth, but you’ll be glad you went.
DO go up the Stratosphere Tower. Try to go up at sunset – your before and after photos of sunset over the Strip will make your friends ooh and aah. Once the sun’s disappeared, shell out for the three thrill rides at the top of the tower. They’re not cheap, but if you enjoy a thrill they’re worth it!
DO stay up late every night having a flutter in all the casinos. But, of course, you were going to do that anyway, which is why I saved it for last! All the stories about the waitresses bringing free drinks to people playing the pokies are true, by the way. And that includes the cheaper machines. I’m mildly ashamed to admit it, but I didn’t buy a drink from the bar anywhere in Vegas! Find a poker or blackjack machine near the door to the kitchen and start betting low. The few dollars you’ll [probably] lose over the next hour will be a lot less than the $24 you’d have paid for your two Long Island Iced Teas and a Margarita at the bar!
So now you know what to do when you get there, call 0208 045 4186 and let our Airfare Experts find you a great deal on your flight, accomodation, transfers and more!