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Trip Report Leisurely Ladies in Las Vegas; Warning: LONG

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It’s been not quite three weeks since we returned from our Las Vegas excursion, so if I am to write a trip report, best to do it now!

Who: Myself, DD23, and my younger (by three years) sister.
Why Us/Why Vegas?: We felt like taking a girls’ weekend, and for all intents and purposes, none of us had ever been there before—it just seemed like the perfect spot for what we wanted to do—get away and have fun together.
Where we stayed: Wynn Las Vegas. We booked our trip way back in February, a package deal through Southwest Vacations. A number of hotels were possible choices, and I don’t recall now why I selected the Wynn—had heard generally positive things about it I guess, and just went with it. It was an excellent choice—we LOVED it!

Our trip started on a Saturday morning, early flight which landed ten minutes early! Our cab (we didn’t rent a car—a good choice) got us to the hotel about 9am! Cab drivers (we would have 4) in Vegas are all business—no chit chat, unlike drivers I’ve had in New York and Chicago who were more “colorful” characters full of conversation. Although we were hopeful a room would be available at that time of day, we were also realistic enough to know it might not be. A good thing about checking in that early—no lines! At first, it looked like we would have to wait until the afternoon, but an available room came up as we stood there…20th floor with a view of the golf course, not the strip as we had wanted, but we didn’t really care (and it was fine). As we walked in and turned on the lights by pressing a button by the door, all the lighting in the room slowly came on as the curtains opened automatically…this, we agreed, was pretty cool. The room was huge, with a large bathroom—two sinks, large soaking tub and a glass-enclosed shower. I am fairly certain it is the largest hotel room I have ever stayed in. We were immediately smitten. We knew not to touch the snacks or the refrigerator minibar, but appreciated the chrome ice bucket with tongs, corkscrew, and a pair of balloon polka dot wine glasses and highballs. Sweet! The beds are very comfortable with fabulous linens and there is another “command center” between the beds that controls the curtains and lights—we loved the accent lighting and how everything came on and shut off ever so slowly. Also appreciated was the Ipod dock on the nightstand between the beds. And everything was so clean…just immaculate.

As much as we loved our room, the public areas of the Wynn are worth noting—just spectacular…the beautiful and colorful floral mosaic-tile floors, the fresh flowers, the floral carpets, the whimsical pair of bars--Parasol Up and Parasol Down; the detail everywhere you looked was simply stunning. It IS a long walk (through the casino of course) from the front desk to the elevators, but I believe this is common in LV. We loved seeing all the gorgeous colors and decorative touches that were everywhere—it even smells good. And again, it was all so clean. The staff was all friendly and helpful. Yes, the drinks are expensive, and the limits on the games were on the high side (we weren’t there to gamble anyway), but we would stay there again in a heartbeat, though they could totally lose the irritating $20/day/room “resort fee” and I wouldn’t object at all.

Once settled in our room, we needed to find an ATM (NOT a casino-based one of course) and knew there was one at the Forum Shoppes at Caesar’s, and so headed in that direction, taking detours indoors whenever possible (as in walking through the Palazzo and Venetian) to get out of the heat. The distances are deceiving on a map—it was a LONG trek to get down there, complicated by the restrictions (well-deserved) on pedestrians crossing LV Blvd. It’s an interesting “mall,” made to look like a Roman streetscape, but rather dark inside. We found the ATM, then went in search of lunch, eventually ending up at a very unremarkable food court for an entirely mediocre noontime meal, which we made up for by getting some gelato on our way out.

As we made our way back to the hotel, we paused at a liquor store right across the street from the Shoppes for some wine to take back to the hotel, and then again at a Walgreen’s (near the Venetian—always handy to know where one of those is). They also had wine in addition to snacks and other necessities—open 24 hours.

For our first night in Vegas, we were seeing the early show of “Jersey Boys” which is playing at The Palazzo (right next door—how handy!) While I had heard enough positive reviews of the show to know it was going to be good, we were blown away by how outstanding it was—we loved it! I can’t imagine anyone who would not like this show—even DD, who doesn’t know the songs or remember that time in music, enjoyed it. If you are even considering it—GO! You won’t be sorry.

Next up—eating a late dinner, having had nothing since our food court lunch. We selected the Grand Luxe Café which is just outside the entrance to the theater. We were seated right away, in a windowed booth that looked out at the elegant façade of the Wynn next door. We selected several appetizers to share as our “meal” and ordered cocktails. I commented while we were there that it had kind of a “Cheesecake Factory” vibe to it, only to learn later that it is actually a CF property. The food and service were both fine, and the prices quite reasonable by LV strip standards.

The next morning we had brunch reservations at Tableau at the Wynn; our vacation package included a $100 credit and we figured that would provide a good start on paying for brunch. We were ready a little early so eventually ended up on the deck overlooking the Lake of Dreams—oh look—there’s a bar, and it’s open! So we each ordered one of their cocktail specialties, a grapefruit concoction that was outstandingly good! By then it was time to make our way to Tableau—it is almost an atrium space, with windows all around near the pool. Supposedly there was a dress code, but it was openly disregarded. DD enjoyed lobster benedict, sister and I each had omelettes, and we all three shared an order of the white chocolate orange French toast—divine. And mimosas—of course—it would not be brunch without mimosas.

That afternoon was shopping at the Fashion Show mall right across the street from the hotel—very handy! It was our favorite shopping spot—it is more light-filled, not as dark and claustrophobic as the Forum Shoppes or Miracle Mile Shops. We saw the fashion show (a runway rises from the floor of the mall!) and just enjoyed ourselves, and yes, bought some stuff.

Attending “Tony ‘n’ Tina’s Wedding” was on the agenda for that night. It is playing at a small theater at the Miracle Mile shops/Planet Hollywood, too far to walk, so we cabbed it up there, early enough that we could check on our tickets and do some more shopping as it would be our only time at that mall and the H&M store that DD was determined to shop at. None of us really cared for either Planet Hollywood or the shopping—just too wild/loud/dark, etc. We had “VIP” tickets for the show and had great seats front and center. Yes, it is a cheesy show, and the space it’s in doesn’t fit it as well as it should, but it was hilarious—we laughed—a LOT, and so did everyone at our table. After it was over we made our way to the strip, wanting to see the water show at The Bellagio. The strip was just packed with people, as it probably always is, so making our way through the crowd was challenging at times. The fountains were cool and we were happy to have gotten to watch them. The people-watching in Vegas is unparalleled.

Cabs can only be hailed at hotels, not on the streets New York-style, so we walked across the strip to the nearest hotel to catch a ride back to the Wynn. Not wanting the evening to end just yet, we went to Parasol Down, a small bar that overlooks the Lake of Dreams (and its evening light show) for drinks. Our seats were right by the curved up escalator, providing a front row seat to the light show outside and more people watching! Our second night came to a close so off to the room we went.

Having seen the Wynn’s beautiful pool on our first day, DD and sister wanted to give it a try so after breakfast (bagel sandwiches and smoothies) at the hotel’s Drugstore Café, they headed off to the pool (and more cocktails!) while I stayed in the room to enjoy the soaking tub. Once reunited, we had the afternoon open until our dinner reservations at 7. DD loves roller coasters and decided the one at New York New York was something she wanted to do. Rather than take another cab, we opted for the monorail; we could see it from our room snaking along its track, and how many places have a monorail anyway? It’s not that convenient to use, but we persevered and found the nearest station (at Harrah’s), and took it to where it ends at MGM Grand. According to the map, NYNY is…right across the street, but casinos are a lot better at telling you how to get in and not so clear on how to get out; funny that. After many wandering minutes, we finally found it, but by then we were hungry so stopped at the first place we came across…the Nine Irishmen Pub. Service was kind of slow, but it was happy hour and cool inside so it was nice for a break. After the roller coaster ($14 for one ride; yes, she said it was worth it) we headed back to the monorail. As we had purchased an all-day pass, we went ahead and rode to the other end, enjoying the different perspective of that type of transportation. It took us past the old Sahara hotel which is now closed, with big signs announcing an upcoming auction of all its furnishings.

Having not yet had a “fancy” dinner, for our final night, we had dinner reservations at B&B, a Mario Batali/Joe Bastianich restaurant at The Venetian. It’s rather dark, cozy, quiet, and pretty pricey. We were a little conservative with our selections and didn’t do the traditional/recommended course selections, but everything each of us had was quite good. I especially enjoyed the wine pairing recommended by our waitress…it was excellent. It was a leisurely meal of over two hours (we were not rushed in the least, but it was a Monday night so not terribly busy that we could see), but soon it was time to head back to the Wynn to see the late show of Le Reve.

Finding the words to describe this show is nearly impossible…it was stunning. Of course, I’ve never seen anything remotely like it, but it is just SO impressive. I can’t imagine there is a bad seat in the place (the arena is bowl shaped, with the seats on the sides and the “stage” in the center, though the performers also come down from the ceiling and from the seating areas). It was all we could do to NOT sit there with our mouths hanging open. Truly, it was spectacular.

The next morning found us sadly packing to leave and return home. While another day and night (or more) would have been nice (there was a lot we did not get to do), this was a nice little taste of Las Vegas for the three of us. If and when we return, we would stay at the Wynn again as we just fell in love with it. Also, we used Bestofvegas.com for all of our show tickets and were pleased, despite some trepidation at first. There was some confusion over whether what we had received by email were vouchers for tickets, or actual tickets, but it all worked out fine and the several calls I placed to their 800# to ask questions while doing the orders from home were all answered by friendly and helpful staff.

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