Las Vegas is a special place. People tell you what it’s like, you see it in the movies, but experiencing it first-hand is still a surprise-filled adventure.
This was my first time visiting Vegas. It was just the two of us, not looking for a wild clubbing night and not really having specific goals for the visit. We didn’t go clubbing, we didn’t gamble, and didn’t go to see a show. Quite frankly people were confused about our itinerary or lack thereof. The fact that there were only two of us was also a bit of a shock to many, which I guess speaks to Vegas being a group party destination.
We had 3 days which we approached with a relaxed attitude of exploration. We walked around, wandered the nice hotels, ate nice meals, barhopped, and made new friends. I had a fairly short list of things I wanted to do but hardly made it through the half. I also didn’t bring my camera out at night so the few shots I got were of daytime Vegas.
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Favourite meal: Le Cirque in the Bellagio
It’s a fairly small restaurant that feels like an inside of a circus tent (but classy and clean). What brought us here is a 5-course tasting menu. Offered at $135 per person with an option to get an $88 wine paring, which I strongly recommend doing. The meal was phenomenal, not rushed, with very attentive service, and a few surprises along the way. It is worth noting that quite a few items on the set menu come at an additional cost so that price is a starting point.
Favourite cheap eats: Viva Las Arepas
Located at the tail end of the strip, near the Stratosphere, this is a diner-style Colombian kitchen menu. All of the food is quick, delicious, and very filling. Arepas are filled bursting out of the seams and they have a great homemade juice selection.
Favourite bar: The Dorsey in the Venetian hotel
A dark place with a great atmosphere, an intimate library corner with a fireplace, Champaign by the glass, and a great DJ to keep the party going. Like with most bars people come in packs, bars go from full to empty in a moment and then get promptly filled again by another set of people exploring the strip in packs. Naturally, Vegas is a great place for people-watching.
The stay: SAHARA Las Vegas*
Recently renovated hotel spread across multiple towers with a ground-level casino (of course). Each tower has a different decor theme, we stayed in Alexandria so it was very intense greek with a stretched couch, spacious bathroom, and a secret door into the shower from the room. The hotel* itself is smaller than the massive complexes and doesn’t have its own mall which I quite liked because it was much easier to navigate it, especially after getting lost in the Venetian. There are a few restaurants and lounges on the ground level, a 24-hour diner, and a spa with a sauna. The sauna was a bit of a letdown but the massage service was just what the doctor ordered after a late night out.
To do: Explore the casinos
The luxury casinos along the strip are marvellous developments that host entire worlds inside of them. There are malls, food courts, casinos, theatres, Michelin-star restaurants, a plethora of bars, and other things to see and do. My hot list of hotels to see is: Caesars Palace, The Venetian, Bellagio, and the Wyn.
How I booked it:
Hotel: SAHARA Las Vegas, 4 stars, 2 nights, 1 room
$325 CAD, booked via booking.com* with Agoda, their partner provider marked with the tag “booking.basic”. Upon arrival, we ended up upgrading to Alexandria Double, the nicer town with access to the Spa sauna so our final total was $580 CAD
Flight: Air Canada Rouge, direct. Booked with Aeroplan on points, saved 12,000 miles with Diamond Status to a total of 28,200 miles + $69.58 taxes, fees, and surcharges. Side note: I thoroughly enjoyed the view of the mountains when landing in Nevada.
In the gear bag: Fujifilm X-T100 with an XF50mmF2 R WR lens. To see the trip on Instagram look up #xoVegas20.