Three Days In Vegas
We were there not for the National Finals Rodeo which is always held the first full week of December, but for the Brooks & Dunn and Reba McIntyre concert. Being huge fans of both, as soon as I heard Brooks & Dunn were teaming up once more to play Vegas I bought tickets, I think it was as early as April of 2015.
Ceasar’s Palace 4,100 seat venue was alive and seated to the rafters Friday night as the trio came on stage. According to this fan, the night was perfection and confirmed to me why these three country super-stars have always been my favorites. They each had their share of stage time and played all the songs we have come to know and love—Red Dirt Road, Hillbilly Deluxe, Believe, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Fancy. The ending was the best ever—playing “Only in America” and only in America would you see a show on the Strip close with a salute from a group of Navy soldiers. Amazing!! And solidifies my love of country music forever.
But that was only Friday night.
Walking into the Bellagio late Thursday night was like walking into a Christmas Wonderland. Right in the middle was a huge Christmas tree decorated with colorful sparking lights sitting in a bed of crimson red poinsettias. The scene behind the front desk was another Christmas wonderland and each of the podiums had a giant ten foot tall white vase filled with the most beautiful dark red roses. Check-in was quick and before you know it we were in our room.
Friday was spent walking through the Bellagio gazing at the rest of the Christmas displays. Each season a staff of 120, the Bellagio Conservatory Team, transform the 14,000 square foot space into a showcase of the distinctive sights and colors of the season. This was a display like I have never witnessed before. A 42 foot live White Fir tree is donned with 7,000 lights and 2,500 ornaments. Surrounding it, suspended from the ceiling are huge brightly colorful christmas stockings and a couple of ornaments. All this is surrounded by the crimson red and white and green poinsettias; 34,000 flowers in all.
Walking around the Conservatory you will also see a giant jack-in-the box, snow-globes, polar bears, penguins and even a snow tunnel that you can walk through. The Gardenia Garden Store is filled with displays of Christmas decorations and home-decor. There was a beautiful yellow and black and white checked tea set that caught my eye, but at $313 for the teapot, I gently placed it back on the shelf and carried on. If you keep on walking through the Christmas wonderland you will run into the Jean Philippe Patisserie, the first truly European-style pastry shop in Las Vegas, complete with a chocolate fountain.
All I can say is that the Bellagio is now going to be my hotel of choice every trip we make to Vegas. As we continued walking through the casino (no Christmas decorations there) all the hallways to the various shops—Tiffany’s, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Harry Winston—were again all transformed into Christmas. One that really caught my eye was filled with blue white snow flakes descending from the ceiling. But alas, we didn’t do any shopping here; just delighted at window shopping.
More to our pocket book is the Mile High Shopping Centre across the Strip, attached to Planet Hollywood. Shopping here is more like an adventure, it seems to go on forever and if you look up you are walking under a blue sky with billowy white clouds drifting through the air. And for those wondering, yes there were a few purchases made. After a few successful and not so successful bouts at the slot machines, it was time to scope out places for a bite to eat. We decided to make early reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s Burger place, one of three Gordon Ramsay restaurants in Las Vegas. But first, back to the hotel for our usual vacation ritual of an afternoon nap (so we can stay up past 10:00).
Why go anywhere else when the Breakfast Buffet at the hotel was as good as it was, so over breakfast we decide what’s on the agenda for the day. We want to hit the Premium Outlet store for Ron to buy the shoes he’s been eyeing for months. It is always a great place for really good bargains.
Shopping was quite the experience. If I were to guess I would say one in six people bought very well priced huge luggage and stuffed all their purchases in them to take home. It was interesting and hilarious to watch. We got their before noon but by two in the afternoon it was getting really difficult to move around. The Kate Spade store along with the Coach store were lined up with security guards guiding people in and out. My bargain of the day was at the Nike Store, a t-shirt marked down to $11.97 and then another thirty percent off totaling eight dollars. Score one for me. I went back to buy a new pair of Nike runners for forty dollars but by that time the line-up at the cash register was 80 people long so no dice. Ron didn’t fare so well, he never did get his coveted shoes.
After said nap it was time for our dinner reservation we made at Mon Ami Gabi—a charming classic French bistro where upon entering you are welcomed by the aroma of french favorites—Onion Soup au Gratin, and Steak Frites. Our dinner tonight consisted of a shared appetizer of Escargot and then the specialty of the house Steak Frites smothered in sauce as only the French can do, and of course a couple of glasses of French wine.
We got the last tickets for the 10:00 show of Absinthe. At first glance it doesn’t look like much—your average looking white tent sitting outside between Ceasar’s Palace and The Bellagio; but inside you are transported into this burlesque theatre in the round; not a bad seat in the house. Be prepared to be surprised. Think old world burlesque with outrageous world-class spectacular circus acts; and definitely adults only with uncensored, vulgar and outlandish comedy. The ringleader, a raunchy fellow to say the least and his quirky silly assistant had us rolling in the aisles with laughter; but, word of caution—never, never sit in the front row. The acts were outstanding—my favorite being the girl with the bouncing balloon who actually puts herself inside the balloon. Ron’s favorite was the quick footed tap dancers.
Our flight is not until seven so we have one more day to check out the Strip. We head out for a walk through some of the other hotels to scope out more Christmas decor—Cosmopolitan, Mirage, Paris, The Flamingo, the Venetian—but we soon discover that Christmas doesn’t seem to exist at other hotels. Part of the adventure is watching the people playing the slot machines or at the gambling tables. You see all types of people, young, old, well dressed or not, at both the slot machines and the gaming tables, wishing and hoping with anticipation for that next big jackpot. Really quite amusing.
Now alas our time in Las Vegas has come to an end. A trip back to the airport where we are informed our plane back to Calgary is an hour and half late. What makes it even worse we are to the airport extra earlier because I travel with a man who likes to get everywhere extra early, especially the airport. I do believe we now have three hours to wait. But no, upon checking one more time the flight is now leaving another hour later so we now wait for four hours. Oh the joys of flying!!
This is the second time we have been in Las Vegas and as we are leaving we say I don’t think we need to come back again. After writing this, I don’t think that’s true. We will be back…there’s always something new to see and do in Las Vegas.