My Guide to Las Vegas
This was my second time in Las Vegas and I had a blast celebrating my birthday there! Vegas is known for its partying scene, unique shows and vast casinos, but for me I loved visiting the whimsical hotels and dining at the best restaurants the strip had to offer.
Getting to Las Vegas
It's a longgg flight from London to Las Vegas so be sure to fly with a decent airline! We flew with Virgin Atlantic and were so engrossed in watching films and getting fed every couple of hours that the 10 hour 45 minutes flight literally flew by.
When we arrived in Vegas we booked an Uber to our hotel as we didn't fancy sharing a shuttle which stopped at various hotels on the strip. If planning to Uber you'll need to walk to the ride share area in the airport car park. Our Uber took about 30 minutes to get to the strip and cost $22.
Where to Stay in Las Vegas
The broad choice of hotels in Las Vegas can make where to stay a really difficult decision! We stayed at both the Stratosphere and The Venetian due to inflated hotel rates on the night we arrived as a popular boxing match was taking place. I did not like the Stratosphere one bit - it was old, haggard and just plain grotty. The surrounding area is also rundown and I just didn't feel safe walking around there at night so I wouldn't recommend staying there... ever!
Ideally you want to stay in the heart of the strip to be close to the entertainment and in walking distance to restaurants, shopping malls, famous hotels and casinos.
After the Stratosphere night, we experienced true luxury in a plush king suite at The Venetian Hotel which cost £584 for 4 nights. Being a suite, the room was generously sized with a sunken living room, comfy bedroom area and huge, fancy bathroom. The suite was also super quiet and peaceful so we had the best nights sleep there.
Things to Do in Las Vegas & Places to Visit
Las Vegas North Premium Outlets
They have excellent outlet shops with affordable prices, especially in the more premium shops. I spent my time wandering in and out of Kate Spade trying to stop myself from purchasing the whole shop as the discounts were just too good to miss!
You can easily spend a day roaming around the strip visiting all the cool hotels and admiring the copy cat landmarks like the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas and miniature Manhattan in New York-New York Hotel & Casino.
The Bellagio has a frequent water fountain show that you should try and catch, Caesars Palace is a must as it's where The Hangover was filmed and The Cosmopolitan is known for its chandelier bar so you have to take a picture in front of the sparkly backdrop!
Penn & Teller, Rio Hotel
We purchased last minute tickets to see Penn & Teller and I'm glad we did as they put on a great performance! It's a clever show featuring some mind boggling tricks and stunts - they even did one with a loaded gun! We found it interesting and entertaining throughout so it's definitely worth a watch.
Favourite Restaurants on the Strip in Las Vegas
Black Tap, The Venetian Hotel
It was so good and reasonably priced that we ate here twice and the food was top-notch both times! The real USP of Black Tap are the mammoth 'Crazyshakes' they serve for $15 a pop. I was lucky enough to try not one but TWO shakes; 'The Cake Shake' which had cake batter inside the shake, topped off with a generous slice of funfetti cake and the 'Cookies ’N Cream Supreme' which is an absolute must for all Oreo lovers.
Beauty & Essex, The Cosmopolitan Hotel
I celebrated my birthday here and I couldn't have picked a better restaurant, Beauty & Essex is super stylish and the perfect venue for celebrating a special occasion! It's quite pricey for dinner but the food and ambience makes it well worth it in my opinion. The menu consists of small dishes which are designed to be shared like tapas, so each dish is fairly small (by US standards!) and are portioned up for a party of 5/6 people.
Everything on the menu looked superb, I could have tried every dish but we sensibly picked 7 items to be shared between the 5 of us. Our favourite dishes were the 'Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings' these were divine, 'Croque Monsieur Mac & Cheese' which was one of the best I've ever had and the 'Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos' which disappeared in the blink of an eye.
The service was also excellent and both myself and John (the birthday people) were treated to a surprise dessert of incredible chocolate cake pops!
TAO Asian Bistro, The Venetian Hotel
TAO is a fine dining restaurant which is immensely popular for dinner so I highly recommend booking a table in advance. The decor is enchanting from the moment you walk in, there are rose petal baths, luxurious red velvet seats, low lighting with lots of pillar candles and the biggest buddha statue I've ever seen in the centre of the restaurant!
The menu includes dim sum, sushi, rice and noodles as well as meat, veg and seafood options. We loved the 'Rock Shrimp Lettuce Cups', 'Crispy Coconut Shrimp' and the 'Crispy Thai Pork' in fact every dish we tried here was super delicious! I would highly recommend having dinner here especially if you plan on going to the club as entry is free when you have dinner in the restaurant.
Grand Lux Cafe, The Venetian Hotel
From the owners of The Cheesecake Factory, the Grand Lux Cafe was the best place for breakfast - you get massive portions and they know how to make a proper cup of tea! I liked the decor and relaxed atmosphere, it is deceivingly big so it's nice place to relax and refuel. We tried the omelette and smoked salmon and eggs and it was lovely accompanied by the hash potatoes on the side.
- Money for nothing - Vegas hotels charge a resort fee in addition to the total cost of the room - we had to pay $50 a night for 2 people!
- Look but don't touch - minibars in the rooms at The Venetian have weight sensors so if you pick something up you could get charged
- Shop 'til you drop - if you like shopping you must visit the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets - only a 15 minute drive from the strip
We stayed in Las Vegas for 5 nights in October 2018 and that was the perfect amount of time for us. I really loved my time in Vegas and I think there is much more to this vibrant city than the seedy side that is often amplified. It's the prime place to go if you're celebrating a special occasion and even more fun when joined by close friends! When I return I would like to visit Red Rock Canyon, try some cocktails and chocolates at Rosina and grab some Southern cuisine at Yardbird.