Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas…except for the information on deals of where to stay, what to see, what to eat and what to do.
First and foremost, if you ever plan on making a trip to Las Vegas in the future, enroll in every hotel and casino rewards program available. You may sign up online, but I recommend signing up in person because depending on the casino, you may be given instant perks such as credit to gamble, meal vouchers or a shopping discount. Essentially, by using the rewards card they provide, you open the door to special offers such as free hotel stays at any of the partnering hotels.
Getting to Las Vegas has become more convenient as well as affordable since airlines have bumped up the the number of routes (due to a large demand) heading into the city. Starting April 22, Virgin Airlines will be flying direct from LAX to Vegas for less than $130 round trip. Spirit Airlines and Allegiant also have package deals with airfare and hotel stays, but if you’re looking to use frequent flyer miles, major airlines like United and Southwest are also popular airlines for reaching Vegas. You will find that many airlines often have special deals and have convenient schedules that frequently fly to/from the city.
In Vegas the majority of the action takes place on the strip, this makes getting around convenient. However, the Las Vegas strip isn’t a short stroll from end-to-end so there a few options of getting around. Taxis are always waiting in hotel parking lots, but grabbing one from the curb is fairly easy too. An average cab fare is around $12 and is extremely useful after a long night at some of the clubs or shows. By chatting to your driver you may be able to get vouchers for restaurants or nightclubs. Some of the major hotels are connected by monorail, making for a convenient way to avoid walking outside in the heat or through noisy casinos. If you’re looking to cruise the strip in luxury, hotel concierge can order you limousine service as well.
LODGING AND HOTELS
Las Vegas hotels have transformed from their 1980s appeal into luxurious five-star hotels with swanky decor and high-class amenities. Always ask the front desk for any deals. They have coupons to give their guests for nightclubs, food, transportation services and shows. Normally they will provide them with your keycard, but ask if there are any additional ones that would benefit you and your party.
Cosmopolitan Hotel: The Cosmopolitan is one of the freshest hotels on the strip with elegant styling of the lobby, the casino, restaurants and in the personalized rooms. Some of the best restaurants on the strip are found here. It was also recently name “Best Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure. Rates in February start at $200 USD.
Since the Cosmopolitan is a Marriott hotel Marriott rewards points can be used to book your stay. The Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card from Chase is a great way to get ahead on earning points. The Cosmopolitan also has its own rewards program called Identity that offers discounted rooms for future stays and possible free rooms.
Wynn Hotel: In case you’re in the market for a Maserati or Ferrari, the Wynn in Vegas has a car dealership that can take care of you. Even if you’re not interested in purchasing a vehicle during your Vegas stay, the Wynn offers some of the best luxuries and elegance offered by any hotel. The resort even has an on-site 18 hole golf course. Rates in February start from $200 USD for a king suite.
Planet Hollywood: Simply put, Planet Hollywood is a hotel that will make you feel Hollywood-glamorous once you walk–giant crystal chandeliers, mood lighting and special treatments. Each room is personalized with a different film theme that ranges from Scar Face to Batman. Planet Hollywood offers a full service salon, a lovely pool area and restaurants that are all the rage in Hollywood like Pink’s Hot Dogs or Gordon Ramsay’s Burgers. Planet Hollywood is well known for its nightly shows as well. Performer CeeLo Green now has a live concert series called Loberlace on Wednesdays through Sundays. Rates at Planet Hollywood start at $190 a night.
Hilton Grand Vacations Suites – Las Vegas (Convention Center) – The Hilton Grand is a great option if your’re traveling with a few people because they have many vacation suites available to book. The suites include a kitchen area and are offered as both one or two bedroom options. Even though the hotel is not located directly on the strip, it’s only a short monorail ride away from the strips essentials. Rates in February start at $179 or 86,039 HHonors Points.
Hilton Elara: The Elara is a great way to take advantage of staying at a Hilton because it’s right on the strip and is connected to the Miracle Mile shopping center in Planet Hollywood. The hotel offers tropical pools, relaxing cabanas and spacious suites. Rates in February start at $95 USD or 35,000 HHonors points.
THINGS TO DO
Shopping in Las Vegas is not cheaper than shopping in other places in the United States, but the reason to shop in Las Vegas are the unique stores that are typically European and high-end, in addition to affordable stores that are common in metropolitan areas.
Miracle Mile: The Miracle Mile is a shopping mall located in the Planet Hollywood hotel that has convenient shops for last minute purchases. Forget to bring a bathing suit or leave an entire outfit at home? The Miracle Mile has shops such as Urban Outfitters, Charlotte Russe, American Apparel, Aldo, and a tattoo shop for the adventurous.
Fashion Show Mall: At the end of the strip you will find the Fashion Show Mall that has everything from TopShop London, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bally of Switzerland, Apple, Diesel, French Connection and the list goes on.
Drinking And Eating
Earl of Sandwich: Hands down, the best sandwiches are found in Planet Hollywood’s Earl of Sandwiches. Try the caribbean jerk chicken or the chipotle chicken avocado bacon sandwiches. You will not regret it.
Secret Pizza: Las Vegas’s best kept secret is Secret Pizza located in the Cosmopolitan Hotel that resembles a dive joint with a pool table outside. What to expect? The best New York style pizza you’ll ever have in Las Vegas. The slices of pizza are oozing with cheese and goodness.
Max Brenner: If you think you’ve ever had a chocolate induced comma, think again. At Max Brenner you can order chocolate pizza, chocolate pancakes, chocolate souffle, chocktails and other chocolate delights. They also have non-chocolate menu items such as Thai chicken satay, tomato pizza, wings and juicy burgers.
STK: STK is a world-renowned steakhouse with locations in London, New York Miami, Atlanta and West Hollywood. In Vegas you can have the chance to try it out at the Cosmopolitan hotel. Considering its 5-star reputation, it would be wise to make reservations to avoid a long wait. Steak options range from mouth-watering porterhouse, sirloin, cowboy rib-eye and more. If steak is not your cup of tea, STK has seafood options with Maine lobster, seared tuna, shrimp and crab.
Fat Tuesdays: Cool down with a tropical daiquiri at any of the Fat Tuesdays located in most hotels. Pick a flavor from the wall of frozen margarita dispensers to sip out of a half-yard cup. Flavors come in strawberry, pina colada, peach, kiwi and much more.
In-n-Out: Heard of it, but never had the chance to try it? This west coast chain of famous burgers for their animal style burgers and fries is located off the strip, but is a perfect place to stop by on the way to the airport.
THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE
Cirque du Soleil: Cirque du Soleil is currently offering shows for “All You Need is Love,” a Beatles Tribute and “O” a water based performance. Both shows almost always sell out so purchasing tickets ahead of time is always a smart idea.
Celine Dion: Celine Dion has a residency at the Caeser’s Palace almost daily. Her performance is a must-see and tickets to sell out for her shows. Ticket prices to her live in Vegas range from $55 to $250.
XS: One of the most popular nightclubs in Vegas to experience is XS. You are likely to enjoy the music of well-known international house deejays from Ben Bennasi, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Nero and more. The club is located in the Wynn Hotel and has both both poolside and indoor sections. Gentlemen attending in a pack, plan on purchasing bottle service if you do not have the patience to wait in line. However, if you purchase a ticket online for a specific DJ, you will not have to wait in line for long.
DO NOT PURCHASE TICKETS ON THE STREET! Many solicitors will approach people in groups to convince them to buy “discounted entry tickets,” but almost 100% of the time those offers are a sham and are sold illegally. They try to appeal to people in groups, especially with men to convince them that they would have a better chance of getting in with these purchased coupons. They may also say, “after you pay me, call this number and you will be put on a VIP list.” Unless you and your guests have purchased a table directly from the club, you are on no such list.
Encore Beach Club: Encore’s Beach club is a massive pool party playing the mixes of internationally renowned DJs. During late spring and all summer long, expect the pool to be packed with people from all over the world. The Beach Club also offers a special happy hour in which all vodka drinks are free.
M&M’s World: Who doesn’t love M&Ms? This M&M store is a three-leveled facility on the strip near the MGM hotel. The store is M&M’s on steroids with every possible flavor and color available to customers as well as life-sized M&Ms for a photo-op. Stopby and sample different flavors and colors of M&M’s that you didn’t know existed!
Calvin Harris: Calvin Harris recently announced that he will be the resident DJ at MGM’s Hakkassan nightclub and the daytime pool club Wet Republic starting in April.
What are your favorite places to stay, eat, and see in Vegas?
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