For many people, Las Vegas holds preconceived notions of a wild weekend away with friends, little of which visitors can remember. However, when we started planning our trip to this city, I was pleasantly surprised at the huge variety of activities available and the different types of holiday you can have here. Yes, there are the amazing casinos that cover vast areas and have incredible entertainment going on inside every day of the week, but there is so much more to this oasis in the desert that you would be doing yourself an injustice if you didn’t explore all the city has to offer.

Accommodation
Accommodation is certainly something Las Vegas is not short on. The amazing options the glitter strip and surrounding areas have to offer are known the world over and making a decision on where you want to stay can be the hardest part of planning this trip. From the dazzling Bellagio with it’s dancing water fountains to the event-packed MCG (and everything your wildest imagination could dream up in between), there is something for every taste here.

We couldn’t go past the incredible Venetian and BOY…were we blown away on our arrival! The hotel’s foyer was like something out of a Renaissance art appreciation book with it’s intricately painted ceilings, marble floors and elaborate finishings. The suite we had booked was an extension of this luxury, not something we are used to I can assure you. The enormous, marble-finished bathroom was second only to the lavishly dressed bed which was on an elevated floor looking down over the lounge area. The view from the lounge area (which in itself was enough to captivate anyone!), would take your breath away. It was like a scene from the opening of a movie, with the twinkling lights of the many other extravagant hotels engulfing the frame that stretched the width of our room. In the morning, the view behind the hotels was just as incredible. The sweeping sands that stretched out behind the city were the perfect foreground to the sun rising behind the mountains. It is so hard to picture such drastic worlds side-by-side, but witnessing this comparison is something very special indeed.

As with all the other hotels in Las Vegas, The Venetian offers so much more than just accommodation. As well as the typical casino areas that the city is renowned for, there are numerous restaurants, shops and bars within the hotels themselves. I have heard people say that they never left their own hotel during a weeks stay in the city, but I think there is so much to explore that you can’t but get out and sample it all.

Hotels
Las Vegas is know world-wide for its elaborate hotels, both for their design and architectural structure as well as the unusual entertainment and attractions offered inside them. Each and every one could certainly provide enough interesting information to have it’s own blog post but I will just touch on a few of our favourites and share what we squeezed in on our short 4 day stay.

The Venetian
This hotel was like a maze to us and even though we were staying here and walked through some part of it every day during our trip, we still didn’t see it all. The further you walk through the “streets” of the hotel, the more time-confused you can become. The ceiling above is painted throughout to set the mood of wandering through an Italian city…and wow do they succeed. You wouldn’t know whether it was day or night outside as the mood is set entirely by the lighting of the artificial sky which you quickly become accustomed to and assume is true.

The dimly lit sky inside the hotel can confuse you into thinking it is evening but when you leave and go back outside you might find a bright mid-day sun marking the middle of the day.


The shop fronts inside the hotel are so authentic and the restaurants so genuinely Italian, that you almost forget you are not in Italy. The cobbled pavements and breath-taking water fountains add to the authenticity of the environment and are complimented perfectly by the rivers meandering through the hotel offering gondala rides to customers, guided by singing gondaliers.

This hotel had such an elegant vibe and you could indeed spends weeks exploring it and not get bored. From the numerous restaurants and cafes offering mouth-watering delights to the glamorous shops and tasteful bars, every nook and cranny of this hotel was authentic and captivating. We would highly recommend a visit to The Venetian while in Las Vegas if not a stay in it’s incredible accommodation.

Planet Hollywood
We didn’t explore this hotel too much during our stay, but I certainly couldn’t leave it off this list for one very special reason…Burgr! This restaurant is just one of Gordan Ramsey’s in Las Vegas. Married to a chef, we usually have a few eatery hotspots that are a MUST when we visit a city, and this was on top of that list. I can definitely say we were not disappointed and all burgers eaten since that day are rated against that experience! Extreme I know, but once you have eaten there you will understand!

We decided to try Burgr for lunch one day during our stay and we certainly didn’t need a dinner that evening…perfect if you are hitting the tiles one night and don’t want to waste precious dancing time at dinner!
Everything we ate that day was notable. The side of onion rings was almost a meal in itself. They were fluffy and crispy and just tasted like MORE! The sauces served on the burgers and with the sides were all homemade, even the ketchup…delicious! The little things like that really do make the difference to a meal and we noticed the quality from the first bite to the last lick of our fingers.

The Bellagio
This hotel was another glamorous structure in the centre of the glitter strip. As we went in December, there was a beautifully decorated grotto in the foyer which could be visited by anyone, even if you weren’t staying at the hotel or a customer. It was elegantly presented and a gorgeous Christmassy touch in a city that wasn’t overly focused on the festive season.

Probably the best known feature of The Bellagio is the water show that occurs at the front of the hotel. This runs every day of the week but times differ from week days to weekends. The regularity of the shows also varies depending on the time of day with more frequent shows happening in the evenings. The shows are spectacular! They are a combination of dancing water fountains and coloured lights moving systematically to different pieces of music. This is something you should try and catch while in the city and even treat yourself to a drink in one of the many bars of The Bellagio while you wait.

There are so many amazing hotels in Las Vegas that I could go on and on and still not share with you all we saw. I know I said there was a variety of activities you can do during such a trip and all I have touched on so far is the hotels, but I will dedicate the next blog post to some of the other activities we did. This will give you a good contrast of what is available in a city widely known for it’s casinos and crazy weekends. I hope you can pop back next week to check that out and allow us show you another side of Las Vegas. If you fancy a sneaky peek of some of those activities, why not pop over to our Instagram page for some clues of what’s to come. https://www.instagram.com/chalkandcheesetravels/

But for now, thank you for taking the time to read this first instalment and I hope it paints a little picture for you of what this crazy part of the world has to offer.

Richard and Michelle.