This was my umpteenth trip to the well-known sin city, but somehow one of the more memorable ones 🙂 My darling sis, T, was visiting us from New Zealand, is a trip to the USA really complete without the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas?

We flew in early Friday morning and headed straight to our hotel, The Cosmopolitan. We bought the upgrade for the Bellagio

facing strip view, and it was worth every penny (Thank you Hotwire!).

Our rooms weren’t quite ready as we arrived super early, so we dropped our bags off at the bell desk and set to explore our hotel. The Cosmo is decorated in quite a modern palette, as opposed to most of it’s neighbors, with crystal chandeliers, edgy furniture and contemporary art.  It is also home to the famous nightclub, Marquee (more on that later).

Next we headed over to Luxor, the Egyptian themed hotel and casino at the end of the strip. After clicking some pictures with the Sphinx out front, our next stop was New York New York and the various shops around it.

Sphinx at Luxor

We picked up some custom souvenirs from the Hershey’s chocolate factory, and by then our hotel room was ready. We walked in to a spacious and well-appointed room with a fabulous view. The great thing about the Cosmopolitan was that they have actual balconies as opposed to the sealed windows in most of Las Vegas. We relaxed in the room and took it the view for some time, until it was time to get ready and head out for the night.

Room View

Bellagio fountains from the room

We started with the Cirque Du Soleil show at the Wynn, Le Reve. I love the Wynn Theatre and this show! I have seen this and the O Show at the Bellagio before, and they both have there specialties. The O show and the theatre are humungous, larger-than-life experiences. But in my humble opinion, it lacks the personal feel that Le Reve has. The circular theatre offers a much closer and upfront view of the stage, the story thread is more interesting, and the artists are exemplary.

Our next stop was dinner at The Firefly, a tapas bar to which I was introduced to when my super-sweet girlfriends brought me to Vegas for my bachelorette, and I fell in love with it, though it’s not in the fanciest part of town.  S and T are both vegetarians, and this place boats of a wide variety of delicious small plates and yummy veggie paella. We went to bed a little early that night since we had plans to visit Grand Canyon the next morning.

We took a tour bus to Grand Canyon West rim, which is a popular and comfortable way to get there. Most tours have breakfast and lunch included as there aren’t a whole lot of options once you get there. Grand Canyon was at its usual splendid self! We started with the Eagle point, which get it’s name from the formation that looks like a soaring eagle. They have shuttle buses to take you to the next point, where there are some rocks you can hike up to, and get a gorgeous view of your surroundings. We spent the day walking around the various points, clicking pictures, and taking in the magnificence of this remarkable wonder of the natural world, and of course bought a tiny little native dream-catcher from the souvenir shop :).

Eagle Point Grand Canyon and Colorado River Grand Canyon

After returning to the hotel that evening, we took a short nap and headed out for the night again, starting with dinner at Javier’s in the Aria. This eclectic hotspot serves delish Mexican cuisine and drinks in a unique Mayan Creation and Day of the Dead inspired restaurant. The staff was attentive and polite, the hand-shaken margaritas perfect, and the food prompt and delectable. The world-famous chainsaw art is of course unmissable, but I would suggest you spare a few minutes to walk around and observe the various panels and the tequila tree! As stuffed as we were, we couldn’t resist sharing a scrumptious chocolate cupcake at Jean-Philippe patisserie across the casino floor (heavenly!)

After dinner we returned to the casino at the The Cosmopolitan, played a few rounds of roulette (and won most of them, I daresay ;)), and I had to drag T away before she became a gambling addict :). S left to click pictures of the Luxor pyramid and the strip since he’s been wanting to that for while, and me and T decided to check out Marquee after aimlessly wandering about for a bit. As it turned out, hotel guests did not have to pay a cover charge, so we went in and needless to say, had a great time! This nightclub boasts of multiple levels with different genres of music on ever floor. The main floor had a huge DJ sound station with an LED wall that could give Times Square a run for it’s money. The indoor/outdoor spaces, complete with a pool, hot tub and cabanas for day use, and lounge area called the Library, ensure that everyone finds something to their liking 🙂 We ended up spending way more time than anticipated and had a super time!

The ExcaliburPyramid

The next day was our last for this trip, and after a light room-service breakfast, we headed out to explore the other hotels. Starting with the Bellagio next door, we visited the famous botanical garden and the blown glass ceiling.

Blown-glass ceiling at the Bellagio

After ogling at the chocolate fountain at Jean Philippe, we bought a few chocolates and headed over to Planet Hollywood as S wanted to try out BurGR by Gordon Ramsay. We put our name down, (which was a good thing as the wait time was well over an hour at 2PM!), and browsed the shops on Miracle Mile. BurGR does deserve most of the hype around it. The fries were fresh, crispy and well seasoned, the milkshake thick and creamy, and the burgers absolutely divine! We next drove to the Venetian in our food coma, which was our last stop for the day. We spent a good amount of time walking around the shops on the canal, listening to operatic voices of the gondoliers serenading their riders and admiring the fresco ceiling in the lobby.

Fresco ceiling at the the Venetian

It was finally time to start heading back to the airport and return home, but I was already thinking about things I have not done yet in Vegas (rides on top of the Stratosphere!). Until next time!

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