Trip Report - Las Vegas 2020
This year marks my 40th birthday. I have never been a big birthday celebration kind of person (although I highly encourage making my birthday last for at least a month). I figured for my 40th I wanted to do something fun. A few years ago I decided I wanted to go to Disneyland Paris. But life happens and budget constraints made me change my plans. I was debating between Vegas or a road trip to Santa Fe, NM. I haven't been to Santa Fe in years and it would be cheaper ... but ultimately I settled on Vegas.
I have been to Vegas many times and have stayed at a few of the hotels on the strip. For years I have wanted to stay at the Paris Hotel and Casino and I decided this would be the trip where I would finally stay there. I was also looking at Caesars, the Bellagio and a few others. I ultimately decided on Paris to mark it off my bucket list.
Day 1: We landed in Vegas around 1:30 pm. I had booked us a private car because as I've gotten older I really enjoy not having to share a shuttle bus with other people. I also like heading straight to my hotel instead of stopping at ten other places before getting to where I am supposed to be. When we arrived we had two drivers waiting for us! One was holding a sign with my name, the other was holding a sign for my boyfriend. The drivers made a quick decision and the winner walked us over to get our luggage and we headed to the car. The other nice thing about a private car, they park close and we did not have to walk far. We got in the car and were on our way to Paris! I did notice as we drove along people were looking in our blacked out windows to see if we were celebrities. I hate to disappoint them.
We arrived at Paris around 2 pm. We went to check-in which is now a long line of kiosks (and I slightly rant about in my 60-second review below). Because we were there before the 4pm check-in time, they wanted to charge us $30 for us to get access to our room early. Instead we left our bags at bell services and started walking down the strip. We had good weather the whole time we were there but it was windy and could get chilly, especially at night. We walked first to Caesars in search of food. We had a quick lunch at Earl of Sandwich, grabbed some Starbucks and wandered some more. We toured through Caesars, the Forum shops and watched the Fall of Atlantis show. We wandered some more through the Mirage, gambled a little and returned back to Paris just after 4pm (the actual check-in time).
Here's the thing about Vegas, it is a destination! So many people head there for celebrations, to party, for conventions and conferences. There are thousands of people there on any given day and the week before the Super Bowl was no exception. The Paris convention center was hosting at least one conference, if not several this week. And all of them were checking in at the same time. So we forego checking-in, again, and headed to JJ's Boulangerie. The layout of the Paris has changed slightly since the last time I was there but I was glad to see their pastry case was still in existence. We grabbed some snacks and drinks and found a seat in the crowded seating area.
After our snacks, we headed back to check-in. Once we got to a kiosk, the check-in process was easy. Although I would have preferred to check-in with someone, and not at the kiosk. Our room was on the 7th floor at the very end of the hall on the northwest side of the hotel. We had a strip view and could see the Bellagio fountains, the Rio and the mountains. We also got a great view into other peoples rooms at Bally's (and I assume they could see into ours as well). We had a "Burgundy Room" which held a king size bed, chair, desk and wardrobe with a television, safe and mini fridge. I would have liked a little more shelving or some place to put my makeup and toiletries. The bathroom was lacking counter space so I would have liked a little more storage. We also quickly discovered the tv remote's batteries had died. So we had to call the front desk (since there is a fee if they find the remote has been damaged) and they brought us a new remote right away!
We went back out in search of dinner. We ended up at Diablo's Cantina in the Mirage. We usually eat pretty late and are usually the only one's in any given restaurant. But not in Vegas! We were the early birds and the place had a line by the time we left. We got drinks at Fat Tuesday and watched the Bellagio fountains before heading back to our room.
Day 2: My birthday!
Our next day started with breakfast at Alexxa's Bar at the Paris. We were trying to eat at Hexx but there was confusion at the check-in desk. Alexxa's was hipstery and we had to sit at an awkward table with awkward chairs. But the food was good. We then walked across to the Bellagio, enjoyed their Chinese New Year display in the conservatory and went in search of the chocolate fountain. After this we wandered north and walked through the Venetian. I bought myself a birthday present at Alex and Ani, we had lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe and wasted money at the Simpsons slow machine. We headed back to our hotel in order to get ready for my birthday festivities.
We saw "O" at the Bellagio (and highly recommend it to anyone wanting the ultimate Cirque du Soleil show). We were on the far left side of the theater, about 7 or 8 rows back from the front row. It was great to be close to the stage but I think next time I would want to be higher back and further up. We missed some of the show because we couldn't see things on the far left side of the stage. After the show we head to our dinner reservation at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. We were lucky to sit outside and had a great view of the fountains from our table. We spent the rest of the night gambling at Paris, I even won some money just before my birthday ended at midnight!
Day 3: Codename had started feeling ill overnight and so we decided to take it slow the next morning. We were going to try to grab food at Hexx but the line was out the door so we wandered over to Planet Hollywood. We ended up having lunch at Cafe Hollywood, which threw us back to the early 1990's and we enjoyed seeing the memorabilia on the walls. We wandered south, visiting the M&M store and spending time at the MGM. We walked back through New York New York and through the new Park MGM. We then rode the express tram back to the Bellagio. From there we headed back to the room to rest a little before heading out.
That night we bought tickets to Potted Potter, a show at the black box theater at Bally's. If you are even the slightly fan of Harry Potter, I highly recommend checking out this show. All 7 books in 70 minutes with 2 actors on stage. It's fun and hilarious and there's audience participation. We got to sit almost right in the middle of the seating area although there isn't a bad seat in the house. Of course, as soon as the show was over we couldn't remember anything that we just saw but it was thoroughly enjoyable. We then headed to Beer Park for dinner. We had another amazing view of the Bellagio fountains. I am not a beer drinker but the atmosphere was fun and the food was delicious. We spent the rest of the night gambling at Bally's, where Codename had found the Monty Python slot machine!
Day 4: Codename was officially sick at this point so we took all the time we could to pack up before checking out right at 11. We left our bags at bell services and wandered across to the Bellagio to wait until our car would come to pick us up. We waited in line at Starbucks for coffee and snacks. From there we wandered through the Bellagio where I found a slot machine I liked. Codename found a seat away from the machines and relaxed for a while. We headed back to Paris to pick up our bags and waited for our car to arrive. The car arrived about 30 minutes after we had scheduled our pickup but we weren't in a hurry.
In the meantime, it was now Super Bowl weekend. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were pouring in to town for the weekend. I think we were a few of the handful of people heading out of town that day. When we arrived at the airport, there was no one else being dropped off. I have never seen the airport so quiet. We both have TSA pre-check but it was unnecessary since there was no security line wait at this point. From there, we had an uneventful flight home.
Overall, I still love Vegas. I would love to plan a trip where neither of us get sick. I would love to see "O" again from a different view and I would see "Potted Potter" over and over again.
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