Las Vegas is a place unlike any other. And to be honest, I don’t know that it’s my favorite (yet). I would actually love the opportunity to explore outside of the strip – go hiking, explore Seven Magic Mountains, go to the Grand Canyon, etc. But unfortunately, when I am in Las Vegas for work, I am surrounded by convention center walls, recycled air conditioning, the smell of casino smoke, and the “bing bing bing” of slot machines.
When you walk into The Bellagio, you are greeted with grandeur and a Chihuly art piece on the ceiling. The shops at the hotel are exquisite, expensive brands like Chanel, Dior, Fendi, etc. along with trendy smoothie shops and patisseries. Just to the right of the entry to the hotel is the casino, wafting the smell of smoke into the lobby. The rooms were a little less than overwhelming, with an outdated feel. The path to the hotel rooms themselves was longer than expected, and across patches of carpet – through which is difficult to push luggage.
The Cosmopolitan presents a completely different atmosphere. When you walk in, the lobby feels young and vibrant. There are screens around the lobby that give off a nightclub vibe, without being overwhelming. The lines were quite long waiting to check-in, but once you get your keys, you can turn halfway around and walk straight into the elevators. (And if you choose to go to the left, which leads to the casino, there is a slight barrier so the smell doesn’t escape the area.) The rooms were impressive. Even the closets and bathrooms had glam touches in just the right places. My room had a stunning walk-in shower, a giant jetted tub, double vanities, a full living area with an L-shaped couch and large TV, a desk area, a beautiful (and very comfortable king bed) with an additional TV, and wait for it – a balcony with a couch and chair. That balcony was probably my favorite part of my room and served as my mini escape from the hustle and bustle of the work week. It was above the lights, above the smell of smoke and alcohol, and it was as quiet as quiet can be in Las Vegas.
The Aria is my favorite of the three, and for one simple reason – the beds. The comfort level from the beds surpasses any hotel I’ve stayed in thus far, enough to make me want to purchase one for my home. When you walk in the main entrance, the check-in process is simple and fairly quick. There is also an opportunity to do a Mobile Check-In, allowing guests to pass the line when they receive a notification that their room is ready. The path to the elevators is brief, and the smoke smell in the casino is almost non-existent. The security to the guest room elevators is impressive, with your keys only allowing access to your floor. There is a Starbucks on the Promenade (Convention Center) level, within a short walk to the elevators, as well as a Pressed Juicery, and a sundry shop. The Aria also offers something called “Sky Suites” to guests, more expensive and exclusive rooms with their own check-in desk, peaceful lobby, and guest elevators. They also have their own entrance, as well as off-site transportation included with each reservation.
The Las Vegas Strip is bright, and constantly busy. It is incredible how a world exists in a little piece of the desert. The casinos are endless and the people continue partying for hours. But it’s incredible how this little strip in the middle of the Nevada desert brings in so much revenue, brings people together, and makes me more lost inside of a building than I thought was possible.
I do have the opportunity to experience a few fun things in Las Vegas time to time – at least enough to share a few recommendations. And I still have a few places left to be seen, knowing that I’ll be going back there again with this job soon enough.
A few more places that I visited…
Welcome to Vegas Sign: Built and installed in 1959, this 25 ft. sign stands tall welcoming all to Las Vegas, Nevada. As of 2013, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and attracts visitors from all over every day. While I was there, I had the unique opportunity of witnessing a wedding.
The Neon Museum: A non-profit, 501(c)3 organization founded in 1996, The Neon Museum is dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying, and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts, and cultural enrichment. The main collection showcases more than 200 unrestored signs, as well as some restored signs which are lit all the time.
Seven Magic Mountains: A colorful, large-scale piece of public artwork called Seven Magic Mountains is a two-year exhibition, created by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, located in the desert outside of Las Vegas. Rondinone says that the location is “physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas”. (And it also would make a pretty cool Instagram picture.)
The Grand Canyon: I’ve always wanted to explore The Grand Canyon and I can’t wait to go back and do this one day. The beauty of the combinations of color within the erosion, decorates the 277 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep canyon. Because there are so many opportunities to explore the canyon in different ways, until I do some exploring for myself I don’t feel that I would be the best at explaining what to do. But always go prepared and research your plans before you leave!
XO – MC