Yearly Archive: 2014

Thursday

4

December 2014

2

COMMENTS

Wynn Las Vegas

Written by , Posted in Travel

If you’ve done your homework on Vegas hotels and resorts, it’s likely that the Wynn has come up in your search once or twice. This year it was voted the Conde Nast Traveler’s #1 Reader’s Choice hotel in Las Vegas, and that is no easy feat in a town with so many impressive options. Last year Mike and I stayed at another reader’s favorite, the Mandarin Oriental, so this year we decided to see what all the fuss was about down at the other end of the strip at the Wynn Hotel Las Vegas.

Las Vegas, Wynn

From top to bottom the Wynn is the very definition of luxury. As soon as we walked in we were greeted by the beautiful, bright colors of the mosaic tile floor and the fragrant flower displays, and it seemed like there was something new to ooh and ahh over with every turn. From the waterfalls, to the pool, the rooms, the restaurants, the high-end shops, and even the casino, we were constantly impressed by the meticulous details in every corner.

Las Vegas, Wynn

Las Vegas, Wynn

Las Vegas, Wynn

Las Vegas, Wynn

Las Vegas, Wynn, Pool

Las Vegas, Wynn, Pool

Our room was on the 52nd floor overlooking the strip. Gazing out over Las Vegas Boulevard after dark with all the lights and chaos below is always one of my favorite things to do, so I always appreciate a room with that view. The furnishings in the room were neutral and sophisticated without being in your face or over the top, an understated modern elegance that is right up my alley. Add in a comfy bed and huge bathroom stocked with Molton Brown products and this girls was in heaven!

Las Vegas, Wynn, Room View

Las Vegas, Wynn, Room

Las Vegas, Wynn, Room

Las Vegas, Wynn, Room

We checked in around lunchtime so the first item on our to-do list was food. Lucky for us, the Wynn has one of the best buffets on the strip – The Buffet  – so we stopped in to indulge. The decor was gorgeous, as expected, and the amount of food served was just crazy. The only other buffets I’ve been to in Vegas were at the MGM and the Bellagio, so I’m not exactly a Vegas buffet aficionado, but this one was really good. They have a wide variety of cuisines from around the world and everything was hot, fresh, and tasty. The dessert area was just as impressive and because it was the day before Halloween they also had a to-go candy bar set up so you could “trick-or-treat” on your way out!

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

Las Vegas, Wynn, The Buffet

We had plans elsewhere during most of our stay, but if you wanted to spend your entire trip at the Wynn it would not be difficult. They have everything you could ask for under one roof and if you want a bit of a change you could always check out their sister hotel, Encore, that is connected right next door. The Wynn is on the higher end of price points for Vegas hotels, so the crowd staying there was definitely more mature. Not a bad thing, just a different vibe from some of the other hotels we’ve stayed at on the strip. It is also located on the farther end of the strip, so a walk to the City Center area takes a little longer, although it’s definitely doable in comfortable shoes. We really enjoyed our stay at the Wynn and would love to return in the future. If you’re looking to up your Vegas game I can definitely say that Wynn Las Vegas is worth it!

Tuesday

25

November 2014

0

COMMENTS

Las Vegas: The Fremont Street Experience

Written by , Posted in Travel

This year’s trip marked my third visit to Las Vegas and Mike’s ninth. Last year we ventured out for some amazing Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam but that is about as far as either of us has strayed from the comforts of the strip. This year we decided to stretch the boundaries a bit further and see exactly what Fremont Street (aka Old Vegas) was all about. What I didn’t realize until we arrived was that Fremont Street isn’t just some street with old casinos, it is The Fremont Street Experience. As I said in my previous post, if it’s anything, it’s definitely an Experience.

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Our taxi pulled up outside the Golden Nugget and as we walked through the casino the first thing that caught our eye was their pool called The Tank. Not only is there a giant swim-up fish tank filled with sharks, there’s a see-through water slide running through the middle of the tank. If you’ve ever wanted to safely swim with sharks, here’s your chance!

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

We found our way out of the Golden Nugget and stepped into a world of crazy. The people watching along this 5 block stretch is very entertaining, to say the least. Although it was the day before Halloween, I have a feeling things would look quite a bit similar here year-round.

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas The pedestrian mall is covered by the world’s largest video screen and when you look up you’ll likely catch a ziplinner or two flying by. There are bars lining the street so you can grab a drink as you take in all the bright lights and colorful scenery. We had dinner at a steakhouse inside the Golden Nugget called Vic & Anthony’s – really great food with an old school vibe. The dining room is very dimly lit and intimate, so I only snapped a picture of our steak tartare starter, but Mike and I each ordered filets accompanied by some delicious seasonal chanterelle mushrooms and duck fat potatoes and we were more than happy with our choices.

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Fremont Street Experience

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

If you’ve been to Vegas but have never checked out Fremont Street, it’s definitely worth a visit. I know that the next time we return it’ll be hard to stay away!

Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas

Wednesday

19

November 2014

4

COMMENTS

Vegas, Baby

Written by , Posted in Travel

Ah, Vegas! For the past few years Mike has had a yearly conference at the MGM Grand and for the last couple of years I have joined him at the end of the week for quick getaway. Three days is the perfect amount of time in Las Vegas – just enough time for a show, a couple great dinners, a few spins at the roulette table, and a bit of relaxation. This year our trip happened to fall on Halloween so we got an extra special dose of freak as well.

I flew in on Thursday morning and as soon as I met up with Mike our first order of business was a stop at In-N-Out for a Double Double, Animal Style. That night we decided to explore a part of Vegas we had yet to visit – Fremont Street. The Fremont Street Experience was an EXPERIENCE, let me tell ya, so I’m saving all of that awesomeness for a post all to itself. The next morning we headed over to our digs for the next two nights at the Wynn. Last year we checked the Mandarin Oriental off our list, so this year we had to see what all the fuss was about down at at the other end of the Strip.  Las Vegas, In-N-Out, Double Double Animal Style

Las Vegas, Wynn

The Wynn was as gorgeous as expected and we would definitely stay there again. After Mike and I checked out The Buffet I headed down to the pool to squeeze in a few drops of sunshine because I knew it would probably be the last time I’d see a pool and the sun for at least 6 months. It was the perfect day in Vegas – sunny and hot enough where a dip in the pool was refreshing, but not required every five minutes because of the blazing heat. Vegas in October is the way to go.

Las Vegas, Wynn, Pool

That night was Halloween and Mike and I wanted to keep it on the low-key side so we decided to skip the clubs and go to a show. We’ve seen several Cirque shows so we decided to switch it up and check out Absinthe at Caesars Palace. This show was FANTASTIC! As long as you can handle inappropriate, crude, racist, sexist, and politically incorrect humor, you HAVE to see this show. It was hilarious and the acts were all incredible. The venue is a tent in front of Caesars so it’s a very small, intimate space that completes the package. We had VIP seats with a small table for the two of us, definitely a plus as we had much more space than everyone else and somewhere to put our splits of champagne that were included in the ticket price. The venue is so small, though, that there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house.

Las Vegas, Absinthe

Las Vegas, Absinthe

After the show we stayed out to catch a glimpse of all the Halloween crazies and grabbed a couple seats at a poker table in The Cromwell. The Cromwell is located in the old Wild Bill’s location, which makes me a little salty because I loved Wild Bill’s, but I ended up really liking The Cromwell so I’m willing to forget and forgive. We had prime seats right near the entrance to The Cromwell’s nightclub, Drai’s, so it was Halloween people watching at it’s finest all night long. If you’ve never been to Vegas on Halloween, it’s definitely an experience worth planning for.

A late night out led to a late start the next day. Hangovers needed to be nursed, so we walked over to The Palazzo for pizza at Grimaldi’s followed by a long walk down the Strip. I’m always in awe of the Las Vegas Strip. No matter how many times I visit, the lights, the buildings and the enormity of this desert oasis will always create a jolt of electricity that runs through me. I don’t even like to gamble but I still love it there because just when you think they can’t make it any bigger and better, they do. Case in point – The LINQ.

The LINQ is the new open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district created by Caesars Entertainment. It’s located right across the street from Caesars and at the far end it boasts the World’s Tallest Observation Wheel (aka ferris wheel). But this is no normal ferris wheel. The High Roller is 550 feet tall, each “cabin” holds up to 40 people, and you can rent them out complete with your own personal bartender. Hey, it’s Vegas baby!

Las Vegas, Grimaldi's Pizza

Las Vegas, High Roller Ferris Wheel

We didn’t get a chance to take a spin on the High Roller, but it seems like it would be a pretty cool experience. Instead, we stopped for a mid-afternoon sugar rush at Sprinkles. We have a Sprinkles in Chicago, so I’ve had my fair share of their cupcakes, but what Sprinkles Chicago doesn’t yet offer is ice cream and cookies. I indulged in a Red Velvet waffle cone with Red Velvet ice cream and Mike had an ice cream cookie sandwich made with Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Chip cookies and Vanilla Bean ice cream. Um yea, pretty ridiculous.

Las Vegas, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Cookies

Las Vegas, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Ice Cream

Las Vegas, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Red Velvet Ice Cream Cone

Las Vegas, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

We continued with our eating spree into the evening and met up with my friend Laura and her fiancé for dinner at Scarpetta. Scarpetta is an Italian restaurant in the Cosmopolitan and we all absolutely loved it. The modern, sophisticated decor with views overlooking the Bellagio fountains might have been enough to sway us, but the delicious homemade pastas and seasonally-inspired dishes sealed the deal. With all the amazing restaurants in Vegas it can be hard to narrow down your choices, but I can definitely give Scarpetta two thumbs up!

Las Vegas, Scarpetta, Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Scarpetta, Las Vegas

After dinner and several drinks around the Cosmopolitan, Mike and I stopped by the Bellagio fountains and then headed off to catch the Greensky Bluegrass concert at Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley and concert venue in the LINQ district. Cool venue and great band, but we arrived over an hour into the concert and the crowd was, hmmm, how do I say this, very deep into their dance with Mary Jane. We stayed for awhile and then called it a night, a fitting ending for a crazy Vegas Halloween weekend.

Las Vegas, Bellagio Fountains

Las Vegas, Greensky Bluegrass

We woke up early the next morning for our flight back to Chicago, the Strip in a rare state of Sunday morning peacefulness. I’m already looking forward to next year’s trip and would love to keep the happy Vegas feelings going – what are your favorite Vegas experiences? Let me know in the comments below!

Las Vegas, Wynn, Room View


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