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Living it up in Las Vegas

Having always wanted to visit Las Vegas, it took a great deal of sacrifice and compromise to convince my partner to visit 'Sin City', due to the lack of interest in gambling. With five nights locked away on our world trip, l felt giddy with excitement as our plane flew over 'The Strip' before landing. The amount of air traffic flying in and out of Vegas is staggering.

After hailing down a taxi to take us to our hotel, only a few minutes into our journey, the driver offered us discount cards for ladies available for 'rent'. I rolled my eyes, then drew a big smile and said aloud "We're in Vegas Baby!"

Las Vegas offers such a large variety of accommodation options and it can be a little daunting selecting a hotel. Although initially deciding to stay at one of the top end hotels such as The Venetian, Wynn or Bellagio, we decided to stay at the competitively priced Luxor. Our decision was the correct one. With so much to see in Vegas, the time we spent in our suite for the five night stay was minimal.

The Egyptian themed hotel provided a lovely room, excellent staff (with big smiles flashing at every turn), a fantastic selection of bars, restaurants, attractions, services and of course an impressive Casino. Ching Ching!

It was time to 'hit the strip'. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes for your walk down the strip, as it is a long one. The scale of the hotels, neon signs and traffic is impressive and a little daunting. When walking along the strip be prepared to be bombarded by people handing out cards to promote 'ladies to your hotel room in 20 minutes'. Good Grief!

Walking into the hotels, shopping centres and casinos is simply mind blowing. The sheer size and scale of these mini-cities is amazing. One of the most impressive foyers was at the Bellagio. Be sure to visit the recently opened Fashion Mall and the brand new Las Vegas CityCenter. The CityCenter spans an impressive 67 acres. One of the buildings is Aria with a massive 4004 hotel rooms and a casino. The Crystals Shopping Mall is just as impressive featuring stores including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Tiffany and just about every international swish brand available.

Whilst in Vegas, be sure to book a dinner at The CatHouse. Owned by locals Jackie Cross, Billy Cross and Mick Doohan, the restaurant located in the Luxor is spectacular. The Pork Belly (pictured) is without a doubt the best l have tried in all my travels. Following dinner you can enter the nightclub, where tasteful ladies dressed in lingerie perform throughout the evening. This Las Vegas hot spot will certainly not disappoint. You must however make a booking in advance. For the ladies (and some men) show your support for Australia by seeing the Thunder from Down Under show. The boys are sure to impress.

For lunch l highly recommend Mon Ami Gabi, located directly opposite The Bellagio. This French restaurant offers an exquisite menu and is perfectly positioned to enjoy watching The Bellagio fountains. Olives Restaurant is the perfect spot (on the balcony but you must book or slip the maître de a tip) for a view of the fountains in the evening.

A visit to Las Vegas is not complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon. Heli USA offer the most comprehensive and entertaining trip to the Canyon in Vegas. You are collected from your hotel and taken to the airport and get to see the private jets of the casinos to fly in 'the whales' (big spending gamblers). Once you take off you see the Hoover Dam and straight down the middle of the Grand Canyon which is spectacular. You also stop at the Grand Canyon Ranch for lunch, a beverage or two and you can even ride a horse through the dessert at sunset, which l highly recommend. Yeeha! Once back in the chopper you are flown over the strip, which was one of the best moments l experienced on our visit to Vegas

Las Vegas put simply met all my expectations and offers so much more than 'just' gambling, as my partner quickly discovered. The only disappointment was that l didn't get married, however there is always next time. Shall l book the private jet now?

By Andrew Meadowcroft
Quick Links
www.luxor.com
www.heliusa.com
www.citycenter.com
www.cathouselv.com