Honeymoon in Vegas! Yeah, I know it's cliché, but the new hubby and I figured we would hit Sin City now and save the ultra-expensive tropical island vacation for a future anniversary. I had been to Las Vegas twice before with my parents, but my husband was a Vegas virgin and I was really looking forward to showing him the sights and sounds of the famous Strip. Be warned....I tend to get very detailed and long winded, but I'll try not to make this too boring (we're not exactly major party animals even though we are late 20's/early 30's).
Monday, April 26th
Day two of marriage and we are ready to leave all the wedding hoopla and stress behind for some fun and sun. We rise early and make the 70 minute trip to the Nashville International Airport. Luckily, Southwest (or Air Greyhound as my husband likes to call them) has several daily direct flights from Nashville to Vegas, so we weren't going to have to deal with the hassles of changing planes, layovers, etc. We get the coveted 'A' boarding passes and the plane leaves as scheduled at around 10:30am central time. The long flight to Vegas is uneventful, but we had completely clear skies all the way, so the pilot would occasionally point out interesting things on the ground to keep us all awake. We arrive at McCarran Airport a little bit ahead of schedule and happily make our way to baggage claim. There is construction going on inside the airport, which does make it a bit confusing finding your way. My husband was amused at the slot machines just feet away from the gates. Welcome to Vegas, baby! My parents had surprised us with the gift of hiring a limo from Las Vegas Limos to pick us up at the airport and take us to our hotel, the Luxor. The driver was waiting for us in baggage claim and was very courteous and helpful. Since we knew the Luxor was just a stones throw from the airport, we asked him if he would take us to the north end of the strip and drive down Las Vegas Blvd so we could see the sights and help my parents get their money's worth. ;-) He was happy to do so and gave us some helpful hints along the trip. He also told us that he had just taken Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake to a hot night spot a couple of days before. He said he could tell lots of stories someday after he retires. We arrived at the Luxor around 1:25pm pacific time, which was perfect because they started check in at 1:30. There were a lot of people in line, but they had at least 10 lines open and we only had to wait maybe 15 minutes before it was our turn. My wonderful husband had booked a Jacuzzi suite several months prior at a fairly decent rate, so we didn't feel the need to try and schmooz our way into a better room with the $20 trick so often used. Our room was number 7121. I had stayed at the Luxor with my parents on a previous trip, so I knew the room would be decent. We were only steps away from the elevator, which was very handy. The view was pretty good too. We had the airport and mountains directly in front of us, but you could also see the Tropicana and part of the MGM on the left and most of Mandalay Bay to the right. The only drawback of the room was that it was a smoking room when we had requested a non-smoking. However, we didn't feel it was smoky enough to go to the trouble of trying to switch rooms. For any of you who are not familiar with the layout of a Jacuzzi suite, here is a quick rundown. The main doorway opened into a small hallway with the bathroom on the right. The bathroom was very spacious, with a one-sink counter, hair dryer, toilet and large shower (no tub). It does seem like there is quite a bit of wasted space in the bathroom, and be warned that the only way you can reach the roll of paper when you are sitting down is if your arm is about 5 feet long. It may be wise for women to take some sort of lighted mirror as well since the bathroom is fairly dark and it can be difficult to see to do your makeup and hair. Back to the layout..the bedroom had a nice king size bed with a table and mirror, two nightstands, a chair and ottoman and the tv/dresser. Directly beside the window on a raised area was the built in Jacuzzi (plenty of room for a couple on their honeymoon to enjoy!). Just off the bedroom was a separate sitting area with another tv/dresser, fairly comfy purple couch, cushy chair, coffee table, small round table and two chairs. There was even a small refrigerator, which came in handy. A small backless seat and stone carving adorned the area connecting the bedroom with the sitting room. We had no problem at all with hearing noise from outside the room. I'm not sure if the rooms on each side of us were occupied, but we never heard a peep. Anyway, after a few minutes rest, we went down to the food court and had a quick lunch from Nathan's. There was also a McDonald's, Little Caesar's pizza, an ice cream/yogurt place and a coffee shop. After eating, we explored the attraction's level. There wasn't a lot in this area that appealed to us, but my husband had to check out the arcade. He played a couple of games and I was able to drag him out so we could go down to the casino level. We are not big gamblers by any means, so we knew we wouldn't hit it rich or earn comps or anything, but we did go ahead and sign up for the One Club slot club. I figured maybe it would help us get some discount offers in the future. So, now on to my husband's first casino experience. We walked around for a while to just get the layout of everything and to see what sort of machines were available. We both picked out a couple of nickel slot machines and proceeded to lose about $20 each pretty quickly. My husband is very money conscious and didn't know if he liked this gambling thing or not...lol. We decided to take advantage of the walkway to Mandalay Bay and went to check it out. You go through the shopping area when making the connection and there were several small unique stores. The casino in Mandalay Bay is pretty cool. Very large, not quite as dark as the Luxor, and I could smell the scented air that some people have mentioned before. We spent what seemed like an hour exploring all the restaurants and shops. Rumjungle seemed like a cool place to hang out, but we never got around to going in. We were hoping to see the girls on the wine tower in Aureole, but I suppose we just didn't hit it at the right time. We thought about taking in the Shark Reef attraction, but decided it was a bit too pricey. We have both seen sharks before anyway at Sea World. Back to the Luxor for a late afternoon dip in the Jacuzzi and some private honeymoon time. A bit later we went down to the Pharaoh's Pheast Buffet to stuff ourselves for dinner. This was our first buffet experience in Vegas, so I really don't have a comparison to other locations, but we both were satisfied with the quality and selection of the food. I especially liked the dessert station. The service was adequate, though nothing special. After eating, we decided we needed to walk off some of the calories and left to check out the south end of the strip. In addition to Mandalay Bay, the Luxor is also connected via a walkway (with several moving walkways) to the Excalibur. I had visited the Excalibur on a previous visit and knew that it was a little more carnival-ish than some of the other places. We basically just made our way through the casino to the front door so we could get to the street and the Strip. The Merlin/Dragon show was not operating and there wasn't any water in the moat area, so I don't know if that is shut down or if it was just closed for repairs or whatever. A couple of the escalators around the Excalibur and NY/NY were also not working. We used the overpass from the Excalibur to get to NY/NY. It was a gorgeous clear night with temps in the mid 70's. We went into NY/NY and we both immediately liked the atmosphere. The casino is built to look like you are in the park with trees and lights and buildings. The restaurant area resembles the residential areas complete with townhomes and steam coming up from through the manhole covers. It was pretty cool. We made our way out onto the overpass between NY/NY and the MGM and my husband got his first good look at the lights on the Strip. He agreed that it is a sensory overload, but a cool one. We decided we were too tired to conquer the MGM, so passed it up and made the short walk up to the M&M store. There were some cute things and it was neat to see all of the unusual M&M colors that you don't normally see. After touring the 4 floors of the store, we made our way back to Luxor for a much needed night of rest.
Tuesday, April 27th
What time is it?! My husband was obviously still on central time, because he was up and raring to go at 6:15am. I resisted as long as I could, then dragged myself out of bed and into the shower. It would be nice to have a shower that large at home. We didn't really want to splurge for a breakfast buffet, so we agreed to go small. We remembered a little pastry/coffee place in NYNY from the night before, so we once again made the trek through the Excalibur and over to NYNY. We got bagels, coffee, muffins and orange juice. Pretty tasty! My husband was amazed at how few people were out and about as compared to the night before. I tried to explain to him that you are supposed to stay out late and sleep in late...not get up at the crack of dawn! hehe After finishing breakfast, we took advantage of the light pedestrian traffic and took up where we left off the night before and headed over to the MGM. This place is huge! The casino goes on for what seems like a mile. My husband decided to try the gambling again and found a blackjack machine to occupy his time. We still didn't win any big bucks, but we were able to make our money last somewhat longer on the blackjack machines than the slots. Later on, we resumed our tour of the MGM. The lions were apparently hiding out somewhere. We perused the shops for a while. I considered picking up a bit of CSI merchandise at the CBS store, but decided to hold off until checking out prices elsewhere. We left the MGM and headed north past all the porn slappers and timeshare people up to the Aladdin. Can't something be done about those people? We saw some small children picking up the nudie girl cards off of the ground. The casinos are all beginning to blend together now, with not much distinction from one hotel to the next. We notice many of the same machines as everywhere else and occasionally stop to put in a quarter or two. The Desert Passage shops are nice and we spend a bit of time looking around them. The ceiling is really cool. But, is it just me, or does anyone else have a hard time walking on all of the textured floors in the shopping areas of many of the casinos? It just hurts my feet. I can't imagine what the Planet Hollywood group is going to do to the Aladdin. On to Paris. This hotel is very nice inside and again, we have fun checking out all the twists and turns of the shopping and restaurant areas. By the time we leave Paris and get to Bally's, the crowds are back in full force and the heat of the day is heading into the 90's. I stayed at Bally's on my first Vegas trip with my parents about 12 years ago, but I hardly recognized the place. We were really getting tired at this point (darn that monorail delay!) and took a moment to rest at a snack bar area and got some cool, refreshing raspberry tea. After letting our poor feet recover a bit, we agreed that it would not be a good idea to go any further north on this particular jaunt. We headed back down to the south end of the strip stopping a few minutes at the Monte Carlo. Not much special here, but it does seem like a nice quiet place if you aren't into any of the themed hotels. We stopped back in NY/NY for lunch at the ESPNZone restaurant. I got a hamburger and fries, and the hubby got some sort of chicken/avocado wrap. Both were excellent and we couldn't finish it all. We had seen a program on the Travel Channel listing the bathrooms there as being in the 'top 10 bathrooms in Vegas', so of course, we had to check them out. Each stall has it's own tv so you won't miss any of the sports action when you are doing your business. Crazy! We boxed up our leftovers and headed out. My husband's shoes were making blisters on his feet at this point, so we opted to take the tram from the Excalibur to the Luxor to avoid a little bit of pain from the extra walking. It seems weird though that the tram doesn't stop at the Luxor before going on to Mandalay Bay. So, you have to go from the Excalibur to Mandalay Bay on one tram, get off then get right back on another tram and backtrack back to the Luxor. It did save my husband from some foot pain, but it is not worth it if you just want to save time. Back to the Jacuzzi suite for some band-aid duty and another long soaking in the Jacuzzi. It was really nice to be able to come back to it and soothe tired legs and feet. A mid-afternoon nap recharged us and we were ready to head out again. We went back down to the casino and played some more on the blackjack machines. I think they were called Top Hat 21 or something close to that. I could tell my husband was really liking playing that machine even if he was still not coming out ahead. Since we had walked so much earlier in the day, we opted to take a taxi over to the Hard Rock Hotel. My husband plays in a band on weekends, so he loved seeing all of the instruments and other stuff. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Café and figured while we were out, we might as well get another taxi over to the Palms. I know this is the celebrity hot spot, but there were none to be found this night. The casino was ok, but I'm not sure what all the buzz is about. I would have liked to have checked out the Ghost Bar, but we weren't dressed for hitting the clubs. Before we left, we grabbed some ice cream at the Ben and Jerry's. We then left and walked the short distance over to the Rio. Man, that place was packed to the gills. I don't know if something special was going on or if it is always that way, but it had to be the most crowded place we were all week. We wanted to see the carnival in the sky show, but gave up waiting for it to start. We were beat, so we caught another taxi back to the Luxor and called it a night.
Wednesday, April 28th
Up again at around 6:30am. This time, my husband volunteered to go to the coffee shop in the food court and get breakfast and bring it up to our room. He tried to make me believe that he was being sweet, but I know he really did it because I take so long to get ready in the morning that he practically starves waiting for me. Ah...the adjustments of being a newlywed....lol. When I finally was ready to leave the room, we went down to the attractions level to check out the King Tut Museum. We received two complimentary passes at check-in. It was mildly interesting, but I'm glad we didn't pay to see it. I suppose it would have been more exciting if the objects weren't just reproductions. After another stop in the arcade and few more dollars lost on the slots and blackjack machines, we headed over to Mandalay Bay for lunch at the House of Blues. We had to wait for a table for about 15 minutes, which is frustrating because the restaurant was only about half full. I'm sure it had to do with the number of servers on duty, but it doesn't make you feel any better to see all those empty tables when you are waiting. The food was good, though a bit expensive for lunch. After eating, we planned to go back up the strip to Bellagio and see the Monet exhibit. Since we were at Mandalay Bay, we got on the express tram to the Excalibur, then walked the rest of the way up to Bellagio. It was extremely windy on that day so the fountains were shut down. That was a bummer because I was really looking forward to the show. We found the Monet gallery and silently stared at each painting contemplating the wonders of art. My husband graduated from Art College and is a graphic designer by profession, so he was a bit more interested than I was in the paintings, but I did enjoy viewing them. We left and went on up to Caesar's Palace. As has been mentioned in other reports, the construction around Caesar's is horrible. It was very difficult to even find our way in, plus residue from the work was blowing around everywhere. Once we did get inside, we visited the Elton John store and a few more of the forum shops. It was mid-afternoon now, so we elected to head back to the Luxor. We had tickets for the 7pm Blue Man Group show, so we wanted to have plenty of time to rest, change and get dinner. The long walk back was made more difficult by the high winds. The sand hitting our legs felt like a million tiny needles. As we were walking back, we saw two Oscar Mayer Weinermobiles driving down the strip. You don't see that everyday...lol. My husband insisted that he couldn't go on unless we stopped in NY/NY and had some more Ben & Jerry's ice cream. We indulged ourselves then finally arrived back in the room for some more Jacuzzi time. Later on, we dressed for the Blue Man Group show and caught a quick dinner at the Nile Deli in the Luxor. I had a very good chili dog and fries, while my husband had a turkey sandwich stacked about 4 inches high with turkey. We still had a few minutes to kill, so we headed for the blackjack machines. I hit a small lucky streak and ended up turning $5 into $53. Reluctantly, I cashed out and we made our way to the Blue Man theater. I won't spoil the details of the show, but we found it entertaining. I'm not convinced that it was worth the high ticket price, but if you are into performance art, you most likely won't be disappointed. After the show, we called it a night and went back to the room.
Thursday, April 29th
This morning, my husband actually slept in until around 8:45am...woo-hoo. LOL. Again, he went to the food court and got breakfast for us so he wouldn't starve to death waiting for me to finish getting ready. This was our last day in Vegas, so we wanted to see the other hotels we hadn't made it to yet. Our legs and feet were sore from the previous few days of walking, so we took a taxi to the Venetian. We knew a film crew was working on shooting Miss Congeniality 2 with Sandra Bullock at the Venetian and Treasure Island, but I guess we weren't in the right place at the right time, because we saw no evidence of any filming. The Venetian seems really cool. I wouldn't mind staying there if I could get a reasonable room rate. We checked out the shops, watched the gondolas, and marveled at a guy posing as a statue. I certainly couldn't be completely still for that amount of time. We left the Venetian and crossed the street over to TI. Again, the high winds prevailed, causing the Sirens show to be cancelled for the day. It was also much cooler than the previous days. The temps were hovering in the upper 60's as opposed to the low 90's. We didn't spend much time in TI and hopped the tram over to the Mirage. I've always liked the atmosphere of the Mirage. I enjoy the tropical feel and the beautiful atrium area. We were getting hungry and got a table at the California Pizza Kitchen. As we were waiting for our food, we noticed something fall from above and it looked like it fell in my glass of iced tea. Sure enough, I looked and there was this flying insect of some sort swimming around in my tea. We got the attention of the waitress and she apologized and brought me a new glass. A couple of minutes later, a man who I assume was the manager also came over and apologized. He said that they tend to have a lot of insects in the building because of all of the plants and mishaps such as that are inevitable. It wasn't that big of a deal to us, but we were hoping they would knock a few bucks off the bill...that offer didn't present itself though. Oh well. The pizza was very good and the rest of our meal went off without any more intruding insects. We saw the white tigers before we left and lamented at the fate of Roy. I had seen Sigfreid and Roy's show a few years before and really enjoyed it. We caught another taxi back to the Luxor and spent a few hours chilling in the room. Later on, we remembered that we had two free admission passes to the car exhibit at the Imperial Palace. We sprang for yet another taxi up to the IP. I know a few people love this place, but it seemed to be pretty much a dump to me. The casino was the smokiest we had been in yet and so crowded. We saw the cars....it was ok...but again we were glad we didn't pay to see it. We walked back down to the Aladdin and my husband had some more Ben and Jerry's. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Ha. Another stop at the MGM to gamble a bit. I had another lucky hit on a nickel slot machine and got a payout of 1000 nickels when I had only spent about 5. I cashed that ticket out and we had dinner at the Rainforest Café. After eating, we dropped back by the CBS store and I picked up a couple of items and decided to head back to our room. For some reason, I wasn't feeling very well. I think it was just a combination of all the smoke from the IP, too much food, and plain old exhaustion from all of the activities of the previous two weeks. I stayed in the room for the rest of the night while my husband went down to the casino for one last stand at the blackjack machine. He came back with empty pockets, but had fun, which is what we were there for.
Friday, April 30th
We were up early so we could make it to the airport in time for our 10:45am flight back to Nashville. Luckily, I was feeling much better also. We weren't sure how long the taxi line would be, or how long we would have to wait through baggage check-in and security at the airport, so we left the hotel nearly 3 hours before our flight. To our surprise, we were at the airport, through security and at our gate within 30-45 minutes. Our flight was on time and we prepared for the long trip back. The last 30 minutes or so of the flight was really bumpy due to some weather we had to fly through, but we landed safe and sound around 4:15pm central. Our honeymoon was over, but we had a great time and I'm sure we'll make it back to Vegas in the future. If anyone is actually still reading this, thanks for letting me share our experiences with you!