Las Vegas $1.24 = 80p
Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city known primarily for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its consolidated casino and hotels, i.e. many if not all the hotels, on 'The Strip', are so vast that they could be considered mini-villages with their excessive opulent lobby/Casino. It's extravagance beyond imagination with hotels imitating the New York skyline, Disney World and Venice Gondola experience to name but a few.
Yet Vegas is one of those places you have to see to believe. To be honest, it’s not my kind of place. It's excessive, self-indulgent, incredibly tacky or my best description in three words "Blackpool on acid!"
For example, we were entitled to free breakfast BEFORE 6am, yet given my jet-lagged state I had been awake since 3:30am (11:30 UK time) so I ventured down for breakfast at around 5:15am and was absolutely astounded to see the hotels Casino was still flooded with gamblers all be it the scantily clad glamour girlies to the frail elderly, i.e. one lady was completely grey and on an oxygen tank, yet keenly hitting the big buttons of the betting machines, hard!
Although gambling wasn't for me, if it was I'd be waaaay within budget as most machines were a quarter (25¢/16p) yet some machines were only 1¢. I guess you've figured neither Casino’s, betting tables or betting machines are my thing. So, instead we opted for the amazing natural beauty of Las Vegas and a 3hr drive North to Utah.
AMUSE: Evident by the vast amount of stag/hen weekends away. Las Vegas is obviously the place to party. In fact, for a lady especially if you glam up a bit and don a pair of serious killer heels an evening out can basically be free - free limo rides, free entry to clubs, free bubbly, free host drinks etc etc. Whereas unfortunately for the blokes it's expensive, on average $50/£32 entry to clubs (unless you're escorting a girlie night out) and expensive alcohol, with an air of expectancy from the ladies to ply them with drinks for the night!
Las Vegas is also the place for shows where some of the old names (I won't specifically name) but those 'where are they now' performers - "in Vegas baby"! But my point, those you may well imagine have long 'left the building' nooooo, they are still going strong and performing day in and day out to sell out audiences. There are plenty of street touts offering, again mainly to the ladies, free or heavily discounted tickets to shows. Alternatively there are street booths which sell 'tickets for shows within the next 24hours' at up to 75% cheaper. However, you have to be open to seeing what shows are available as opposed to having you heart set on a particular show. My colleague had always wanted to see Elton John Live in Vegas he forked out a whopping $250/£161 to see what he described was "totally amazing show" - let's hope so eh?!
Or you can opt for the tranquil outdoors like we did. What would normally have cost $25/£16 was free as it was 'National Park Week' so we took in the sights of the breathtaking Grand Canyon, Red Canyon and spent time at the Zion National Park Hotel. Which were absolutely calm and peaceful, offering breathtaking views of nature, waterfalls and red mountains. Due to jet lag and the full daytime (heat max 38°C) we hiked, ok strolled at sunrise to spectacular landscapes so perfect they looked designed, well actually I had this amazing sense of The Great Architect.
CRUISE: Public transport is reasonable in and for Vegas the average taxi journey down; the infamous strip is around $10/£6 whereas a local bus costs $4/£2.50. Hiring a car is equally relatively cheap around $38/ £25 for 24hours.
BOOZE: As mentioned, for the ladies it's a cheap night out, but paying gents expect to pay around $15/£10 glass of wine. While champagne is the preferred drink of the nobility or pretentious, none is as expensive as the Armand de Brignac
- but if you simply wanna little bit of sparkle, a cheap bottle of bubbly costs around $40/£26 whilst the aforementioned world's most expensive bottle of champagne was shaken, popped and sprayed by a lavish young British businessman in a Las Vegas nightclub costing a whopping price of $200,000/£131,000.
SNOOZE: Las Vegas is very much a hustler’s paradise. If your savvy or to be frank flirty, you can get almost everything at knockdown prices. I noticed many humongous well-lit billboards offering hotel rooms as cheap as $25/£15 - yet with the impossible to read small print subtle 'terms and conditions' placed below. It’s clever marketing, because if you’re the gambling, party type, the hotel will lure you into spending money on their tables and lavish drinks with a 'play free' enticer headline but with a minimum $100 spend on drinks. You’re room will be cheap, but you might not see it!
Las Vegas is an amazing, tacky, beautiful, rip-off, stunning place. If you have a chance to see and experience it for yourself but don't take your credit card with ya!
dawne b stewart
twitter : @dawneb007
Article by Dawne B / 8th May 2013
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