David here from Tour America. I Just wanted to give you all some really useful tips for Las Vegas that you might not have known and I think are so good if you're planning a trip or if you've been already and just didn't realise you could do so many different things while there.
First thing is the Monorail which goes from Stratosphere/Sahara hotel all the way to MGM hotel with a stop at the Imperial Palace/Harrah's hotel along the way. There is a monorail every 6 minutes until Midnight during the week and until 3am at the weekend. It's only $5 each trip, $12 for a 24 hour ticket or $25 for a week ticket so if you are staying down past Encore anywhere it's the best way to get to and from the strip without having to taxi it and definitely the cheapest way.
Second, HAT Marketing were very kind and gave me a complimentary Hot Air Balloon ride and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life! It's a 5am start but they bring you off to a Starbucks before you get started to help clear the cobwebs and they involve you in everything in setting up the equipment and giving you all the ins and outs of Ballooning which I didn't think would be that interesting at 6am but was actually fantastic. We went up to an amazing 4000 feet above sea level and the views were only stunning, it really has to be seen to be believed. I know it can seem a bit expensive when you hear the price (€169pp if you book with us) but it's probably something you will only experience once and I promise it's something you will never forget. Plus you get a champagne breakfast when you land :)
I know this one might seem silly but considering CSI is the most watched television series in the world, I really think the CSI Experience at MGM is an absolute must. I did it and it was so worth the $18 it costs. It lasts about half an hour (or however long it takes you to solve the crime) and gives more of a look into forensics aside from the glamorized version you see on TV. It's open from 9am to 7pm every day and you can go in pretty much any time and you get your photo taken at the end.
The Elara, I went back to because I saw it on a trip last year and I thought it was a fabulous hotel. I checked in to the hotel 4 hours early and the staff could not have been more helpful in making sure my room was immaculate before I moved up to the 56th floor!
As my photos show the views were absolutely incredible but that was just the start of what I loved about the hotel. I paid a bit more to go for the One Bedroom Suite instead of the Studio room and it is SO worth it. The full kitchen has fridge/freezer, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine/dryer. Not that you would use much of them while in Vegas but it's there if you need it. They have a huge living room with a projector screen for the TV!!! Speaking of TV's, they do tend to over do it as there are 5 in the room in total. One in the living room, the projector, the bathroom, kitchen and the bedroom so you can watch your favorite shows from the Jacuzzi beside the King Size bed. The suite I would happily live in if I could buy one!
The pool area is beautiful and so is the fitness centre that both are obviously complimentary when you are staying in the hotel. There is also a bar in the reception that is open until midnight and then you have easy access to the Miracle Mile shopping Mall and all the restaurants. I had heard about wristbands that guests in Elara had to wear but I didn't have to wear anything and I didn't see anyone wearing them.
I don't usually recommend restaurants in Las Vegas because there is so much to choose from but Benihana in the Las Vegas Hotel was an experience and has a fantastic reputation in Vegas as being one of the best restaurants. It is a Japanese Hibatchi restaurant which I admit I wasn't really looking forward to but I said I'd embrace the experience and try the sushi etc and it was absolutely fabulous. For those who haven't been to a Hibatchi restaurant before, it's where the chef comes out and cooks your meal on the table in front of you and puts on some performance, mine was superb.
So there's just a few bits to get you in the mood for Vegas, I hope you learned a few things about the variety of things you can do in Sin City and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I can't wait for my next trip :-)
-- David Dent Travel Consultant Tel: (353) 1 817 3543
Tour America, Ireland's leading tour operator to the USA, are this week launching our Annual Sale Day at The Red Cow Moran Hotel to take place on Sunday 7th October.
This is the 12th year Tour America & Cruise Holidays have run this holiday show, and we have organised for suppliers from all over the USA to join us on the day. From cruise companies such as Norwegian Cruise Line to the Fitzpatrick Hotels in NYC. Some of the key tourist boards from the USA will also be there including Florida Beaches, Las Vegas, Massachusetts, California, Deep South and much more.
There will be at least 30 exhibitors, with lots of gifts for you and your family; there will be a children's area, and all the Tour America experts there to bring you all the exclusive offers of the day. In addition, we will have key guest speakers to keep you up to date with all that is travel, and to provide you with additional information on all the destinations available to book in the USA wih tips, advice and special offers on the day.
And if you're a technology savvy person, you'll be able to connect with us on the day through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Foresquare. We'll be taking pictures and videos so you can tag yourself, we'll be tweeting event information (Q times, deals on the day etc.) and much more. And we'll have a competition on the day to give one lucky person a €100 One4All gift voucher just for checking in on their mobile phone either through Facebook or Foresquare.
If you have been before, you will know how busy it is, so arrive early. If you have not been before, now is your chance to take advantage of the best holiday prices for the USA and cruising. Doors open at 10am (admission is free) and the fun continues till 6pm.
like Prince Harry picked the wrong weekend to spend in Vegas…The World’s
Largest Bachelorette, or Hen Party as we call it in Ireland, is being held in
Las Vegas from September 21st to September 23rd.
is being hosted by TAO at the Venetian (where Kim Kardashian had her hen party) and LAVO at the Palazzo. The party will have $20,000 in competition
prizes, private performances by the Chippendales, Stripper 101 pole-dancing
classes and party gift bags.
also are invited to join in the attempt to shatter the world record for largest
arms-linked Champagne toast. Tickets start at $100 a person, including open bar. More information
is on the TAO website.
A 12,775-square-foot Nobu restaurant, making it the chain's largest with 327 seats.
A grand entrance near the Appian Way retail area that includes personalised service and a traditional hot-tea welcome beverage.
Guests will be escorted to their room, where the hotel agent will check them in using an iPad.
Guest rooms will feature artwork by up-and-coming Japanese artists, as well as a custom calligraphy.
Guest bathrooms will have an oversized walk-in shower made with traditional black Umi tile, as well as "teak fittings, stone tile and sleek modern fixtures."
Well-known hospitality architect David Rockwell, who's worked on Nobu's restaurants over the last 20 years, is creating the hotel's look.
"We went back to the early thoughts of the restaurants and what sets them apart," Rockwell told the newspaper. "Nobu is known for its extraordinary ingredients and we're sticking with that same idea with the hotel."
Rockwell's firm also played a role in creating the look at several Las Vegas Strip resorts such as the edgy Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Nobu Hospitality is a privately held company owned by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and businessman Meir Teper.
Just back from my first trip to Las Vegas and I must say it far exceeded my expectations. From the flamboyant hotels to the thrill of the casinos - I revelled in every bit of it. I stayed at Paris Hotel which boasts an Eiffel Tower (half the size of the real one in Paris), an Arc de Triomphe and numerous French restaurants and patisseries. It was a lovely hotel and I’d stay there again, however if you’re in your early twenties and looking for a younger hotel with more pool parties and such then Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Hotel are the best options for you. Couples with more to spend might try The Venetian which is reportedly gorgeous.
There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in Vegas and far too many to mention but my advice is to use the coupon book you get from your hotel and you can eat out at some top Vegas restaurants for amazing value. Our 2 favourite finds were Mon Ami Gabi in Paris Hotel and Todai Sushi and Seafood Buffet in Planet Hollywood (all you can eat for $20!).
I didn’t go to see any shows as we only had 3 nights and we were far more interested in chancing our luck on Roulette and Blackjack, but if you want to get a show in then head to the Tix4Tonight box office where you can get up to 50% off tickets for any of the big shows. Blue Man, Cirque De Soleil and David Copperfield still seem to be the most popular.
If casinos and theatre aren’t your thing there are plenty of bars and nightclubs to keep you entertained. Coyote Ugly and Nine Fine Irishmen at New York New York Hotel are worth a visit as is the Voodoo Lounge at Rio. Best idea is to pick up a 24/7 magazine and scout the bars for the best live music and happy hours – you won’t be disappointed!
For those of you who don’t want to recover by the pool during the day there are plenty of other options. Obviously the Grand Canyon is the most popular day tour. There is also great shopping available everywhere and each hotel has a day spa if that is the way you like to rejuvenate. We chose to visit a shooting range as we’re both adrenalin junkies and it’s something we had never tried. We went to Guns and Ammo Garage. We booked over the phone and got a free return pick up from out hotel. This was great as a taxi would have been expensive. I bought the “Ladies Package” (handgun and P90) and he bought the Call of Duty Package” (P90, FN Scar Semi, M4 Carbine and M9). I know this wouldn’t be for everyone but we thoroughaly enjoyed it and I will definitely be going back there on my next visit to Vegas.
Overall it was just a fun packed 3 days and I can’t wait to go back. For amazing flight and hotel packages to Las Vegas visit www.touramerica.ie.
By the way does anybody have any other tips for Vegas?