Easter will always mean a trip to Las Vegas for me. Last year I was very sad as I was amid operation debt repayment, I just couldn’t justify it. But 2019 was different I knew that the debt would be cleared by April and I was able to save up for Vegas.
This was my tenth visit to Vegas and this time it was my best buddy Neil and I. We decided to try a different hotel and went for the Venetian. Other people have raved about the hotel so we thought we would give it a try.
Booking the holiday
I spent ages scouring the internet for the best deal and I always come back to the same company who consistently offer the best package deal. Expedia are so good and the best prices at the direct flight and hotel combination deal.
This time we flew BA direct flights and booked the minimum grade room at the Venetian, as I knew we could get an upgrade at hotel check-in. Total cost was £1,326 each. I booked it via Topcashback and saved an additional 5% off the cost of the holiday, soon to clear in my Topcashback £137. I love getting a discount! Set up your Topcashback account here and get a free £5 Tesco giftcard.
We flew from Heathrow to Las Vegas, the flight time was 4:30pm, and we arrived at around 8pm. Super bonus was my friend being a BA silver club member, so we skipped all the queues and had lounge access. We also decided to take just hand luggage to speed up boarding and arrival at Las Vegas.
The lounge at Heathrow is amazing, I would pay to go there. Unlimited food, wine. Nice toilets, so many places to sit. A lovely kid’s area that is soundproofed. It is very special. We got there early and spent two hours drinking wine and watching planes landing and taking off.
The Venetian Hotel
We whizzed through arrivals at Vegas, were first out of the airport and grabbed a cab to our hotel. I highly recommend travelling without hold luggage! Also, no queue at the hotel check-in, this is unheard of to have no queues wherever we went. We checked in and got upgraded to a bigger room with two king size beds rather than the one single bed I had booked for free! Slight downer of a rubbish view, but we were hardly in the room!
The Venetian is beautiful, everywhere you look is opulence and beauty. But it is huge. Oh my gosh its one of the biggest hotels in the world. We got lost so many times. There was everything you could possibly need in one place, but it was often miles away. The main Venetian pool was shut for renovation, so we had the choice of a small (but very beautiful) pool near our room or a 15-minute walk to the hugest pool ever at the Palazzo a con-joined hotel to the Venetian. Good for the step count of course.
Would I go back? I would on reflection. The casino was lovely, the restaurants were amazing, even the Starbucks was good! And once the Venetian pool is finished, I can only imagine how good it will be. The rooms were probably the best I have stayed in in Las Vegas. There was a separate bedroom and living room with two TVs. It was huge.
And the cherry on the cake, there is $50 per day resort fee (covering pools, wifi, not sure what else!) to pay at the end of your stay. This $250 bill was waivered in the absence of the pool and the long walk to the Venetian. Bravo Venetian. Amazing customer service.
We didn’t plan too much as we wanted chill time. We had something arranged for every day and had a few restaurants picked out that we wanted to visit.
Day 1 – Lunch with my friend Eve and customised lipstick
I abandoned a very hungover Neilboy on day one and hit the Venetian main piazza to meet my friend Eve Dawes for lunch. We met at the Italian seafood restaurant called Mercato Della Pescheria. I had a much needed and recommended by Eve, expresso martini (I got 2 hours sleep during first night as we stayed up until 4am drinking, gambling, eating), with a lobster roll. Yum.
Then we headed off to Eves’ cosmetics lab, just off strip to make my lipstick. Such a fun experience and something I would highly recommend. I love make-up and I love to try unique and different things. This was perfect. We (I mean Eve) created a gorgeous colour that is totally unique to me and smells of mimosa! Read more about her incredible business here.
For dinner I headed one of my favourite Vegas restaurants Yellow Tail. And was seated by the window with a view of the Bellagio fountains. Neilboy was still too hungover to come, fine with me, I was loving the time to myself, with no one to worry about except myself. I feasted on tuna sushi pizza, foie gras and wagyu steak. Total luxury and it was amazing.
I also got my fix of the gardens in the Bellagio. It was Japanese cherry blossom time with the brightest colours of tulips everywhere. Beyond beautiful. And I found the cutest garden shop, right next the garden packed with my favourite things, flowers, crystals, buddhas, stationery. I held back and only bought a crystal money tree and a golden Buddha.
Day 2 – Shoot Las Vegas Day & Bavettes
We were both up so early on day two, awake at 6am. So, we headed straight out, why not. We walked up the strip, beautiful and quiet at that time of the morning. Destination The Henry at the Cosmopolitan for breakfast. I had short rib with egg on a hash brown. Neil had corned beef and eggs with a side of bacon. Both served with a cocktail obviously. Mimosa and ****** mary.
We took the long route back to the Venetian via the Cromwell and the Flamingo, stopping at the tropical habitat to see the birds and fishes.
We had a lunchtime pick up from our hotel to go shooting. Shoot Las Vegas IS the place to go shooting. We were driven 45 minutes away to the dessert and shot guns! It was scary, I cried. They were loud and very powerful. But the team were brilliant, so friendly and safety for paramount. I am glad I did it, and highly recommend Shoot Las Vegas.
For dinner we had pre-booked Bavettes. Voted on the best places in Vegas for steak. It’s a hidden gem tucked away in the new Park MGM hotel (used to be the Monte Carol). It was probably the best steak both of us have ever eaten. It was truly amazing. I had a side of broccoli and macaroni cheese with truffles. The cocktails were beautiful, the restaurant was beautiful. I highly recommend! No photos I forgot my phone!
Day 3 – Lip-Smacking Foodie Tour Day!!
I was again up redic early. So, I came down to the casino and went to 24-hour Café Lux and had a cocktail (obviously) and waffles and fried chicken. OMG this is good food. I also got some work done and published a blog post. I can totally become a digital nomad (once my kids have left home!).
Next was a wander across the road to the Mirage as I wanted to check out the dolphins and big cats. The dolphin show was cool. They seemed happy and the team explained about their conservation and breeding programs. I wasn’t so keen on the big cat enclosure. Tiny cages for huge tigers, and they were roaring like they were upset, or bored.
In the afternoon we had out foodie tour booked. OH MY GOSH. My number one recommendation of the best thing to do in Vegas, if you love your food, is this tour. Neilboy and I met Mary at the Aria our guide. We proceeded to visit four restaurants and eat their chefs signature dishes and have a cocktail. We ate at Javier’s Mexican in the Aria, Milos Greek restaurant in the Cosmopolitan, Momofuku in the Cosmopolitan and Maestros Ocean club in the Crystals shopping centre.
The food was incredible, the drinks were amazing. We had the best guide who fed us with incredible information and facts about Vegas. We stopped off at a sunglass’s museum for a chat with this guy who knew everything about sunglasses. And we tried on $2,000 pairs of sunglasses for pictures.
If you are going to do one organised tour in Vegas, make it the lip-smacking foodie tour.
After all the food we needed a walk, via Prada. We both needed new sunglasses, mine were scratched and Neilboy had lost his. Both of us got new pairs and then walked back to the Venetian. We did try to walk via the Cromwell stopping for a drink, but I was beyond tired and literally could have laid on the bar floor and gone to sleep. So, I went to bed.
Day 4 -Downtown Day. Sin City Smash and Neon Museum
Of course, this meant I was up at 6am again. I wondered off to Starbucks, got myself some coffee and breakfast, I was craving fruit. And chilled with my laptop. Had a skype meeting with a Facebook ads coach. As you do.
I then thought that I fancied a facial. So headed to Canyon Ranch spa in the Venetian to see of they had availability. They did. So I had a vitamin C facial and spent 4 hours in the spa, chilling. It cost a lot, Around $250. But it was very lovely, certainly one of the best spas I have been to, and I have been to a lot!
Our afternoon random activity for day 4 was sin city smash up where we went to a room filled with old IT equipment and smashed it up with baseball bats and sledgehammers. It was fun. Although we were done after 15 minutes. It was really hard work!
After smash up we headed to downtown Vegas and met my Vegas friend Mama Mildred for a drink. We chose Bar on Fremont where you can drink cheap cocktails and watch the crazy Vegas life wander by. We also had some of the best chicken wings and garbage fries ever.
Mildred showed us around the container park, which is a beyond cool collection of independent bars, restaurants and shops. We had more cocktails and caught up on life. I met Mildred in my 2013 Vegas trip where she arranged everything for our group for NikNik’s 40th birthday, she was a concierge at the Cosmopolitan at the time. Now she is concierge at the Aria. She always knows the best places to go, eat, drink, stay in Vegas.
Next stop was the Neon Museum for a twilight tour. More amazing Vegas facts, more about the history of the place. And it looked so beautiful as the sun set the sky started to darken. Well worth a visit when you have a down-town day. And its not expensive, I think I paid around $50 for two tickets for a guided tour. You must pre-book this!
This was our last night in Vegas and the intention was to do something, but I made the mistake of going back to the room and having a lie down. And fell asleep.
Day 5 – Last Day – Winner Winner
Our final day was a short one as we needed to get a taxi to the airport at 1pm. I was up early (again) and thought I would go do some last-minute gambling. I was feeling lucky, plus I would get a free cup of coffee sitting at the slot machines.
My gambling had not been too successful this holiday. I lost around $600 on the first day, because I lost control and was drunk and kept chasing my losses. I don’t gamble in the UK so I do let loose a bit in Vegas. Maybe too much on day one of a holiday when drunk, tired and having far too much fun.
Anyway, I had $100 cash left on the last day, so I put it into a wheel of fortune game that grabbed my attention and after a while I won $400. I ended the holiday about $300 down in gambling money. But did head home with $400 cash to change back to £.
We had a final brunch with cocktails at the amazing Bouchon French restaurant in the Venetian very near to our room and the garden pool. And then chilled by the pool.
The flight home was pure joy, mainly because we had Neil’s silver membership so again missed the check in queues and walked straight in the Vegas lounge. We chilled for around two hours drinking cava and wine and eating lovely food.
Our flight left at 4:30 Vegas time and we landed in the UK at 10:30am. We slept most of the flight and arrived back home refreshed. Ha-ha as if. It took us both a week to get over the jetlag and excesses of five days in Vegas. But it was truly amazing, and I can’t wait to return.
Cost of Holiday
Expedia Flight plus 5 nights in Venetian hotel = £1250 after cash back
Train to Heathrow and back from Gatwick = £26 (Network rail card discount, 1/3 off or £13)
Spending Money Taken and Spent £800
Spending’s on my Halifax Clarity best exchange rate credit card £1250
Total spend = £3,300. Approx.
(all paid for in advance or saved up for and paid as soon as the clarity card statement arrived)
Vegas is not cheap, but we had so much fun. We ate what we wanted and did lots of fun different things. And I did do some shopping, I got myself crystals, lippy from Eve Dawes, pressies for the boys and my goddaughter and of course Prada sunglasses.
You absolutely could do Vegas on a budget. Say no to gambling and eat at inexpensive places. But you know, you only live once. And when I am on holiday, I am there to enjoy it.
I hope you enjoyed this post, its long!! But it will give lots of ideas on things to try, places to go and maybe inspire your first trip to Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Sort of.
This post contains affiliate links where I receive a small commission, this in no way affects the price you pay. I was also given discounts at Lipsmacking Foodie tour and Eve Dawes cosmetics, but in no way does this affect my review.