My sister in law offered to keep the kids for a week so we could take a vacation just my wife and I. Suddenly a list of places I’ve been wanting to go, but didn’t have the time or the opportunity to go started rushing through my mind. I quickly thought of Punta Cana (D.R) where I heard the all inclusive packages are really attractive, Cancun (which I wanted to go back after spending 4 days there), Las Vegas or a Caribbean cruise.
I discarded Cancun because I’ve been there already and I wanted to go to a new place. I always enjoy cruises, but after doing some quick search I couldn’t find any cruise with an interesting itinerary, other than the same old port of calls (by the way someone who works for the cruise industry told me that almost all the cruise lines decided to leave a lot of their ships in Europe during this summer because it was more profitable for them to charge passengers in Euro than in Dollars) I did check into Punta Cana, but I needed to save some money for our annual family vacation to Orlando in a month and Punta Cana would be too much money. So my last choice was Las Vegas.
I quickly found out that Vegas is DIRT CHEAP during the summer. All the big conventions had passed and hotels are desperate for guests. Two days later I received an email from Spirit Air with some airfare specials from Fort Lauderdale – Las Vegas. I jumped to the opportunity and was able to purchase two round trip tickets for $250.00 each (taxes and fees included) They usually cost around $375.00 + taxes. I then started hunting for a good hotel.
Since I’ve never been to Las Vegas, I spoke with several people who knew the location of the most popular hotels. I wanted a place in the middle of the strip, where all the action was. I narrowed it down to three hotels with similar price range (around $50.00 a night) The choices were Imperial Palace, Luxor and Bally.
I then went to Google Earth to take a virtual walk on the strip. Imperial Palace and Bally were in the middle of the strip, so I eliminated Luxor.
I finally decided for the Imperial Palace (perhaps my worse choice, because of the quality of the hotel, but I figured I would only used the room to sleep and take a shower)
I compared prices in several booking sites, and they were pretty much the same in all of them, but because I didn’t want to pay any booking fee, I went directly to the hotel website and made the reservation there. Good thing I did this, because three days before leaving, I went back to the site and they had dropped the price even more to an unbelievable $39.00 per night. I called the hotel and they credited me the $11.00 per night difference.
All the people I spoke to told me that you really don’t need a car in Las Vegas, and they were right. The public transportation system there is very reliable. So I initially thought about not renting a car, but then I got an email with a Budget Car Rental special. Economic car was only $10.00 p/day, so I went ahead and rented a car. I am glad I did because the heat in Las Vegas in the middle of the summer can get the best of you, specially if you are waiting outside for your bus.
So we arrived to Las Vegas at 11:00 PM. The first thing that caught my eyes were the slot machines at the terminal. Interesting engouth, on the way back, there was a man playing in one of those machine when he won $1,500.00 a couple of minutes before his flight would depart. A good way to leave Vegas.
We arrived at our hotel about an hour later, mostly because the line at the rental car was really long. The hotel is in the middle of the strip. It definitely needs renovation. The lobby was small compared to other hotels we saw later. To get to you rooms is very confusing because not all the elevators take you to all the floors. We had to walk all the way back, go upstairs one floor in order to get to the right elevator.
The room was small, simple with a small balcony overlooking the pool. The balcony could use a good cleaning as it had a lot of dirt and bird droppings. (I am planning to write a full review of the hotel as soon as I have the forum up and running.)
The following morning we started walking and did not stop for the next 4 days. The one thing you do in Las Vegas is walk. The first place we went after having breakfast was the Caesar Palace Hotel. Beautiful all the way around. The place is so big that we got lost a couple of times inside the hotel. We also went to see the Mirage and the rest of the hotels in the area.
That night we went to see the Stratosphere Hotel. If you want to go all the way to the top of the tower, you have to pay around $13.00. However if you tell them you want to go to the bar upstairs they’ll let you in for free. From the bar, all you have to do is take a stairs that takes you straight to the top. There are a couple of thrill rides on the top but we skipped them as the lines were really long.
In the next day or two, I would be writing about our trip to the Grand Canyon and also giving my recommendation of places to go and where to eat.