Hello Chic Ones,

I’m planning on traveling more this years and as I like doing things differently than most, I figured you’d enjoy some tips on how to escape the tourist traps and experience the places in a more unique way.

My latest trip was a 3 days getaway to Las Vegas with my boyfriend that we really enjoyed. We both have been very busy lately and we just needed to get away from our daily routines. We thought that three days may not be enough to truly disconnect, but when we got back we felt more refreshed and calmer than ever. So here’s what we did:

1. DAY ONE - Old Vegas and Pampering

We had a show scheduled for our first day but we were also tired from our 5-hour flight and needed to get dinner before the show as it ran past midnight. So, we looked up a nice massage spa, got dinner an authentic Turkish restaurant then took a stroll on the Fremont Street in the Old Las Vegas before hitting the show that night. Vegas has a lot of luxurious spas meant to delight your senses and trap you in a miraculous oasis. If you have the time and want a full spa experience, try the spas at the Golden Nugget hotel, the Spa at Trump hotel, the spa at the Wynn hotel or  the spa at the Bellagio hotel etc. They are all beautiful and meant to pamper you in numerous ways.

We settled for a small place that did just massage (since we were pressed for time) but that ended up working for us just fine because in two hours we felt refreshed from our trip, and also managed to enjoy a nice black tea with a light yet scrumptious dinner at a local Turkish restaurant before getting ready for the Old Vegas experience.

And speaking of shows, there are so many shows in Las Vegas, from singers to Cirque de Soleil, to comedy and prize-winning shows etc. However, in Vegas, the most valuable currency you have is YOUR TIME.  So, choose wisely, as you may end up doing just one thing all day, naturally, end up staying in that one in that one spot only.

Rod Stewart is by the way sill performing in Vegas, if you are into the classics, and you can never go wrong with a Cirque De Soleil performance.

As to the Fremont Street, it is a Dr. Seuss’ emporium, it steals your attention and is very noisy but yes, it is so Las Vegas.

2. DAY TWO - Hotel Hopping and Desert Hiking

If there is something very unique that you can do to in Vegas, it is certainly what I call the “hotel hopping”. Most hotels are meant to trap you inside for a full experience: the hotels are large and grandiose, have several great restaurants, their own spas with springs and alluring atmosphere, pools with bars, and lounges, shopping malls, and of course, casinos. But if you adopt 'the exhibition approach' and treat them as art galleries, and simply go from hotel to hotel to admire their décor & construction, you can probably come back with a fuller experience.  A few suggestions:

  • Paris Hotel – it is built around the Parisian theme so you get to see an Eiffel tower at a smaller scale. Take a peek at the hotel as it is gorgeous both from the outside and inside, especially at night

  • The Venetian – you guessed it, you get a mini Venice experience. The hotel is impressive, smells really good and has several great Italian restaurants. Stop by Zeffirino if you have the chance.

  •  The Bellagio  – it is an old school classic and it is always showed in the movies, including in Ocean’s Eleven. What I like about it is the garden that is rearranged and redecorated every 3 months. It is truly a sight and I regret not snapping a picture this time as it had a Japanese garden theme with  pink blossoms everywhere but we were running late for dinner when we passed it by. It also has a few great restaurants and of course the unforgettable lighted dancing fountains that “perform” every 15 minutes. Lots of people watch them from the street. We ended up having dinner at Scarpetta’s with a view on the Bellagio’s dancing fountains and both the food and the view was ravishing. Scarpetta is by the way the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

  • Caesar’s Palace – you see sculptures and waterfalls, and the shopping forum  is full of known fashion houses such as Balenciaga,  Cartier, Ferragamo, Gucci, and Fendi for a delightful and luxurious  shopping experience (should you decide to treat your soul to magically designed bags and shoes :-))

As far as the desert hiking is concerned – that was  quite an experience. We wanted to see the Canyon but it was a lengthy drive from Las Vegas so, we decided to go instead to the Valley Of Fire, just a 45 minute drive from as Vegas. We rented a car and here we were at this Indian reservation with red mountains and caves and all kind of rocky formations.

I have never been one to enjoy hiking but the drive was magical and especially when you reach the White Domes,  you get about 6 miles of breathless & continuous beauty. We made several stops and even ended up climbing a bit to take in the view. I’ll let you judge for yourself by looking at the pictures but just so you know, no pictures can capture the magnitude and the beauty of that place, so, if you do get a chance to be in the area, it is totally worth going there because it is simply spectacular. The entry fee is $10 per vehicle and it is the best $10 I've ever spent in my life.

3.      DAY THREE – Hoover Dam

This was our last day in Vegas and we needed to budget time to get in time to the airport and return the car we rented the day before so we settled for the Hoover Dam experience. After experiencing the Valley of Fire, this was somewhat a more quiet experience but I’ve never seen a dam, and I’ve never seen this dam, and while it wasn’t as exciting as the Valley of Fire, it was impressive to look at it while driving under the bridge.

The bridge was tall and impressive: the smoothness of concrete looks a bit eerie and fascinating at the same time. Then there is the water ... and the photographic rocks on both sides of the dam, and it is so quiet.

We enjoyed the view for about an hour and then headed back to Vegas, then the airport, then flew back to Washington, DC. If you have seen the dam and look for an alternative experience or simply want to stay in the city, then try the chocolate factory where you can get literally “chocolate wasted” as they make chocolates with liquor before hitting the road back.

That’s it, folks!

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you'd like to read some more of my travel reviews, you can read them in my TRAVEL IN STYLE category. You'll see there some posts on my trips to Portugal, Italy, beautiful destinations in Mexico and Morocco.

I can’t wait to hear about your experience in Vegas.