Travel Guide: Las Vegas
3 NIGHTS IN LAS VEGAS
I went into my trip to Las Vegas with an open mind and a very small carry on bag. When I saw my two friends at the airport with their larger suitcases I was a little nervous before we even boarded the plane, because I thought the gist of this city was bathing suits, going out clothes, and heels. I ended up being right, and had the most fun trip of my life.
While talking about the trip on social media before I left, I somehow convinced myself that I would be hitting yoga mats, and sipping green juice between activities like going to daytime pool parties, and seeing Lil Jon at clubs. That didn't happen, but my three nights there ended up being fantastic.
The Palazzo Hotel
When we touched down at the airport, it was about 8pm and we had just finished being amazed by the mountainous landscape, and expansive flat neighborhoods of lights surrounding the Las Vegas Strip. After directing the taxi driver to The Palazzo, a hotel which stands beautifully between The Venetian and The Wynn, he told us, "You're going to have a luxurious stay in Las Vegas." The Palazzo was one of the most hospitable and definitely the most grandiose hotels I've stayed in.
The sprawling marble and ornate ceilings gave you the feeling of being in a palace, which was appropriate because of the name. Once we checked in, we were guided to the hotel elevators up to our 44th floor room. We were directed around the grand waterfall, through the casino, past several restaurants (yes these were all within the hotel), and finally to the elevator room.
The room was our first of many spectacles in the city of sin. A massive bathroom with a glamorous vanity, something three New York girls who live in 20-something apartments weren't used to. A king sized bed that was comfortable and plush. A downstairs area lead to a sectional couch, desk (which ended up serving as an additional vanity), and the best part: a remote control shaded window which opened to the most stunning view of such a fascinating city.
After a few hours of eating (cheesy, indulgent) room service pizza, and mixing home some hotel room drinks, and reflecting on the fact that we were in the most beautiful room in the city, it was go time: we went and danced more than I did my freshman year of college and hung out with the one, the only, Lil Jon at 1Oak.
RISE AND SHINE. After a lovely morning of hotel bagels and insane amounts of coffee, the three of us headed off to Tao Beach at The Venetian which was a lovely stroll through the various pool and gardens which connect the two hotels. Because the weather was a bit spotty for the rest of the week, guaranteeing one solid pool day was a necessity.
This pool party was different than any I had gone to, and being owned by the same people as Tao in New York, you could imagine some of the surprises that came along with it. Like open bar for women between 1 and 2pm.
After a few hours, it was time to head back to the room, get ready for the night, because we were craving a power nap and Steve Aoki was on the menu for our night plans. But first, we stopped at Chipotle and got 4 servings of guacamole and chips. Sorry.
Jose Andres never ceases to captivate awe and culinary delight at his restaurants. I've been to a few in Washington, D.C. so it was interesting to see how his menu would play out in a city so different than the Capital. We ventured out of The Palazzo to The Cosmopolitan to Jaleo to try the tapas-style menu.
Since I turned 21 last year, I have taken an interest in the complexities and creativity restaurants approach their drink menus with. I am in no way an expert, but I really appreciate when risks are taken and cocktail menus are stepped up a notch. Jaleo shocked me with the finesse of their drinks: from the way they were served (a bizarre and equally delicious beer bong), to the way the ice was frozen (in perfect, air bubble-free spheres) I was excited to see the rest of the menu.
Olives served with orbs of olive oil, paella, and roasted canellini beans were just a few of the courses, but what finished the night on the perfect note was a rich and creamy chocolate cake with a truffle-like velvety ice cream, finished by more richness with a drizzle of olive oil.
The sweetest finish to the night was hanging out with Steve Aoki at Hakkasan.
A special part of Las Vegas which parallels with New York is the focus on entertainment, and culture. Human Nature was a show that played at The Venetian that we went to one night, which revolved around the idea of the jukebox. However mid-show while singing along to songs from Grease and covers of Runaround Sue, they sang Bruno Mars and we lost it. Human Nature was actually a boy band from Australia, that were a chart-topping pop group in the 90's.
I would absolutely suggest this show for anyone who wants some entertainment pre-dinner, and a reason to go to The Venetian. It was glamorous, well done, and unbelievably entertaining.
The wonderful part of staying at The Palazzo is that it was attached to The Venetian, one of the most classic and identifiable hotels in Vegas. We took a lovely ride through the canal while being swooned by our rower who sang familiar Italian songs, and told us of his lovely hometown, a place called Rome.
It truly is a wonderful way to see the hotel, by canal, because your feet get tired after walking around in heels all day! Afterwards we were surprised by a fun meal at Canaletto. If you're not tempted into this restaurant by the smell of the bread they bake fresh everyday, perhaps the bottles of Italian Prosecco or the pasta being rolled out will seal the deal on your dinner plans.
Though the fresh fish and artichoke risotto were flavorful, the pasta trio and hazelnut ice cream stole the show here.
Keeping up with our track record of spending time dancing at night, we finished up our last night in Las Vegas by dancing with Calvin Harris, AKA Taylor Swift's current boyfriend.
So there you have it.
I would advise anyone my age to go to Vegas. Everyone thought I was being dramatic when I returned to Manhattan and said it changed me. But I think travel always has the capability of changing people, whether it's a city as wild and bizarre as Vegas or a new neighborhood in NYC. I had so much fun, and the people were surprisingly kind and laid back. A few things I learned were that I should be having more fun and appreciating small moments in my life, hydration is important, and that not everything that happens in Vegas stays there.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, and although all opinions are my own, The Palazzo graciously assisted in this trip.