Las Vegas has officially become my most frequently visited city in the past two and a half years. I’ve now been four times, and I honestly can’t say I’m tired of this place yet. Can’t stop, won’t stop going. For now, at least. I’ve written posts sharing tips and raving about my experiences regarding staying on the strip, getting the most out of its nightlife, and adventuring all around this fabulous boulevard. My most recent weekend jaunt included two days and two nights of even more fun shenanigans, and one really, extremely, terribly, upsetting, troublesome (okay -- I think you get it now) unfortunate incident that I’ve learned from. Read on below for my weekend in review:
Getting There - Bolt Bus
At first, Mika & I (yep, my Cali right-hand girl will appear here quite a lot if you haven’t noticed) were planning to ride to Vegas with our friend, who was renting a car to drive their for her birthday. But when her friends from home decided to fly into LAX instead of LAS and ride with her to Vegas, we could no longer ride along. So, we opted for $60 round-trip Bolt Bus tickets (you can get them for a lot cheaper if you book in advance). Considering gas and the cost of splitting the rental car, I’m sure we would have spent the same amount had we driven/rode with our friend.
Back in the day (haha) when I was eastcoast based, I’ve taken Bolt and MegaBus from DC to NYC quite often. I don’t mind the 4-5 hour rides at all. I usually sleep or take advantage of having outlets to plug in my digitals and wi-fi on the go. On my way to Vegas, I used the wi-fi to write and publish this post!
Accommodations - Planet Hollywood
I am all about staying directly on the strip -- I love being right in the thick of the Vegas action. The only issue is usually the price. Let’s just be honest, the cost of a weekend’s stay in LV can be equivalent to asking for your firstborn. At this very new stage in my real-world life, I’d rather splurge on an international voyage, so I try to look out for the best deals.
This time, we scored an amazing one on AirBnB. I have a post coming soon about my AirBnB experiences in four different cities, so I won’t go into too much detail now, but if you’ve never used it, I highly recommend doing so the next time you visit a popular city!
(quick plug: if you sign up with AirBnB through my link, you and I can both get a $25 credit!)
The host that we booked through from AirBnB was a Diamond member of the casino-resort and was able to check Tamika and I into an upgraded room. We weren’t staying in a suite, but we were pleasantly surprised at how huge it was. Instead of opening the door and finding ourselves directly in the bedroom, there was first a spacious corridor that could have easily fit an air mattress if wanted to have more people staying with us. Inside the bedroom were two very comfortable queen beds, two large lounge chairs & ottomans, and an incredible view. Directly facing the strip, we enjoyed Vegas-centric sights of the two Planet Hollywood pools and the pleasure of watching the thundering Bellagio Water Show from our movie-themed room.
The double-door-donned bathroom had a large tub, glass shower, private toilet, and two opposite sinks -- perfect for two women who need to get dolled up at the same time!
The rooms don’t come with a mini-fridge and microwave -- which is a pretty standard Vegas rip-off since you pay so much. Luckily, the hotel was able to provide us with a mini-fridge, and our AirBnB host brought a microwave for us! This would not have been possible if we booked directly through Planet Hollywood.
After a long night of partying until after 4am, I finally rolled over around noon Saturday to a banging “boom, boom, boom” techno tempo, wondering where I was and who was throwing a party this early in the day. Then I smiled as I quickly remembered I was in “Vegas, baby” and discovered the lively pool setting just outside our window. One of of PH’s pools is family-friendly and mostly vacant, while the other adults only pool gets it poppin’ -- I watched part of a twerk contest go down from my room. The DJ plays a loud energetic mix of upbeat EDM and hip-hop, however Planet Hollywood isn't notorious for its massive pool parties like Rehab at the Hard Rock or Mandalay Bay’s Daylight. It offers a less chaotic scene without the lines or price to get in.
Location wise, Planet Hollywood is fantastic. It’s right on top of the Miracle Mile Mall (which I mentioned was extremely clutch when I stayed at the also adjoined Hilton Elara). If you can’t bear the beating Vegas sun -- you really don’t have to leave the property to shop, eat, drink, attend shows (Britney Spears among many other entertainment options), gamble, and party. Planet Hollywood’s casino is definitely one of the more hip and stylish. I didn’t gamble a dime this time but I did meet someone who won $200 on his first go at the slots.
Nightlife - 1OAK || Chateau
On a normal weekend, going clubbing is one of the very last ways I want to spend my night (much more important things; hello Netflix). However, when it comes to Vegas, I simply can’t get enough of the never ending nights. I went to two clubs that I hadn’t yet partied in, and both nights were for the win.
Friday night, we met up with our friend Dominique. All three of us are from the same Maryland town; I went to high school with Dominique, and Tamika lived right down the street from her. It was so great to see our now NYC-based girlfriend, who brought her boo to Vegas to celebrate his birthday weekend. We hit up 1 Of a Kind (or 1OAK for short) nightclub inside the Mirage -- where the line was jam packed at 11:45pm. Even though we were on the guest list, we got there a little too late to get in for free. We learned our lesson to listen to the promoters when they say get there between 10 and no later than 11:30. A few minutes and $20 later, we’re let in and ready to enjoy our first night all reunited!
Unlike in some cities where the club doesn’t pop until as late as 12:30-1:00AM, Vegas dance floors are packed way before then. At some point, we found our way into a VIP section and spent the majority of the night dancing on platforms and around the table with a good 10 new friends.
These ladies as well as the non-pictured gentlemen at a nearby table who joined in were SO much fun. Meeting them really made our night.
Saturday evening, Chateau in the Paris hotel was our venue of choice. We hadn’t gotten on any guest list, so I hurriedly looked up a random promoter for the club on Instagram during our short cab ride there. Being 11:30pm, I knew it was probably too late in the game to be added to a list, but I devised up an on the spot plan. Instead of general admission, we walked straight to the guest list line, which was moving right along. When the girl with clipboard asked us whose list we were on, I gave her the name of the random promoter I found on IG along with my name. Either we magically appeared on his guestlist or maybe she crossed me off as some other “Kristen,” but somehow we were given wristbands that allowed us to skip the line and cover.
Chateau is a large bar/club situated on a rooftop and deck a few stories up at Paris, just underneath the replica Eiffel Tower. Since it's outdoors, I was worried that I'd be way too hot to party like I wanted to, but the night cooled down to a comfortable temperature. For the second night in a row, we danced for 4-5 hours nonstop until the club basically closed on us after four in the morning. Epic times, epic times.
The music at both venues was very similar. Most DJs try to mix it all in -- mostly hip-hop and EDM/techno remixes, with a little house, reggae, sometimes salsa. I loved that there was an ample amount of YG, 2 Chainz, Jay, Gucci Mane, Rich Homie Quan, and similar trap music artisans. Really, a night out isn’t complete without the trap tunes.
Make friends with while you are in Vegas! You never know who you you’ll be clubbing with in this town -- the friendly ones invite you to their table, so you can party in style! I will say, though, It’s a tad bit awkward/hilarious when you’re partying with middle-aged white people and “My n*gga, my n*gga” comes on.
With so many thrills throughout Vegas, it’s a must to embark on at least one adventure with every trip.
One of our cab drivers told us about a new zip-line at the Rio, in which you glide from the roof of one tower to the top of their second, slightly less high tower. Zip-lining and ROOFTOPS!? I was all for it.
The Rio is just behind the strip, a resort I hadn’t yet visited. It’s fabulous inside! I made my way to the VooDoo Zip Line all the way on the 51st floor of the hotel, ready to zip before it was time to head on my bus and zip back out of Vegas. The view from the top is SICK. You may have read about me obsessing endlessly over the aerial views of this city before. I am enamored with them.
The zip line dangles you nearly 500 feet in the air as you soar over the Rio’s property; and then it pulls you right back up to where you started. I was maybe just an inkling nervous, but once we started to fly, it was a calm, breezy ride -- not scary at all!
I enjoyed it for the great view and the new experience. I’d definitely head back and to ride again at night for the view and for drinks at this rooftop bar.
If you can only take but so much and need to ease your way into the adventure life -- you should definitely check out the VooDoo Line . I promise you, you will not have a heart attack from this ride.
Ugh. The more I dwell on this, the more it feels as though I lost a child; thus I won’t dwell too much. My DSLR camera got stolen while I was in Vegas. My Canon, my baby, is gone. It’s mind-boggling to try and pinpoint exactly when it went missing, because I always made sure to keep close track of it. However, I got got. And I so rarely get caught slipping! I guess it happens to the best of us. So here’s my mom moment -- the necessary must-follow advice that I’ve learned from the queen of careful:
Whenever you travel, especially to a large city like Vegas where there are professional scammers anxiously awaiting their next prey, take extra precautions.
While you are walking in public, be sure to carry bags that zip all the way closed (open totes aren’t smart ladies) and make sure your money is secure. Vegas casinos and streets are often packed; it only takes a second to swipe. While you are in your room (this goes for any city) try not to leave your valuables sitting about. I NEVER use the hotel room safes, but since my camera may have been stolen from my room, I will make sure I do now.
Luckily, I had an excellent weekend in Vegas that left me with another set of unforgettable memories. The camera incident did bring me down when it was nowhere to be found Sunday afternoon, but it didn’t spoil my trip. I’m most sad about the great photos I took on that camera, which I’ll never see. The camera will be expensive to replace, but thank goodness it is replaceable. I’m hoping to get a new one very soon. In the meantime, I still have a few photos uploaded to use that I haven’t posted. I’ll mostly be posting iphone pics and photos from my older, lower quality Canon until I decide which new camera and lens to purchase. I cannot wait to get back on! Thanks for being patient and I hope you still find the photos enjoyable! =)