Bally’s & Paris Las Vegas

My husband and I went to Las Vegas the first weekend in January for 3 reasons:

  1. There was a Monet exhibit at the Bellagio that I wanted to see,
  2. I wanted to take a trip to the Grand Canyon because I hadn’t been there since I was 16, and
  3. When I said I could go with a friend my husband decided that we should be together on our anniversary (which was that Sunday).

So technically, we did not go to Las Vegas for our anniversary.

Check-in at Bally’s was as smooth as could be. The front desk personnel were a delight to deal with (every time) – although our view wasn’t exactly as it was described to us. We were told we had a view of the fountains at the Bellagio – yeah if you stuck the side of your face up against the window.  But we didn’t spend much time in our room looking out the window – only at first when we were getting ready to go out and we heard this loud noise – like a huge crashing wave – and ran to the windows to see what was the matter. It’s just the fountains –Whew! but they were loud and were about 500 meters away.

 

The room at Bally’s itself was huge! When I walked into the room at Bally’s, I was astounded by how big it was with his and her closets, his and her sinks, a bidet, and a sunken bathtub.The room itself was a bit dated.But it seems you have two kinds of rooms in Vegas:

  • reasonably priced older rooms such as Bally’s and NYNY, where we had stayed previously, which had rooms that were small and had old, dark wardrobes on both sides of the TV or
  • more expensive totally modern rooms with switches by the door to open a wall of curtains with a touch (such as at the Aria).

We unpacked and headed down to the casino to find food and drink. 

On the way to the bar we stopped at this shop at the Bally’s-Paris Promenade – it had very unusual items – there was a statue of John Wayne, little oriental figures in various “couple poses,” a huge bear… but we didn’t wander around in there too long.

The items were very expensive and we were afraid we’d break something.

We found Le Burger Brasserie Sports Grille – yes, that’s french for a sports bar. But it was nicer than a bar – with tables in a nice looking restaurant area. (There is a decent pic here: http://www.lvrj.com/neon/12706297.html )  We got there too late for food so we just had beers at the bar. Sitting at the bar ensures you meet people – and we did. There were three guys there that wanted us to take their picture together. When we got to talking, it turned out they were all musicians that played for Selene Dion. They were fun to talk to, especially since our son is a musician.

Friday I had to work and Dan was trying to sleep-in, but the sunken tub had safety motion light – I guess Bally’s got tired of being sued by drunk people falling into the tub in the dark. I opened the curtains so it quit going off and on as I moved around, so it was ok during the day, but annoying at night. Later, when Dan got up, he went and worked out. They charge a fee to use the workout facilities; however, that’s because they don’t have a daily resort fee.  We didn’t use the Spa, but one of the musicians we met said it was fabulous. (http://www.ballyslasvegas.com/things-to-do/spa-at-ballys.html ) Then Dan went to the Bellagio to pick up the tickets for the Monet exhibit and find out what the hours were so we could plan our evening. 

At about 5, we headed over to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art ( http://www.bellagio.com/attractions/gallery-of-fine-art.aspx )to see the Monet exhibit. We walked by the Buffet at the Bellagio – what an outrageous queue! I’ve never seen so many people in line for food. We talked to someone later who said they were in line for 2 hours! We did stop for a snack at Café Gelato, where I got a Baily’s gelato (made with real Baily’s Irish Cream – yum).But I have to say, I was disappointed with the Monet exhibit. Having been recently to the “Becoming Van Gogh” exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, the Bellagio exhibit was about ¼ of the size. It took us longer to walk there then it did to view the paintings on display. I love Monet’s work, and it was interesting to see it displayed along side of some of his contemporaries’ paintings.

Afterward, we wandered out to the strip to find someplace to eat dinner, stopping for the fountain show in front of the Bellagio first.

They played the music from the Pink Panther and had the fountains timed with the music. Definitely worth making a point to see the display, although it was a bit chilly the first weekend in January.  http://www.bellagio.com/attractions/fountains-of-bellagio.aspx

We chose Café Ile St. Louis for dinner – I fell in love with the blue checkered table clothes and the look of a sidewalk Paris café right in the Paris casino.

It got a bit noisy at times, but the food was french-delicious (Dan had the salmon and I had a filet mignon). Afterward, our musician friend told us Mon Ami Gabi has “the best” chef in Vegas. We will have to try that next time.

 

 

Las Vegas October 2011

My husband and I are eating brunch at the Nine Fine Irishmen Pub inside the “New York New York” hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

Michael Jackson Impersonator

Michael Jackson Impersonator in front of Nine Fine Irishmen Pub

This is my first trip to Las Vegas since I was 16 years old and had to stay in the hotel room at Circus Circus babysitting my 4 younger brothers and sisters. This time, my friend warned me, would be very different. She said people were walking around wearing “things” that belonged in a strip joint. I have not seen that so far. I have seen “hen parties” – you could tell because they had matching hair ornaments or Hawaiian leis, and very, very short dresses and very, very high heels.

Full Irish Breakfast

Full Irish Breakfast

I’m having the “Full Irish Breakfast,” which here, like at any good Irish Pub, is served all day. The pub itself is two stories of dark wood with scroll work above stained glass windows. We are seated in an alcove with one other table which is a nice, relatively quiet, closed off area. “Nice” because everywhere in Las Vegas is noisy, so it’s nice to find a place of relative calm. (I was disappointed by the “Full Irish Breakfast.” The toast was white bread, and the mushrooms tasted like they were canned, although the hostess swore they weren’t.)

City Street inside New York New York

City Street inside New York New York

The interesting part about NYNY is that there are sidewalk cafes like in NYC. There are pizza places and hot dog joints with wrought iron tables set outside. So as you’re walking between them you can imagine that you are walking down the sidewalk in New York City. (Of course here it is very clean and not as rushed.)

 

Pool at NYNY

Pool at NYNY

The pool at NYNY is hopping! With energetic music and a volleyball net, it’s a place for fun, or at least watching the fun from your lounge chair. (And you can watch the roller coaster as it climbs then hear the screams as it drops.) The pool gets the shade of the next building in the late afternoon, so get there early.

Pool at The Ari

Pool at The Ari

 

The pools at the Aria are more relaxed. They have 3 separate pools all surrounded by trees so you can pick shade or sun. The drinks are expensive. But the view is beautiful. You are looking at trees and condos, so you can forget you are on “the strip” for a while.

Las Vegas is safe and the temperatures in October are very nice. There are ever present security guards in all of the casino resorts and police patrolling the sidewalks. One o’clock at night seems like one o’clock in the afternoon except the sky is black. The highs in mid October reached 90F with night time temperatures in the 60s. Nice pool weather during the day and nice outdoor walking weather at night.

“The strip” is one casino resort after another with stores like Gucci, Pravda and Crystal dotted in between and eateries right and left. You can take a taxi from one hotel to another if you’re wearing shoes not made for walking otherwise after indulging in a high calorie late night meal, you can walk and take off your shoes and get black feet or bring along something to slip into.

Now that I’m home, I realize that I actually enjoyed Las Vegas. I didn’t expect to. My idea of a holiday is a cottage in Ireland or Scotland not a city full of lights and unusual people. First of all, there are many “normal” people in Vegas – like Bob and Sue from Iowa. Although, I did see a couple of girls on the sidewalk at night – apparently trying to sell tickets to shows – with big angel wings and missing the part of their panties that was supposed to cover their bum.

I have to say, Vegas has something for everyone. Of course there are shows and spas and night clubs and gambling. But we only spent $5 gambling (and we do gamble, we just didn’t feel like it on this trip.) I took my tripod and got some unusual pictures of Vegas

Night Lights

Night Lights

looking up at the night-lighted buildings. We hung out at the pool and just relaxed. We went to Irish Pubs (much cheaper than going to Ireland and our waitress and the band had real Irish accents.) There were car races going on the weekend we were there.

 

Roller Coaster from the pool at New York New York

Roller Coaster from the pool at New York New York

There is a roller coaster right outside our resort and inside actually. There are many different types of tours to the Grand Canyon. Oh, did I mention the shows? (Everyone told me “You have to see a show!” Does Na Fianna at the RiRa Irish Pub count?) You can rent a car and drive to Red Rocks Canyon. You can book a helicopter tour and see Vegas from the sky. You can find your thrills at Adventuredome Theme Park. There is a Conservatory & Botanical Gardens at the Bellagio. The list is endless and ever changing – Vegas never stays the same.

A good site for things to do is: http://www.visitlasvegas.com/activities/

If you want some tips on Las Vegas: where to go or where to stay and what to see, write me at ksnyders@ahplanner.com.

I apologize for the quality of the pictures in this blog – they were taken with my phone because I didn’t drag my good camera everywhere with me.  If you wish to see my night time pictures with the good camera, you can view them at    http://ahpinc.smugmug.com/American-Holiday-Planner/LasVegas/LasVegas/