Las Vegas Photo of the Week Feb 2, 2019

This update of our Las Vegas Photo of the Week we bring you a shot of the Eiffel Tower at The Paris. We happened upon this mid morning in December as we were crossing the bridge from The Cromwell to Bally’s Casino. The sun had set just perfect behind the Eiffel Tower and reminded us of some ritual or event from an apocalypse movie. We have some great GoPro footage of the event but haven’t had time to clean it up yet.

Las Vegas Photo of the Week

Resort King Room Walkthrough Bellagio

Video walkthrough of a Resort King Room at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. This is a basic room at The Bellagio that we recently stayed at. Our room number was 9031. This Resort King Room is located in the Main Tower with a pool and mountain view. This is a typical room that you would get at The Bellagio with no upgrades.

As we were not concerned with any upgrades or did not care about the view we used Mobile Check In process to avoid the long line at check in and get our room earlier than 3:00. We checked in before noon and our room was ready within the hour. The room is automatically assigned so again I would suggest using this only if you are not concerned about upgrades or view.

Resort King Walkthrough at The Bellagio in Las Vegas

The basic room at The Bellagio is very stylish. You get a nice roomy seating area near the window with two comfortable chairs. The bed is nice and soft. You get a separate soaking tub and stand up shower. Only one sink though which was the only let down. Look in the closet for your Bellagio bath robe.

Resort King Room Walkthrough Bellagio Las Vegas

Bellagio Las Vegas Room

Bellagio Las Vegas Pro Tips

  • The Main Tower is closest to the Front Lobby. The rear tower (Spa Tower) can be quite a hike from the main lobby.
  • The North Valet is close the elevator banks for the Main Tower and using this is arriving in ride share and taxi will save your a longer walk.
  • The Conservatory is less busy a night giving you a better opportunity to take photos unobstructed.
  • There are limited inexpensive food choices and even more so a night. If you are heading back to your room and looking for a late night snack you would want to grab something before heading back to the hotel.
  • At the rear of the hotel is a Free Tram that will take you down to the T-Mobile Arena.

A stay at The Bellagio is definitely an upscale experience. The room and amenities will make you feel pampered and spoiled from the moment you arrive. It is however quite busy with tourists from other hotels stopping by to see the fountains, conservatory or property in general. We found the casino a little hectic with the site seeing gawkers. Overall we enjoyed our stay and we hope you do as well.

Essentials to Pack for a Vegas Vacation

A Vegas Vacation is a unique travel experience. The weather can be hot during the day and it can be quite cool at night depending on the time of year you visit. The properties are massive in size which means lots of walking. Having the proper gear and supplies for a trip to Vegas is important. We will Lets just assume that you will bring a bathing suite and shorts, that’s is given. Lets look at some of the essentials to pack for a Vegas Vacation.

Realistically, you don’t have to load all of this stuff up on the plane with you. You can pick up many of the items listed below at a Walgreen or CVS store. Just don’t buy they from your hotel or casino store, they are way over priced.

Clothing Essentials

  • Comfortable Shoes – We were logging anywhere from 6 to 10 miles a day on our last Vegas trip. There is no way you want to do that in a pair of uncomfortable shoes. I bring a pair of walking type shoes for daytime gawking and a pair of dressier shoes for fancier dinners or functions.
  • Jacket or Long Shirt – One, it can get cooler at night and secondly you might need a long shirt if you are going anywhere with a dress code.
  • Long Pants – Same reason as above.
  • Hat – That sun can get to you if you are sitting around a pool or just walking up and down The Vegas Strip. If you plan on being outdoors bringing a sensible hat just makes sense.
  • Sunglasses – Again the sun is merciless in Vegas and who is kidding who, you might want to hide those bloodshot eyes the next day.

Toiletries

  • Sunscreen – No brainier here. You have to keep that skin protected in the hot Vegas sun.
  • Lip Balm – You might forget about this one but my lips always get chapped in Vegas. Hotels are dry at the best of time add that to the dry desert air and it’s extra dry.
  • Nasal Spray – It happens every trip. My nose dries out in the dry desert air and when it does it’s uncomfortable. Nasal Spray is on the list this year.
  • Pepto Bismol – I prefer the Pepto tablet. They are easy to carry around and they do the trick when I get that “buffet tummy”.
  • Headache Pills –  This one is self explanatory.  Who hasn’t had a sore noodle in Vegas?
  • Ear Plugs – If you are unfortunate enough to get a room over top of a night club you will be glad you packed these.

Misc

  • Water Bottle – Some people like to have their own water bottle to carry with them. Vegas is one those towns where drinking water is important.
  • Solo Cups – I usually grab these when I get to Vegas. I like to pour a drink from the hotel room and take it with me or when I buy one on the Strip pour it in the cup.
  • Beer Koozie – I have a Beer Koozie in the pocket of every jacket I own. They keep your hands dry and your beer cold.
  • Small Cooler – Most hotels do not have a fridge you can use. They are stocked with snacks and drinks. We bring a small collapsible cooler that we can fill with ice to keep our drinks cold.

Tech

  • USB Plugs – More and more hotels in Vegas have usb plugs in the room  but it’s not guaranteed. I throw a few of these in my bag.
  • External Batteries – When you are away from your room for longs periods of time taking photos or posting on social media  you can drain your battery on your phone or camera fast. You can find small portable batteries or even phone charger cases on Amazon fairly cheaply. We have noticed more USB Charge stations over the past couple of years.

Documents

  • Drivers Licence or Passport – I was at Ellis Island on my birthday and my drivers licence expired that day.  They would not give me a card or let me use my coupons because the computer would not accept my information. It’s important to make sure you have your information up to date and handy. I am not a fan of walking around with my Passport but some clubs and bars will not accept a drivers license and require a Passport.

Vegas Vacation photo

Best Bars in Vegas with a View

You are headed to Las Vegas and you are looking for that perfect place with a great view to enjoy a drink. This review of the best bars in Vegas with a view should help you. There is nothing like having a cocktail and getting looking over the Las Vegas Strip. Surprisingly there aren’t as many places to get a good strip view as you would think. For a town with as many sights and lights as Las Vegas you would think you would have dozens of options but that’s not the case. Still there are some real solid options to get a drink and enjoy the Vegas skyline. We were going to set a price range for each place but just count on expensive. A view isn’t cheap in Vegas, or is anything else.

Updated 2018/09/03 – The Mandarin Oriental has been purchased by The Waldorf Astoria.

Best Bars in Vegas with a View

Many people ask what is the best time to witness the Vegas skyline and that really is a matter of preference. During the day you really get an idea on how massive the buildings and attractions are. It’s something that at night is almost hidden or obscured by the lights. At night obviously the lights are an amazing sight to see and a must do when in Vegas. A third great time is at sundown itself. There is something really special about watching the strip lights come on as the sun dips behind the horizon. We will show you a few photos of each prospective.

Skyfall Lounge at The Delano

The Skyfall Lounge sits atop of the 64th floor at The Delano at the south end of the Vegas strip.  The lounge gives you an amazing 180 degree of Vegas from the south.  The video above is not ours but it gives you a great shot of the view.

  • Location: 3940 S Las Vegas Blvd Las Vegas, NV 89119
  • Hours: Daily 5 pm – 12:00 am
  • Dress: Smart Casual
  • Cover: No
  • Website: Skyfall Lounge

Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay

foundation room vegas photo
Photo by fictures

The Foundation Room sits on the 63rd Floor of Mandalay Bay at the south end of the strip. Not exactly a club or a bar it’s described as more of a high end lounge. The photo above is a typical view that you will expect to see from the balcony view. Your view is looking down towards MGM and up the strip towards the bend at The Paris. There is a cover charge which you reportedly do not have to pay if you dine there.

  • Location: 3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
  • Hours: Daily 5 pm – Close
  • Dress: Smart Casual which means no shorts, sandals, hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, sports apparel, tank tops, sneakers and athletic shoes.
  • Cover: $30, Reported free access if you dine at the restaurant.
  • Website: Foundation Room

Sky Bar at The Waldorf Astoria

The Mandarin Bar has been renamed to The SkyBar as the property has been purchased by The Waldorf Astoria. The SkyBar is located on the 23rd floor of the The Waldorf Astoria hotel which sits just in front of the Aria Hotel and Casino. While it may not sit as high as the two bars to the south the view is stunning. The glass to ceiling walls give an impressive view. There is also a tea room located next door if you are looking for a different experience with a view. Not our video we found this gem on YouTube.

  • Location: 3752 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89158
  • Hours: Sun – Thurs (4:00 – 1:00 am), Friday – Sat (4:00 – 2:00 am)
  • Dress: Casual but not set. People report that you don’t want to be undressed as in flip flops and a tank top.
  • Cover: No
  • Website: The Waldorf Astoria

107 SkyLounge at The Stratosphere

Does a 360 degree view from the 107th floor of the Stratosphere have you interested? You won’t catch another view of Vegas like this. The Strat is located fairly north of the strip and not a good idea to walk to at night. It’s a short Uber or Lyft. Admission is free and it’s highly recommended to visit at happy hour and see the sun set over Vegas.

  • Location: 2000 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89104
  • Hours: Daily from 4pm – 3am
  • Dress: Casual dress.
  • Cover: No
  • Website:  107 SkyLounge

VooDoo Lounge at The Rio

bar view voodoo lounge the rio

The VooDoo Lounge is located off the strip at The Rio Hotel and Casino.  The photo above is from our 2015 trip. We did VooDoo Zipline package from Groupon and had free entry to the bar. You get a great view of the strip from the rear.

  • Location: 3700 W. Flamingo Rd. Las Vegas, NV 89103
  • Hours: Sun.-Thurs. (8 PM – 2 AM) – Fri.-Sat. (8 PM – 3 AM)
  • Dress: Casual dress.
  • Cover:
    • Sun – Thurs –  $10 Women/$20 Men
    • Fri – Sat – $20 Women/$30 Men
  • Website: VooDoo Lounge

High Roller at The LINQ

high roller view las vegas

High Roller is a 550-foot tall Ferris wheel located at the back of the LINQ Promenade. We are including it because you can do the Happy Half Hour all you can drink package or from views buy a drink in the bar and take it with you. It takes a half an hour to rotate and you get a 360 degree view of Vegas from the west side of the strip. We have done the ride during the day, dusk and night. We enjoyed them all.

view from the high roller

  • Location: 3545 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109
  • Hours: 
    • Daytime Pass – 11:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
    • Anytime / Night Pass – until 2:00 a.m.
  • Dress: None
  • Cover: See website as there are different packages for day/night and drinking package. See Groupon or Travel Zoo for deals.
  • Website: High Roller

These are probably your best go to lounges, clubs and attractions for getting a great view of Las Vegas while enjoying a cocktail. There are many other places along the strip where you can get a lower view. Check out places such as The Eiffel Tower Restaurant at the Paris and The Giada at The Cromwell and the Beer Park.  Please let us know if we should add any more places.

Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide

One of the greatest activities in Las Vegas is it pools. Pool season in Las Vegas is a life of its own. Most of properties have a number of pools and options to suite everyone’s needs. If you are looking for a family pool experience or more adult pools you will be able to find what you are looking for on our Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide.

The following list shows:

  • A link to each hotels pool page, if they have one.
  • Notes if the pools are year round or seasonal
  • Hours of operation
  • Temperature (which may not be accurate)
  • Links to any specialty pools or clubs

Las Vegas Swimming Pools Guide

Aria
Year-round;
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM (hours are seasonal)
82°F (spa pools heated to 101°F)
Liquid Pool Lounge (adults only)
Bally’s
Seasonal; While pool is closed guests can use the pool at Paris
74°F
Bellagio
Year-round;
7:00 AM – 8:00 PM. (hours are seasonal)
84°F
Binion’s Gambling Hall
Seasonal; Guest from Four Queens may use pool at Binion’s
Not heated
Caesars Palace
Year-round;
8 AM – 7 PM. (hours are seasonal)
83°F
California
Seasonal (Until September 30);
8:00am – 8:00pm
Not heated
Circus Circus
Seasonal;
Pool 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM – Daily
Slide Tower – Only Mat Racer Slide Open | 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Weekdays
Slide Tower – All Slides Open | 10:30 AM – 6:00 PM – Weekends
82°F
Encore
Seasonal;
8 a.m.-7 .pm
.82°F
Excalibur
Year-round;
Pool Hours Vary
80°F
Flamingo
Seasonal;
9 AM – 5 PM
74°-84° F
Go Pool – 21+
Four Seasons
Seasonal
85°F
Fremont
Guests use the pool at the California
Not heated
Gold Coast
Year-round;
Winter hours: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
80°F
Golden Nugget
Year-Round;
Winter hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Not heated
Green Valley Ranch
Year-round
Not heated
Hard Rock
Seasonal
85°F
Harrah’s
Seasonal;
9 AM – 6 PM
Not heated
Hooters
Year-round;
Daily 9 a.m – 8 p.m.
90°F
LINQ
Seasonal;
Mon. – Sun., 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Luxor
Seasonal;
While pool is closed guests can use the pool at Excalibur
80°F
M Resort
Seasonal;
10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
82°F
Las Vegas Swimming Pools GuideView of Treasure Island Pool, May 2017
Main Street Station
Guests use the pool at the California
Not heated
Mandalay Bay
Year-round;
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
82°F
MGM Grand
Seasonal;
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
82°F
Mirage
Seasonal;
Daily 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
(Closed for maintenance in December)
75°-78°F
Private Oasis Pool and Bare Pool
pools in las vegas
View from The Mirage Pools, May 2017
The Park
Seasonal;
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
80°F
New York-New York
Seasonal;
9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
70°-75°F
Orleans
Seasonal;
9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Daily
78°-80°F
Palace Station
Seasonal;
Sunday – Thursday: 9 am – 10 pm
Friday & Saturday: 9 am – 11 pm
Palazzo
Year-round;
Winter hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (hours are weather permitting)
82°F
Palms
Seasonal 9am – 7pm
75°F
Paris
Year-round;
10 a.m. – 7 p.m. (hours are seasonal)
83°F
Planet Hollywood
Seasonal;
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
71°F
Plaza
Year-round
9am – sunset
Heated
Red Rock Resort
Seasonal;
9 am – 5 pm Monday – Thursday
9 am – 6 pm Saturday & Sunday
78°F
Rio
Seasonal;
9 AM – 6 PM
Not heated
Sam’s Town
Seasonal;
8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Memorial Day through the first week of September
78°F
Santa Fe Station
Pool Currently Closed
Signature at MGM Grand
Seasonal;
8:00 AM – 8:00 PM
82°F
Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino
Year-round;
7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Not heated
Silverton
Seasonal
78°F
South Point
Year-round;
9 a.m.-5 p.m. (hours are seasonal)
Stratosphere
Year-round;
Winter hours :9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Summer hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
78°F
Suncoast
Seasonal;
7:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sunset Station
Seasonal;
9 am – 8 pm
74°F
The D
Year-round;
7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Not heated
Treasure Island
Seasonal;
Varies 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Closed Mid Nov to Mid Feb
78°F
Tropicana
Seasonal;
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Heated
Tuscany
Year-round;
Winter hours: 9 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Summer hours: 7 a.m.- 10 p.m.
75°-80°F
Vdara
Year-round;
8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
83°F
Venetian
Year-round;
Main Pool 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Venezia Pool: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Hours are seasonal
80°F
Westgate Las Vegas
Seasonal;
84°F
Wynn Las Vegas
Year-Round;
Winter Hours: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Summer: 8 a.m.- 7 p.m.
82°F

We have gleaned our Las Vegas Pools Guides from a number of sources but mainly from each pools website. Vegas is always changing and while we strive to keep our list updated it may contain errors. Please let us know if any of our information needs updating. Make sure you check out the rest of our Las Vegas Guides.

Life is Beautiful Line-Up Announced

The Life is Beautiful daily line-up has been announced. Single day tickets are also going on sale later this week. The annual music festival takes over Downtown Las Vegas from  Sept. 21st to Sept 23rd.  Visit the official Life is Beautiful website for more information on tickets and pricing.

Life is Beautiful Line-Up

 

Long Haul Taxi Scam in Las Vegas

If you have taken a taxi cab in Las Vegas you no doubt have heard the phrase long haul taxi scam. Or maybe you have heard people mention getting long hauled. The scam may also be referred to as being “tunneled”. The long haul taxi scam in Las Vegas entails a cab driver taking you from the airport or to the airport on a longer route than normal in order to charge you more for your ride. If you have prepaid for a limo or shuttle service the long haul does not apply to you.

The Long Haul Route

There are two routes out of McCarran International Airport. Swenson St which turns in Paradise runs somewhat parallel to the strip. You can cross over to the strip via streets like Tropicana. The Tunnels which go under the runways to the south connect to Highway 215. This is why being scammed is sometimes referred to as being tunneled. This route is often twice as long resulting in a larger fare. Take the route below to the Bellagio from Google Maps. The route up Swenson is 3.2 miles while the tunnel route is 7.7 miles.

If you go through the tunnel or end up on a highway south of the airport you are no doubt being long hauled. A recent taxi fair estimator website figures the above ride just over $20. If your ride ends up being much more and traffic is normal you could be a victim of long hauling.

long haul taxi route las vegas

When the tunnel route is justified

It is important to note that the “tunnel ” can possibly be a legitimate route depending on where you are staying. If you are staying at any of the southern hotels such as the Silverton then the route is preferred. This does not hold true for Mandalay Bay or the Luxor. The same can be said about staying downtown in the Fremont St area. If you are driving downtown you would likely want to take the highway and avoid the strip at all costs.

Depending on the time of day and traffic congestion you may want the tunnel. For example, if you are staying on the north part of the strip like The Mirage or Treasure Island. We have been caught in a couple of traffic snarls heading to Treasure Island / The Mirage. These could have been avoided going the highway route.

How to not get tunnelled

Act like you are a season veteran. Use Google Maps like we did above and plot your route out. Familiarize yourself with street names and the possible routes to the hotel. When you get in your taxi at the airport tell them that you want to take Swenson to Tropicana etc. If you tell the cab driver the  route  you want to go they must follow it.

What to do if you are a long haul victim

If you feel you have been long hauled you have options. Some travelers report that they have confronted the cab driver and told them flat out that they are not paying. Calling their bluff. I witnessed this at The Mirage one morning as we were heading back to the airport. A couple was long hauled first thing in the morning and had the bell employees help them confront the driver.

You can take a less confrontation route by filing an official complaint. You would do this by contacting the Nevada Taxi Authority at 702.888.4888. or by filing out an online form at “Long Hauling Suspicion Form,

Las Vegas Street Scene 1955

Las Vegas in 1955 was very different then what it is today. This Las Vegas street scene photo from 1955 shows the Golden Nugget and a host of other casinos and hotels that are no longer part of Vegas. The Golden Nugget was built in 1946 and is still a prominent part of the Fremont St experience. If you get a chance stop by and see the shark tank.

Las Vegas street scene 1955

Make sure you click on the photo for the larger image.

Interesting Las Vegas Facts

Las Vegas may be famous for its luxury hotels, fine dining and cirque shows but there are many interesting facts that the average visitor does not know. Here is a list of interesting facts about Las Vegas that you may not be aware of.

Interesting Las Vegas Facts

The famous strip is 4.2 miles and is not even located in Las Vegas proper. It actually sites in the town of Paradise which is within Clarke County. Las Vegas proper would be Downtown or Fremont St, where the original hotels and casinos are located.

It is estimated that 41 million people visit Las Vegas every year. There are not shortage of rooms for those visitors. Statistics show that in 2017 there were 104 Casinos and 148,690 hotels rooms in Las Vegas.

NASA has dubbed Las Vegas as the brightest spot on earth. There are 9,900,000 light bulbs just on the strip. The Luxor Light Beam which sits on top of the Luxor Pyramid can be seen from 100 miles away and the beam is only at half power. That light beam cost $51 an hour to operate.

luxor vegas photo
Photo by Jay Abramson

The design for the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign was never copyrighted. The sign was designed by Betty Willis and erected in 1959. The circles around the word “welcome” represents silver dollars. They are a tribute to Nevada being the “silver state”.

las vegas facts

Las Vegas really is the wedding capital of the United States. There are anywhere from 300 – 500 wedding a day. They make it pretty easy, you only need a driver’s license or passport around $50 to get a marriage licence.

You won’t find lottery tickets in Vegas. Looking for a power ball ticket? You will have to go to Utah as lottery tickets are not allowed in the state of Nevada.

Prostitution is not legal in Las Vegas. It is against the law in Clarke County.

There are an estimated 1,000 people living in the tunnels below the city. Matthew O’Brien a reporter who first brought the story to light has published a book called Beneath The Neon.

Seafood is king in Vegas. It is estimated that 60,000 pounds of shrimp is consumed every day. Resorts like the Aria are moving to recycle their food waste and sell it to farmers to be used as pig slop.

Thinking of swimming the Bellagio fountains? You might want to think again as the water used is referred to as “grey water”. The water in many of the fountains and displays is recycled from sinks, bathtubs, and showers.

bellagio fountains photo
Photo by gilbrit

Elvis Presley performed 837 consecutive sold out shows at what is now the Westgate Casino and Hotel. Elvis still has a strong presence in Las Vegas with impersonators and shows being found all over the strip and downtown Fremont St.

 

Where to get coffee in Vegas

Did you know that most resorts and hotels in Las Vegas do not have coffee machines in the room? Many people are surprised when they find this out. It kind of makes sense. Hotels in Vegas do not want you sitting in your room drinking free coffee. They want you on their casino floor or in their restaurants drinking coffee. It’s as simple as that. Where do you get a decent cup of coffee in Vegas then?

Where to get coffee in Vegas

Make Your Own Coffee

I have read where some people bring their own Keurig. You can purchase a small sized Keurig machine in Amazon or places like Ebay relatively inexpensive and pack it for your trip. You can also buy a variety of small instant coffee makers from Walmart and bring them along. It doesn’t have to be a Keurig.  Making your own coffee in your room is an option if you want to bring your own machine. Pretty easy to do if you aren’t flying into town.

Starbucks

You would be shocked to know that there is practically a Starbucks on every corner on the Las Vegas strip. We would say that in every hotel and resort there is a Starbucks waiting to serve you up your coffee fix. The following map will give you an idea of just how many of Starbucks locations there are on The Strip in Las Vegas. Nothing is cheap in Vegas and Starbucks in no exception. Be prepared to stand in line. Any of the shops we passed by were lined up out the door in the morning hours.

Here is the link from their website which shows all Starbucks Location Vegas Strip.

starbucks las vegas

Recommended Coffee Shops

If you are not a Starbucks fan there are quite a few really good coffee shops on the strip. Most hotels will have their own breakfast restaurant or cafe onsite where you can grab a cup. For example, there is The Pantry at The Mirage or The Aria Cafe at The Aria.

Looking for other recommended  coffee shops along the strip? Here are a few other places you can visit.

Amorino Gelato at The LINQ

Amorino at Linq photo
Photo by Roller Coaster Philosophy

LavAzza at Bally’s

Va Bene at The Cosmopolitan

The Coffee Bean at Grand Canal Shoppes

There are lots of hidden gems for coffee along the Las Vegas strip. You just have to explore a little to find the really good one. We have given you a bit of head start on your journey. If you find a coffee shop you think people would like drop us a comment.