Ah, Las Vegas….Disneyworld for adults! And in my opinion one of the craziest and most awesome places in the world. I’d never been to Vegas before my trip in December 2011 but had high expectations for my time there. The pictures of Vegas on the internet and in the guidebooks certainly do not do the manmade wonderland in the middle of a desert justice. We booked our trip months in advance which gave me plenty of chance to research what I wanted to do and to keep an eye out for shows/guest appearances on New Year’s Eve. My husband and I flew with British Airways direct from London Heathrow to McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas. We landed at around 8.30pm on 30th December and jumped in a taxi to our hotel – The Trump. The airport is so close to The Strip when you are coming into land you get a perfect view and if you land after sunset the sky is illuminated with all the fantastic neon lights.
Vegas in December 2011 was experiencing a ‘heatwave’ of around 25 degrees daily and everyone we came in to contact with – taxi drivers, shopkeepers, hotel receptionists kept reminding us that the year previous had seen ice and frost on the ground. Therefore if you are going to Vegas at New Year I’d recommend packing layers so you have most weather possibilities covered. On December 31st at midday, The Strip was closed to traffic and made completely pedestrianized allowing for a carnival atmosphere. Stalls selling ‘Welcome to 2012’ paraphernalia and booze popped up all the way down the footpaths on either side. Everyone just seemed in a great mood ready for a great night ahead (probably because they were already well oiled)!
We chose to see Will.I.Am (each to their own eh?) at the Surrender Beach Club in the Encore Hotel. As with most, if not all New Years Eve tickets in Vegas my husband’s ticket was more expensive than mine, his was around $125 (£80) and mine $75 (£48) which included a 3 hour ‘free bar’. The reasoning behind the price difference is that guys will pay more knowing there will be a lot of girls/women there! International travellers, please remember that the minimum age to consume alcohol in the US is 21 and bar staff/waiters etc are more than likely to ask you for ID if you look under the age of 30. This being said my husband was asked for ID by a doorman as we were entering Surrender and he was 37 at the time which he questioned simply to be told it was ‘Nevada State Law’ that people must carry ID with them at all times, although following a quick google search I cannot find anything to back this up. We both did, however, carry our ID with us for the rest of our holiday.
If you didn’t want to spend money on tickets for a show/gig/club etc you can stay on The Strip and watch the fireworks that are set off at midnight from most hotels. Because Surrender is a Beach Club we were able to have the best of both worlds – Will.I.Am DJing inside and the fireworks going off outside! Amazing. New Year in Vegas is something I have never experienced before and probably never will again. Vegas is a party town every night of the year yet still managed to step it up a gear for New Year! I’m glad we had 6 more days to relax (as much as you can in Vegas) and take in a number of its many other delights!
- Hotel – Mirage. I don’t really know why either. I think it’s because it was the first hotel I won on the slots. Also, had a nice old school vibe to it and a great little deli (Carnegie Deli) that serves the biggest sandwiches I have ever seen, on the main gaming floor.
- Trip – The Grand Canyon. Took a day trip to the Grand Canyon. Did it by coach as I don’t like flying(!) long yet very rewarding day. The views of the Canyon are breathtaking!
- Restaurant – Sinatra, Encore. Whenever we go on holiday we always treat ourselves to a luxury meal the night before we fly home. Having lived on a diet of chain restaurants for a week a three-course meal here was pricey (not over the top) but worth it. The food and service were amazing
- Shop – M&M Store. Millions of beautiful, colourful M&Ms – what’s more to say!!!!
- Place to gamble – The Wynn. Newer hotel, lovely surroundings and decorated beautifully for Christmas. Also great drinks service on the gaming floor.
- Show – Jersey Boys, Venetian (now at Paris) Loved this show! Although it was the only one we saw in Vegas so cannot comment on others.
- Attraction – The Gun Store. BEST THING EVER! Want to do it again now. $200 for 20 minutes shooting but so worth it! Plus it turns out I’m pretty handy with an AK47
Where have you spent New Year’s Eve? Could you recommend somewhere for next year?