Las Vegas

After two weeks of natural splendor we finished up with a couple of days of manmade extravagance.

Day 1: Page to Las Vegas

We had our bagel and coffee on the scenic route by the Vermillion Cliffs. It wasn’t the best scenery of the trip but it was still nice. We got really mixed up with timezones but managed to return the rental car on time. We had a strange confrontation trying to gas up the rental car. One old guy got out of the car in front of us, a passenger slumped out the other side along with a lot of trash, driver started shouting … we just left. 

We took a taxi from the rental car drop off to the Mirage and checked in, then took off walking. We walked through the Bellagio to Aria, where we stopped at Julian Serrano for a tapas lunch.

Aria
sangria

We walked back via the Forum Shops, the Bellagio fountain, and The Venetian. We had dinner at Cravings, the Mirage buffet.

Urban hiking today, 5.84 miles.

Day 2: Walking the Strip

We woke up about 9 AM and went to the breakfast buffet. They’d given us a two-for-one coupon the night before, which was nice because it was the weekend champagne brunch rather than the usual breakfast. Some items were the same as the night before. Then we came back to the room and lolled because we were too full to do anything else!

We left around 2:30 to go walking again. We timed our walk to Paris so we know when to leave for brunch tomorrow, then went down to Mandalay Bay and back. Then we hit Yard House for happy hour and the pool for while. 

pool at The Mirage

We went to Fogo de Chao for dinner. It was a bit of an adventure getting a taxi back. We caught the Bellagio Fountain show, then finished up our booze. Las Vegas sidewalks are amazingly crowded at night. We tried taking photos, but it’s difficult with all the glass barriers. We saw a chick with inflatable boobs. And walked 7.58 miles.

Day 3: Las Vegas to Home

We paid $30 for a late (3 PM) checkout. Which didn’t keep housekeeping from stopping by repeatedly, despite a do-not-disturb sign. There was an issue with the TV but we were able to catch the end of the game on BTN2GO on a phone. We had brunch at Le Village at Paris.

Le Village
More fake sky, this time with a French flavor.

After checking out — which required waiting in line — I played some slots and video poker, our first gambling of the trip. I quit after doubling my $5. We walked through the Forum Shops, saw a last Bellagio Fountain show, then went back to Yard House for beer and food. Back at the hotel, we caught the volcano show at the Mirage before getting a taxi to the airport.

volcano at The Mirage

Essentials​

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Lodging

This isn’t our usual type of place but we decided while in Vegas we needed to do the full Vegas experience. I booked the Mirage for its location and its pool and was not disappointed in either. I particularly wanted a pool with some shade and was glad I chose the Mirage — it was over 100° when we were there.

The room was more than adequate. The bathroom was pretty standard. We were on the 8th floor, so not a great view, but not bad. Elevators were efficient, not the mess I experienced at Mandalay Bay on a previous trip. We arranged and paid for late check out ($30) which worked nicely, other than being interrupted a few times by housekeeping despite that and putting the do not disturb sign out.

Staff was consistently great. When we mentioned to housekeeping that the TV wasn’t functioning she came in and called maintenance for us.

Dining

It’s Vegas. You can get ANYTHING!

In-N-Out Burger
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I knew we'd want a quick lunch the day we arrived and was thinking of the usual suspects when I remembered In-N-Out Burger. Yesssss! (We don't have them at home.) This location worked very well. It was outside the congestion near the strip and downtown, yet close enough to make the timing right. It wasn’t listed on the freeway signs.
Yard House
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We were looking for a place in Vegas with a good beer selection. Yard House has that at over 140 beers on tap. More than enough to choose from, some of it local or regional. We also tried some of the food (mac and cheese, club sandwich) which was quite good. There's a nice patio area that is thankfully not Vegas-frenetic. Made a nice break from the crowds and noise of the Strip. Super service. Had no idea it was a chain.
Cravings Buffet
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We had dinner and brunch. The price was reasonable compared to other buffets, especially since unlimited beer and wine were included, and one was a decent IPA. It closed surprisingly early, at 9:30 PM. We were given a 2-for-1 pass for brunch. It was handy because we expected breakfast on Friday; they were running weekend brunch. Brunch was good, though we would have preferredmore breakfast items. I would not have been happy had we paid full price. Cafeteria-like ambiance.
Le Village Buffet
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I chose Paris for our weekend champagne brunch because it was less expensive, I thought a French twist on brunch would be good, and they take reservations, which meant no standing in line! (If you do reservations, just check-in at the VIP entrance.) The slab o' bacon at the carving stand was great. Warm cherries and pears poached in wine. Pastries were pretty good. Server kept the mimosas and champagne flowing. And the faux-French village decor was charming in a Vegas way.
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
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This was my second Fogo de Chao. Same salad bar, same great selection of meats. If you like meat, particularly beef, I recommend you try this at least once. Yes, it's pricy, but I think we got our value in filet alone. Getting a cab back to the Strip was a bit more tricky than I would have thought. Go hungry, and go easy on the salad bar! The polenta and banana side dishes are great too.
Julian Serrano Tapas
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Most expensive lunch ever and so worth it! We sat at the bar and ordered off the bar menu. Six tapas between the two of us: papas bravas, padron peppers, atun de conos, mixed seafood ceviche, bomba, chicken croquettes — all were great, we especially enjoyed the peppers and the bomba — and three rounds of sangria. Service was quite personable. This was my second visit here; the first time was with a large group. Since there were only two of us this time, ordering off the bar menu allowed us to try more options, since portions are smaller.
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