Last weekend, I flew to Las Vegas. A good friend of mine from college was turning 21 and decided what better way to celebrate than Vegas? If any of you follow me on snapchat, then you saw some of what we got up to. And if you don’t, but would like to, my snapchat is the same as the rest of my social media: rachel_charney.
We stayed at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino, and let me be the first to tell you that it was not what I expected. Don’t get me wrong, the service, room, amenities, restaurants, etc. were all great, but somehow I wasn’t expecting to see towers and moats covering the outside of the building when the taxi dropped me off. But then again, I wasn’t expecting to see slot machines in the terminal right after walking off the plane so, clearly, it was my first time in Vegas. The strip in Vegas is an interesting mix of tall, sleek buildings and ones covered in roman columns. And then there’s the random Eiffel Tower, Lady Liberty and other iconic pieces scattered about.
The birthday girl, Tabitha, and our other musketeer from college, Julia (who you may recognize from past vlogs), arrived in Vegas Thursday night so they kicked off their weekend by gambling. This may come as a shocker, but I don’t think I’m cut out to gamble so this worked out well for me. Of course, I tried my hand at it, but after losing $30 and only winning 10 cents….it kind of lost its appeal. I arrived about mid-morning the following day so after I dropped off my bag in the room, we left in search of brunch. Bottomless mimosas and great food sounded like a great way to start. And those mimosas…. the Hard Rock Café had the best mimosas I think I’ve ever had. They had the perfect ratio of orange juice to champagne. After brunch, we spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon wandering the strip and ducking in and out of other famous hotels.
We ended up at Serendipity for a break and to try the frozen hot chocolate for which they’re apparently famous. And oh boy, the hype is real. I’ve been a life-long fan of hot chocolate—ask anyone—so I was excited to try this special treat. Because we’d eaten not that long ago, we all ordered the smallest size but, man, I wish we’d had enough room in our stomachs for more because that stuff was heaven. It was so good. But, I started to crash not long after despite the sugar boost (I’d been up since 2:30am EST by this point) so when we got back to the hotel I attempted a nap.
Dinner both nights was great. The first night, Friday night, we had reservations at Nove Italiano at The Palms Casino Resort. The food there was superb. Located on the 51st floor or so, the restaurant is dim lit and has a sophisticated vibe–and, of course, pretty expensive. We all ordered drinks and some form of pasta. Both drink and food were excellent. I don’t know how the prices compare to average Vegas prices, but while the cocktails seemed pretty expensive compared to what I’m used to, they were also much larger than what you’d usually get in a restaurant. I ordered something with peach-flavored vodka and fresh fruit that came in a huge copper pineapple. We’d originally planned to check out Ghostbar, also located in The Palms, but since there was an hour to kill between dinner and when the bar opened, we went gambling (this is where I lost my $30). However, by the time the bar opened Julia was ready to call it a night as she’d sprained her ankle a few days before the trip. Which, honestly worked out well as the two of us had secretly been planning with Tabitha’s older sister, Erin, who was flying in as a surprise and was due to arrive soon.
Let me tell you something about Tabitha. She is very hard to surprise. Very hard. We managed to pull it off in May when I flew up to surprise her for graduation and we somehow managed to pull it off again this past weekend. She had absolutely no idea Erin had flown in and was totally taken off guard when she walked into the room behind me. I think it helped that it was so last minute. Literally. Erin called me Thursday night, just a few hours before I had to leave for the airport to float the idea and work out details.
Saturday was spent mostly at the hotel. Because the sisters had previously lived on the west coast, they insisted (and got super excited) we go to In-N-Out Burger and spent the uber ride telling us all about the secret menu. After that, we spent the afternoon pampering ourselves and relaxing at the Spa at the Excalibur. And oh my heavens, talk about the most relaxing experience. I don’t think any of us had ever had a massage or facial before, but I am now sold on both. Everyone was really nice and the atmosphere of the entire place was relaxing. We didn’t want to leave and wished we’d packed swimsuits for the hot tub as once you’re in the spa, you have access until 8pm that night. They also had aromatherapy showers which were nice. We took full advantage of those and the free access to hairdryers, curling irons, and straighteners provided by the spa to get ready for our night out.
For our second night, we decided to stay in the hotel and ate at the Camelot Steakhouse located upstairs. The service was a little slow, but the food was pretty good. And it was just down the hall from our show of the evening, Thunder from Down Under. I think that was perhaps the thing we were all most excited for, and boy we were not disappointed. If Australian accents, fun music, and fit guys taking their shirts off don’t equal up to an awesome evening for you, I don’t know what would. They were all great and the show’s MC was funny. My personal favorite was the one who looked vaguely like a Hemsworth—tall, fit (obviously), blonde mop of hair. There was also one who had a sleeve of tribal-looking tattoos and even from across the room you could just tell he had gorgeous, piercing eyes that popped against his tanned skin. Definitely a great night.
**Note: Any pictures taken during the show were taken during the one phone-friendly portion of the show**
Erin and I both had to leave Sunday but since my flight was a bit earlier than hers I said goodbye to Tabitha, Julia, and Erin after breakfast and headed home. It was a weekend that went by way too quickly but I’m so happy that I was able to go and spend time with two of my best friends and meet Erin for the first time. I think we all want to go back at some point in the future—maybe when Julia no longer has a sprained ankle—and explore more of Vegas.