The Road Trip Diaries: Sophie’s guide to staying in Las Vegas

The Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas

Travel blog by Sophie Syzygy

Photo of girl asleep on plane listening to Beyonce
Me in the depths of my long haul hangover of doom.

The journey

As I lay face down with only the soothing voice of Beyonce to ease my pain, I have to admit that I regretted my life choices a little.

The night before our 11 hour flight from Glasgow to Las Vegas, some wonderful colleagues joined me for bon voyage cocktails. I should have stopped at three, maybe even four, but no, I was excited! I was getting married in two days!

I had a lot of bon voyage cocktails, like all of them, and promptly became a belligerent toddler when it came to being of any packing use, resulting in me FORGETTING MY HAIRBRUSH AND NOT HAVING ONE ON MY WEDDING DAY. Sigh.

You know what made the hell that is a long haul flight better, though? The fact that it was my only one of the day and then I could step off the plane and head to the hotel. Bliss!

If you can find a way to get a direct flight to Las Vegas, it makes it a lot more bearable AND your risk of bag loss decreases significantly by not having any flight changes.

Where to stay in Las Vegas

I’m going to do a separate post about our wedding day, so when I leave out most of the details of it, it’s not that I don’t want to write about it. Believe me, I do. I DESPERATELY DO. There’s just a. too much to write, and b. I can’t put my wedding photos up yet, so hold all of your horses and tune in next time.

Arriving in Las Vegas is not how you would expect, because first you have to go through customs, and the guy we got was incredibly…surly. The answer you expect to get when you happily tell someone you’re getting married the next day is not *ignores you while continuing to side eye your passport*. However, when you get through all that, arriving in Las Vegas is then exactly how you would expect. It was bright and hot and shiny and even in the airport there were slot machines and colourful neon signs everywhere.

We were whisked to our hotel by a lovely taxi driver who proceeded to tell us how people had (regularly) smoked weed and (sometimes) were way too intimate in the back of her car – she told us that she said nothing, because “hey, people come here to have fun.”

With that little insight firmly locked into our minds, we were met with this beautiful view.

The SLS Las Vegas

Just Sixty Lovely Sleeps until we get a new neighbor- @w_lasvegas!

A photo posted by SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (@slslasvegas) on

We actually stayed in Las Vegas twice in one trip – right at the beginning and right at the end. We stayed at the SLS Las Vegas the first time, and the second at the Vdara, both amazing deals from Vegas.com.

If you are planning a trip, whether in reality or in your daydreams, I would highly recommend setting up Vegas.com alerts for anything you’re interested in, as they have glorious new deals very regularly on hotels, nights out and shows, and it really helped us.

The SLS Las Vegas is a super new hotel at the top of the strip, which is in the place of the old Sahara for any vintage Vegas buffs. We stayed in the World tower, a pale pink and monochromatic confection whose rooms look like this:

I can’t recommend this place highly enough. The staff were all so kind and so attentive, the room was dreamy, and from the designs on the snacks to the smell of the lobby to the music they play at Foxtails, everything just felt so put together. It really was an out of this world experience to stay there.

They are right at the top of the metro line, too, so getting to anywhere down the strip is very easy.

Buying a metro pass is a must.

They are really regular and it’s a very nice way to become accustomed to the layout of the city, which can feel a little disorienting at first thanks to all the giant buildings and walkways that somehow always lead you back to the casino. Sneaky.

Oh, it also helps that they have THE BEST RESTAURANT EVER right in the building. Our first day in Vegas was spent getting our marriage license and then sleeping, and then our second day in Vegas we were getting married, so in terms of official road trip chat, the place I can start from is our wedding dinner. Bazaar Meat by José Andrés is known as the best steakhouse in Las Vegas, but given that it is one of the few privileged places in the whole of the USA that can sell A5 Wagyu Kobe beef, I would go all out and say America. MAYBE EVEN THE WORLD.

Our server, Chris, was sweet, attentive, and explained their extensive menu really well. We were greeted with champagne, and proceeded to have a selection of tapas meats before cooking Kobe steak on a hot stone in the centre of our table. Dessert was a limoncello sorbet, frozen with liquid nitrogen right at our table. The restaurant is intimate yet glamorous – a dramatic and infinitely chic hunting lodge that you feel totally at home in because it’s like you live there. Don’t miss out on the chance to eat there if you can.

Stay at the SLS if you like quirky luxury, xxl excitement and having everything be totally Instagram worthy.

Vdara Las Vegas

Smoke-free, non-gaming, & dog friendly. Are you ready to #DoVegasDifferently?

A photo posted by Vdara Hotel & Spa (@vdaralasvegas) on

Our last stop in Las Vegas, the Vdara. We stayed on floor 52 out of 55, and had a beautiful view of the Bellagio fountains!

Coming to the Vdara at the end of our trip was the best decision we could have ever made. A non-gambling hotel, this glossy tower is an oasis of calm in a strip of electricity – it is part of the Aria complex, and so while the hotel doesn’t have a casino, you aren’t too far away from a flutter if the notion takes you. Having somewhere to retreat to that is the epitome of #chill is really wonderful, especially after a three week road trip like ours. They are an all-suite hotel – ours was very elegant, and had a lounge area, a writing desk, a luxuriously large bed and a small kitchen area with dining table. We spent our time lounging in a cabana by the pool, and I visited their spa on one of our afternoons there.

Where do I even begin with the spa. ESPA at Vdara is divided into a men’s spa and a women’s spa, and is a modern environment with lots of dark wood to offset the whiteness of the floors and gentle lighting. There is a relaxation area, hot plunge/jacuzzi, sauna, and eucalyptus steam room, as well as heated stone loungers that are honestly the best things in the world. They channel heat into your joints, such as your neck and your knees, as you relax into them in super fluffy robes – totally out of this world! There is also a wonderful vanity area with very useful and thoughtful items such as toothbrushes, hair products, and skin care from ESPA. Juice, water, teas and yummy snacks are complimentary throughout the spa, and you get an incredibly reasonable entry price if you are a hotel guest.

Stay at Vdara if you want some classic luxury, some zen-like calm, and don’t forget to ask for a fountain view room! Waking up to the Bellagio fountains was a real tug on the heart strings given their legendary Vegas status.

This is a little video I took of them – if you tear up a little, you’re not crying, the fountains just splashed on yer face 😉

Thanks so much for reading, everyone! Stay tuned for more road trip diaries.

Love Sophie Syzygy xo

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