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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Friday, November 25, 2011

Guest Post: Las Vegas, NV

This is a guest post from a Shane at NationalRVParks.com about affordable Las Vegas!

 A trip to Las Vegas can be a great travel bargain.  It is a city where one can get a lot for a little as my recent trip with my family can attest.  This city is a favorite destination of ours because it is easy to travel upscale for wholesale.  Affordable opulence is how I refer to these visits to our desert mecca.
Aria at Night

In September of 2011, my family of four left Providence and flew non-stop to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines for the price of one ticket which was less than $300.  Three tickets were gratis because of frequent flyer points garnered from a easy to accumulate Southwest credit card rewards program. Our hotel of choice for this trip was Aria Resort and Casino a property of the MGMMirage corporation.  This hotel is only 2 years old and it is centrally located on the famous Las Vegas Strip.  The cost of each room was a paltry $79 per night.  This price was secured by an internet offer received when I joined their player's club.

The Aria hotel houses over three thousand rooms and suites.  It is a visually stunning property. It looms majestically over the south strip.  It is part of a collection of properties called City Center. City Center includes the Cosmopolitan Hotel, The Vdara Hotel, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, along with private condos and an upscale shopping district called Crystals.  Our room was furnished with an over sized King bed with a view overlooking the strip.  The room also included two televisions,  draperies, central lighting, all controlled by an easy to use remote controlled room unit. We just pressed a button and the television tuned in to one of a hundred channels, the lights rose and dimmed, and the draperies opened and closed all at will.  All for $79 per night.  This is why we love Vegas

The pools, yes there are four pools on this property, are spacious and are meticulously maintained by an attentive staff.  The Las Vegas sun is extremely hot so, needless to say, a lot of sunscreen was applied.  We continually waded into the crystal clear water which provided ample relief from the sweltering sun.  There is also a fitness center which we visited daily. It had all the latest workout equipment and a personal trainer at your disposal.

Our daily routine consisted of a sumptuous breakfast at Aria's sterling buffet.  This is a buffet where for $13 one can dive into a true gourmet experience. It included a cook-to-order omelet station, home made pastries, every breakfast meat you can imagine, even rib-eye steaks along with too many other items to describe adequately. Every choice was fresh and plentiful.  Our servers were attentive and prompt.  Coffee, espresso, latte, and juices were always delivered with a smile.

After waddling out of the buffet, it was pool time. It was best to get there early to ensure a prime spot near our favorite pool's edge.  It was easier to take a dip when it got too hot.  The morning was better for us because of the crowd and the heat. 

Next, we were off to the fitness center to burn off a few of the morning's massive caloric intake. Did I mention that the fitness center supplied headphones, fluffy towels, an array of fruit, and the most refreshing lemon infused ice-cold water I've ever tasted! Remember this was for $79 per night :).

After an afternoon shower in a bathroom that was spa-like, it was off to explore the various hotels on the strip which are a show in themselves. Every hotel is a different sensory experience.  The Bellagio has its fountains, the Mirage has its volcano, the MGM its lions, Treasure Island has its pirate show.  We also visited the Venetian Hotel and Casino complex.  This is the largest hotel in the world with over 7000 rooms and suites. Nothing in Vegas is understated or subtle, but that is its allure for us. 

Each evening was occupied by trying to decide in which gourmet chef's restaurant to dine. Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Kerry Simon, Bobby Flay, Marc LoRusso, just to name a few, own and operate restaurants in this city which has become a foodie's paradise.  We  particularly enjoyed  a restaurant called Botero located in Steve Wynn's property, Encore.  We came to know Chef Marc LoRusso because of our frequent visits and he always takes care of us. Let me mention that this chef is a James Beard award winner and his dishes are inventive and delectable . We dined there for a combination of my wife's birthday and  our anniversary.  The frozen chocolate ganache candy bar and marshmallow filled doughnuts for dessert were absolutely "life altering". 

A lounge show at the Palms on a Monday night at 10:30 is always a must for us. Tickets for a group of world class musicians  called Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns, a group voted the "best band in Las Vegas" numerous times, are only $7.  Another great Las Vegas bargain.  These guys jam every Monday night. They get together to play tunes that speak to them, because most of them are musicians for headline strip entertainers like Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Tom Jones, Bette Midler, and others.  Monday nights are their time to kick back and do their own thing.. The result is musical magic. 

My family always has a great time in Las Vegas and you can too. Just be flexible with your travel dates, and join the player's club at the different properties.  You can go upscale for wholesale too!

Bio: My name is Shane McCormick. I am the owner of NationalRVParks.com. I'm in my late 20's and I enjoy travel. I write about my various travel experiences.  I offer tips and hints about my travel destinations. 
Shane recently interviewed me for his own blog, if you want to find out more about me:http://nationalrvparks.com/interview-with-christine-maier-of-the-traveling-giraffe/