What Happened In Vegas Stayed In Vegas (For a Month) - Part 1

But now, at long last, the silence and speculation end!

Welcome to Las Vegas

To recap, Ryan and I went to Las Vegas from October 30 through November 3, to celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary. This was the first time either of us had been to Vegas, and we were really looking forward to seeing for ourselves this city that our friends and family had raved about for years. We consider ourselves vaguely cosmopolitan, having traveled to many of the western world's exciting or otherwise remarkable cities, so we were a bit concerned that we might not feel the "wow" factor in Las Vegas.

We need not have worried. From the time we arrived to the time we departed, we were surrounded by jaw-droppingly shiny, beautiful, gigantic, and strange things -- things that made us so glad we came, and wondering how soon would be too soon to return.

Our Arrival

We arrived in the city around 9:30 a.m. We did not realize the airport was so close to the Strip! It was nice to get a bird's eye view of the Strip during our descent.

As soon as we got off the plane we were greeted by the sounds of slot machines, which were *everywhere* in the airport. Here is a bank of slot machines in the baggage claim area. It took forever to get our bags. We suspect that the average time for bags to travel from planeside to the baggage carousel is longer at the Las Vegas airport than at non-gambling airports, but we haven't come across any scientific studies on the subject.

After collecting our luggage, we stood in a short line at the curbside taxi stand. At first, we thought the yards and yards of maze-like fence partitions leading up to the taxi line were overkill, and we wondered why we had to walk past 20 empty taxis just so some guy in a uniform could point to one and say, "Number 12." Then we remembered we were in Las Vegas, where the solicitation of tips is elevated to an art form. Some guy points to a cab, you hand him a couple bucks. You get lost in a casino because of poor signage, and there's someone standing attentively at the next bank of slot machines willing to point you in the right direction for a couple bucks. It's just how things roll in Vegas, as we were to learn.

Our Hotel

We stayed at THEhotel, the sister property of Mandalay Bay. THEhotel is a separate tower (at left, in the photo below) but is connected to the casino, beach, and shops at Mandalay Bay.

As we entered the hotel we were greeted by its signature aromatherapy scent. With a few exceptions, we are not typically fans of fragrances used on a room- or building-wide basis. The aroma of freshly baked Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies (without walnuts) permeating every room in the house? Sign me up! But Abercrombie & Fitch "Fierce" room spray set to stun? Stay back, foul thing! We had read about the signature THEhotel scent and were mildly concerned that we might feel like we were spending several nights in the local Bath & Body Works, but as it turns out, the scent was quite mild and agreeable, so we didn't mind staying in this particular Bath & Body Works.

The lobby of THEhotel was lovely, all done up in polished black and diffused lighting. There was even an ambient techno soundtrack piped in, in case we hadn't realized the place was cool.

We passed a few groups of young hipsters wearing their sunglasses indoors, in the ridiculously dimly lit lobby. I didn't want to dignify their existence by snapping any photos, but they looked approximately like this (except indoors):

Did I mention the beautiful flowers and chandeliers in the lobby?

There was also some great giant artwork hanging in the hallway connecting THEhotel to Mandalay Bay.

By the time we walked through THEhotel's lobby and passed THEcafe, THEcoffeebar, and THElounge, and saw signs for THEbathhouse and THEgym, we began to suspect that someone went a little nuts with THEbranding. Indeed, when we got to our room and checked out THEfacilities, we discovered that our Charmin was labeled with a tiny little sticker reading "THEtp".


Because I have excellent priorities, I captured a shot of the toilet paper sticker but neglected to take any photos of our room or our fabulous bathrooms. Yes, that's right - bathrooms, plural.

We were in a suite (I'm sorry, let me start that sentence again).

We were in a THEsuite <-- and there is precisely where cutesy branding becomes a liability.

If I say "We were in THEsuite" that suggests there is only one suite in the joint, and you may wonder why, if we are such high rollers, we don't get you a better Christmas present. But if I say "We were in a suite" then I am not referring to it by its Christian name, and I do like to use the proper nomenclature. But using the proper nomenclature, in this case, forces me to use what sounds like horrendous grammar. Damn you, THEhotel!

But I digress.

Highlights of the amenities included:

  • Super-comfy bed - We have a queen-sized bed at home, and I just love going on vacation so I can sleep on a king-sized mattress...there's something so nice about being able to sprawl out diagonally and not encroach on the other person's turf!
  • Great views! - Our suite was on the 21st floor, in the corner, so we had windows looking to the north and east. Here was a view from our living room, overlooking the Luxor hotel, which appears to be next door but is actually a good 20-30 minute walk from our hotel. You may be able to see two tiny white specks on the left face of the pyramid. Those were window-washers (we think).
  • Giant soaking tub - Seriously, people, this tub was huge - and deep! It gave us something to aspire to if we ever do a master bathroom / walk-through closet addition on our house.
  • Nice bath products - We especially enjoyed the bath powder and the exfoliating soap.

And that's all that's fit to print about our trip to Las Vegas. Thanks for tuning in!

(Just kidding.)

Our First Dinner in Vegas

On the night of our arrival, we splurged on dinner at MIX, an ultra-chic restaurant on the 64th floor of THEhotel.

Do you ever just want to eat the decor of a place? MIX is definitely up there on my list, along with Tizi Melloul in Chicago, home of my super-fun bridal shower last September.

This publicity photo showcases the minimalist modern decor at MIX, which includes a gorgeous 24-foot tall chandelier consisting of 15,000 hand-blown clear glass orbs. It was even more beautiful in person. We arrived for our meal at sunset, when the room was warm and glowing. The chandelier made it look like the air was effervescent!

To get to our table, we strolled through the bar / lounge area, which was luscious and dark, with a few cocktail tables on the balcony overlooking the Strip.

The menu at MIX is a creation of chef Alain Ducasse. Half of the menu featured old-school French cuisine that made Ducasse a household name back in the day. (Quois? Your household did not speak his name?) The other half featured a more modern take on French food, with some infusions of tropical and Asian ingredients. Ryan and I ordered from both sides of the menu (and both sides of the drink menu!) and enjoyed our decadent meal.

Then came time for dessert. Our excellent waiter brought us the celebratory dessert pictured below, a passion fruit sorbet resting on a bed of tiny tropical fruit cubes, in a fruity sauce of some kind. It was garnished with thin spears cut from a lemongrass stalk and a vanilla bean. It was tangy and refreshing and delicious!

As a surprise, the kitchen sent out some freshly baked madeleines and a little pot of house-made Nutella. We were in heaven! Just look at our stupid grins...

And then we retired for the evening. Good night, Ryan. Good night, Tilney. Good night, THEhotel. Good night, crazy beacon shining out of the top of the Luxor.

Stay tuned for Vegas: Day 2 (and 3 and 4 and 5).

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Wow, what an impressive first day! Can't wait to read about the rest of the days... :)