Hey all! I am back on the East Coast and it feels good. The time zone still has me a little off and I would trade Vegas weather for the snow and ice PA is experiencing in a heartbeat but getting to see Josh and my parents and my puppies again made me so happy. My trip to Vegas was incredible. It was not like anything I expected. I got to do and see so much and I feel so lucky for the opportunity. I also ate like a Queen while I was there. There’s so much I want to share with you guys I think one post would do a disservice to Vegas, so I’m going to break this up into multiple posts. The first is a review of the hotel I stayed at, The Flamingo. There are SO many options of where to stay in Vegas, I thought it might be helpful to have a personal review of one of them.
Location wise the Flamingo gets an A+. It is right on the strip and truly in the middle of everything. The advisers on the trip picked the hotel because of it’s great location and affordable prices. The Flamingo is not one of the luxury hotels on the strip but it is clean and it is nice.
I couldn’t get enough of all the neon lights.
The lobby to check in. Check in doesn’t start until 4pm. If you want to check in earlier it’s $30. Because our trip had a whole block of rooms we elected to just get a few and store our luggage in those and go explore the strip. All I really wanted at that moment was a nap. We started traveling at 2am EST and got to the hotel at 11am PST. That’s 12 hours of travel and I was so excited about the trip I didn’t sleep the night before. By the time I could get to my room I remember feeling like a zombie and being so overwhelmed by the city. There was drinking and smoking (You can smoke almost anywhere in the city, it was a shock seeing people walk up to the reception desk and light up while they were talking. Luckily most hotels have great ventilation so you don’t really notice.) and billboards for half naked girls everywhere. Thankfully after a good nights sleep I was able to realize how awesome Vegas is.
In Vegas it is so easy to get turned around. The casinos lead in circles and hotel entrances don’t take you directly to the lobby but to shops or restaurants or gambling. One offshoot of the lobby went to shops and restaurants and the gym area. I thought the gym was included with the room rate but it’s actually $10 a day. I was spending so much on other things my gym clothes were left in my suitcase untouched. The other thing I was not surprised but still disappointed to have to pay for was WiFi. To use it in your room is $14 a day, and to use it throughout the hotel is $29 a day. I had homework I needed to do on the trip so I needed to have access to the internet, but those prices were ridiculous. I remembered smartphones have mobile hotspot options so I called up Verizon and found out for $1 a day my computer could tap into my phone’s 4G network. I just simply needed to call them when I wanted to stop using the hotspot and they would deactivate the feature from my phone again. I ended up using it every day I was there and think $7 is a lot better than $98. The one caveat to this being a good deal is to make sure you have unlimited internet on your phone plan. If you only have two GB you can go through those pretty quickly. Also make sure your phone is plugged in when you’re utilizing hotspot because it drains your battery super quickly.
While the other wing of the hotel took you to the gambling. There was so much gambling. I played a few rounds of blackjack the night before I left and lost $20. I’m glad to say I played in Vegas but gambling isn’t really my thing. If I’m going to do something risky with my money it’s going to be shopping. ;p
All the bars had gambling machines in front of them so you could gamble while you drink. After seeing Vegas I am convinced that city keeps the liquor industry in business. Because there’s no open container laws you can order a drink at a bar and walk down the street with it. There were so many kinds of drinks and so many funny containers they came in. I’m also pretty convinced there’s no need to pay for drinks in Vegas. Every night on the strip there’s guys in suits handing out wristbands to take care of cover and drinks at various nightclubs for girls. I’m not a huge drinker but I definitely enjoy a cocktail now and then. Because of my GI issues I decided to skip the drinks this trip but it was hard turning all of them down.
I shared a room with Sam, the other girl on the trip, and it worked out really well. We were on the 14th floor and had beautiful views of the strip and the Bellagio fountains. I don’t know if it was the weather but Sam ended up getting really sick on this trip, as well as two other guys and one of the advisers. I was nervous sharing a room with Sam that I would end up getting sick as well but thankfully that didn’t happen. Her trip to the medic to get tested for strep (it came back negative) and for prescription meds to clear up her cold cost her $250! Vegas is definitely not a place you want to get sick.
We never really used the TV while we were there. There was so much to do and see and most of the channels were infomercials for Vegas. We were cool and watched some Nickelodeon one night while getting ready to go see Thunder from Down Under though. ;p
I loved that the room had a picture of what the Flamingo originally looked like, it was so much smaller! It is one of the oldest hotels on the strip. The bathroom was nothing to write home about, it was clean and nice but it didn’t match the rest of the room decor at all and looked really old. You could tell the hotel has been through a few cosmetic uplifts over the years and that the hotel room and bathroom were from two different time periods.
One of the Flamingo’s strengths (aside from its location and price) is their pool area. Unfortunately it was around 65 degrees every day, which while beautiful compared to the -10 PA was experiencing, is not warm enough for swimming. I didn’t get any pictures of the huge pool area because it was still closed for the season but it is beautiful. There’s multiple pools and lounge areas and it must be amazing when the weather is nice. The one thing I did get to see in the backyard area was the flamingos! They were so cute and happily eating away, oblivious to all the guests and camera.
All in all I loved where we stayed and what they offered, especially for being a student and it being free. When I come back to Vegas for a vacation years from now I would really want to stay at either the Bellagio, the Palazzo/ the Venetian, or the Wynn/ Encore. Cosmopolitan, Aria, and Mandalay Bay were also super gorgeous as well.
Question of the Day: Where did you stay in Vegas when you visited? Or if you haven’t gone, where do you want to stay?