A VERY, VERY TAME VERSION OF LAS VEGAS
Soooooo…if you want a really tame version of Las Vegas brought to you by two boring and parents-to-be, you’re in the right place! If you want a post about the vices and lasciviousness Vegas is traditionally known for…I’m sure Google can help.
Growing up in Utah, I’ve been to Vegas probably a minimum of 15 times. Once, in college, on Sunday night where Monday was President’s Day (or something), me and a few friends were sitting around bored and someone said we should go to Vegas. Within 15 minutes we were on the highway. What did we do, you ask? Pretty much nothing, but it was rad. We showed up early in the morning and were very disappointed to see that, contrary to popular belief, Vegas did indeed sleep. Then we went to Caesar’s Palace, I asked some old lady to let us into the pool (“Sure, you can be my grandson today,” she said) and we spent the day lounging. Ah to be young dumb and free.
So yeah, we went for a night this past week. Caitlin’s extremely pregnant and it’s not like we did anything too cool. The Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon were much cooler, but alas, that’s in the next post.
Actually, I’m going to put these all as one post since it was one semi-long road trip, but I’ll also post them as separate posts since it’s 3 states. So sue me. My site, my rules.
MESQUITE…HOW VEGAS USED TO BE (MEANING RUN DOWN AND GHETTO)
I somehow had a free night at a hotel in Mesquite, so we left after Caitlin got off work on Thursday to kickstart our adventure. And it was…something. We stayed at the Virgin River, which, as TV tells us, is “like Vegas used to be.” I don’t know what that means but it’s…not great. The hotel is a bunch of different buildings and ours was not the worst place we’ve ever stayed but not ideal. Whatever, it was free so who am I to complain? Now let us never speak of Mesquite again.
WELCOME TO FABULOUS LAS VEGAS
Now, if you don’t listen to “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” by Brandon Flowers as you drive into Vegas, especially as you see it on the horizon, you’re doing it wrong. It’s one of our great traditions and it rules. Now, Wikipedia and Google and YouTube are things, so I’m not going to recount much about Vegas. This is a mini post. But I really enjoy the city. Yeah it’s got seedy and sketchy stuff, but it’s also got lots of cool and decent stuff too, it just depends what you’re looking for. It was extremely hot when we drove in, but that didn’t bother me much. What did bother me? The obscene resort and parking fees, but alas, that’s for the next part. As always, the strip was packed and I’m always nervous driving on the strip because there’s always a few (or a million) pedestrians who just walk where and when they want. Luckily, we didn’t hit anyone and before we knew it we were checking into the best room ever at the Aria.
ARIA HOTEL: YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
Somehow (don’t ask) I also had a free room at Aria. I should say a “free” room at Aria, but more on that in a second. Let’s just get to the good first: The room freakin ruled. It was nice, high up, had a super comfortable bed, had robes we got to lounge around in, had an amazing shower and bathtub, was huge, was new, was awesome, and, Caitlin’s (and Larry David’s) personal favorite thing: Automatic blinds. No really.
Caitlin, they weren’t that cool. I mean, it’s blackout blinds and sheer blinds, and they’re controlled by a switch like a light. Woot. But the room was rad, it even had an iPad you could close the blinds from as well as order a lot of really expensive food and entertainment from. It felt very high tech and it was one of the nicer rooms we’ve ever stayed in. We had a nice view of the pools and loved every second we spent at the Aria.
In theory, their digital checkin is pretty dope too. In theory. There’s an app that notifies you when your room is ready (2 hours early for us, very cool), and sends you a QR code to go print your room keys at a kiosk. Pretty bloody futuristic right? But alas, when I got there to actually do that, it told me I had to go to the front desk. And the line was very long. Do better Vegas!
RESORT FEES: NO NO NO NO NO NO
So back in my day, you could get a room in Vegas for like $20 and that was that. Then it was like $20 with a $10 resort fee, and nobody knew what that was, but we paid it because we had to and it was still cheap. And now?
It’s super dishonest, really. Your room price shows up as $60 (or whatever) and then there’s a $40 resort fee per night. So is your room really $60? No, it’s not, and it shouldn’t show as such. And what does the resort fee cover? Things that on a normal planet are included in any hotel stay like internet and gym/pool access. What if I don’t want to use the internet/gym/pool? Doesn’t matter, resort fee is mandatory. And yet…
PARKING CHARGES: NO NO NO NO NO NO
Oh wait, the $40 resort fee doesn’t cover parking, which is $20 per 24 hours. Seriously. No really. Again, back in my day, you could park anywhere on the strip for free because, remember, the entire business model of Vegas is to get you into a casino and take all your money. You don’t go into a casino if you have to pay $20 to park. But alas, those days are gone, so my “free” room was actually $60. And yes, I knew this in advance, and yes, it was awesome that I saved the $120 the room would have normally cost. But c’mon Vegas, this is getting way out of hand.
GRIMALDI’S PIZZA: AWESOME AND GREAT AND DELICIOUS AND GOOD
Way back in the day, Caitlin and I went to New York City. We met some friends and walked the Brooklyn Bridge and because I love pizza so much, we headed to the legendary Grimaldi’s Pizzeria…to find a 3 hour wait. No, seriously, it was like 10pm and they told us it would be 3 hours. I was seriously upset, but I was more hungry and couldn’t wait. And yes, people say the ones outside New York and New Jersey aren’t the same but whatever, the Vegas ones rule.
Oh, and as an added bonus, Grimaldi’s gives you a free pizza on your birthday, and I still had my coupon. Oh blessed day. And it was amazing, as always. We got a pepperoni, which I’ve always found is one of the best. In Phoenix we got a couple specialty pizzas once and I feel like it’s better to go with either cheese, pepperoni, or white. Everything else feels more average, but those 3 rule. And the cheesecake is amazing too. Just go. Now!
GOODBYE VEGAS, UNTIL NEXT TIME
Annnnnnnd…that’s pretty much it. We spent time in the Aria pool, lounged around until checkout, got some bagels and groceries, and we were off to something I’ve wanted to see my whole life: the Grand Canyon.