AAA Travel Tips / Why I Was Surprised by Las Vegas

Why I Was Surprised by Las Vegas

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By Nadine Romay
December 22, 2021
A honeymoon in Las Vegas was not my idea of romantic, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I am not much of a gambler, despite marrying my first husband. So, when my second (and final) husband suggested we go to Vegas on our honeymoon, I was more than a little skeptical. Vegas, in my mind, was a seedy world of neon lights, gambling and legal prostitution. I’ve heard it described as Disneyland for grown-ups, but that still didn’t alleviate my doubts.
But being a good sport, I decided to give Vegas a try. Much to my surprise and delight, I was mesmerized by the sights, sounds and activity of Las Vegas. The architecture alone is worth the trip.
Courtesy of Caesars Entertainment Corporation

We decided to go top-of-the-line and booked ourselves into the Bellagio for four nights. The room was impressive with special features we came to appreciate—like the automatic curtains that could be opened or closed from a control panel by the bed. Our room looked out on the pool area of Caesars Palace—a spectacle definitely worth viewing from the 24th floor!
What impressed me most were the varied themes of each hotel and casino resort. From Caesars Palace's statuary to the Luxor Hotel and Casino's pyramid-shaped hallways, every detail is unique and impressive. In most cases, you will know exactly which resort you’re in just by gazing around at the décor. Each casino tries to out-do their competition in the beauty of their lobbies and public spaces. The Conservatory Garden in the Bellagio offers beautiful seasonal sculptures not unlike the beauty of floral parade floats. One of my favorite casinos was The Venetian, with its indoor shopping mall that gives you the impression of walking along an outdoor piazza, complete with a ceiling painted in sky blue with just enough puffy clouds to keep it real. New York-New York has a mock Coney Island built right into the façade, complete with a working roller coaster.
And many casinos have free shows as part of their hook. There’s the pirate ship at Treasure Island that shoots canons and spews smoke from the mock gunfire of this fantasy sea skirmish. Their shows are predictable in timing so you can avoid the more crowded times and come back for a front row spot on the sidewalk. The Mirage has a white tiger roaming in its glass-front room as you enter the casino.
Even a non-gambler like myself could appreciate what Vegas has to offer in terms of beautiful architecture up and down “the strip”—the miniature Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas is a marvelous reproduction of the real deal. We bravely took the elevator ride to the top, expecting to see breathtaking views of the Vegas strip—until our knees felt weak from our never-before realized fear of heights. Still, it was nice to look down at the Bellagio fountains from a new perspective.
Those Bellagio fountains are well-known to anyone who has seen “Ocean’s Eleven,” but you can’t know the beauty and majesty of this marvel until you’re standing in front of them yourself, with the music piped in all around you as you watch these fountains dance and spin and shoot to the sky in time to that music. The beautiful building that is the Bellagio serves as the perfect backdrop for such beauty. And suddenly, Las Vegas was a romantic place to spend our honeymoon.
If you are staying on the Vegas Strip, renting a car is probably not necessary. We took an Uber from the airport and walked from casino to casino during our stay. One word of caution: some of the casinos “just off the strip” are further than they seem. We made the mistake of walking to The Rio rather than taking one of the many shuttles available. It was nearly the shortest marriage on record during that walk, but once we arrived, the carnival show suspended from the ceiling made me forget my sore feet and the heat of the walk. The colors and excitement of watching this show made it all worthwhile. And we were wise enough to take one of the many free shuttles offered for the ride back to our hotel. With the plethora of cabs and free shuttles, we were wiser on any other excursions.
Romance was plentiful in spite of my misgivings. Dinners were delightfully romantic, if not a little decadent because the atmosphere is relaxed and paced for enjoying the experience. Walking along the Strip and discovering the sheer artistry of our surroundings was a pleasant surprise. The outdoor pool at The Bellagio is a wonderfully relaxing way to spend a leisurely afternoon together. Wandering through the shops, finding unique treasures is one of our favorite pastimes anytime, and Las Vegas has shops galore!
And so, during our honeymoon, I came to realize why my husband loves Vegas and appreciated him all the more for giving me the opportunity to experience such a unique and exciting and decidedly grown-up place to visit. I even learned that gambling can be a lot of fun!
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