Going to Las Vegas is a trip of a lifetime, and one that most people have on their bucket list.
The flashing lights, the shows, the casinos. It has a iconic status which was exaggerated by the blockbuster “The Hangover” trilogy.
But it’s not easy feat getting there if you’re an Aussie.
A long 14-hour flight from Sydney gets you to Los Angeles. Then you have to get a connecting flight to Las Vegas, which is another hour and a half. Including the layover it took me almost 20 hours to reach the destination.
But Australians who like to travel are used to these long hauls.
The hot desert air hits you as soon as the airport doors open, and a short car ride takes you to the centre of the action.
I had been put up in the Bellagio Hotel while I attended Virtuoso’s Travel Week. (If you don’t know the Bellagio, it’s the hotel you see on postcards or TV with the huge water dancing water fountain that features in movies like Ocean’s Eleven.)
Upon arrival it’s manic. As you would expect of a major hotel hosting an international conference.
I get out of the car and a bell boy immediately assists with my bags.
We walk into the lobby and the striking glass art on the ceiling and trademark scent sets the tone: Extravagance and luxury.
The receptionist informs me that check-in isn’t until 3pm. It’s 12pm. After sitting on a plane for as long as I did the last thing I feel like now is sitting in a crowded, noisy lobby waiting for my room to become available.
She says if I don’t want to wait, a room in the Spa Tower is available now for $US30 extra a night and it comes with views of “The Strip”.
You only live once right? May as well do it in style.
I take it and walk up to my “deluxe resort strip view room”.
Snaking past the garish casino, colourful displays that look like they’re straight from Disneyland, and shops with price tags that make my toes curl, I find the elevators and head up to the 22nd floor.
The corridors are busy and the lighting is dim. Cleaning staff are everywhere and very friendly.
I find my room. At last. I can relax.
But wait. What happened to my bag?
I call the front desk to ask them how the bell boy will know how to get the bag to me. She says I should have received a ticket. In the chaos of the lobby, I did not.
I return to the luggage desk outside where I am introduced to Sergio. He takes me to find my bag.
Sergio tells me that he’s been here since the hotel opened. That’s 18 years. He’s charismatic and informative. We find my bag and he helps me find my way back to the elevators.
For what could have been a headache of a situation, was actually rather pleasant.
Time to kick back. But first, here’s a look at the room. And the one tiny detail that annoyed me.
Lanovera? I thought there would at least be brand names. Turning it over I see that it's actually Australian made and eco-friendly. That makes me happy.
I've always wondered about these toilet phones. According to a Quora thread: 'Phones in the bathrooms are a holdover from the days before cell phones. As of December 2008, it was still an AAA requirement for Four and Five Diamond properties to have bathroom access to a landline or cordless phone.' Now I know.
Now to the thing that had me scratching my head. Among all the glitz and glam and showboating, toilet paper is the one thing that the Bellagio faults on. Can you see it?
It's thin 2-ply toilet paper, the kind we get in public toilets back home. Not what you would expect is you're paying $US230 a night. But as it turns out it's 100% recycled content and part of Bellagio's commitment to sustainability. A fair call when the hotel has close to 4000 rooms.
As you can see I almost fill it with one person's worth of luggage. Imagine if there were two people!
*The writer was a guest of Virtuoso. The room upgrade was paid by the writer.
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