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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Vacation in Los Angeles and Las Vegas

My husband and I will have been married 10 years at the end of this month.  We decided to take our first extended vacation as a couple, since before our daughter was born.

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am totally addicted to travel, and I love searching for a good travel deal.  That's how this vacation came to be.

I found a fantastic deal on a flight to Los Angeles from Chicago ($49 Canadian - taxes included!!), so we decided to add that piece to our already booked Vegas vacation.  We found a fabulous property on Airbnb.

 

I've written many posts about my love for vacation rental properties.  This particular place had a pool, barbecue, hot tub, TV, and more.  We also had more space than a typical hotel room, and paid less than the price of a hotel in the area.  ( Check out my vacation rental post for more tips: http://www.overtiredmama.com/2016/08/tips-for-booking-rental-property.html )





We spent our first full day in Hollywood.  We were able to walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a bit, and in our travels found a cute little 50's style diner, Mel's Drive-In.


Although they claimed to have the "Best Shakes In Town", we didn't try one, although I saw one ordered, they looked amazing!  They offer all-day breakfast and "classic" diner food.  My husband and I both opted for breakfast.  He had steak and eggs, and I had French toast.  It was delicious and kept us plenty full for the rest of our busy day.

Next, we took a tour of the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills.  We saw lots of movie stars homes and sites where movies were filmed:

  

 

That evening, we stopped in at the Comedy store and watched a number of comics, and got our belly laughs for the evening.    It was a last minute decision to head to the show, but we still managed to get seats close to the stage, and saw comedians like Joe Rogan and Chris D'Elia.  Great show!

The following day, we headed to Santa Monica to explore the pier, beach and shopping.  

I did the thing that many East-Coasters do and had a picture taken with my feet in the Pacific Ocean.

   

As you can see, the water came in a little faster an colder than I was expecting.

The Pier was very active and had lots of views that were simply breathtaking.



With rides, shopping and food, there is plenty to do on the Pier, but we opted to head away from the beach and ate at a small cafe for our lunch.   

Santa Monica was clean and beautiful.  We saw many people out picking up garbage, which was lovely to see.  And there was a walking path above the beach that gave beautiful views of the entire beach.   Our day, although filled with lots of walking, still felt very relaxed.

For those who love to shop on their holidays, there was no shortage of shopping in this area.  You could find just about anything down here. 

That concluded our very short stay in LA, then on to Vegas!  We snagged a $36 flight with Virgin Airlines to Vegas, and off we went.

In Vegas we stayed at the Tahiti Vacation Club (not to be confused with the Tahiti Village), located off the strip, but not too far away, on Tropicana Boulevard.  

Front Entrance of Tahiti Vacation Club

The resort had many great amenities.  Best of all, in my opinion, was the pool:


Tropical setting with palm trees surrounding the two pools, a water feature in the middle, and one end with a sand bottom.  The water was cool and refreshing, but certainly not "cold".

There is also a hot tub with a water fall, which is wonderful when the evening cools down.

The property also offers a gas BBQ area for guests, a small mini put area, a gym, free continental breakfast, business center, concierge service and periodic activities that include game night (there was even an ice cream sundae night!).  

Although located off the strip, they offered an hourly shuttle down to the strip with two drop off points, at either end of the strip.  

They also offer a tour to Red Rock Canyon and a shuttle service to the grocery store.

The staff were welcoming and helpful and helped make our stay a memorable one. 

Our room was also very nice.  The pictures do not do this place justice, particularly since I always forget to take pictures until after we have made it look "lived in".  

Our room was a "studio" which had a kitchenette, table, large bed, TV, large closet and bathroom with jet tub.  





We ate at two buffets in Vegas, Spice Market at Planet Hollywood and Cravings at the Mirage.

Both buffets had lots of options.  We were able to have our alcohol included at both buffets.  At the Mirage, it is automatically included, but at Planet Hollywood, you can pay to add the option.  Lucky for us, we found a Groupon that offered a discounted price on the buffet and included alcohol.

My personal favourite of the two buffets was the Spice Market at Planet Hollywood.  The buffet was busy, so the food was constantly moving and being replaced with new fresh food, and the desert options were simply amazing.  I sampled a little of everything - tacos, pasta, fish, chicken, rice, and of course I had to sample a number of their deserts.  Everything from crepes to ice cream to pies and cakes.  So delicious!

Cravings didn't "wow" me.  There were lots of options, but not many people, so much of the food was lukewarm.  Although my husband tells me that the beef was delicious.

As for entertainment offerings, there is no shortage of things to do in Vegas.  We took in one of the Cirque de Soleil shows, the Beatles Love.  It was amazing.  The theater was relatively small, so every seat in the house was a good one, although, I think sitting higher up was even better because so much of the action took place up high!  And you can't go wrong  with the music of the Beatles. I highly recommend this show. 

We also decided to head up on the "High Roller", a wheel similar to the London Eye, but taller!  Keep in mind that I have a tremendous fear of heights.  Although it was my suggestion to ride, I became increasingly nervous as we got closer to the 550 foot tall wheel.  



It is more expensive to ride after 6 PM, but the lights are spectacular at night, so I can understand why, but we chose to ride during the day.  Tickets were $23 each, but for an extra $10, you could ride in a "Happy Hour" pod.  This pod has a bartender and you can have your beverages for the entire half an hour ride at no additional cost.  Given that we had paid $8 for one beer previously, this was not a bad option, so we opted for the Happy Hour pod.  

There were about 12 of us in 1 pod.  I was a little nervous for the first 1/4 of the ride, even though you literally cannot feel any movement, you only know you're moving by looking outside.

Can you tell I was nervous?

There is a video that plays during the ride that tells you about what you can see around you.  One say I will say about the Happy Hour pod is that it's a little more "festive" (aka noisy), so it's difficult to hear the video.  The other pods never had more than 2 to 4 people on them, so likely a quieter ride.

The views from the top were beautiful:





Even with my fear of heights, I would ride again.  Highly recommend it!



While I could go on and on about all there is to do in Vegas, one of my favourite things was just walking down the strip.  So much to see, lots of little street performances, the water fountains at the Bellagio, the volcano at the Mirage, there's plenty to see that won't cost you anything.











I have to recommend a trip to the Hoover Dam.  Such an amazing structure.  Not only is the dam impressive, but so is the new bypass bridge.  



And finally, what is a trip to Vegas without a trip to Freemont Street.  We went down both at night and during the day.  Two totally different experiences.  






In short, this was a perfect vacation for adults.   I'm not saying you can't do Los Angeles and Vegas with children, but the experiences are likely very different.

Have you been to Los Angeles and/or Vegas?  Do you have your own tips?  Is there something for you that is a "must do" that I missed out on?  Share in the comments below!

4 comments:

  1. This looks like so much fun! What a great getaway from your busy lives!

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    1. Thanks! It was a good time. It's nice to get away and get a chance to reconnect as a couple. :)

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  2. Such a great trip from the looks of it!

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    1. L.A. and Vegas are both places to experience for sure. :)

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