Christmas in Vegas

Our First trip to Vegas was our first stop to the west coast.

Excalibur Hotel & Casino

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 8, 2008

We spent two nights in Vegas, both nights at different hotels. This was our second night. The Excalibur hotel is a great family oriented hotel and has lots to offer. I guess I will start with our room, We had a great view, the 26th floor, out our window, you could see the Luxor and Mandela Bay and a small part of a little airport. The room was a little small and was lacking a few things my husband and I thought were common things for hotel rooms. We did not have a coffee maker or microwave and we did not have an iron or ironing board. This caused a little unconvince but we made a few adjustments.

As for eating, we choose the food count, Mc Donald’s for our son and we ate Clod stone Creamery. We took this route because it seemed as though food was pretty expensive. Many fast food places were higher priced and the hotels dinner buffet was 14.99 per person, which was more than we really wanted to spend. The food court had other places like Quizno’s and a few other places. There is also a Dick’s Last Resort and a Sherwood Forest Restaurant.

The parking was not too bad for us. We were able to park right outside our tower several times and even the big parking lot they have for guests is not far away and we were always able to find a place to park. Checking in and checking out was also a very pleasant and easy task. We had no problems and we were in our room in 20 minutes from the time we walked up to the desk, checked-in, parked and found our room.

The Casino was like any other casino, considering this was my first time to Vegas ever and even see a casino, they all looked pretty much the same. Lots of slots, some tables and other things as well. The casino was pretty easy to navigate, however getting help was little difficult at times and they do strictly enforce the no kids lingering around, I have a 3 year old and as we walked they would keep an eye out it we stopped.

The Excalibur has lots of shows and activities for kids, we did not go to any shows due to time constraints but my son and husband went downstairs where there is a little arcade and game place for kids under 18. This play area has games, video games, and other things to collect tickets for a prize. They had a good time down there.

We did like the hotel and would stay there again if we ever went back. We would take more time to do some of the activities and entertainment they provide for children but this time we just did not have enough time.
Excalibur Hotel & Casino
3850 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 597-7777

Las Vegas Hilton

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 8, 2008

Our first night in Vegas we spent in the Hilton Las Vegas. By far my worst hotel experience ever. We had to make our reservation by phone in the car through hotwire because we left early for our trip. Everything was booked up and we luckily found this available. When we got there to check in, they had no rooms available, even though we had a reservation. So they gave us a suite, my husband and I go t very excited until we got to the room. They told us that the room would have two beds since that was what our reservation was for, well the room had only one bed, and no fold out couches and the bed was a queen. We deiced it was too much trouble to complain so I called to see if we could get some extra blankets and we would make a bed, they told us it would be an hour before we could get anything and this was at 11:30 at night. To add to this the room was freezing and we could not make it warm in our room. There was no coffee pot or microwave, yes I know in a suite; you would think it would come with everything. You had to pay $12 a day for Internet, which most hotels provide for you and the service was not very helpful. It was a good thing we only stayed there one night.

The parking was a terrible issue as well. We thought we parked right out in front of our hotel and found out we were on the completely other side and someone had to drive us over there. The hallways to our tower had lots of little shops and stores and there were lots to do. The only thing we did at this hotel other than sleep was eat the breakfast buffet that was because someone gave us a buy one get one free. So for like 10$ we all eat breakfast. The food was good and the service was pleasant. There were lots of items to choose from included fresh raw fish, tuna and salmon, Sushi I guess? There was an array of fresh and dried fruits, and an omelet and egg bar made to your liking. Everything was included and it was good.

I would not recommend this place to anyone and if it were not already a late and chaotic night we would have probably complained and asked for some of the service we felt we were already paying for.
Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
3000 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 732-5111

M&M World

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 11, 2008

One of the main things I wanted to see when I got to Vegas was the M&M World store. I have been a fan of the chocolate for several years and I knew my 3- year old would love it as well. The store is two- stories. We walked in at street level and the first place I headed for was the back I just knew that is where I would find the candy. As I began to walk back there I saw nothing. My husband turned to me and said, "Watch them not have it here", and he looked as though he thought I might be disappointed. I turned to him and told him "no it is here I know it". Just then we saw an elevator going up. Once we got to the top of the elevator I started straight for the back and there it was the wall of M&M’s any color you could think of and in plain and peanut. I was so excited. My son was excited as well and all he wanted was darker blue MM’s.

We both took a bag and filled them up with the colors we wanted. Brown for me and after the darker blue, every other color for my son. He had so much fun. The store was packed with everything and anything one could want having to do with M&M’s. There were coffee mugs, backpacks, games, key chains, and dispensers. There was so much stuff.

My husband I were excited to here that they would be open there regular hours for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I guess in a place like Vegas, the city that never sleeps, you can expect stuff like that.

If you are in Vegas you must stop in M&M World and take a look it is truly just as amazing as the rest of the strip.
M & M's World
3785 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89109
(702) 736-7611

New York New York Hotel and Miracle Mile Mall

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 11, 2008

New York New York Hotel-
One of the other hotels we visited and spent some time in was the New York New York. From the outside you might actually think you are in New York until you see the roller coaster zoom by. Only in Vegas does a roller coaster zoom through the heights that are New York.

The architecture of the New York New York may have been my favorite. The detail and the variety of the hotel were amazing and exciting. We deiced with our little one that there had to be something for him in there. SO we took a look inside. The inside was just as great as the outside. We headed down a staircase and found our selves on Bleeker Street the street famous for the coffee Shop, Central Perk, from the show friends. The whole downstairs was set up with street names and restaurants and shops that might me commonly found in New York City. It was neat. Once again I felt like I was in New York. We ate at a little pizza place for lunch and then headed over to the Coney Island play park where my son and husband had a blast playing games and collecting tickets. This was a great way to spend the afternoon and accommodated everyone in the family.

Once again another Hotel I would like to check out more at a later date. I think this is a great hotel for families with kids of all ages and you can visit 2 major cities at one time (Vegas and New York)

Miracle Mile Mall-
One of the biggest malls I have seen in a long time. This 170 store mall sits right in front of Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino and right on the edge of the strip where you can access it easily.
Once inside the mall you will find everything from Gap, Victoria Secret to things like Swarovski, BeBe, and Aldo. There are plenty of stores for the whole family and for every budget. There are also plenty of restaurnts and a food court. If that is not enough you do have the rest of the strip to fufil your tastes.
The Miracle Mile Mall is not hard to find, You can walk up to it right off the street and find somehting to entertain you. For a moment you forget that you are even in Vegas. However once you walk out you are reminded of where you are.

New York New York Hotel and Casino
3790 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, Nevada

Hoover Dam

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 12, 2008

Being this was my first time to Nevada, forgot that we would get to see the Hoover Dam on our trip as well. I was very excited to learn that I would get to see it. However that excitement turned to frustration and impatience when we learned we would be in traffic for over an hour just to get to the Hoover Dam. There is a lot of construction going on since they are building a bridge that goes over the Dam and the speed limit is 30 all the way through the dam. I was actually very surprised at how slow the traffic was.

By the time we got to the dam it was dark and we were hesitant to stop for too long not knowing how long it would take to get all the way out. We did stop at the first point and took a few pictures. After getting backing the car the traffic seemed to move much quicker and more steadily. Once again though we were hesitant to stop anymore, which meant passing by the popular view looking down into the dam. Of course at first I did not realize that we passed it and by then there was nowhere to stop and pull over. So we kept on going.

The sight in the dark was nice but I think it would have been better in the day, which it was when we first got into traffic. Also we would have been able to stop and see more of it. Hopefully next time we will be able to enjoy it more and spend more time looking around. I do think it is a must if you are going through there and have the time to stop.
Hoover Dam
US Highway 93 at the Nevada-Arizona border
Las Vegas, Nevada, 89101

Vegas Strip/ Freemont Street

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 10, 2008

This was my first visit to Las Vegas and to see the strip. It was everything I expected it to be. It was BIG, it was bright and it was busy. Going on Christmas Eve was pretty crazy and needles to say in the middle of the desert it was cold. The weather for the 2 days we were there was cold, around 50-55, and very windy. Making some things not as much fun and walking not always an option with a 3-year old.

However we were able to see a lot of the strip and even experience a variety of different things. We got to see the whole strip from the north end to the south end and Freemont Street, which is in downtown at night and during the day. Both views were quite amazing. The first thing I remember driving into Vegas from the East side was all the lights. When you come out of the mountains around the Hoover Dam, you can see Vegas, which at that point is 20 miles away, as if it were 2 miles away. For as long and as far as you can see it is just all lights. As you drive closer and closer all the lights get brighter and everything begins to get bigger.

The first thing I remember seeing was the MGM Grand. It was so big and so bright. Of Course then you turn down Las Vegas Boulevard and then begin to see hotel after hotel. Big and bright. After driving down we decided to park and walk around a little. During the day the sight is just as amazing because each hotel holds its won theme and detailed decoration. From afar the hotels do not look that big but when you are stopped right in front of them and look up you realize how big there really are. The hotels have so much detail and are so beautifully designed in there very own way.

Driving out of the strip you head towards downtown where you will pass several wedding chapels and eventually run into Freemont Street. I believe this was formally part of the strip where you will find the 4 queens and the Golden Nugget, Two of the oldest hotels on the strip. Freemont Street has been closed of and covered for tourists to enjoy shopping and sightseeing.

MGM Grand and the Bellagio Hotel

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by melissabowman on January 10, 2008

Since the Bellagio, MGM and the Mirage are all part of one I thought I would put these two together. When we first got to Vegas we parked at the MGM Grand and walked through there to get started. My first time in a huge hotel/Casino, I was amazed there is so much to do and see. The casino itself was huge, the sounds were amazing you could here chips clanging together everywhere. We walked though several areas of the MGM. We saw the lion exhibit which does not cost money, there were some great holiday decorations throughout the hotel, and you could smell all the fresh poinsettias. There are several shops and stores, a Rainforest Café, and a few other things as well.

The MGM is known for hosting several fights, shows and other entertainments. We were only there for a short while and mainly walked through to get to the street and see more of the strip. However it was a nice looking hotel and if we ever go back that will be one place I would like to look into more for staying the night.

Now the Bellagio was very different than all the other hotels we had been in. It was very nice and much more upscale. It was more of the luxury hotel. Still it had all the same things that the other hotels have, shopping, restaurants, shows, casinos, they were just much more fancy and higher class. The shops consisted of places like Gucci, Dior, Chanel, Fendi, and Prada are among the many high-end shops you will find here, defiantly way too expensive for my wallet. Still for some people it is like me shopping in Gap, H&M or other shops along that line. The Lobby of the Bellogio was the most impressive. The ceiling was very decorative with blown glass flowers. The atrium was filled with holiday décor, flowers and poinsettias, and everywhere you looked you could see how detailed everything was. It really was a nice sight. One of the main attractions to many tourists is the fountains. We never actually got to see them but from the front of the Bellogio the view is gorgeous. I really enjoyed walking around this hotel and seeing what all it offered.

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