Viva Las Vegas!

The bright lights of Las Vegas offer more for visitors than gambling and gaming. Follow along as our CAA Travel Experts Joanne Belfiore and Loretta Lavoie share with us a side of Sin City that is positively heavenly.
by Mary Wimmer

With a well-earned reputation for having hard-partying nights and whirlwind days that are filled with gambling, gastronomy and gaming, Las Vegas might not be top of mind for travellers who aren’t looking to club-hop or place a few bets. But according to CAA Travel Experts Joanne Belfiore and Loretta Lavoie, there’s more to this destination than meets the eye.

Indeed, there’s a ‘heavenly’ side to Sin City – from top restaurants with menus created by some of the world’s best-known chefs, to spas that are every bit as magical as they are relaxing. Las Vegas is definitely raising the bar on what it offers the more than 42 million tourists that visit the city each year. “We would tell our clients that Las Vegas is not just for gambling, there is so much more to do – and that three or four nights just isn’t enough,” says Belfiore.

The Sudbury-based duo were there this past March on a familiarization trip that featured a look at some of city’s most iconic properties, both on and off The Strip, including the Tropicana, the Golden Nugget, the Westin and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which happened to be their favourite.

Every bit a luxury resort as much as it is a casino, the Cosmopolitan  was named to the Gold List of Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘Top Hotels of the World’ in 2015, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to beautifully-appointed rooms, many of which feature a private terrace, the hotel also offers three pools for visitors to enjoy: a relaxing pool for the serenity-minded, a day club pool and a nightclub pool. It also boasts a restaurant collection worth salivating for: the seasonal Italian restaurant Scarpetta, the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, the Spanish tapas eatery Jaleo, and the New American cuisine-inspired Beauty & Essex.

For the more budget-conscious, Lavoie and Belfiore recommend checking out Treasure Island, where they stayed while on their trip. Connected to the Fashion Show Mall by a pedestrian bridge, the hotel offers modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows (some with breath-taking views of The Strip), marble-floored bathrooms, and suites with whirlpools and mini-fridges. An outdoor pool and hot tub, the Oleksandra Spa and Salon, and a fitness centre are just some of the amenities available to guests, while restaurants include the upscale Phil’s Italian Steakhouse, the casual Gilley’s BBQ, the Seafood Shack, Pho – Vietnamese, The Coffee Shop, and others.

But Las Vegas isn’t just limited to pampering and dining for those that don’t gamble. As one of the entertainment capitals of the United States, visitors will find everything from spectacular shows starring some of the music industry’s brightest luminaries, to circuses, exciting jeep excursions, helicopter tours, and more.

“Our favourite memories from our trip there would have to be seeing Mat Franco, the magician and winner of America’s Got Talent, as well as taking in a magnificent Cirque Du Soleil show,” says Lavoie. Belfiore adds that the NASCAR Ride Along at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the night-time Helicopter Tour of The Strip by Maverick Aviation, and the Valley of Fire tour by Pink Jeep Tours are also not to be missed.

“Las Vegas is for all ages, and while there may not be too many things to do for younger children, adults (both young and old) will definitely enjoy it...I would absolutely go back,” says Belfiore, who recommends that those that may be interested in visiting the destination remember to pack good walking shoes and a camera – the “absolute must-haves” of a Vegas vacation.

“Also be sure also to drink lots of water,” says Lavoie. “You are in the desert and it is very dry…and depending on the time of year that you travel, pack a light jacket or sweater for the evening as it is generally cooler.” As per usual with desert climates, the nights may see a marked drop in temperatures. July and August tend to be the hottest months, when there’s nothing like the cool lobbies of these spectacular hotels to refresh visitors.

In a CAA Travel Exclusive Offer, Members now booking Air Canada to Las Vegas (or Hawaii) until April 30 can SAVE 15% on travel taken anytime between May 15 and August 31, 2016. For more information on Las Vegas or this travel deal, be sure to visit a CAA Travel Store near you, or call our Travel Services Call Centre at 1-800-267-8713. More details can also be found here.