This summer is shaping up to be my best one yet in Colorado! Wonderful hubby, great home, awesome visits from friends, incredible getaways
and adventures, all topped off with a job I love and a city to call my own. This past weekend was my birthday weekend, and I requested one thing from the hubs: a trip to Las Vegas. Given its proximity to Denver, unending food options (I am a foodie, that often plays a part in my decision making), plethora of shops, non-stop shows and performances, and as my coworker put it, a chance to be glamorous, I knew it’d be the absolute perfect weekend getaway. So the hubs took my lead and made all of the plans, from the hotel, to the shows and restaurants. He planned the best birthday vacay possible – boy am I one lucky lady. And to top it off, we actually won money (yes, that’s right, we left Vegas in the positive monetary direction).
Given that my university hosts New Student Orientation each Friday during June and July, I wasn’t able to take off work that day. So instead, we planned to leave late Friday evening, at 9:05pm. I arrived to work in a daydream of the weekend to come, but was pleasantly, nay delightfully surprised by the incredible outpouring of birthday surprises from my coworkers. My boss brought me a birthday chai latte from Starbucks (she and I share a love of chai), while my coworker picked up Denver’s famous Duffeyrolls (light, fluffy, perfect cinnamon rolls – you simply must try them). Finally, my boss’ boss arrived later that morning with a lavender plant in hand. I adore lavender, as does Robbie, for a number of reasons. Lavender lemonade may be the best invention ever, but lavender itself, I think, smells so wonderful and herby. It was simply the best pre-birthday birthday celebration ever. Orientation went smoothly and the duration of the day flew by.
The hubs picked me up from work and we went straight to the airport. Typically traffic on a Friday at 5:00pm is positively horrendous. The stars aligned, however, and we arrived quickly, parked our car, and were through security with hours to spare. We found Mesa Grill on the top floor of Terminal A, order margaritas and dinner, and enjoyed the ease of evening. A few hours later, we boarded the plane and had a smooth flight to Vegas.
We decided to stay in City Center for our trip. Our last adventure in Vegas was our mini-moon, shortly after moving to Colorado. This was the
first time we’d experienced City Center, which is comprised of the Aria, Vdara and Cosmopolitan. All modern, luxurious-looking hotels with great amenities, close to the Bellagio and Mandarin Oriental, as well as Crystals, the shiny new shopping center. The Aria is an awesome resort, with a series of fantastic pools, good spa and salon, fun bars, and all styles of restaurants. I personally love the innovative air filtration system – you can barely smell smoke, even if the person is next to you (I am picky like that).
The first night there we grabbed a drink at the Lobby Bar and people-watched like crazy before calling it a night and heading back to our room. The next morning, we got Starbucks and headed to the pool. Keep in mind that the temperature that day reached 102º. We spent some time lounging, but the rest of the time directly in the pool. After about 3 hours, we
headed to the gym and spa before getting ready for the evening. We had reservations at CUT, Wolfgang Puck’s unique steakhouse in the Palazzo. We arrived early so stopped into dbBrasserie at the Venetian. We have already decided to dine there the next time we visit, based upon the cocktails alone. Once the hubs saw they had quite the selection of champagne, he knew it’d be up my alley. I ordered a flight of incredibly delicious, unique champagne cocktails and sipped them in utter delight. Afterwards we had our delectable dinner at CUT, which started with phenomenal steak tartar, followed by a perfectly cooked filet (for me) and amazing macaroni and cheese, and ended with the most perfect jelly filled donuts and crème fraiche ice cream. Whoa. So good. We followed up dinner with a short walk over to the Mirage to see Kevin James’ standup. He was spot-on and so funny. It was later that we found out that Billy Joel was performing at the MGM that night that we kicked ourselves a bit, but still a great evening overall.
The next day we started our morning with some epic shopping back at the Palazzo and Venetian. I promise that I single-handedly helped stimulate the economy this weekend. I was most thrilled about the Kate Spade store, given that the closest one to me is in Aspen. We decided
to grab lunch at dbBrasserie (it was really that good, I cannot wait to go back for dinner), with another champagne cocktail of course (honestly named “The Perfect Champagne Cocktail”). We headed back to the Aria for more pool time, again followed by the gym (we are trying to be good, even on vacay), and prep for another amazing dinner and a show. That night we headed to the MGM Grand for dinner at L’Atelier. It was fabulous. The dining experience is much like eating at a sushi bar, watching the prep in the kitchen which is entirely open to the restaurant. Everything was so delicious. And rather than one dessert, we got three! Gosh I love my birthday… We ended the evening with my all-time favorite Cirque du Soleil show, Love. The entire show is set to songs from the Beatles, and therefore has a very British storyline. Many of the songs begin with in-studio recordings of the band telling jokes, working on songs and lyrics, and silly renditions of their greatest hits. It’s spectacular and I recommend it to anyone who loves the Beatles. This was my second time seeing it, and it still wowed me all the way through.
The next morning we had an 11am flight back to Denver, so we leisurely woke and packed before heading to the airport. The only downside was having to leave our puppy for the weekend, but luckily my hubby’s folks and their pet Chihuahua were a great substitute family in our absence. I wish we could have had one extra day, but something tells me I may be going back again soon… Although it’s good we left when we did. An excessive heat warning was issued Monday morning. Temperatures exceeded 111º… Yikes!
What did you do this weekend? Where’s the one place you love going to for long weekend getaways? What’s your favorite thing to do, see or eat in Vegas?