Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas was stop one of our travels (#jacksonstraveladventures – I realise it’s not the catchiest of hashtags!). It’s not the usual destination for travellers but then I’m not the average traveller- I gave up with my backpack two days before I left in exchange for a large suitcase! (I’m afraid all the advice that I received around packing light fell on deaf ears ?). Four of our friends joined us in Vegas so the first five days of our trip felt like a mini holiday and it was only when we said goodbye to them when they flew to London and we flew on to Christchurch that it felt like the trip had begun.
So, Vegas.. I had a bit of a love hate relationship with the place. Whereas Phil and our friends had been more recently than me, I had last gone as a teenager with my parents as part of a tour of the west coast of America. As one cab driver aptly put it that means I haven’t really been at all! I was completely wowed by the bright lights and huge skyscrapers when I arrived. Everything is larger than life; the hotels are spiralling complexes of shopping centres, clubs, restaurants all in one and you can visit Venice, Rome, Paris and New York all on one street. We stayed in the Cosmopolitan, one of the newer hotels in the middle of the strip – it didn’t have a theme but it felt more like a hotel for people to sleep in which I liked (albeit one with 20+ restaurants, multiple bars, club and pools). It was a fabulous 5* hotel and without doubt the most impressive and best hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
Aside from the Cosmo I loved walking down the strip which was a bit like adult Disneyland. The shopping was amazing: I visited Sephora five times in five days (the girls had makeovers and I restrained myself from buying the entire shop – more to come in another post!) and would have spent a lot of money in Kate Spade, Michael Kors and Victoria’s Secret if I hadn’t been carrying on traveling.
The clubs are huge. I went to two: Marquee in the Cosmo for a pool party during the day which was surprisingly fun. Despite lots of people posing in their swimwear dancing and jumping around to music in a pool is pretty exhilarating and I loved it! We also went to Omnia in Caesars Palace to see the Chainsmokers. For me it was the most impressive and biggest club night I’ve ever been to and my pictures don’t really capture it but I enjoyed it a lot. It was ridiculously busy and eyewateringly expensive for men especially ($150+ a ticket) and for my more seasoned clubbing friends they felt a little disappointed with the experience. I did find the crowds stressful but overall I’m glad I went.
And this brings me on to the parts of Vegas I didn’t love. As a self confessed beauty addict who is materialistic and selfie obsessed I expected to love Vegas and fit right in but I felt that it was all style over substance. We visited downtown one evening and seeing the poverty that existed only twenty minutes from the strip made me feel uncomfortable.
I feel like people weren’t considered important or valued if they didn’t have lots of money – in Omnia two different men had the job of keeping people (usually girls) from sitting down on ledges in the roof terrace area and the in the club itself. It became a game with someone on the lookout while we sat down only to stand up sheepishly when one of the staff came over to tell us off. Although it was funny it was also really annoying as spending hours on your feet (with heels or not -mine had to come off) and not having anywhere to sit down except the toilet is an uncomfortable experience! But of course the only way to get a seat was to pay 1000s of dollars for a table – seating really is a privilege in Vegas!
It was a lot about wearing the right clothes, knowing the right people, being on the right guest list meaning there was never a spontaneous or stress free evening and if you didn’t plan for these things then you were going to be bitterly disappointed. This happened to me whilst trying to get in to see Diplo at Intrigue at the Wynn. After getting on a guest list, a half hour $30 cab ride to the hotel, and queuing for a while I was told I wasn’t allowed in with any medication in my bag (a policy which was not publicised anywhere and was not enforced consistently as my friend was allowed in with her paracetamol – it’s also not a Vegas wide policy as they said as I got in to Marquee and Omnia with the same contents in my bag). I was told to throw it away or take it back to my room in my hotel – both options were unsatisfactory, either in my wasting my medication that I’d bought in the U.K and couldn’t replace elsewhere or in my spending more money getting a cab back to the hotel and then back to the venue. The policy is dangerous for those who need to carry medication and the staff were so rude to me that I ended up leaving in tears feeling humiliated. I could rant for ages (we’re taking it up with the nightclub separately, needless to say they haven’t given us a response that answers all of my concerns) but the main thing I felt was a lack of respect and that feeling carried through the whole of Vegas for me.
We have since moved on to New Zealand, half way around the world and a million times more chilled. I miss the lights and the bars (no bars here made of chandelier) but I love being able to go out in trainers and a hoodie and not get a second look….
More on New Zealand to follow and apologies for typos etc, this was typed on my phone!

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