The bf and I decided to take a short trip to Vegas around Labor Day. We booked a room at one of the new hotels in the new City Center. We were originally looking at Aria but then we found Vdara -- a smoke-free hotel. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke and since we wanted a quiet Vegas trip, it was the perfect retreat from the busy strip.
The hotel does not have a parking garage so we had to valet the car each time we took the car. The other option was to park in the Bellagio parking lot and take the short walk back.
This is a view from the Rio parking lot. Vdara is the shiny, crescent shaped building to the right of the Bellagio.
This is the covered walkway connecting Vdara to Bellagio.
Here's a view from our room of the escalator connecting the walkway to Bellagio.
Here's a view of the Bellagio pools from our room.
View of the Bellagio fountains at night. The fountain shows were as frequent as every 15 minutes at certain times of the day and we could hear the fountains from our room. I sorta like the crazy squiggly lines as a result of my unsteady hands.
Vdara charges a $15 per day resort fee that includes two bottles of water, internet and pool access. The pool area is now considered a dangerous zone. Here's a sample headline: "Vdara Hotel 'Death Rays' burns tourist." Apparently, the crescent shape of the glass hotel concentrates solar rays in the pool area. The media is referring to this as "death rays" while MGM is prefer to call it a "solar convergence phenomenon."
Here's the entrance to the hotel room.
The tiny kitchen is to the right.
Continue walking and you reach the little living area.
A flatscreen in the living area. There's another one just like it on the other side of the panel. I think it's kinda stupid. Who would have both tv on at the same time without a real wall dividing up the room?
Here's the second tv in the bed"room" area.
I really like the simple decor and the dark wood furniture.
The bathroom wasn't huge.
I loved the Aveda products.
This feature is pretty cool. It controlled the shades.
Here's with no shade.
Here's with the sheer shade drawn.
And the "blackout" shades drawn.
I stopped by the Bouchon right outside of the Venetian Theatre after picking up our Phantom tickets.
I think mine tastes a lot better.
The bf has never eaten at a buffet in Vegas before so I purchased a 24 hour buffet pass. We ate at the Planet Hollywood buffet (I think it was called Spices) after watching Phantom. I forgot to take a picture. The buffet is alright. I don't think I will go back. There are better buffets out there.
Breakfast buffet at Paris. The Paris buffet is a joke. I don't know who rated this as one of the top buffets. We had dinner there during one of our trips out to celebrate my future sis in law's graduation from law school. We hated the food and the service was terrible. I decided to give the buffet a second chance. The French are great with breakfast foods right? Wrong. The food was still terrible and the service was just a tad better. We even paid extra to cut the three hour line.
Lunch at the Lago buffet at Caesar's Palace. I think this buffet is one of Harrah's hidden gems. We had lunch at Lago so the selection wasn't extensive but the quality was great. The service was superb and the best part was probably the lack of a crowd. I tried a little bit of everything but my favorite were the corn, the crab legs and the mashed potatoes. Crab legs are served at almost all the buffets but these tasted fresh.
Our last buffet was at the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio hotel. The Carnival buffet was huge. The food area was the size of a football field. The food was not too bad considering the thousand or so items offered.
They have a nice gelato bar. I think this is the coconut gelato.
If you want to eat at a buffet off the strip, I recommend Lao-Thai Kitchen. They are located at:
1000 N Nellis Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89110-5318
I think the lunch buffet was $6.95 and although the selection wasn't vast, the quality of the food was superb. The food was made in very small batches so it was very fresh and it tasted like the cook put a little bit of his/her heart into each dish. I had the pad thai, larb, fried chicken wing, sticky rice, papaya salad, oyster sauce napa cabbage, and tom kha gai soup. The papaya salad was made very gringo style but still had great flavor.
Another favorite off-strip places to eat is at Hue Thai on Spring Mountain Road. I really wanted Lee's Sandwiches but they were still not opened. They were supposed to have their grand opening in the Summer of 2010. Maybe next time. I ordered a grilled chicken banh mi and a pork flower roll plate.
And a random picture taken at the Encore hotel. I love the color combination at Encore.
The two pictures below were taken at the Crab Hut in San Diego.
I promise to post a recipe next time.