LAS VEGAS Holidays 2013/2014:
Where on earth do we begin? There is so much to do in Las Vegas it can be overwhelming, with enough world-class entertainment, dining, nightlife, shopping, sightseeing and pampering to fill a year-long holiday or longer. To start with, every hotel on the Las Vegas Strip has some kind of unique attraction to tempt you in – the Venetian has canals complete with gondola rides, the Bellagio has incredible dancing fountains, the Mirage has a mock exploding volcano and so on. And once you’re inside there are enough casinos, shopping malls, no-expense-spared exhibitions, spas, zoos, pool parties, clubs and theatres – not to mention dozens of restaurants and cafes – to keep you occupied for weeks.
But there is more to Vegas than hotels. Downtown Las Vegas is undergoing a dramatic transformation, and while there’s still plenty of evidence of the old Vegas in this part of town, there’s lots of regeneration too. The Fremont Street Experience is still the major draw, with its dazzling lights, street-performers, old-school casinos and new-school zipline, but new attractions like the 2012-opened Mob Museum and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts are luring an entirely new crowd.
And let’s not forget we’re in the middle of the desert either. Some of America’s most magnificent natural sights are within easy day-trip distance, like the Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire, Red Rock Canyon and Lake Mead. It’s perfectly possible to go from shopaholic to nature lover and back again in the space of one day.
Things to do/Attractions
Aside from all the only-in-Vegas hotel attractions, things to do in Sin City mainly revolve around eating, partying, shopping and of course gambling.
Card skills not quite up to scratch? Book yourself a free gaming lesson at Circus Circus, Planet Hollywood or the Golden Nugget before hitting the tables. Got cash to splash? The shopping scene in Las Vegas runs the gamut from high-end hotel arcades and speciality boutiques to mainstream mega-malls and factory outlets – not to mention a handful of one-of-a-kind emporiums. Fancy your own one-armed bandit? Pick one up at the downtown Gambling General Store, or plump for a hot pink showgirl headdress from the Rainbow Feather Company nearby. On the Strip, the gigantic Fashion Show Mall contains over 250 big brand chains, with the luxury end of the market served by the Shops at Cosmopolitan and futuristic Crystals, which boasts no less than 11 flagship designer stores.
But Vegas is not just about vices. Plain good fun experiences include: testing your inner crime-scene investigator alongside real-life forensic scientists at MGM Grand’s CSI: The Experience; diving with sharks at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium; exploring the excellent Titanic Exhibition at Luxor; a few rounds of golf at Wynn Las Vegas, or becoming a trainer for a day at the Mirage’s Dolphin Habitat.
Outside the city limits, there’s a wealth of natural and man-made attractions to discover. Drive or cycle Red Rock Canyon’s 13-mile Scenic Drive, take a flight over the Grand Canyon, tour inside the Hoover Dam’s powerplant or go for an invigorating hike at Mt. Charleston, the highest point in Nevada and just 35 miles from the city.
Fast food, casual bistros, all-you-can-eat buffets and some of the most respected fine-dining restaurants in the world – they’re all here in Las Vegas. The city has firmly asserted itself as one of America’s best dining destinations over the past two decades, so your only problem will be deciding where to go.
For upscale flair, try Sage at Aria for New American cuisine and a speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Mizumi at Wynn offers modern Japanese dishes overlooking koi ponds and gardens, or try Fleur by Hubert Keller at Mandalay Bay for global small-plates tapas. For more casual fare try the half-Chinese noodles/half-Mexican tacos menu of China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan ir new gastropub Public House at the Venetian (which boasts the only beer sommelier in Nevada).
It’s not known as Sin City for nothing – Las Vegas is undoubtedly an adult’s playground. Nights out in Vegas can be as sophisticated or as raucous as you like. Some prefer a relaxed meal and a show followed by cocktails overlooking the Strip, while others will want to hit up the bars and dance till dawn at the city’s best clubs. Either way, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
For dramatic, acrobatic or musical entertainment, you can’t go wrong with one of Cirque Du Soleil’s seven incredible shows, including the Beatle’s LOVE at Mirage and newest show Zarkana at Aria. Water-based Le Rêve at Wynn offers similar feats of human artistry, while Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo and illusionist shows like Criss Angel’s Believe and Penn & Teller at the Rio are equally popular.
Large-scale nightclubs like XS at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Tao at the Venetian, Marquee at Cosmopolitan and Rain at Palms Casino Resort are the go-to venues for up-all-night clubbers, who sip away the earlier hours at bars like all-white Rhumbar at Mirage; the Red Square vodka bar at Mandalay Bay; stylish Hyde Bellagio with its prime location overlooking the fountains, and the quite extraordinary Chandelier Bar at Cosmopolitan, home to molecular mixology and liquid nitrogen cocktails.
For an altogether calmer experience, head straight to Parasol Down at Wynn or to the 23rd floor of Mandarin Oriental, where the mellow and very glamorous bar looks out over the entire Las Vegas strip.
Not to be missed
Some things are so quintessentially Vegas you just can’t come home without experiencing them. Indulge at one of the best all-you-can-eat buffets in town – Le Village Buffet at Paris – then get your bearings at the top of the Eiffel Tower, with panoramic views over the Strip. Exercise your plastic at the Forum Shops at Caesars and Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, or close the wallet and laze the day away at one of the city’s best pool parties – try Wet Republic at MGM Grand, Encore Beach at Encore or Liquid at Aria.
After watching the fountains, walk through the Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, then pay a visit to the flock of Chilean flamingos at the Flamingo Las Vegas. Take a spin on one of Stratosphere’s tower-top thrill rides, throw your arms up on New York New York’s plunging rollercoaster, then get your breath back watching Wynn’s free Lake of Dreams light show.
Experience a hint of early Vegas with a night at one of downtown’s legendary casinos, like Binions, El Cortez or Four Queens, then take a wander through Fremont Street and the Fremont Street East district, where comedy clubs and jazz bars brush up against giant neon cowboys and showgirls. For off-Strip adventures, take a trip to the staggering Hoover Dam – a true engineering marvel – or fly out to the Grand Canyon west rim Skywalk. Finish off with a helicopter flight over the Strip at night, and don’t leave without having your picture taken underneath the iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign.
Best for families
Families are increasingly well catered for in Las Vegas too. Circus Circus is a great hotel for kids, with daily big-top circus performances and America’s largest indoor theme park The Adventuredome its major draws. Excalibur Hotel is also hugely popular, not least for its Spongebob Squarepants 4D ride and Fun Dungeon video games arcade.
The Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in downtown Las Vegas is moving to a brand new cutting-edge facility in early 2013, with even more hands-on interactive exhibits to keep the kids occupied, while back on the Strip, M&M’s World retail store is always a wide-eyed hit, though not quite as much as Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay where more than 2,000 animals including sharks, rare Golden Crocodiles and turtles are on display.
Best for couples
Despite its reputation for fast living and high rollin’ excess, Las Vegas is also a great destination for couples. The breadth of the restaurant scene means dozens of options for an intimate tête-à-tête: try Le Cirque at Bellagio, Andre’s at Monte Carlo, or low-lit Sushi Roku inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace for starters. Activities-wise, nothing can beat your very own Champagne picnic for two at the Grand Canyon, or a VIP overnight getaway with optional horseback ride and night at a Western-style ranch. Or opt for lazing around on deck all day, with a brunch, lunch or dinner cruise on Lake Mead. Back in the city, there’s plenty of relaxing to be had at the Strip’s first-rate spas, with couple’s massages the order of the day at luxurious Vdara, home to one of the smaller, quieter hotel spas in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas is the weddings capital of the USA, so tying the knot in town is a piece of (wedding) cake. Whatever your budget and style, you can pick the perfect place for your big day from a wide range of venues and packages, whether you want somewhere small and intimate, grand and glitzy, or something downright wacky. Yes, you can even get married at a Drive-Thru chapel, on a Venetian gondola, aboard Treasure Island’s Pirate Ship or at the bottom of the Grand Canyon if that’s your thing.
Hotel options include a ‘Wedding in the Sky’ ceremony on the 103rd floor of the Stratosphere; in a flower-bedecked Gazebo at Tropicana’s four-acre garden, or a more traditional service at the opulent Legacy or Cherish wedding chapels at MGM Grand. Mandalay Bay has several venues to choose from, including the romantic Swan Court and Valley of the Falls, or even in the crystal-clear surroundings of Minus5 Ice Bar. And let’s not forget exclusive Bellagio, Wynn or The Venetian and their exquisite indoor and al fresco chapels, courtyards and salons. Choose from some fabulous bedrooms and suites if you’re coming purely for your post-wedding holiday, like those at the Four Seasons, THEHotel at Mandalay Bay, Caesars Palace and Palazzo.
Just off the Strip, Dig This is a giant adult-sandbox where you can drive bulldozers and excavators to your heart’s content – all you need is a little training, a yellow vest, and you’re good to go. Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp’s brand new ‘Rockstar for a Day’ experience is a brilliant way for would-be musicians or singers to experience being part of a real live band. You’ll get time to jam and perform onstage and get a professional recording of your day, and even those with no experience at all are welcome. Take a tour of the fabulous Neon Boneyard, a two-acre site in downtown Las Vegas where over 150 vintage neon signs from the 1930s to the present day are on display. Or play on hundreds of restored 60s, 70s and 80s pinball machines from the world’s largest collection at the Pinball Hall of Fame.
Weather/Best time to go
Las Vegas is a year-round destination, and though it might sound obvious the best time to visit can depend on the sort of things you enjoy doing. If you like to play golf, see the great outdoors, or spend a lot of time walking up and down the Strip then anytime between September and May should be perfect, with warm daytime temperatures and clear blue skies as a rule. Winters can be cooler – especially at night – so remember to pack lots of layers. If you’re coming in the summer months, be prepared for extremely hot days with temperatures often pushing 100 degrees. But this shouldn’t affect those planning to spend time in casinos or other attractions, which are all well air-conditioned. And even outside by the poolside, hotels do an excellent job of keeping everybody cool, with shady cabanas, cold vapour misters and plenty of iced-drinks on tap.
You won’t need to look hard to find adventure in Las Vegas, and it’ll be faster, higher and wilder than anywhere else in the nation. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, book a heart-stopping Top Gun-style aerobatic flight with Sky Combat Ace, or swoop over the Hoover Dam in their open-cockpit biplane. If you want to stay on terra firma, the folks at Exotics Racing let you drive their high-performance sports cars as fast as you like – there’s no speed limit on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway so you can push those Porsche pedals to the floor. For an open-air adventure, take the plunge and soar 450 feet in 15 seconds at Bootleg Canyon’s zipline, or why not take a leap from the top of the Stratosphere hotel? Freefalling 108 floors makes this the highest controlled jump in North America.
The shopping scene in Las Vegas runs the gamut from high-end hotel arcades and speciality boutiques to mainstream mega-malls and factory outlets – not to mention a handful of only-in-Las-Vegas emporiums. Fancy your own one-armed bandit? Pick one up at the downtown Gambling General Store, or plump for a hot pink showgirl headdress from the Rainbow Feather Company nearby. On the Strip, the gigantic Fashion Show Mall contains over 250 big brand chains, with the luxury end of the market served by the hip and urban Shops at Cosmopolitan and futuristic Crystals, which boasts no less than 11 flagship designer stores.
No wheels? No problem. Our holiday packages offer airport transfer to and from your hotel for a small additional charge. Alternatively, you can pay to take a shuttle bus up and down The Strip or ride the monorail that runs from the MGM Grand to the Sahara Casino.
Please note: Hotels require a valid credit card upon check in to cover incidental charges. At least one person in each room must be aged 21 years or over.
We provide airport transfers at a return cost of £10 per person.
Private Limo Transfers
Your star power will shine with our limousine service! A private limo will pick you up at the airport and deliver you straight to your hotel - no waiting for other passengers or sharing the ride with strangers. You’ll be on the casino floor in no time!
Private sedan: Maximum of 4 passengers costs £37 per car each way
Private limo: Maximum of 8 passengers costs £79 per car each way
Want to get the most out of your holiday in Las Vegas? Book one of our 7-night flight and car hire holiday packages and you’ll be free to explore the city and surrounding areas in your very own car. You can choose to collect your hire car right at the airport or pick it up later. We even offer vehicle upgrade options - imagine cruising The Strip in a convertible or luxury sedan.
Please note: Most Las Vegas hotels offer free parking for guests. Check with your hotel for details.
Video of Las Vegas
Check out our great video of Las Vegas below.
- World class entertainment
- Vast shopping venues
- Home of some of the biggest and most luxurious hotels anywhere
- Slick nightlife
- World-renowned restaurants
Feb - Presidents' Day
May - Memorial Day
Jun-Jul - World Series of Poker
Jul - Independence Day
Sep - Labour Day
Sep - Blue Sky International Film Festival
Oct - Columbus Day
Oct - Downtown Oktoberfest
Nov - Veterans Day
Nov - Thanksgiving Day
Dec - Las Vegas Marathon
Dec - New Year's Eve on the Strip
Please note: All events listed are for helpful information only and many are subject to entrance fees and/or prior reservation, and may be cancelled at any time.
Postcards from... Top ideas from our travel experts
Our Top 5 hotels
Caesars Palace is probably the world’s best known resort-casino, celebrating the grandeur that was Rome, in an 85-acre destination location that sets the standard for entertainment, dining and luxury. Reigning at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, Caesars Palace ranks among the world’s top luxury resorts known for its originality and beauty.
You'll feel like you're in the heart of this Romantic French capital as you dine at the top of the Eiffel Tower or wander around the Parisian boulevards, admiring the designer French boutiques.
The Mirage is the legendary Las Vegas mega-resort offering the ultimate in playful relaxation and seductive exhilaration. This Favourites hotel situated in the centre of The Strip offers chic amenities and superior customer service. Enjoy The Mirage’s guest rooms and suites, featuring stylish comfort complemented with ultra-modern amenities and elegant upgrades.
Guests of Encore, signature resort in the Wynn collection, will enjoy all of the amenities and indulgences of Wynn Las Vegas plus a new array of accommodations, 5 signature restaurants, exclusive shopping boutiques, a full service salon and spa, exciting pool areas, leisure activities and the ultra chic nightclub, XS and Surrender and the ultimate daylife hotspot Encore Beach Club.
What a unique place! The lifts ascend diagonally up the pyramid wall and the beam of light that shines from the top can be seen from 10 miles up in space. Vegas gets hotter than Egypt in the summer, so you’ll appreciate the 5-acre pool area with 4 pools, 4 Jacuzzis, as well as a new adult VIP pool section.
Book a stay at a Las Vegas Platinum Hotel and receive complimentary entry into the Virgin Holidays v-room when departing from London Gatwick or Manchester airports only. Entry is subject to availability at time of booking. Offers are subject to availability and may be changed or withdrawn at any time.