It's not that I don't LIKE Vegas....
Okay, it's that I don't like Vegas.
Yes, I am probably the only person in the world that does not like Las Vegas. I was introduced to it on a trip for work that I dragged my husband along on. He instantly fell in love. Where had Vegas been all his life? I spent 3 days bathing in hand sanitizer and wondering if it was time to go home yet.
So how was it that I found myself here again? Sin City. The only place in the U.S. with more sequins per cubic inch than oxygen. A towering bubble of neon and stilettos rising to the sound of a jackpot chime.
Matt had been hounding me for months to go to Vegas so that he could spend 72 sleepless hours in the poker room of a smoke filled casino, eating cheeseburgers at 3 a.m. and watching 20-somethings in sunglasses stroll in and out losing $300 in 10 minutes or less, thinking they were starring in their own version of The Hangover. I held out because Vegas held no appeal for me. That was...until I saw this:
While the allure that simple poster holds is not apparent to everyone....to me....that was magic. OMD is one of my favorite bands of all time.
So, I sold myself to that glittery harlot, Vegas, for nothing more than a VIP pass to see an old 80s band that most people have never heard of.
As such, this will not be a report filled with overpriced meals at mediocre hotel restaurants sporting the names of famous chefs (do people really think Wolfgang Puck is back there preparing their food?), nor will it be a report about starry nights filled with wild clubs and glitzy shows. It won't be about winning $5,000 in blackjack or shopping at crazy expensive hotel stores.
It will be about how I spent 2 days hiding in the Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian so that I could spend an hour listening to Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries belt out "If You Leave" one more time.
We had arrived very late on a Thursday night. Upon arrival, I immediately took a hot shower and crawled between the soft sheets, but Matt was already downstairs creating a butt groove in a vinyl seat at the poker table. He had crawled himself in at some point in the wee hours of Friday morning and when I woke up, he was ready to jump up and have at it again despite only having about 2 hours of sleep.
I sent him on his way and called the spa. The treatments were CRAZY expensive compared to what the same thing would cost in a nice spa at home, but what else did I have to do? I booked a facial for 9:00 a.m. and headed up. This was the best decision I made all weekend.
The spa was an oasis of tranquility. I had found my home for the next 48 hours.
It was enormous with plenty of reading rooms and lounges. I was given my super soft giant plush robe and slippers and toured around. Sure, my facial was going to cost me 3 times what it would in Knoxville, but I quickly realized that with the price of that single facial, I got to stay here all day and sip orange tea, munch on fresh fruit, drift from one cozy reading nook to another, enjoy countless amenities like the steam room, the sauna, the aromatherapy lounge, the "igloo," the hot tubs, and on and on and on. There were wonderful showers that had jungle bird sounds and thunder or lightening while misting you with warm tropical mists or invigorating you with cold Caribbean rain showers.
With the exception of lunch, I stayed all day.
Lunch was worth breaking the spa spell for. Matt met me at I Love Burgers in the Palazzo. Two words: Grown-Up Milkshakes. Or is that three?
I had a Very Spiked Twisted Caramel Corn shake. All ice creamy and butterscotchy...topped with caramel corn....it was worth flying all the way to Vegas for. That made the blue cheese burger and parmesan fries like a bonus.
As Matt swollowed his burger whole so that he could get back to the Poker Room before he missed anything, I wasted the rest of my afternoon in the spa. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to to do it.
My one requirement of the trip was that Matt stop playing long enough to go out with me for a while in the evening. We made it easy on ourselves and headed to Tao.
The people show that we got to witness in the bar area as we waited for our table was worth the price of the entire meal. I have never seen so much plastic surgery, sequins and spandex, youth and stupidity, and pretentiousness in one physical space. I could have watched it all night.
We followed about 6 bachelorette parties upstairs to the dining area where I have to admit, we had a delicious meal. Some spare ribs, some sushi, some cripsy chicken something or another......with dinner done, we realized we had a magical thing....a Tao LINE PASS.
It had been so long since I had something tacky stamped on my wrist and the sight of about 200 19 year olds in hot pants and platform shoes waiting in line outside the door made me just have to go inside the club. Call me petty, but there is something about the "I can go in and you can't" that just can't be wasted.
We might have stayed 5 minutes. We didn't even get a drink. We entered. We saw. We turned. We headed back to the peace and quiet of the hotel.
Am I getting old??
Saturday morning was a lot like Friday morning, except that I was headed to the spa for a massage instead of a facial. As I headed down that long, colorful hallway, I felt myself relaxing with every step.
I did a repeat of the previous day and made sure I got my $160 dollars worth. I think I even took 2 showers with their fancy toiletries, just to feel fairly compensated.
It was that afternoon that I made my mistake.
I tried to go to the pool.
My first mistake was thinking it was warm enough. It wasn't. It was my luck that Vegas had a freakish cold snap the weekend we were there and it was positively frigid. My second mistake was thinking that eventually the sun would reach my sad little lounge chair. I waited....I waited....I waited....after about an hour I realized the sun was moving behind the hotel, not above it. Doh! My third mistake was thinking I was either young enough or beautiful enough to be at a Las Vegas pool. Thank goodness it was too cold to strip down to my swimsuit because as every new group of 20 year old hot bodies strolled by with their perfectly enhanced breasts and their firm butts...their Vuitton beach bags and Jimmy Choo sandals....their $1000 sunglasses and perfect tans.........I sank lower and lower in my sad little shaded lounge chair....I felt like a troll that had interrupted a princess party.
Thankfully, the sun never emerged and I headed back inside before I bore the humiliation of revealing my 41 year old body in that sea of youthful perfection.
I did what any 41 year old woman who is suddenly faced with the loss of her youth and beauty would do....I got a pizza and took it to my room and ate it.
The one bright and shining star of hope that I had on this trip was the OMD show. Yes, I realize not many people know who they are, but ever since my brother's best friend in the 9th grade was a guy that had just moved to Tennessee from London, bringing with him a delightful box of albums I had never heard the likes of...I have been a fan.
We grabbed a taxi and headed over to Mandalay Bay for the show. The fact that it was at a small venue like the House of Blues made it even better.
I had super geeked out and bought us the VIP passes that got us into the sound check. Matt could have done without that, but he dutifully wore his sticker proudly like the rest of us.
The soundcheck was early. We enjoyed getting to listen to the band to several songs with only about 15 of us in there. We got to say, "Hello," and then we headed out to grab dinner before the show. Matt and I had reservations at Mix.
The restaurant was lovely. The food was good, if overpriced. The view, however, was beautiful. Don't go here for dinner. Skip dinner and have cocktails in the Mix Lounge and take in the views. Then go grab dinner somewhere else!
I won't bore you with the details of the concert, but let me say that, for me, it was worth every minute in Vegas. It was like I was 16 again, dancing to the music of my adolescence and screaming to my new favorites. I danced until my feet hurt and my hair hung in sweaty curls around my face.
Take that you 20-somethings. The old girl can still hang.
Before I knew it the sun was rising and it was time to shake the glitter out of my hair, kick the desert dust off my shoes, and head back to good old Tennessee.
Sometimes, there's no place like home.