Las Vegas & Grand Canyon with Lisa

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Las Vegas as a getaway doesn’t have to be just about the casinos and flashy lights and restaurants on Las Vegas Blvd. There are many things to do in Las Vegas that do not involve gambling.

Now, perhaps we were crazy to go in June, but that can’t possibly be the hottest time, can it? With temperatures climbing closer to 45C it turns out that our trip was in the hottest June in Las Vegas history. They’ve been keeping records since 1937.

While the record temperatures prevailed we still enjoyed our time in Las Vegas, with lots of sunscreen, and a constant stream of water. It was refreshing to see that water didn’t go up in price in tandem with the temperature. It would have been easy to become a casualty of heat stroke and the locals were very good about sharing the message of remembering a hat, drink lots of water, and stay in the shade.

This trip we were aiming for some rest and relaxation mixed with some sightseeing. We were after some pool time, a couple of tours and a few shows.

If you are a frequent traveller to the USA, save yourself some time in line. When you are a NEXUS card holder, you are also a qualified TSA Precheck traveller. If you’ve given your Forbes Travel consultant your NEXUS or “known traveller number”, TSA Precheck prints on your boarding pass. Pay attention and look for the second security line, beside the regular security line. If you qualify, you save yourself time with the shorter line, and avoid the need to remove your shoes, liquids from your bags and more.

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/tsa-precheck

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We stayed at three different hotels on this trip – The Orleans, Aria and The Palazzo. Aria was my favourite, it is such a beautiful property. With a tablet at the bedside you could control the environment of your room, from the temperature, to the drapes, to the lights to your wake up alarm it was all at your finger tips. Though our two nights at the Aria were our two busiest days so we didn’t manage to stop at the pool but a tour of the pool decks confirmed that they offered plenty of shade and luxurious lounge chairs. Las Vegas pools can be a little intimidating as these places are now offering more and more exclusive areas. On my next trip to Las Vegas I need venture into these exclusive areas and see what they’re all about.

There is no shortage of food is Las Vegas and buffets seem to be the choice for breakfast. My personal favourite being The Buffet at Aria. https://www.aria.com/en/restaurants/the-buffet.html The current price of 21.99USD for breakfast Aria’s buffet offers 11 stations to offer something for everyone. And with taster sized portions you can try a little of this and a little of that. Fresh and well stocked stations always ensured that your selection was freshly made. Aria understands the presentation pop that they’re committed to delivering. And for a busy day in Las Vegas, you can have a hearty breakfast here fueling you for the day.

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Grand Lux Café at The Palazzo’s buffet with the current price of 18.95USD for an oversized omelette station with granola, breakfast meats and fruit is not what I would choose. Combined with the fact it is hidden in a room smaller than the restaurant lobby, your better choice is to make a selection from the menu for a cooked to order meal. When it is all said and done this was a restaurant that we should have passed by.

For the best off-strip excursions, I whole-heartedly recommend Pink Jeep Tours – I would take another of their tours in a heartbeat. Without question.

Our guide/driver was amazing. Tom took time to make sure he met everyone in our party and call us each by name, welcome us aboard, introduce himself, and then introduce us to the others in the tour who were already onboard. He kept us well informed along each part of the tour, and had some lovely stories to share. He was attentive to our requests and made the tour very enjoyable. And he made sure to point out interesting vantage points, photo spots and of course where the venue amenities were. The vehicle was spotless and the coolers were stocked with ice water which he passed out at every stop helping to keep everyone well hydrated, considering the record heat.

hooverdam-view-from-inside-up-the-colorado-riverWe had never been to the Grand Canyon. We joined the well-oiled movement of the masses and were shuttled out to Skywalk and the vantage point and enjoy our lunch at the rim of the canyon and our Pink Jeep guide remained with us each step of the way without being overly attentive so as to be annoying. I did happen to overhear another guide from another company, while we were at one of the viewpoints, who was the overly attentive guide, milking his tip in a very indiscrete manor. Not the case with Tom and our Pink Jeep tour experience. Once at the viewpoint Tom receded far enough away to let everyone enjoy themselves and our lunch.

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When you take a Grand Canyon tour, regardless of what tour company you are with, once you enter the West Rim gates you are hosted by the Hualapai Tribe. Lunch is included, hearty and simple but not gourmet.

What can one say to adequately describe the Grand Canyon? Mother Nature is an amazing artist and to see the expanse and beauty of the West Rim of the Grand Canyon left me without words.

Depending on the time of year you visit, Las Vegas and its environs can offer you a climate ranging from the near oven-like temperatures we experienced, right down to the occasional dusting of snow. But I’m of the opinion the best time of the year is what suits you. And for some rest and relaxation, mixed with a little exploration, Las Vegas can fit that bill anytime of the year!