Travel slideshow: Valentine’s Week in Las Vegas

We were in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Week, and while I don’t have a full-on travel recap for you, you can view a slideshow of photos below or go to the Flickr set. Our home for the week was the Encore, and while in town we saw three shows: Zumanity, Le Rêve, and The Beatles–LOVE. One day we drove out and took a tour of Hoover Dam.

By the way, thanks again for your restaurant suggestions on Facebook and Twitter. We were able to fit in Raku (off the Strip) and Bradley Ogden (at Caesars Palace), among other places, and they were fantastic.

Las Vegas sign

» Previously: “Travel preview: Valentine’s week in Vegas.”

Travel preview: Valentine’s week in Vegas

Last year we went to Palm Springs for the first time, for Modernism Week (my Flickr photos are here), and this year we started planning to go back but then were tempted by a promo that Thom had received from the Wynn Las Vegas, which included midweek rooms for $99 (upgradeable upon booking) and two tickets to Le Rêve. We thought, why not? And make it a Valentine’s and anniversary kind of thing? The time around Valentine’s is one of our anniversaries. In 2009 we became domestic partners on February 13, and the next day we got engaged and had our wedding later that year.

So we’re flying down to Vegas on Virgin America tomorrow, and our home for the next few days will be a resort suite at the Encore. We’ve also started filling our itinerary with more shows (Zumanity and The Beatles – LOVE) and restaurant reservations, thanks to your suggestions on Facebook and Twitter… and if you have more, please let us know.

The Strip

Have a happy Valentine’s Day! And as a side note, there are several community actions taking place on Valentine’s Day at county offices across the country to advocate for marriage equality. The one in San Francisco will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at City Hall on the steps and inside the county clerk’s office. If you have time, do check it out and help raise awareness for LGBT rights.

Las Vegas weekend

Wonder of wonders, I managed to upload all my photos from our Las Vegas trip that we took two weekends ago and am getting around to write a blog post about it! So yes, we had a great time. We stayed at the Planet Hollywood hotel, which was nice; I liked the slick, mod feel. Our room had props and photos from the movie Tank Girl. Our room faced The Strip, but our direct view was of a roof below and construction across the street. If you craned your neck to the right, you could see the Bellagio.

Walking among the hotels provided lots of photo ops; here’s Thom’s photo of us down in front of the Bellagio, waiting for the fountain show:

Speaking of the Bellagio, after unsuccessfully trying to get into Olives without a reservation, we ended up having dinner at Sensi, and it turned out to be fabulous. We had a prix fixe dinner: I chose crisp fried shrimp, Kobe flatiron steak, and “chocolate temptation” (layers of milk chocolate, nuts, and praline, with salted caramel ice cream). Yum! After dinner we saw O, one of the Cirque du Soleil shows, and it was amazing. The only thing I knew going in was that it was performed in and out of water — I was thinking a see-through tank — but it’s more like a pool that takes up the entire stage, with the shape and depth constantly varying with each scene. I loved it.

On Sunday we had brunch and went window shopping at the Miracle Mile Shops, the mall adjoining Planet Hollywood. In the evening we had dinner at Olives (with a reservation this time). I have to say, I wasn’t quite as impressed as I was the previous night at Sensi, but it was still a great meal. I had a prix fixe of butternut squash tortelli, paella “olivacious,” and chocolate falling cake. Then we saw another Cirque show, Mystère, which is at Treasure Island. This is more of the big-top circus show that I’m used to, and our seats were pretty close to the stage, so it was thrilling.

Trader Vic'sMonday was our last day in Vegas. We had lunch at Trader Vic’s — you knew we had to work tiki in somehow, right? I don’t usually have a cocktail with lunch, but hey, it’s vacation, as if I need an excuse. We shared a tiki bowl, and I had Kahlua pork sliders. Tasty!

Then walked next door to Paris. (The Strip lends itself to time-space transportation, doesn’t it?) We had a coupon for the Eiffel Tower Experience (though “experience” is overstating it; it’s an observation deck), so we went up to the top of the fifty-story tower. It has some great views of the area. But just as we got up there, it got all windy and hazy, so it wasn’t ideal viewing. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, and before we knew it, it was time for our flight home.

We had taken US Airways there, and our favorite airline, Virgin America, on the way back. We upgraded at check-in and made our way to the gate area, where Thom noticed celebrity chef Tyler Florence! As we got in line to board, Thom addressed him as “chef” and said hello. Heh! And onboard he ended up sitting in the row across the aisle from us.

We remembered that Virgin has started serving absinthe (Le Tourment Vert), and we had to try it. Our flight attendant recommended mixing it with club soda (or lemon-lime soda), so that’s what we had. I have to say, I’m not a fan of licorice taste, so it wasn’t my cup of tea. But it’s nice that they offer it. They have it for a limited initial run, but I wonder if it will catch on enough for them to keep it. Our flight attendant was real nice and even gave each of us a mini-bottle to take home!

So yes, we’ll definitely have to plan another Vegas trip soon. It’s just not the same being back on our street with no hourly fountain, volcano, or pirate show to entertain us. It’s so quick to get to (by plane, at least), and there are a billion more Cirque shows to see! At least it seems that way. Oh, and yes, we did gamble, but we’re such low rollers. I mostly played video blackjack and lost a few dollars. That’s enough action for me!

The Strip

My pics are on Flickr in my Las Vegas set; see also Thom’s set.