Friday, November 1, 2013

Trip Recap: Lovebirds in Las Vegas x10

I've been back from Vegas for 3 days, and I'm still feeling wimbled and squirreled, but it's well worth it.

Our 10th trip to Las Vegas was AMAZING!

I've broken it down by day . . .


First, I have to gush about how much I adore Virgin Airlines - they have *the* best on time performance of any airline I've ever been on! (check out this NYT article about their business model) 

We went straight from the airport to In-N-Out Burger then dropped our luggage at our hotel, Hampton Inn, just across the street. We were assured we could come back late and our upgrade to a suite would be ready (more on that later . . .).

We were then off to the Life is Beautiful Festival!  

It was the inaugural festival, and it was superb - from the vibe of the crowd, the helpful staff, grounds and overall talent and diversity of the acts chosen it's definitely a festival I'd want to go to again. 

Loved the vintage vibe of Downtown Vegas!
Mural by Zio Ziegler
ZZ Ward
The antenna lit up with a huge gas flame suddenly and scared me SO badly after I took the picture on the right!

Eery effect of panoramic camera
Here's my mini-montage of Alabama Shakes, Capital Cities (my favorite group there!) and Kings of Leon:

We also saw Youngblood Hawke, Imagine Dragons, Childish Gambino and Joey Bada$$.

We crashed haaaard when we got back!


Super late check-out then off to brunch at Hash House a Go Go. Of course we got the Man vs. Food special again (glorified fried chicken, biscuits and gravy), but this time we split it:

After we thought of doing a couples spa treatment and stopped by a shady looking "massage parlor" vs. the high prices of the resorts and opted instead for just a off-strip mani/pedi for Mr. Lovebird, since he didn't have time for one before we left.

We checked into Red Rock Resort and Casino before Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson One and it was such a relief to just put our feet up for a bit and enjoy our room.

Also, between Saturday and Sunday the temperature dropped considerably and the wind picked up so unfortunately, we weren't able to make it to the pool but at least it was nice to look at!

We headed out a bit early to get to Mandalay Bay for the Cirque show and good thing we did because there were great photo opportunities in the lobby, and we got to pick up a few things at the gift stop including this cute doll for Nia (she LOVES it and smiled so big when we gave it to her!).

Now about the show . . .

I had read Trip Advisor reviews on the show and a couple people who saw it told me their thoughts and based on some of the points the reviews raised and the fact that I've seen a couple Cirque Shows already I give the show 4 out of 5 stars. Out of this show, O (my first Cirque show) and Mystere, Mystere is mine and Mr. Lovebird's all-time favorite. I'm thinking of seeing Ka next time and was so sad to hear the recent news about the only Cirque death which happened at that show.

What was great:
  • The choice of songs and treatment of songs - with so many songs to choose from I wondered which would be selected; pretty much all my faves especially my all time fave Human Nature, which I love how they remixed it (I gotta find a way to get it!). I was teased when they did the intro to Will You Be There, but failed to play the entire song. Boooo! I also liked how they broke apart aspects of songs in that way, isolated lyrics without the music to add to the theatrics of the show. It was hard not to get emotional!
  • The storyline - I saw some reviewers critique the storyline, but I think it was a good choice following young people on their "MJ quest"
  • The performers - The cast was very enthusiastic and on point; their moves were modern incorporating the choreography MJ's known for 
  • The venue - Like most Cirque Shows, the venue had a great view from any angle, but this theater wasn't as large as O and we liked the more intimate feel; we were seated on the floor about 20 rows back from the stage; the acoustics were amazing and the temperature comfortable; there were speakers on the back of the seat in front of you, but I didn't hear anything come out of them
  • The finale - EPIC (complete sensory overload, but I loved it!)
 What could be improved:
  • Incorporate more amazing feats - there was lots of jumping on trampolines and juggling, but I wanted more signature Cirque incorporated into the show which I think they could've done; when I saw the same hat jugglers reappear I sighed, "Again?!" 
I saw a few reviews raise the point that the show wasn't a Cirque show but instead a Michael Jackson themed Cirque show. Ummmmm, are they serious? It's called Michael Jackson One - what do you expect?! Also, someone said they wished Jackson 5 was included and yes, it actually was and just enough IMO. Finally, I agree with one reviewer who wanted to get up and dance: I did too and danced as much as I could in my seat without embarrassing Mr. Lovebird! 


We woke up eager to hike, but the strong winds and cold temperatures kept us from going and instead we just ate breakfast on-site at Red Rock before checking out. They have a 10a.m. check-out normally (so early!), but we got it extended to 11a.m. and got to enjoy a bubble bath!

That afternoon we went to see Gravity in IMAX 3D at the Palms Casino. We had last seenThe Dark Knight  there at a 2a.m. showing (I fell asleep O_o) so an afternoon show was much better. 

That movie . . . WOW! One of the best I've seen all year, and it's stayed on my mind since. Mr. Lovebird makes fun of me when I talk about my childhood obsession with space travel (I adored the movie SpaceCamp and poured over the pamphlets for actual space camp as a 5th grader), but this movie reminded me why I loved anything space-related as a kid. Of course being the nerd that I am afterwards I had to immediately look up inaccuracies of the movie and was pleased to see while there were inaccuracies the pros say it was well done. Annnnd I have to report that Mr. Clooney still looked good even in a space suit!

After our movie we checked into our last hotel - Elara on the strip. It was a challenge figuring out parking due to lack of signage and the entrance is on the 3rd floor of the Miracle Mile shopping center parking lot (for future reference!). This was another free room via travel points and the customer service, cleanliness, style and view of our room on the 27th floor was great - we'd definitely consider staying here again!

Next it was time for dinner. . .

We went to  our favorite Vegas restaurant: Lotus of Siam. We're loyal to their crispy garlic wings and Tom Yum soup, but per Yelp reviews we also added an appetizer and main: nam kao tod (a fried, crispy rice with lime and herbs) and seafood drunken noodles. I didn't try Mr. Lovebird's drunken noodles but stuck with my Tom Yum that lit me on fire in a good way!


There just wasn't enough time and space in our bellies to eat at all the places we wanted so we just grabbed a bite at a cafe and took a short nap before returning our rental car and flying out. Thankfully the wind died down, and we had another on time flight and were back in NYC and in bed by midnight! 

Oh and about the Hampton Inn issue, it turned into a mini-squeaky wheel situation. I tweeted them about giving up our room then having to wait for the supposedly last room available to be cleaned for us at nearly 1a.m. and they responded along with the manager to Mr. Lovebird separately to apologize and we're awaiting the rewards points we used for the room to show back up on his statement . . . *UPDATE: the points were successfully returned to his account!*

Anyway, I'm still getting over jet lag and catching up on everything, but the morning after we returned I took that state personality test that I've seen floating around social media and guess what result I got?


Guess I'll be back Las Vegas!