Can you believe that this was the view from my hotel room in Vegas?! It's pretty amazing, right?
Now I'm not a Vegas newbie, I've been a number of times before. In fact, my very first experience of Vegas was when I was just a newborn as my parents were living in the California desert at the time, so not too far away -- they would just get on the 395 South, merge onto the I-15 and stay on it all the way to Vegas. Crazy, huh? But out of all my visits there, I would have to say that this was by far the best Vegas experience I have ever had. I have stayed at the North end of the strip before at The Venetian and the South end of the strip at Excalibur, but never before that right-in-the-heart-of-it, centre-of-the-action kinda area. I'm talking The Bellagio, Caesars...that area.
Back when I visited Vegas in 2005 there was a lot of construction going on in that area of the Strip which when I went back in 2011, it came to life as what everyone sees now as a shopping district called CityCenter and a cluster of hotels: The Cosmopolitan, Vdara, Aria and Mandarin Oriental. Literally, there's a new hotel or two popping every time you go back. I just love it. Since then I have adored The Cosmopolitan and have wanted to stay there with an upgrade to the room to a view of the Bellagio Foundations. But that just wasn't an option when browsing the last minute deals on lastmiute.com, so it was here that the Vdara Hotel popped up onto my radar, which actually happened to be a pretty great choice that I definitely didn't regret.
Vdara is one of the newer hotels located centre strip between The Bellagio and ARIA but set slightly further back from the roadside, so it actually sits behind The Cosmopolitan. It is due to this perfectly placed location that you can enjoy a quieter stay without the big crowds of people, but if you are lucky, you can still enjoy a room with a view on the far end of the hotel looking out onto The Strip, in-between The Bellagio and The Cosmopolitan. Vdara has great access to its neighbouring hotels with no more than a 5 min walk into The Bellagio and Aria via a walkway at either ends of the hotel lobby, with the luxury stores at City Center and The Cosmopolitan accessible via Aria. A CVS outside City Center has you covered for any drinks and snacks to take back to your room as well as some great budget beauty finds, but there is also a Walgreens and Sephora across the street at Planet Hollywood which again isn't too far to walk (another 10 mins). Pinkberry and Shake Shack are close by too if you want some food on-the-go. STK at The Cosmopolitan is one of my all-time favourite restaurants to dine in for a fancy night out, whilst Serendipity 3 at Caesars Palace is great for your stereotypical American dining experience with jumbo-sized portions, insane desserts menu and cotton candy cocktails.
Vdara itself is one of the smaller hotels but don't for one minute think that this is at all a bad thing. It is one of the few hotels in Vegas that is smoke free so the air is fresh, something that as a non-smoker I really do appreciate. This also means no casino, keeping the noise levels and crowds to a minimum so you can enjoy a more peaceful stay. It may only have a small selection of eateries and entertainment, but what it will do is give you a place to start your day with the perfect breakfast. Their Market Cafe offers up the naughty and the nice, with my personal faves being the French Toast (with maple syrup and berries) and the Philly Steak Skillet -- the portion size is pretty reasonable for the price too, leaving you full enough that you can skip lunch and just go for an afternoon snack. The gym, located on the third floor, is open 6am-8pm and whilst it is compact in size, you can still get in a good workout -- just avoid the super early morning rush at 6-7am. The great thing about this gym is that it offers up water to you in either mini-travel-sized bottles or you can fill your own bottle with fruit infused water (either lemon or berries). It's the little things, hey. Next-door to the gym is a smoothie bar offering up protein smoothies and their smoothie of the day, as well there being a sauna and spa here too for more relaxation time.
Let me just start off by saying that I was lucky enough to be able to upgrade my room to one with a Bellagio Fountain view upon booking with last minute.com, for just an extra £79. Typically most hotel rooms in Vegas either overlook the pool or the parking lot, with my previous stays doing just that, but still without ruining the trip. Lets be honest, when in Vegas you only spend minimal time in your room anyway. So whilst a room with a view isn't everything, it does make it that extra bit special. Going to sleep every night and waking up in the morning to that view from the 41st floor, is a memory I will never forget. If you get presented with the same opportunity, definitely take it. The rooms at Vdara are all spacious suites, offering you a bedroom, living room, dining room and kitchen space all-in-one allowing you to make your stay whatever you want it to be. If getting your cook on in the kitchen is your thing, it offers you a small hob-stove, a dishwasher, microwave and fridge, with pots and pans, plates and cutlery available to use for free, upon request. Equally if you want to eat out you can, and just use the fridge in your room to store any drinks and snacks. The latter is what I did and I think what most people do, unless part of a large group, but it was nice to know the option to cook was there if needed. Definitely a week of luxury that I will never forget.