Monday, March 21, 2011

Break from the Beaches this Spring

Now is the time of year when everyone wants to ‘get out of Dodge,’ thaw out from winter’s chilly embrace, and bask in the sun! I say amen to that! After this past season’s bitter cold, as well as being stuck inside on those snow and ice days… It’s a good idea to get away from it all and bury your toes in the sand.

But have you seen the prices those Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts are charging?? Two hundred and twenty-five dollars a night, per person!?! And that’s just for the Bahamas… Don’t get me wrong, as far as the Caribbean goes, the Bahamas are nice… but for that cost, personally I’d want to be booked at more of an exotic destination.

If there is a Spring Break deal to be found, guaranteed, I will find it! No matter where it is… Cozumel, Antigua, Barbados, Aruba, even the Bahamas… Oh my, this really is starting to sound like a Beach Boy’s song… But seriously, I’ve been known to ‘pack n go’ on a moment’s notice, and have literally been to almost each and every one of the Caribbean islands…

But this spring for some reason, it just doesn’t seem to be happening… No last minute deals to a tropical paradise. And we all know what the domestic beaches are like this time of year… Over run by college students, drunkenly stumbling over you, and ruffling your beach towel. Nope, not my scene… Ft Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, I’ll save you for a later date.

Surprise Surprise
Okay, here is Vanek’s Spring Break surprise selection for this season… The envelope please, and the award goes to… Las Vegas!

Las Vegas, where half-priced flights are wide open, and reservations are easily booked on a moment’s notice. Tourism is down in Las Vegas so the rooms are plentiful, as well as inexpensive! On any number of travel websites, you will be able to find three star hotels, on the Las Vegas strip, advertised as low as $23.00 a night.

For this price you could spend over a week in Las Vegas, for the cost of one night’s stay at a Caribbean resort. Talk about bang for your buck! And trust me these Las Vegas hotel and casino swimming pools are beyond reproach! Decked out cabanas, poolside service; you’ve now entered the lap of luxury. I know what you are thinking, ‘oh my goodness… it’s all hedonism and debauchery, certainly no place to take the children…’

Bring the Kids
This time of year in Las Vegas, the weather is sunny and mild… You’ll certainly return with a golden tan rivaling anyone who has ventured south of the border! And the grandiose swimming pools during the day are filled with children of all ages…

No trip to Las Vegas with the offspring would be complete without seeing the Grand Canyon… Breathtaking beauty, memorable photographic opportunities, and awe-inspiring vistas await! On the way, be sure to stop at the Hoover Dam for an educational and informative tour of a design and engineering marvel …

The South Rim entrance of the Canyon is open daily, 24 hours a day. There is an entrance fee of $20 per private vehicle, and $10 per individual, (good for seven days).

When back in Las Vegas, don’t forget to treat the kids to a hair-raising roller coaster ride at the New York New York casino.

A Romantic Getaway
Las Vegas is no longer all about gaming, and loose slot machines, it certainly is a romantic getaway as well…

The artwork at The Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is certainly comparable to that of the Musée du Louvre in Paris France... Speaking of Paris, when in Vegas, take a romantic trip up the Eiffel Tower, at Paris Las Vegas! The Eiffel Tower Experience costs just $10 per adult and $7 for children and is unquestionably worth the price of admission.

Later, for an intimate evening, don’t hesitate to book reservations at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. You will be guaranteed a spectacular nighttime view of the Fountains at Bellagio, simply by mention that you’d like seating alongside the floor to ceiling windows. This is truly a one of a kind fine dining experience, prepared by one of the world’s finest chefs.

During the day, escape the lively pace of the Las Vegas strip by taking a leisurely gondola ride at the Venetian Hotel… You will feel as though you’ve journeyed halfway across the world to Venice, Italy. Gondoliers softly sing and effortlessly guide your gondola past the ‘Grand Canal Shoppes’ and charming frescos of the luxury resort.

When in Vegas-- Shop
While the spouse is out swinging the Lynx on one of the several nationally acclaimed golf courses, get out and shop! Don’t hesitate to experience all the amazing shopping opportunities Las Vegas has to offer. Even I must admit how impressed I was by CityCenter’s—Crystals Mall. Upscale stores such as Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co abound, all masterfully presented in an opulent and chic environment unsurpassed the world over…

Although you might be out shopping for a new pair of elegant pumps for your nightly soirée, on your daily shopping spree be sure to wear comfortable shoes. When venturing out, casinos can appear very close together, but when in all actuality, they are miles apart. Know the tram systems that run up and down the Las Vegas strip. This will save you much needed wear and tear on the feet! Most Tram-lines are free, and my favorite, the CityCenter tram runs between the Bellagio, Crystals and the Monte Carlo.

It goes without saying that Las Vegas is world renowned for its entertainment! However, pass on pre-booking your nightly entertainment before you arrive in Las Vegas… Unless of course you are afraid of a sold-out show, and have your heart set on seeing one of your favorite performers. Instead, opt to purchase show tickets at one of the many, ‘Half Priced Show” kiosks conveniently located on the Las Vegas Strip. Trust me, you can literally experience a dazzling and unique show each night of your stay… These including Disney's The Lion King, Zumanity, Le Rêve, Phantom, Mystère, Cher, KÀ Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, The Beatles LOVE just to name a few…

Buffet of Buffets
Of course in Las Vegas you can take anything to the next level, and this is also the case for eating and indulging. Now never would I advocate gluttony, however seven casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have teamed up to bring you an amazing deal for your dining pleasure. Only in Vegas can you experience world-famous buffets like never before… for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, all for just $39.99 within a 24-hour period! Do not miss Le Village Buffet at Paris Las Vegas, Lago Buffet at Caesars, Carnival World Buffet at the Rio on this amazing meal program!

Travel Tip #22—Beware of playing Texas Hold’em at Casinos off the strip. The pros come in the evenings to fleece the naive tourists and count on the unscrupulous dealers being in cahoots. Trust me, the fix is in.

Final Thoughts
On the strip, there’s an amazing little eatery that has an outstanding $3.99 breakfast complete with dollar Bloody Mary’s… Also, don’t forget the ‘five tee-shirts for ten dollars,’ that you will be able to dole out to family and friends. They may remark that, ‘all they got was a (surprisingly good quality) tee shirt…’ But you will know you’ve just experienced one of the best Spring Breaks of your life!

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