As far as I can remember, my family usually plan a large vacation each summer to enjoy some time together. The past summer, my family and I were incredibly busy so unfortunately we couldn’t plan anything. It basically broke our lifetime streak. Or at least, my lifetime streak. So, when we had the opportunity, my mom decided to book a mother and daughter trip to Las Vegas. We’re not gambling folk but we love exploring cities on foot and all-you-can-eat buffets!
We booked our trip with Air Canada Vacations. The vacation package included a 5 day round trip with Air Canada Rouge, a stay in your choice of hotel (we went with the Cosmopolitan), and a $100 food voucher for the entire trip. If you don’t have a specific time in mind, I highly recommend going the week before Christmas. The airport shuttle driver also said that prices and visitors typically peak during the second and fourth week of December. When booking our trip, we noticed a $1000 difference if we booked a week later! So, we decided to go during the third week. It was a good decision also because the weather was nice and gradually warmed up towards the end of the 5 days!
Oh boy. If you’ve never flown with a budget airline, you’ll have to mentally prepare yourself for that trapped-in-a-dirty-sardine-can feeling. I have a problem with dirty cars, trains, buses, planes, etc. Sure, they can be messy but to see debris and garbage everywhere really sends chills down my spine. The plane was old, grimy, and some parts were held together by duct tape. I distracted myself with Photoshop and Spotify. Also, one thing I didn’t know about Macbook bluetooth connections is that you are always visible if you have bluetooth on. There’s no way to disable it. I was trying my best to hide myself from whoever was trying to connect their iPad “Big D” to my laptop…
But an upside is if you fly during the winter, you could see the ground crew de-ice the plane! Very cool!
When you fly with Air Canada Rouge, you will likely fly in their smaller planes with no entertainment system. I highly recommend downloading the Air Canada app to stream TV shows and movies during the flight. I basically spent my time doodling and listening to music. Also trying to ignore the dirty seats…
One good note is that the flight back to Toronto was on an immaculately clean plane! It was like a dream come true. A comfortable red eye flight.
Landing in Vegas and Culture Shock
I love our neighbours south of the border. If you couldn’t already tell, I’m Canadian. And as a Canadian, I noticed that Americans are so friendly and open (at least in Vegas anyway) whereas Canadians tend to keep to ourselves. It really brought the experience together. I missed the intensity once I got home!
I also noticed that Las Vegas seem to support their taxi and Uber drivers more than public transportation. If you travel to Pearson Airport, you’ll have access to GO bus, TTC, MiWay, and Brampton Transit. These buses will take you downtown or to the suburbs. McCarran Airport does not have any buses that travel to the strip directly from the airport, you’ll have to make transfers. Instead, it’s easier to take a shuttle bus, taxi or an Uber. These are always available.
The hotel is absolutely beautiful!! The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Tower is a stunning hotel with an impressive view! I have heard stories about people giving the check-in clerk a passport “sandwich” where you give them your ID and a $20 tip folded inside. It’s basically a bribe for a better room. I didn’t do that because I wanted to keep expectations low. That way, I’d be impressed by everything! I am curious if it works but I don’t condone bribery. Let me know if you’ve done it before. I want to know if it worked for you.
So, through the power of being nice, we were given a beautiful room on the 46th floor. It has an incredible view of Caesars Palace, the Venetian, the water and light show, the High Roller ferris wheel, and other surrounding hotels.
Another thing I wanted to mention is that compared to the other hotels on the strip, the Cosmopolitan is relatively newer and clean. During our stay, it doesn’t seem to be the hotel that families with young children and tour groups tend to book. For that reason, the hotel tend to be relatively quiet and peaceful late at night.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a themed hotel for your kids to enjoy, families seem to prefer the Luxor for their Ancient Egypt theme and the Excalibur for the Medieval theme. Keep in mind that basically every hotel on the strip is designed to showcase their casino. The casinos tend to be stuffy and smells like cigarette smoke. I didn’t travel with kids so I don’t know paths to bypass the casino.
The Wicked Spoon
Lastly, I’ll touch on the best buffet I have ever had in my life. As much as I would love to be a foodie blogger, I usually end up eating at buffets because of their large options and small sample portions.
My top picks from the current menu are:
- mango passionfruit zenith cake (the round dome in picture 1)
- the caramelized duck legs (picture 2)
- boar pasta (picture 3)
The zenith cake is a must try in my opinion! It’s very light, sweet, and tangy. The cream isn’t heavy at all and the entire cake melts in your mouth. I’m drooling thinking about it ahaha. I’m not sure how often they rotate their menu but I hope they keep the cake permanently.
Besides that, if you stay at the Cosmopolitan and you have a food voucher as part of your package, you can apply it to the Wicked Spoon. All buffets along the strip are pay before you eat. Just ask the cashier to put it towards your room and you can pay the fees once you check out. Just know that tips are not covered by your voucher.