Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas SignThis post presents my full three-night/four-day Las Vegas trip itinerary. As explained in Part 1 and Part 2 of this post series, the purpose of providing you my thoroughly-researched and fully-tested agenda is threefold:

(1) Save you time. Whether you follow my agenda to the letter or tailor here-and-there to meet your preferences, this information will save you considerable planning time. With the help of my assistant, I spent nearly 15 hours researching logistics, costs, rankings, texture, timing, and ambience to arrive at my weekend plans. If you can spare 15 hours, then by all means take the time to plan your own Sin agenda. Otherwise, save yourself some valuable time and use mine.

(2) Save you money. As I explained in Part 1, going to Vegas without a plan could end up costing you. Las Vegas loves the non-planner who waltzes in and loses the majority of his or her money in the first and last thirty minutes of a visit. Vegas profit numbers have a lot of zeroes made off the occasional, recreational gambler. Don’t become another statistic. Plan, plan, plan. Then go have fun. Is there anything worse then returning home and discovering there was something you wished you’d done?

(3) Maximize your experience. Without a plan, the shiny lights, loud dinging noises, $.99 buffets, plush lounges, and other distractions will do just that. After 72 hours of wandering like a 10-year old in Toys “R” Us, you’ve missed Vegas (or most of it).

Here are few notes that you should keep in mind about my agenda:

  • As I explained in Part 1, this schedule is directed at the Hybrid type of Las Vegas visitor (such as couples going to Vegas for a long weekend). Others can use the schedule as a planning tool and, in fact, I challenge anyone to experience my deluxe Vegas agenda and tell me that didn’t have a good time.
  • As also noted in Part 1, this trip agenda is pretty much age neutral and that’s always a nice feature of Vegas: any person age 21 and up can enjoy a plethora of opportunities to do as thou wilt. I’m not saying that there aren’t spots that trend towards certain older and younger demographics, but those unwritten rules reflect vague boundaries that are self-enforcing as opposed to written law.
  • As mentioned in Part 2, my significant other and I stayed at the Venetian. The agenda works equally as well for any mid-strip hotel: Paris, Bellagio (still the place to be and be seen), Palazzo, Mirage, Treasure Island, Wynn, Caesars, or any other big name establishment adjacent to these. While the Venetian’s hotel room prices run higher than the average, it’s worth the extra money based on location, room, size, and hotel amenities. Other hotels work, too. On the high-end, I’d pick Wynn. On the less expensive end (but very nice) is the Mirage. All of the hotels that I mentioned are extremely nice and will serve you well.
  • My flight departed from the East Coast, so factor in your own flight times into the agenda.
  • If you follow the agenda in its deluxe form to the letter, you and your travel mate will need a combined budget of around $3,565 ($1,782.50 p/p). (A detailed cost breakdown is provided below, following the agenda.) This amount of money should cover EVERYTHING: flight, hotel room, shows, meals, drinks, gambling, and ground transportation. Of course, your costs may vary slightly depending upon city of departure, time of year (I went in May), and other factors.

Now that I covered the benefits of coming up with a plan, and variables you should take into consideration in planning your trip, let me unveil my whole schedule, followed by some quick comments on why I chose what I did, how it worked out, and how much it cost.

Las Vegas 2008 — Three-Night/Four-Day Itinerary

FRIDAY
8:15 AM Depart for airport
9:15 AM Arrive airport
10:50 AM Wheels-up
3:30 PM Arrive Las Vegas
4:30 PM Arrive Venetian
5:30 PM Depart for Bellagio
5:45 PM Arrive Bellagio
6:00 PM Bellagio Buffet (Bellagio)
7:30 PM Cirque du Soleil “O” (Bellagio)
9:00 PM Bellagio Casino
11:30 PM Depart for Mandalay Bay
12:00 PM Mix Lounge (Mandalay Bay)
SATURDAY
9:30 AM Depart for Four Seasons
10:00 AM Breakfast at Verandah Restaurant (Four Seasons)
11:15 AM Depart for Venetian
11:45 AM Pool/Casino (Venetian)
2:00 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
3:00 PM Depart for Le Village Buffet (Paris)
5:00 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
6:30 PM Depart for Wynn
7:00 PM LE RÊVE (Wynn)
9:00 PM Depart for Bellagio
9:15 PM Arrive Bellagio (cocktails at Petrossian Bar)
10:15 PM Dinner at Prime Steakhouse (Bellagio)
11:45 PM PURE Nightclub at Caesars Palace
SUNDAY
10:00 AM Canyon Ranch Spa at Venetian (Massage)
12:00 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
1:00 PM Depart for Sterling Brunch (Bally’s)
1:20 PM Arrive Bally’s
1:30 PM Sterling Brunch (Bally’s)
3:00 PM Depart for Venetian Casino/Venetian Hotel Room
5:30 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
6:30 PM Depart for Treasure Island
7:00 PM Cirque du Soleil, Mystère (Treasure Island)
9:00 PM Depart for Venetian
9:15 PM Dinner at Bouchon (Venetian)
11:00 PM Depart for TAO Nightclub (Venetian)
MONDAY
10:00 AM Venetian Pool/Casino
12:00 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
12:45 PM Depart for Wynn Buffet (Wynn)
1:00 PM Wynn Buffet (Wynn)
2:30 PM Return to Venetian Hotel Room
3:45 PM Depart for airport
4:00 PM Arrive airport
5:00 PM Wheels-up

Las Vegas Trip in Brief:

DAY ONE: So you’ve arrived on a Friday afternoon. Once you retrieve your luggage, head directly to the taxi line out front. The line will be long but it moves very quickly.

En route to your hotel, the Venetian, take a moment to ask your cab driver which hotel entrances are you most likely to find cabs that are quickly accessible. Most people stand out front in a huge line, but there are several other locations where cabs are dropping off people and looking for a Smartlife Traveler who walked 100 yards to save 45 minutes.

After the taxi drops you off, check-in to the hotel and then immediately head back down to survey the facilities. Take a good look around so you will avoid missing something that you accidentally discover at the end of your stay that you wish you’d known about.

After settling-in, head over early to Bellagio, pull the slots, and order champagne (which comes with plump strawberries) or gin and tonic. Remember to tip. At the Bellagio Buffet, you will not be disappointed. Plenty of everything and the place can get crowded but never too crazy. The desserts are definitely worth trying so watch your pace. The décor could use a little more pizzazz but you’ll be so busy eating that you probably won’t notice. Come early as the line can get very long (VERY LONG).

Now go enjoy Cirque du Soleil’s “O”. This show is mindboggling from an engineering perspective (not to mention the act). Seats are somewhat irrelevant as the theater isn’t that large and, although we sat in the front section and paid top dollar, I couldn’t see a bad seat in the place.

A few more cocktails afterwards then off to THEhotel (Mandalay Bay) for some clubbing. Mix Lounge at THEhotel is never too crowded and certainly not the chaos of PURE or TAO. However, what you do get at Mix is a great club with a view of the Strip that’s worth the ride.

Ok, back home and sleep for a few hours.

DAY TWO: Ok, ok, I know we’re going back up the Strip to the Mandalay complex but the Four Season’s and breakfast at the Verandah is a welcome escape and worth it. The Four Season brand has mastered the reserved sophistication. No matter who you are, you feel comfortable and welcome at their establishments. Their food is excellent and you can choose from their buffet or a la carte (try the pancakes but be warned: they’ll ruin all other pancakes for life). Float around the complex or head back to base camp.

Back at the Venetian either go swimming in the pleasant but not over-the-top pool or gamble or do something (anything) to work up an appetite because we’re heading to the Paris Hotel at 3:00 PM for another outstanding brunch.

Le Village Buffet is an “open air” dining experience (it is all indoors but you’ll see what I mean when you get there). Great selections from seafood to prime rib to comfort foods. And, of course, French foods are scattered throughout the seemingly endless stations. Again, just like the hotel, make sure you look around first before you start stacking your plate.

After bidding au revoir to Le Village Buffet, we head back home again (or walk around a bit and people watch). Not too much time because we have the 7:00 PM LE RÊVE show over at the Wynn. LE RÊVE is Wynn’s version of Cirque and is very well done.

After the show, we’re back over to the Bellagio. Enjoy a drink at the Petrossian Bar as the pianist melodically transports you. Watch people, win and lose at the tables, or tap the innumerable slots buttons that surround you. If you have alligator arms, skip the bar and play the slots for free cocktails.

Dinner is at the Prime Steakhouse. Ask for a seat in the front window. We’re dining late here so the front row request shouldn’t be an issue. While enjoying great, but expensive steak, you’ll have a front-row seat for another show: the famous Bellagio Fountains. Well worth it.

Ok, tonight we jump into the fray and head over to Caesars for a few hours of clubbing in their mega club PURE. Getting in can take some time for guys. Hot chicks, on the other hand, usually get in without much effort. A purchased VIP Pass expedites things but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Be patient and watch the “I’ve got a clipboard and therefore I am important” bouncers do what it is they do.

After PURE, back to bed or maybe a late-night run at roulette. Bet black. Ok, go to sleep. We have a big day tomorrow…I mean today.

DAY THREE: Up at 9:30 AM, make your way to Canyon Ranch Spa for a massage. After the rub-down, luxuriate in the pool, sauna, steam bath, and other facilities that are included in your treatment.

1:30 PM you hit the Sterling Brunch at Bally’s. Bally’s doesn’t look like much and neither do the three restaurants you’ll be buffeting in, but once you’re seated and you realize that you have access to unlimited lobster, King Crab, filet mignon, twice-baked potatoes (hidden around the string beans pan), and Champagne (Perrier-Jouët), you won’t leave. I asked the waiter if anyone had stayed as long as we did (I won’t say how long). He said “no” so we quickly drank up and got out. Believe me when I tell you that a little Perrier-Jouët is sublime; a lot of Perrier-Jouët can be downright dangerous. Excellent value at $75/person. Gamble, drink some more (I drank some more and that was really NOT a good idea), but don’t drink and gamble at the same time.

We have another show tonight; it’s lighter than the others but good fun nonetheless. Head across the way to Treasure Island and enjoy Mystère. While not as complex as “O” or LE RÊVE, it’s a manageable act and fun throughout. Seats here are good across the board and I had some excellent popcorn that mysteriously disappeared by show’s end.

Ok, I know that we’ve eaten a lot today (and that popcorn was really unnecessary), but back at the Venetian, Bouchon awaits us and you’ll like it. Food is excellent and its upscale bistro atmosphere will further cheer you up. The bread will bring you to your senses. After that, it’ll all fall into place as you peruse a multitude of good choices (hangar steak with frites for me).

Ok, back to the fun of getting into a club. This time we stay at home and penetrate TAO for some dancing, people watching, and expensive drinks. TAO is a test of patience, but if you stay focused, you’ll get in and have fun.

DAY FOUR: We’re up semi-early for a little rest and relaxation by the pool. After the obligatory sunburn, we shower, change, and pack. After packing, check your luggage at the bell desk and head over to my favorite buffet at the Wynn. If you’re leaving from the Wynn to the airport, take your luggage with you and check it in with the Wynn bellhop. For a couple of bucks, they’ll stash your stuff for a couple of hours.

The Wynn Buffet is on par with the Bellagio in terms of food, and a little ahead of Le Village (but not by much). The real difference is the dining area. It’s light, fun, and thoroughly enjoyable. After this final gorging, we retrieve our luggage and head to the airport via taxi. We aren’t in a hurry.

Approximate Breakdown of Costs:

Airfare $750 for two
Venetian Hotel $750 for three nights
Bellagio Buffet $80 for two
Cirque du Soleil “O” Show $200 for two
Bellagio Casino $TBD
Mix Lounge Nightclub $75 (two or three drinks)
Verandah Restaurant $75 (for two)
Le Village Buffet $60 (for two)
LE RÊVE Show $280 (for two)
Petrossian Bar $30 (two drinks)
Prime Steakhouse Restaurant $150 (for two)
PURE Nightclub $75 (for two)
Canyon Ranch Spa $300 (for two)
Sterling Brunch $175 (for two)
Cirque du Soleil, Mystère Show $175 (for two)
Bouchon Restaurant $125 (for two)
TAO Nightclub $100 (for two)
Wynn Buffet $65 (for two)
Taxis $100 (for all)
TOTAL: $3,565 (for two)

Summary

My travel mate and I saw a lot of Las Vegas, ate enough to embarrass ourselves, won or lost at games of chance, and experienced some of Vegas’ best. In the end, it was a highly memorable trip thanks to a carefully-planned, easy-to-follow, step-by-step agenda. I highly recommend that you use it as a planning tool for your couples trip. You won’t be disappointed in the results. Now go book your Vegas trip for two, and when you return, let me know how much fun you had.

Image credit: Douglas Cole / Flickr

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If you have any questions — any at all — about the agenda or what to do in Vegas, leave me a comment. I’ll respond. The Las Vegas Travel Desk (that’s me) is here for your convenience. If you followed my agenda in any way shape or form, let me know how it went! I’ll use your feedback as input into planning next year’s couples trip.

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