VEGAS BABY!

ImageIt was turning out to be such a delightful vacation.   Heading out from St. Louis, we took the northern route as we drove through Utah.  We visited four different national parks while traveling just through Utah alone.  God’s beauty abounds!

On our way to California, we planned one quick overnight in Vegas, because it was on our way and because I had never been there and, well, just because!

At the last moment, we veered southwest after leaving Utah, taking a detour to visit Lake Mead and Hoover Dam.  Lake Mead was kind of a bust because it was off season – mid September – and we had to travel five miles each way off the main road just to get to the lake.  Once there, nothing was open or available.  Just a lot of lake!  Pretty and scenic as the lake was, it was not one of my better planning moments.  On to Hoover Dam.  Pretty cool!  We could not take the tour because restrictions applied to those with a pace maker or who are claustrophobic.  I’ll leave you to figure which was me!  But we managed to be everywhere else there.  Having never been, I was pretty impressed.

On to Vegas.  After our nice leisurely trip thus far, we hit the city!  Ugh.  Traffic, traffic, traffic.  Because we added our side trip, we arrived later in the day then planned.  We were in rush hour.  Our GPS was not helpful and as we kept circling, it seemed every street was one way – the wrong way.  Moods were darkening in the car.  Finally, having asked directions (which I hate to do) we found our way to our hotel.  It was right on the strip, the newest hotel there.  We were out of our league.  I told Hubby we needed to valet.  Not sure what that looked like or how much it would cost, I just knew we needed to get out of the car!  Stressful city driving is not for us!

The valet guys were kind – they recognized rookies – unloaded our luggage and directed us to the lobby.  It was enormous!  It was glitzy!  It had a whole casino in there!  Obviously, I’ve never been to Vegas!  On a Thursday afternoon, I couldn’t believe how long the registration line was.  Hubby took one suitcase and found a seat.  I took the other and stood in line.  Both of us were beyond crabby by now.  Stress is exhausting!

Finally, my turn.  Hotel guy asks for my credit card and photo id.  I quickly pulled out my credit card but for some reason couldn’t locate my drivers license.  A bit worried about that, but not wanting to delay check-in any longer, I handed him my military id.  (Hubby is retired military).  Well, hotel guy looks at cards, looks at me, and tells me he’ll be right back.  What???  Now what’s wrong?  I watch as he walks across to another area and picks up a phone.  He’s obviously talking to someone about me.  I cannot imagine!  No doubt it’s a case of mistaken identity or worse – stolen identity!  And, frankly, I don’t want to know.  I just want a room.  Finally hotel guy returns and asks me some lame question about being in the military.  I explain that Hubby is retired Navy.

So – here it comes – he begins to tell me that sometimes when they have available rooms, the hotel likes to honor it’s military active/retired guests by offering one of their pent house suites.  He wonders if I’d be interested.  HE WONDERS IF I’D BE INTERESTED!  All I could say, was “huh?”  He repeats, I say meekly, “uh, ok.”  I’m in shock.  He then explains how to get there because this lobby is a city!!!  He instructs me to walk all the way through casino, passing the guest elevators.  All the way in the back, turn right, then another right.  Stop at big huge impressive door where a doorman is.  Show him special room key and he’ll instruct me from there.  I’m still in the “uh, ok” mode, but I’m beginning to chuckle.

Upon returning to Hubby, who is still in the crabby and tired mood, I’m chuckling out loud and say, “You’ll never guess what happened!  You’ll never guess!”  “Fine.”  crabby Hubby says.  “Tell me when we get to the room.”   “Ok,” I say, “follow me! ”  And we begin the hike.  I keep looking over my shoulder making sure I haven’t lost him.  Once, he objects as we pass the guest elevators and I tell him to trust me.  He’s beginning to lag behind as weariness overcomes him but I, motivated by the excitement of what lays ahead, pick up my pace.  Eventually we arrive at the big bold doors with the doorman in his cute fancy coat.  I show him my special key and all of a sudden I’m royalty!

He greets us enthusiastically by name!  He points out a couple of special rooms ahead with complementary beverages and snacks along with other perks.  He then directs us to a special elevator which can only be used with our key.  We plant ourselves in the elevator and I press the #32.  32!!!  Hubby is still in the dark but his interest has peaked.  I just keep chuckling.  We exit the elevator and proceed to our assigned door.  It seriously takes me a couple of minutes to figure out how to open the door with the newfangled key.  Finally, as I finally unlock the door, part two of the adventure begins.

The door swings slowly open.    As we stand on the threshold, we hear gentle “mood” music come forth.  We continue standing there as we seek to take it all in.  Across the foyer, straight ahead, on the other side of the living room are drapes covering the entire wall from floor to a 10 foot ceiling.  Slowly, ever so slowly, the drapes open.  Then the sheers do the same.  Over the background music, we hear the slight whirl of the motorized curtains.  We are still standing in the doorway, half expecting a butler to come out from behind the door.  But no such thing.  We walked into the foyer, crossed into the living room and headed for the view.  There, 32 floors up, we are seeing the most delightful city view of the Vegas strip.  It is certainly unlike the previous days of travel through Kansas, Colorado, Utah, etc.  And will be nothing like what we will experience throughout the rest of our planned travels through Arizona, California, and beyond.

Finally, Hubby and I sit down and I explain all about the hotel registration guy and the check-in.  With Hubby finally as delighted as I, we proceed to tour the rest of the pent house.  After the foyer and a 1/2 bath there, and then the living room, we enter the kitchen/dining room.  The kitchen, to the left is complete and large and beautiful.  The dining room to the right also has a bank of windows covering the entire wall.  The dining room table could seat a company board.  We continue on and enter the bedroom.  Beautiful.  Again with the wall of windows.  The master bathroom was quite the place!  Double sink, separate vanity, tub in the middle of the room, walk in closet, separate “water closet” with more buttons then I cared to know about, and an over-sized shower.  Amenities abounded there.

One additional fun thing was the TV in every room.  Hubby pointed out that my name was on the TV.  I must really be royalty!  The TV remote controlled everything:  lights, drapes, music, clocks, room service, and oh yes, the TV!

My one complaint was that there was no coffee pot.  That is, until my hubby pointed out that when one stays in the pent house, they do not make coffee.  They ring for coffee!  Oh.

Our original intent on visiting Vegas, was to take in a show.  But since we arrived late, and it took quite a while to take this all in, we decided WE were the show!  It was so fun.  So we chose to dine in a hotel restaurant.  Who knows how many there were!  We kind of unpacked before going downstairs, forgetting where we were.  I simply emptied my pockets onto the dresser:  keys, cough drops, wallet, etc.  Dinner was delicious.  Service was superb.  When we arrived back in the pent house, we noted that housekeeping had been there with their turndown service.  Uh oh.  I immediately headed to the bedroom to check my wallet.  There on the dresser were laid out several doilies.  One was for my wallet, one for cough drops, one for car keys, etc.  I felt so stupid and delighted at the same time!

The whole event was quite the adventure and quite the memory.  Viva Las Vegas!

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