Archives for category: Grand Canyon

This year with all 6 of us going, I made an effort to look ONLY for cheaper option tours.  I found it through Viator and at the time it did have an extra percent off.  It was a great tour, small and friendly.  With a great guide.  Well worth doing.  Our age ranges are 40ish, early twenties and under 10’s.  So a real mixed bag and this excursion was charming for everyone!

Hotel pick up is important, seeing as there are a lot of us getting ready at one time + the fact that in Las Vegas distances are deceptive.  Another great plus is that a picnic lunch is included.  Although, they are all the same type of fare, it’s nice quality and does the job perfectly.

It’s not a long drive to the Red rock canyon National Conservation area.  You start off at their visitor’s centre.  This should be made obligatory for everyone visiting Las Vegas.  The scenery is amazing and the silence of the huge surrounding, colourful mountains bewitching.

You are then taken on a leisurely 13-mile (21-kilometer) scenic loop. Stops along the way include the colorful sandstone Calico Hills, limestone Indian roasting pits and the petroglyphs at Willow Springs. 

The finale and most exciting part for me was a visit to Spring Mountain State Park, a ranch once owned by eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes.  The ranch had been owned by various people before Mr Hughes, one of which was VERA KRUPP.  Vera Krupp was an actress, who had married and divorced a wealthy German industrialist.  She had fallen in love with the ranch and with part of the divorce settlement bought it.  She bred horses there, installed a bidet and held wonderful showbiz parties there. 

One night, two men broke into Vera Krupp’s ranch  and pried a diamond ring off her finger. This wasn’t just any diamond: Aside from its 33-karat weight, it had a blue-white center and was set with two smaller baguette-shaped diamonds on either side of the marble-sized center stone. And it was worth $275,000, which was a considerable value in the 1950s.  Krupp and her ranch foreman had been tied up in the robbery and had to drive to the airport in Las Vegas to alert authorities. The FBI found the main diamond in New Jersey; it was sewn into the lining of a coat hanging in a hotel closet.  The side stones were found at a jeweler’s store in St. Louis later in the investigation .  Krupp put her ring back together and it was sold at auction after her death to Richard Burton for about $305,000. Burton gave it to his wife, Elizabeth Taylor, as a gift. She kept the diamond until her death in 2011.

Another great aspect of this tour is that although it’s 6 hours you are back on the strip by just after midday.

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This post could take a long time in writting, so I will keep it to the point.

My favourite is The Wynn because it’s the classiest.  When I go on holiday, I want the best that I can afford.  I have stayed in all 3, The Wynn, The Bellagio and The Palazzo, but the standard never drops in The Wynn.  Unfortunately, in the other 2 (maybe because of the recession) the attention to detail isn’t there at the moment.  It is an absolute tragedy that so much money has been invested in building these wonderful resorts and someone, somewhere is responsible of letting this happen.  Who is in charge of stained carpets in the guest rooms?  Who is in charge of re-touching up the wooden furniture?   Who is in charge of re-filling the tolietries?   It’s in these tiny details that will set you below the benchmark.  What were once the height of glamour and excellance are just becoming slightly lacklustre.  The Wynn (Dec 2011) has the edge.  So for the same amount of bucks, I know where I’ll be checking-in to.

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Over the las 5 years, on our wonderful Las Vegas holidays, we must have experienced 85% of the one day organized tours.  We have tried various companies.  Some expensive options and this year, with 6 of us going, more economic versions.  I’ve decided that spending a bit more makes for a better excursion.

The first year we tried Pink Jeep, west rim to the Grand Canyon.   At the time, I was too scared to go in a helicopter or tiny plane.  So a long but very enjoyable and comfortable trip in a Jeep.  Guide excellent, stop offs interesting, all in all great trip.  This December, unfortunately, we or rather I paid about a third of the price for the ‘same’ tour but by bus.  We used Papillon bus tours.  Never again!  The operation of actually picking everyone up, going to their central offices and wasting valuable time is RIDICULOUS.  Please, if you are reading this and considering going on their trip.  DON’T.  The Grand Canyon is called this for one reason.  This is because it’s Grand and if you are travelling half way across the world to see it, pay the extra and savour the moment! 


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What is not to love about Vegas?  It’s the original ‘Emerald city’, and everyone has the possibility of becoming rich. 

As you exit from the airport and can at once see the outline of the Strip, the rush of excitement starts.  It’s definitely magical.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending upon how you look at it I’m addicted to Vegas!  Fortunately because I spend 11 months and 3 weeks dreaming and saving for my return and unfortunatelybecause  the week that I’m or rather we’re there passes TOO FRIGGIN QUICK!

I’m not a gambling addict or have lots of money to spend.  What is the main attraction then for me?  It has to be the greatest place on earth for an observer.   Don’t get me wrong, it is the best place for shopping, (yes, better than New York, London and Barcelona).  It is the best place for variety of shows (yes, better than the West End, Broadway and I’m definitely not including Barcelona in this comparison as it’s dire).  I don’t know if it has the biggest or best collection of luxury hotels in the world but if it doesn’t hold this accolade, it must be very close.  But the award for most amazing contrasts in one location HAS TO GO TO VEGAS.  That for me, an observer, is certainly the main draw.

For me to physically get to Vegas, is a major undertaking.  I live on the Costa Brava in Tossa de mar, Spain (a very beautiful place and completely different from LV).   It’s a very long way and very expensive too.  To get there, we generally first fly to London and then travel by Virgin Atlantic.  I’ve tried over the years of looking at price comparison sites, with Virgin, with BA holidays and have found that the cheapest for the same holiday + insurance (if booked 3ish months in advance) is  Don’t get me wrong NOTHING ABOUT THE WHOLE ADVENTURE IS CHEAP.  However, after 5 successive years and more hours than I care to think of trawling the internet.  This is my personal conclusion.

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Welcome to my Las Vegas point of view.  Please feel free to add a comment.