Traditionally speaking, Las Vegas isn’t really known for its family friendly atmosphere but despite the hype, I chose Sin City for my annual birthday trip with my mother. In the past we have celebrated in international cities like London, Berlin, Paris, and Prague. This year my mother turned 50, I wanted to make it unforgettable and Las Vegas seemed appropriate. My strategy for planning the trip was to combine luxury, relaxation and entertainment and leave the city without any significant mental scarring.
Navigating the Neil Diamond’s town can be a difficult task but hopefully with these tips you can muster up the courage to share Vegas with your parental units.
Where to Stay:
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was able to channel the spirit of a small boutique hotel despite being a 2,995 room luxury resort. Our Terrace room on the 28th floor was rich with detail from the high-end design books on the coffee table to the wallpaper that lined the closets. The spacious room had a separate sitting area with modern furnishing of different textures and colors and a small kitchenette. It was also high-tech, the television reminded me of the Star Trek Bridge, giving you the ability to control everything in the room. For the amateur voyeur both the shower and Japense soaking tub could be seen from the bedroom, since I was traveling with my mom that feature was unnecessary. We were spoiled with our large balcony that gave us a panoramic view of the Vegas strip and the Bellagio fountain. Definitely worth another visit, my mother and I were treated like VIPS from the moment we checked in. After I told them it was mom’s birthday they helped me order a custom birthday cake and threw in a bottle of champagne to help us celebrate. The Cosmopolitan also reinvents the traditional Vegas loyalty program. Unlike other hotel casinos that only reward points to gamblers, the Cosmopolitan gives loyalty to points for all purchases within the hotel like restaurants and shops, giving us an additional reason to enjoy many of the hotel offerings.
What to Experience:
Vegas Strip Night Helicopter Tour with Maverick
Talk about amaze-balls! Maverick tours offers night rides that leave from their terminal right off the strip. I am not sure what I was expecting but the helicopter was massive, it could have sat 8 or 9 people. When the propellers started up I was really tempted to yell, ‘Sike, let me out!’ but I began to get more courage as we hovered above the ground. Once in the air, the ride was pretty short, approximately 12 minutes but seeing the city of lights from the perspective is a memory that I will keep for a long time. My mother was also scared but she held it together, I think I only heard her take the Lord’s name in vain twice.
Pink Jeep South Rim Grand Canyon Tour
If you have a full day available, I suggest you spend some time seeing the natural side of Las Vegas. Pink Jeep is a professional touring company that can guide you on a number of different excursions varying in price and time. We woke up bright and early Friday and were picked up by a massive Pink Tour Trekker. The south rim of Grand Canyon was five hours away in Arizona, on the ride there we passed through the Mojave Dessert and saw Joshua trees, we stopped at a genuine Native American Trading Post and drove on the historical Route 66. Throughout the day our tour guide Mike kept it interesting with great facts along the way. His depth of knowledge was very impressive and you could tell that he loved his job. When we arrived at the Grand Canyon South Rim, there were people on other tours who came up to ask him questions or listen to our tour.
Before visiting the Canyon I had seen pictures but nothing prepared me for views once we were there. The tour last 13 hours in total but it was worth it. It might sound corny, but it was a trip of a lifetime. It’s a Vegas must!
What to See:
The Chippendales at the Rio. Now before you judge me, let me just say that I had to do something totally Vegas with my mom. The Chippendales is the number one male review and famous all over the world, running for more than 30 years. They are legendary and, for some, the image of the Chippendale bowtie is synonymous with hunky beefcake man-candy and they work hard at sustaining that reputation. I was expecting a PG-13 show but it was more NC-17. No full nudity but plenty of bare-asses and dry humping. The show is designed with a female audience in mind, complete with high production quality, humor, singing, choreography and a surprising amount of class, making it the ultimate girl’s night out. Ironically enough, the girls were the one thing that ruined the show for me. The women in the audience were just too thirsty, or as my mother put it, “dehydrated.” Some of those young ladies really needed to occupy a seat. Overall, it was entertaining and I can’t deny … the boys were too damn fine.
I have to give one dude, yes you ponytail man, the side eye for slapping me on my ass while I was posing for a picture. My mother heard the noise and was like ‘What the hell?’ Not cute, ponytail man, not cute at all. 🙂
Human Nature: The Ultimate Celebration of Motown Presented by Smokey Robinson at Imperial Palace
Human Nature is the Australian version of New Kids on the Block and Take That. Just imagine the groups turned in the running man for some energetic Motown choreography while they perform their renditions of classic hits. These four blokes from down under sang beautiful harmonies and danced like The Four Tops, wearing three piece suits under bright stage lights. The show was amazing, no wonder they are endorsed by Smokey Robinson! My mother got carried away, like most of the audience, singing and bopping in her chair during songs like “25 miles,” “Reach Out, I’ll be There” and “ABC.” She was sitting right in the front and they noticed her. During “My Girl,” the lead singer snatched her up on stage to sing and dance with them. She was so embarrassed but it’s night she will never forget. Catch them at the Imperial Palace, you won’t regret it!
Where to Eat:
Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge 2985 Las Vegas Blvd S, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Three cheers for a proper diner with 24 hour breakfast. I have been suffering from diner deprivation whilst living in Berlin, a concept clearly under appreciated by Europeans. The Peppermill nails it with an extensive menu, large portions, and horribly tacky retro-inspired décor. The place can get very crowded and people have been known to wait for hours especially after the clubs close. While you wait you can always take a seat around the firepit in the fireside lounge, the smoke friendly portion of the restaurant.
Holsteins in The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Holsteins Shakes and Buns is a new burger joint on the strip located in the Cosmopolitan. The creative menu adds a touch of sophistication to traditional American fare in dishes such as the truffle lobster macaroni and cheese. Since tasting truffles about four years ago, it’s been my mission to introduce them to everyone I know. After trying the truffle lobster macaroni and cheese, my mother is a now a convert, addicted from the first bite. If your palate isn’t that adventurous they do have “normal” burgers and sides, as well as an impressive assortment of shakes that range vanilla to pumpkin pie. Random fact: If you are Top Chef Just Desserts fan you may remember Carlos Enriquez from Season 2, he’s the pastry chef for Holsteins.
Where to Relax:
Sahra Spa and Hammam at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
No mother and daughter trip would be complete without a spa visit. I made appointments for us to receive Moon Flower Detoxifying Rituals. Fancy! My mother had never been to a spa or had a massage so she was extra nervous. Convincing her to strip down to her undies and put on the robe was a chore. When she was greeted by a male attendant she literally screamed. She was afraid to leave my side and as the attendant took her into her treatment room, it was all very Nettie/Miss Cellie goodbye scene in The Color Purple.
The Ritual lasted 90 minutes and warm mud was applied to our bodies, soaking out impurities in our skin then after washing off in a private shower it was time for a massage. At the end of the rub our masseurs applied a mixture of evening primrose oil, shea butter, aloe vera, olive oil and moonflower to our skin and mom and I met up to marinate in the steam room.
After showering and dressing, we treated ourselves to even more pampering and got deluxe pedicures at the Violet Hour Salon. It was a truly relaxing afternoon!
Ultimately, don’t be afraid to visit cities that seem sinful with your parents, Las Vegas surprised us and it may impress you and yours too!
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