Mom and I agreed on our mother/daughter trip to Wilmington last year that we would try and make it an annual thing we do. We were considering coastal destinations again, but found that everything kept getting pricier the longer we waited to make up our minds. After traveling to Vegas for a quick work trip in February, the hotel I stayed at sent me a comped room package offer one morning while Mom and I were discussing options. With a virtually free room, we could book airfare and budget nice meals using what we had been planning to split on a beach room, plus Mom had never been to Vegas. We booked our flights and started a countdown back in the spring!
I couldn’t find a reasonable nonstop flight between Charlotte and Las Vegas, so I booked a 6:00 a.m. flight out and connected twice over three time zones. After nine hours of traveling, I still arrived before noon and met Mom in the Vegas airport. We caught a taxi to Caesar’s Palace and figured we could at least check our bags and head to a pool since we were arriving hours before check in. Instead, a very nice employee upgraded our room once for being early, and a second time since it was a mother/daughter trip. They moved us to a bigger room with a vanity and a window overlooking the pools, which ended up being perfect for us! After a quick freshen up, we threw on a swimsuit and headed down to the pools for a couple hours.
We hadn’t made dinner plans but Mom had asked friends for their recommendations, so I called the reservation line and asked what was available. They were able to get us in to Il Mulino in just enough time to get ready and walk through the casino and shops to get there. The seemingly endless flow of different staff showered in cheeses, meats, breads, drinks, and appetizers before we even got the menus, so it was a really fun experience. After dinner, we strolled back through the shops and stopped in the casino for a few minutes before calling it a night.
We found a pace on Monday that we kept up with most of the week; waking up, finding breakfast at one of the hotel cafes, heading to the pool for several hours, coming back to the room, and showering before we headed out for the evening. Mom had really wanted to try Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant while we were there, but reservations are really tricky to get. We managed to catch a 10:45 cancellation slot, and decided to eat lunch as late as possible to prepare ourselves.
In the meantime, we saw an ad for Menopause the Musical* tickets and decided to go see the show. I don’t know what I was expecting, but my sides were aching at the end from laughing. The entire show is hilarious and Mom was even pulled (and ahem, pushed by me) on stage at the end for the closing number. Funniest show I’ve ever seen live!
Once we caught our breath, we walked around the casinos a bit before heading for our fancy midnight snack. As expected, dinner was amazing and Mom and I were looking like tourists as we complemented the imported water from Wales. By the time we put the spoons down on the best sticky toffee I’ve ever had, we were both feeling the time difference and we’re practically sleepwalking to bed.
After our late meal the night before, we swapped our full breakfast for coffee Tuesday morning and took a walk around the Forum Shops, both of us actually finding a couple things to take home. Once we started getting hungry again, we walked over to In’N’Out Burger since I had never had it before. We took our time walking around the LINQ shops and pointing out where we may want to have dinner later. We stopped for a couple margaritas at Jimmy Buffett’s before a couple more hours at the pool.
Mom has a thing for chocolate martinis and heard there was one to be had at The Chocolate Bar inside New York, New York, so we headed there for a drink (or two). There’s a rollercoaster outside the entrance of the hotel that you can occasionally see rumble beneath the floor of the casino, reminding me of the New York subway. I’m not entirely sure if that’s intentional, but I liked it. We actually sat around the bar for a few hours talking about old family stories before we were ready for dinner.
Of our choices we picked out earlier in the day, we walked to a pizza place with an outdoor seating area we though might be nice. The place was practically deserted but still seating, so we got a nice table outside with a view of the LINQ High Roller Wheel*. Right as our food was being delivered to the table, the street lights went out and a voice came on over loud speakers announcing a nightly light show of the wheel. We couldn’t have picked a better seat and sat there dancing and eating pizza in our seats for a few minutes. Right place, right time.
We had the usual breakfast and pool time Wednesday, opting to visit the 21+ pool all day. After showers, we caught a cab early so we could ask to swing by the iconic Las Vegas sign. When we pulled up, I realized I had an Instagram versus reality moment in thinking the sign was just out there and deserted… ha! There was a huge line directly in front of the sign and a big parking lot all around it – so we quickly took a couple photos from the side and high tailed it out of there back to our cab.
We had tickets to see “O” by Cirque de Soleil*, so we headed to the Ballagio early. I managed to find us good middle tier balcony sears with an amazing view, so we took our seats and shared a bag of chips over the armrest. I didn’t know much about Cirque before going and didn’t really have any expectations of what the show would be like. It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever watched and I had no idea what was going on at any point. I still loved every second and audibly whispered “wow” to myself at least a dozen times. The performers are acrobats and divers and dancers and fearless and so elegant… I’ve never seen anything like it. It also didn’t have a plot or language, which I guess makes it accessible to anyone who sees it. Very weird; highly recommend, ha!
Mom had seen these “ice bars” that she wanted to try, so we found the closest one to us and walked over to the Venetian. They gave us two ridiculous fur coats when we walked in and for a few minutes, we had the igloo to ourselves. It was definitely impressive and bearable under a fur coat, but once we started losing feeling in our toes we decided to head back into the heat. They upgraded us to the picture package too so we have these funny tourist photos now that I just love haha.
It was getting late and we still hadn’t had dinner, but we wanted to change into more comfortable clothes first. After seeing a couple restaurants had closed early on the way to our room, I called the trusty reservation line again and asked what was still open. We headed to the 24/7 restaurant and grill downstairs and both quickly devoured our food before slumping back up to bed.
Mom had a much earlier flight out than I did Thursday, so I got myself a late checkout and sent her off to the airport around 9:00. I quickly took care of some things for work and packed my own bags before stealing a last few minutes the casino downstairs. After winning a $100 jackpot and wondering how I was going to kill the time between check out and my flight, Mom texted me and said her flight had been delayed… by three hours. I quickly grabbed my bags and headed straight for the airport to keep her company. I bought a few bags of chips and a couple sodas as we sat in front of a departure board for a couple more hours, blissfully aware that I was much happier about her flight being delayed than she was. When it was time for both our flights to board, I said goodbye again and headed down to my own gate to connection-hop home.
We had repeated vacations in my family growing up, but never one annual thing that happened like clockwork. This little trip with the two of us is definitely something I can get behind for years to come. Although speaking from my dehydrated and jet-lagged state, maybe we’ll tone it down a little next year?
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