Road Trip Feb 2015 – London – Los Angles/Orange County – San Diego – Palm Springs – Las Vegas
Monday (day 12) Road Trip to Las Vegas – We started the day with a lovely leisurely breakfast at Cocos in nearby Palm Desert with a European friend who was there visiting her dad (it’s great to get tips on the best places to visit and eat at from locals – Great service, great food and plenty of it in a light spacious diner). As much as I hate a lot of modern technology it was kinda cool that we could make arrangements and meet with friends from all over the world during our stay thanks to WiFi and Facebook.
In my naivety I thought the drive to Vegas would be about an hour long through flat sandy desert. It actually took us 6 hours as we went the scenic route which changed every couple of miles. I loved 29 Palms which was the last bit of civilization (just) and where you needed to fill up with fuel and take a toilet break if you hadn’t already done so. It was pretty remote and you saw old shacks and RVs that had just been abandoned left to collapse. Like many sights on our trip, it was just like something out of the movies. We then hit the Mojave Desert, there were so many different landscapes and none at all like I imagined, loads of amazing plants and different types of hills/mountains. We drove through the Joshua Tree Park which is an excursion in itself and can be toured on a loop or in one of two directions. Be sure to get out of your car and walk around at the various stop points, it’s all stunning! (It costs $15 to drive through but you can revisit during the next 7 days.) I know I keep harping on about the scenery but when you live in an English town it really is something else out there! It got so cold the higher we got into the mountains and I’m glad I packed a hoody and boots/socks which is something you might not think of when you leave a balmy Palm Springs. We saw snow on the ground which was a bit surreal, and the clouds were so low you felt like you could touch them. We even saw a Coyote!
Many hours later we hit Vegas! Wow! Very surreal in total contrast to what we’d just witnessed. Thanks to our trusty Sat-Nav we found The Carriage House Hotel easily which was just a couple of hundred yards from The Strip. The hotel was amazing, very plush, my husband did good finding this. I actually thought he’d upgraded without telling me but we were able to afford this because it was a hotel rather than a Casino so it was much cheaper and you didn’t have to add extortionate resort fees to the price (free parking and WiFi too). As it was just off the strip it wasn’t as noisy but was still right close to everything. I should mention that this was actually a timeshare block which made us a bit dubious when considering booking it, but after reading the reviews which state that you are invited to a timeshare presentation but not given any pressure we thought we’d give it a go. We were in fact approached once but we politely declined and weren’t bothered again.
We were in a recently remodelled Suite on the 9th Floor which had views of the mountains in the distance. It had two double beds, a large extensively equipped Kitchenette, separate washroom and bathroom, table/chairs, tv, daily maid service, etc. The hotel itself had a pool, laundry room, office, gym and shop and unlike the rest of Vegas there was no smoking allowed. And everything, even down to the toiletries were of very high quality.
As we’d had such a long day we opted for the nearest place to eat which was the Buffet in Planet Hollywood accessed via the Miracle Mile Shopping Centre right across the road (Good variety of shops, galleries, shows and an indoor rainshow – just to make the Brits feel at home!) The buffet was around $28 but that was for as much food and soft drinks as you wanted – all courses. We then waddled back to the hotel and collapsed.
Tip:- Register for a free loyalty card in the Casino for discounts off the buffet and pick up a coupon booklet in the Miracle Mile for more discounts for shows, bars and restaurants.