36 Hours in Vegas
By Lainne Himmelmann
They say when life gives you lemons to make lemonade. Luckily for me, after a brutal break-up and one crazy whirlwind of a month, my girlfriends suggested to take those lemons and turn them into an impromptu ladies trip to my happiest place on earth – LAS VEGAS.
A few glasses of wine and group texts later and we had seven Sacramento ladies and one token Canadian booked for various flights and two side-by -side hotel rooms at the MGM Grand. We left work on Friday, headed to the airport, and landed in Sin City by 10pm. The 36-hour countdown had begun.
After finding one another from our various flights, we hopped in the Vegas taxi line and were quickly on our way to MGM to check-in and change. While I checked us into our rooms, the other ladies grabbed a bottle and some chasers and up we went. (Not being a Vegas rookie, I had already done my due diligence by contacting a few promoters to get on the guest lists so we’d be good to go on arrival.) We threw back some shots, threw on some heels and were quickly out the door to start our 36-hour adventure. Our first stop? OMNIA– Vegas’s newest nightclub.
OMNIA: We got to OMNIA at Cesar’s Palace just in time to meet our promoter and head straight in. The 75,000 square foot multi-level club was packed, but even with all the beautiful people from around the world (Oh I do love Europeans!) and the world class DJ’s – it was the 33-foot wide and 13,000-pound metal mass swirling Chandelier that looks like an LED Spaceship and literally moves to the beat of the music that stole the show (and our gaze until the bouncers nudged us and told us to keep moving).
After dropping about $20 each on a drink at the bar some nice guy asked us if we’d like to join him and his friends in a booth (SCORE! The joy of going to Vegas with just ladies). After boothing it up for several hours, we realized the time (6am) and decided to head to Drai’s After Hours.
DRAI’S AFTER HOURS: Drai’s After Hours is located in the Cromwell and is pretty much the only place to go if you’re not ready to go to bed yet after the clubs close. It stays open until 10am and is often where you can find the likes of major world class DJ’s such as Skrillex following their sets. Drai’s also offers two rooms – EDM and Hip Hop for whatever tunes your dancing appetite desires. We danced and danced and then somewhere between the hours of 8am and 9am, we called it a night.
The next morning we woke up (some a bit more haggard than others), downed some coffee, threw on our bikinis, and walked downstairs to our favorite pool party – Wet Republic!
WET REPUBLIC: After waiting in a line for about fifteen minutes, we finally made it to the front where our promoter greeted us, got us in, and asked if we’d like a free cabana for today (SCORE!) and a comped table and bottle later tonight at Hakkasan (DOUBLE SCORE!). We ordered two pitchers of some pink iced alcoholic beverage for $200 (about $35 a person with tip and the cheapest thing we could find on the booth menu that gave everyone a drink in their hand). We weren’t sure what a pool party would look like mid-October, but Wet Republic was just as fun in the fall as ever and soon we felt like we were on top of the world with our own private dance party. We met some new friends and then some more new friends; by 5 pm we weren’t sure where the time had gone. We walked upstairs, got some pizza, and took a quick power nap before getting ready for Hakkasan (which luckily for us, like Wet Republic, was also located in the MGM).
HAKKASAN: Never ones to decline a free table and bottle in Vegas, off to Hakkasan we went. If you’ve never been to Hakkasan, it’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re staying in MGM. That said, it’s no XS so after finishing our bottle we raced through the lobby to get a cab to catch Skrillex at the most beautiful nightclub in Vegas – XS.
XS: Oh XS, where do I begin to describe the amazingness that is XS. Let’s just say, if you can only go to one club in Vegas, EVER, as in ever in your life – let it be XS. For me, no Vegas trip is complete without one night at XS and tonight; Skrillex was playing so we knew we were in for a treat.
XS was not only amazing because the beautiful venue, the world class DJ’s, and the extremely accommodating staff (the bartenders will actually serve you free water from the tap, which is sadly a rarity in Vegas), but our promoter greeted us with free entry AND free drink tickets. Skrillex’s show was jaw-droppingly good (to the extent that there was literally fire shooting from the stage and people jumping into the pool, quite literally losing their minds, in their tuxedos and dresses). I’ve had a lot of good times at XS, including moments where hundreds of full free bottles of patron were passed out from the staff on the dance floor, and this time was no different in awesomeness. I even met a few cuties with English and Dutch accents (my favorite)!
With only a few hours to go before our flights home, we bid goodbye to XS at 5 am and hurled ourselves into cabs to prepare for the flights home. As we boarded our various aircrafts, messy buns and sleep in our eyes, we all had one thing in common – giant grins. 36-hours in Vegas had been a total whirlwind and a total success and my lemons were officially gone.
Some people don’t care for Vegas, but I say that those people probably aren’t doing it right. Whether you do Vegas right by raging with your best friends to the tunes of World Class DJ’s for 36 hours straight or you spend it going to world class restaurants and shows – Vegas done right is legendary.
Chelsea Handler once said, “Go wherever you can afford to go with whoever you can get to go with you.”
These days between careers, everyone getting married, having babies, buying houses – there’s not a lot of time, opportunities (or frankly excuses) to let loose with your favorite people away from the responsibilities here at home. My 36 hours in Vegas cost me a grand total of $450 (flight, hotel, food, and drinks), was an absolute blast, and was hands down one of the best weekends I’ve spent with my best friends all year. I’d do it again in a heartbeat (and will be in August!)
Thank you again Vegas – you never disappoint!
If you’re looking to plan a 36 hours in Vegas trip for you and your friends, here are a few tips I would recommend:
- The more people you go with, the cheaper it will be. (And more fun!)
- Southwest Airlines has great deals for Vegas flights from Sac. (If you have Southwest Points, even better!)
- Before you book your hotel, go on retailmenot and search for promo codes to get additional discounts on the hotel room. (We got $200 off our hotel costs and a $100 hotel credit from a promo code found on retailmenot for MGM)
- If you’re going to do Vegas, do it right. Stay at a 4 star or above hotel (It’s worth it and will also save you quite a bit if you stay a hotel where one of your pool party or nightclub events is located). Forget Freemont and walking the strip, Vegas is home to the world’s best shows and greatest DJ’s and nightclubs, go to the best of the best nightclubs like OMNIA, XS, Marquee, Haakasan and the best pool parties Drai’s, Wet Republic, REHAB, Marquee (you can get in free if you do your homework).
- Contact promoters ahead of time to get you on guest lists for where you want to go. (If you don’t know any, just go on Instagram- they’re all over the place).
- See which DJ’s are playing at what venues before you create your itinerary.
- Avoid holiday weekends (if you can).
- Stock up on water, booze, and Gatorade in your room and drink before you head out. You don’t want to pay for more than one drink at the club.
- Avoid room service. (My girlfriend Natalie spends half her Vegas budget on room service eggs benedicts)
- Let loose, dress to impress, keep an open mind, and have fun!
If all else fails, you can always sign-up for a package deal like Summer Splash Las Vegas, which includes hotel stay and VIP entry into pool parties and nightclubs at a great rate (under $400 per person for 5 nights/4 days in Vegas at the MGM and VIP access to the clubs and pool parties). Summer Splash is a particularly great option if you’re 1. Not interested in planning your own itinerary, but want to have the ultimate Vegas experience 2. Traveling with guys and they don’t want to have to spend an outrageous amount of money to get into clubs or 3. Just want to have an awesome time.
I’ve been going to Summer Splash every year since 2010 with a huge group of guys and gals and it just gets better and better. (I only wish they had it all throughout the year instead of just three weeks in August.). In fact, it was having so much fun at Summer Splash in August that spurred our 36 hours in Vegas trip just a few short weeks later.
Sign-ups for Summer Splash 2016 start on January 14th until they sell out at www.summersplashlv.com – tell them Laine sent you! ☺
VIVA LAS VEGAS!