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Vegas for Women Over 60!

Sheila Rosenberg

We “fab five” women all over the age of 60 were in Las Vegas recently for a few days. We’ve been friends since being college freshmen together. That’s a 45 year friendship. We’ve been taking “fab five” trips together for over 20 years. It’s our second time in Vegas for one of our trips. What we all like about Vegas is with its high activity level and intensity, you can be there for three days but feel like you’ve been on a week’s vacation.

Las Vegas is a lot different now than when I came here 20 years ago. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the city known for gambling now offers a well-rounded dose of art and culture. There are things to do and see in the new Vegas that appeal more to us at our age and stage in life. We did them all – eating in great restaurants, sitting on outdoor patios where we could people watch, strolling through lush gardens with giant fanciful bugs, being seen in nightclubs where the cool people go, enjoying live theater, and staying up till 3:00 am in a luxurious casino lounge sipping a liqueur. And, there’s more.

We made our temporary home at Bally’s Hotel and Casino which is right across the street from the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, the home of the famous Fountains of Bellagio. We were fortunate to see the Fountains water and music show every day and every evening. The Fountain shows repeat the music and water presentations using the spectacular fountains firing at a variety of heights and angles synchronized to music. The shows run daily mid afternoon to midnight   every 15 minutes or every half hour, depending on the time of day.

It seems any media coverage of Las Vegas always features these fountains. Now I understand why; they are splendid and not something one sees everyday. They are spectacular both in the daytime with the water rising and falling in time to the songs shimmers against the sunlight and in the evening under the glow of the lights of the Strip.

Nightlife in Vegas was great from our fab five perspective. We started each evening in the very urbane champagne bar called Napolean’s with a cocktail and the complimentary prime rib sandwiches. Napolean’s lives in the heart of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel’s Le Boulevard area with everything Parisian.  Large windows let you gaze out onto the Paris “streets” of cobblestone from plump leather and overstuffed couches and chairs. Live jazz is performed nightly.

Talking when we are together on our trips is a major past time for the fab five. We have to catch up with the latest on everyone and resolve world issues. We now live in different geographic areas of the U.S. – Midwest, West, and Southwest. So, another reason we liked Napolean’s was because it was designed so the music is not too loud for talking and not too crowded for seating. For me, the bar exhibits the type of old world elegance one used to see in the 40’s always associated with high society and culture. The clientele every night we were there was an over 40 crowd. We fit right in!

As a testament to our stamina for loud and crowded at our classic age, another evening we hit one of the hottest spots in Vegas at the moment – the Ghost Bar Night Club located in the Palms Hotel Casino. We were by far the oldest group in attendance! The Club is not large. It’s located on the 55th floor of the Hotel with spectacular views of the city below. It’s an ultra-hip bar famous for its high profile celebrity guest list. Is that why all those serious young men in black suits greeted us at the entrance to the Club? Best dressed bouncers I have ever seen at a club.

It has a roof top deck with a see-through acrylic floor called the “ghost deck” looking through to another lounge below. It seemed that everyone in the club wanted to see the “ghost deck” but only one or two brave souls were willing to actually stand on it. And none of them included the “fab five”. Just too scary to think about the possible scenarios when you look beneath the plexiglass floor you are standing on to see the floors below!

The music style was for the young crowd and very loud as is the situation with most of these types of bars. But, still very familiar to all of us having lived and loved the music of the 60’s. Personally, one visit there was enough for me. But the fab five can say we’ve still got it and can hang with the young ones – although maybe not for too long.       

Late one evening we went to a very hip, trendy restaurant called Nine in the Palms Resort Casino. It’s supposed to have great steaks while being very contemporary in design. We went there just to have an after dinner drink and see another hot spot in Vegas as it’s known as a place where you can dine and socialize. I remember lots of illuminating lights in the restaurant area.

We were seated in the bar area which was very comfortable but noisy with lots of folks, again much younger than us, standing at the bar having a great time. But, we felt young being there with them. Great time!

Another evening we were in a restful lounge in the center of Le Boulevard’s casino at Paris Las Vegas Hotel having a very late night drink. Actually, it was the early morning hours of the next day! With the painted blue sky and clouds on the vaulted ceiling above us it very much seemed we were living the moment in the daytime!       

Before we left for Las Vegas, we learned of the Claude Monet art exhibit at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino’s Art Gallery. It was definitely put on our list of things to do while in Vegas. On an afternoon excursion we meandered leisurely through the  Monet exhibit at the Bellagio. We all enjoy the Impressionist painters such as Monet, Renoir, and Delacroix.  The exhibit has been on loan to the Bellagio Art Gallery from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts world-renowned collection of works by Claude Monet. Apparently this is the first time in ten years the Museum has agreed to loan paintings out to any group from its collection of works by Monet.

Las Vegas is also making a name for itself as a place to see great theater and performance art. For an absolutely full sensual theater experience with one of the oldest entertainment art forms in the world as its backdrop, plan to spend the big bucks to see the “O” Cirque de Soleil show, also at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino. It’s breathtaking! We went to an early evening show. There are amazing technical aspects that transform the stage floor into a giant water pool where the acrobats and performers become divers and synchronized swimmers.

Although we had great center seats in the middle of the theater, there didn’t appear to me to be any unfavorable seats to observe the high level of action in the performances. The theater is the size of several movie theaters. The only thing that baffled me was whether there was supposed to be a theme or plot. If there was, I couldn’t figure it out. I guess I have a need to anchor myself to a theme or plot in my desire to make sense out of a performance rather than just enjoying it for its artistry and beauty. “O” had plenty of both!

The Las Vegas Strip in years past was uncultivated when it came to places to eat with only inexpensive buffets and all-you-can-eat specials. The only places to get great food when I visited the Strip 20 years ago was in the restaurants in the high end hotels who catered to the high rolling gamblers. The Strip now includes cuisine from every part of the world and some of the world’s top chefs satisfying our zest for different foods.

Apparently since Wolfgang Puck opened Spagos in Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in 1992, it has started a culinary revolution for dining in Vegas. We went there for dinner late one evening. Along with our usual salads, we shared one of Spago’s famous pizzas with smoked salmon. It didn’t appeal to us at all. Just too different on pizza for our taste buds.

Spago’s is casual dining with the tables a bit too close together to be comfortable. But, the restaurant is in an open-air setting under the enclosed area of the gigantic Caesar’s Hotel, which keeps it from feeling claustrophobic. It does have a great wine list. And, of course, the wait table staff was elegant in all things you would expect in one of Puck’s restaurants. The food was good but not better than other food I had in Vegas on this trip.

Another day for lunch we ate at Olives restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in the outdoor patio dining area. Olives has one of the world’s best known chefs in Todd English. We made our reservation for a bit later that day when the restaurant was not crowded so that we would be able to see the Bellagio Fountain show while we ate. We suggest making a reservation otherwise it’s difficult to get into the restaurant.

The Mediterranean food served there had amazing presentation and it was very tasty. We struck up a conversation with our waitress who was very intrigued by our 45 year friendship and our now annual trips together. We find that often wherever we go. 

However, lunch at Mon Ami Gabi restaurant was my favorite restaurant. It’s a charming French bistro which is part of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel that offers al fresco dining overlooking the Fountains at Bellagio show on the Strip side. We made a reservation for an early lunch. We don’t suggest trying to get in without one. We got seated just in time to see the Fountains at Bellagio show again and people watch. The food was simple French food served by impeccably polite and polished waiters. Having been to the real Paris in France, I can say the Mon Ami Gabi is the closest thing to dining on the Champs Elysee’ that I’ve experienced this side of the Atlantic!

I haven’t yet mentioned how we faired on gambling while in Las Vegas. That’s because we didn’t! There was just so much more to do than gambling for we “fab five” in Las Vegas, that we simply didn’t spend any time on that activity. And  after three and one half days there, we were exhausted and ready to head home.  We needed to give our senses a break! They were on over-load!

The Fountains are considered the #1 free attraction on the Strip. They are contained in the quarter-mile long lake in front of the Hotel on the Las Vegas Boulevard side or Strip side.

About the Author:

Sheila Rosenberg, Ph.D., spent 35 years in Adult Education and Adult Literacy Education.  She has also spent the past 25 years writing and traveling - turning her favorite hobbies into her occupation.  As avid traveler, Shelia has visited cities around the glob including living and working in South Korea and South Vietnam for two years.  Places she have visited include cities throughout the US and to Mexico, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, England, Puerto Rico, and Aruba. Sheila who resides in Texas specializes in writing about the history and cultural aspects of a travel location.  (More about this writer.)




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