for Women Over 60!
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
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
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
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
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 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:
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.)