This is how the idea began to percolate. Weather in Seattle in mid-September was nice but not swim-outside nice and we wanted to go somewhere like that but only for a few days and not fly really far. We also didn’t want to spend a ton but wanted to stay in a nice hotel with a great pool. And it would be a bonus if we didn’t even have to rent a car. (This doesn’t sound demanding in the least, right?) And then Vegas started showing up in my Facebook feed but I didn’t know if it was the type of place the hubby and I wanted to go by ourselves one day or if it was a place that would be kid-appropriate. So when I checked the airfare and it was half the price of flying to LA and we found a great deal on a one bedroom at Thehotel (part of Mandalay Bay) which has an AWESOME pool we knew we had to try.
So yes the pool is awesome and it was nice that it wasn’t crowded (late-September)and we could get beach chairs nearby. We spent hours in the lazy river (we brought water wings for the kids) and in the shallow kid-friendly side of the wave pool. (Note: you must be 48 inches to swim in the wave pool)
We also had fun at the Shark Reef even though the hubby wasn’t super-impressed. (It was small and a little pricey, but EVERYTHING seems a little pricey in Vegas and I thought the touch pool with little manta rays was worth it.)
I liked the Coca Cola Store, maybe because we got a free family photo and those are so rare on family trips. (This one was on my phone-hence the green screen. The ones they take for you with backgrounds start at 30+ dollars. No thank you.) And they have a neat tasting bar there if you’re into soda: you can try sodas from all over the world which would be fun if you were there with older kids.
The hubby figured out the free monorails and how they connected. Things were a little far from Mandalay Bay and we didn’t get to Circus Circus but we did get to try some carnival games for the first time at Excalibur.
We ate nice food like pastries from Jean-Phillipe in the Bellagio.
And those old 99 cent buffets people used to talk about in Vegas? They don’t really exist anymore, and though we tried the kids-eat-free one at the Mandalay Bay (meh…) the new Caesar buffet: The Bacchanal was expensive but divine. The guys liked the table-side tvs at a restaurant called the Burger Bar and the Red White and Blue Restaurant in the Mandalay Bay had convenient take out.
I think there are a lot of babysitting options in Vegas, but we alternated putting the guys to bed on a couple nights so we could each go out, see some sites, test our luck and bring back some boozy, slushy drinks.
And though we didn’t win anything, I think our luck was well-spent on the plane landing to get here. (Thank Goodness!) If we added all our time up, we’d probably find out that most of our time was spent at the pool, which was exactly why we came here in the first place. So ultimately this was exactly what we wanted: a pool vacation with great food options and nice accommodations without a hefty bill.
(PS. it is smoky in Vegas. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen lululemon gear and cigarettes combined. That said it’s a lot less smoky than it was years ago and I think we actually got plenty of gulps of fresh air on this trip.)
PPS there are no more lions at MGM.
PPS it was nice to see Seattle represent so well in Las Vegas: I don’t think there were any other coffee shops BESIDES Starbucks on the strip. And family travels in Las Vegas are definitely fueled by Starbucks.)