Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sin City Part 2: Welcome to the Doucheteria

This is Part 2 of our highly-amusing Vegas Vacation; if  you need to catch up, see Part 1.

We wake up Saturday morning feeling a bit groggy and out-of-sorts. Decide the best treatment is to grab some provisions from the hotel’s pharmacy/grocery/clothing store/liquor store and head to one of the Aria’s four pools for the day. It was a balmy 31 degrees and not a cloud to be seen. We go to scope out the area and discover that aside from the three common pools, there is also a ‘private’ club, with a semi-secret entrance complete with a roped area and no visibility from the outside. Intrigued, we asked a friendly twenty-something-ish fellow at a random kiosk on the property what the deal was. He was more than happy to help, showing us the menu, giving us free passes, and letting us know that the ladies get free champagne until 1:00 pm. We thought: “Why not?” Let’s be exclusive for the day. So, and after going back to the room to grab our day pack, we headed for the Liquid Pool Lounge, full of naive hope and excitement that we’d be experiencing a genuine slice of what Vegas is all about.

I’ll say we did. After lining up to get in (not much of a challenge at 11 am), we were subjected to a bag search, during which we had to rid ourselves of our beloved camera. Somehow, I knew this place would warrant a blog post – and some juicy photos to accompany it, so I wasn’t too happy about that. Anyway, Cam offered to run it back up to the room (at least a 20-minute trek), while I secured us seats in the lounge. Once in, I was a bit overwhelmed; I’m bad enough at making decisions of any kind and it was worse here because I had no idea which seats were what price (although I could guess the cabanas were probably the priciest of the joint). After I (tentatively) decided on a spot, Cam appeared sans camera, and we were read the minimums. Turns out the minimum you could spend for sitting by the pool in a lounge chair was $400. To sit by the pool! Cam and I had a good laugh at that, somewhat to the chagrin of our server, who was perfectly serious. We even had to sign an acknowledgement stating that we agreed to spend that much. Oh well – I could think of worse ways to spend money in Vegas (I don’t think I need to go so far as to list them). So much for the free champagne – what was the point? We had to spend some serious cash! Our servers then laid our towels, brought us a bucket of water and a couple of mojitos, and we sat back to take it all in.

At first it was quite subdued, and certainly it was beautiful and the service was pretty amazing. It was so weird – so surreal – with the collection of douchey guys, Fake Plastic Trees (AKA girls who have had a lot – and I mean a lot – of work done). After a while, things ramped up quickly, and the overall debacherous atmosphere was overwhelming and included not-so-subtle features like sparkly bikini-clad dancers who suddenly appeared on two podiums rotating their bottoms and attempting to look jaded and ultra-cool. Well, they probably were genuinely jaded. My second thought after Cam announced “check out the dancers!” – and I think you can guess my first thought – was: are they going to start stripping? But apparently, Liquid is way, way too classy for that, so the “clothes” – more like minuscule scraps of material – stayed on.

Here’s a fairly tame image of the scene, before the party really got started:

Click here for a flavour of the clientele this place attracts, especially after a few pitchers. So much for not allowing cameras!

As the afternoon wore on, things definitely got stranger.  And people got drunker. Way drunk in many cases. There was the arrival of the San Diego Takeover – a group of women from – you guessed it – San Diego, who occupied one of the many $1500 day beds. Then random douches – including one in particular who was lip-syncing along to the booming music catering to the super-trashed – and the Euro-douche, who creepily scoped out the scene on his very own day bed. Then there was the gaggle of cheerleaders of varying falsity – and all blonde – except for a token brunette. Let’s just put it this way: as time went by, the skirts got shorter and the tattoos somehow grew more elaborate and abundant. Although I had my lay-by-the-pool book with me (Fifty Shades Darker – which turned out to be the perfect choice for this kind of scene), I could barely read more than a sentence at a time. And it was usually the same sentence. The scene was really that entertaining.

Meanwhile, Cam and I were trying our hardest to spend our $400. You’d think it be pretty easy with pitchers of mojitos going for $60 each, and tiny Fiji water bottles for $12, but alas, we found it a struggle. One of the reasons was because we wanted to stay relatively sober for the Metric concert that evening. Despite Liquid’s hedonistic nature, I’ll say one thing for it: the food was excellent. Expensive, yes, but definitely in the yummy zone. Which goes to show you can get decent food just about anywhere on the Vegas strip.

Finally, after almost four hours of hilarity, we decide to call it quits, partly because the music was making us bleed out our ears. Our waitress, who was undoubtedly one of the smarter ones there, took pity on us and sent us home with a goody bag to bump us up to our minimum. 2 bottles of water, a can of Red Bull, and two shots of Don Julio tequila shots later (at a go of $45 each), we left the place at $399 + tax + gratuity. Yeah, I never thought I’d pay that much to sit drinking and eating by the pool, but at least I could honestly say I got my money’s worth in epic people-watching.

And, we will never, ever do that again. Ever.

– S

PS  In case you’re wondering, those cabanas I mentioned went for three thousand bucks each, although they did seem to come pre-populated with several douches/douchettes. Reserve yours now!

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Categories: Adventure, Pool, Travel | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Sin City – A Trilogy in Four Parts (with apologies to Douglas Adams)

OK, I know I haven’t written for AGES. Truth is, I haven’t gone anywhere for, well… AGES. Assuming that you don’t count numerous jaunts to the BC mainland to visit my awesomely cool sister and her family in Maple Ridge – I don’t. We’re also saving our pennies for our three-week extravaganza in Bali this November. But this isn’t about Vancouver or trips to come; it’s about Vegas.

This year, we decided to forgo the traditional Canadian Thanksgiving at home where, as per usual, we would have hosted the family. If you’ve been reading any of my older posts, you’ve heard a similar rant and may have noticed that we are starting to rebel more often, making the ‘escape’ at Christmas, Easter, and now Thanksgiving to other parts of the globe. But this isn’t about holidays and family; this is about Vegas!

(BTW, our trip was so hilariously cool in so many ways, from our arrival to our stay and then the journey home [well, that wasn’t so much cool than epic] that it warrants multiple posts – hence the title.)

So to the beginning… we’re on our way to Vegas to see one of our most favourite Canadian bands: Metric. We proceed through security in Victoria, which is generally very routine except for the fact that I was randomly selected to be searched, with the choice of being patted down or going through that fun little X-ray booth thingy, spread-eagled and exposed. Considering the fact that I was wearing a dress, I chose the latter. Five seconds later I was considered threat-free.

Fast-forward to the Vegas airport. Satiated with a few glasses of wine courtesy of the first-class section, we’re waiting for our luggage when Cam nudges me and points over to an official-looking man wearing a suit and holding up a sign with our names on it. Turns out Cam not only hired a car service to pick us up, it’s a stretch limo. Why not? I was surprised and elated, as witnessed by everyone else around the luggage carousel. Off we went with Mr. Limo (his name is Paul), and upon stepping into the massive car, I was kindly given a red rose and a bottle of champagne. Since the distance between the airport and Vegas Boulevard isn’t very far, and the fact that the car was booked by the hour, Paul took us for a cruise up and down the Strip. There we were, the two of us in a six-person limo, drinking champagne and watching the freakshow go by. Not a bad way to arrive in Sin City.

After our tour, we stumbled out of the limo to the door of the Aria, our hotel. A massive glass tower, this hotel is one of the classier places in Vegas; most notably where the casino doesn’t dominate your every waking moment and movement – a refreshing change.

Aria’s dancing water fountain.

The Aria’s interior is modern and cool, all marble and glass, and relatively smoke-free – another bonus. We reached check-in and after waiting about 15 or so minutes in line, managed to work our way up to the front counter. There we encountered a bit of a snafu; we had originally booked for two nights, but then shortly before our departure changed it to three. That means we had two separate vouchers for our stay that basically didn’t connect. In short, they didn’t have a room for us. We quickly sobered up. The party couldn’t be more over.

So after much wrangling, questioning, waiting for dude to finish talking to his manager and get us a room – any room for Christ’s sake – Cam put on his mad face and decided to talk to the manager himself. I’m not quite sure what he said, but I’m assuming that it wasn’t too pretty… the results were somewhat spectacular: dude gave us the second-largest room in the place. Ya, okay, maybe it pays to kick up a fuss once in a while.

We then proceeded to a) find the elevator, which after much corner-turning and bumping into walls and slot machines, we found, and then b) proceeded to find our actual room. Anyone who’s been to Vegas knows how much of a time investment it can be getting to, say – the pool to your room and back – but in our case, just getting to it from the elevator was about a 10-minute trek along a long, dark plush corridor where every corner and cranny looked exactly the same. God forbid you swayed left instead of right at a fork – which, in Cam’s case, you would have to backtrack to the right path. So, after much mumbling and grumbling, the champagne and limo long forgotten and my rose starting to droop, we arrived at our room. It’s at the very end of the corridor – any further and you would run smack right into a window. We opened the door.

I suddenly stop mid-rant. I try to take it all in, not quite believing what I see in front of me. It’s huge. Put it this way: it had its own foyer. Marble floors, a full living room suite, five televisions, king-sized bed, floor-to-ceiling windows, a shower bigger than some of Cam’s first apartments, and get this: our very own 12-person seated conference room. Conference room! We figured the whole thing was about 2,000 square feet. Basically the size of our house. Here’s a little glimpse:

View from conference room.

Living area.

From living room to conference room and bar area.

Bedroom.

Beer enjoying the view.

By this time we were so giddy with wine and exhaustion that we threw our belongings on the floor (we had so much goddamn room that it didn’t really matter, and besides, the only time I relish being messy is in a hotel on vacation) and ordered room service, which we ate up at the marble bar. The best spaghetti bolognese I’ve ever had, even compared to what I consumed in Italy. Vegas really does a top-notch job with cuisine. OK, so maybe it was worth the one-hour check-in process.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – douches, dancers and debauchery.

– S

PS. With all the modern tracking systems these days, it’s very advisable not to touch anything in the mini bar that you don’t intend on actually using. To wit, we got charged $60 for a martini shaker that I happened to pick up and shake, exclaiming, “check out this martini shaker!” and $20 for a bag of crisps we moved an eighth of an inch out of the way to get to the vodka.

Categories: Glamorous, Travel | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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