When it comes to Vegas, three days may as well be three months! It’s a whirlwind city and when planned wrong, or not at all, it’s the type of vacation you need a serious vacation from. Our Global Correspondent Jeff Guaracino fills us on on how to plan the perfect group trip to Las Vegas, where to find the gay, and how to actually enjoy Sin City.
Planning a 40th birthday party? Getting married to your long time companion? Looking for the ultimate Bachelor or Bachelorette party where the boys will only want to see boys? And, the girls, well they tend to opt for the more refined fun than the boys.
The Vegas Strip can be crazy to navigate. Vegas is so big, so exciting, and there so much to do. Where is one to start when you are “The Travel Top?” (Note: “The Travel Top” is the one that is charged with doing all of the travel organizing for your group while the travel bottoms enjoy your great effort and planning). This column was born from a friend who called me to ask, how do I plan my partner’s 40th birthday in Vegas? It had to be fun and affordably over-the-top but gay with a touch of Vegas Fabulous.
So I turned to my secret inside Vegas Guru who cannot be named. He is so inside, so expert, so “in-the-know” that I am forbidden to reveal his identity. He is my Vegas secret but in this month’s column, I am sharing his secrets with you.
His first piece of advice is that the best gay parties in Vegas are Sundays, so extend your weekend. Don’t rush home!
Best Hotel Rates Book Early
Vegas — unlike the rest of the world — is a destination where people book their hotel rooms and airplane ticket first. Today, most travelers decide on their destination first and then book the airfare, then the hotel, then the restaurant and the entertainment. My Vegas Guru advises otherwise. On average visitors their hotel in Las Vegas three months in advance. To get the lowest price, you must book early. Rates tend to go up as your date of arrival comes closer. Book the hotel as soon as possible. If you are booking less than 10 hotel rooms, just reserve the rooms online. The hotel’s website is the best deal. If you are booking more than 10 hotel rooms, call the main number of the hotel and ask for the sales department.
Hotels are plentiful in Las Vegas. To make your travel planning easier consider staying with properties affiliated with MGM. https://www.mgmresorts.com/ You choose between the Bellagio, the Aria, MGM Grand (the largest hotel in the world with 5,000 hotel rooms), Luxor, New York New York and others. Staying at one of these properties, gives you lots of perks including signing charges to your hotel room (no matter which MGM property you are staying overnight) and the ability to earn points with the “M Life” benefits program. Insider’s tip at Aria is to try to book a regular room in the Sky Suites tower. You get the perks of a high roller in a sexy room without the added cost of an oversized room. (Check out my column on the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas online at http://www.epgn.com).
Hotel Concierge Works For You
Once you have booked your hotel room, call the hotel concierge to plan the rest of your trip. My Vegas Guru suggests that you book your anchor events first and then fill in with spontaneous gay outings. Your anchor events are your dining reservations, spa appointments and signature Las Vegas shows, like KÀ show by Cirque du Soleil.
The Vegas Strip is known for luxury spas. Spa appointments book fast. Insider’s tip: book the early morning appointment and try to book on a weekday. Be sure to pick a gay-friendly spa. Spa + Salon at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas specifically trains their staff and offers same-sex couples therapies. A Vegas spa day for your group? Done and fabulous. It is usually quieter in the spa and in summer, you can enjoy the private outdoor pool that overlooks the Day Club LIQUID.
Tickets to signature Las Vegas shows sell out quick. Celine Dion and Belligo’s underwater Cirque du Soleil fantasy are always sellouts. My Vegas Guru recommends KÀ by Cirque du Soleilfor a group event. The show defies everything you thought a stage can do. If you are like me and only have seen a traveling Cirque show, then you haven’t really seen the creativity and amazement that the shows can offer. Of course, there are comedy shows, main stage shows and traveling Mega-Stars like Justin Timberlake. Insider’s tip: Ask your hotel concierge if there are any discounts for hotel guests staying at an MGM property.
Jeff Guaracino is also the author of Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing http://www.amazon.com/Gay-Lesbian-Tourism-Essential-Marketing/dp/0750682329
Photo by Eric Jamison