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Long time readers know that the Vegas itch hits about once a year — this past August, just two weeks after returning from Aruba, Sin City called again.

Around a year ago, my girl Zoe and our sisters and I were all in New Orleans having a blast, and started dreaming up what our next trip might be. With a shared passion for the Princess of Pop, a pilgrimage to her big show was almost a no-brainer. But with five schedules to juggle — including Britney’s, of course — our options were quickly narrowed down to just one date, a random Wednesday in August. (Tragically, Olivia ended up having to pull out due to work — but I’m not kidding when I say I might go again with her at some point.) And from that random Wednesday, a massive trip out West mushroomed.

I’d already decided long ago to head back to Burning Man again, and so I had some time to kill between Britney and Black Rock City. When JUCY campers asked if I wanted to test out their rides, it seemed like a sign that everything was coming together. Soon, six weeks were blocked off: a week in Las Vegas, a five day road trip around the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell, two weeks for Burning Man and the associated wind up/cool down in Reno, all capped off by two weeks recovering at my Dad’s on the California Coast.

I tell you, my travel plans have a funny way of taking shape. And it all started here, at .

As soon as I knew we were Vegas-bound, I started my usual accommodation booking attack. I’m somewhat of a snob when it comes to Vegas hotels — it’s just one of those places were I think balling out is a must — and so I have to admit that when I found a fantastic deal for Flamingo, I kind of hesitated to take it. But when I showed Zoe the sale I’d scooped on Travelzoo — just $75 a night for freshly renovated GO rooms with a view of the High Roller — she convinced me we’d be certified crazy not to take it.

(In the end, Flamingo offered me a media comp for the same room, and we were able to take advantage of Travelzoo’s great cancellation policy to get a full refund. But still, Vegas is one of my favorite places in the world to nab a travel bargain!)

So first things first — my pretension was totally out of place when it came to the iconic Flamingo. No, it’s not quite as ritzy as The Aria, Cosmopolitan, or Vdara (favorites I’ve stayed in for previous stays on The Strip) but we couldn’t stop exclaiming what a great value our pink-splashed GO room was.

Plus, Flamingo is one of the most iconic spots on The Strip — you can’t compete with history. Notorious mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opened Flamingo back in 1946, and it’s been a fixture on the scene every since.

Perfectly pink flamingo details were everywhere — from the classic tiling in the resort’s low-key spa to the kitschy signage at the hopping adult-only pool. We actually found the adult pool a bit overwhelming on the day we dropped by (hangovers may have been a factor) and found solace in the breezy water slides of the all access pools instead.

But possibly my favorite aspect of staying at Flamingo — and believe me, those vintage steel signs were stiff competition — was having direct access to . I first fell for this open-air (a serious rarity in air-con crazed Vegas) shopping, dining, and entertainment center a few Vegas visits ago, but I’ve never been so close to it.

Anyone who has spent time on The Strip knows that getting from Point A to Point B can be an ordeal, and so being right next to so many quick grab-n-go eateries, hip restaurants, and simply an area to stroll and window shop outdoors was a game changer. I started several mornings with a healthy smoothie at , and ended several evenings with an indulgent cupcake at .

A few more minutes in any direction brought more walkable fun: an oxygen bar in Caesars Palace provided respite on a morning of serious struggle, while the World of Coke store brought me immeasurable joy on an evening of all around silly fun.

Personally I thought they could stand to expand the Diet Coke merchandise selection at World of Coke, but I did walk away with a new keychain and matching mouse pads for my other caffeine dependent family members and I.

Love of all things flamingo-printed aside, had some pretty serious work to do winning over this Strip snob. And man, did it go above and beyond. Great value, an unbeatable location, and the perfect balance of nostalgia, kitsch, and chic in the newly renovated GO wing — I wouldn’t hesitate to return to this Sin City staple.

Stay tuned for posts on my big night with my girl Britney, my first journey to Freemont Street, and my adventures in Strip hotel hopping (I couldn’t stay still for the whole week, after all!)

Are you a Vegas addict like me? If so, what’s your favorite hotel to get your fix?

Many thanks to Flamingo for hosting me in Las Vegas. As always, you receive my honest thoughts, fullΒ opinions and poorly written jokes regardless of who is footing the bill.

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37 Comments...
  • Marni
    January 28 2016

    Oxygen bars are awesome!! I first saw one in 2010 in Vegas, but everytime we tried to go it was closed or we didn’t have enough time. Finally, this past November, we did an underwater oxygen bar while on our cruise. If you ever get a chance to – try it! I’m excited to hear what you think of Fremont Street! It ended up being one of my absolute favorite things about my trip there.
    Marni recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Wow that does sound awesome. And yes, Downtown Vegas, I don’t know how it eluded me for so long! It’s so cool!

  • Kacy
    January 28 2016

    I agree, that’s my favorite part of the strip. Is the little Irish casino near there still open? And Imperial Palace? I’m obsessed with the older hotels and casinos! That said, I’ve never stayed in one so it’s good to know about the Flamingo! I think my favorite hotel thus far as been the Paris, but I’ve yet to be disappointed.
    Kacy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Hm, I don’t remember an Irish Casino or the Imperial Palace but I wasn’t looking so they totally could still be there. Have you been to Downtown Vegas? If not, you’ll love my upcoming post about it! Total Vegas history and kitsch!

  • Courtney
    January 28 2016

    Love this post. The Flamingo looks so cute! I’m headed to Vegas next week so I’m glad to see some of your recommendations just in time.
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    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Awesome, Courtney! You’re going to have a blast! Where are you staying?

      • Courtney
        February 6 2016

        I stayed downtown instead of on the strip. But I did stop in at the Flamingo and the LINQ Promenade while I was in town.

        • Meihoukai
          February 9 2016

          Maybe you’ll like my Downtown LV post then! Just came out a few days ago πŸ™‚

  • Cassandra
    January 28 2016

    Your photos are beautiful! I think Flamingo will be where we stay when visiting Vegas; I love how close you are to shopping and dining. Thanks for the smoothie tip! πŸ˜‰

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      I LOVED being able to pop down to Squeeze every morning. They also do boozey juices for the evening! (Or, you know, daytime — depending on how you roll!)

  • Amanda | The Backpack Lass
    January 28 2016

    I have yet to make it to Sin City! I’ve looked up prices though and I can’t get over how much flights and accommodations are from Canada – so cheap!
    Amanda | The Backpack Lass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      It is AMAZING the deals you can get on Vegas hotels and entertainment. It’s really a city where you can splurge or save to either extreme!

  • Ijana
    January 28 2016

    I live in Las Vegas so I always forget that there are actually tons of touristy things to do here πŸ˜€ When I turn 21 I guess I’ll have to make my way back here to enjoy Vegas as a tourist

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      I can imagine it’s a tough city to enjoy underage! Though I am always surprised at the number of family-oriented attractions/shows/etc. I guess people of all ages want to go!

  • Maddy
    January 28 2016

    I haven’t stayed at the Flamingo in years, but I remember leaving rather unimpressed. Those newly renovated rooms look pretty great though! And for that price, you really can’t complain – especially with such a great location.

    I would probably end most of my evenings at Sprinkles too! πŸ˜‰

    Sounds like you had a great Vegas trip!
    Maddy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Yeah, I have to say the old rooms don’t look very appealing from the online photos. But the GO rooms and suites are SO cute. Can’t beat that value!

  • Amanda
    January 29 2016

    Good to know about Flamingo! Elliot and I are doing a road trip through Utah and Arizona in April, starting and ending in Vegas, and I haven’t booked anything for our last night in Vegas yet. Will have to check out their new rooms!
    Amanda recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Oh man I can’t WAIT to read about that road trip! I’m jealous already! Amazing! And yes — Flamingo would be a super fun note to end on.

  • Dominique
    January 29 2016

    This summer seems to have been completely flamingo filled for you! Flamingos on Bonaire, flamingos in Vegas! I can’t wait to see these pretty-in-pink animals myself. They’ve always managed to elude me, but during my visit to Bonaire in February I’m sure they won’t escape me!
    Dominique recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Ha ha, yup — my extensive flamingo wardrobe got a SERIOUS workout this summer!

  • Kelly
    January 29 2016

    What a cute hotel! Also, that photo of you with the flamingo earrings is seriously so so so perfect.

    My first visit to Vegas was pretty ritzy, since I was tagging along with my college roommate’s family, who happen to be super wealthy and covered all my expenses. I also won $1300 during that trip! I’m almost scared to go back, since I know no trip will ever top that haha.
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    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Wow! That does sound hard to top. Not many people leave Vegas having EARNED money πŸ˜‰

  • Emma
    January 29 2016

    Maybe this is just my computer, but your padi ambassadiver post requires a password. Is that post private? Its probably just my computer though lol.

    • Danica
      January 29 2016

      It’s password protected for me too…

      • Meihoukai
        February 1 2016

        Sorry ladies! All open now πŸ™‚ Technical difficulties!

  • Julia Nix
    January 30 2016

    Your mate, Zoe is cool like that. She reminds me of some 80’s pop chick.

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      She certainly has a great sense of style πŸ™‚

  • Caroline
    January 31 2016

    Looking forward to more West Coast coverage! I haven’t visited Vegas in a few years so would love to go back πŸ™‚

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      Plenty coming up over the next few weeks πŸ™‚ We had SUCH adventures!

  • Amy | Toothbrush Travels
    January 31 2016

    I feel like i must be the only one who hasn’t visited an oxygen bar! Vegas sounds amazing – can’t wait to see what you get up to! xo
    Amy | Toothbrush Travels recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      It’s a very fun — and healthy! — little indulgence πŸ™‚ Definitely more so than any other kind of bar I’ve been to, ha ha.

  • You know my thoughts on Vegas…and I’ll just say they’re drastically different from yours πŸ˜‰

    But! The Flamingo looks like my cup of tea! And I always love me an excuse for Sprinkles (we just got one in Nashville last month!).
    Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      I think you need to try Vegas the Wanderland way and see if I can change your mind πŸ˜‰

  • Oooooo! I love all your photographs!
    I’ve only been to Vegas once and it was more a we’re-going-to-do-the-West-Coast-in-America-fly-and-drive-holiday-and-we’re-going-to-be-near-Vegas-so-why-the-hell-not-family-thing!

    We also happened to have our young son with us, so I booked a non-smoking-non-gambling-non-party-slighty-off-the-Strip-apartment hotel and we still had an amazing time! Everything was huge and glitzy! But we went to family-friendly shows, had lunch at Bellagio’s, had cocktails, did a little gambling (parents only) at Caesar’s Palace, and went sightseeing in the desert. It was greeeeeeat!
    [email protected] The British Berliner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      February 1 2016

      That does sound awesome! I’m always curious about Vegas as a family destination but sounds like you made it work wonderfully. Sounds great, Victoria!

  • Britt
    February 25 2016

    Since one of my favourite pastimes is wanderlusting I’ve spent countless hours researching destinations, itineraries and places for a big US trip (even if it doesn’t happen for another five years haha). And Las Vegas is one of those places I’ve never been very sure about. It seems very crazy. But this place looks amazing. You might convince me yet to not cut it out when I finally make it to the US.
    Britt recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 3 2016

      I do the same, girl! And I definitely think Vegas deserves a spot on your five-years-in-the-future itinerary πŸ˜‰