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Amazing as Hawaii may be, I think we all need a little break, don’t you? So I’m going to shake things up a bit and break chronological order by posting about my recent birthday trip to Las Vegas. After, I’ll continue onto my Maui and Kauai coverage!

Las Vegas. The city made famous for guilt-free gambling, all-you-can-eat buffets, star-studded shows, and hedonistic nightlife.  I first visited Sin City two years ago and had the time of my life — and my internal alarm clock was going off loudly, telling me that my twenty-third birthday was the perfect occasion to return. So I grabbed my little sister and my cousin Kirsten and we headed West for a weekend of Vegas-conquering.

On Our Way To Vegas!

Flight To VegasYou can see The Strip in the left of this photo!

Readers with elephant-like memories may recall that I won a weekend stay at The Cosmopolitan back in June at the TBEX Travel Blogging Conference. On my last trip to Vegas I stayed at The Aria, and when I walked through the Cosmopolitan I vowed that it was where I would stay upon my return. It’s like someone took everything about me and made a hotel out it. I just love the quirky, modern style. I don’t know what I did to deserve such luck — to have my wish granted, and for free to boot.

Olivia and I caught the first flight out of New York in the morning, so we arrived well before check-in time. Luckily our Terrace Studio room was ready for us. As we entered the room we turned into deranged schoolchildren, giggling and jumping and tearing around the room shrieking with joy — needless to say, it was stunning. It is to the benefit of society that there is no video footage of this event.

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
The Terrace Studios are made up of three interconnected rooms — a bathroom larger than an average Manhattan apartment, a stylish living room with a kitchenette, and a bedroom that opens onto a balcony with a view of the strip. I could have happily moved into this room permanently.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

My only complaint? The kitchenette, complete with a microwave, mini-fridge, and dishwasher, had no dishes other than the four water glasses! Do people really run the dishwasher with just those inside? Because I am a crazy lady who travels with oatmeal everywhere I go, I would have loved a bowl and spoon to take advantage of that microwave with.

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The room was filled with fun touches, from designer coffee table books to luxurious wallpapers to indulgent C.O. Bigelow bath products.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The ultimate luxury of the room was without a doubt the spacious balcony. Even though it was a chilly November weekend, us sunshine-starved New Yorkers couldn’t get enough of laying out looking over The Strip.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Did I mention we were feeling giddy?

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Though we could have easily stayed in the room all day taking naps and doing Jillian Michael’s Yoga Video (oh wait, we did do those things….) we had places to go. The activity we did well deserves a post of it’s own, but here’s a little hint:

Vegas Indoor Skydiving

Before we knew it, it was nighttime — when Vegas really comes alive. After a champagne-and-Ke$ha-fueled primping session, we were ready for dinner, where Kirsten would finally join us from Chicago.

The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

Our dining destination was , The Cosmopolitan’s buzzed-about new buffet. Buffet, you say? I’m a big fan — I love sampling tons of different dishes without looking at price tags. At $35 a head, The Wicked Spoon is on the upper end of Vegas buffets — but how many have been And my friend , editor of Las Vegas Magazine, confirmed that it’s considered the crème de la crème on the strip right now.

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

The Wicked Spoon Las Vegas

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

Some of the highlights for us were the design-your-own mac-n-cheese station, the fried chicken baskets, and of course — the dessert table. I technically did not have room for the gelato I polished off my meal with — but I crammed it in. As a bonus, house wine starts at just $20 a bottle.

The Wicked Spoon Las Vegas

The Wicked Spoon Las Vegas

After a brief period of digestion and girl talk back up in our room, we set off for a late night of dancing and debauchery. We started at one of my favorite clubs from my last visit to Vegas — Tryst at The Wynn. Tryst has resisted the house music movement and I love them forever for that. Here you can dance and sing along to poppy, upbeat music. It’s guilty pleasure fun.

The Wynn Las Vegas

Vegas Cosmopolitan
Vegas Cosmopolitan

Tryst Las Vegas

Late night we headed into XS, The Wynn’s most popular club. I’d love to tell you all about the music and the scene here, but I learned a hard lesson this night. You know that whole saying about “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” I think what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas because PEOPLE CAN’T REMEMBER.

Or maybe that’s just me. But regardless of the fuzzy bits, I was out on the town in Las Vegas — I know I had a good time.

The Wynn Las Vegas

XS at The Wynn

To Be Continued!

Thanks to The Cosmopolitan for their generous hospitality. As always, you receive my honest opinion regardless of who is footing the bill.

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43 Comments...
  • Ayngelina
    December 19 2012

    I had no idea rooms in Vegas could be that nice. I’d love to stay there.
    Ayngelina recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      I’ve only stayed at The Aria and now here, but these are some of the most glamorous and luxurious hotels I’ve stayed in ever! Of course, these are also the two newest hotels on the strip…

  • Ummm that room is beyond fabulous! I’ve heard GREAT things about that hotel. Your sister’s plane outfit is SO chic!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      Sigh, she is just a chic chica! Always putting me to shame 🙂

  • Marco Fiori
    December 19 2012

    Despite its consumer culture, hedonism and fake grass, I really like Vegas. It’s a place where you can just relax, indulge and forget about everything the next day. Plus, XS is wicked.
    Marco Fiori recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      Haha, I love your description of Vegas. It actually just made me laugh out loud! I’m glad it is just one of the many places I am so lucky to travel to, but believe me… I love Vegas too!

  • Tawny of Captain and Clark
    December 19 2012

    Looks like you had a blast. I’ve been wanting to stay at the Cosmopolitan for a while. Next time I’m in Vegas perhaps!
    Tawny of Captain and Clark recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      TBEX Toronto is coming up… let’s join forces and win more stuff! 🙂

  • Gaelyn
    December 19 2012

    Not typically a city gal but have been looking forward to fun in Vegas.
    Gaelyn recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      I really think there is something there for everyone to enjoy, at least once. You see people of every age, and every walk of life living it up in Vegas.

  • Jessie Festa
    December 19 2012

    Glad you had an awesome birthday! The photos look amazing. Las Vegas is always a good time, especially when it’s an all-girls trip 😉
    Jessie Festa recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      I couldn’t agree more! I’m always surprised when I see people doing Vegas as a romantic getaway… I like to be there with my friends, thank you very much!

  • Julie
    December 19 2012

    Looks like you girls were living the high life. Major props for going out after the buffet, I would have been in a food coma for hours.
    Julie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      Ha, this was a big concern of mine. My sister and I couldn’t agree on what is an acceptable time to dine in Vegas. I thought early, so there was plenty of time for digesting before dancing. She called me a grandma.

  • Erica
    December 20 2012

    Ummm… AWESOME!
    Erica recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      You summed up this post pretty well there in two words 🙂

  • Kent @ NVR
    December 20 2012

    We’ve stayed at nearly every hotel in Vegas but not the Cosmopolitan. I am most intrigued by the design-your-own mac-n-cheese station at The Wicked Spoon. Next time.

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      Two recommendations: chat up the chef, who had some great stories, and add bacon bits. That’s pretty much sums up the best travel advice I have for anything.

  • Shaun
    December 20 2012

    Too much fun! And wow, design-your-own mac-n-cheese. Mind-officially-blown 🙂

    Abby is great so I’m glad you got to poke her for some Vegas knowledge.

    • Meihoukai
      December 20 2012

      I love Abby! We became friends at TBEX and got to meet up while I was in town on this trip.

  • Abby
    December 21 2012

    YEAH!!! I love Vegas love!! You and your sister are adorable. As you know, I am such a Cosmo groupie. I’ll be checking in for two nights for New Year’s Eve. Yay Cosmo!!
    Abby recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 22 2012

      UM, that sounds like an amazing NYE! What are your plans?

  • Emily in Chile
    December 22 2012

    This looks like so. much. fun. And the buffet! I wouldn’t even be able to go out partying after that, I’d be too busy regretting my decision to try one of everything.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 23 2012

      Haha yeah I think I said in another comment I was lobbying to have dinner at like 5pm so we would have MANY hours to digest.

  • Camels & Chocolate
    December 24 2012

    Confession: I don’t like Vegas, not even a little bit (OK, maybe a little bit…I do love the Cirque shows). But ever since the Cosmopolitan has opened, I’ve wanted to go back just for that, as I am a hotelophile if ever there were one and it looks pretty rad.
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      December 28 2012

      Ugh can you believe I’ve never seen a Cirque show?! Sad but true. It’s on the life list though.

  • [email protected]
    July 30 2013

    Vegas looks stunning. I bet that was a fun trip. What a view, and nice room! Thanks for sharing. Good luck with future travels 🙂
    [email protected] recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      July 31 2013

      Thanks Lauren! It was an amazing trip, I still look back on it with such happy memories. Viva Las Vegas!

  • This is great! I love the pictures of the hotel. It looks like a really fun place to stay. Dishwasher and no dishes is really weird though. I also travel with oatmeal, PBJ, and other food.
    Shelly Najjar @ The Goal List recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 3 2014

      It is really bizarre. I’m currently planning another trip to Vegas staying at the Vdara, and from what I’ve read they have the same setup. So I will be packing some dishware 🙂

  • Tanya Blackstar
    March 24 2015

    Loveeeee this post, it’s got me so excited for my trip in May. Your pics at Tryst are gorgeous, thanks for sharing.
    Love Tanya

    Tanya Blackstar recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      March 24 2015

      Jealous you’re Vegas bound! I really need to get another trip on the books. I love this city!

  • Scott
    March 24 2016

    Looks like you had fun 🙂 How do you manage to get all these companies to pay for you! I can’t imagine simply saying you write a post on your blog in return for a room carries much weight? Tell us your secrets! 😉

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Hey Scott, as I wrote in this post I actually won this stay at a travel blogging conference. However when I let the PR team know I was coming, they generously offered a few perks like dinner and drinks. That said, I’ve had many, many hotels offer me comped media stays over the years. Clearly, both they and I feel that writing a post on my blog and promoting them via my social media channels does indeed carry weight.

  • Scott
    March 24 2016

    Wow looks like you had fun! I’ve read a number of your blog posts where you mention that you have got a free room, free helicopter ride, free indoor skydive etc from writing a blog post in return. Do you tell them your visitor numbers or something, as surely anyone with (or even without) a blog could say the same? Share your freebie getting secrets! 😉

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Hey Scott, again, this is my full time job and I have worked overtime building a loyal audience to share my adventures with. I have a third of a million page views per month and am ranked as one of the Top 50 Travel Blogs in the world based on traffic. I do indeed share those numbers with brands as well as several others in my media kit. There are plenty of people with travel blogs but not many with that kind of influence. I never partner with a brand that I don’t believe I can offer a valuable return on investment to. So I don’t really have any “freebie” getting secrets here — work hard, build an audience, and the offers will come to you!

      • Scott
        March 29 2016

        Thanks for the replies Meihoukai, sorry for the double post, I wasn’t sure if the first one had gone through.

        Interesting information, you certainly have done very well for yourself 🙂 Hopefully you continue to be very successful. I’m slowly working my way through your stories when I have a moment, so looking forward to seeing what you are doing now.

        Not sure if you have seen the ‘if Carlsberg did….’ adverts (if not google them), but if Carlsberg did blogs it would be like yours 😀

        • Meihoukai
          March 29 2016

          No worries, Scott! Thanks for reading. And now I’m off to check out those Carlsberg ads 🙂

  • Evanne
    August 6 2016

    Headed to Vegas in a couple months! The Cosmopolitan is definitely on my list and I loved reading about where you went out! It sounds like Tryst should be on the schedule too…
    Evanne recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 8 2016

      Sad news… Tryst has closed. Wahhhh! Excited to see what they do next over at The Wynn, though.