While some prefer to be in the thick of the brilliant lights, over-the-top glitz and dizzying spectacle of the Las Vegas strip, I opted instead to settle a mile or so east at the Holiday Inn Las Vegas – Flamingo during my recent three-day stay. I enjoyed this vantage point from beginning to end! The five-story hotel is new, clean, quiet, away from the madness, and in an off-strip area of good restaurants. The lobby and rooms are HGTV-style in contemporary interior design and décor. Most of all it was convenient to the University where I attended a social media conference. UNLV is also an off-strip haven, with contemporary architecture in earthy adobe colors and airy walkways next to desert gardens.
My business associate, on the other hand, stayed on the strip. However, he said he couldn't sleep from the overstimulation of electricity and sound that surrounded him along Las Vegas Blvd. On the strip itself, you wait in line to check in your hotel, wait in line for cabs, pay up to $15 for wi-fi costs, wait in line to get into a restaurant.
But after each one of my conference days, I returned to my hotel and checked e-mails and social media at the Holiday Inn free business center. Hardly anyone else was there. Then, after a bite to eat, I took the hotel’s free shuttle to and from the strip to check out how Vegas has drastically changed since my last visit years ago. The hotel staff and shuttle drivers are friendly, authentic and couldn’t do enough for me. Since this hotel is relatively new, not many people yet stay there, so I received special treatment and quick service at breakfast.
Breakfasts, such as the garden and California omelettes were excellent. Enjoyed a nearby Spanish tapas restaurant called Firefly, around the corner on Paradise, with visiting relatives. Try their bacon-wrapped dates or veggie empanadas. And across the street from the hotel is Roy's Hawaiian Fusion. Entrees there are usually around $25 or so, but I stopped in during happy hour, weekdays until 6:30 p.m. and had two filling appetizers and a small glass of wine, all for $15. Try the lobster California maki or the beef tenderloin skewers with spicy vegetables.
I didn't choose Priceline name-your-own-price on this hotel like I usually do. That's because I was set on staying at this specific hotel: as I said close to the University, easy to get a cab (they call for you), the free shuttle to and from the airport and from the strip, new, non-smoking, cool décor and free wi-fi. Cost was far less than the strip. I found a $2 off coupon at the hotel for the nearby Atomic Testing Museum, which was better than I imagined, although quite an oddity. One of my relatives told me I must have been “desperate for something to do” to go there, but you never know when a poem might spring from such an unusual experience.
Living on appetizers and an occasional energy bar, walking mile after mile along the strip, taking in a session at the Breathe oxygen bar at New York, New York to keep me going, I actually lost weight while in Vegas, but never felt hungry.