Along the Las Vegas Strip, blinking neon lights wash over crowds of revellers as they fall out of casinos and into wedding chapels, where The King presides over their (un)holy union, gut straining against his white rhinestone jumpsuit.
At least, that’s the scene I pictured whenever I thought about the notorious Nevada desert playground – it’s called Sin City for a reason, right?
But, as I quickly discovered, this wonderful city has so much more to offer.
It’s the perfect place to enjoy a glitzy, glamorous shopping break that will leave you feeling every inch the A-list celebrity, without the speedy annulment.
Unlike most visitors to Vegas, I have no interest in gambling, subscribing more to the Carrie Bradshaw investment philosophy: “I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”. Luckily, Vegas is awash with designer shops and outlet malls.
With an empty suitcase tucked away in my suite at The Venetian Resort, and dollars burning a hole in my pocket, my first day started with an early-morning trip to The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.
Shopping really does provide a good cardio workout, and after hotfooting it around the likes of Kate Spade, Victoria’s Secret and Lululemon, I was as hungry as a Roman soldier on patrol. Regrouping with my trip mates, we took a seat at Water Grill, a chic restaurant serving the very best crustaceans, fish and deep-water delicacies. I opted for a platter of fresh sushi, devouring my garden rolls with a haste usually reserved for grabbing my credit card.
Fed, and feeling the effects of a few lunchtime white wines, we trooped back to The Venetian, where we marvelled at the resort’s indoor canal, although didn’t go so far as to board a gondola – our stomachs were so full, I fear the dainty vessels might have capsized.
Teetering along on newly-purchased heels, dinner was at the on-site Mott 32 restaurant.
Basking in the warm glow of the modern-Chinese eatery’s private dining room, I quickly realised I’ll never enjoy a bog-standard fried rice again.
The next day, heads fuzzy from a few too many speciality cocktails, it was time to indulge in another shopping spree, this time at the Las Vegas North Premium Outlets. And rather than losing money in the casinos, I actually saved a few dollars.
The 175 retailers offer up to 65% savings, proving you don’t need to spend a fortune to look a million bucks.
Laden with discounted Levi’s and Calvin Klein athleisure wear, we headed back to the Strip for lunch at Spago by Wolfgang Puck, located with the Bellagio. You’ll sense a pattern by now…
Supping on more cocktails and delectable dishes, our table overlooked the famous Bellagio fountains.
That night we checked into a new hotel, the uber-modern ARIA Resort & Casino, where our rooms faced on to the brightly-lit Strip. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve watched lights dance across the Planet Hollywood building while soaking in the tub.
Found in our hotel lobby, CATCH, we’re told, is the place to see and be seen, with celebs and common folk side-by-side to chow down on Asian-inspired plates.
With our final 24 hours approaching, we didn’t let the jet lag or late-night drinks slow us down. The next morning, after receiving suitably glam blow dries at Drybar Las Vegas in The Cosmopolitan, we went window shopping at The Shops at Crystals, Simon Shopping Destinations’ third site in Vegas, where I swooned over celebrity-approved Hermes Birkin bags, Harry Winston gems, and Tom Ford tailoring, before enjoying a pasta and pizza feast at Cucina by Wolfgang Puck. Yes, I managed to eat yet another meal.
After spending three days shopping, eating and drinking – with an incredible performance of KÀ by Cirque du Soleil sandwiched in between – I left Vegas with extra weight in my suitcase and on my waistline. And it was worth every single pound.
Rooms at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas (venetian.com) start at £115. Rooms at ARIA Resort & Casino (aria.mgmresorts.com) are from £99 weekdays, £153 weekends, while the Tower Suites are £212 weekdays, £347 weekends. See visitlasvegas.com
P.S. Simon Shopping Destinations offer hands-free shopping and delivery at The Forum Shops, The Shops at Crystals, and Las Vegas South Premium Outlets. The “Dropit” service costs £12 and allows you to drop off as many same-day purchases as you like, and have them delivered back to your hotel.