Flying from Kansas City to Las Vegas via Los Angeles is a convoluted way of doing the journey, especially as the plane almost flies over Vegas on the way to LA. However it made economic sense in terms of price, as well as accumulating airmiles. Having been to Las Vegas loads of times in the past I didn’t envisage returning again on this trip. I’d already booked accommodation in New York from Sunday so the obvious places to visit en route would have been somewhere in the northeast, maybe Boston, Philly, Atlantic City or Baltimore. Washington DC perhaps wouldn’t have been the best idea with the upcoming Donald Trump inauguration. However I’ve been getting a bit fed up of the freezing cold weather. Vegas is relatively easy to get to, has reasonably priced hotels and is fine to spend a few relaxing days prior to the upcoming anticipated chaos of Asia.
I stayed in America’s Best Value Inn, just off Las Vegas Boulevard, mainly because almost all of the Strip hotels charge a resort fee. This is possibly one of the biggest cons in travel. Essentially its a way to make their rates look artificially cheap. You then get a load of taxes added on, plus a daily resort fee of about £20. Hotels will claim this is for things like the use of the pool (which is closed in January), WiFi and car parking (even if you don’t have a car). America’s Best Value Inn doesn’t operate this scam. That’s the main positive that I will give them, although one of the receptionists and the maintenance man were nice. The telly in the room was definitely built during the last century, there was no coffee machine which are pretty much standard in US hotels, most of the light bulbs didn’t work and the only shampoo provided was in a wall mounted case which was empty. I’ve seen better WiFi in $3 per night Bolivian dosshouses. You were doing well to stay connected to the internet for more than 30 seconds at a time. It wasn’t even that cheap either. American’s Best Value Inn is somewhat of an oxymoron.
Having balked at the early check-in fee of $20 I left my bags at the hotel and headed to downtown Las Vegas. This is the more historic part of town and is considered a bit less fancy than most of the Strip. That said, every time I visit downtown Las Vegas it seems to get more upmarket. I paid almost £4 for a coffee on Fremont Street. That was just a bog-standard coffee too rather than one of those that someone spends about five minutes making. At those prices they must have thought they were on the Champs Elyse or St Marks Square rather than in downtown Las Vegas. However the people watching from balcony was much better than Paris or Venice. I spotted a street performer impersonating the disgraced comedian, Pee Wee Herman. He even had the authentic creepy demeanor. There was also a middle-age to senior lady carrying an enormous beer but incapable of walking in a straight line, albeit impressively managing not to spill a drop while staggering sideways. It was barely 1pm.