Sometimes moms just need to get away from the endless piles of laundry and mounting to-do lists. While you love your crew, a little time apart can really help you appreciate them even more, and restore you to the fun-loving lady you know you can be.
When my good girlfriend from high school called to ask me to go on a mini moms vacay to celebrate our 40th birthdays, I thought if there were ever an occasion to justify a little girl time, this was it! When Leslie declared, “Let’s to go Vegas!” I was a little taken aback, but she insisted that there’s more to Las Vegas than the cling clang of casinos and glittering lights of nightclubs. And she was right. We had an opulent weekend full of primo pampering, fabulous food and outdoor exercise.
Where to stay
We stayed at Caesars Palace. This quintessential Vegas hotel is in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and has just about any lavish amenity you can imagine, from celebrity chef restaurants to the tranquil Qua Baths & Spa. Their Roman theme is carried throughout the hotel in an impressive way and the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis, with white columns and waterfalls is elegant and relaxing.
We enjoyed visiting The Forum Shops, where I was able to find the time to buy myself new shoes. We did, of course, also get gifts for the kids. Not only do The Forum Shops feature impressive retail, dining and entertainment options, but you can’t help but look up in awe at the barrel-vaulted Mediterranean sky ceiling, which evolves from dusk to dawn as you shop.
Another incredible hotel option is the brand-new Park MGM. Not to be confused with the MGM Grand, the former Monte Carlo now includes a boutique NoMad hotel on the top four floors, which brings the intimacy of a boutique hotel experience to Vegas for the first time. Soothing room designs showcase original artwork and suites feature separate bath areas and plenty of room for entertaining.
What to do
Our first off-site expedition involved a Pink Jeep Tour of the Hoover Dam. We spent the afternoon learning about and exploring this incredible engineering feat as we walked across a bridge and several scenic overlooks. I have absolutely always wanted to houseboat on Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by Hoover Dam. The surrounding canyons and colorful soils make a spectacular backdrop for a fun boating atmosphere. It’s on my list of must-dos!
Leslie and I hiked Red Rock Canyon, less than an hour away from Las Vegas. It’s ruggedly beautiful desert, with giant rocks to climb and gravely trails to walk in the open air. Valley of Fire also provides sensational hikes through valleys of red sandstone with ancient, petrified trees and prehistoric rock carvings.
Hands-down our favorite activity was attending the Opium show at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Produced by the creators of the hit show, Absinthe, it is a wild, zany, adults-only show set to a space theme and peppered with circus acts like a sword swallower and the most endearing contortionist. He would bend his body into unbelievable positions, often struggling, but celebrating each tiny victory with a pouf of confetti and a big grin. If only I could walk around spreading sparkles and smiles, I think my days would be much brighter. You can’t help but stand and cheer at the end of this show. It’s ridiculous and oh-so-fun.
We indulged in facials at the Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace. Roman baths restore the body and soothe sore muscles while an icy pool is available to invigorate. Our facials were refreshing and the entire staff was very attentive. DryBar was an incredible place to get our hair styled. With a DJ pumping a lively beat and champagne flowing, we felt fabulous with our relaxed, curly looks. It was the sweet, juicy cherry on top of a rejuvenating girls weekend.
What to eat
We had the most delightful brunch at Primrose in the Park MGM. On the outdoor terrace, trees are lit with large, circular lights and the ambiance is like being in a country garden. We clinked glasses of lavender cocktails and discussed our lives over Blue Crab Eggs Benedict.
Libertine Social is a great spot for cocktails, appetizers and the divine smell of grilled meats. Master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganin serves up killer cocktails in this cool gastropub. We were told we had to try the Scotch Olives. Similar to the idea of a Scotch egg, these olives are covered with lamb sausage, feta cheese and a crispy coating. They are salty and hard to stop snacking on.
GIADA at the Cromwell is a soothing spot for an alfresco meal. Brunch antipasti was the best with a rich, truffle burrata. (Did you know burrata is Italian for butter? This heavenly cheese is creamy and delightful on a crisp cracker.) The Lobster Hash was tasty with chunks of bacon, potatoes, onions and peppers. They also serve polenta waffles and a burger that comes highly recommended.
Veranda in the Four Seasons was sophisticated with a very relaxed atmosphere. We were treated like queens from our perfectly crispy flatbread appetizer to the handmade pasta. Service was courteous and kind, food presentation often incorporated beautiful sauces, fresh herbs and flowers and the chicken that was recommended was our favorite dish.
CRAFT Kitchen is a darling brunch spot that wins many awards and is well worth a drive off the Strip. With coffee brewed fresh for every cup coffee, incredible pastries (you simply must try the ham and chive) and many vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options, it’s easy to see why. The Coconut Chia Pudding was sensational, with toasted granola, blackberry compote and topped with fresh berries.
It was incredibly restorative to get together with my good girlfriend, whom I haven’t hung out with one-on-one for decades. The jokes were flowing, as were discussions of our pasts, the realities of being wives and mothers, and the dreams we still hope to achieve. Believe it or not, we never put a single coin into a slot machine. We were more than fulfilled eating fancier meals than we would with our kiddos, being pampered from head to toe and exercising in the incredible landscapes just a short drive from Las Vegas.