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Santa Monica, Columnist, Hot Flash

The Weekly Hot Flash: How To Have Fun If You “Hate” Stereotypical Las Vegas

Barbara Bishop, Columnist
Santa Monica Mirror Archives
Barbara Bishop, Columnist

Posted Oct. 17, 2013, 9:39 am

Barbara Bishop / Hot Flash Columnist

I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas.

Top things I hate:  Gambling. Drinking.  Staying out late. Walking at least half a mile to the guest elevators, and at least a mile to anywhere else. Floozy-looking women trying to walk in high, high heels. The overweight tourist with his pants hanging down so low you can see his butt crack. Smoke-filled rooms.

But there’s also a lot of good memories I have about Las Vegas. There was the cute lifeguard I met when my parents took me there when I was 15, meeting up with him again in Vegas on my 21st birthday at the Aladdin Hotel and dating him for a year (we still keep in touch after almost 40 years!). My bachelorette party at 30 years old at the Hilton where my friends got me drunk and spun me around the lazy susan at the Chinese restaurant with only my bra on. When I was 35 years old, I was representing public relations efforts for Siegfried and Roy. Good times.

Those times were in my younger days. Now that I am over 50, what’s there to do in Las Vegas  for those who have considerably calmed down over the years? I had the opportunity to find out recently when my niece turned 21, and my sister-in-law and her four neighbors and I traveled to Las Vegas recently to celebrate her birthday. I had a lot of work to do that weekend, but decided to combine fun with work. 

We all had reservations through our American Express Platinum cards. They have a great package at the Bellagio. I had a beautifully upgraded, elegant suite for $250 a night. It also came with $100 voucher for the Spa, and a $15 voucher for breakfast in the Cafe every morning. And, the Bellagio is one of the more elegant hotels on the strip.   

I checked in on a Thursday night, walked a half-mile to my room (it was much easier to do, due to the additional strength I acquired working out at Fit By Fabian). That wasn’t so bad.  I got to the room, plopped down on the bed, ordered room service (sushi roll and a glass of wine), and by 9 pm I was fast asleep. The bed was so comfortable, and I turned the air conditioning down to 62 degrees, which my husband never lets me get away with at home.  

I woke up after having one of the best sleeps, I ordered room service and worked in my luxurious room with no interruptions and was so surprised at how much I was able to get done. Up at 8 am, and finished work by 2 pm. I met my posse of gal pals at the shops at the Aria hotel. Great designer shopping! At 4 pm, I made my way to the Bellagio’s spa and got a mani-pedi with my $100 voucher.

At 6 pm we all went to dinner at the Bellagio’s Cirque. Fabulous casual Italian restaurant.  After a deliciously fresh iced seafood platter, we went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s “O” at the Bellagio. My sister-in-law arranged for amazing seats for the stellar performance. The show ended at 9:30 pm. Perfect timing for my bedtime hour! I was fast asleep by 10:30 pm.

The next day was epic. Waking up well-rested, in the cool 62 degree room, I walked a half-mile from my room to the Bellagio’s cafe and, using one of my breakfast vouchers, ordered a yummy non-fat yogurt fruit parfait, turkey bacon, and coffee. After breakfast, I made a beeline for the pool and headed for our private cabana, with our own private Cabana Boy! I still had a lot of work to do, but I was able to sit on a lounge chair with my laptop on my lap. I arranged for a foot, arm, and shoulder massage later in the afternoon. I was in heaven!  Writing a new business proposal could not have been more relaxing. To top it off, our Cabana Boy served me a shrimp salad in a lettuce cup, and a Peach Bellini. After working like this for six hours, I got up, and went to my room for a nap before dinner. What a life! I could get used to this.

For dinner we went to Tao at the Venetian, this very cool Asian fusion restaurant. Again, an early dinner reservation at 7 pm. After a feast of their best dishes, we grabbed a cab and went to Minus 5 Bar. It’s called Minus 5 because it’s an ice bar, and the temperature in the bar is 5 degrees below zero. We were all given parkas, boots, and gloves. I accepted the parka and gloves, but not the boots. After the intensity of hot flashes I have been having lately, a place that was 5 degrees below zero was music to my ears.

Drinks were served in ice glasses, the chairs and the tables were made of ice. “Cool” place!  After about an hour or so, it was beginning to feel like it was five degrees below zero. Time to exit and get back to reality, and in my case, back to the comfort of my room by 11:30 pm (that is late for me!).

The point of my story is you can have fun if you “hate” the stereotypical Las Vegas. It’s only 40 minutes from Santa Monica by plane, and has a lot to offer for those of us who have been there, done that. Here’s a list of must-dos for women like me:

  • Rent a private Cabana – the most relaxing thing I’ve done in a long time. Make sure it comes with a Cabana Boy!
  • Take advantage of the world-class restaurants and avoid the crowds by making early reservations; the food was never something that Las Vegas has going for it, now it’s world class.
  • Instead of gambling, use your hard-earned money on a spa treatment. The Bellagio has an exhaustive list of treatments, and massages.
  • Las Vegas is a shopper’s dream! Who knew?
  • Use the long walks back and forth to your hotel room as the half-hour daily walk that’s required to keep in shape.
  • Ask for a room upgrade – if you ask, they usually will give you one for no extra cost.

Moral of my story: if you need to relax, and have a lot of work to do – head to Vegas, baby! 

Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 looking for insight into the hottest, most current trends, products, and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect, and a healthy dose of humor. We search for the best Santa Monica has to offer for women of any age to be sexy, smart, and savvy.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email

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