Using tennis as an excuse for a girl's trip to Las Vegas is a sobering thought. What could possibly go wrong? But it's as good an excuse as any given that these six ladies in their midlife have friendship in common because of tennis.
The trip had been in the pipeline for months until one evening at the bar during a happy hour gathering, and far from sober, dates were secured, and flights were booked right there on cell phones. A mere $45 each way from Phoenix to Las Vegas... cheers to Southwest Airlines!
When the day finally came, I was beyond excited, and somewhat anxious. I hadn't been on a girl's trip since I was single back in 2000 and that was with someone I'd known most of my life. All these ladies I've only known for a few short years and it was going to be very close living quarters - two rooms to be precise which would involve the sharing of beds.
Laura has "status" at the Cosmopolitan Hotel and I later learned why! She was able to secure very cool accommodation for us with some free nights thrown in, affording us all a very comfortable stay. It involved some maneuvering and juggling but it worked out perfectly and everyone was more than happy with the shelter!
Laura and I shared the bed in a 1200 sq ft suite on the 44th floor, and Linda had a roll-away in the lounge area. Incidentally, "The Hangover" movie was filmed in a suite at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The balcony wrapped around the entire corner of the building where our suite was located offering fabulous views of the Las Vegas Strip in both directions. Linda had her own bathroom and walk in closet, whilst Laura and I had the master bedroom each with our own vanity, a vast walk in shower, and a tub so deep you couldn't fill it up unless you were planning on drowning! Denise, Taffy and Carol had the other room conveniently located a few feet along the corridor from us. The suite became the obvious party room for us all to congregate, storing the snacks and wine which we had brought with us in our full kitchen.
After settling in, a few of us went for a walk and decided to partake in our first drink of the trip so we stopped at an outdoor bar to enjoy some people watching. It was hot, and one glass of wine felt like several, probably from all the giddiness and excitement as well as the absolute sensory overload that is Las Vegas.
Later we cleaned up and went for a quick burger dinner at Holsteins within the Cosmopolitan and then on to see the show playing there called Opium. It was a small venue and a bizarre show with the theme of a space ship travelling from the planet Uranus (conveniently pronounced rudely) to Las Vegas. The various crew members performed different acts ranging from singing, juggling, sword swallowing and magic as well as sex with the ship's robot who (or which) ultimately became pregnant. Yes, it was indeed a variety show, with a variety of outrageous, ridiculous and some super funny moments... who doesn't like variety!
The next morning, we were on the tennis courts by 10 am which are located on the 14th floor. They appeared to have been an afterthought utilizing some wasted roof space by the giant air conditioning unit which was not only loud, but also created a wind tunnel like a tornado. We didn't care, the courts were free, and we played solidly for four hours improving as our shots became stronger to compensate for the wind. Taffy and I played singles until a couple of the others had had enough.
Everything in Las Vegas appears really close because of its enormity, but on foot it takes forever to get there. We took an afternoon stroll to Caesars Palace and there walked the entire Forum Shops, helped Carol pick out a dress for an event she has coming up and then walked back stopping to watch the fountain display at the Bellagio Hotel which was perfectly in sync with Frank Sinatra's "Luck Be a Lady Tonight"!
As if I didn't have enough wrinkles already, I soaked in the bathtub until my skin shriveled up!
... and as luck would have it, Max Gledhill, another British blogger (IG @travelandthedress) living in the US in LA, happened to be in Vegas at the same time! We've been friends on Instagram for perhaps a year, so we had to meet if only to say a quick "hello" and get a "living proof" photo! She and her lovely husband were going home the next day after a whirlwind trip, but I sure hope our paths will cross again when we both have more time - it was as though we'd known each other in real life, not just virtually through Instagram.
After dinner at Yolo's Mexican restaurant across the street in Planet Hollywood, photos were getting a tad more creative! Why use the entrance when you can break through the wall?
A little slot machine fun led to nowhere except back to the room for a nightcap followed by some girl chat out on the balcony. I can't believe they got me snacking on Flamin' Hot Cheetos in the dead of night!
The next morning, we were all back on the tennis courts minus one who had to leave early for work commitments. We played a rotating version of doubles which meant we had a permanent ball girl! Only three hours of tennis today... phew, but at least I worked off the Cheetos.
Then pool time with a very expensive cocktail! We didn't feel cheated at all, delectable is all I can say, plus it matched my swimsuit! The hot tub was also a welcome part of the afternoons relaxation as the heat and powerful jets rejuvenated my tennis-weary limbs!
We were now down to four as another had to leave later in the day. There was no point keeping two rooms, so Denise "borrowed" her bedding from the other room and slept on the sofa in the suite for the last night.
Laura and I were getting our game face on for later this evening but staying cool at the same time!
After dinner Laura taught us how to play video poker and Attila (the Hun) our handsome barman plied us with drinks which really helped me get the hang of it such that we seemed to play for hours on just $20. Linda and Denise retired to bed after that, but I'd recovered from my first night's restless sleep caused by all things strange like sharing a bed with a non-snoring human and lack of heavy breathing dog! So, Laura and I hit the slot machines... Sex and the City, The Bachelor, Michael Jackson and a medley of others. We avoided the one that Laura was sitting next to when it hit the million-dollar jackpot on her previous visit. When you're in the know...!
I adopted some of Laura's magic tricks like waving one's fingers at the screen which worked in my favor. I cashed out before I lost it all, but alas, the $40 ticket vanished into thin air, and as we staggered around retracing our steps checking our purses and re-checking the only thing we realized was that it was 3 am, and we were staggering!
The final day we took a walk next door to the Bellagio Hotel's Conservatory and Botanical Garden currently themed after a Japanese spring. The flowers were magnificent and so were the structures and waterfalls. It was a sight to behold!
It was a fabulous trip and good for the soul to hang with these lovely ladies. I enjoyed myself so much I would forget to take photographs, unlike the younger generation who do that automatically these days. When we were younger we called that 'evidence'!
Karen Serino is a life and style blogger, sharing fashion, fitness and fun for youthful women in their forties, fifties and beyond.
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Click the picture below to see my interview with the lovely Jonet Wooten from Fabulously Chic Over 50