Day 1 – The Arrival

My sister and I decided to stay over at Gatwick Airport the night before flying to Las Vegas, simply to save us the hassle of having to beat our way around the M25 on a Monday morning with the commuter traffic. We opted for the Hilton at the South Terminal as this would mean we could simply walk to the terminal from the hotel. You expect a certain standard from a Hilton Hotel. Sadly we were a little disappointed. We arrived at reception at the same time as the entire contents of a cancelled Easyjet flight, meaning a long queue. We were eventually steered to the “correct” queue for people who weren’t being forced to check in and directed to our room. The room itself, whilst comfortable, was a little shabby and there were a couple of frayed edges on the sheets. Again – not what we would expect from a Hilton. We dumped our stuff and decided to get some food. The reasonably priced on site restaurant was, unsurprisingly, packed so we mooched to the more expensive restaurant. The food on the menu, whilst pricey, was varied and obviously carefully thought out so we took a table and ordered.

The food was indeed excellent but the service was disappointing and we paid our bill and left without having dessert as nobody seemed particularly interested in coming to see whether we would like any. Come to think of it, they didn’t seem particularly interested in collecting payment either. Maybe we should have tried leaving without paying to see if we could generate enthusiasm for anything.

We were both a little tired and decided to turn out the lights quite early. The beds were such that we both awoke in the morning almost more tired than we went to sleep and we ached in places that I haven’t ached since I slept on a sofa bed back in the 80s.

We breakfasted at the Terminal, shopped and boarded our flight. Virgin has upgraded some of its aircraft and the Premium Economy cabin in which we flew had lots of legroom and nice wide seats and was extremely comfortable so although the flight was long, it wasn’t as onerous as I’d expected, despite the fact that we took off about two hours late as the fog was throwing everyone’s schedule out.

On arrival at Las Vegas, we found our rep easily enough and were directed to the car rental bus transfer. By this time, we were a little tired so when the rep tried to give us the hard sell on upgrading the car, our patience was wearing a little thin. We managed not to lose it, got all the paperwork sorted out and headed off to pick up our little Fiesta.

By the time we’d got a bit lost going up the Strip, we eventually arrived at the Hard Rock a few hours later than we had originally anticipated and, as we’d now been awake for over 20 hours, all we wanted to do was get checked in and sleep. Another queue at reception meant that was delayed slightly. Then we had to find our room. Giving me a map when I’m sleep deprived is a bit like talking to me in Japanese – I’m about as likely to figure out what’s going on. Then put me in a lift that requires my room key to get me to the relevant floor and you have a recipe for a little flash of Sue temper.

Despite all the delays and setbacks, we got to our room, admired it, unpacked, climbed onto the huge fluffy beds and proceeded to crash out and sleep – very well indeed!


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