Our New Las Vegas Vacation Diet

Mrs. Spidey and I are finishing up a four-day vacation in Las Vegas. We’re staying at the new Aria hotel in City Center, and I’ll have more on that in Wednesday’s travel post.

We like Las Vegas. We’ve been here about once each year in the recent past, usually while our kids are off at summer camp.  Over the years, we’ve stayed at ten different hotels on the strip. We like sitting by the pool and relaxing. We like gambling a bit. We like the food, and we like the spas.

While we aren’t newbies and know our way around, I know we are more like the average tourist.  We aren’t high stakes gamblers, preferring slot machines over table games.  We aren’t in for the weekend from Southern California solely to party.  We don’t stay out often much past 1:00am, and, if we do, it’s because I’m in the casino playing lower denomination slots.

And, like most other average tourists, we’re watching both our bottom lines and our waist lines.  I think this year we may have figured out one easy way to do both and enjoy ourselves.

(As a quick side note – if you think you are overweight and want to feel good about yourself, come to Las Vegas.  I think all the stock footage the networks use when talking about obesity was shot here.  If you don’t think Americans, on average, needs to lose some pounds, come to Las Vegas.)

Not eating is not the answer to watching your finances and your calories.  On our trips, we have eaten at some very good and very expensive restaurants. We’ve eaten at Alex at the Wynn and Sinatra’s at the Encore. We’ve also eaten at both Capital Grille and Morton‘s here, and the restaurant up in the Eiffel Tower at Paris. We also ate at the now-closed Commander’s Palace in about 2005, when it was still at the Alladin, which has since morphed to Planet Hollywood.

Our new Las Vegas Vacation Diet has five parts:

  1. Eat a big breakfast at a buffet sometime after 9:30.  Take a few pieces of fruit or cookies with you for snacks later.
  2. Hit the hotel spa/gym in the afternoon for a workout.  (This may be the most critical step.)
  3. Snack on the free apples, oranges and drinks in the spa.
  4. Eat dinner at about 7:oo or so at a buffet.  Again, take a piece of fruit or two for later.
  5. Walk up and down the strip, avoid taxis where possible.  (For example, you can’t really walk to Rio, the Palms, or Hard Rock.)

No, I’m not nuts for including two buffets as part of a diet.  First, I’m not assuming you will lose weight in Las Vegas.  That’s stupid.  Of course you won’t. The challenge is to limit how much you gain.  Second, if you have willpower and stop when you are full, buffets at the better hotels do have good food and good variety.

Thanks to the good people at Harrah’s, there is also a great economical way to make this happen.  They’ve introduced something call the Buffet of Buffets.  For $40 (after joining their Total Rewards frequent player program – which is free), a person can eat at seven different buffets under the Harrah’s umbrella for 24 hours.  This isn’t three meals, this is legitimately unlimited.  You can slip in any time for a dish of ice cream or banana, although be wary of long lines to be seated, as you can’t avoid them.  You do not have to stay at one of their hotels to be eligible.

We went to Paris for brunch on Sunday morning and purchased our 24-hours worth there.  (We did pay $10 more per person to cut the ridiculously large line.)  We strategized to eat breakfast a bit later, so we’d have time on Monday morning to eat breakfast again within the 24 hours.  We later had dinner at Planet Hollywood and breakfast Monday at the Flamingo.  Of course, if you want to have lunch as well, you can.  We were still full from breakfast nearly to dinner time.

You need to factor the spa/gym cost into your equation.  Here at the Aria it’s $30 per day ($80 for three), but that includes the drinks and food noted above, plus sauna, steam room, whirlpools, towels, robes, etc.  We recommend a workout followed by at least 90 minutes of relaxation up in the spa.

That nets to $70 per person per day for food and exercise, not including tips.  We challenge you to eat three meals here for under $70 per day without going to McDonald’s or something else you can find back at home.

We didn’t follow this diet two days in a row because, honestly, we can’t take buffets that many times in a row for dinner.  As noted above, we do like good restaurants.  We also like breakfast buffets, which is why we chose to start our 24 hours in the morning.   However, if you can take buffets at every meal, then, thanks to Harrah’s, you can utilize this New Las Vegas Vacation Diet for your entire stay and watch your bottom line and your waistline.


One Response to Our New Las Vegas Vacation Diet

  1. Pingback: Trip Report – Aria Hotel and Casino at City Center in Las Vegas « Life With Spidey

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