I’ve recently got back from one of the most amazing holidays ever and couldn’t wait to share my experience with you! It was a two week trip to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, Los Angeles and finally a 4 day Carnival Inspiration Cruise stopping off at Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.
It was such a jam-packed trip full of excursions and sight-seeing and by the end of the holiday I was exhausted from all the travelling but it was totally amazing and worth it!
We started off in Las Vegas staying for three nights in the Luxor hotel, which was a great hotel with an amazing pool and we had a great view of the Strip from our room.
As the hotel is in the shape of a pyramid, the lifts to the higher floors have to kind of move on their side on an angle whilst going up and down, which was quite a weird feeling! I hate lifts and it was quite strange at first, but I soon got use to it!
I was really excited to stay in the Luxor as I think it is such a unique and beautiful design, especially with the Luxor Sky Beam spotlight, which apparently is the brightest and strongest beam in the world and it really was amazing to look at, at night.
My boyfriend has friends in Phoenix, Arizona, so they came to meet us for two nights which was lovely.
On the first night we all went to see Jersey Boys (my third time seeing the show this year!) which was amazing as expected! It’s my absolute favourite show and I definitely recommend it!
I was trying to eat a bit healthy for at least the first few days of the holiday, but soon remembered how difficult that is in America! There’s just too much temptation and when everyone else is ordering burgers, it’s definitely a challenge to try to resist one!
We had the most amazing burgers at Gordon Ramsey BurGR, with vanilla powdered sweet potato fries which tasted so good it was hard to share them!
If you’re ever in Vegas you have to watch the Fountains of Bellagio water show which is incredible and mesmerising to watch, as the fountains ‘dance’ to music and light – it really is spectacular.
We had a relaxing day by the pool in our hotel and hired a cabana for a bit of privacy (and also because they come stocked with goodies and drinks – forever tempted by the prospect of food!).
It was really lovely and spacious with a sofa bed and t.v and I was able to sit in the shade whenever I wanted – without having to keep re-positioning an umbrella out of the sun which can be so annoying!
This was my second time in Vegas and I just love the bright lights, noise and general craziness of it – it has such a great, happy atmosphere. I love walking along the strip seeing all the different hotels and sights.
I even managed to win on the slot machines – a whole $1 but I only gambled about $5 and had absolutely no idea what buttons I was pressing so that’s a win in my eyes!
We also went to The Mob Museum in downtown Las Vegas which was a great visit. It was really interesting to walk down the original town and gambling district which housed the original casino’s before the Strip, especially having just found out all about what Vegas was like in the past when it was ruled by the Mob. Scary stuff!
It was so, so hot there though, we had to keep going inside casino’s for a drink to cool down and we found out they sold $2 Margarita’s – so obviously we had to stay for a while!
On our last night we went to watch Human Nature: The Motown Show at The Venetian which was brilliant! The show was really funny in parts too, as they tell the story of how the band got together as well as performing the songs.
So glad I finally got to have my picture taken by the Las Vegas sign! There were crowds of people and we had to find the perfect moment to take the picture when there was nobody there, which was really difficult and frustrating but we managed it after a few awkward pictures and some very awkward posing from me!
On the last day we were picked up and taken to the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort in Arizona by minibus. I was a bit apprehensive at first as I had no idea what to expect, but, it actually turned out to be both mine and my boyfriends favourite part of the holiday.
We were only there for two nights and I wish we could have had longer as it really was such an amazing, once in a lifetime experience. We both said we would love to be able to do it again in a few years and stay for a bit longer next time.
We had to put our suitcases in lock-up as we were only allowed to take an overnight bag, which stressed me out at first but it turned out to be fine as we didn’t need much for two days – but obviously I overpacked as usual!
It was nice to have that simplicity for a few days and there was also no signal or internet connection at the ranch and after being there a few minutes we soon realised how nice that actually was!
The ranch is located on East Diamond Bar Road about a two hour drive from Las Vegas- practically in the middle of nowhere in the desert! It was actually like being taken back in time to the Wild West with the spectacular mountain views, horses, cowboys, authentic looking pine cabins and a bar with an area to sit outside and drink by a campfire.
We immediately felt so welcome and relaxed and as it’s such a unique experience, none of us knew exactly what to expect at first – but all the staff were amazingly friendly and really made us feel at home. They were always at hand to help with anything too, such as booking excursions and making sure we fit everything in.
We were greeted by a cowboy called Casey who was such a nice guy and brilliant host for the two days and really made the experience special for everyone. He had some great stories to tell, telling us all about the history of the ranch and was such an interesting guy to listen to.
He was always at hand with his guitar playing a mix of his own music and his versions of songs – he could literally play anything you asked for! He sang one of my favourite songs, Galway Girl, while we were all sat by the campfire at night, drinking and toasting marshmallows making s’mores – such a perfect evening.
The camp had such a friendly atmosphere and with a only small number of guests it made it all that more special as it was so relaxed and peaceful the whole time.
The food menu was simple but really nice with meals like burgers, salads and steaks. They were all reasonable portions and not massive as usual, which was a refreshing change for me as I was happy to eat a little less for a few days after how much I ate in Vegas!
On the first day we went on their Gun Range excursion which I was so nervous about doing! It was an outdoor gun range and I nearly backed out of doing it but the range master, John, who taught us really put me at ease.
I was so scared initially as I had heard about gun ranges not really taking a lot of time explaining everything, but he really spent a long time teaching us how to stand, aim and fire properly and I actually managed to hit a bullseye!
I absolutely loved our cabin! It was much bigger than I thought and it even had an upstairs area with another bed! It was so cute and cosy, especially with the little porch area where you could sit outside and enjoy the view.
We did have a bit of a tarantula incident though…
We hadn’t come across one spider the whole time we were there, and the cabins were air-tight so practically nothing could get in – we did a thorough check on arrival! But on the last night, my boyfriend was enjoying a drink on the porch when he looked up and saw a big spider on the porch ceiling so shouted me to come and have a look, obviously to scare me!
I was looking in the opposite direction and absolutely screamed when I realised I was staring at a tarantula! We were both looking at different spiders and when he turned to see what I was screaming at, we both just jumped up and literally ran away from the cabin!
It was huge, grey and hairy – I remember it vividly and I’ll never get that image out of my head! We made such a fuss that everyone came over to have a look and I had to ask one of the cowboys to get rid of it. He just picked it up and put it somewhere in the grass.
Apparently it was a baby tarantula but I had never seen a spider that big before so goodness knows how big it’s mum was! Thankfully though, literally nothing could get in the cabins so I was fine after that, although it did shock me when I first saw it – but at least I’ve seen a tarantula now! Don’t quite know if that’s a good thing or not!
I insisted on buying a cowboy hat in Vegas ready for the ranch as I thought people would be wearing them, and bought this one from Roxy.
I loved it and couldn’t wait to wear it but when we got there no one was wearing them so I felt a bit silly being the only one, so it was just left hanging up in the cabin the whole time!
While we were there, we went on a few excursions so we could do some sight seeing of the Grand Canyon. We had an amazing tour of the Grand Canyon by helicopter – which was my first helicopter ride so I was slightly nervous – but it was fantastic and the views were incredible.
We were able to really explore the Grand Canyon as our tour bus stopped off at particular vantage points and along hiking trails for some breathtaking views.
In the evening we went on a horseback ride as the sun was going down – so beautiful!
It was the highlight of the trip for me as I had never been on a horse before and it ended up being much more than I had expected. It was a beautiful trail with stunning views and it was so peaceful riding along in the desert.
When our time at the ranch was over, we were taken to the airport to catch our flight to LA for the rest of our holiday. We stopped of at the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead during the journey so we managed to get some last minute sight-seeing in before we reached the airport.
I absolutely loved my time at the Grand Canyon Ranch – it was such a wonderful, memorable experience. It was a place where you could just relax, forget about checking your phone and really just cherish being in the middle of nowhere. Such a rare experience that I’d love to get the chance to do again some day.
So that’s the first part of my holiday post. I’ve had to split it up into two, as there are just too many pictures for one post! The next one will be all about my time in LA and the cruise to Catalina Island and Mexico.