When a gang of my old school friends suggested a week in Las Vegas to celebrate turning 40 my liver started quaking at the thought!
Famed for casinos and wedding chapels, it’s also the best place to party in the world – so I didn’t need asking twice!
We decided to start the week off in style with a lunch at the Eiffel Tower restaurant (www.eiffeltowerrestaurant.com).
Lyle Tolhurst who has been running the French eaterie for 14 years was a fantastic host.
When we told him we were celebrating turning 40, he was straight over with a round of their signature cocktail, an Eiffel Affair, which is a mix of blueberry vodka, crème de cassis and rose nectar topped with sparkling wine.
The restaurant towers 100 metres over the Las Vegas strip offering a road map of the city in the sky, with friendly and unpretentious staff like our waiter Roeben who was fantastic and excellent French cuisine.
It’s said to be one of the most romantic hotels in the world too and, although I was with a gaggle of giddy girls, after an afternoon there I can see why.
We decided to check out Freemont Street in Old Vegas which brought us straight back down to earth.
Elderly men in Borat mankinis posed for selfies, and scantily clad dancers pranced around on stage while people whooshed over our heads on the zipwires.
Huge mind-blowing cocktails had us dancing in the street, much to the amusement of the hardened Americans.
One was enough for me, and after that I was packed off back to our hotel, clutching my Eiffel Tower red recipe book that Lyle had given us under my arm for dear life like Eamon Andrews!
We stayed at the sumptuous Venetian hotel, (www.venetian.com) on the Las Vegas strip, the busiest hotel in the world.
I really can’t stress how amazing the staff there were, and how tolerant.
On night two, one of our party who will remain nameless, and it wasn’t me, was chaperoned from the casino by two burly but kind security guards.
They delivered her back to the room, asking her sister, the youngest in our group at 33: “Do you know this girl?”
“Unfortunately yes,” she replied. “We found her in the casino with no handbag, no shoes on and someone else’s credit card,” he explained.
“And when we asked her what year it was, she said it was 2018! If she carries on like this she’ll get arrested,” he quite rightly chastised.
Shortly later, her friend, the owner of the credit card, was frog marched back by another two guards, carrying said shoes and handbag and also given a stern talking to.
With a few of us nursing sore heads the next day, we decided to call in at Breathe, (www.breathelasvegas.com) an oxygen bar in the Venetian shopping centre which we’d heard could help ease our hangovers.
There, we were wired up to tubes that passed oxygen through our noses and had hand massages with peppermint oil, an antioxidant shot, a head massage and TENS machine massage to make us feel human again, nothing short of a miracle!
That night we went to see Absinthe, (www.absinthevegas.com), billed ‘the most innovative and daring show on the strip.’
Held in a circus tent in the grounds of Caesar’s Palace hotel, it’s hosted by the outrageous and filthy Mr Gazillionaire and his hilarious assistant Joy Jenkins.
A troupe of acrobats and burlesque dancers put on jaw-dropping and gravity defying stunts where you can see their muscles flexing before you.
It’s a bawdy, crazy show, not for the faint hearted or easily offended!
We marveled at the skills of the artists, and there was lots of scantily clad hot guys for us to swoon over, and gorgeous girls wearing nothing but sparkly thongs to keep the blokes in the audience happy too.
Everyone was absolutely buzzing when we left, and went on to Omnia, (www. omnianightclub.com) a new £80 million superclub, decked out with chandeliers that cost upwards of £22,000!
But once we’d checked out the upholstery and handed over £16 for a vodka, lime and soda, we decided it was a bit young and hip.
So we tottered off to the Bourbon Room – the 80s bar in our hotel – where we actually knew the words of the songs!
We had such a brilliant night there that we decided to get tickets for Rock Of Ages, (www.rockofagesmusical.com), also held in the Venetian hotel, which, as you’ve probably guessed, is a tribute to the songs of the 80s.
Set in LA’s Sunset Strip in 1987, the musical tells the love story of Drew, a wannabee rocker from South Detroit and Sherry, a small town girl turned rock groupie turned stripper.
It’s a real feel good performance, ending with Don’t Stop Believin’ by The Journey which had us all dancing and ready for another night in the Bourbon Room!
Conscious we were spending a little too much time there, we spent one night at the Stratosphere hotel (www.stratospherehotel.com) having cocktails in the Observation bar 885 feet above the strip.
Two of the gang bravely chucked themselves off the top of it too, attached to a high speed descent wire, shrieking as they flew past us.
Unless you’ve been under a stone for the last four years, you’ll be well aware of Fifty Shades of Grey.
And if you like the E L James trilogy you must see Fifty Shades of Grey the Parody at Ballys hotel, (www.50shadesvegas.com) where the story is told through the eyes of three middle aged book club members.
In the books, Christian is painted as buff and polished, but Greg Kata who portrayed the kinky millionaire on stage was much more rounded and not afraid to show off his beer belly in a Lycra wrestling suit.
Anastasia, played by Tatiana Mac, was dippy and disheveled rather than drippy and insipid, and the songs they sang to tell their love story, including ‘I don’t make love,’ and ‘There’s a hole inside of me,’ were absolutely hilarious.
And we got to meet them at the end of the performance too!
While we did plenty of partying, we did take in some sights too.
On our final day we took a helicopter trip 45 minutes out of Vegas to see one of the seven natural wonders of the world, The Grand Canyon (www.grandcanyontours.com).
It was my first time on a chopper, but our hunky pilot Drew reassured us it had cost $4 million dollars and he’d spent 12 years flying it, so we felt we were in safe hands.
First we took in the sights of the Eiffel Tower, the Egyptian themed Luxor, which is a giant pyramid, and Excalibur, which is like a huge medieval castle.
Then we passed over Hoover Dam, built to reduce floods from Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in America, and supply electric power in the Great Depression between 1931 and 1936.
More than 100 workers lost their lives building the vast structure and seeing it really was breathtaking.
After a picnic in the Canyon we headed back, passing over the Colorado and Virgin Rivers and admiring the red and blue rock, made from the mixture of lava from volcanos that erupted thousands of years ago.
As we touched down, we really did feel like we had seen as much of Las Vegas as we possibly could in a week, from both the sky and the ground!
There was just one place to tick off on our list though. We wanted to dance and sing on the bar at Coyote Ugly saloon bar in New York New York hotel, (www.coyoteuglysaloon.com).
But when we got to the front of the queue, the doorman turned us away as one of our party forgot to bring her photo ID.
At 40, we figured our days of proving our age were long gone, but astonishingly a week in Vegas had left us looking younger.
And it doesn’t get much more magical than that!
We booked our trip through Broadway Travel (www.broadwaytravel.com) and flew direct with Thomas Cook airlines from Manchester airport.
Our flights cost £711 pp.
We stayed in a Queen Suite in the Venetian hotel for £1435 for seven days or £410pp.