I recently returned from a week’s vacation in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I learned good drinking water and a place to sit down and rest are not considered basic human rights.
Water is my beverage of choice. As a water lover, I was disappointed to discover the tap water in Vegas is completely unpalatable. I am not just talking about a little chlorine that could be filtered out using one of those pitcher filters, either. It tasted so bad I couldn’t drink it, and was forced to buy bottled water.
You might think this would be no big deal, but all the hotels on The Strip charge a whopping $5 for a 16 oz. bottle of water. I guess they figure if you aren’t going to gamble or buy booze, they’ve got to get your money the old fashioned way, by forcing you to pay a premium just to stay hydrated.
But, wait! There’s more to be outraged about than the price of bottled water! If you decide to go to the hotel pool to cool off, you will discover that no outside containers are allowed. That makes sense, since they want you to buy things from the poolside bar, but guess what? If you do get thirsty out there in the hot sun, there isn’t even a drinking fountain dispensing that horrible tap water. You actually have to belly up to the bar and pay $3 for the privilege of choking down a small cup of the same tap water you could get from the sink in your room!
Since I drink a lot of water, and didn’t want to spend $30 a day on it, the only options were to make the trek to Walgreens every day and lug back a gallon for $1.99, or find people outside selling 16-ouncers out of their personal coolers for only $1 a bottle. We gladly exercised both of those options in order to survive our week in Vegas, and were supremely grateful for them!
As if finding good, affordable drinking water was not enough, we also discovered it’s nearly impossible to find a place to sit down after you have worn yourself out by walking up and down The Strip seeing the sights. Oh, sure, there is more than ample seating in every hotel/casino, but only at a gaming table or a slot machine or in a restaurant. Since we weren’t there to gamble, the only time we got to sit down was when we ate a meal or got in a taxi.
During one taxi ride, we asked where we could find a nice night club where we could go dancing the next evening, and the driver told us of an open air lounge that was on the 51st floor of one of the hotel/casinos. I had heard of it before, and it sounded like the perfect venue. When we arrived, we discovered the lounge had an indoor area, and an outdoor area.
Since the hotel was a mile from the strip it offered an excellent view of the lights. While we were admiring the sights from our lofty perch outside, we noticed the perimeter of the large balcony contained sofas and coffee tables and we saw people relaxing on them, listening to the DJ, and sipping refreshing beverages. “Perfect!” we thought! “What a lovely way to spend the evening!”
There was just one problem. The sofas were roped off and guarded by men in sunglasses who looked like special operatives from a James Bond movie. When we approached them and asked how we might be able to sit down on one, they explained in order to be granted permission to enter the sofa zone, we had to buy a minimum of two bottles.
After inquiring further, we found out they were not talking about two bottles of water, or beer, or any average, middle-class beverage. The bottles they were referring to were extremely expensive wines and champagnes that started at $300 & went up to $3,000! Feeling shocked and incredulous, we asked about the also roped-off seating in the indoor part of the lounge, which they said required only a one-bottle minimum.
Sure enough, when we walked back inside, there was nary a single bar stool at the bar. If you wanted to sit down anywhere on the 51st floor, you had to be either rich or richer! Since we were neither of those things, we took one last look at the view and then got in the elevator and rode back down to the ground floor, shaking our heads the whole way.
When the elevator doors opened, we discovered there was a live band playing in the main casino. We also noticed there was a bar nearby with a good view of the stage. After paying a mere $7 for a glass of wine, we had ourselves our own private table, two comfy chairs, and a space to dance all our own. Viva Las Vegas!