Laura Baker, our very own resort operations executive, had the thrilling task of recently accompanying our Hollywood, Vegas and the Grand Canyon tour. She’s wrapped up all the highlights for us - from a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon to star-spotting in Malibu - in our latest instalment of Staff Stories.
Here’s Laura’s diary of her 10-day American adventure:
Landing in La La Land
Coming from the grey UK, the mild, sunny Californian weather was certainly well received by all our travellers. We flew over to LAX and on our first official day of the tour, we braved the infamous Los Angeles traffic and journeyed south to coastal San Diego.
The SoCal experience
You can’t truly visit Southern California, or as the locals call it, SoCal, without hitting the two b’s. Beaches and burritos, that is. We explored the stunning beach on Coronado Island, the Gaslamp district en-route to the Mexican old town (San Diego is just 17 miles from the Mexican border), an array of historical sites and colourful shops, and Seaport Village. And yes, the burritos were sensational.
All in all, it was a long day – but looking around, I saw so many smiling faces! We spent the evening relaxing in the bustling city of Los Angeles. What a place.
Lifestyles of the rich and the famous
We took a scenic coastal drive, making sure to explore laidback Santa Monica, including the waterfront boardwalk – where the fitness-loving locals roller skate, walk their pooches and cycle in the sunshine – the pier, and the Ferris wheel. Afterwards, we set off for Malibu to cruise past the homes of some of today’s biggest stars, including the legendary Cher, actor extraordinaire Leonardo DiCaprio, and popstar P!nk. Oh, how the other half live!
And then we went to the very heart of the City of Angels: Hollywood. We caught a glimpse of the legendary Hollywood sign, went star-spotting on the boulevard, and even paid a visit to one of the world’s leading entertainment venues, and the home of the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre. Of course, we couldn’t do LA without doing a bit of window shopping at the elegant designer boutiques of Rodeo Drive.
A journey through Nevada
We farewelled the glamorous SoCal and headed for our next state: Arizona. As expected, Grand Canyon National Park left us all breathless. Seeing the sunrise slowly over the red rock was certainly one to tick off the bucket list. And it got even better…
A few of us took to the skies in the optional helicopter flight, allowing us to get a bird’s eye view of the world-famous canyon, which is one mile deep, 18 miles wide, and an enormous 277 miles long. For those customers considering it, I would definitely recommend taking this flight!
The Grand Canyon village was a gem, with plenty of walks to take alongside the canyon, as well as down into it. There are several restaurants, shops, and a cocktail lounge – basically, something for everyone to enjoy that evening.
And now for the final stop on our West Coast adventure: Las Vegas! We moved through the dramatic desert landscape, eventually finding ourselves at the Welcome to Vegas sign. We couldn’t resist stopping here for some classic photo opportunities.
We stayed at the Golden Nugget on Fremont Street, a luxury hotel and casino based in downtown Vegas. We were in the perfect location to experience the best of Vegas. From the energetic water features of the Bellagio to the swashbuckling madness of Treasure Island, there are endless activities for everyone to enjoy, and plenty of free time outside the tour.
Let me just say, there is no place like Vegas! It’s fun, flashy, and energetic. The highlights were the gondola ride through “Venice”, the rollercoaster in “New York”, and the city’s many resorts and casinos. There is just so much to see and do - it was the perfect place to wrap up our epic US adventure.
I had the most amazing trip exploring the West Coast of America, and the whole tour felt really safe. Our tour manager Tomi ensured that everyone was fully aware of the Covid measures in each place we visited. Masks were still required in all indoor places and were required at all times on the coach.
And I must say, it felt incredibly good to finally be travelling again. I’m looking forward to many more Newmarket tours to the US in 2022, and beyond.
Fancy seeing the bright lights of Hollywood, trying your luck in Vegas, and feeling tiny at the Grand Canyon? Book your place on our Hollywood, Vegas and the Grand Canyon tour.