Fly-Drive and Fly again – West Coast USA by Gabriele Scholes

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For me this was a dream trip! The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Hollywood… I was so excited! And oh so lucky – to be off on this visit and all in the name of work!

Courtesy of Virgin Atlantic I was delighted with the invitation to try out the Virgin Upper Class Lounge! Upper Class passengers also have a separate entrance where the Virgin Limousines and other pre-registered chauffeurs drop off directly at Virgin’s separated upper class check in facility.
The lounge is spacious with various sitting and working areas, waiters for fine dining and also self-service food stations, bars, hairdresser, beautician and massage facilities. Free wifi, showers, DVDs… what a fabulous start to any journey!
Due to the time difference, it was only mid afternoon when we arrived in Los Angeles, so after collecting our cars we drove to the Loews Hollywood Hotel. I could see the Hollywood sign from my room – just like the pictures – there it was! I have to say that American beds are huge and very comfortable which helps getting over any jetlag!

Have you heard of the Terranea Resort? It’s just outside LA on the Ocean. BEAUTIFUL and BREATHTAKING were words which sprang to my mind the whole time. A sunset setting, champagne on arrival, pools, Spa, lovely restaurants, amazing food – pure relaxation – and only 45 minutes away from the airport and Downtown LA.

A day or so later and just a short flight from LA we were in Las Vegas and picked up some more cars! The airport is very close to the city so we were soon at the Venetian & Palazzo Hotel
on the strip. What a grand and enormous hotel, just under 6000 beds, and so opulent! With the dazzling lights all around us we explored, and marvelled a the glitz and bling of Las Vegas as we walked to the Hard Rock Café for dinner.


Leaving the city early next morning we went east to the Grand Canyon. Our drive took in a stretch of the famous Route 66, as far as experiences go a close second to the 50 minute helicopter ride over the canyon. From that height it unfolded below and the magnitude of it all just took my breath away.


Later we set the sat nav and cruise control to Lake Powell arriving at sunset. The Lake Powell Resort and Marina amidst this setting was stunning. We relaxed over dinner, the food superb while the chefs proudly discussed the menu with us afterwards.

The next morning our treat was an early Antelope Canyon Tour – it was magical. The land and seascape used for many famous films is hauntingly beautiful and serene. You can hire a houseboat on the lake, and we all decided what fun it would be to spend a week on a houseboat!

Next was a visit to the Amangiri in the heart of the desert…. a luxurious five star resort with pools and spas; quite different from anything else we had seen, stark with clean lines built in concrete in a colour to match the rocks around, luxurious and quiet with an amazing spa and tasty organic food.

And so, on the road again to Bryce Canyon, where it had snowed!
But now, the sun was out and the scenery, dashed with white, was fantastic!

DSCF2932Next day the air was still crystal clear and the sun still shining. Everything glittered! On the road again to Zion! This scenery was different with many scenic gorges, and again, beautiful vistas! Once we’d arrived in Springdale, there were many trails of various difficulties so we couldn’t wait to put on our walking boots and explore one of them. We walked under waterfalls, and hiked on to the top – glad to have the exercise and fresh air after the car journey. In the afternoon it was warm enough to sit round the pool and the Jacuzzi, we had earned it after our walk! Springdale is a lovely arty little town with lots of shops and restaurants, and very pleasant for an hour’s stroll.

And then – back to Vegas! This was a work trip, DSCF2961and so we were shown several hotels to mark the differences and compare styles – the Monte Carlo
(soon to be refurbished), the Bellagio, the Vdara Hotel, which was my favourite, and the Aria, as well as the Cosmopolitan.

I watched in wonder at the dancing water fountains at the Bellagio and loved the show we saw that night: Le Reve! It really was a dream. Las Vegas is famous for shows, and concerts – all the big names draw the crowds to Vegas!

Finally a burst of shopping in the Premium Outlets North before we were back at the airport dropping off the cars.

Does this sound like the perfect holiday for you? The Outdoors, the Open Road, the Scenery and the Cities… just how long have you got?

I’d love to talk to you and help make your trip as exciting as mine. If you are planning to visit the USA – give me a call – or meet me in the Gallery!

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No, I'm not a Travel Guru, but I have loved travelling since I was five years old, and more than love travel... I love to share my experiences... and show you our Wonderful World through my eyes!

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