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Keys to the City: Las Vegas
If i had to describe Las Vegas in one word it would be “energetic.” I just love the energy that comes from this city, and being a foodie, I love the diversity of the cuisine, not to mention, you can have a great meal even in the wee hours of the night. Whether it’s one of Las Vegas’s glitzy stage shows, a concert, a nightclub, a quiet lounge, or the commotion of a casino, when you’re in Las Vegas, it’s almost impossible not to find something fun to do. I also love the fact that you can smoke in most places besides restaurants in Las Vegas. The vibe and the charge is over the top.
3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
Information/Reservations: (702) 770-7000 or (888) 320-7123
An absolutely gorgeous hotel in every way. Everything that Las Vegas wants to be and is, you’ll find at The Wynn. Recently awarded a “5-Stars” rating from Forbes Travel Guide, the Wynn’s natural beauty, décor, and design are stunning, while the service is first-class all the way. Combined with its sister hotel, the Encore, the Wynn complex has over 30 places to drink and dine on cuisine prepared by some of Las Vegas’s signature chefs. The hotel also has a world-class spa and an 18-hole golf course.
As for entertainment, the Wynn has a great showroom, one of the city’s hottest dance clubs, and a spacious casino with all the bells and whistles. (If you get lucky enough, there’s even a Ferrari and Maserati dealership on the premises.) What makes the Wynn particularly impressive for me is, it’s a property you never have to leave. Just about everything you want to do in Las Vegas is right there, all in one massive facility.
3600 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas, NV 89109
The Bellagio is also another hotel that has just about everything you need all in one place. Situated behind its famous dancing water fountains, the Bellagio reminds me of the grand palaces of France and the castles of Italy. In a nutshell, it’s as classic as it gets with an old world European sophistication. Whether you choose one of their spacious guest rooms, suites, or villas, you’re surrounded by opulence. If you want the ultimate Bellagio experience, you can also get a room with a spectacular view of the fountains. The hotel also has some other appealing attractions including a world-class art gallery, botanical gardens, and the Fiore Di Como, a stunning stained glass sculpture with 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms. You’ll also find some great places to eat, whether it’s the casual atmosphere of the Bellagio’s Buffet, contemporary restaurants like Fix, or fine dining at Le Cirque. As for entertainment, the Bellagio is also where you’ll find Cirque du Soleil’s long-running show, “O™”.
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
For reservations: (702) 698-7000
As I mentioned above, the Cosmopolitan offers a more trendy, hip look and vibe. Like most of the top hotels on the strip, the Cosmopolitan has all the amenities travelers to Las Vegas look forward to: comfortable rooms, expert concierge service, spa, pool, 13 restaurants, a casino with every game imaginable, great nightlife, bars, and a shopping area with some of the most eclectic shops in the city. One of the more unusual attractions in the Cosmopolitan is their Pop-Up Wedding Chapel where you can have a “faux” wedding just for fun, or commit to the real thing on a whim. That’s Vegas, alright!
Il Mulino New York
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
3500 Las Vegas Blvd South
One of my favorite Italian restaurants is Il Mulino New York. This restaurant that originated in New York City is located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, this is where you’ll find true family-style Italian delicacies. You can dine in the grand dining room with its beautiful wrought iron chandeliers, or for a more intimate experience, they have a private balcony that offers a magnificent view of the Strip. Il Mulino also serves some of the most impeccable wines, and the food is absolutely decadent. Whether you prefer seafood, pasta, or veal, you can’t go wrong with any dish on the menu.
Monte Carlo Resort & Casino
3770 Las Vegas Blvd. South
For reservations: 702-798-7151
Named for its award-winning chef, André Rochat, Andre’s is one of the “best hidden secrets” in Las Vegas. Located in the Monte Carlo, they have a beautiful cigar lounge with a well-stocked humidor, and one of the largest selections of Cognacs, Armagnacs, and single malt scotches. The menu is Contemporary French offering exquisitely prepared signature dishes like Maine Lobster Thermador, Pan-seared Duck Breast and Duck Sausage, and Adjika Crusted Colorado Rack of Lamb. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you’ll go wild for their extensive wine selection that spans over 15,000 vintages. The atmosphere is open, sophisticated, and reminiscent of the kind of fine out-of-the-way French restaurants from the 1950’s.
Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare
Located in the Wynn Hotel
Reservations: (888) 320-7110
Open for dinner nightly from 5:30-10:00 PM, The Bartolotta is named for executive chef Paul Bartolotta, a native Milwaukeean who has been twice honored with the James Beard Foundation Award. He will blow you away with some of the most amazing seafood. The portions provide plenty to eat. The shrimp and other fish are imported from Italy, plus they also have some incredible pastas, and a magnificent wine list. I recommend the tasting menu that includes up to 14 courses. You’ll need a wheelchair to leave the place. You can dine indoors or around the private lagoon at one of the “Best Restaurants in America,” as named by The Daily Meal. Wynn’s Bartolotta Ristorante Di Mare is a 2013 Forbes Four Star Award winner. For a look at their menu, click here.
Located in the Wynn
For information and reservations: 702.770.3375
Hours: Thu – Sat from 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM
Tryst is an impressive, mind-blowing nightclub situated along a private lagoon under a 90-foot waterfall with an outdoor patio. You feel like you’re in a natural indoor/outdoor environment that is absolutely stunning. What I also like about Tryst is that it’s very cigar friendly; you can smoke just about anywhere. They have a great bar, too. If you’re into fancy cocktails, Tryst’s signature drink is called the “Ménage á Trois” which is made with 15-year-old Grand Marnier and 24K gold flakes. If you like to dance, Tryst has a spacious dance floor with music spun by some of the world’s top DJs who rotate on a nightly basis. Tryst was also chosen by Nightclub and Bar Magazine as the “Club of the Year.” If you’re into the club scene, make sure you put aside at least one night for Tryst.
This is a great place to hang out at night, especially if you want a quiet change from the usual club scene with that ear-splitting house music. Located on the Bellagio terrace, Hyde has some of the best cocktails in the city, great music, comfortable indoor/outdoor seating, and offers a fabulous view of the Dancing Fountains. More of a lounge than a club, the space was inspired by an old Italian villa that once belonged to a prominent Renaissance artist. Though the design is very contemporary, the décor maintains its classic Italian tradition through the use of luxurious Italian marbles, fine woods, and a Tuscan-inspired garden. It’s a great place to chill with friends, enjoy a cigar, or share a romantic date as you listen to some great music and enjoy the water show.
Whether you’re a regular traveler to Las Vegas, or planning your first visit there, I hope you’ll make it a point to add these destinations to your “must-do” list. I promise you’ll be that much richer for it, even if your luck at the tables doesn’t work out as planned.