Las Vegas is the true entertainment capital of the world, everything is built and set-up so that you can have the time of your life. It used to be cheesy with all surface and no substance, but now many of the best chef’s of the world have set up shop and it’s not just the names they’re lending out. It goes further than food; pâtisserie, drinks, night clubs, pools, sports events, shows and shopping are not just world class, but perhaps some of the best the world has to offer. Lately the hotels themselves have become true icons for fans of architecture and design.
While the casino resorts have a limited range of independent shops and restaurants that provide contrast and variation to the big, international names there are exceptions, particularly if searching outside the Strip. One of the best, if not the best, genuine Thai restaurants in North America can be found in a regular mall, for example.
When it comes to hotels you are not likely to find a larger selection of hotels than in Las Vegas. The hotels and casinos in themselves have for long been the mayor attraction of Las Vegas and the city is known for its theme hotels, such as Ceasers Palace and Paris and classic luxury hotels like the Bellagio. Most of the hotels are huge and you will find almost everything you need within each hotel. They have casinos, restaurants, pools and most often spas and salons as well.
In recent years more contemporary, luxurious hotels have been developed, with less focus on specific themes and more on design, see for example Aria in CityCenter.
Las Vegas was once only known for its all-you-can-eat buffets when it came to food, but it has become a true foodie destination over time. It all started with Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in 1992 but now many international superchefs have restaurants that not only carry their names, but that are true representations of their style and bring unique concepts in their own. Many of these, and restaurants from less known chefs, have incredible interior design that combined with the quality of the food and quite low relative prices provide extremely good value and experience for the money.
Whether it’s vintage diners like Du-Par’s, true american wacky food at Hash House a Go Go, authentic Thai cuisine at Lotus of Siam, some of the best steakes in North America at the high-end steak houses, a French masterclass at Robuchon, Japanese perfection at Raku, the enhanced ingredients at Sage or inventive international cuisine at Twist by Pierre Gagnaire, it’s all available.
Due to the sheer number of visitors with cash to spend its not that surprising that many of the worlds premium luxury brands are not only representated in Las Vegas but has flagship stores and are available at multiple locations. For a watch geek it’s a chance to see many of the pieces otherwise only shown in magazines. Fans of independent Italian or English boutique brands might be disappointed but the big names are very well represented.
Watches and Fine Jewelry
Radiance at Aria specialized in more or less exclusive independent brands, so while they stock Hublot (and this is the backbone of their business) they also carry Ulysse Nardin, Parmigiani Fleurier and Maîtres du Temps. At any one time you can find a nice range of Chapter Two’s, a Chapter Three Reveal, a couple of Freaks or even a Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 370. They have friendly staff that are genuinely interested in watches. Wynn & Co Jewelry at the Wynn have a smaller selection of Maîtres du Temps than Radiance but they provide a rare chance to see Christophe Claret watches in person. At last report they had a Christophe Claret BlackJack and Roger Dubuis Excalibur skeleton double tourbillon on display. Staff is friendly but don’t really have that deep knowledge about watches.
Bellusso Jewelers in the Palazzo carries Greubel Forsey, Urwerk, A. Langhe Söhne, Harry Winston and more. Friendly staff that displays true passion for watches. However, the best place to see Harry Winston is at their brand store in the Crystals where they gladly shows their pieces and discusses watches and jewelry. From time to time they have some truly spectacular and unique pieces on hand. Also in Crystals are Richard Mille and Van Cleef & Arpels stores that carry many special pieces compared to their other stores around the world.
So, there’s really no limit to the things available to do. Las Vegas have come a long way from just being a town for gambling and strippers (although those are still very much available).
Nightclubs & Pool Parties
The big nightclubs in Las Vegas are spectacular; everything from the interior design, theming, staff, dancers, headlining DJ’s and performances are as good as it gets. There’s action almost every night but the weekends are of course busier, monday and tuesday are the “locals night out”. Jack Colton has a good guide for which clubs to pick for different nights of the week.
Shows & Entertainment
The biggest resident shows in Las Vegas these days are the Cirque du Soleil shows where Ka at the MGM Grand and O at the Bellagio are a clear step above the rest in production value as well as artistic merit, the are spectacular examples of the kind of things that can only be achieved in Las Vegas.
A bit smaller in scale but instead more intimate and also raunchier is the Absinthe show outside Ceasars Palace and Rose. Rabbit. Lie at the Cosmopolitan, both made by the same producer. Absinthe is one step above Rose. Rabbit. Lie but they are very well worth seeing.
Grand Canyon, The Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area and Mount Charleston are all just a short drive outside of Las Vegas. They all provide really good hiking opportunities in varying terrain and the Red Rock Canyon also has fantastic rock climbing. For more sightseeing, Hoover Dam is an excellent spot on the way to Grand Canyon.