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Favorite Spots Around Town – Las Vegas

June 19th, 2009 No Comments

Favorite Spots Around Town – Las Vegas

I’ve been to Vegas more times than I can count on every different kind of budget.  So I offer you my insight in hope this helps you plan your journey of overindulgence.

Hotels:

The Hotel at Mandalay Bay – by far the most beautiful and comfortable of all on the strip.  Although, it’s at the end away from the action, the most expensive, and the pool is basically a concrete slab where people are fighting for chairs.  The best spot to stay if you don’t mind cabbing it for everything else.

Venetian – My favorite place to stay because it offers everything you’re looking for in Vegas under one roof:  luxurious, large standard rooms, Tao beach is one of the best pool parties,  two expansive quiet pool areas, the Canyon Ranch spa and gym with newly renovated locker rooms ($30 per day for gym and locker room access), a Grand Luxe Cafe in the casino that offers good, affordable food (damn near impossible to find in Vegas), and is located next to the Bellagio and Wynn hotels.  At night you can hit up Tao which is a bit tired, but after a few cocktails, you would never notice the difference.  All of the Vegas douchebags look the same.

Palazzo – Attached to the Venetian so you enjoy the same pool, casino, spa/gym, but something about the rooms is different.

Bellagio – Nice accommodations, but I prefer the Venetian.  The crowd has gotten a little too “touristy” if you know what I mean.

Wynn – A beautiful place to stay with a great casino bar.  The rooms are lovely and the Private Tower is exquisite if you can afford it.  Bartolotta is one of the best Italian restaurants in Vegas.

Mirage – The lobby and casino are in desperate need of renovations, but the rooms have gotten the makeover they need.  In the middle of the strip with what I hear is a great pool scene.

Treasure Island – Great location, club, and casino.  One of the best bets if you’re on  a tighter budget.  Across the street from the Venetian, Mirage, Palazzo, and Wynn.

Hard Rock Hotel – Used to be the trendiest place to stay, but it has now become the trashiest.  Don’t be lured by Nobu and Ago that have taken up residence there, the whole place is a shit show.  As for the pool, think Spring Break Mexico 1998.

The Imperial Palace – Newly renovated and right in the middle of the strip, this might be a good choice if you’re on a budget.  (I stayed there when it was a roach motel.)

Not my favorites, but for the right price it would be worth it: The Rio (off the strip), The Palms (off the strip, but Ghost Bar is a good time), Caesars (in the middle of the strip, biggest selection of shopping and restaurants and might be more fun post The Hangover), New York New York (great if you have kids that need entertaining).

Restaurants:

Bartolotta at the Wynn – quite and sophisticated with the freshest seafood in Vegas

Delmonico’s at the Venetian – pricey steakhouse with great cuts of meat.  Be sure to order the Truffle chips.

In ‘n Out – Yep, there’s one on the strip.  Order your burger “Animal Style” and thank me later.

China Grill at Mandalay Bay – Surprisingly one of my favorite things here is the caesar salad.  Very pricey, but a great dining experience.

Tao at the Venetian – Party party atmosphere with solid sushi and pan asian fare. (You couldn’t drag me to eat there in NYC, but it’s a great Vegas experience).

If you don’t live in a big city, Vegas is a great place to experience some amazing food. Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, David Burke, Daniel Boulud – all of the big boys have at least one Vegas location that is sure to knock your socks off. (P.S. Not worth the trip to Nobu and Ago in the Hardrock.) However, if you are visiting from a place known for food, I would eat cheap at the diner in your hotel and go big on shows, spa days, or games. Ask your concierge to help, they’re better informed than I am on this one.

Attractions:

Gambling – If you’re not a pro, go to one of the cheaper hotels to find lower minimum bet tables and a more lively crowd.  I love $5 craps tables because you can play the game, meet fun people to cheer with, and if you’re out $100 it will have been worth it.  Black Jack is great if you win, but a $100 loss is not as fun.  If you’re a poker player, STAY AWAY from the major casinos and opt for somewhere like the Flaminco.  At least there you have a chance to go home a winner when you’re sitting  with the drunkards.  Players at the big boy hotels have their game face on and will take your money in minutes.

Comedy – some of the best stand up comedy is found in Vegas.  You can see major celebs or the local talent and have a great time.  I saw George Carlin and Joe Rogan on seperate occasions.  Book tickets through your hotel and when you get to the box office, see if one of the VIP’s isn’t going to use their table/seats.  They will be happy to upgrade you free of charge if something is available.

Shows – I’m not really a fan but O was by far and away my favorite.  

Concerts – House of Blues is a great venue that always has someone you know preforming.  Elton John was OK (I know, I hate saying that) because the audience was seated and seemed sedated the whole time.  I hear Bette Midler is amazing.

Golf – It’s somewhere, but I’m not sure where.