Thursday, July 28, 2011

A guide to Vegas

SMH has given us the run down of Las Vegas, from where to stay, eat, shop and what to do…

The cheapest digs are usually found Downtown, and the Golden Nugget (from $US47) is the best of the bunch. The rooms aren't swish but they're by no means shabby.

If you're after a good all-round resort at a reasonable price but want something that stands out, Mandalay Bay ($US89) has the best pool in Vegas. The recent revamp at the Tropicana ($US78) has worked wonders, too — and the bright, beachy vibe makes the rooms distinctive. Top value for money comes at the Signature at MGM Grand. They're stylish and most have balconies to go with the kitchenettes and in-bathroom TVs.

Vdara (from $US157) gets it right as a couples' retreat in a prime central location. It's still a giant hotel but there's a quieter air, the spa is impressive and the beds are extraordinarily comfortable. THEhotel at Mandalay Bay ($US192) has lovely suite-like standard rooms plus the warm feel of a luxury city hotel rather than a mass-herd resort.

The MGM Skylofts (from $US1014) are quite something. Just about everything can be controlled electronically, butlers are on hand and the two-bedroom suites have pool tables. The Bellagio has a genuine air of class, and the floral displays are astonishing. The $US190-plus standard rooms are great but true high-rollers go for the $US7000-a-night, two-bedroom suites with butler service, cigar-tasting classes, yoga and in-room waterfalls.
Vegas is a city where malls defiantly rule the roost. For those who have won big, Crystals, in the City Centre complex offers the likes of Mikimoto, Kiki De Montparnasse, Prada, Gucci and Tiffany. Bargain hunters should try the Las Vegas Premium Outlets where big names sell old stock on the cheap.

Marquee at the Cosmopolitan is the latest hot joint in town. Expect long queues, a mazy interior and a heaving dance floor where the visual displays complement the DJ sets. XS at Encore is probably the sexiest, most decadent club in town, although only the truly good-looking tend to get away with jumping into the in-club pools. 

See + Do 
Vegas is crammed full of absurd sights — many of them tacky as hell and many of them free to gawp at. The dancing fountains outside the Bellagio are probably the most graceful of the showpieces. They go off every 15 minutes to a different piece of music after 8pm.

The shows are the biggest non-gambling drawcard and those by Cirque du Soleil are the hottest tickets. General consensus has Ka at the MGM Grand being their best production but the aquatic acrobatics of O at the Bellagio are mesmerising, too. For other shows, visit one of the Tix4Tonight stands, because they often have good discounts available.

Eat + Drink 
Joel Robuchon has more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world and his L'Atalier de Joel Robuchon restaurant at the MGM Grand is generally seen as the high-roller foodie benchmark in Vegas. Picasso at Bellagio is a relative stalwart but the original Picasso paintings on the wall, dancing fountain views and Julian Serrano's miracles on the menu make it special. For a taste of new Vegas, try the dark-lit and sexy Sage at Aria. Shawn McClain's signature menu, with wine or beer pairing, should have you purring contentedly for days.

Visit Visit Las Vegas for further information.

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