Las Vegas, or ‘Vegas’ for short, is not just party central, although Prince Harry and The Hangover might suggest otherwise. It has just about everything for everyone and when it comes to having a romantic city break with your loved one, it is a sure-fire bet.
STAY AND PLAY
Hotels in Vegas are not just hotels. Mandalay Bay has its own aquarium while at the Mirage there are white lions in the foyer and you can see dolphins and tigers at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden.
You can even do yoga while the dolphins watch. Kinky! Treasure Island has a pirate ship battle every night – the ships are huge – while at the Venetian, you can paddle in a gondola with a suitably dressed gondolier. New York New York has the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and a rollercoasters you can get married on, while at Stratosphere, you can do the Skyjump, dropping 108 storeys. Or not.
Stay in a grand casino, such as Bellagio, MGM Grand, The Venetian or Mandalay Bay, or choose a non-casino property such as the Mandarin Oriental, the Four Seasons or Vdara.
MGM Grand’s Skylofts are pretty impressive. They come with a 24-hour butler service, a Music Butler, a Dream Butler and a Spa Butler – who will choose which bath salts, oils, candles and mood lighting you might favour. You will also have the use of a Maybach and driver, should you wish to leave your room! Not to be outdone, ARIA’s Sky Villas are mind blowing, with the latest and greatest of everything.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
You could stay six months in Vegas and not see every show in town. We only have a few days so choose a perennial favourite – Cirque Du Soleil. The Beatles LOVE at The Mirage is a magical mystery tour through the music of the Beatles, remixed by George Martin – the Beatles producer – and his son Giles, and given the unmistakable Cirque treatment.
From the opening wow of frenetic movement and action in Get Back, to the finale of All You Need is Love, it is spellbinding. Highlights are While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, Here Comes the Sun and Revolution/Back in the USSR, with unbelievable acrobatics and trampolining. The interweaving of George, Paul, Ringo and John chatting away during recording sessions makes it feel a bit like a Beatles concert. And a remarkable one at that.
We also manage a sneak peak of the new Cirque show Michael Jackson ONE at Mandalay Bay, which opened late June 2013. Even if you’re not an MJ fan, the show will move you. Man in the Mirror and Earth Song are magical, while Thriller is spectacular, complete with zombies roaming the aisles scaring unsuspecting people in the audience – including me.
A break is not a break if there is no massage involved and Vegas is spa central. The biggest and definitely one of the best is CanyonRanch SpaClub, which is part of two hotels – the Venetian and the Palazzo. With an impressive 12,449 square metres it delivers experiences to primp and pamper every bit of your body … well, almost.
For something different book the Rasul Ceremony for two, where you can smear your partner with purifying muds then relax in warmed up thrones in a mist of herbal steam.
The Aria Spa and Salon is one of those spas where you relax as soon as you walk in the door. It has 62 treatment rooms with several treatments available for couples – or just book a Spa Suite and indulge in several treatments over three hours. The Aromatherapy massage we experienced was heavenly.
At the Spa at Encore Resort, you might want to try the Choco Latte Body Buff – with organic green coffee and chocolate from Hawaii buttered onto your body. Sounds tasty. If you’re into snow, the Artic Ice Room at Qua Baths at Caesar’s Palace actually has snow falling from above.
WINE AND DINE
For dinner and drinks with a view, there are a few standouts, many giving birds-eye views over the Strip. miX is positioned on top of THE hotel at Mandalay Bay and is the first Vegas restaurant of uber-trendy French superstar Alain Ducasse.
Dine, then dance, then dance some more. Also at Mandalay Bay, check out the Wine Angels at Aureole – these girls fly up and down the four-storey high wine cellar retrieving fine wines. The Eiffel Tower at Paris is a little surreal, but is well worth the effort, with lovely views and friendly staff, while at Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the name really says it all.
For something really special, book into é, which offers an unforgettable dining experience inside Jaleo, the acclaimed Spanish restaurant at The Cosmopolitan. Join a maximum of eight diners along the chef ‘s bar and enjoy every morsel of a culinary journey not many get to enjoy. Picasso at Bellagio is all Mediterranean majesty, with Picasso artworks on the walls of the indoor part of the restaurant and the dancing fountains to entertain diners on the patio. Claude Picasso, son of Pablo, designed the furniture and carpets, just for added swag!
After dinner, check out the action at happening nightclubs around, such as Pure at Caesar’s Palace, or Surrender and Encore Beach Club at Encore Resort, where the pretty pools by day turn into a thumping good time at night, and you never know, you might see David Guetta or Avicii doing their thing – this is their home turf. Party too hard and they just might have to ‘wake you up’.
SEE AND DO
On a city break in Las Vegas you might not have time to do a scenic flight to the Grand Canyon, or a 4WDing trip through Red Rock Canyon, or go boating on Lake Mead. If you are at all interested in all things gangster, visit the Mob Museum. It looks at the history of how the mob started, their involvement in Las Vegas and the ongoing struggle between the Mob and the FBI. Mob history is tied to Sin City and to some of its oldest casinos and biggest celebrities – Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. It really is a fascinating look at Las Vegas.
For something a bit more light hearted, go and drive an excavator! Dig This is a place where anyone over 14 can drive a bulldozer or an excavator, manoeuvring equipment around like old hands. It is certainly liberating and delivers quite a rush. And if Ferraris and Lamborghinis are more your style, Exotics Racing allows you to set your inner Mark Webber free behind the wheel of a luxury car for five laps of a racetrack.
To really top off your Vegas experience, check out one or more of the wedding chapels that do such big business. For pure fun, check out the A Elvis Chapel where couples can renew vows under the guidance of “Elvis”, perhaps choosing the Burning Love package complete with Elvis vows. Elvis also features at the Graceland Wedding Chapel, where Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jay Leno, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek and many others have tied the knot.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas also has the Pop-Up Wedding Chapel, which pops up on occasion to host real or pretend weddings. One package – the “Hitched in a Hurry”, delivers two eraser rings, bride and groom rubber ducks and party bubbles, all for $125.