Yes, I have visited Las Vegas before but things in this town happen so fast that I knew I was guaranteed to see something shiny and new. In fact, the blingiest thing on the Strip right now is the City Center (a multi-billion dollar gaming, dining, hotel and retail complex). Conveniently, the Monte Carlo is a gateway to City Center via a high-tech & futuristic free 3 minute tram ride.
My Vegas weekend included tasty food, stellar entertainment, and even a little pampering. Time stands still in Vegas and sleep is an afterthought, so a weekend here is equivalent to 4 days anyplace else. Here are a few places worth adding to your itinerary on your next trip to Vegas.
Where to StayIf unpretentious luxury is what you desire, then book your room at the Monte Carlo With rates as low as $59 per night, you will have plenty of money left over for FUN! While not as glitzy as some of the other Vegas hotels, the Monte Carlo boasts spacious and comfortable rooms and many amenities. Book a poolside cabana, get your latte fix at the on-site Starbucks, or relax with a spa treatment (I highly recommend the Refreshed & Radiant Facial to erase the signs of jet lag. It is a well-spent $70 for 25 minutes of beauty bliss and wonderful conversation with a lovely facialist named Flower.)
If you want hotel accommodations with more Vegas sparkle, swankiness awaits you at Hotel 32 on the 32nd floor of the Monte Carlo. This boutique hotel within the Monte Carlo opened about a year ago after a fire ravaged the 32nd floor. Rising from the ashes like a sidelined showgirl who knows the show must go on, the sexy Hotel 32 emerged and its fifty rooms include suites, studios and two-bedroom penthouses. The guest lounge has a breathtaking view of the City Center where the mesmerizing curves of the complex can be viewed while you sip on cocktails. Lavishly yet tastefully decorated, Hotel 32 is a high-tech wonder - the room's drapes, lights and electronics can be controlled with a nifty remote system. Also, a BluRay player and TV are integrated into the bathroom mirror (no need to miss your favorite show while getting dolled up!) Hotel 32 makes it easy to create your own in-room spa experience - each suite features a hydrotherapy soaking tub and comes stocked with luxurious Kiehl's toiletries. Hotel 32 treats you like the VIP that you are and every guest has exclusive access to a dedicated Suite Assistant who provides butler and concierge services throughout your stay. All reservations also include round-trip limo transportation to and from McCarran airport. That's Las Vegas baby! Best of all, this level of luxury is very accessible - rates at Hotel 32 begin at $150 per night.
A rose petal adorned bathtub at Hotel 32.
Hotel 32 employee Ashley displays an IPhone that is loaned to guests from which they can access concierge and hotel services via a special application.
Public art at the Mandarin Terrace: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Typewriter Eraser, Scale X
(image courtesy of MGM Resorts International)
Where to Eat
Vegas has an endless buffet of fine-dining options but I am going to focus on two within the Monte Carlo.
Something about Vegas brings out my carnivorous side and being in this lusty town made me want to indulge in a big juicy steak. Located in the heart of the casino floor at the Monte Carlo, Brand is amazingly intimate and retains its own personality while allowing you to soak in the ambiance of the casino. My word of advice: book your reservation here before gambling away all of your money. You must order the Hot Rocks - this thinly sliced and marinated sirloin is served raw alongside a steaming VERY hot rock (don't touch it, really). Use your chopsticks to place the sirloin on the hot rock and watch it sizzle and brown within seconds. Delicious! I also give the juicy and tender Beef Short Ribs high marks along with the New Wedge Salad (a wedge of lettuce served with red onion, tomato, blue cheese, egg, and bacon mustard dressing.)
Although I did not get a chance to dine at Andre's Restaurant it ranks high on my list of places to visit on my next trip to Las Vegas. I did get to take a tour and I was amazed that this elegant and quiet oasis was tucked in the corner of the Monte Carlo. A AAA- four diamond establishment, many people consider Andre Rochat to be Vegas's first celebrity chef - he's been wining and dining this town for 30 years! The restaurant serves classical French fare and delights oenophiles with their wine list which features over 15,000 vintages. Andre's also has an intimate Cigar and Cognac lounge that looks like a jewel box and has an amazing filtration system - not even a hint of smoke sullied the air. On my next trip, I hope to win the jackpot so that I can indulge in a snifter of 1914 Maison Lheraud Grand Siecle Cognac. David Borowik, the General Manager of Andre's said that, "The 1914 is the 'Year of the Lady.' It marks the start of the First World War when all the men in France went off to fight, leaving their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters to tend the fields. The Year of the Lady is said to be a very elegant and feminine vintage. " Sounds like the perfect Cognac to sip while wearing a little black dress.
Frank Caliendo's popular show and even had a chance to meet him backstage - he is a sweetheart. Frank does amazing impressions of everyone from Kermit the Frog to Charles Barkley. And, Frank has an amazing band on stage with him that warms the crowd up. It was hard to contain myself from dancing when they played that timeless 80's anthem Jesse's Girl by Rick Springfield.
There you have it - glitzy and decadent with a dash of magic, just another weekend in Vegas!