Travel Tips: Las Vegas

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Virtuoso in Vegas

What’s new and notable at Bellagio, Aria, and Vdara.

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Every year Virtuoso travel advisors head to Las Vegas for Virtuoso Travel Week, the year’s biggest luxury travel event. Here, executives from the host hotels share the inside scoop on their properties. If you're headed to Las Vegas soon, you'll want to bookmark their tips on what's new and notable in Sin City. 
 
OLIVIA C. BROWN, General Manager, Bellagio

Olivia C. Brown has 25-plus years experience as an executive at various luxury properties across the U.S. and they have more than prepared her to handle anything that might come her way at the distinguished 3,933-room resort.
 
The hotel highlight most guests miss, but shouldn’t: The authentic Picassos that adorn the walls of Picasso restaurant. There’s no other place in the world where people can dine among these artistic masterpieces, unless they go to the Picasso museum in Paris with a box lunch and sit on the floor. And the security guards there might object.
 
No stay at the hotel is complete without: A walk through the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which change with the seasons.
 
For groups without dinner reservations, I’d try my luck at: Harvest. It’s new and can be very busy, but because it’s a large restaurant with many tables, you have a good chance of getting seated after having a drink or two at the lively bar. Be on the lookout for the snack wagon, which chef Roy Ellamar packs with different dishes every night and which sometimes even features bites from chefs throughout Bellagio, including Michael Mina and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
 
Best spot for a caffeine fix: Jean Philippe Patisserie, which was the first truly European-style pastry shop in Las Vegas. In addition to fantastic coffee, it features the largest chocolate fountain in the world.
 
Must-book treatment at Bellagio’s spa: Our watsu massage – it’s done floating in a private pool heated to body temperature, and combines Zen Shiatsu and stretching.
 
When I’m out off the Strip, I eat at: Chada Thai & Wine, because of its incredibly authentic food and curated wine list.
 
PAUL BERRY,
 Vice President of Hotel Operations, Aria Resort & Casino

Paul Berry has been an executive at Aria since the 4,004-room resort debuted in 2009. In fact, all of his 25 years in hospitality have been centered in Vegas, including stints at the Bellagio, Mirage, and Treasure Island. His latest accomplishments at Aria include the addition of tablets in all of the rooms and plans for a $154 million expansion of its LEED Gold- certified convention center.
 
New at the hotel this summer: Jewel Nightclub [now the home of Club
V on Thursday night] is a multilevel venue. On the mezzanine level of the main club, very secluded suites above the dance floor offer their own exclusive entry. Jewel’s DJ booth pioneers a first-of-its-kind production wall featuring dual-sided LED video screens and special effects lighting.
 
The hotel highlight most guests miss, but shouldn’t: The Aria Fine Art Collection, the first major permanent collection of art in Las Vegas to be integrated into a public space. Pick up a self-guided tour at our concierge desk.
 
No stay at our hotel is complete without: A slice of pizza from Five50 Pizza Bar. It’s some of the best in the city, with a walk-up counter so guests can grab a slice on the go.
 
For groups without dinner reservations, I’d try my luck at: Julian Serrano. It’s a fun, casual atmosphere that serves a variety of inventive Spanish tapas that come out quickly so groups can decide whether they want a quick bite or a long, luxurious dinner.
 
Quiet spot in the hotel for a casual business meeting: Lobby Bar. It’s easy to find – right off the main lobby – and offers an abundance of comfortable seating in a relaxed atmosphere.
 
Must-book treatment at Aria’s spa: Our oxygen firming facial: a pure oxygen mask filled with antioxidant and anti-aging properties that instantly give your skin a firmed, radiant appearance.
 
When I’m out off the Strip, I eat at: Carson Kitchen, because the food is great and it has a social atmosphere without feeling chaotic.
 
My favorite nightlife hotspot outside of Aria is: Skyfall Lounge at Delano. You can get a great cocktail and an incredible view of the entire city.
 
MARY GIULIANO, General Manager, Vdara Hotel & Spa

Mary Giuliano’s first hotel job was front desk cashier at the Golden Nugget. She’s since worked her way 
up the hospitality ladder to the top spot at Vdara, a position she’s held for the last six years. When asked about what makes Vdara unique, she mentions, among other things, that all of its 1,495 rooms are suites and come equipped with a gourmet kitchen, plus it’s a non-gaming hotel, so the vibe is a little more low-key than at the big casinos on the Strip.
 
New at the hotel this summer: Vice Versa, our chic lobby lounge that includes an outdoor patio, recently introduced breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The menu features a variety of small plates that change daily.

The hotel highlight most guests miss, but shouldn’t: That our hotel is dog-friendly. We even have a park for morning walks and offer an in-suite dog dining menu.
 
Must-book treatment at Vdara’s ESPA: The signature Desert Rose body treatment. Created specifically to combat the dry desert climate, this treatment begins with a refreshing exfoliation and is followed by an amazing body massage that leaves guests feeling pampered and ready for a day in the Las Vegas sun.
 
My favorite on-campus restaurant and favorite dish to order: Carbone, for the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka and a side of meatballs.
 
My favorite nightlife hotspot: Lily Bar & Lounge at Bellagio. You can truly walk in any time for a great experience in a chic, yet high-energy atmosphere.
 
Vegas show most worth the ticket: The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil.
 
For groups without dinner reservations, I’d try my luck at: Sage at Aria. Even if you don’t have a reservation for the main dining room, the bar has a lot of tables and they serve the full menu. Plus, it’s a great atmosphere with amazing food by chef McClain.
 
When I’m out off the Strip, I eat at: Andiron Steak & Sea. They have great food and a great atmosphere.
 
Originally appeared in the Virtuoso Travel Week 2016 magazine.
 
See also:
How To Survive Virtuoso Travel Week

Other Virtuoso properties in Las Vegas: 
Delano Las Vegas
Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas
Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand
The SIGNATURE at MGM Grand
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
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