virtuoso global February 2019 6 Ways to Go Luxe in Las Vegas

6 Ways to Go Luxe in Las Vegas

Bellagio encapsulates Vegas glamour.
Bellagio encapsulates Vegas glamour.

Luxury in Las Vegas, says Virtuoso travel advisor Brian Harris, “is all about the VIP experience.” For a true high-roller stay, Aspen, Colorado-based Harris counsels clients to look beyond a resort’s facade for executive clubs and hidden “hotels within hotels” that offer superior service and attention to detail. Here are six ways to ensure your Sin City vacation is sinfully decadent.

Arrive in style at ARIA.
Arrive in style at ARIA.

1. Make a memorable entrance.

Picture this: A private driver meets you at the airport and whisks you through baggage claim to a waiting Bentley or Cadillac limo for a head-turning ride to the Strip. Luxury airport transfers are just one of the posh perks for staying in one of ARIA’s Sky Suites or a bespoke, bi-level suite at MGM Grand’s SKYLOFTS. Austin, Texas-based Virtuoso advisor Krista Betts notes that the high-touch treatment begins before you even leave home, with a pre-arrival concierge arranging individual preferences in advance. And forget long check-in lines: After a personal welcome, you’ll be ushered straight to a VIP area. “It’s a seamless arrival experience,” Betts says.

Take advantage of curbside check-in at The Signature, which features its own entrance separate from the main MGM Grand property. For Las Vegas-based Virtuoso advisor Abby Lagman, the gated entrance epitomizes the city’s luxury experience. “You feel like you’re staying at an exclusive resort,” she says.
Indulge any regal tendencies at your Bellagio suite.
Indulge any regal tendencies at your Bellagio suite.

2. Be blown out of the waters.

Travel advisor Limor Decter describes Bellagio’s palatial suites with one word: “Swanky!” Book a suite overlooking the hotel’s famous fountains. The music for the splashy display is synched with the in-room surround-sound entertainment system, so you can simply adjust the mood lighting, pour a glass of top-shelf liquor from your well-stocked bar, and watch the choreographed show through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Decter, who hails from New York City, also was wowed by the marble bathroom with oversize whirlpool tub and steam shower: “It felt like I had my own spa!”

Yet what really blows guests’ minds at Bellagio is its singular level of service. The VIP concierge in the Chairman’s Lounge can secure prime reservations at A-list nightclubs and restaurants, offer special access to top shows, and cater to your every whim. Decter was on her way to the airport before she realized she’d left a bag behind; within minutes of her departure, the housekeeping team reached out and even offered to forward her belongings at no charge.
On-call butlers at SKYLOFTS take pampering seriously.
On-call butlers at SKYLOFTS take pampering seriously.

3. Let the butler do it.

The elegant two-story lofts at SKYLOFTS are designed for those who appreciate the finer details – from the curated, contemporary art pieces to the bathrooms’ infinity-edge spa tubs and immersion showers. Nothing is overlooked by the on-call butler, whose sole purpose is to ensure that you’re as comfortable as possible. Neck stiff from flying? An in-room massage will be arranged tout de suite. Trouble with insomnia? Peruse the pillow menu and sleep like a baby. The butlers are so adept at anticipating a guest’s needs that one of Betts’ clients asked if they were mind readers. The advisor recommends booking a two-bedroom loft with its own billiard table; host a private tourney with your favorite mix playing on the Bang & Olufsen stereo while your personal Jeeves serves up Cristal cocktails and platters of wagyu sliders.
 
Wolfgang Puck’s Spago delivers, with dishes such as the miso-glazed salmon salad.
Wolfgang Puck’s Spago delivers, with dishes such as the miso-glazed salmon salad.
Photo by Anthony Mair

4. Dine with a celebrity.

When Bellagio opened its doors 20 years ago, Las Vegas transformed overnight from gambling mecca to gastronomic hot spot, with multiple James Beard Award-winning chefs at the center of the action. The seafood at Michael Mina’s eponymous restaurant is so fresh, you’ll forget you’re in the desert, while, at Yellowtail, Nobu Matsuhisa-trained Akira Back pairs innovative Japanese cuisine with an ample sake selection and awesome fountain views. Julian Serrano helms Lago, featuring small-plate Italian cuisine, as well as Picasso, where creative Euro fare is plated beneath the namesake master artist’s original paintings. Other Bellagio powerhouses: Prime Steakhouse from star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Wolfgang Puck’s Spago (the signature smoked salmon pizza makes the perfect lunch).

Las Vegas’ culinary extravaganza extends to Delano Las Vegas, with Rivea by Alain Ducasse; Harris says the stunning design, combined with jaw-dropping views, makes it one of the most sought-after tables in town. A pre-dinner cocktail at the rooftop Skyfall Lounge is a must: “This is the finest ultra-club in Vegas, where power couples and other players can enjoy a quiet atmosphere and amazing views,” Harris says. For her part, Betts can’t resist the French fare at three-Michelin-starred restaurant Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand: “It’s an intimate, delightful, and unforgettable dining experience,” she says. The secret behind dining at any of these amazing eateries: reservations. It’s nearly impossible to walk in on a whim (thank goodness for those VIP concierges and personal butlers).
 
Suites at The Signature offer an oasis of calm in the heart of the high life.
Suites at The Signature offer an oasis of calm in the heart of the high life.

5. Make a suite escape.

One of the biggest advantages of smaller hotels like Delano and The Signature is easy access to all that Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand have to offer. Besides the dizzying dining options (three dozen, at last count), some of the biggest stars in the world take the stage at the new Park MGM’s Park Theater, T-Mobile Arena, and Mandalay Bay Events Center. So, after catching a high-powered performance by Paul McCartney (June 29, 2019), George Strait (August 23 and 24, 2019), or Lady Gaga (in residence this year with two distinct shows and multiple dates), guests can quickly slip away to these all-suite sleeps. Lagman recently booked a bachelor party at The Signature so the guys could take a swing at the country’s largest Topgolf sports entertainment complex, also located in MGM Grand. The residential-style suites are her go-to for groups and those planning longer stays; she recommends one with a kitchenette and a balcony with Strip views: “Such a rarity in Vegas.”

Delano guests can escape the hubbub of Mandalay Bay by slipping into a separate, non-gaming lobby. Harris appreciates the suites’ sophisticated design and immense size, and suggests a corner or a west-facing view for amazing mountain sunsets. He also points out that Delano will be the closest property to the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium, due to open in 2020: “You’ll be able to walk over the Las Vegas freeway and back to your hotel before most people can get their car out of the parking lot.”
 
ARIA Sky Suites’ easy-to-use technology unlocks myriad travel perks. 
ARIA Sky Suites’ easy-to-use technology unlocks myriad travel perks. 
Photo by Al Payne

6. Stay in control.

For tech-savvy travelers, convenience is akin to luxury. ARIA delivers this in spades with its in-room Crave tablets, which let guests shape their ideal vacation with the swipe of a screen. The in-suite tablet lets you control the entire environment – your alarm, the shades, music, mood lighting – and even order room service without leaving the comfort of your bed. You also can check in from your smartphone, which doubles as a room key; text the concierge for last-minute reservations; and receive personalized notifications, such as alerts when a seat opens at your favorite gaming table. “What better way to spend your mornings in Vegas?” Lagman says.
 

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