OutTraveler's Favorite Spots to Play in Las Vegas
By Andrew Belonsky
Rest Your Head
With a wide variety of accommodations, from panoramic view rooms to the more exclusive Tower Suites, as well as a host of luxury shopping (think Gaultier, Chanel and Dior) in its retail area, and 18 restaurants, including the sumptuous SW Steakhouse and the more casual Terrace Pointe Cafe, you could very well never leave this luxurious complex. And the complex'sEncore Hotel & Casino, where there a premium on modern design, has a poolside lounge where tables run straight into the water.
>The Mandalay Bay's 11-acre tropical lagoon, thoughtfully designed beach club and wide variety of entertainment venues, including the House of Blues, are always reliable draws, as is its spin-offTHEhotel at Mandalay, where 1,117 rooms, complete with 42-inch plasma televisions and marble-and-granite bathrooms and The Bathhouse spa guarantee a memorable stay
A mainstay on The Strip, and a leader of the late-90s pack that helped bring Vegas back to life,The Bellagio gives guests true luxury. View stunning art at the hotel's $200 million gallery, stroll around their 11-acre lake or spend some quiet time roaming around the grounds' gardens. Then, once you're done with all that, check out their spa for some pampering and finish your day with a meal at one of The Bellagio's many fine restaurants, like Picasso and the one-and-only five diamond-rated Le Cirque.
>Caesers Palace's six towers have stood strong through all of Vegas' iterations, continually impressing with its Colosseum entertainment venue originally built for Celine Dion, sprawling mall and top-notch service. And though it's named after an emperor, this hotel opens its arms to travelers of all economic classes.
The art deco-infused Flamingo Las Vegas Casino & Hotel, first opened in 1946 to a star-studded crowd (Lana Turner, Clark Gable and Judy Garland among them) may have been Vegas' first mob-run hotel, and was definitely the reason famed gangster Bugsy Siegel was murdered. (He was, his business partners in the venture believed, skimming, a cardinal sin in the world of organized crime.) The hotel has cleaned up its image since then: their next headlining show is Donny and Marie Osmond. The sibling singers, however, can't get into your room, where the Flamingo's Miami-inspired pop really shines through with patent-leather headboards, modern chaise lounges and plenty of pink accents.
And since Vegas is all about fantasy, visitors may want to get a taste of France at the 24-acre Paris-Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, which also boasts 11 restaurants for the Francophile foodie, an excellent, 25,000 square-foot spa and nightly entertainment, like the hit musical Jersey Boys.
Meanwhile, New York-New York brings the Big Apple to the desert, Luxor's Pyramid draws inspiration from Egypt, where luxury began, andThe Venetian's canals and gondola rides are the perfect alternative for those who can't hop on over to Italy without crossing any international waters.
For those on a budget, Boyd Gaming has seven different hotels to choose from, includingThe Orleans Hotel & Casino,Gold Coast on the Strip andMain Street Station in the newly revitalized downtown district. These and the company's other locales all have rooms starting at about $30 a night.
If you're looking to avoid gambling away your hard earned cash, check out Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel, where Rat Pack-inspired design offers a reprieve from the at-times overwhelming strip, while their on-site steakhouse, ENVY, really lives up to its name.
For something more scintillating, why not try Blue Moon Resort, an all-male, clothing-optional spot off the strip where anything can and will happen. Don't worry, though, it all stays in Vegas.