So much has changed with the hotels in Las Vegas in the last few years. I started going to Las Vegas in the mid-1980’s for an annual conference. At that point, you had the traditional Vegas hotels from Caesars Palace, Sands, Stardust and the Flamingo to the Sahara, Desert Inn and the Riviera.
Then you saw the addition of the of such properties as the MGM Grand, the Mirage, Rio and Excalibur. Rather than traveling internationally people had the option to visit many of the theme hotels including Egypt at Luxor, Venice at The Venetian, Paris at the Paris Las Vegas, NYC at New York-New York and Rome at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Here you feel like you are walking down the streets of Paris or seeing a gondola on the canals of Venice while dining al fresco.
The trend then shifted to the more upscale hotels like the Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, The Pallazo at The Venetian and Bellagio. More recently you have seen the addition of even more upscale properties like the SLS which is now the Sahara Las Vegas, The Cosmopolitan, ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel & Spa at the ARIA, the Mandarin Oriental which is now the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas and the Delano Las Vegas. With the newer hotels, you have seen the trend of more and more upscale restaurants opened by celebrity chefs from around the country. The famous hotel buffets are there but are now not the norm.
The larger hotels with large casinos and a large number of bars and restaurants, can be somewhat overwhelming with the crowds. So I recommend trying some of the newer properties nearby that don’t have casinos, but where you can easily access the casinos, restaurants, bars and showrooms.
My recent recommendations include:
On my last trip I stayed at the SLS Hotel, that is located in the former Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas on the north end of The Strip, at 2535 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Since I was there is has again become the Sahara Las Vegas.
It has three separate towers. It has a large casino, concert venues plus a number of bars and restaurant options. Since it is at the north end, it is not quite as busy as some of the larger hotels in the heart of The Strip. The rooms are contemporary and nicely appointed and designed. There are a number of restaurants to choose from including Bella Bistro Beer Garden, Uno Mas Street Tacos + Spirits, Northside Cafe & Chinese Kitchen and Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres for great steak. I enjoyed my dinner at Bazaar Meat.
Delano Las Vegas: Next to Mandalay Bay, the Delano Las Vegas is an MGM Resorts International property. At 3940 S. Las Vegas Blvd. at the south end of the strip, it is a stylish, all-suite property with several restaurants, a lobby coffee bar and the Skyfall Lounge with great views, plus cocktails and dancing.
ARIA Resort and Casino: The ARIA is a very large, beautifully designed, luxury property with 16 restaurants and a dozen bars. There are 4,004 guest rooms, 568 luxury suites, 4 pools, a theater for entertainment and 150,000 ft. of gaming. 3730 S. Las Vegas Blvd.
Vdara Hotel: At 2600 W. Harmon Ave., this is an MGM Resorts International property. It has 57 floors and 1,495 suites. Along with the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, it is one of two hotels in the CityCenter complex that has no casino and is non-smoking. I suggest staying there so you have easy access to the ARIA Resort & Casino, The Cosmopolitan and The Shops at Crystals. It is also connected to the Bellagio by free tram service.
The Cosmopolitan: This is a new luxury property on The Strip at 3708 S. Las Vegas Blvd. It offers contemporary rooms, a casino, a large number of entertainment options, restaurants and bars.
The former Mandarin Oriental is now the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas. This five-star luxury property is non-smoking and has no casino. The 23rd floor Tea Lounge is perfect for afternoon tea overlooking The Strip and the nearby Sky Bar is a great place for a cocktail with equally great views. There is also the Zen Kitchen for seasonal American cuisine and Twist, for modern French cuisine by Pierre Gagnaire, the famous French chef.
Recently opened is the NoMad Las Vegas, an MGM Resorts property. This is a hip, boutique concept with locations in New York, Los Angeles and now Las Vegas. It has 293 rooms and suites with a New York design sensibility. It has a bar, restaurant, small casino and pool. I would love to stay there on my next trip!
I have been going to Canyon Ranch Wellness Resort in Tucson, AZ for over 30 years. They have Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness in Las Vegas at The Venetian. I have been there several times in the past. Here they have exercise classes, spa services and a restaurant, Truth & Tonic, for healthy cuisine. They also have CR CREĀT , a stop-and-go destination for energy-boosting juices and coffee, nutritious wraps, sandwiches and snacks in The Grand Canal Shoppes. You may want to stay at the resort to take advantage of these services or stay in another location and book your appointments. The access fees may be included in your room rate. Day passes are available for use of the facilities and some services will also include access to the other facilities. Appointments can be booked online.
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