From Painting with Dolphins to Orange Cotton Candy, Here is the Latest in Can’t-Miss Vegas

From by Cynthia Dial
From Painting with Dolphins to Orange Cotton Candy, Here is the Latest in Can’t-Miss Vegas

Oh, Las Vegas. Where else can you visit Lake Bellagio, the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower within the same day? Adhering to its founding principle, “spare no expense,” this is a town where over-the-top glitter and beyond-the-imagination glamour are unabashedly applauded. Las Vegas is where you feel you’ve trespassed a velvet rope line onto a red carpet that is never ending. Sin City’s streets are enhanced with world-class restaurants, grand casinos and one-of-a-kind entertainment. Whether you’re a first-timer or have acquired a lifetime worth of (classified) stories from Vegas, there’s always something new to be experienced. Here are some of the city’s newest, best and/or must-do events:

delano las vegasPhoto Credit: Delano Las Vegas

The Delano’s lobby boasts a runway-like carpet that was the setting of the hotel’s 2014 fashion show opening. Floor-to-ceiling, Grecian-style fabric columns line the way toward the floating stone artwork suspended above the aisle. Check-in was effortless, within minutes I was standing in my suite surrounded by white and enjoying views of the Strip. A Mae West quote, “Between two evils, I always pick the one I’ve never tried before,” is imprinted on a black card sitting atop the crisp white bed.

Presidential references are seen throughout the hotel named for the nation’s 32nd leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Franklin, the hotel’s sophisticated drinking spot, is known for its craft cocktails, one-and-only spirits (from a Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Bourbon to a custom Glen Moray scotch), more than 30 craft beers and a selection of wines by the glass. Breakfast at Della’s Kitchen serves up such specialties as Portuguese pastrami hash, spiced pumpkin pancakes and mimosa trois (a mix-your-own Champagne cocktail with your choice of three juices).

Just around the corner is 3940 Coffee + Tea which offers s’more lattes. The soon-to-be-unveiled addition to this delicious lineup is an Alain Ducasse Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and lounge called Rivea that will sit on the 64th floor. It will showcase 180-degree views and will feature creations from its world-renowned, multi-Michelin-star-ranked chef.

sagePhoto Credit: ARIA Resort & Casino
Tasting Dinner

Las Vegas is known for its collection of top-dollar events, but the Cognac Tasting Dinner at Sage is an experience found in limited edition. Located inside of ARIA Resort & Casino, the affair features a five-course menu beginning with a cognac tasting and followed by a Champagne pairing from the prestigious Hardy house. Benedicte Hardy guided guests through the feast that began with foie gras custard brûlée and ended with “Perfection” cognac, an extremely rare, 150-year-old cognac expression ($25,000 per bottle). 

verandaPhoto Credit: Four Seasons Las Vegas
Celebrity Chefs

Wolfgang Puck started the celebrity chef trend more than two decades ago when he opened Spago in The Forum Shops at Caesars. Following in his footsteps are such luminaries as Chefs Mario Batali, Bobby Flay and Michael Mina. Fleur by Herbert Keller (Top Chef Masters finalist) features an unexpected, innovative wine-versus-beer pairing dinner. The Chef’s Table at Buffet Bellagio, a hotel known as a top-choice of millionaires, offers an elaborate spread complete with stuffed quail eggs, tableside carved prime rib, a weekend caviar station and a white and dark chocolate fondue finish. Veranda at Four Seasons is an Italian inspired trattoria, showcasing such Chef Antonio Minichiello’s creations. Two of his standout dishes is La Pasta Cotta Nel Vaso, handmade artichoke pasta cooked in a jar with assorted seafood and his signature sharing dessert tiramisu cake made with espresso gelato and orange-flavored cotton candy.

VdaraPhoto Credit: Vdara Hotel & Spa
Daytime Activities

Whether it’s spa-ing, sunning or secret gardens, Las Vegas-by-day is teeming with choice selections for daytime activities. Vdara Hotel is home to the city’s first ESPA-branded spa, a facility found in prestigious locations on five continents. Described as a “private, sophisticated, European bathing experience,” the adults-only spa can be accessed through Mandalay Bay’s Moorea Beach Club. Summer at Vdara features a “Toptional Beach” (yes, tops optional) and winter offers s’mores served around the fire pit. But it is The Mirage hotel’s Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat that includes my favorite surprise, an interactive experience called “Painting with the Dolphins.” Personally-picked paint selections are loaded into buoy brushes that dolphins hold in their mouths and swipe onto your hand-held canvas. The final result: modern art.

Action seekers have the Las Vegas High Roller, the world’s tallest Ferris wheel at 550-feet high and found in the LINQ outdoor promenade. Over at The Bellagio their Gallery of Fine Art is currently showcasing Picasso: Creatures and Creativity until January 10, 2016, a collection of more than 43 pieces of the painter’s work, including a portrait that has never been seen in public.

Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du SoleilPhoto Credit: Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil

When the sun goes down, the curtain comes up in Las Vegas. Mandalay Bay’s Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil is a musical and acrobatic tribute to the legend. Its unforgettable highlight, the clever use of a hologram, all too realistically transports the audience back to the time when the King of Pop reigned. Continuing the Cirque du Soleil theme is nearby LIGHT Nightclub, another Mandalay Bay entertainment enticement. Complete with headlining DJs, pulsating music, a packed dance floor and frenetic energy, every evening is different and each night is an effervescent party. 

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