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The Best Spots to Eat, Shop, and Hang out in Vegas This Season

By Rob Kachelriess and Jason Latham | January 26, 2018 | Lifestyle

Las Vegas is a city of superlatives. It almost goes without saying that whatever your heart desires, we have the best version of it here, from an indulgent nine-course meal lasting hours to a spa experience that lasts just as long, where you can atone for every sinful calorie. But if you need a reminder of what truly sets our city apart, then peruse our list of the 17 best things to eat, buy and experience. We guarantee you’ ll fall in love all over again.

BEST INVITATION ONLY PENTHOUSES

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The Cosmopolitan’s Boulevard Penthouse is the “hotel within a hotel” that you never want to leave. And who could blame you? If you have the bankroll to earn an invite to any of the 21 recently unveiled suites on the 71st to 75th floors, you’ll enjoy pampering and privacy unheard of on the Las Vegas Strip. Challenged to find space to keep their high-rollers happy, Cosmopolitan ownership transformed four vacant floors into a 63,000-square-foot luxury paradise, bringing in acclaimed firms Daun Curry, Richmond International and Tihany Design to give each one a unique look. The results include Instagramworthy touches such as a life-size birdcage, a Pegasus statue and various Marilyn Monroe-inspired art pieces (a favorite of Adam Tihany, who also designed the 71st floor’s Reserve gaming club). Amenities vary suite to suite, but enviable perks include 24-hour butler service, in-suite fitness studios, pool tables, private terraces and $10,000 toilets.

BEST CUSTOM JEWELER

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When he arrived in Las Vegas in 1973, Mordechai Yerushalmi earned his reputation as a celebrity jeweler designing rings for Liberace and Elvis Presley. Forty-five years later, he’s still No. 1 in the eyes of athletes and movie stars passing through the heavily guarded front door of The Jewelers of Las Vegas, hoping Yerushalmi will bring their dream bling to life. “You give us a picture, we study it, we do a wax mold for it, and then we have a pretty accurate [idea] of how much gold and diamonds it takes,” he explains. Among Yerushalmi’s most recent celebrity designs: a pair of heart-shaped, diamond-encrusted cuff links and a poker chip for comedian (and frequent Las Vegas visitor) Kevin Hart, as well as a massive 35-carat chain for a celebrity who wished not to be named. Some celebs prefer their privacy, an employee remarks, but “you could pull a truck with it.”

BEST BLINGED OUT TABLEWEAR

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On most nights, STK’s $30,000 diamond-encrusted wine decanter band stays in a safe, reserved only for VIPs, holidays or fight weekends. Only a select few—comedian Kevin Hart among them—have seen it while sampling the steakhouse’s wine selection. A gift from celebrity jeweler Jason of Beverly Hills, the band itself is made up of more than 130 grams of 14K white gold, lined with 278 diamonds—4.3 carats total weight—and complements the restaurant’s coveted diamond-encrusted steak knives, also designed by JoBH. Look for the band to be used in STK’s private room, with a decanter of “red wine that should be opened up,” according to Events and Marketing Manager Rebecca Friedman. If you want to see it alongside the best of the best, choose STK’s $3,600 bottle of Chateau Margaux and pair it with a $128 dry-aged porterhouse and foie gras, of course.

BEST PRIVATE GAMING

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High-stakes gaming takes on new meaning when you’re seated at your private table 71 floors above the Las Vegas Strip. Unveiled in February 2017, the 2,500-squarefoot Reserve at the Cosmopolitan offers unparalleled perks— 24-hour personal butlers, massage chairs, cigar humidor and a private bar stocked with $80,000 worth of big-ticket Scotches and whiskeys—provided you have the credit limit and an escort to get you through the front door. Interior Design Hall of Famer Adam Tihany relied on heavily textured dark-wood wall paneling to evoke the feel of an early-20th-century members-only gentlemen’s club, and you might feel trapped in time until you step out onto the terrace overlooking the Bellagio fountains. Alas, the view, like the club itself, is reserved for whales.

BEST ELITE PRIVATE SECURITY

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With more than 15 years’ experience as a global professional security expert, Sean Rockabrand is now in business for himself in Las Vegas. “Rockabrand Events is a one-stop shop where we take care of all your needs from A to Z,” he says. The service, heavily based on organizing and managing private functions, is geared toward celebrities and Fortune 500 executives with all of the advance work covered. That could include ground transportation from a private jet terminal or even hotel or dinner reservations. Along the way, Rockabrand works with a trusted network of partners to make sure any degree of supplemental security is taken care of. “We utilize former military personnel who are now in the industry,” he says. “We have armed or unarmed executive protection agents all the way to uniformed security officers.”

BEST OFF-MENU ITEM

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Wilfried Bergerhausen may no longer be the executive chef of Le Cirque, but he’s left the Bellagio restaurant in good hands, along with one of his most famous creations: an off-menu Surf n’ Turf. “This dish is about Vegas,” says general manager Ivo Angelov. “It’s something that represents the best of what we offer at the restaurant.” That includes Japanese wagyu, foie gras, a black truffle sauce and a 2-pound butter-poached Maine lobster flown in the same day, topped with caviar and an edible 24K gold leaf. “When you put it together, it becomes something unique and exclusive,” says Angelov. At one point, Le Cirque briefly added the Surf n’ Turf to the regular menu but quickly reconsidered. Despite its semisecret status, the $325 dish remains the most requested one at the restaurant. Ask about it in advance when making a reservation.

BEST HIGH-TECH INTERIOR DESIGN

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Custom International is a boutique service that does it all. The firm, managed by John Marshall, designs tech features like home automation (controlled by smartphone), full entertainment systems and even in-house bowling alleys—all while providing home furnishings that maximize both aesthetics and functionality. “We accommodate people in luxury environments who want the absolute best based on the budget we design for the residence,” says Marshall. “Everything is bespoke.” The Air Force veteran and Texas transplant has been involved in custom residential technology for 25 years. He’s seen every fad come and go while making a point to stay up to speed on the latest toys. “I try out everything myself,” he says. Marshall’s work is found in multimillion-dollar estates and luxury high-rises like the Mandarin Oriental and Park Towers. His craziest request? “We did a hydraulic stairwell that went down to a dungeon when pressing a button. We had to figure out how to create that.” But ultimately, no matter what the project, you’re getting peace of mind knowing that every design is expertly planned down to the last wire.

BEST SPA EXPERIENCE

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As much of a trust exercise as it is a therapeutic experience, Time Rituals is among the most requested treatments at Mandarin Oriental’s Forbes five-star spa. It’s on the menu, but you’ll never know what to expect until you’re in the moment. Rather than choosing from a specific list of options, Time Rituals asks you to embrace the moment and “let your therapist craft the treatment like a master chef in the kitchen,” according to Senior Director of Spa and Wellness Jennifer Lynn. Your aesthetician may steer you in a direction you might never have intended to go but will eventually heal whatever’s aching or ailing you. Everything about Time Rituals feels improvised, even the length of your spa stay, which could last two or three hours, depending on what you feel. Your time is valuable, so get the most out of it.

BEST VENDING GAME

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Yes, it’s a vending machine. But around the halls of Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, they think of it as a “selfie station.” The first of its kind when it debuted in December 2016, the Moët & Chandon-dispensing machine has been the “gift that keeps on giving” on social media, according to Marketing and Communications Director Patricia Galas. The overall experience makes it more than a vending machine. It won’t accept your credit card or quarters, only a $25 gold coin that you purchase at the hotel’s front desk. Your selection—Imperial Brut or Rosé, depending on your tastes—also comes with a special topper so you can drink straight from the 187 ml bottle while enjoying Strip views from the 23rd floor’s famous Sky Lobby. “The machine holds 320 bottles,” says Galas. “We’re refilling it at least once a week.” That’s a lot of selfies.

BEST WAY TO MEET A CELEBRITY

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We count three winning formulas at work here. 1) By design, the VIP tables surrounding the AXIS stage put fans within selfie distance of their favorite artists, with “Meet and Greet” packages that include a photo op and personal escort into every show. 2) The ever-evolving AXIS lineup is loaded with cross-cultural, cross-generational talent—Jennifer Lopez, Backstreet Boys, Lionel Richie and Pitbull are all on tap to perform in 2018. You know your roster runs deep when you can wave goodbye to inaugural headliner Britney Spears and not miss a beat. Lastly, 3) you don’t have to look hard to find celebrities frequenting the AXIS crowd—J.Lo beau Alex Rodriguez admits he’s a regular—so you’re never short of highlights for your Instagram story.

BEST CUSTOM LINENS

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Before the Wynn resort opened in Las Vegas, Mona Steck spent about two years designing custom banquet linens for the new property. She credits Steve Wynn for knowing exactly what he wanted. “His vision was to bring people into his home and his dining room, not your typical bAnquet room,” she says. Her linens are made by hand—without computer embroidery—yet strong enough to handle the rigors of commercial laundry service. “It’s a look. It’s a touch. It’s a feel,” explains Steck. “It’s a sensual experience when the person is dining. It feels nice in your fingers.” Set tings by Mona creations are also found in the Wynn’s top restaurants and Wynn Cotai PAlace in Macau, and are for sale at the Wynn and Encore Home Stores.

BEST IN ROOM DINING

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One of the best things about staying at the Nobu Hotel inside Caesars Palace is having 24-hour access to food delivered from the Nobu Restaurant kitchen. That includes signature dishes such as the black cod miso or squid pasta, as well as in-room exclusives like blueberry and yuzu soba pancakes for breakfast. The menu was created by the man himself—Nobu Matsuhisa—and includes a selection of Japanese-style bento boxes. “For $185, the High Roller Bento Box features lobster, king crab, steak, premium sushi rolls, nigiri and baby spinach salad,” says Martha Morales, general manager of Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace. “The dish is prepared using high-quality ingredients including wagyu, toro and truffles.” But if you really want to splurge on in-room dining, book the rooftop Nobu Hotel Villa for $35,000 a night and request a personal in-room sushi chef to prepare a lavish omakase meal.

BEST AIRLINE TERMINAL

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Private jets are big business in Las Vegas. The best place to catch one is at the Atlantic Aviation terminal, which sits on the edge of McCarran International Airport with an entrance directly off Tropicana Avenue. Its largest tenant is Cirrus Aviation Services, whose clients appreciate the comfortable furniture and modern decor found alongside the towering windows that look out to the runway. “The best part is there’s no intrusive security checks to worry about,” says Cirrus Aviation President Greg Woods. “Just pull up to the terminal and the plane takes off whenever you’re ready.” For passengers who find themselves hanging around for a little while, there’s drink and coffee service, a conference room, business center, Wi-Fi and an in-house deli to help pass the time.

BEST USE OF A RARE INGREDIENT

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How far would you go for the best beef possible? Mizumi executive chef Devin Hashimoto sources true certified wagyu from snowy Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands. The cattle is raised by Fujio Terauchi, whose ranch sits on a bird sanctuary. “He only slaughters three heads per month,” says Hashimoto. “And we get a whole one sent to us here at Mizumi.” The snow beef has a unique taste, thanks to the cold weather conditions and the feed given to the cattle. “A lot of it has to do with the Sapporo corn, which is very sweet and changes the marbling of the beef,” he explains. “The beef has a nice sweet tone to it.” Mizumi serves rib-eye, New York strip and tenderloin cuts in 4-, 6- or 8-ounce steaks, pan-seared with cracked black pepper and a rare sea salt from the Philippines. Guests also have the option to cook their own thin 2-ounce cuts on a hot stone at the table.

BEST HIGH TECH TAILORING EXPERIENCE

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Brioni in Wynn Las Vegas’ Esplanade shops is home to next-gen 3-D fashion technology Brioni Miror— exclusive to the Western Hemisphere, the others are in Rome and the flagship Milan location—which allows you to customize your suit virtually before handing your made-to-measure selection to one of their master tailors. That’s Miror with one “r” because what you’re seeing isn’t a reflection of what you look like, but a projection of what you could look like. It takes every detail into account, allowing you to choose from 3,000 fabric options and millions of styling combinations—even the color, shape and knot of your tie. Like any technology, we’re tempted to push it to its limits. Perhaps a windowpane pattern on a double-breasted suit?

BEST GAME ROOM ADDITION

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When you mention the “atrium” at the Palazzo, most people think of the two-story atrium waterfall that’s proven to be an eternally popular selfie spot within the Grand Canal Shoppes. But it’s also the name of a 16,000-square-foot retail concept just off the casino floor. The Atrium at the Palazzo offers upscale brands within the browsable format of a department store. Jewelry, handbags and perfume are within reach of makeup, cigars and fine spirits—with brand names like Dior, Tom Ford and MAC grabbing everyone’s attention. However, the most indulgent item is the Cristallino GOLD LE by Teckell, a foosball table made of gold and crystal with stainless-steel frames and handcrafted nets. Each table is part of a limited-edition series and individually numbered. With a price tag of $25,000, it could be the most indulgent addition you’ll find in Las Vegas for your game room.

BEST REASON TO EMBRACE GLUTEN

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Joël Robuchon is widely recognized as a master of French cuisine, and his eponymous restaurant inside the MGM Grand offers one of the most indulgent food experiences in Las Vegas: a tasting menu of 18 dishes served in nine servings. “It’s a minimum two and a half hours and can go to four hours,” says executive chef Christophe De Lellis. The price tag is $445 and doesn’t cover wine or Champagne pairings, but you’re getting a regal evening of fine dining featuring expert preparation, rare ingredients and high-caliber service. The menu changes seasonally, although you’ll always see the truffled langoustine ravioli and osetra caviar with king crab and cauliflower puree. Despite the calorie overload, don’t hesitate on the glorious bread selection. “I’m proud to say it’s made fresh in-house every day,” adds De Lellis. “We have 16 selections in our bread cart.” The entire tasting menu can also be prepared in a vegetarian format, proving that this is a meal that everyone should try at least once.



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