by grace bascos with additional reporting by tess eyrich | October 31, 2014 | Lifestyle
It’s true that the more money you spend in Las Vegas, the more doors open, revealing the fabulous indulgences the city has to offer, particularly as the holidays approach. But there are some pleasures you can and should plan for—especially if you have only a weekend in which to cram them all. Tuck our little guide to some of the best secrets of Vegas’s shopping, spas, restaurants, and stays into your pocket for a glitzy start to your holidays.
You want a unique meal you’ll remember long after you leave Las Vegas? José Andrés’s beet kini at é should do the trick.
When chefs go into the hotel business, you can bet they don’t neglect their guests’ appetites. The newly unveiled Nobu Villa, in Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu Hotel within Caesars Palace (702-785-6677), is 10,300 square feet of pure high roller, with three bedrooms, an outdoor terrace, a Japanese onsen-style soaking tub, plus a robatayaki grill and pizza oven on the patio, two dining rooms, and an omakase bar, where one of Nobu’s sushi chefs will make house calls.
As for soothing your body, no one said you can’t infuse your spa treatment with a little booze (it is the holidays, after all). Unwind at the just-opened Delano with the Double Down treatment in the hotel’s freshly redone Bathhouse (877-632-9636). The 80-minute experience starts with a bourbon-infused sugar scrub and ends with a massage; in between, a steam wrap moisturizes the skin with brown sugar and vanilla body oils. See? Now you’re a pie, but we bet you’ll be thankful.
Throwing a holiday dinner party that won’t soon be forgotten can be difficult in a city whose primary focus is entertainment. At é by José Andrés, the chef’s “secret” room inside Jaleo at Cosmopolitan, molecular gastronomy reigns supreme and the tasting menu includes upward of 20 dishes. For the eight-person table, the best way to get it is to contact the restaurant at midnight PST one month in advance—no further. But they do have the occasional cancellation, so it’s worth working the e-mail (there’s no phone).
The Nobu villa is a high roller’s dream come true.
If it’s pre-party pampering you’re after, Las Vegas offers an abundance of places to primp. Cosmopolitan’s Violet Hour Salon (702-388-0121) dispatches its stylists, technicians, and makeup artists to your room for anything from a minor bang trim to a sunless tanning session.
For the red carpet treatment, head to the suite at Cosmo’s Sahra Spa & Hammam (855-724-7258), a penthouse-style retreat that comes with a fat-screen TV, a wet bar, and butler service.
Champagne and cocktails are just a part of the everyday experience at Color Salon by Michael Boychuck at Caesars Palace (866-730-7791), a go-to destination for entertainers, socialites, and megawatt personalities who arrive in Vegas. But securing an appointment can be difficult around the holidays. The team recommends being nice to staffers (“legitimately nice, not just generous”) and a bit flexible with your time, and you never know what kinds of scheduling miracles they can accomplish.
Mandarin Oriental’s Twist offers incredible views and food to match.
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire at Mandarin Oriental (888-881-9367) offers some of the most extravagant meals on the Strip. This Thanksgiving, Gagnaire will render your holiday meal as only a master French chef can: with a multicourse degustation menu featuring, yes, turkey—but poached, roasted, and dressed with potimarron squash and the chef’s porcini gratin, then drizzled with bitter jus and served with carrot purée. Book the restaurant’s 16-person dining room, which has its own tasting menu and floor-to-ceiling views of the city.
For a more spontaneous Thanksgiving, line up (early) at Caesars’ Bacchanal Buffet (702-731-7928). It already offers some 500 items daily, but this year it rolls out an astounding range of dishes to suit every taste, from carved meats (roasted turkey, honey-glazed ham) and seafood (lobster ravioli, king crab legs) to traditional sides (pumpkin soup) and even ethnically inspired options (turkey tacos).
Stacked mozzarella and tomato at Caesars’ Bacchanal Buffet.
Daniel Boulud’s db Brasserie (702-430-1235) made quite a splash when it opened at Venetian last spring, but it’s the restaurant’s new weekend brunch that has us coming back for seconds. Boulud showcases the season’s bounty with dishes like waffles with bourbon chantilly and a trout grenobloise with raisins and caper brown butter—a new reason to get out of bed after an over-the-top Friday night.
The two-seater in the west corner of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant (Paris Las Vegas, 702-948-6937) not only has the distinction of being one of the most romantic spots on the Strip; it has also earned the nickname “the engagement table.” But you can ask for it by number: The staff knows it as 56. It’s also the only table in the house with seats that face away from the dining room and toward the Bellagio fountains across the street.
Finding the perfect gift can be one of the most daunting aspects of the holidays, but some of the city’s best shopping venues offer a variety of behind-the-scenes services to ease the process. At Saks Fifth Avenue (Fashion Show, 702-733-8300), personal shopper Marsha Miller begins preparing for the holidays weeks in advance, even setting up carefully curated gift rooms with options for her clients to choose from. Running low on time? Simply give her a list of recipients, then allow her to make expert selections and have the presents professionally wrapped, addressed, and delivered.
Wynn guests can be paired with a fashion expert assisted by a buyer who has traveled to the shows in Milan, Paris, and New York to guide them through the extraordinary wealth of options on the Esplanades at Wynn and Encore (702-770-7000), including Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and Givenchy. (Need a break? Chanel shoppers can enjoy a glass of Champagne on a patio overlooking a waterfall and be shown the selections.)
The complimentary personal shoppers at Barneys New York (Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian and Palazzo, 702-629-4200) come armed with a cadre of fitters and tailors. Call ahead—or book an appointment via the Barneys New York iPad app—and prior to your arrival they’ll pull an assortment of items that you can survey in one of several luxury suites, all with their own lounge areas.
Bellusso Jewelers at the Grand Canal Shoppes at Venetian and Palazzo (702-650-2988) plays host to Bulgari, Cartier, Harry Winston, and its own gorgeous line, but two of the boutique’s timepiece brands pack the strongest punch around the holidays: Germany’s A. Lange & Söhne, whose master craftsmen assemble each of its watches twice, and Greubel Forsey, a Swiss manufacturer that produces only 100 new watches per year (starting at $360,000). This is one shop that knows how to appropriately spoil its clients, with gifts such as private-label Cartier Champagne and dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut, where top customers get their own five-course meal with wine pairings.
photography courtesy of cosmopolitan las Vegas (é); nobu hotel caesars palace (nobu); philip bird lrps cpagb/shutterstock.com (crystals); courtesy of Delano (Bathhouse); cosmopolitan las Vegas (Violet hour); caesars palace (color salon); caesars las Vegas (Bacchanal Buffet); comme Ça (huckleBerry); manDarin oriental las Vegas (twist)