I convene with my friend Sarah, and we start at sushi maestro Masa Takayama’s BarMasa at Aria. His toro tartare conspires with black caviar to create one of the tastiest pairings on the planet. The sommelier matches it with a cold, dry sake that plays perfectly off the rich, aquatic flavors. Transcendentally experienced, we head out to a waiting limo and zip over to Bellagio and Michael Mina’s eponymous restaurant for whole-roasted foie gras, carved table side and accompanied by a perfectly sweet sauterne. As a bonus, we sample Mina’s idea of a parfait — layers of smoked salmon, caviar, egg white, and creme fraiche on a foundation of crisply fried potato. Supposedly he concocted this on his honeymoon, cobbling together a room-service order to make something special for his wife. His towering bite tastes like a labor of love. We finish up the entrees with buttery rich A5 Japanese steak — three different cuts — at the Bellagio’s beef mecca, Prime, which easily lives up to its name. Then we hit Joël Robuchon in the MGM Grand for treats from a rolling dessert cart that is nothing less than an adult candy store on wheels. With 70-odd one- and two-bite offerings on hand, it’s tough to narrow down what we really want, but we go for white chocolate goodies to accompany Robuchon’s signature La Sphère de Sucre, a looks-too-good-to-eat globe of sugar filled with lemon mascarpone and raspberry granité.
After a quick peek at jam-packed and sprawling Hakkasan — a newly opened restaurant/disco/lounge spread out over five floors in the MGM Grand, which has managed to sign exclusive contracts with the most coveted disc jockeys (including Calvin Harris, Tiesto, and deadmau5) — it’s just a short limo ride down the Strip, heading south to Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino and its newly opened Light Nightclub. We walk in and figure that the wall of high-definition visuals that surrounds the DJ would be enough to wow us — and it is — but it’s outdone by performers who come swooping down from the ceiling, sexily clad and in various forms of entanglement. Cirque du Soleil has partnered with the venerable Light Group to create a spectacular show within the club. Coordinated to images on the screens, performers drop from the ceiling and pull off acrobatics that steal attention from the endless beats of house music. Prime tables are either of the two that flank the DJ booth and provide a perfect view of the Cirque action overhead. Or else book the one upstairs, alongside the lighting director, if you want to watch the Cirque performers preparing for takeoff.
Danced out, we nip next door to the Russian-themed Red Square for nightcaps inside its frigid vodka locker — so cold that you don a faux fur before entering. The decor and concept are on the kitschy side, but there is nothing hokey about the vodka selection. There are more than 100 varieties, headlined by Stolichnaya Elit at $450 per bottle. It’s 3 a.m., the club is still rocking, but I’m stuffed, a little tipsy, and a lot tired. So it’s back to Aria’s Sky Suites for a quick night’s slumber before hitting it hard the next day.
BALANCING A CONTAINER OF FRESH COFFEE, a blueberry muffin, and a cherry Danish, all scored from a downstairs lounge, exclusively for Sky Suite guests, I get mini-vanned to the foot of Red Rock Canyon. A fleet of Lamborghinis, Porsches, and Ferrarris, courtesy of World Class Driving Experience, awaits. Hued the color of blood oranges, a picturesque desert range looms in the distance. I enjoy a leisurely cruise through the southwestern equivalent of countryside, generally obeying the speed limit with occasional bursts of lawlessness to experience the power of these awesome cars with their track-worthy engines.