Sky Suites at Aria Las Vegas,
Shadow Creek Golf Course, shadowcreek.com
Sarha Spa and Hammam, Vesper Bar, Talon Club at Cosmopolitan Las Vegas,
Bar Masa at Aria Las Vegas, arialasvegas.com
Michael Mina, Prime, Jasmine at Bellagio
Joël Robuchon at the Mansion and Hakkasan at MGM Grand Las Vegas,
Light Nightclub, Red Square, Fleur, Daylight at Mandalay Bay, mandalaybay.com
World Class Driving Experience,
Restaurant Guy Savoy and Cognac Lounge at Caesars Palace, caesarspalace.com
XS and Andrea’s at Encore Las Vegas,
The Shops at Crystals,
In a bit of a drinking mood, we head a couple of casinos south on the Vegas Strip and walk into Cosmopolitan. There, off the main lobby, where columns display surreal video footage, the Vesper Bar serves a spin on its signature drink. In addition to the usual combination of gin, vodka, and Lillet, orange bitters complement the Vesper quite nicely. The resulting tipple is as smooth as James Bond himself. From there it’s an escalator ride up to the sequestered Talon Club, hidden away near a bank of elevators. Designed to resemble a modernly eccentric men’s club — complete with chairs upholstered in animal skins, decanters of whiskey, and cool art on the walls (including a print by Takashi Murakami) — it offers games of blackjack that begin at elevated minimums. Rich furnishings, an air of exclusivity, and distance from the clang of slot machines all contribute to making the Talon a perfect environment in which to test one’s nerve as a high-stakes gambler. A bottle of 50-year-old Balvenie scotch is kept on hand for anyone who requires a shot of courage.
As late night turns into early morning, we head off to Steve Wynn’s Encore Las Vegas, where the dance club XS reigns as one of the city’s best. But first we slip into Andrea’s, a restaurant there named for Wynn’s wife. After 8 p.m. the DJ booth near the bar sets a loungy vibe. Food-loving Steve Angello, a founding member of Swedish House Mafia, has bandied about sitting alongside chef Joe Elevado, who taught him to make sushi. We forgo dishes such as five-spice lobster and chili-mint duck confit but find it in us to sip icy martinis. Drinks drained, we proceed to the best table in XS — literally on stage, feet away from superstar DJ Avicii, who drives the crowd wild with complex beats.
IF THERE IS A DAY WORTHY of sleeping in, it is Sunday. Nevertheless, I’m up in time to catch brunch at the crisp looking, light-filled Jasmine in Bellagio. The meal there ranks as the most alluring all-you-can-eat affair in town, complete with Peking duck, sushi, freshly spun omelets, champagne, dim sum, perfectly pink prime rib, and a separate room devoted exclusively to desserts. Finishing the meal, sitting at a window table that affords an unobstructed view of Bellagio’s frontage of dancing waters, seemingly choreographed to a soundtrack highlighted by vintage Sinatra, this could be a perfect way to end my trip.
Alas, though, I have yet to score souvenirs. So I make a quick run to The Shops at Crystals, the blue-chip Vegas shopping mall that famously boasts North America’s largest Louis Vuitton store. How fancy is this mall? Never mind that the October opening of the Tourbillion watch shop will offer some of the world’s priciest timepieces or that the idea of decor there is a commissioned light sculpture by fine artist James Turrell or that the Prada boutique has walls covered in the same leather that the company uses for its famous handbags; in Crystals it is standard for the shops to offer private suites for checking out clothing selected by the stores’ personal shoppers. They successfully cater to those seeking discretion and, of course, one more glass of champagne.