Onsite Review: Las Vegas

Here’s a sprinkling of some of the goodies we experienced during a recent visit to Las Vegas.


The Giada restaurant at The Cromwell.
The Giada restaurant at The Cromwell.

cromwell (and swooning over Giada)
Tell your clients to get to their ridiculously cool room at The Cromwell—think a steampunk-meets-boudoir style—put down their luggage and run down to the onsite Giada restaurant to feast on some of the best Italian food to be found on the Las Vegas Strip. There’s a saying on the restaurant’s lampshades that goes, “Eat a little of everything, but not a lot of anything,” so our advice to your clients is to go for the tasting menu, which offers a bounty of Giada’s specialties. Think a 3-hour meal and every morsel a bite of heaven. For our onsite review of The Cromwell, visit recommend.com. caesars.com/cromwell

a “snapshot” of the LINQ promenade
One of our favorite places at The LINQ Promenade is The Polaroid Museum and the Polaroid Fotobar. Your clients can find a multitude of items to make those hip Polaroids look even more sleek at the Fotobar (your client’s teenage kids will love them for it), but more than just shopping, recommend clients take a detour to The Polaroid Museum. The history of the Polaroid is pretty fascinating and a self-guided tour of the museum makes for an interesting half-hour or so (a nice place to get away from Vegas’ maddening crowds). Another sweet LINQ spot is Koto, with a bevy of fun “take-me-home-please” items. caesars.com/linq

high roller
It goes high…really high—it’s a 550-ft. observation wheel—but what a great way to see Las Vegas. Your clients will definitely want to take the ride at sunset or once the sky is blanketed in black—getting a bird’s-eye view of those neon lights is truly the reason for the ride, in our opinion. Visitors can grab a drink at the wheelhouse, or better yet, rent an entire cabin and have a bartender on board. caesars.com/linq/high-roller.html

Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas.
Downtown Container Park in Las Vegas.

downtown las vegas
Leave the Strip behind in the desert dust and head on over to Downtown Las Vegas. This area certainly showcases the destination’s hipper side (and it’s not just about the Fremont Street Experience). The Downtown Container Park, for one, is a fun complex that’s home to locally owned boutiques, as well as The Treehouse, with its 33-ft.-tall slide. As its name implies, the Container Park is made of shipping containers stacked upon each other—pretty cool concept. Right around the corner from this outdoor shopping area, there’s O Face Doughnuts, with whimsically designed and named doughnuts: “orange Boston cream with Grand Marnier Choc Glaze”; “rosewater pistachio”; or “piña colada fritte.” In fact, many of the establishments opening up in Downtown Las Vegas are businesses that offer some sort of twist—think locally owned with a cool vibe. downtowncontainerpark.com and ofacedoughnuts.com

the neon museum
One of the coolest and certainly most unique museums anywhere in the world is The Neon Museum in Las Vegas. The guided tour of this open-air museum will put visitors up-close to magnificent works of art—the detail and craftsmanship of these neon signs is truly captivating. What’s even more intriguing though is how these neon signs tell the story of Las Vegas, from its humble beginnings to the tourism hotspot it is today. Oh, and if they wish, your clients can say “I do” amidst all the neon glamour. neonmuseum.org

the mob museum
For visitors who truly want to understand how the mob came to be and where the organization stands today, this thought-provoking museum gets to the heart of the matter. The museum doesn’t just examine the mob in Vegas—it gives a detailed account of this organization throughout its history. To truly immerse oneself, we recommend visitors put aside a whole afternoon for a self-guided tour of the museum. There’s also a mug shot photo-op, which makes for a fun Instagram pic. themobmuseum.org

the griddle cafe at SLS las vegas
Get ready to pack on the pounds. The Griddle Cafe at the newly opened SLS Las Vegas is a deliciously savory restaurant where pancakes with names like “Room Service”—Champagne-, chocolate-, and strawberry-filled pancakes topped with powered sugar and vanilla whipped cream—are the norm. Devour that with a side of “Hear Me Roar,” made with vanilla bean ice cream, TGC griddled buttermilk cake, strawberry shortcake vodka, whipped cream vodka, and sweet cream, and you’re ready for a day in Vegas the way it’s supposed to be spent. The cafe’s home—the very chic SLS Las Vegas—is a dream for hipsters; for a short review of the property, visit recommend.com and search “new upscale hotel offerings.” slslasvegas.com

Sinatra restaurant at Encore.
Sinatra restaurant at Encore.

sinatra at wynn las vegas
If visitors don’t get their fill of Italian cuisine at Giada, then tell them to head to Sinatra, located inside Encore. The restaurant offers a more traditional Italian fare—think lasagna bolognese and veal parmigiana. One of the highlights of eating here, beyond the mouth-watering food, of course (don’t leave without trying the caprese), is checking out the glass case as you walk in—it holds, among other notable awards, the Oscar Sinatra won for “From Here to Eternity.” A great option for dining here are the outdoor patios, as well as the Chairman’s Room, which offers private dining for up to 15 guests. wynnlasvegas.com

red rock casino, resort & spa
Sometimes one just needs to get away from all the madness, and for those clients who want to be near the Las Vegas action, but not necessarily in it, we recommend Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, located 10 miles west of the Strip and offering more than 800 rooms and guestrooms. The property just completed a $35 million renovation project that included the creation of Restaurant Row with four new restaurants such as 8 Noodle Bar featuring Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai culinary creations. The accommodations run the gamut—from the 525-sq.-ft. standard room to the 6,500-sq.-ft. penthouse level suites (these are dramatic in both the amenities and the views they offer). Onsite amenities include a nightclub; lounges; the 25,000-sq.-ft. Spa at Red Rock; a 72-lane bowling center; the Sandbar pool with a main pool, a private pool area, cabanas, and six wading pools; and a 16-screen theater.

The best part of a stay at this resort, however, is its access to Red Rock Canyon, a world apart from the gaming that Las Vegas is known for. Spanning 195,819 acres, Red Rock Canyon is made for visitors who want to soak up the destination’s natural surroundings with off-road jeep touring, hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking. This is Nevada’s first National Conservation Area and as such the visitor center here is definitely worth visiting. redrock.sclv.com

Archived related articles (available on recommend.com/magazine/issue-archive): The Dish on Las Vegas (August 2014)