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Las Vegas/Vegas 17th wedding anniversary

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Question
Tom,
My husband and I are planning a trip to Vegas for 5 nights in August to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. We are in our late 40's, love great food (seafood, steak, Thai), jazz and R&B music, and enjoy hanging out at sophisticated/romantic lounges with a mature crowd. We are undecided on a hotel...we cannot decide between Bellagio, Venetian, or MGM Signature; our preference is a hotel that has very clean, modern, non-smoking rooms with a view, nice spa, a relax pool environment with drinks, and great restaurant options. I would like to hear your recommendations relative to restaurants, hotels, and entertainment. Our budget is $6,000-$7,000 and this will be our first time to Vegas. Thank you in advance!

Renae Porter

Answer
Hi Renae,

It sounds like you are definitely looking to enjoy the finer side of Las Vegas. You have a great budget and should be able to do just about anything you'd want to do. Here are my thoughts:

HOTEL :
Of the options you mentioned, I would probably steer you toward Venetian, although Bellagio is still a great choice and considered one of the most elegant resorts on the strip. The Signature is also nice, but it is set back off the strip and it is somewhat of a walk to get to the closest strip access through the MGM. Also, the Signature is not quite as upscale as your other selections.

Venetian is an all-suites hotel, and the standard rooms are extremely well appointed. The standard rooms have a sunken living room area just off the bedroom quarters, with a large L-shaped sofa, work desk, coffee table and flat panel TV. The bathroom is also quite large, which is a unique offering in Vegas. If Bellagio offered this size room, then I might put it at the top of the list, but the Venetian suite with the living room gives you a place to escape where you would actually want to spread out, relax and lounge.

Most of the other amenities you mentioned between those two resorts are going to be comparable. Both have excellent views available (although every hotel in Vegas is going to have the dreaded parking garage view room somewhere). Both have top notch spas and relaxing pools. You might even make a reservation at the Azure pool, which is a small private pool on the Palazzo side of the resort. They have cushy loungers, cooling misters and attendants who wait on you hand and foot. The pool is small and only holds about 30-40 people, so you really get personal service and don't have to worry about the crowds at the main pools.

If you are looking for additional recommendations beyond the hotels you mentioned, you might look into a room at Vdara (at City Center) or THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. Vdara is the newest resort on the strip and very upscale. The rooms are large and if you spring for a suite you won't regret it. THEhotel is an all-suites hotel connected to Mandalay Bay, also extremely well appointed. All the rooms at THEhotel are true split suites, with separate bedroom and living quarters, as well as a guest bathroom off the living area. This arrangement is very convenient if one spouse likes to sleep late and the other is an early riser.

RESTAURANTS
Wherever you choose to stay, I'm sure you won't limit your vacation to just that one resort over the five-day visit. Here are some thoughts on some must-do restaurants:

Steak
All the buzz around steak right now is Gordon Ramsay's new Steak joint in Paris.
You also can't go wrong with an evening on the strip-facing patio at Mon Ami Gabi, a French steakhouse, also at Paris.
In Mirage, you might check out the ultra modern, boutique steakhouse Stack.
And if you like steak with a touch of Italian influence, try Carnevino at Palazzo.

Thai
Foodies from around the country all know about Lotus of Siam. It's not on the strip, and it is not a very glamorous restaurant (its in an aging strip mall), but the food makes nationwide Top 5 lists for Thai food all the time.
For something closer to the beaten path and a little more upscale, try Lemongrass at Aria.

Seafood
Vegas isn't really well known for its seafood restaurants, but Rick Moonen's at Mandalay Bay stands out with an incredible menu and two unique dining experiences - downstairs casual, upstairs a touch more formal.
And another trendy seafood restaurant worth visiting is AquaKnox in Venetian.

Asian & Sushi
A mirror of it's sister restaurant in New York City, Sushi Samba in Palazzo is known for its hip decor and trendy evening scene, not to mention a menu you'd be challenged to find something you didn't love.  

NIGHTLIFE
Just a couple nightlife options for you to investigate, which allow for lounging and cocktailing in an upscale environment:

Mix at THEhotel

Deuce Lounge at Aria

Bar Mandarin at Mandarin Oriental

Lily at Bellagio

Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay


I hope those suggestions help get you started. Have a great trip to Vegas and let me know if I can answer any other questions or provide more detail.

Tom

Las Vegas

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I can tell you detail of every major hotel in Vegas, such as the restaurants they offer and the attractions they maintain, on the Las Vegas Strip. The kind of patrons each hotel attracts. How to play blackjack, both etiquette and strategy. How to obtain comps and make the most of your money when in town. Any Vegas general knowledge.

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