Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Las Vegas Getaway: Guest Post Part 2

Here's the second installment of McClean Robbins' trip to Las Vegas. Yesterday she told us about the new Encore Las Vegas. Today we're moving onto food, spas, and shopping: sign us up!

Vegas is a city of gluttony in many ways – food is just one of them. In recent years, it’s become a dining destination to rival New York and LA, with just about every major name chef opening a spot or three. To be fair, this list names only the places we visited on our recent trip – a mere fraction of what’s available.

The hotel boasted a number of great spots – our daily fave for any meal was Sugar and Ice, overlooking the Wynn waterfall and boasting a great selection of hamburgers, sandwiches and delectable house-made ice cream. For fine dining in the hotel, don’t miss the aptly-named SW Steak, a classic steakhouse overlooking the hotel’s Lake of Dreams. Enjoy perfectly-charred prime meats with generous sides. Freebie Alert: The menu is totally pricey, but there’s one perk you’ve just got to ask for – get a table by the window, which overlooks the Lake of Dreams waterfall it is transformed nightly into a free show featuring, of all things, a dancing frog that sings Garth Brooks. Trust me, you’ve got to see this to believe it. Cheap Thrill: Wynn boasts the new recession-friendly “Taste of Wynn” menu at most of its restaurants for late night or pre-show dining, featuring a three-course prix-fixe menu for $29 and up. The menus looked especially good at Daniel Boloud Brasserie and Switch. Several other hotels offer this option too.

If you’re in the Venetian, be sure to enjoy a meal at Tao, which has the best sea bass and swordfish ever, plus an intimate, clubby atmosphere (no wonder, there’s a club on top!) In cheap eats finds, other faves include the New York deli in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Serendipity 3 at Caesars, and delectable crepes in the shopping esplanade at Paris.

You’ve GOT to spa. Best bets include the 37-room spa at Encore, where 14 of the treatment suites feature rain showers and skylights and amenities include an indoor whirl and plunge pool area with heated rock lounge chairs. Cheap Thrill: For $85, we enjoyed a 25 minute organic buffing with mimosa oil, which included a sugar-based scrub, shower, and oil application, plus use of the spa and fitness center all day, normally $35. For a more luxe experience, try the 75-minute desert stone massage for $235.

When bigger is better, head to the Canyon Ranch spa at The Venetian, which, at 134,000 square feet (it has a rock wall!) is one of the largest spas in the country.

People who say that New York is the only place to shop obviously haven’t been to Vegas – some of the world’s best boutiques are packed into this several-mile space. A must-visit is the newly-opened Shoppes at the Palazzo, featuring the area’s first Barneys New York and Christian Louboutin. Also worth visiting are the massive Forum Shops in Caesars Palace (Scoop; Intermix), the Fashion Show Mall (Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom) and the boutiques in various high-end hotels, including Bellagio, Venetian, Wynn, and Encore.

McLean Robbins is a freelance fashion, spa and travel writer. Find her work daily on DeaconDoesDC.com.

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