“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” It’s a throwaway line that has drawn in masses of men and women of all ages looking to have a good time and more often than not, spend a great deal of money gambling.
In recent years, Las Vegas has begun its transformation from the home of regretful weekends into a mecca for luxury, performances and good food. My goal was to investigate Las Vegas as a luxury entertainment venue, as opposed to a sultry adult playground. The results really surprised me.
Located around four hours by car or one hour by plane from Los Angeles, Las Vegas has long been known as Sin City. While Las Vegas houses some 1.4 million residents, it’s best known for its 6.8km strip of hotels and casinos.
There are countless hotels to choose from on the strip; I decided to aim for one of the biggest. MGM Grand features 5,044 rooms and the biggest casino on the strip, spanning some 15,800 square metres. This 30-storey hotel has four towers, five swimming pools, 51 luxury Sky Lofts and 29 private villas, it’s not hard to get lost when wandering around. The amazing views from the Skyline Terrace Suite balcony can be experienced by anyone happy to spend big for views and ultimate luxury.
Despite the mammoth size of the hotel, each room is an inner sanctum that offers a quiet, luxury oasis away from the chaos of the strip. Prompt room service and courteous staff make the experience all the more better. Free valet parking and excellent wi-fi make the MGM Grand an affordable and luxury way to ‘do Vegas’.
Rent a car and drive to Hoover Dam or The Grand Canyon. Both sites are a welcome exit from the commotion of Las Vegas. Use a cheap car rental site like YouDrive.com.au to compare car rental prices in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas has two huge outlet stores with top brands and huge discounts. You can reach both by shuttle bus or taxi from most hotels on the strip. The outlet stores feature all the major brands and normally offer coupons for other outlet stores.
Be careful if you travel in the peak of summer. Vegas gets very hot and stays hot overnight. Extreme weather can limit or exclude outdoor tour activities. And, always remember to drink plenty of water, despite how tempting beers in the sun can be!
Shows and live performances from the best acts now attract most of Las Vegas’ visitors. I went along to a performance by lifelong idol David Copperfield and breathtaking circus group Cirque du Soleil.
If you’re into magic or like being amazed, both David Copperfield and Cirque du Soleil will keep you entertained for hours. David Copperfield’s magic show includes stunts like making a car appear on stage and moving 15 audience members from one side of the room to another. David’s charisma and passion are quite clear, with his show a must-see for anybody with an inkling for the unbelievable.
Cirque du Soleil on the other hand takes the idea of circus and turns it on its head. The incredible performers and live music in Zarkana are breathtaking, beautiful and mesmerising all at the same time. The entire performance is choreographed with nanosecond accuracy and death-defying movements.
The whole show is backed by a live band and further enhanced by amazing acrobatics and the lack of animals, which are the norm in most other circuses. This quirky and stunning display of modern art shouldn’t be missed in Vegas. You can also see some of the Cirque du Soleil performers at LIGHT nightclub, an equally impressive experience.
Authentic luxury American dining isn’t complete without a slab of beef or meat being seared over a hot plate. I visited what is arguably the best steak restaurant on the strip, Heritage Steak. The 220-seat restaurant is located at The Mirage and was created by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
As you enter, cosy lighting and an openly visible kitchen set an elegant vibe. The restaurant’s location is buffeted from the comings and goings of the casino and hotel nearby, which is important for fine dining. I sampled an aged Japanese Wagyu steak, cooked over an open wood fire.
The delicious steak was mated to a gorgeous drop of red American wine that matched the meal perfectly. Our server was extremely attentive and knowledgeable, which made the whole experience even more unique. If you love steak, you simply cannot miss the opportunity to eat at Heritage Steak while in Vegas.
If cars are more your thing, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to drive a race-ready Ferrari F430 full-speed at a racetrack. Dream Racing operates out of the Las Vegas Speedway circuit and gives everyday people the chance to race a Ferrari F430 GT under professional instruction for up to 40 laps.
The white-knuckle experience starts with training in a race simulator before heading out to the track with an instructor. For a car nut like yours truly, it was amazing being able to drive at my own skill. The noise and excitement was second to none.
Forget any memories of the mischievous mob that once roamed the strip, Las Vegas has well and truly transformed into a luxury entertainment mecca that is accessible, entertaining and affordable for all walks of life.
Las Vegas Luxury Travel Review
We have known for quite a while that "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas". But, the recent trend in Las Vegas moves the town away from gambling and focusses more on the experience of luxury and activities. YouTravel found that it's no longer just a haven for the rich and those who want to splurge on gambling.
- Things to do
- Places to see
- Kid Friendly