A Girls’ Weekend Guide to Las Vegas

Salacious nightlife and glamorous casino resorts have drawn crowds from across the globe to Las Vegas to party and gamble, but in recent years the city has shown its merits in other disciplines. In contemporary Las Vegas, world-class chefs serve up global flavours, while boutique hotels, progressive art galleries, and stylish cocktail bars entice those less interested in Blackjack.

While the nightlife has no limits, the casinos have no clocks and the bar tabs can be never-ending, there’s a side to Vegas that’s just waiting for its time to shine in spectacular neon fashion. Believe it or not, Las Vegas is made for sybaritic getaways.

Don’t worry, the promise of all-hours adventures on the brightly-lit Strip still awaits, as do the buzzing casinos and the city’s typical must-do attractions, but we’ve ventured to dazzling city in the Mojave Desert to bring you a side to Vegas that you may not have gambled on.

 

Where to Stay

Hotels in Las Vegas are attractions in themselves, each one grander and more elaborate than the next. Landing on the runway you can spot the most iconic hotels from your airplane window.

Caesars Palace in one such recognisable property – a mainstay on the Las Vegas Boulevard and arguably one of the most famous hotels in the world. Sitting on the Strip’s busiest intersection, Caesars Palace is everything you’ve imagined and more. Completely over-the-top, the Greco-Romanesque casino resort speckled with giant statuary is comprised of a sprawling casino, a mega pool area – where marble statues of Gods and Goddesses provide a little shade under the scorching desert sun – countless restaurants and thousands of rooms to suit the needs of every guest. Start your stay with something remarkable and see stars like Celine Dion light up the stage in the renowned Colosseum concert hall or turn up the heat and dine at the newly opened Hell’s Kitchen. You might even catch a glimpse of Gordon himself!

Although it still has its zany décor from the sixties and is quite the showroom of typical Vegas life, Caesars Palace has a lot to offer the luxury traveller. An exemplary spa with state-of-the-art treatments is flanked with movie-like folk from morn ‘til night, while glamorous pool parties attract an ultra-chic crowd.

If you’re looking for something a little different, opt for the Vdara Hotel. Part of the MGM Resorts growing list of properties, it’s an oasis of calm among fast-paced Vegas lifestyle. An all-suite hotel with epic rooms and views to match, it’s ideal for a little bit of luxury if you prefer spending your cash on yourself rather than the card dealer.

 

Where to Eat

Beauty and Essex

‘What happens when Lower East Side grit meets Las Vegas Strip glam?’ Beauty and Essex, founded in New York but now also residing inside The Cosmopolitan is a must-visit while in town. Although the name might have you thinking of TOWIE, there isn’t a badly tanned reality star in sight. When you arrive, you might be a little confused as you enter through a pawn shop (try not be tempted by the vintage Chanel), but this gives way to a restaurant and lounge serving creative American fare and the best cocktails that side of the Atlantic. It’s an energetic dining experience with low lights, decadent furnishings and shareable plates. Be sure to order the Chorizo ‘Carbonara’ Mac & Cheese and the Tuna Poke Wonton Tacos.

 

Primrose

The latest establishment in the transformation of the Monte Carlo in into two luxury properties: Park MGM and The NoMad, Primrose stands out on the Las Vegas dining scene. Quite European in character, with a drawing room and foliage-laden terrace for diners to choose from, the restaurant serves exquisite dishes that burst with freshness and flavour. Emily Yvett, Director of Beverages and award-winning mixologist has created a cocktail list which features tipples perfect for pairing with each dish. She focuses on light, fresh drinks using herbs and ingredients grown in the restaurants garden. The chefs at Primrose add an unexpected flair to the most mainstream of dishes; with this in mind, be sure to order the banana split.

 

GIADA

Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis has opened a namesake restaurant inside The Cromwell, serving delectable Italian cuisine and thirst-quenching frosé. Perch yourself at a window seat and have an unadulterated view of the Bellagio’s fountain show while you chow down on a basket of homemade focaccia and crispy Lavosh. The menu consists of Italian fare with strong Californian influences, adding a lighter touch to the flavoursome Mediterranean classics. The Lobster Hash on the brunch menu is arguably the star of the show, perhaps only overshadowed by Giada’s Sangria. The fruit in the wine counts as breakfast, right?

Painting the Town

Drybar

We’re used to over-brewed coffee, a tasteless chocolate biscuit and a magazine dated two years previous at our local hair salons, but in Vegas hair salons are where the night begins. Drybar brings you blowouts, booze and beats, taking the stress out of getting ready and letting a professional take care of the pre-drinks. With styles named after classic cocktails to suit all hair types, a signature cocktail menu and tunes that’ll make it difficult to keep still for your stylist, you need to start at least one of your Vegas nights with this top-class experience!

 

High Roller

Soaring 550-feet above the centre of the Las Vegas Strip on The Linq, a popular shopping and dining promenade, the High Roller eclipses both the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer. Even if you’re afraid of heights you’re guaranteed some phenomenal highs on this boozy tourist attraction. Literally taking happy hour to new heights, the High Roller offers a Happy Half Hour looking over the Las Vegas strip and valley in one of its egged shaped pods for just 40 bucks. That’s all you can drink booze and all you can see Vegas – a bargain in our eyes!

 

The Chandelier Lounge

Perched centre stage of the Cosmopolitan’s casino floor, Chandelier is a three-level entertainment haven that serves as a playground, art exhibit and a glittering example of the perfect cocktail lounge. Housed inside a giant crystal chandelier and winding up 3 stories of bars, each offering their own distinct characteristics and different menus, the Chandelier needs to be an essential part of your girl’s weekend itinerary. For a truly extra experience, go to level 1.5 where you’ll be hidden from the crowds and have peace to enjoy an incredible line-up of cocktails crafted for the true experience seeker. If you’re looking for that boujee Instagram snap, this is the perfect setting!

 

Magic Mike XXL

Well, this was a given. Could you really take a girl’s trip to Vegas and not go to this iconic show? Hosted in the Hard Rock Hotel, make your way to your seats through a gift shop of orgasm inducing memorabilia – but the flutters don’t stop there. A dimly lit room with velvet curtains, plush armchairs, strategically placed sofas and a VIP balcony, waiters mull around ensuring you’ve got enough booze to get you rowdy for this epic show. Not a strip show, but an exhibition of dance, comedy and downright steaminess, this incredible show is designed for women, with phrases like ‘safe word’, ‘permission’ and ‘no means no’ infiltrating the dialogue of the male dancers and the vivacious girl boss MC. Although not a strip show, do expect to receive a surprise lap dance or two from the hot dancers, who seem to come out of cracks in the wall!

Going Out, Out

Finish off the night in one of the outrageously raucous but incredibly upmarket nightclubs in Las Vegas. Hyde Nightclub at the Bellagio is lit. It’s not out of place to see a couple on their wedding day, wedding dress and all, dancing the night away to some house tunes! With jaw dropping views of the Bellagio fountains as you dance the night away, this is the place to be seen. Expect cannons to erupt and spray you with sparkles and confetti and music that is sure to have you dancing on the tables all night.

Alternatively, inside The Venetian, an Asian bistro by day transforms to a 10,000 square foot energetic nightclub boasting sultry vibes and celebrity sightings. TAO nightclub offers a VIP experience like no other – table service and prime seats in the voyeuristically designed complex. Throughout the venue, guests can catch a glimpse of the infamous bathtub models immersed in rose petal baths, and for those looking to catch a brief reprieve from the dance floor, the TAO Lounge and TAO Beach offer sexy alternatives.

If you want to add that extra sparkle to your nights out in the entertainment capital of the world, shop Gypsy Shrine’s Las Vegas Collection. The gods of glitter have curated this collection specifically for Vegas nightlife – and whether you don the jewels on your cheekbones, in your roots or go for the daring glitter tits, this gorgeous collection is sure to get you noticed while in town!

 

Adventures

Grand Canyon Flight and Champagne Breakfast

 

Flying through the epic layered bands of red rock in the Grand Canyon, Arizona is high on many bucket lists. The national park reveals millions of years of geological history, spanning as far as the eye can see from the top down view of your helicopter experience. Led to believe that helicopters couldn’t land in the Canyon, we were elated to find that not only would we get to walk in one of the most wondrous sites in the world, but we’d enjoy a champagne breakfast after our light stroll. Sundance Helicopters offers this premium experience to groups – arrive at the airfield by chauffeured limousine from your hotel and enjoy the 2 1/2-hour round trip with a pit stop for champagne, bagels and fruit baskets. The epitome of a luxury adventure!

Sundance also offer a variety of other epic adventures, including a walk across the famous Skywalk Bridge and a riverboat cruise in the Canyon.

 

The Neon Museum

Founded in 1996, the Neon Museum is a non-profit organisation dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and exhibiting iconic Las Vegas signs for educational, historic, arts and cultural enrichment. The Neon Museum campus includes the outdoor exhibition space known as the Neon Boneyard, a visitors’ centre housed inside the former La Concha Motel lobby and the Neon Boneyard North Gallery which houses additional rescued signs. In addition, the Neon Museum collection chronicles changes and trends in sign design and technology through pieces ranging from the 1930s to the present day.

Basically, this innovative space is an art gallery dedicated to the forgotten signs that gave Vegas it’s nickname, City of Lights, and we couldn’t love it more!

 

Seven Magic Mountains

Seven towers of colourful boulders stand 25 ft tall in the middle of the Nevada desert, just 10 miles from Las Vegas. Renowned Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone’s vibrant public artwork, Seven Magic Mountains, offers a creative critique of the simulacra of destinations like Las Vegas. According to Rondinone, the location is physically and symbolically mid-way between the natural and the artificial: the natural is expressed by the mountain ranges, desert, and Jean Dry Lake backdrop, and the artificial is expressed by the highway and the constant flow of traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Five years in the making, the sculptures are regarded as the largest land-based installation in 40 years. With their bright neon colours, you wouldn’t be crazy to think it’s a mirage as you make your way down the motorway to check them out, and of course, get that coveted shot for the ‘gram.

 

Fremont Street

For a glimpse of where it all began, leave the Strip behind and you’re your way downtown to Fremont Street. It’s the historic epicentre of Las Vegas where you’ll find penny slots, cheaper Blackjack tables and fantastically terrible Elvis impersonators. Also, if you fancy getting hitched there are quite a few Little White Chapel’s down there!

 

Las Vegas North Premium Outlets

Too tired from partying to embark on adrenalin fuelled adventures? Spend the day at the best shopping experience in the city! This airy, outdoor village-styled centre is a must-shop for visitors of the famed Strip. Las Vegas North Premium Outlets features 175 designer and name-brand outlet stores offering savings of 25% to 65% every day including Coach, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors, Neiman Marcus Last Call Studio, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tory Burch and many more. Grab your gals and your bank cards but leave the heels at home, bargain hunting isn’t feet-friendly!

For decades the once Western cowboy town was associated with lad’s holidays and stag parties, but as chic restaurants, fashionable DJ residencies and luxury spas have become just as popular as poker tables and showgirl. Vegas is rapidly becoming the hot destination for a trip with your girl gang. Finally, don’t forget to stop off at the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign before jetting back home. This postcard-worthy spot is not to be missed!

 

For more information on Las Vegas visit www.visitlasvegas.com or get some inspiration from @lasvegas.

Getting there and around;

Netflights.com is offering three nights in Las Vegas, staying at the 4* + Caesars Palace, on a room only basis. Price starts from £669pp and includes flights from London Heathrow with United Airlines. Based on selected dates in November 2018. Book by 30th September 2018.

(www.netflights.com)

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Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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