Sunday, February 27, 2011

Las Vegas

I guess it’s fair to say there’s no place quite like Las Vegas. When I’m there I like to check out as many hotels as possible. Does anyone who’s reading this know whether there’s a place on earth that has as many 5-star resorts in such close proximity as Las Vegas does? If so, please share it with us!

I was in Vegas a little over a week ago for the Travel Weekly convention. There’s always so much information at these shows – whether from seminars or vendors – and then when you add to it the dizzying visuals of Vegas…!! Well, let’s just say that the latter had my camera snapping 400 times in 4 days. (That’s quite a bit considering most of the time I was in seminars and not using it!)

This blog post will take us on a brief tour of the Trump International Las Vegas, Aria, the brand new Cosmopolitan, the Wynn, and the Palazzo. As more photos get edited and put on Flickr, I’ll add links to the remaining albums.

Trump Las Vegas
I stayed in the 64-story Trump Hotel, with its 24-carat gold-tinted, floor-to-ceiling windows. A 5-star hotel, the Trump is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. It is completely non-smoking and doesn’t have a casino, which makes for a pleasant—and certainly quieter—environment. The service was unfailingly gracious. Unlike at some of the casino hotels—even the 5-star ones—I never felt like just another body they were trying to move through.

Though the Trump has only one major restaurant, plus one by the pool, the front door is across a small side street from the Nordstrom entrance to a shopping mall, which has the usual mall-assortment of eating establishments. It’s probably a one-minute walk.

There are a lot of crystals and polished brass in the lobby, but the rooms had a quieter sophistication to them.

The hotel’s studio suites (the smallest rooms) are 635 square feet, with beautiful built-ins and a kitchenette boasting Wolf, Bosch and Sub-Zero appliances.

Its 500-thread-count Bellini sheets were the best I’ve ever slept in.

The black rectangle in the mirror is a TV.  A huge shower and toilet stall were on the left.

A plus/minus of the hotel are the rooms’ double-door entries (not pictured). They look impressive. When I first approached my room number, I was really excited about the upgrade I thought I must have received. Opening the (very heavy) door, I found it led to a marble-floored vestibule, which actually served two rooms, not just mine. The first door slammed shut and a second (very heavy) door led to my room.

On the plus side, I suppose the double doors cut down on chatter-type noise from the hall. On the negative side, they were almost impossible to close quietly, so when people were coming and going, you heard twice as many loud slams as usual. Also, if you ever have nightmares about rooming next door to Jack the Ripper, you might want to choose another hotel.

Click here for more photos I took at the Trump Las Vegas.

The trade show was at Aria, a 4,000-room hotel and casino which is part of the new CityCenter. Like the Trump, it’s another 5-star hotel, but definitely more understated in its elegance. It is contemporary, very creative, and sculptural.

Aria is all about the angles.

Click here for more photos from Aria.

CityCenter: Crystals
Another part of CityCenter is Crystals, an ultra-upscale shopping mall. I don’t know what the food is like at Mastro’s Ocean Club, but I could really enjoy eating there!

The Wynn got a lot of publicity when it was built because of its $2.7 billion price tag. Covering 215 acres, it is considered one of the finest hotels in the world, with Five-Star ratings from Mobil, Forbes and Michelin, and a Five-Diamond rating from AAA.

I think it’s one of my favorite Las Vegas hotels for its happy-feeling décor.

When I saw all the trims on the draperies, I understood why the hotel cost $2.7 billion. Have you priced that stuff(!)?

To my mother’s way of thinking, there are never enough photos of me because I’m usually behind the camera. Here’s one of me beside the camera, shooting into a mirror.


Located between the Wynn and the Venetian is the beautiful Palazzo. According to Wikipedia, at its completion the Palazzo “displaced the Pentagon as the largest building in the United States in terms of floor space.” In addition to its mega floor space, this AAA Five-Diamond resort boasts the largest standard suites in Las Vegas: 720 square feet.

The newcomer to Vegas is the Cosmopolitan, which opened in December 2010. If you thought the Wynn was costly, this one, with its 3,000 rooms, was a $3.9 billion project. I thought those beads might have been plastic, but I guess not!

Kind of a glitzy place.

Part of a light fixture in the buffet restaurant

Click here to see more Cosmopolitan photos on Flickr.

Now that we have the Internet, Facebook, blogs, Twitter and Flickr, can it really be said that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”?

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