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One Fun Thing: Planet Hollywood, CityCenter, and Monte Carlo

June 27, 2012 at 4:37 PM | by | ()

Let’s paint a scenario. You’re in Las Vegas. You’ve done all of the obvious touristy things, but you want to know something not-so-obvious to do. Something fun and different. This series will walk you down The Strip, a few properties at a time, offering one fun and different thing to do at each. We hope you enjoy it and find something new to check out the next time you are in town.

We’re back. Last time we talked, we were moving south on Las Vegas Boulevard and had reached Flamingo Avenue. Today, we’re diving right in to some center Strip properties and crossing Harmon Avenue. So, without further ado, here are our picks for one fun thing at Planet Hollywood, CityCenter, and Monte Carlo.

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Is Hot Tea The New Hot Thing in Las Vegas?

June 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM | by | ()

With the news out this morning that the upcoming Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace plans on welcoming guests with hot tea in their rooms, we were reminded of another place that recently served up some hot tea in cool fashion -- China Poblano.

The Jose Andres restaurant, a part of the restaurant renaissance within The Cosmopolitan, serves up Mexican and Chinese fare such as noodles, dim sum, tacos and guac and chips. There are even a few dishes that combine both of the distinctive culinary traditions, but for the most part, the menu is kept separate. Never fear, glass noodles go surprisingly well with queso fundido.

Yet despite it being the start of pool season in Vegas, we were well-covered up thanks to the AC blast of the casino. By the time we got to China Poblano, our shivering was so bad, we ordered up some green tea.

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Where To Get Engaged in Vegas?

June 1, 2012 at 1:35 PM | by | ()

Time for another VegasChatter Question! Already? Yes, our amazing readers have great questions! Do you have a question about Vegas, too? We bet you do. Send it to us and if we deem it clean enough, we'll post it here on VegasChatter!

For today's VegasChatter question, it's really questions. Recently, quite a few male readers have been in the mood for love and have inquired about places to pop the question or renew vows. To make sure we don't spoil any plans, we're keeping names and specific details under wraps. We can say, though, that in all the circumstances, each gent has wanted something informal, non-official and a bit off the beaten path from the regular Vegas spots. cough, Bellagio Fountains, cough

Below, we lay out five versatile settings that could work for either scenario. But, this is Vegas. There are lots more. If we wanted to, we could probably list off 500 more. With that rock on their finger, though, and, err, you of course, the place where the magic happened will fade into the background for most. It's the thought that counts, after all.

So, without further ado, here are our five picks. And, if you already got engaged or married in Vegas, we want to hear about. And, don't forget to send us a snapshot, too!

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Where Should a Lucky 12 Year Old Stay: Mandarin Oriental or Wynn?

May 23, 2012 at 7:44 PM | by | ()

Time for another VegasChatter Question! Already? Yes, our amazing readers have great questions! Do you have a question about Vegas, too? We bet you do. Send it to us and if we deem it clean enough, we'll post it here on VegasChatter!

Yet another question has landed in our inbox and it's an important one. A concerned reader writes:

We will be visiting las vegas in July with husband and son 12 years. Our friend suggested The Wynn but I read that Mandarin Oriental is number one!!!

Yes, indeed you read on VegasChatter that Mandarin Oriental is #1, according to TripAdvisor. But while the posh hotel has won the hearts of guests who like to write online reviews, something inside of us is telling us to go for The Wynn instead.

After all, it's a gaming property which will surely impress your son, even if he's too young to gamble. (Not that this stopped Bobbi Kristina.) The Wynn also has an expansive pool scene which your son will also love. (Isn't the #1 most important amenity when taking a kid on vacation the pool?)

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Where To Stay When Vegas Is Fun, But Quiet Is Key?

May 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM | by | ()

Time for another VegasChatter Question! Do you have a question about Vegas? Send it to us and if we deem it clean enough, we'll post it here on VegasChatter!

Today we're fielding a request from reader Derek who wants to bring his parents to Vegas for another fun-filled Vegas trip. The only thing is, they don't want the fun of Vegas to follow them back to their hotel room. Derek writes:

Hi Vegas Chatter chaps, I know this might seem a strange question, as the whole point of Vegas is that it's a lively, noisy, 24/7 kinda place, but I do have a very good reason for asking it.

I am hoping to venture back to Vegas later this year on a trip with my parents, who are both in their mid sixties. They have been to Vegas twice before & loved it except for one big problem, both hotels were far too noisy at night for them to sleep properly. Once they were in a room overlooking a pool, which became a club at night, & the second time the hotel seemed to be full of spring breakers partying in their rooms.

They both would dearly love to go back, but as much as they love the madness of Vegas, when they want to sleep they want a little peace. I know such a thing can't be guaranteed in any hotel in the world, let alone Vegas, but are there any particular places we should consider that are more likely to be quieter at night, less likely to attract a party crowd, no poolside nightclubs, etc?

On the Strip or as near as possible would be ideal as we may only have three nights and don't want to spend too much time and money commuting. Price is not too much of an issue, as we are happy to pay to get what we want (within reason!) to avoid the problems they have had before. Again, sorry if this seems an odd request, but when you get to my parents age (and mine in fact), once the noise and craziness of Vegas finally hits you, it's nice to have someone to relax in peace. Hope you can help!

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MGM Resorts: Toronto, Ziplines, and Cheaper Condos, Oh My

April 18, 2012 at 1:35 PM | by | ()

If you thought Las Vegas was spreading itself around before, listen to this, 'eh?

The Globe and Mail is reporting that MGM Resorts is interested in opening an outpost in Toronto:

MGM is exploring a $2 billion-to-$6 billion investment in the city, one that could go well beyond slot machines and roulette wheels to include hotels, restaurants, spas and convention facilities.

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Mandarin Oriental, Not Staybridge Suites, is #1 Hotel in Las Vegas

March 26, 2012 at 8:20 PM | by | ()

A few years ago, we were flummoxed to see that of all the hotels in Las Vegas, The Staybridge Suites, a budget upscale extended-stay chain spot without a casino, was the #1 hotel in town... according to TripAdvisor.

Fast forward a few years and TripAdvisor's rankings now make a little more sense putting Mandarin Oriental as the #1 hotel, based on guest reviews. We stayed there when it opened and it was fantastic. We keep praying our budgets will allow us to stay there again.

The MO is followed by another luxury brand, The Four Seasons and then the non-gaming hotel, The Platinum. But, Staybridge is staying steady at #4.

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What A Sweet Suite Will Run You For A Last-Minute Valentine's Getaway to Vegas

February 10, 2012 at 8:39 PM | by | ()

Maybe you didn't realize how big of a deal Valentine's Day was to your significant other. Maybe your hopes of getting on Mobbed for a surprise proposal fell short. Whatever the reason, you're contemplating a last-minute trip to Vegas for Valentine's Day. At just about the eleventh hour.

So, what's left out there and how much will it cost you? Well, the answer to the first question is just about everything. Of the suites we had in mind, all were available. And, even poking around at some other choices, we still found online availability. As to the second answer, there's the rub. Of the five sweet suites we singled out below, each ranges from $839.99 to $329. And, yes, that's just for one night. The most romantic of them all, February 14.

Mandarin Oriental

Strip View Suite
The service and luxury of Mandarin paired with sensational views
$555 (plus fees)

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Time For Restaurant Week Again Already?

February 6, 2012 at 1:07 PM | by | ()

Last fall, Restaurant Week treated Las Vegas with a twice as nice, two week eating extravaganza. Restaurant Week 2012 brings another double dose as a spring week has been added February 27 to March 4. This month's event is only one week, giving our still recovering waistbands a bit of relief. The event's website has a list of over 50 and growing restaurants offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner from $20.12 to $50.12. Some options popping out at us include:

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The One Where We Remembered CityCenter's Art Collection Is Hidden in Plain Sight

January 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM | by | ()

Forty million dollars can buy you a lot of art. And to quote one of artist Jenny Holzer's Truisms, "money creates taste." The CityCenter Las Vegas Fine Art Collection aimed to make a splash and a forceful statement by positioning a tour of the modern art world around its properties. Sixteen artists in varied CityCenter locations and millions of dollars invested. Yet, many visitors will have walked by and never noticed these creations, or realized the fame or international impact of the artists chosen to be included in this grand experiment.

There are plenty of art world Blue Chip names: Henry Moore, Claes Oldenburg, Julian Schnabel. But none of their work carries the impact of a Jenny Holzer installation hidden in Aria's north valet pick-up area. If you go downstairs to the Haze nightclub, you'll see the video reflected in the windows to your left. If you are not going to the club or to pick up your car, you'll never know its there. Which is a shame, because its the crown jewel of the whole collection -- in this writer's opinion, at least. Brilliantly presented and utterly hypnotic. A streaming continuum of thought provoking texts. The display and lighting changes bring variety to the eye, as you stare intently for the next round of insights to appear.

This video installation includes 200 of Holzer's Truisms. Aphorisms, wisdoms, fragments. Good examples can be found in this list. A number of these phrases are melancholy, bitter and completely contrary to the Las Vegas landscape in which they are placed. But, it also fits perfectly. It's a true shame that it is hidden downstairs, though if placed in the lobby you'd probably create a mass pool of tranced-out viewers reading along.

Like the Holzer installation, a few of CityCenter's exhibit pieces are not immediately obvious to the visitor. Anthony Gormley's sculpture is described as located in the "VIP West Oculus." Next to the Aria buffet might be more helpful. And even then you'd probably not spot it. Others, such as Richard Long's pieces at Veer only really work at certain times of the day. Longs' enormous pieces are best appreciated at night. An advertised Robert Rauschenberg piece was moved when Vdara built Market Cafe and now resides in the Bellagio's collection.

Seeing all the current art takes you to Aria, Vdara, the Mandarin Oriental, and the exteriors of Crystals as well as to the Veer Towers. Go early. It's quiet, empty and people are nice and friendly. Particularly the staff who are used to seeing people on this artistic treasure hunt. Some know where the art is. Some most certainly don't. Make it an adventure. And, this gallery will give you a visual guide to help see all 16 art works:

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Happy New Year! There Are More Resort Fees to Celebrate!

December 27, 2011 at 2:56 PM | by | ()

For the tonally challenged, we're totes being sarcastic in that headline up there.

Just after we learned that the Grinch visited Las Vegas in the form of a resort fee hike over at Tropicana comes word from Twitter's @mlsdc that two luxury properties on The Strip are now enforcing their own resort fees -- Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons.

The Four Seasons' resort fee of $20 (plus tax), which went into effect in mid-October and includes in-room Internet for multiple devices, WiFi throughout the property, access to the fitness and wet areas (pools and saunas, we gather), in-room coffee and tea, daily newspaper, unlimited in-room local and toll-free calls and shoeshine service.

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You Can Now Zen With A Friend At Mandarin For Half-Off

Where: 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89158
June 14, 2011 at 6:20 PM | by | ()

So, you know when you ask us where's the best place to stay with a group of friends? The answer is Mandarin Oriental, at least until their "Double the Zen" offer expires.

A new promotion gives you a second room, at half off, when you want it. And, you don't have to stay a minimum number of nights, either. You do have to book at least a Strip View Room or higher, but who doesn't want a room with a view?

You won't find this tempting offer listed under, errr, Tempting Offers, but thankfully you have us to tell you about these types of things. Instead, just pick your dates through the booking site and then choose "Double the Zen" from there. You'll automatically get two rooms for the rate you see on the screen. Or, skip the hassle and call 888.881.9578 to have operators book it for you.

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