I'm a goth, economist, decadent degenerate green-chip blackjack player with a food and hotel-room taste far above my betting level. I love food, booze, atmosphere and ranting about how stupid most people are. Why Vegas? Killer food, delicious architecture and aesthetics, and you can actually get good blackjack in Vegas (at most casinos). Australia is much less pleasant, in those respects. For the most part at least.
|Location:||Brisbane, , AU|
Vegas Fave 10 (The Hard Way)
|1:||Wearing full goth regalia when gambling at Bellagio and Aria|
|2:||Julian Serrano, Picasso, Sage, Scarpetta and L'atelier de Joel Robouchon|
|3:||6d S17 DA2 DAS RSA LS Blackjack tables at $25 minimums or less|
|4:||Salley @ Bellagio, Jim and Jill and Donna and Esther and Thomas and Marty @ Aria, Del @ MGM Grand|
|5:||Craftsteak, especially their helpful management|
|6:||Emerils, Olives, Holsteins|
|7:||Zumanity, Absinthe, Penn & Teller|
|8:||Being a surprisingly responsible drunken gambler|
|9:||Mandarin Oriental Skybar, Hyde Lounge at Bellagio, Chandelier, Vesper|
|10:||The M Resort's staff|
A Vegas Institution; always popular and crowded but for understandable reason. It feels a bit "social-climbey" ("see and be seen") but in spite of that the place has great food, drink, atmosphere and gaming. Picasso, Petrossian and Olives are all great places to dine and get wasted. Hyde Lounge is very relaxed, tasteful, and fits in well with the joint. Club Prive has a great bar, and the dealers and pit crew have always been very friendly to this rambling alcoholic freak. Sure, it's a bit pretentious, but no one can deny the quality.
High-tech, ultra-modern, aesthetically unique with great restaurants and atmosphere. It tries a new look (for Vegas) and wraps it up in a monumental piece of architecture porn. Beds are softer than I like, but otherwise I love this place.... so sleek, slick, cutting edge. The lobby has this wonderful vanilla-sandalwood scent; the casino is basically the opposite of the Wynncore/Bellagio look; lots of sharp angles and dark colors. Julian Serrano and Sage are fantastic restaurants, and Lemongrass does a delicious duck curry. Aria: my Vegas home base.
The MGM Grand has, literally, something for everybody. Take some of the best restaurants in Vegas, the best value table gaming conditions (liberal rules S17 at less than $25!), friendly pit crew, surprisingly fast drink waitresses, and shake it all up. Emerils, L'atelier de Joel Robouchon and Craftsteak are all very damn good. Crazy Horse is a very talented, artistic burlesque too. The place is massive and crowded and the renovation was sorely needed, but the property offers a hell of a lot of fun.
I was only there for twenty minutes and yet they made me feel like a welcome guest. This hotel is extraordinarily serene; you do not feel like you are in Las Vegas, rather you feel like you are hovering above it in a stealth bomber. Simultaneously this place is more expensive and less pretentious than Bellagio... "casual elegance" is an understatement. The sky bar is fantastic in terms of quality and service. The drawbacks to this place are the fact the sky bar is only open from 4pm onwards (yep. A bar on the Las Vegas Strip that isn't open until 4pm!!!!), and the fact that any casino requires a bit of a walk to get to (Aria and Monte Carlo are the nearest casinos, but you'll have to take a stroll either way). The other drawback goes without saying; being a Mandarin Oriental this is not an inexpensive place to hang out. But you do get the best service on the Las Vegas Strip for paying the price.
The tropical atmosphere is still very much present, plus they have a Brazillian steakhouse! Japonais is nice too. Even after all these years and changes, the Mirage is a good place to visit. The pool and Secret Garden really broaden the appeal of this joint too. The public areas are excellent, but the rooms and hallways need some capex. A few more S17 tables would be appreciated, too.
Amazing bars and killer restaurants and great staff! Too bad the decor is extremely "fabulous," the gambling conditions suck and the crowd is mostly composed of Jersey Shore rejects. The food and booze is at the very top of the scale, though, and makes braving the douchebags worthwhile.
Fantastically friendly staff, excellent aesthetics, delicious dining, extremely good rooms, wonderful spa... but the casino is disappointing and the odds are getting worse, the bars have had their variety and cocktail list cut back, and the value for money is decreasing. If they fix the casino, they'll be back up to a 5 in no time.
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