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OUTDestination: Las Vegas Living Smart 

OUTDestination: Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas – unless you’re a journalist and have to write about it! My first trip back to Sin City in over 12 years proved to be a memorable one. Not only was I surprised by its enormity, but I was also shocked to see how upscale and chic the city has become. New hotels are everywhere, from the gigantic City Center compound to my residence for the stay, THEhotel
at Mandalay Bay.

Guests entering THEhotel are greeted by a modern, minimalistic lobby. The all-suite property boasts large guest rooms with separate living spaces, relaxing soaking baths, walk-in showers, and luxury linens throughout – not to mention sweeping views of the Las Vegas skyline.

One of the most majestic parts of THEhotel is miX. The rooftop restaurant and ultra-lounge decorated with hundreds of Murano glass spheres is quite a site. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide the best view of the strip and a 15-foot glass cellar holds approximately 7,000 bottles of wine from around the world. THEhotel is located within walking distance to Crystals at City Center, the magnificent indoor shopping mall where you’ll find everything from Bulgari and Christian Dior to Paul Smith and Versace. Make sure to bring your credit card!

Directly across the street from City Center is the Cosmopolitan. One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to The Chandelier, a breathtaking bar that is almost too majestic to describe in words. The three-story venue, located in the center of the casino, is simply a sight you can’t miss.

Las Vegas is all about entertainment and what better way to start the Vegas experience than with a visit to Le Rêve – The Dream at Wynn Las Vegas. The Franco Dragone production is an aquatic spectacle featuring synchronized swimmers, aerialists, and a multi-million dollar stage design.

Check out The Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace, a shopping, dining, and entertainment mecca featuring over 160 boutiques, 13 restaurants, and a menagerie of sculptures and art. Or if relaxation is desired, head to Qua Baths & Spa where guests can enjoy Roman baths, an herbal steam room, and even an Arctic Ice room. Massage treatments range from traditional Thai to Hot Stone with Aromatherapy and Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi, an experience based on Hawaiian concepts of working with the body, mind, and spirit.

Those looking to catch some rays while gazing at the hottest eye candy on the strip should visit Temptation Sundays. The weekly GLBT pool party at the Luxor is the place to see and be seen. For a unique experience, rent a private cabana, located just steps away from the pool, where servers will be at your beck and call to provide you with delicious piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris, or signature mixed cocktails.

For dinner, head to Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas. One of the most unique items on the menu is the Kurobuta Pork Belly, served with braised swiss chard, candied kumquat, and cauliflower puree. For a lighter starter, begin with the Shellfish Platter, complete with tiger prawns, king crab, oysters, clams, and lobster served with champagne mignonette, citrus soy, and cocktail sauces. Of course the highlight of Steak is the prime beef, dry aged for a minimum of 28 days in a Himalayan salt room. A Gordon Ramsey staple is Roasted Beef Wellington, a delicious selection accompanied by glazed root vegetables, potato puree, and red wine demi-glace.

Finally, no visit to Las Vegas would be complete without experiencing Frank Marino’s Diva’s Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace. Frank is the city’s longest-running headliner. Dressed as the wonderful and glamorous Joan Rivers, Frank leads the crowd through a divalicious performance by some of the world’s greatest female impersonators – not to mention about a dozen wardrobe changes. In true Las Vegas fashion, Frank generously takes the time to meet every audience member who attended the performance and donates a portion of merchandise proceeds to local charities.

As my fabulous Vegas vacation draws to a close, I’m already planning my next visit: there’s something about the glitz and glamour of the city that always draws me back.

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