Las Vegas

Las Vegas – roll the dice for love

Las Vegas is a new, sexier sin city

It’s a safe bet to proclaim that Las Vegas is for lovers. No longer the Temple of Tackiness or as it was during the 90s, a family mecca give or take a few tassels, “Sin City” has morphed into a destination that is equal parts sizzle and sophistication. Happily, Vegas has gained class without losing that delicious air of decadence.

Possessing both ingredients in spades is the strip’s newest and at $2.7 billion, most luxe showcase – the Wynn Hotel. Here you can do everything from delighting your eyes by viewing priceless artworks by Picasso and Cezanne to pampering your bodies with beds boasting 320 thread count European linens.

Or book yourselves into the Bellagio, a Tuscan-style uber-villa. Resting on an eight-acre version of Italy’s Lake Como, this theme hotel boasts what is rightly considered one of the most romantic sights in Vegas – the “dancing” Bellagio fountains which deliver free and unforgettable nightly performances every 15 minutes.

The fountains look ultra-spectacular from atop The Eiffel Tower at Paris. For an even more heart-stopping view of Las Vegas’ almost surreal glitter take a night flight over the entire strip.

Once you are visually satiated it’s time to stimulate the other senses. In other words spa, sweethearts, spa. Another happy surprise: This city offers some of the most premier treatments available anywhere. At Spa Bellagio indulge in a couple’s watsu. The name comes from a combination of “water” and “shiatsu” and takes place in a special watsu pool. Treat yourself to Golden Manicures/Pedicures (don’t forget the paraffin) at Wet, the spa at TI. Your tootsies have never been sexier. At MGM Grand bliss awaits in the form of the Dreaming Ritual (to be enjoyed solo or au deux), a 120 minute tribal-inspired service that includes a scalp treatment (heaven on earth), Australian Aboriginal Massage and indigenous healing elements from Down Under.

MGM Grand is also home to a branch of Beverly Hills’ famed Cristophe Salon. Cristophe has cut everyone’s hair from President Clinton to Nicole Kidman. Yet he and his internationally-trained stylists, colorists and makeup artists offer not just excellence but unpretentiousness. Both of you will emerge looking hot, hot, hot.

Now for your taste buds. Those who still consider Vegas home of the $8.99 buffet will eat their words once they enter Mix, French master chef Alain Ducasse’s exquisite $14 million restaurant/lounge located on the top floor of THE Hotel of Mandalay Bay. The view, décor (i.e.: half-million dollar Champagne bubble chandelier) and food are five star. Other superstar chefs decorating the Vegas scene include Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Tom Collichio and Joel Robuchon at The Mansion offering a $275, 16-course tastings menu. A more casual (re: less expensive but still superb) sampling of Robuchon’s fare is at next-door L’Atelier.

The city’s makeover certainly didn’t include downscaling the shows. Zumanity, at New York-New York epitomizes the sexy side of Cirque du Soleil. Ribald, over the top, non-stop salacious, it’s a must-see nightcap for couples. So is The Beatles Love at The Mirage. Paul, Ringo and Yoko were at the June 30th opening of this latest and perhaps most satisfying Cirque du Soleil incarnation. Warning: Seeing it once won’t be enough.

Another activity that you can’t do just once is shop. Las Vegas is home to all the greats of retail from Gucci to The Gap. A must visit are the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. In the unlikely event you go home empty-handed you will long recall the 560,000-square-foot mall’s ancient Roman architecture, sky colored ceiling and Festival Fountain which depicts the feast of Bacchus (God of wine and intoxication).

If you’re not yet married, or even if you are, Vegas is of course the place to exchange or renew vows. The choices are limitless – anything from a cheapo drive-through wedding at the Little White Chapel Tunnel of Love to a $2695 premium package at Mandalay Bay replete with ambiance, video, pianist, honeymoon suite and more.

With all these options the two of you can have a romance-soaked time in Vegas without hitting a casino! www.visitlasvegas.com

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