High Rolling: Distinctive Experiences on the Las Vegas Strip
Las Vegas. A city that epitomizes excess and carefreedom, where blowing a few grand in one night is brushed off the shoulder like dirt. For those looking to escape after a stressful week at work or those who are just celebrating life, here are three decadent must-do experiences that will have you feeling as though you’re the boss. After all, as they say, living well is the best revenge.
Hakkasan Las Vegas, the newest dining experience at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, is the bold evolution of the prestigious global restaurant brand into an all-encompassing nightlife experience. This unique convergence of dramatic design, modern Cantonese cuisine, world-class mixology, and exclusive musical talent collaborations across numerous genres creates a nightclub and restaurant concept that is momentous in scale and ambition.
Enveloped in shades of blue signature to the brand, the entrance to Hakkasan is like entering a different world. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by ambient sounds, scents, and lighting, all key elements making up Hakkasan’s DNA, creating a relaxed mood and sensual vibe. Located on the first level is the main dining area, separated by latticed woodwork known as the “Cage,” which allows for intimate dining spaces within the main room while still sharing the atmosphere of the entire dining area. The Private Dining Room (PDR) on the second level overlooks the main room, giving guests a bird’s-eye view of the awe-inspiring immense “Cage” sure to wow any onlooker. When sectioned off, each room within the PDR can seat up to 10 or 18 guests or, once combined, a maximum of 28 guests.
At the heart of the restaurant is the kitchen, a dramatic culinary theater helmed by Michelin-star chef Ho Chee Boon and his team of highly skilled wok and dim sum chefs. Their artistry is responsible for Hakkasan classics such as stir-fried black pepper rib-eye beef with Merlot and silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey. My favorite dish of the night? The crispy duck salad, a delectable duck delicately sliced on a bed of mixed greens and micro crest, topped with pomelo, shallots, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds and drizzled in a light hoisin sauce. As Hakkasan is one of the city’s most in-demand restaurants, this is truly a distinctive dining experience incomparable to other properties on the Las Vegas Strip.
Zarkana, the newest entertainment addition at the ARIA Resort & Casino (after a successful run at its former home in NYC’s Radio City Music Hall), is an acrobatic spectacle that blends circus arts with the surreal to create a world where physical virtuosity rubs shoulders with the bizarre. Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a slightly twisted fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to festivity and love regained.
The diverse cast of 70 international artists transports the audience into a fantastical and suspenseful world, blurring the boundaries between the real and imaginary. The leader of the pack is Zark, the ringmaster of an extraordinary circus coming back to life. During the 90-minute show, Zark guides us in an abandoned theater populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and incomparable acrobats. Among other attractions, he introduces the Mutants, four sirens as sinister as they are fabulous. With the amazing athleticism, balance, timing, and strength the performers use in each act, Zarkana is another not-to-be-missed show in the Cirque du Soleil family—so sit back and enjoy.
At The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas’ Ultimate Facial is a must-have recovery tool for any road-weary traveler or day-weary partier after a late night of dancing. Introduced last year as part of “Beauty by Mandarin Oriental” (a series of results-oriented treatments using the finest anti-aging products to firm, tone, and improve the skin), the Ultimate Facial is a non-invasive yet highly effective treatment that instantly tones and firms the skin after an ultrasonic exfoliation. Combining the finest pure essential oils and plant extracts, this facial leaves guests with a radiant and revitalized complexion. Finally, gentle micro-current technology creates beautiful, non-invasive results, offering a perfect complement or alternative to surgical or injectable procedures. The results are outstanding and deliver immediate, noticeable results; my face was smoother than a baby’s bottom just hours after the procedure.
As an added bonus, before and after the treatment, guests may enjoy the amenities of the Forbes Five Star Spa, including steam rooms, a hammam, a laconium, a vitality pool, a ladies’ rhassoul, a men’s sauna, and an ice fountain.