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Las Vegas - USA

Bright and brash, Vegas is always entertaining. But beyond the razzamattaz, an influx of top chefs is making the city a hit culinary destination, too. Mark Sansom goes all in

Travel Time 10hrs 10min

Why go?

Sin City. The Entertainment Capital of the World. The City of Lost Wages. Las Vegas is a metropolis with nearly as many monikers as it has sky-tickling structures. Since rising out of Nevada’s desert in 1905, with hotels and theatres to entertain the workers sent to build the city, it’s been a bastion of high-gloss entertainment. The succeeding century has seen it develop into one of the most sophisticated resorts in the world, with accommodation catering for all tastes and budget. Most recently, a string of top chefs have set up outposts of their flagship brands to take advantage of the deep wallets and increasingly cultured palates of its visitors. In November, afternoons hover around 18C; far more bearable than midsummer in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

What to do

History buffs won’t find much to get excited about, but if bright lights, far-reaching theatre shows, good food and a buzzy nightlife are your poison, Vegas provides world-leading examples of all. Start with a stroll along the neon-fringed Strip to acquaint yourself with your location. All theatre shows and productions take place within the hotels, though for a good deal, buy from the vendors on the Strip who aggregate all tickets and offer the best on-the-day rates. ‘O’ by Cirque du Soleil, cirquedusoleil.com at the Bellagio is the hot ticket right now (from £99), which sees performers blend acrobatics and dance with synchronised diving and swimming. A trip to the casino is an essential bucket-list tick. The Cosmopolitan cosmopolitanlasvegas.com offers free classes through the afternoon for the more esoteric games such as craps and baccarat, which require knowledge and skill rather than just luck. Though you can’t go wrong with roulette – the $1 minimum stake tables are found on the outside of the casino floor.

Where to stay

With somewhere in the region of 150,000 hotel rooms, competition is rife. This means excellent value (expect to pay £70 per night for a mid-range double room), with all offering huge square footage. One of the newest, most luxurious and least tacky
is NoMad Las Vegas thenomadhotel.com which was designed in a European style by leading architect Jacques Garcia. In the Venn diagram of price and quality, it finds the sweet spot. The Palazzo, venetian.com is the city’s only all-suite hotel with plush furnishings throughout, though for all-out Vegas hedonism, the 14 suites at Caesars Palace caesars.com are impossible to beat.

Where to eat and drink

The food here is where things really get interesting. With no true ‘local’ cuisine, there’s little point in hunting authenticity. Rather, be guided by what your favourites are from around the world, but be prepared to pay for it. However, some restaurants here are up there with the best in the world. Jaleo jaleo.com by Spanish-American chef José Andrés in The Cosmopolitan is as good as any high-end Barcelona tapas joint. Indeed, the bread for pan con tomate is flown in daily from Spain. Bavette’s bavettessteakhouse.com in Park MGM is as good a classic Chicago steakhouse as you’ll find anywhere, and new Sichuan restaurant Red Plate cosmopolitanlasvegas.com is a superb incarnation of high-end, stylised Chinese. Eataly eataly.com – a food court devoted to regional Italian produce – is an ideal lunch pick, with fairly priced portions of Puglian pasta and Neapolitan pizza. Greene St Kitchen greenestkitchen.com at Palms Casino Resort, another newcomer, offers modern European small plates served in a low-lit, funky space. For pre-show drinks, Electra Cocktail Club in the Venetian is headed up by Lewis Caputa, an excellent bartender with a penchant for pisco.

Time running out?

Book a three-and-a-half-hour helicopter flight for stonking views over the city and its surrounds. Aim for golden hour for the best photography – you’ll fly over both the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and the Strip (£398pp). sundancehelicopters.com


Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the American dollar (USD). Time is 7 hours behind the GMT. Flight time from London to Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport is around 10 hours.

Getting There

Virgin Atlantic flies from London Heathrow and Manchester Airport to Las Vegas McCarran International. virginatlantic.com Delta offers flights from Heathrow to Las Vegas. delta.com


Visit Las Vegas has a digital calender of the city’s biggest shows and events throughout the year. visitlasvegas.com

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

Min Temp-2147121620191482-3
Max Temp151922273239414036292115

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