Sin City’s 21 Luckiest Finds

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Saturday Dec 1, 2012

This article is from the March 2013 issue of EDGE Digital Magazine.

Leave the card tables for a while to hit the Strip (and beyond) for EDGE's favorite Vegas hot spots.

Lucky Finds 1 through 7

The MGM Grand $160 Million Makeover
This 5,044-room property has been undergoing a facelift for the past year. Be one of the first to get a load of the iconic property's updated digs, including the Grand King room, featuring 40-inch HD TV, automatic blackout shades (a must in a 24-hour town) and plush linens.

The Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan
A Viking woman of libation, mixologist Mariena Mercer leaves no rock unturned in her quest for the most unusual spirits, fruits and herbs to compose her three-tiered cocktail creations at Vegas' ultimate hotspot. Two million crystals create a cocoon-like atmosphere, with each level offering a different vibe as well as different beverage selection. The bottom floor features a live DJ and intricate specialty drinks. The middle level is inspired by molecular gastronomy; in fact, the separate cocktail kitchen has the largest fresh-bar program in the world. On top, the flirty atmosphere relies on house-concocted syrups garnished with sweet accents. One of Mercer's wildest ingredients has to be the Szechuan button flower, an exotic, powerful bud that, if eaten whole, will have you puckering and drooling for a second round. On the docket for her winter menu is the Miracle Berry, a Willy Wonka-esque West African berry that will sweeten your palette for a "flavor tripping" cocktail hour.

Sensi at the Bellagio
Four kitchens produce a locally driven menu divided into Italian, Asian, American grill and seafood offerings. All the world's a stage in this mashup of flavor profiles. Throw caution to the wind if you and your travel companions are feeling indecisive. You'll find everything from sushi and potstickers to a porcini rubbed ribeye steak and Skuna Bay salmon.

Cirque Week
A trip to Vegas isn’t complete without a gravity-defying Cirque du Soleil experience. Cirque Week Exclusive Access offers participants a behind-the scenes aquatic tour of "O," a set and sound demonstration at Love, and a close-up sensual rehearsal at "Zumanity." Various VIP packages include a chance to see the entire seven-show Cirque canon. Dec. 1- 8.

Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp
From a two-hour session in a state-of-the-art rehearsal studio to a multiday destination camp worthy of a stadium performance, work with a Rock Star counselor to channel your inner Lennon-McCartney, write your own song, and get a chance to work with the industry’s best, including Roger Daltry and Alice Cooper.

Get Wild at TENDER
Luxor plays host to chef K.C. Fazel, who reinvented the traditional surf-and-turf restaurant by literally going out on a limb. While you can find classics like Yankee Pot Roast and Maine lobster, go for the wild game tasting menu instead. Savor Nilgai antelope osso buco, axis venison and wild boar. Forget steak fries: The exotic side dishes include ancient grains such as quinoa, farro and black forbidden rice.

Flightlinez at the Fremont Street Experience
Experience "vintage Vegas" at the intersection of Fremont and Main, where Sin City began more than 100 years ago. The area’s renaissance continues, and what better way to take in the casinos, restaurants and 20-million-light Viva Vision canopy than from above?

Next page for lucky finds 8 through 14!

Lucky Finds 8 through 14

The Cupcakery
The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is the site of the latest addition to Pamela Jenkins’ confectionary empire, which received the 2012 Las Vegas Reader’s Pick for best cupcake. One part tattooed rocker, one part girl next door, Jenkins and her baking team offer the perfect sweet consolation prize or celebratory indulgence after a stint at the roulette wheel. Signature cupcakes include Southern Belle (red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) and the Grasshopper (dark chocolate cake covered in mint chocolate chip buttercream and topped with a Thin Mint Girl Scout cookie).

miX Happy Hour at THEhotel
Live the high life - literally - at THEhotel’s swanky bar and lounge offering stellar views of the Strip. Enjoy happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day and nibble on Alain Ducasse-inspired snacks for 50 percent off, including short rib sliders, and bigeye tuna tartare.

Sky Villas and Fantasy Suites at the Palms Casino Resort
Pimp out at one of the world’s most expensive suites (the Hugh Hefner Suite can cost upward of $34,000 per night). Create your own Vegas theme weekend away from the hustle of the Strip. Themes include the G-Suite (100-person capacity and Show Shower); Director’s Suite (multiple LCD and plasma screens); and two-story Sky Villa, featuring a revolving bed, 12-person glass-enclosed Jacuzzi and room for 250 of your closest friends.

Spago’s 20th Anniversary
Legendary celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck opened Spago at The Forum Shops at Caesars two decades ago, thus setting in motion a culinary trend that turned the Vegas dining scene from all-you-can-eat buffets to the world’s top culinary wizards. From Dec. 10 to 14, you can enjoy dishes from the original menu at ’90s prices - so get cracking! Feel like splurging? Indulge in Executive Chef Eric Klein’s six-course tasting menu, which may include Kobe beef sliders, sashimi served in an igloo and risotto topped with shaved white truffles.

Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
Stimulate your senses beyond the blings and dings of slot machines by visiting the inspired work of more than 140 horticulturists, whose seasonal creations are the envy of any green thumb.

Fleur by Hubert Keller, Mandalay Bay
French-trained with Mediterranean references, chef Keller has served as a judge on "Top Chef" and "Top Chef: Just Desserts" as an advocate for vegetarian and healthy dining options in four-star settings. Globally influenced small plates include ceci fritto (fried chickpeas with lemon), braised hamachi, and wagyu beef "lava rock."

The Roller Coaster at New York New York
Not the most original name, but this thrill ride still offers an exhilarating 144-foot drop and speeds upward of 67 mph. Individual tickets $14; all- day Scream Pass $25.

Next page for lucky finds 15 through 21!

Lucky Finds 15 through 21

Crystals at CityCenter
Designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind and Rockwell Group, this 500,000-square-foot premier shopping and dining destination will keep you fashion forward on the latest trends. Those slim-cut pants will look great because your wallet will be thinner after visits to Paul Smith, Prada and TAG Heuer, just to name a few.

The Mob Museum
A must-see for crime buffs, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement oversees the interactive exhibits, artifacts and high-tech theater presentations that bring to life iconic personalities like Al Capone, Eliot Ness and "Bugsy" Siegel.

Beers & Burgers at The Pub, Monte Carlo
From hard-to-find Belgian ales like Saison d’Erpe-Mere to local favorites such as Sin City Stout, the Pub’s 300 selections will have you teetering off your stool. Take the 8-pound burger challenge: If you can manage to finish it in half an hour, you’ll eat for free, get a T-shirt and go down in the Monte Carlo history books. Paging Homer Simpson!

Dive with the Sharks at Mandalay Bay
Certified divers can go deep with more than 30 sharks, including Sandtiger, Sandbar and White Tip Reef Sharks. Or appreciate the 1.6-million-gallon tank from the other side of the glass and marvel at the 2,000 forms of sea life.

Pride Concierge at Wynn Las Vegas
Pick your pleasure with the help of an LGBT-dedicated concierge. Whether you’re looking for show tickets, to schedule a spa treatment or get an insider’s tip on the best club, your Pride Concierge will set you straight. Um, not quite.

A Day at the Beach - Mandalay Bay
Rejuvenate with some vitamin D after a night on the town at this 11-acre oasis. Wave pool, lazy river, cabana and bungalow options will ensure the ultimate day-in-the-sun experience.

Hakkasan at MGM Grand, Spring 2013
With outposts in London, Miami and Dubai, to name a few, this sprawling five-floor modern Cantonese restaurant, lounge and nightclub is poised to be one of the Strip’s newest focal points. According to its promotional teaser, "The Hakkasan DNA is all about a relaxed mood with a sensual vibe. The interior design exudes a sultry Shanghai Chinoise chic." Pack something sleek and black to wear, but leave the sweet and sour sauce at home.


Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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