Las Vegas travel guide

With intimate new hotels, luxe spas, and top-notch dining and shopping, Sin City shows a more sophisticated side, writes George Epaminondas.

Delano Las Vegas


For an off-Strip excursion, venture to downtown’s Fremont East District. The area is known for its cluster of authentic and eccentric bars, eateries and galleries that contrast with the city’s mega-resorts.


Mio Ogasawara’s exquisite Japanese-inspired desserts at Sweets Raku (5040 West Spring Mountain Rd, No 3) are drawing food lovers to Chinatown, about three kilometres west of the Strip.


Virgin Australia flies daily to Los Angeles from Brisbane and Sydney, and on to Las Vegas with partner airline Delta.


Delano Las Vegas

By Vegas standards, this sophisticated 1117-room newcomer is considered a boutique property. The lobby seduces with two colossal boulders from the Nevada desert, patterned rugs evoking the Colorado River, and a soothing lemongrass scent. Suites resemble inviting apartments, with neutral furnishings, tufted headboards and black marble bathrooms. Rivea, the Alain Ducasse restaurant on the top floor, has jaw-dropping views of the Strip.

3940 Las Vegas Blvd South

The Cromwell

Dark wood floors, purple leather sofas and rococo artworks imbue the 188 rooms of this hotel with an appealingly louche sensibility. Enticements include an Italian restaurant by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, and a rooftop club by nightlife guru Victor Drai. By day, guests loll around in poolside cabanas, and by night they cavort on the dance floor to electro. The hotel is a stone’s throw from the geyser spectacle of the Bellagio Fountains.

3595 Las Vegas Blvd South


Sahra Spa & Hammam

Switch the blackjack table for the massage table. Try the 80-minute Red Flower Hammam Experience at the Sahra Spa & Hammam in The Cosmopolitan. Lying on a heated stone slab, you’re cleansed with mint bubbles, exfoliated with a coffee scrub, pampered with a rose body masque, and slathered in honey. You’ll leave feeling as coddled as Suleiman the Magnificent, perhaps with a strange craving for baklava.

3708 Las Vegas Blvd South


The retail scene offers an embarrassment of riches – and it helps to be wealthy to fully explore them. High-end brands such as Tom Ford, and Lanvin populate The Shops at Crystals, while department stores Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus dominate Fashion Show Mall. The glitzy malls at Caesars Palace and The Venetian conjure Italian piazze at dusk. But if it’s bargains you seek, take a half-hour trip to one of two Premium Outlets.


Aria Resort & Casino

Aria’s master mixologist Craig Schoettler is shaking things up with custom-designed beers, and flavoured ice cubes that change a drink’s flavour as they melt. At Sage Restaurant, his Cognac-based Smoke Missing Mirrors is infused with a puff of smoke from a Bourbon barrel plank.

3730 Las Vegas Blvd South


L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

The eminent French chef has two restaurants at MGM Grand – a formal dining room and this casual outpost where patrons observe the culinary acrobatics from a long counter. Tasting menus are a flurry of sublime small plates, such as langoustine with green curry, foie gras tortellini, and caramelised quail.

3799 Las Vegas Blvd South

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

At this supper club in The Cosmopolitan, the energy is infectious and the offerings are plentiful – everything from caviar tacos to whole roasted Alaskan crab. A chanteuse purred next to our table, while another player performed contortionist feats atop a piano.

3708 Las Vegas Blvd South


This global entity – with outposts from Abu Dhabi to Shanghai – is renowned for its appealing ambience and tempting Cantonese fare. At MGM Grand the winner is the roasted Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey. Don’t miss the staggering multi-level club upstairs.

3799 Las Vegas Blvd South

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

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