Published July/August 2012

Las Vegas

Step onto The Strip for a weekend trip around the world

BYJill Schildhouse
There’s only one place on earth where you can have breakfast in Paris, lunch in a pyramid, an afternoon gondola ride in Venice, dinner in a castle, and cocktails in Monte Carlo, all in the same day: Las Vegas.
 
The Las Vegas Strip, an approximately 4.2-mile jam-packed stretch in the Nevada town of Paradise, is home to world-class hotels, restaurants, casinos, shopping, and entertainment. And world-class refers not only to the caliber of these attractions, but also the variety of countries and cultures they emulate. And the best part? There’s no need for a passport, multiple flights, currency exchange, a translator, or several weeks of time off to experience the many cultures you’ll find just hours from home.
 
Asia
In 2009, a new community was built on the 67 acres between Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts and named CityCenter. One of the largest sustainable developments in the world, CityCenter was designed to bring magnificent architecture, culturally significant art, sophisticated hotels, and unique restaurants and amenities to the center of The Strip. 
 
One of these hotels, AAA Five Diamond ARIA Resort & Casino — recognizable by its two curvilinear steel and glass towers — is home to Lemongrass, the first Thai restaurant in a resort on the Las Vegas Strip. The chef, formerly of Le Fenix Hotel in Bangkok, offers a modern interpretation of Thai cuisine through such authentic dishes as papaya salad, pad thai, and traditional Thai curries. An interactive satay bar features beef, poultry, pork, and seafood skewers grilled on an open fire and served with a variety of seasonings. All dishes may be ordered on a customized spice level ranging from 1 to 10, to ensure that even first-time Thai tasters aren’t blown away by the cuisine’s infamous heat.
 
ARIA’s two-level, 80,000-square-foot spa features 62 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, an advanced fitness center, and Las Vegas’ first co-ed spa balcony, featuring an outdoor infinity-edge pool. Guests are welcomed by a tranquil stone and water garden adorned with sacred Japanese Aji stones, blessed in Japan to inspire calmness. Arrive for treatment early to allow time in the Shio Salt Room — a wall of illuminated salt bricks that encourages the healing of skin irritations and upper respiratory problems — and the Japanese Ganbanyoku Stone Beds — heated black mineral stone beds that emit negative ions and far-infrared rays to soothe muscles, improve blood circulation, increase metabolism, and eliminate toxins. This room of stone beds is the only one of its kind in the country. Afterward, try the Thai Clay Aromatherapy Wrap, Thai Poultice Massage, or Traditional Thai Yoga.
 
Europe
When it comes to romance, art, fine dining, and risqué theatre productions, Europeans lead the pack. For instance, instead of relying on fast-moving cabs, buses, or trains for transportation, Venetians get from here to there on graceful gondola rides down the Grand Canal. See for yourself at the Venetian Hotel, where a singing gondolier navigates gondolas beneath bridges, beside cafés, under balconies, and through a vibrant Venetian streetscape.
 
While you’d need weeks to take in all of the collections at the Louvre, in about an hour, you can view European masterpieces at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light” now through Jan. 6, 2013. Showcasing 20 works that illustrate the height of Claude Monet’s engagement with color and light, this collection also presents eight canvases by his predecessors and contemporaries, including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugene Louis Boudin. Choose from complimentary daily docent tours (with the purchase of admission) at 2 p.m. or self-guided tours with headsets that provide audio commentary. 
 

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Bellagio Fountain
Bellagio Fountain
Julian Serrano at Aria
Julian Serrano at Aria
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