I’ll admit it, I had a pre-existing prejudice against Las Vegas. It was cemented by the reputation the city had built for itself, branding itself as a perpetual bachelor party that catered to those interested in gambling and indulging in extreme, excessive inebriation. A place for people with something to escape and something to hide. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. All of the negative cliches that go with that cast an impression in my mind. Even after numerous visits (my sister in law lives out there), I still was unable to shake the mental image of Vegas = The Hangover. And yes, if you’re into The Hangover type hijinks, you can find all that and more in Las Vegas. But if you’re a woman who’s more into glitz, glamour, good food and pampering than shots, shenanigans and stacking up the chips in a smoky casino, then you might need to reconsider Las Vegas. There’s so much more you can experience!
Last month I got to experience a whole different side of Vegas during a one of a kind blogger trip, and my eyes were opened to this other Vegas experience. The people at MGM Resorts put together an amazing trip for a group of carefully selected influencers to “Live The MLife.” As I Instagrammed every amazing activity, people kept asking me, “WHAT is the MLife?” Finally I’m here to elaborate.
Vegas is all about access – access to the best seats in the more renowned restaurants, access behind the velvet ropes at the hottest nightclubs, access to the most luxurious and futuristic amenities you won’t experience anywhere else. The MLife is a stratified card system that allows visitors to MGM Resorts properties and partners, to experience that. If you’ve got an MLife card, you’ve got access to insider offers at some of the best resorts in Las Vegas, including the Bellagio®, Aria™, Vdara™, MGM Grand®, Mandalay Bay®, THEhotel®, The Mirage® …and the list goes on. Look – check out the list of opportunities the card allows.
For this trip we were given Sapphire cards, but we got to live life like the more prestigious cardholders do, and it was EVERYTHING. Seriously, it was so hard to come back from this trip. It was like seeing some kind of promised land where the other half lives, where you experience the best of everything. We ate at the best restaurants and got VIP access to the coolest clubs. We went to the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Invitational. We met cast members of Cirque. We lived LARGE for like 3 days. Coming down off that cloud is hard!
Now that I’ve seen the glories of Vegas baller life, I can share some of the most magnificent, worth it, must-try experiences in Sin City. Let me get into my Vegas recommendations and favorite experiences, hopefully this will help you plan your next trip!
I stayed at the Aria Resort and Casino and it was an absolutely gorgeous, luxurious experience. You notice the difference as soon as you enter the lobby – a heavenly fragrance of vanilla and sandalwood surrounds you as you approach the check-in desk. Everything is serene, elegant, and beautiful. And then you get up to your room and WOW. Check out the room!
I was so impressed by the amenities, the service, the remote control that allowed me to open my curtains, turn on the TV and the lights from my bed…all of the things!
The rooms at Aria are just decadent and fabulous. These are the regular hotel rooms – we got a sneak peek at what’s called a Sky Suite and that’s just blow your mind fancy. What I loved about Aria was the ambiance of luxury. Yes, the downstairs area is a giant mobile Schmitts Casino but its not overpoweringly loud and smoky as other casinos are. The access to the pool, spa area, shows and even the clubs , is away from the casino floor. So you don’t have to be That Person in a bathrobe and a bikini who’s walking through the casino (unless for some reason, you want to be).
I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels, but the experience at Aria blew me away – top quality service and beautiful surroundings. I completely cosign JohnnyJet’s post, in case you need additional reasons to stay at Aria.
Amazing Vegas Experiences
Vegas has something to offer to suit just about anyone’s interest.More and more it isn’t about just gambling (although, when in Rome). Your Vegas experience can be whatever you want it to be. It can be highbrow and artistic, or base and debauched. Or both! For the highbrow and artistic experience, I can’t recommend Cirque du Soleil enough. Many of Vegas’ top hotels boast of a Cirque show in-house. There’s O at the Bellagio, Love at The Mirage, Ka at the MGM Grand, Zarkana at the Aria, and at the end of this month (May 2013), Michael Jackson One will open at the Mandalay Bay. I’ve been lucky enough to see many Cirque shows, but during this MLife blogger trip we got to go backstage and briefly meet the cast of Ka, and then members of the Zarkana cast came to meet us and that was so random, unexpected and amazing! Zarkana is an incredible show and I’d actually go see it again the next time I’m in town. Definitely a recommended experience.
If you’re into art, you will just love the Bellagio in general – the place is dripping in artistic inspiration, from the incredible Chihuly installation to the photography of Jeff Mitchum, on display in his own gallery. We were so lucky to meet Jeff Mitchum himself and hear about his inspiration, his methods, and the behind-the-scenes stories on the photos he’s proudest of – such an inspiring experience. I was truly honored and moved by some of his stories. If you’re in the Bellagio, definitely stop by and check out his work.
During this trip, the MLife bloggers were treated to multiple feasts. Decadent, fabulous, ridiculous feasts. I’ve eaten well in Vegas before but this was next level. These three restaurants were OUTSTANDING in terms of quality, presentation and ambiance.
Sensi – get the butter chicken, and the sorbet for dessert from Chef Royden Ellamar’s restaurant. The intent here is to serve a variety of international cuisines at a high quality level. I’m a big Indian food lover and a sushi obsessive, so I adored the Sensi rolls and the samosas and the butter chicken the most. Everything we tried was absolutely delicious, however.
Aureole – this restaurant is all about the ambiance. Charlie Palmer’s Vegas branch of Aureole was inspired by a key scene from Mission: Impossible, where Tom Cruise rappels down a glass building. They’ve created a wine tower – 14 feet, 4 storys worth of wine. “Wine fairies” fetch your bottles, strapping them safely into high tech fanny pack belts. All that and the cuisine is delicious. The photo you see above is Executive Chef Vincent Pouessel preparing their signature French onion soup. TO DIE FOR.
American Fish – gorgeous décor and incredible, fresh, sustainably served fish procured from American waters. If you’re a seafood lover this is a Vegas must. Absolutely loved this dining experience.
In Vegas, I got to see what the life of a baller was like, and it is everything you might have imagined. One of the most unforgettable experiences took place at Hyde, a swanky cocktail lounge/nightclub that’s located right behind the Bellagio fountain. If you go, I’d recommend you go early and try to get a spot where you can appreciate the majesty of their fountains . As an MLife card holder, one of the special insider offers includes choosing a song from the choreographed fountain list. Aly chose Viva Las Vegas. JD of EarthXplorer chose Luck Be a Lady. I chose Billie Jean. Such an unforgettable night! If you go to Hyde, I recommend you get that back seat so you can enjoy the fountain and order their killer cocktails.
There’s shopping in Vegas – which is already ridiculous – and then there’s The Shops at Crystals, which is shopping on steroids. In this high end shopping center, I saw stores I didn’t know existed as physical stores. Gucci, Fendi, Tom Ford, Balenciaga, Kiki de Montparnasse, Hermes, Lanvin, Prada, Cavalli, Cartier…the list goes on. Just for gawking’s sake, you should check it out.
Everything’s bigger, better and more over the top fab in Vegas and that includes the spas.
I was able to indulge in treatments at the Spa at the Bellagio and I was lucky enough to experience the private spa suites at Aria. I will elaborate on the amazingness in a future post but I just need to say this – YOU SHOULD GO. It’s an incredible space, and you will get the pampering you deserve. Get yourself a massage at Aria. You won’t regret your decision.
All that AND I got to kick it by the pool and soak up the sun for an hour or so. It was FABULOUS.
It was hard leaving the MLife behind for the R Life (R being regular). I had a blast in Vegas and this last trip inspired me to go back. It showed me possibilities I didn’t know were there. The next time I’m planning a bachelorette weekend or girls getaway, I know exactly what to recommend.
This media trip was totally enhanced by the fact that some of my favorite fellow bloggers came too, and I made some great new friends! Special shout out to Aly Walansky, Nadine Jolie, Amber Katz, and my new friends Zippy Sandler, JD, Johnny Jet, Shannon and Nancy. You’re awesome!
Thanks to the MLife team for such an unforgettable press experience.
Trip was sponsored by MLife and MGM Resorts but these opinions are all mine.