Vegas’s constellation of Michelin-starred and celebrityrun restaurants keeps expanding, but don’t grumble if the $425 tasting menu at Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand is beyond your orbit, because Gordon Ramsay Burger at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino serves meals worthy of its celebrated namesake for less than $20 (try the blue cheeseburger with figgy jam and cider vinegar reduction). Or, skip the big-name tourist magnets for hometown favourite Carson Kitchen to sample modern twists on American comfort food, including the crispy pancetta and caviar “devil’s” eggs.
Campy gambling dens may have helped build Vegas, but it’s style and luxury that will pave the way to the city’s future. The five-star Mandarin Oriental introduced sleek, Asian-inspired elegance to The Strip in 2009, carving out a Zen-like oasis of serenity with no on-site casino. New owners Hilton Hotels and Resorts re-christened the hotel as a Waldorf Astoria in August, and it should remain sumptuous and gaming-free — but it may shift its sensibility westward toward the old-world stateliness associated with one of the world’s most iconic hotel brands.
PLAY Standing out from nearby gaming rooms like a Prada suit among costumed theme park mascots is the Aria Resort & Casino, a sharp, boldly contemporary space with no faux Eiffel Towers or sphinxes. Playing a hand of cards here somehow straightens your spine and makes you feel like an actual adult — perfect for affluent grown-ups staying upstairs or at the next-door Mandarin Oriental-turned-waldorf.