How to Wynn in Ve­gas

The Jewish Chronicle - - TRAVEL -

all th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties for those who want a day off from fight­ing the traf­fic: the re­sort has its own casino (set well apart from the ho­tels), shops and even a lake­side con­cert pro­gramme head­lined by top names like Seal.

But you can­not visit Ve­gas with­out brav­ing the in­cred­i­ble Strip, while the Wynn, Vene­tian and close com­peti­tor Man­dalay Bay must all be seen to be be­lieved.

It may be daft to pay a gon­do­lier to ferry you down an im­i­ta­tion Grand Canal which is just an­other shop­ping mall, but there is noth­ing daft about the food at Valentino, an out­post of the su­perb, Santa Mon­ica-based, Ital­ian restau­rant of the same name.

And given its Baroque char­ac­ter, the Vene­tian is also the per­fect home for The Phan­tom of the Opera, a 90minute adap­ta­tion of which has just opened, with stag­ing which out­classes the usual theatre pro­duc­tion.

Man­dalay Bay may not have as ob­vi­ous a theme as the Vene­tian, but it has all the grandiose ar­chi­tec­ture and big names.

Here we saw a great pro­duc­tion of Mamma Mia and fol­lowed it with a su­perb fish meal at RM, Rick Moo­nen’s fa­mous seafood restau­rant with both brasserie and fine din­ing op­tions. The Man­dalay Bay also of­fers that rare Ve­gas crea­ture, a bou­tique ho­tel with­out slot ma­chines.

The Ho­tel, in an ad­ja­cent build­ing, is linked at lobby level to the main drag. Its own main at­trac­tion is an in­cred­i­bly stylish spa, the Bath House, of­fer­ing 10 dif­fer­ent pedi­cures and end­less fa­cial and mas­sage optins — pricey, but posh enough for the most per­nick­ety foot­baller’s wife.

As for the Wynn, it is best vis­ited at night, when a drink in the out­side bar is a must to see that in­cred­i­ble elec­tronic bal­let, re­peated ev­ery 45 min­utes. But note that Las Ve­gas is only a 24-hour re­sort as far as the gam­bling goes; bou­tiques and restau­rants tend to close by 10pm — which can make it dif­fi­cult to fit in a top show and a top meal on the same night.

Lake Las Ve­gas may be man-made, but it plays host to many whole­some out­door ac­tiv­i­ties like golf, bik­ing, wa­ter sports, fly-fish­ing and star- gaz­ing, and not far be­yond lies some spec­tac­u­lar scenery. The Hoover Dam is it­self man-made, but it is still to­tally awe­some, while the lakes and red rock canyons formed by and around the Colorado River are truly a won­der­land worth ex­plor­ing. He­li­copter trips al­low a taste of the Grand Canyon, land­ing at the base to al­low a hike around one of the great­est won­ders of the Amer­i­cas.

Less well-trod­den, but very worth­while if you travel be­tween au­tumn and spring, is a de­tour through Death Val­ley, which links Ne­vada with Cal­i­for­nia. This spec­tac­u­lar na­tional park has some sur­pris­ing cul­tural at­trac­tions as well as dropdead-gor­geous desertscapes.

One of them is the Amar­gosa Opera House, an as­ton­ish­ing op­er­a­tion mounted by a de­ter­mined New Yorker, Marta Becket, who painted her own au­di­ence on the walls of the theatre she set up 39 years ago on the site of an old, aban­doned minework­ers’ digs. Now her vaudeville-

The Ritz Carl­ton, ‘re­lent­lessly themed’ to re­sem­ble a Tus­can vil­lage

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