Photo: Flickr th. omas
Each hotel on the Vegas strip visually stands out, appealing to distinct personal tastes.If you’re a die hard rocker, checking into the Hard Rock Hotel is a must. Beach bum…Mandalay Bay’s massive stretch of sandy beach is your encampment.
But if you’re looking to shape your own experience rather than have a theme imposed on you, the Monte Carlo offers some unexpected surprises for every taste. I quickly discovered that the Monte Carlo offers so much more than a cookie-cutter Vegas rendition.
Hotel 32 Experience
Your getaway begins with a limo whisking you from the airport to the Monte Carlo’s grand entrance, where your key card gains you access to the express elevator all the way to the top floor #32. You have arrived at Hotel 32. Whether checking into a studio or ultra-spacious penthouse, luxury abounds. Comfy, over-sized custom furnishings along with onyx and granite counter surfaces and bathrooms give the room a customised bright and spacious feel…a place to hang out and feel like you’re not missing a thing outside. You have just joined the ranks of VIPs.
Artwork gracing the walls are authentic paintings by local artists. A fresh fruit assortment of raspberries, blackberries, and kumquats greeted me upon entering my room. Thoughtful late-night reveler perks like Kettle chips, Fiji water, and a can of Red Bull left in my room at turndown helped me successfully transition into the next day.
Pairing stunning views of the adjacent Aria and Las Vegas skyline with a delectable selection of
specialty cocktails, assorted canapes, or a spot of tea, Lounge 32, straight off the floor’s lobby, is the place to gather any time of the day before venturing out.
Supporting Monte Carlo’s unpretentious luxury, this finer hotel experience is attainable starting at $150 per night. Even better, they are currently offering a free two-night stay sweepstakes along with other perks.
Beyond the raucous nightlife that dueling pianos and a large stage bring, the Pub’s newly expanded beer selection, including more than 200 brews on tap, are the main attraction here. Check out their extensive lineup of local drafts from the area’s “Big 3” microbreweries: Sin City, Tenaya Creek, and Joseph James. A favourite from my sampler flite was Tenaya Creek’s Hop Ride IPA.
Small plate appetizers are perfect for sharing, include the Creamy Mac & Cheese, made with smoked gouda, parmesan and fontina cheeses, and an assortment of three different types of French fries: classic, sweet potato, and, my favourite, tangy mesquite. For dessert lovers or beer haters, give one of their Sturdy Milkshakes a try. Concoctions like “The Luck of the Irish” and “Peppermint Snowflake” pay homage to the original milkshake from the late 1800s, when they were mixed with whiskey.
A top-notch classic AAA Four Diamond French restaurant, Chef André Rochat‘s exquisite culinary works of art can’t be overlooked if you’re seeking a calibre of meal most people experience a hand full of times during their life.
Here the formality isn’t spared, and Chef Andre is certain to personally visit your table. Waitstaff intricately describe the preparation of each dish and answer questions that normally send most staff into the kitchen for guidance. They fastidiously attend to your lavish multi-course dinner starting with an amuse bouche, reaching a crescendo with entrees like Maine lobster Thermidor made with a white mushroom and tarragon dijon mustard cream sauce. Waiters classically place them in front of you under silver lids and lift them simultaneously with your dining partners upon serving.
Their wine cellar spans three floors yielding a wine list that boasts more than 1,500 selections. Exquisite desserts like creme brulee and a light cheesecake cube accompanied by an artfully arranged melange of fresh fruit top off the dining portion of your experience. Resist the impulse to waddle out the door and burn a few calories climbing upstairs, where you’ll find backlit glass cabinets brimming with one of the widest selections of Cognacs and Armagnacs in North America.
Treasures include a 1914 vintage distilled in France entirely by women during World War I, when all the men were called to duty. On the same level inside The Lounge, floor-to-ceiling humidors house cigars that can be professionally paired with your newly acquired after dinner beverage.
Minus 5 Ice Bar
Considering Minus 5 as just another place to pound shots and take advantage of drink specials would miss the point entirely. The interior is sheer artistry, and keeping it that way in the blazing Nevada desert is a monumental defiance of nature. The bar’s cavernous ice walls and bar are illuminated with ever changing multi-coloured lights. Everything inside is made of ice…the walls, bar, tables, chairs, intricate sculptures of Mount Rushmore, and a Zumanity character.
Even the glasses that hold their signature vodka-based cocktails are crafted from frozen artesian water imported from New Zealand. An on-site ice sculptor continually changes up the ambiance, re-carving the bar and sculptures every 6-8 weeks. True to its name, the interior is kept at a steady minus 5 C (23 F) requiring Eskimo-like insulated jackets and gloves.
Photos and video courtesy of Steve Mirsky. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored trip.
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