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Lavish in Las Vegas

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The “sin city” image is so yesterday; today’s Vegas is all about luxury.

If there’s one place whose very name evokes excess, surely that place is Las Vegas, where being the biggest, the best, or the most is a goal in itself. So when serious indulgence is on your agenda — and the fulfillment of every dream — Las Vegas might be the perfect destination. Adopt the city’s “spare no expense” philosophy and go all in on luxury.

Your Luxurious To-Do List
You might not associate Las Vegas with the beach, but you can start doing so now. At Mandalay Bay, you’ll find a beach playground covering 11 acres, complete with 2,700 tons of real sand to sink your toes into and a 1.6-million-gallon wave pool. If renting a private cabana won't do, you and your friends can have a private party and rent the entire beach — including a volleyball court and even a putting green. Partiers can get an open bar, a massage area, a cigar hostess and a “Dive In Movie” or live band. Another aquatic adventure, one that appears on many bucket lists, is swimming with dolphins; in Vegas, you can go one more step with them, by  helping train them. Zip on a wetsuit and get in the water to interact with
these intelligent, friendly creatures by becoming a dolphin trainer for a day at The Mirage’s dolphin habitat. No experience is required, and an experienced professional dolphin trainer will join you.

If water is not your element, try taking to the air. Start your evening with a ride in a stretch limousine, which delivers you to a luxury helicopter that takes you up into the sky at sunset. Soar over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead as darkness spreads across the desert and bathes the landscape in pastel hues. Then buzz over to the world’s most famous lights, flying around the Stratosphere Tower, alongside The Mirage’s erupting volcano and over the Bellagio’s lights and fountains.

For a different and quieter aerial adventure, take a slow, peaceful ride in a hot air balloon over the desert canyons — with 360-degree views. Back on the ground, a bottle of champagne awaits you for a celebratory toast.

If you’re feeling the need for speed, sample some luxury behind the wheel of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini — if you can’t limit yourself to just one car, opt for a package and try several on the racetrack.

Eat & Sleep Like Royalty
Ask for a table on the patio (or at least as close as possible to the floor-to-ceiling windows) at Lago in the Bellagio, and you and your very impressed companion will have a front-row seats to one of the best shows in Las Vegas: the sights and sounds of the famous Fountains of at Bellagio. The food is worthy of the atmosphere; world-renowned chef Julian Serrano creates a variety of Italian-inspired innovative small plates. Everything is in place for a perfect romantic evening and lingering over your prosecco.

If a burger is more your style, order what’s been listed as one of the world’s most expensive at the Paris Las Vegas hotel: a Kobe beef patty topped with Maine lobster tails, finished off with caramelized onions, Brie, prosciutto and 100-year aged balsamic vinegar. The chef recommends the perfect complement – a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. Another high roller’s order: the XS Nightclub’s Ono cocktail featuring the very rare Remy Martin Louis XIII Black Pearl cognac served alongside an 18-karate white gold necklace with Tahitian black pearl pendant and a pair of 18-karat gold Mont Blanc cuff links.

When it’s time to sleep — in the city that never sleeps — you can check into the fantasy of your choice at the Palms Casino Resort, with a suite for every taste. The Hardwood Suite has its own indoor basketball court, a professional locker room and scoreboard; the Kingpin Suite offers two regulation-sized bowling lanes; the Erotic Suite features a rotating bed and a dancing pole with nightclub lighting in the shower; the two-story Sky Villa is 9,000 square feet of leather, granite and marble, where you and your guests can swim in a cantilevered infinity pool looking out over The Strip (24-four-hour butler service is included, of course).

Relax Luxuriously

Choosing among the city’s many multimillion-dollar spas may be one of the tougher choices you’ll face in Las Vegas. Inside the Cosmopolitan’s Sahra Spa & Hammam is a world of natural striated wood walls and long hallways echoing the canyons and desert landscape that surround the city. Refresh in its monsoon cave where a gentle rain falls and detox in the signature hammam itself: a Turkish steam bath with heating and cooling rituals of purification centuries old. Book a private suite to add another layer of luxury: Bypass the locker room and take your own elevator.

The oasis-like feel of Caesars Palace’s Qua Baths & Spa comes from its 50,000 square feet of waterfalls and greenery, heated stone lounges, plunge pools and Roman baths. In the famous Arctic Ice Room, snow falls gently down from the domed ceiling, refreshing mind and body as you recline on a heated bench. The spa’s tea sommelier will bring the beverage that best complements your spa treatment, from the Ayurvedic Escape to the O2 Awakening.

There’s a time-travel feeling at The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, high above The Strip: The dark wood walls, furniture and rich upholstery evoke the luxurious opulence of 1930s Shanghai. Traditional Eastern techniques provide inspiration — for example, the exacting traditional Chinese foot spa is also a popular ritual in the Far East, where washing the feet of a guest is considered an honor. The herb-infused hot foot bath concludes with some targeted reflexology — all designed to relax and restore you, so your pursuit of Las Vegas luxury can resume.

Ready to live it up? Call 1-800-750-5386 or visit your AAA office to speak with a AAA Travel Specialist and get ready for off-the-chart luxury.

(Winter 2016 issue of Traveler)

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