Over-the-Top in Vegas

Las Vegas skyline facing south
Las Vegas Strip facing south // Sky_Sajjapho / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The High Roller soars above the still-growing Linq Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip.

THE HIGH ROLLER soars above the still-growing Linq Promenade on the Las Vegas Strip.


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When one thinks “over-the-top,” one invariably thinks “Las Vegas.” Here are just a few of the experiences we’ve selected to make a visit to the city especially exhilarating.

The Linq and the High Roller

The Linq Promenade—an open-air retail, dining, and entertainment district—is a top new attraction in Las Vegas, dominated by the 550-foot High Roller observation wheel. The entire facility, which has been opening in stages, covers more than 300,000 square feet and, when complete, will have more than 30 shops, restaurants, bars and venues. Beyond that observation wheel, other attractions include the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas (the venue’s first outpost beyond Brooklyn); Sprinkles Cupcakes (with a 24-hour fresh cupcake ATM); and the Polaroid Fotobar, which includes the Polaroid Museum.AT THE CROMWELL, Drai’s Beach Club is a top party spot, day or night.

Pictured: AT THE CROMWELL, Drai’s Beach Club is a top party spot, day or night.

The surrounding lot can accommodate huge groups for a big party—as many as 75,000, in fact. (We heard about a function for 20,000 that used only a fraction of the space for a private concert. The concierge team even brought in food stations from local celebrity chefs.) Good to know: The outdoor space’s central fountain can be covered and turned into a stage.

The 80,000-square-foot Brooklyn Bowl has 32 bowling lanes and a large music venue for concerts. For exclusivity, buy out the second floor: it has 16 lanes and a private balcony.

Of course, everyone who visits the Promenade will want to see the High Roller. VIPs can buy out cabins on the wheel for half-hour-long rides, or they can buy two rides and stay put for an hour. (Top Tip: Try this at sunset and see how the Strip and the surrounding desert change from day to night.) Each cabin can hold up to 40 people, or 25 if they want a bar set up. Want something really exclusive? Book the entire High Roller—it can accommodate 1,120 people for those who want a big party. Good to know: Each cabin has eight video monitors, making presentations or photo displays easy.

We hear that everything from proposals to weddings have taken place within the pods, and a full 35 weddings have been planned for the High Roller so far. Cocktail carts can be set up for a reception, and even meals can be arranged for in-the-sky dining.

For bookings of 10 or more, or private cabin buy-outs, contact the Group Sales department at 866-574-3851 or e-mail Jill Schneider at [email protected] For special event group sales, contact Maggie Cupp at 866-733-5827.

Drai’s Beach Club

The Cromwell opened in late May as the only luxury boutique hotel on the Strip. We already looked at its top suite (see the July issue of Luxury Travel Advisor for more details), but the hotel has some other top experiences to try.DRAI’S BEACH CLUB cabanas offer a chance to be part of the party while guaranteeing some privacy, too.

Pictured: DRAI’S BEACH CLUB cabanas offer a chance to be part of the party while guaranteeing some privacy, too.

At the top of the Cromwell, Drai’s Beach Club • Nightclub (yes, with a dot) is a 65,000-square-foot rooftop party venue with a pool and a series of DJs spinning day and night. Don’t expect to relax poolside—even during the day, this is a high-energy destination.

Want a VIP experience? Book one of the tables. Want something even more special? Drai’s is launching a firework menu that lets guests select a firework to shoot off whenever they want. (The experience is limited to those who spend $5,000-$100,000 at the club.)

Contact the Cromwell concierge team at 844-426-2766 or General Manager Karie Hall ([email protected]; 702-733-3170) for more information.

Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay recently launched a Dive with Sharks program for scuba-certified hotel guests of Mandalay Bay and the brand-new Delano Las Vegas. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Adventurous guests get to go swimming and diving with more than 30 sharks, including sand tiger, whitetip and sandbar sharks, in a 1.3-million-gallon exhibit. (Yes, guides are also present.)DIVING WITH SHARKS at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium is limited to two people each day.

Pictured: DIVING WITH SHARKS at Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef Aquarium is limited to two people each day.

The Details: Dive with Sharks is available to certified divers aged 18 and up. Throughout the four-hour experience, the swimmers learn about shark health and behavior. Bonus: The program is limited to two participants and one dive per day, guaranteeing a private experience. A team of dive guides teach participants various safety procedures before the dive.

Important: All dive participants must present a valid certification card from a recognized dive instruction agency such as PADI or NAUI. Dive with Sharks is available four days a week—Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Hotel guests of Mandalay Bay or The Delano and Shark Reef Aquarium Annual Pass holders can book the exclusive tour for $650 for a single diver or $1,000 for two divers booked together. The Dive with Sharks program includes a guided tour of Shark Reef Aquarium, supervised 45-minute dive and a post-dive snack. Shark Reef Aquarium provides all equipment—a wetsuit, protective stainless steel chain maille as well as a mask, fins, tank, buoyancy-control device, regulator, weights and booties.

To book the experience, call 702-632-4555. For any questions or special requests at Mandalay Bay, luxury travel advisors can reach out to Chief Concierge Doug Ward ([email protected])

Le Rêve at Wynn Las Vegas

Swimming with sharks isn’t enough? How about swimming with dancers? “Le Rêve – The Dream” has been running at Wynn Las Vegas for more than 4,000 shows, and returning guests can now see the production in a different way: The show is offering backstage tours for the first time in more than eight years. On the 55-minute guided tour, fans get to see the stage and backstage up close...including the 27-foot-deep 1.1-million-gallon pool 66 feet above the stage.

To get really up close and personal, though, book the Diver’s Dream package, which lets certified scuba divers explore the tank and see the show from under the water.

The Details: The backstage tours are held from 4 to 5 p.m. prior to the 7 p.m. show on specific days of the week and include seats to the show. The Diver’s Dream package is $1,750 for one diver and $2,450 for two divers, and includes two nights at the Wynn or Encore. For any questions and to make arrangements, contact Assistant Manager of VIP Services Ashley Asprer (702-770-5230).

Blue Man Group

Those who don’t like water but still want to get behind the scenes of a real Vegas show can try the Onstage Experience at Blue Man Group at the Monte Carlo. Visitors get to meet with the cast and crew and explore the production’s instruments and props. Cooler Yet: The tour also includes a lesson on Blue Man Group’s signature PVC instrument and a marshmallow-tossing lesson by a Blue Man cast member. Naturally, tickets to the show are part of the package.

For more information or to book the experience, contact VIP services at Monte Carlo (702-730-7000).

Maverick Helicopter Tours

Want to explore Vegas from the air? Maverick Aviation Group lets guests charter their own private planes or helicopter tours of the Strip...or beyond, to the Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon.

The planes have leather seats, and the Maverick team can arrange expedited boarding and ground transportation both to the departure point, and then to various sites at the destinations.

Reach out to Vice President of Marketing Bryan Kroten ([email protected]; 702-948-1407) for special requests.

Dream Racing

This may well be one of the more over-the-top experiences we’ve heard about from Vegas, and that’s saying something: Dream Racing lets speed enthusiasts get on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a real Ferrari race car (or another exotic pick)...not as a passenger, mind you, but as a driver.BLUE MAN GROUP at the Monte Carlo offers exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.

Pictured: BLUE MAN GROUP at the Monte Carlo offers exclusive behind-the-scenes tours.

Drivers have two options for this experience. They can pick the Race Car Experience and drive (or ride in, if they’d prefer) an F430 GT racing Ferrari. The Street Car Experience, meanwhile, offers a choice of a Porsche Carrera S, McLaren MP4-12c, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, Ferrari 458 Italia or Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.

Good to know: The Race Car Experience includes complimentary round-trip transportation for the driver and one additional guest from Crystals at CityCenter to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Important Detail: Drivers taking the program must be between 5’ and 6’6” tall and weigh no more than 265 pounds to fit within the roll cage. Otherwise, those outside these parameters can still ride shotgun.

Luxury travel advisors can call Sales Manager Greg Espinoza ([email protected]; 702-605-3000) for special requests.

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