|Caesars’ Villa Marcus Aurelius has a fabulous “playroom” with a bar and pool table|
On a recent week-long business trip to Las Vegas, Luxury Travel Advisor chose to stay at The Signature at MGM Grand, which truly felt like a home after just a day or so, mainly because of the amount of space we had to sprawl out in. Room 32-811, a Junior Suite on one of the Penthouse floors, had a balcony (our first ever in Las Vegas; from which we could see CityCenter, whose Vdara and Mandarin Oriental were opening that week). We also had a residential-size sitting area and a large desk to work at with a strong, complimentary Wi-Fi connection. But we loved the kitchenette, set up across from the bed, but at a distance so as not to be intrusive. Appliances include the Sub-Zero, Miele and Bosch brands. The kitchen is also stocked fully with all those utensils needed to make a meal from scratch; one good friend told us she made cookies in her suite one weekend. We never got that ambitious but found the set up afforded us the simply luxury of saving bread and butter from room service one evening and making ourselves some fresh toast the next morning.
|Another high point is its huge terrace with a fire pit and Jacuzzi, which all overlook the new pool area.|
Note: At 550 square feet, the Junior Suite is the smallest category in the house; from there, suites only get larger.
We said we loved the kitchen but must admit that the whirlpool Jacuzzi in the bathroom tugged at our heartstrings even more. What better venue to rest one’s weary feet after a full day on the Luxury Travel Expo show floor in three-inch heels? The bathroom (double sinks!) also had a generous amount of shelving, cabinets and drawers so we didn’t have to pile all of our cosmetics on top of each other for seven days straight.
There are three towers at Signature. Tower 3 is closest to the MGM Grand Walkway, which is ideal if you want to slip over to the restaurants and casino. Tower 1 is home to the swanky fitness center and Starbucks. The hotel is non-gaming, a feature we grew to appreciate as we came back and forth from the trade show every day without having to walk through a busy casino floor to access our elevator bank. Note: Cabs during our stay didn’t pull up regularly to the valet area, so call downstairs ahead of time if you need to get somewhere fast.
Contact Colleen Schmitz ([email protected]; 702-891-7210), director of luxury sales for MGM Mirage, for special requests.
After the excitement of our events was over, we decided to hop over to Caesars Palace, which we hadn’t visited in ages. We were glad we did. New on the scene is the five-acre pool area, a.k.a. Garden of the Gods, which is actually a series of different sized and shaped pools designed for different experiences, including one for topless bathing, another with a swim-up Blackjack setup, and yet another for aquatic volleyball. Hint: The Jupiter pool will be the quietest and will have a spa cabana; the Apollo pool in the southwest corner will get the most sunlight all day. Nice Touch: Caesars is expecting its new pool area to be such a draw it is offering those staying at other hotels the opportunity to rent a cabana on a daily basis.
If you have clients who use pools as their main leisure activity (they will all be open by April, the beginning of Las Vegas’ pool season), we suggest they opt for accommodations in the nearby, brand-new Octavius Tower, which is home to the amazing new Villa Marcus Aurelius (this tower is also closest to the spa and the quietest of all of Caesars towers). The super-secure three-bedroom villa measures in at 10,000 square feet and seems even larger, because of its vaulted ceilings. We were smitten with the heavy Spanish touch to its décor, as well as the villa’s terrace, which looks out over the new pools, has a fire pit, and is large enough for entertaining. Inside, the living room sports a grand piano, while the dining room has a great setup for eight lucky diners. The guest powder room is one of the most opulent we’ve ever seen. We caught an eyeful of the cappuccino and espresso machines in the simple butler’s pantry and felt that curling up for hours in the high-tech media room with some good java would have been fun. At the end of it all, however, we felt the game room with the pool table and well-stocked bar was where we might spend most of our time.
|The Spa At Encore has a graceful lobby that’s larger than most hotel lobbies.|
Another fabulous touch was the master bedroom with his-and-her bathrooms. Note: This suite was constructed for those Caesars calls “invited guests.” However, those who wish to inquire about visits for this and other suites not usually promoted to the public can call Patty Kripitz or her team in VIP Services (702-731-7866).
|Junior Suites At The Signature are spacious and homey.|
If your client would prefer a part of Caesars that puts them closer to the action (think Forum Shops, bars and restaurants), book them into the Forum Tower, which was completely gutted and redone in 2008. Your most ultra-VIP will want to stay in the Penthouse in this tower, which is so secure it has a private elevator and a 24-hour security guard (which works well for heads of state). This seven-bedroom suite can be divided into two units, with a three-bedroom and four-bedroom suite setup. Its large terrace with outdoor pool, the living room with floor-to-ceiling windows (which also had a grand piano) and the full kitchen were just some of the high points.
We had a bit more time to saunter around that day, so we headed over to Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, which opened just a year ago. We were particularly eager to see the 60,000-square-foot spa, which though palatial in size has a warm ambiance, owing to the feminine décor and warm lighting. Even better, the spa never seemed crowded, despite the fact that there are 37 treatment rooms and a constant flow of loyal guests.
We loved the spacious women’s changing area, which has a series of intimately sized locker areas. For treatments, you can’t go wrong with the resort’s signature Good Luck Ritual (we recommend Jodi as the therapist), which includes a bit of Feng Shui, an excellent massage, and a foot and hand exfoliation. The spa’s reception area is larger than most hotel lobbies, filled with beautiful seating areas; we spied two ladies sipping afternoon tea after they’d obviously enjoyed some relaxing treatments.
Contact Spa Manager Ella Stimpson at 702-770-4458 with any special request. It’s wise to book ahead of time since the spa enjoys a strong repeat factor. However, we found we were able to snag a last-minute appointment on a Friday afternoon. Because of the spa’s generous size and access to a number of luxurious relaxation areas, we feel this would be an ideal option for a girlfriend getaway retreat. Contact Encore’s Groups Coordinator Liliana Cirlig ([email protected]; 702-672-3317) to arrange something unique for your spa diva.
Where to stay at Encore if you want to create a spa vacation? All of the rooms are an option, since the spa is accessible via the main guest room elevator bank. Good to know: Treatments are for guests 18 and older.