One of the hippest hotels on the Strip is equal parts swanky and theatrical: there are digital art-covered columns in the lobby, nouveau Baroque chandeliers and marble floors, and, in the 3,041 guest rooms, blue alligator side tables and Pop Art wallpaper (as well as eye-popping views of the Bellagio fountains and Hotel Paris’ Eiffel Tower). Every space here is designed to make a statement, from the three-level casino floor bar built inside a massive crystal chandelier to the Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub that keeps the energy thumping at all hours. For girls looking to dial the energy level down a notch, the serene Sahra Spa offers 30 treatment rooms and its own hammam.
ARIA Las Vegas
You can’t miss the ARIA, whose show-stopping curvilinear glass tower stands out from the heart of the Strip. Despite the architectural grandeur, it’s become the world’s largest LEED Gold-certified building, with a leafy lobby and a refreshing amount of natural light in the public spaces and 4,000-plus rooms. There are so many things to entertain onsite—no less than 16 restaurants, eight bars, three pools, and its own in-house Cirque du Soleil show—that your crew may never feel the need to leave.
In a sea of mega-resorts, this stylish boutique stands out for its intimate feel. What the hotel lacks for in rooms (there are just 188, all moody and romantic with industrial overhead lights, distressed hardwood floors, and luggage-inspired nightstands) it makes up for with standout amenities. There’s a restaurant by celeb chef Giada De Laurentiis, one of LV’s most sophisticated cocktail bars, and a two-level day and night club surrounding one of the few rooftop pools on the Strip. By day, swimsuits are the dress code for lounging on the fuchsia banquettes and taking shade beneath the towering palm trees on the 30,000-square-foot deck; by night, the guests head inside for dancing and debauchery under disco balls and strobe lights.
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As far as Vegas is concerned, it doesn’t get more elegant than this upscale bistro inside the Aria, whose 1920s-inspired décor (think black-and-white-tiled floors, a patina-treated bar, and rustic baskets filled with toasted baguettes) makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into Paris. Weekend brunch here is the real deal—we’re talking mushroom-and-egg-stuffed crêpes, frisée salads, and peach bellinis galore—but it’s just as great for dinner, when you can (and should) follow up an order of escargots and steak frites with a traditional mille feuille (puff pastry stuffed with vanilla crème).
Spanish star chef José Andrés brings his culinary tenacity to Jaleo, a rainbow-hued, group-friendly spot in the Cosmo celebrating all things tapas—from pan con tomato to croquetas, jamon, and as much sangria as you can handle. It’s a friendly, lively option for lunch or dinner, with communal tables that encourage mingling and a burning paella pit where you can watch the action from afar. Want the VIP treatment? There’s a not-widely-advertised eight-seat counter where the chef can prepare a 20-course tasting menu for you and your besties.
Rose. Rabbit. Lie.
Looking to spice up your average dinner res? Rose. Rabbit. Lie.—part dinner, part experimental theater performance—is unlike any meal you’ve had or will have again. Vaudevillian entertainment engages and delights diners in between beautifully presented courses and stiff drinks. Watch twins tap-dance on top of the bar while you dig into a beef Wellington, or marvel as an aerialist shows off during a feast of king crab legs. Whatever surprises lie in store (and there are a few of them), you’re guaranteed to have the group buzzing long after the check.
TOUR TO BOOK: Can’t decide on a restaurant? Try tastings from all the best on this downtown food and history walking tour. You’ll learn about the city’s culture from your local guide as you nibble on bites from top restaurants and specialty shops.
A curtain of lights and some two million crystals encases this three-level lounge inside the Cosmopolitan hotel. It’s as Vegas as Vegas gets, with the crowd to match—mostly dressed-up young things pre- or post-gaming dinner. Drinks here are made for the serious cocktail crowd. A few highlights: Natural Selection (made with coconut vodka, Thai chili and lemongrass syrup, peanut butter, coconut cream, and ginger purée) and the off-menu Verbena (which comes with an actual verbena flower; ask the bartender). For the gals, this is a place to see and be seen, so dress to impress.
Skyfall Lounge at the Delano
Sucker for a view? The Delano’s Skyfall Lounge, up on the 64th floor, mixes up artisan cocktails (from the same minds behind Manhattan’s venerable Death & Co.) with 180-degree indoor and outdoor views of the Strip. Daily happy hours (5 to 7 p.m.) are timed for sunset, so you can take in the city before it transforms into a sea of twinkling lights. Order up a sweet Victim of Elegance (champagne, Aperol, strawberry, dry vermouth, and lemon juice) or more complex Peepshow (tequila, elderflower, vermouth, and yuzu bitters) and ‘gram to your heart’s content.
Encore Beach Club
If you’re looking for that raucous, all-out, only-in-Vegas pool party experience, the choice is easy. Encore Beach Club’s two-tier space—60,000 square feet of it, lined with daybeds and palm trees—allows for extra perks other pool clubs in the area don’t have, including plush cabanas where you can retreat VIP-style from the sun. The stage is also known to host some of the biggest headlining DJs in the biz, from David Guetta to Diplo.
Formerly known as the “Neon Boneyard,” this outdoor museum serves as the final resting place for more than 150 of Vegas’s most iconic signs, some dating all the way back to the 1930s. (Look out for letters from retired Vegas institutions including Moulin Rouge, Stardust, and Desert Inn.) For the full experience, book a guided night tour to see 11 fully restored neon signs as they were meant to be seen (as well as the rest of their un-restored collection, which will be illuminated by floodlights).
Canyon Ranch Spa at the Venetian
The Venetian might be best known for its shop-lined canals and gondola rides, but inside its palatial walls is also one of the largest day spas in North America. The Canyon Ranch Spa sprawls out over 134,000 square feet, and you can spend all day (maybe even more) exploring everything it has to on offer. There’s the Aquavana hydrothermal circuit (with its own Finnish sauna), a salt grotto, 40-foot climbing wall, two restaurants, two gyms, and more than 90 treatment rooms with services like oxygen facials and stone massages to help melt your gambling-induced tensions away.