Travel

The Great Escape: The Latest Generation of Vegas Lounges

The Great Escape: The Latest Generation of Vegas Lounges

This article originally appeared in Sellebrity, Volume 1, Number 2.

It’s been 48 hours since your flight touched down in Las Vegas. Your first night in town was unforgettable: bottle service at Omnia with your closest friends by your side and your favorite DJ ensuring you danced up an appetite for 4am pancakes at Peppermill. Night #2 was similarly epic, with stops at Marquee, Drai’s and XS before finally drifting off to sleep as the sun peeked over the horizon.

But after two consecutive all-out nocturnal assaults, a three-peat is out of the question. You still want a night to remember, but the ringing in your ears and the bags under your eyes dictate something a bit more…mellow. Can you still have a quintessentially Vegas experience with an exclusive ambiance and a fabulous setting, but without the oontz?

As it turns out, you can. For those wishing to get away from the crowds and enjoy a discreet evening in a beautiful room with cocktails nearly as amazing as your friends, Las Vegas may be the ultimate destination.

SKYFALL
Delano Las Vegas

If it’s an Instagrammable Strip view you’re after, you can always choose to dodge strollers and pay for the privilege of visiting tourist favorites like Stratosphere or Paris Las Vegas’s Eiffel Tower. Or you could dress to impress, then take a dramatic (and complimentary) 64-story glass elevator ride to Skyfall at Delano Las Vegas, where you’re greeted by wall of glass framing the most jaw-dropping, panoramic view of Sin City imaginable.

Making a night of it? Reserve a private VIP table on the dizzying outdoor patio or in the moody, darkly-lit lounge area and enjoy small bites from Alain Ducasse’s adjacent restaurant Rivea while sampling Skyfall’s comprehensive cocktail menu (including, of course, the punch-packing Vesper, made famous in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale).

But if your tastes run closer to those of a flamboyant Bond villain than 007 himself, there can be no better drink choice for your table than the Pink Flamingo Punch. Serving 6-8 of your most impressed friends, this Absolut Elyx, vermouth, aperol, stawberry & champagne concoction is served in a massive copper flamingo. You’re sure to be both shaken…and stirred.

MANDARIN BAR 
Mandarin Oriental

Seeking to get away from it all without leaving the center Strip? Look no further than the exclusive Mandarin Bar, where 270-degree Vegas views, chic décor and unparalleled mixology reign supreme. Located 23 stories above the city in the sophisticated Mandarin Oriental, this hidden contemporary gem offers vistas from every seat and a stunning cocktail program curated by mixologist Michael LaPenna.

Try The Golden Leaf for a tropical twist on the classic martini that’s available exclusively at Mandarin Bar, or the bespoke Five-Star Martini offered only at Forbes 5-star hotels. Executive Chef David Werly’s Eclectic Bites menu features innovative dishes perfect for a pre-show meal.

And for the ultimate in exclusivity, look no further than Mandarin Bar’s The Edge, a private, luxurious space with full waiter service that’s perfect for gatherings of up to 30.

HYDE LOUNGE 
Bellagio

There is no lounge experience in Las Vegas as exclusive, as coveted or as beautiful as the Philippe Starck-designed Hyde Lounge. Most Vegas visitors know Hyde as a gorgeous nightclub, but few are aware that, from 5pm onwards, the space functions as an upscale lounge space, with no spots more desirable than the seven tables on Hyde’s outdoor terrace.

The reason why? Imagine an evening spent sipping award-winning cocktails, with an occasional warm desert breeze interrupting the patio’s cooling misters. Your seat is perched on the banks of an eight-acre lake, beyond which lies an uninterrupted, panoramic view of the Las Vegas Strip.

But when your view is interrupted, it’s by an illuminated, 450-foot-tall wall of water that dances along to music. That’s right, the Bellagio fountains are just a few dozen feet away, so close that their aquatic gymnastics completely fill the sky like a curtain closing on a stage. And no, that’s not rain you feel on your head….it’s the gentle mist from the fountains, arriving to help cool you on a balmy desert night.

There is only one word to describe an evening like this on Hyde’s terrace: magical.

BEAUTY & ESSEX 
The Cosmopolitan

Currently the hottest restaurant in Las Vegas, jewel box-themed New York transplant Beauty & Essex encompasses four unique experiences; dining in one of two breathtaking dining rooms, people-watching in the intimate Parisian bar, relaxing in the private, crystal-draped lounge…and a pawn shop. Yes, you read that correctly.

Nothing if not eclectic, entrée into Beauty & Essex is through an unmarked door in the rear of a pawn shop on The Cosmopolitan’s third floor. But behind that unassuming portal lies a true hideout where nothing else seems to exist. Reservations are unnecessary for the lounge and bar areas, but the exquisite service is retained…as is the mouth-watering menu (including, wait for it, French onion soup dumplings).

Stake out a spot in the drop-dead-gorgeous lounge and peruse the cocktail menu, helpfully segmented into “sweet,” “savory” and “barrel aged” categories. There’s no wrong choice, and the gin, St. Germain, pink peppercorn and lemon Pink Panther is particularly memorable. But no matter what you order, one thing’s for sure…you won’t want to leave.

THE CHANDELIER LOUNGE 
The Cosmopolitan

A surefire way to ensure the success of a new bar or lounge in Las Vegas is to create a space that looks like nothing else in the world, then to serve a signature libation like no one has ever tasted. Hence the fame and cult following of The Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Lounge.

Chandelier must be seen to be believed. Three stories in height and draped in thousands of beaded crystal strands bathed in soft pink & purple light, Chandelier is the centerpiece of the entire Cosmopolitan resort. Each of the bar’s three levels offers a different lounge experience, complete with bespoke, mind-blowing cocktail menus featuring descriptions like “miracleberry ginger gobstopper ice sphere with scented lolligarden.”

But it’s the lounge’s center tier (“Level 1.5,” officially) that offers the most relaxing and immersive experience. Inaccessible from the rest of the resort except for a single curving staircase, Level 1.5 successfully recreates the experience of relaxing inside of a crystal chandelier, while suspended between two of Cosmopolitan’s three stories for maximum privacy.

But no matter which level you visit, Chandelier’s off-menu Verbena cocktail is a must-have. A relatively straightforward lemon verbena & ginger infused margarita, the drink is topped with a Sichuan flower which, when chewed, releases alkaloids into your salivary glands that make them hyper-sensitive. Your entire mouth tingles before becoming numb, and for a few minutes your tongue becomes so sensitive that, when breathing through the mouth, the very *air* around you can be tasted. You may or may not enjoy the sensation (most love it), but you’re guaranteed not to forget it.

ROSE.RABBIT.LIE 
The Cosmopolitan

Despite being named one of the hottest spots in America by OpenTable, the amusingly-punctuated Rose.Rabbit.Lie remains one of the best hidden gems in Las Vegas. Located well off the beaten path behind dozens of nondescript conference room facilities on Cosmopolitan’s 2nd floor, this contemporary reinvention of the classic supper club concept is actually a maze of loosely Alice in Wonderland-themed rooms offering multiple distinct experiences.

Turn left from Rose.Rabbit.Lie’s anteroom and you’ll find yourself in The Study, an intimate lounge that’s an homage to the adventurous spirit of 19th-century British explorers. Wooden bookshelves display African artifacts, antique knickknacks and rows of vinyl, should you decide to kick the atmosphere up or down a notch using The Study’s record player. The bar’s cocktail program (“The Study List”) features eight of Las Vegas’ most innovative libations, with a liquor selection that’s second to none.

Wandering back through the anteroom leads you to The Music Room, a narrow, Art Deco-inspired speakeasy featuring live jazz bands, singers and tap dancers. The room-length bar features Music Room-specific drink offerings, including draft mules and pre-bottled riffs on Mai Tais, Manhattans and Sidecars.

When hunger strikes, the adjacent Library offers an award-winning (and hot wax-sealed) menu with surprising twists on old favorites, such as caviar tacos, pot au pho and short rib stroganoff. The back-lit triptych of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights casts an inspirational glow on the Library’s cozy booths and tables, and assists in ensuring an evening like no other.

THE DORSEY
The Venetian

Priding itself on providing old school service in a bold, contemporary enclave, The Dorsey aims to singlehandedly bring back the ultra lounge concept to Las Vegas. Legendary NYC barman Sam Ross oversees the sleek lounge’s cocktail program, which features everything from a to-die-for penicillin to a tropical Jungle Bird (served in a ceramic tiki god) to table-friendly punch bowls.

The gorgeous brass, leather, marble and French oak-trimmed main lounge features deep, supremely comfortable couches and, glass bubble chandeliers and minimalist lamps…but for those needing to see and be seen, there can be no substitute for the entrance-adjacent Birdcage: a massive, circular leather booth inside a floor-to-ceiling brass birdcage with full-on views of The Venetian’s lively casino floor.

If you’re looking to escape the action, head back to The Dorsey’s library, a cozy, wood-lined space centered around an innovate steam-and-LED fireplace. And should you tire of the cutting edge digital artwork on the bar’s eight screens, the library offers an eclectic selection of books to enjoy from the comfort of your “fire” adjacent banquette. So order up another drink…you could chill here all day (or night).

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Lifestyle, Travel
Argentina: A Sellebrity Special Report

Argentina: A Sellebrity Special Report

This article originally appeared in Sellebrity, Volume 1, Number 1.

Argentina is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest countries to visit and an important destination when it comes to luxury travel. With an abundance of culture, amazing architecture and some of the world’s most incredible wines, Argentina offers something special around each corner. Having the honor to experience Argentina in my travels to Buenos Aires and Mendoza with famed winery owner and friend Marcello Victoria, of Achaval Ferrer, I found a myriad of different hotels, restaurants and wineries that offered their own luxury travel experience. Join me through my travels and experience my top picks that Argentina has to offer.

WHERE TO STAY – – –

Park Hyatt Buenos Aires – Located in the fashionable Recoleta shopping and residential district on Avenida Alvear, the hotel integrates the city’s historical past and its innovative modern design with ultramodern comforts. Highlighted with beautiful gardens, the Park Hyatt offers a stunning array of sights and experiences along with the renowned graciousness and impeccable service. Learn more at buenosaires.park.hyatt.com.

Faena Hotel Buenos Aires – The “it” hotel of Puerto Madero is a converted warehouse that features a Philippe Starck-designed red driven interior located minutes away from both the Rio de la Plata and the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur. Feana is a unique luxury hotel that offers something for everyone with a distinct bistro, a library bar and a cabaret venue with the famous Rojo Tango Show. Other amenities include an outdoor pool lined with red lounge chairs, a spa, an elegant ballroom and an attached arts center. With walls of captivating red velvet, Faena Hotel Buenos Aires is an alluring adventure of seductive elements giving guests a one of kind experience. Learn more at faena.com.

The Vines of Mendoza – Nestled at the base of the Andes in Mendoza’s prestigious Uco Valley, The Vines of Mendoza offers an experience of the finest wines, glorious terrain and spacious private villas. Staying at The Vines Resort & Spa is a beautiful and balanced experience with a unique and rustic luxury.

Foodies rejoice and feast on the culinary excellence of famed chef, Francis Mallmann and his signature open-flame cooking at Siete Fuegos. Siete Fuegos offers true Argentinian flare and sets the stage for an array of paired wines that have been strategically curated.

What sets The Vines apart from other resorts are the Private Vineyards. Work side-by-side with world-renowned consulting winemaker Santiago Achaval and the vineyards talented team to make your custom small-batch one of a kind wines from your own vineyard on the property. Learn more at vinesresortandspa.com.

Cavas Wine Lodge Mendoza – The first lodge of its kind in South America, Cavas Wine Lodge offers guests a serene portrait that only Mendoza can offer and the legendary wine growing region at the base of the Andes. Cavas Wine Lodge is a luxurious boutique property hidden between top wineries and the beautiful Andes Mountain range and offers spacious villas, an amazing spa and vineyard lined walk ways that create a story like maze.

Guests will be taken on a culinary adventure by Executive Chef Leo Najle creating the most exquisite ever changing menu, organically grown and harvested dishes are paired with wines from the wine cellar hidden underneath the resort. Learn more at cavaswinelodge.com.

WHERE TO DINE & ENTERTAIN – – –

Don Julio – This Palermo Soho steakhouse is a must if ever traveling to Buenos Aires that serves choice cuts from their neighboring hidden butchery steps away from the restaurant. This rustic style and family owned warm and inviting gem serves the most memorable meats for which Argentina is known. With a paired marriage of Argentinian beef and wine, Don Julio takes you on a rustic culinary journey like no other. With the famous open kitchen, guests are given full access to view impeccable cuts of meat, marbled to perfection and season by the historic grills that speak volumes to the success of Don Julio. A note of advice, come with an empty stomach and time to truly experience Argentinean food at its best. Learn more at parrilladonjulio.com.ar.

Rojo Tango Show – Faena Hotel Buenos Aires draws fashionable crowds to Puerto Madero with its famed Rojo Tango show at El Cabaret. With internationally acclaimed dancers, Rojo Tango is the top performance that pairs amazing food, service and artistic musical journey performed by premier dancers, singers and musicians that have been acclaimed as some of Argentina’s best. Learn more at rojotango.com.

WHERE TO WINE – – –

Matervini – A trip to Mendoza would not be complete without experiencing wines crafted by Argentinean legends and winemakers Santiago Achaval and Roberto Cipresso. In 2008 Matervini was born, and like all wines designed by these pioneers, challenged the different geology of the country.

With traditional winemaking and new sustainable practices Matervini leads the way in creating unique wines that stand alone with personality and tells a story that only its winemakers can.
Seasoned wine lovers looking for unique labels should look no further as the boutique winery produces some of the best forward thinking wines coming from Lujan de Cuyo. Learn more at matervini.com.

Familia Zuccardi – Since being founded in 1963 by Alberto Zuccardi, three generations have produced some of the top high-end wines from Mendoza. The Zuccardi family is known for their commitment to environmentally high quality wines.

With great wines comes an equally unforgettable culinary experience at the winery. First class service creates the story of food and wine that is as beautiful as the winery itself. Learn more at zuccardiwines.com.

Finca La Luz – Located in Valle de Uco, Finca la Luz lies at the base of the Andes Mountain Range and is a known for the large portfolio of high-end wines that have a unique personality and class. The family winery is a great visit for the luxury traveler that appreciates a wide range of the wines. Built in 1969, Finca La Luz stands as the oldest winery in Valle de Uco. Learn more at fincalaluz.com.ar.

Finca Don Duilio – Located in the Pedernal which is in the Southwest province of San Juan, Finca Don Duilio boasts a special family winery experience you’ll never forget. The family history has led the winery to develop its wines in a charming and magical environment ideal for growing vines. Unlike many winery experiences, you’ll walk the vineyards with the amazing family that welcomes you with open arms and brings love and laughter to your experience.

Take the drive and rent a helicopter out and enjoy wines, savor delicious dishes designed for lunch or dinner in a Valle Encantado, and take the opportunity to stay with Finca Don Duilio for the night in the spacious and unique guest rooms for the whole family or with friends and enjoy an incomparable view that awaits you. Every element to your experience gives you a look into the history that has made the winery so special and the wines which bring the story together. Learn more at graffignayanzon.com.

La Giostra Del Vino – I had the wonderful experience to meet and taste wines with Giuseppe Franceschini, the winemaker responsible for La Giostra Del Vino and one of the most amazing Chardonnay’s I’ve tasted in my time in the wine industry. Giuseppe brings an amazing blend of Old and New World philosophies to his winemaking, and integrates his experience in travel from all of the great regions in which he has made wine. With an array of cultural influences and unique way in winemaking Giuseppe creates wines that are true art. Learn more at lagiostradelvino.com.

Achaval Ferrer – Since the time it was founded, the wine cellar has pursued a path strongly marked by its philosophy and vision. Its Italian roots, given by Robert Cipresso himself, have been a pivotal contribution as an ideological foundation, which has been strengthened by bringing on and curating a growing vision by President & CEO Silvio Alberto.

Some stand out wines to experience are Quimera and Finca Bella Vista. These distinctive and unforgettable wines have an unmistakable mark of excellence one must experience. With years of staying true to the vineyards and the soils, Achaval Ferrer crafts wines that are pure perfection. Learn more at achaval-ferrer.com.

JA! Wine Shop – In the heart of Palermo Soho you’ll find JA Wine Shop, but more importantly you’ll find owner Joaquin Alberdi who is dedicated to show the great wines of Argentina like no other. With weekly samplings, the best cheeses and hospitality, JA! boasts the largest selections of Argentine Wine and more than 500 labels of large wineries and different terroirs. With a smile bigger than Argentina, Joaquin leaves a lasting warm impression and a storybook palate of wines. Learn more at lodejoaquinalberdi.com.

Destino Argentina – With pride and love for Argentina, Destino Argentino organized this recent trip to show the potential for luxury travel throughout Buenos Aires & Mendoza. Destino Argentina brings together 170+ leading companies in the country and, since 2003, has focused on international promotion of Argentina to awaken interest and make the country a premier destination for luxury travel. Learn more at destinoargentina.com.ar.

Posted by thesesociety_0md1v7 in Lifestyle, Travel