Vegas for Two

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Vegas for Two
Sin City has long held a reputation for hedonism, boozing, and scandalous affairs. But now that Vegas has transformed itself into a five-star destination, visitors can find romantic experiences that are sophisticated as well as sexy.

By Abby Tegnelia, AFAR Local Expert
Photo by Abby Tegnelia
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    Champagne and Cocktails
    Champagne is king in Las Vegas, so if you’re in town for some romance, don’t skimp on the bubbly. You can get a glass of champagne or sparkling wine anywhere, and there are plenty of options for cocktails (with or without the bubbles). Laguna Champagne Bar at the Venetian offers champagne-based cocktails. At Rx Boiler Room at the Mandalay Bay, adventurous bartenders will concoct something tasty from your favorite ingredients. The Mandarin Cocktail Bar, on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental, is a romantic spot for bubbles or fancy drinks. Craft cocktails make the Dorsey a destination for those in search of thrills by the glass.
    Photo by Abby Tegnelia
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    Strolling Around Vegas
    Sometimes nothing beats a romantic stroll. The most famous walk in Vegas is through Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which house flowers and decorations according to the season. It’s a fun and educational field trip, with plenty of signs explaining the flora. A similar experience can be found at the Wynn, where blooms, enormous crystal animals, and man-made waterfalls delight visitors. Many tourists, especially first-timers, relish wandering down the Strip itself, depending on the weather—the summer sun can be a lot to handle. Enjoy the variety of people, and duck into the casinos as you see fit. Popular outdoor destinations include Springs Preserve, the Linq Promenade, and the Park.
    Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
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    The Couple That Screams Together...
    Thrill-loving couples should head straight to the top of the Stratosphere Tower, home to four of the most intense rides in the country. All four play with weightlessness: X-Scream and Insanity both test one’s fear of heights; the Big Shot free fall challenges the stomach; and SkyJump plays off both. Are you a couple that likes to scream together? Check out New York–New York’s roller coaster, take in the Strip’s heights from Mandalay Bay's House of Blues Foundation Room, or zip around the track at Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix. If you and your partner can handle all of this, maybe it’s time to buy tickets to Absinthe, a hilariously risqué show during which death-defying acts are performed mere feet from the audience in a tent at Caesars Palace.
    Photo courtesy of Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau
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    The Best Couples' Massages
    Even spa skeptics can't refuse Vegas's five-star saunas, treatment rooms, and world-renowned therapies. The Hard Rock Hotel’s Reliquary Spa has a mixed-sex Roman bathhouse, so twosomes can steam together before heading into their joint acupuncture-inspired treatment. And the couples' experience at Qua is a dream: The facilities are first-rate—including Roman baths and a snow room—and you can tailor the package precisely to your partner's desires. Holding hands is encouraged, and there is a warm room for you to relax in together before reentering Caesars Palace.
    Photo by Abby Tegnelia
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    Vegas's Hottest Hotel Suites
    Fanciful accommodations are the name of the game in Las Vegas, and they're designed for romantic weekends. Each property has its own brand of prime suites to reserve for special occasions. Try the two-story Skylofts at MGM Grand, which afford dramatic views of the Strip, or Bellagio’s Cypress Suites, which come equipped with a steam shower and soaking tub. Some of the most famous are the Cosmopolitan’s corner suites, built with balconies and spacious dining rooms. The Villas at the Mirage each feature a fireplace and backyard, and Aria Resort's largest Sky Suites measure 7,000 square feet. Don't forget to order room service, in-room massages, and champagne.
    Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
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    Famously Indulgent Desserts
    Couples with a sweet tooth will leave Vegas satisfied. Hit up Zuma at the Cosmopolitan for yuzu Key lime pie. On the run? Bouchon Bakery, Payard Patisserie, and Ronald's Donuts are great for a quick sugar hit. Top French restaurants make ordering dessert especially easy; both Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon serve two or three sweet courses to end their fixed-price menus. (Imagine specialty fruits like quince and bergamot orange mixed with unexpected flavors ranging from bee pollen to chicory.) Even Hershey's Chocolate World has indulgent treats for those with a craving, especially if you love chocolate (of course). Or go local and old-school and buy your honey a cool treat at the blue-and-white Luv-It Frozen Custard stand.
    Photo by Abby Tegnelia
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    Nevada's Best Wine Lists
    Nevada boasts more master sommeliers than any other state except California. Steak houses such as Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, the SW Steakhouse at the Wynn, Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris, and N9NE at the Palms are all good bets for oenophiles. Mario Batali’s partner, Joe Bastianich, handpicks the offerings at their Italian hot spot, Carnevino, at the Palazzo. For wines with a Gallic accent, Bardot Brasserie's cellar carries a wide array of les blancs, les rouges, et les Champagnes.
    Photo by Abby Tegnelia
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    A French Love Affair
    The Strip is having an intense love affair with French cuisine. Guy Savoy arrived first, bringing the impeccable service, endless champagne bottles, and inventive dishes to his Caesars Palace outpost. Since then, chefs from Joël Robuchon and Alain Ducasse to Pierre Gagnaire have followed to open five-star French restaurants here. Of course the Paris Las Vegas Hotel should have an advantage when it comes to French food: Sit outside at Mon Ami Gabi for a bustling bistro scene, or head up to the Eiffel Tower Restaurant for some cinemaworthy plates and views. Andre's Bistro & Bar, with a longtime local-favorite chef in the kitchen, whips up a menu that features both French and American dishes. For a steak with a savory bordelaise sauce, make your way to Bardot Brasserie in the Aria.
    Photo courtesy of MGM Resorts International
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    The Desert Blooms
    It's not romance without flowers, and despite being in the desert, Sin City is blooming. The most famous blooms are at Bellagio, where artist Dale Chihuly created a floral scene of blown glass for the lobby ceiling, and the ever-changing Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are prepared and maintained by 140 horticulturalists. At the Palazzo, seasonal blossoms fill the lobby and complement the over-the-top holiday installations. The Wynn’s atrium similarly is perfect down to the last floral detail. Nature-loving lovers should be sure to check out the flora at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve and the fauna at the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve.
    Photo by Abby Tegnelia