Las Vegas Part I

LAS VEGAS – Home to luxurious casino hotels, fine dining, wonderful live entertainment and state-of-the art convention and trade show facilities, Las Vegas (www.lasvegastourism.com) is not recognized as one of the most exciting cities in the world for nothing.

Looking for a place to stay? We took the advice of Montrealer Mitch Garber and chose Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (www.planethollywoodresort.com) to make reservations. Garber is the President and CEO of Caesars Acquisition Company (CAC). He oversees the entire operation, which includes their group of hotels and casinos. Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino has 2,500 beautifully designed guest rooms and suites showcasing some of the best views in town and encompasses more than 100,000 square-feet of gaming, several lounges and 10 restaurants. The resort is also home to one of pop music’s biggest superstars Britney Spears and her show, “Britney: Piece of Me.” The property is encircled by Miracle Mile Shops with more than 170 specialty stores and restaurants.

The property features a three-acre casino floor full of traditional gambling machines like slots, table games and The Playing Field Race and Sports Book. This features 33 plasma screens, two jumbo screens and a VIP section. Planet Hollywood is the first Las Vegas resort to offer table games dealt by young ladies in “chic lingerie.” The Pleasure Pit is a section of the table games where this happens with go-go dancers entertaining the gamblers at the side.

Accommodations here are fit for the celebrity A-List, and perfect for Hollywood buffs. Every one of its rooms and suites features one-of-a-kind movie memorabilia set against a backdrop of stylish, modern luxury. If you’re a hardcore Hollywood fan, the Panorama Suites will truly feel like heaven on earth. Measuring 1,255 square feet and offering a 180-degree view of the Strip, each Las Vegas room features its own Hollywood theme; which varies from James Bond to The Wizard Oz and much more. Ours featured actress Demi Moore. The 1,255-square-foot floor plan includes a master bedroom with a 36-inch plasma television and separate living area, a master bathroom with oversized soaking tub, a separate dining area with refrigerator and wet bar, and a 52-inch plasma television in the living area. An additional bedroom and bathroom with 500 square-feet can be added to any Panorama Suite –something we opted for. Our party of three really appreciated the individual privacy this arrangement facilitated. There were three, count them “three,” bathrooms. You can connect two WiFi devices at no charge. There is a fee if you go over that amount. The connectivity is fast and reliable.

The world-famous Las Vegas Strip, where Planet Hollywood and Mandalay Bay mix with iconic hotels like The Flamingo, The Mirage and Caesar’s Palace

The world-famous Las Vegas Strip, where Planet Hollywood and Mandalay Bay mix with iconic hotels like The Flamingo, The Mirage and Caesar’s Palace

While The Pleasure Pool is closed for the winter season, the Paris Pool next door remains open daily from 10 am. to 4 pm., weather permitting. Located on the resort’s rooftop, Pleasure Pools offers two separate pool decks, two pool bars, live DJs, 15 cabanas with poolside bottle service, daybeds and a pool café. Right outside the door you can go on an all-out Las Vegas shopping spree at Miracle Mile Shops

My family has become a big fan of Viator (www.viator.com). Their team of travel insiders is obsessed with finding the best things to do everywhere folks travel. From Paris to Phuket to Perth, from traditional tours to once-in-a-lifetime experiences, they have something for every kind of traveler. They have been around for 17 years now. From their offices around the globe, a team of travel insiders handpick the best local tour and activity providers. Viator officials pre-vet them all to make sure you always have an exceptional experience.

We discovered Viator last summer while in Europe and took advantage of its amazing list of options, so when it came to booking a trip to Vegas we turned them again. Viator made our job of selecting a live show so easy. There were simply too many options and going through their website really helped us narrow down our choice which was the Cirque de Soleil’s incredible Michael Jackson ONE (www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/michael-jackson-one), a sonic, tonic fusion of acrobatics, dance and visuals that takes the audience on an immersive journey through the music and spirit of Michael Jackson.

Shows take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday at 7 pm. and 9:30 pm., and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Dark days are Wednesdays and Thursdays. Driven by the late King of Pop’s powerful, multi-layered music – heard like never before in a riveting, state-of-the-art surround-sound environment – ONE takes the audience through a series of seamless visual and musical tableaux, at the heart of a world that is in turn majestic, playful, magical and heart-warming. Jackson’s spirit is channeled through the vibrant energy of the cast of 63 dancers and performers, underscored by aerial performance, driving acrobatics, and vivid choreographies that use the urban/hip hop idiom as a springboard for exploration.

The Paris Hotel, right next to Planet Hollywood, is also a Caesar’s property. Each member of our party had been to Paris, France and went to the top of the real Eiffel Tower. An icon of the city skyline, the high-altitude Paris Hotel Eiffel Tower Experience attraction is located 46 stories up and is a half scale replica of the world-famous Paris, landmark. The observation deck features 360 degree city views and knowledgeable ambassadors point out Las Vegas landmarks. Close your eyes for a moment and you will truly believe you are in Paris, France. The Tower is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 am. – 12:30 am and Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. You can call 1-888- 266-5687 for more information or log on to www.parislasvegas.com/things-to-do/eiffel-tower.

Maverick Helicopters offers a variety of tours, including the Grand Canyon

Maverick Helicopters offers a variety of tours, including the Grand Canyon

Maverick Helicopters (www.maverickaviationgroup.com) offer an unforgettable 12 to 15 minute ride, departing from the Las Vegas terminal. A complimentary shuttle provides transportation and from hotels within five miles of the Strip so that was incredibly convenient for our party. Make sure to bring a camera and photo ID (for anyone 18 years or older). The cost is $124 a person. Upon arrival you will enjoy a fabulous glass of champagne. Their big draws are trips to the Grand Canyon, something which is at the top of our “to do” list for any future visit.

Guests are treated to the plush interior of Maverick’s ECO-Star helicopters, as well as personal narration by highly qualified pilots. We have high marks for Jonathan, our man in the sky.

Helicopters are equipped with seven leather passenger seats plus one for the pilot. The seating arrangement is determined by the pilot based on the passengers’ weights. The helicopters are equipped with an exterior camera, as well as an audio system that captures the pilot’s narration and the interaction between guests during the flight. Photographs are also taken prior to departure and are available in a custom plaque.

For more information you can call 1-888-261-4414, 702-261-0007 or log on to www.flymaverick.com.

– with files from Ilana Spector

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