Art Treasures Abound in Vegas; 10 Places for Great Asian Cuisine; Vegas Going to the Dogs?

warholHotel Art: Hidden Treasures in Las Vegas Resorts
Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and James Turrell. Each a master of art, and all on display on the Las Vegas Strip. Priceless art can be found throughout many Las Vegas resorts – think lobbies, award-winning restaurants and even within guest rooms and suites. Below are a few examples of the breathtaking art located at Bellagio, Aria and Mandalay Bay.

Guests are treated to four of Peter Lik’s spectacular landscape images while checking in at Mandalay Bay. Featuring exotic sights and locations, the images welcome guests to their much-anticipated vacation. From a quiet forest that resembles Shark Reef’s tropical paradise to a clear blue open ocean that reminds guests of the sunny Mandalay Bay Beach, these “welcome signs” entice guests to leave their worldly troubles behind and embrace the peaceful and relaxing moments that await. These remarkable photos are changed four times a year for a customized seasonal greeting.

High-end fashion isn’t the only window shopping available inside The Shops at Crystals; shoppers can also enjoy two new art installations by James Turrell, one of the hottest contemporary artists of light and space. Whether fashionistas are perusing Prada peep-toe shoes or ogling at Gucci garments, they can enjoy the vibrant, multi-colored light installation visible throughout Crystals. Want a must-have “look” of the season? A second James Turrell installation entitled “Akhob” is available for viewing by appointment only inside Louis Vuitton, the brand’s largest North America location.

Art aficionados will be delighted to learn that “Warhol Out West” at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art is extended through January 2 due to popular demand! The exhibit features 56 of Andy Warhol’s works making it the only comprehensive collection in the United States outside of his namesake museum in Pittsburgh. For an enhanced art experience, join Bellagio’s Director of Wine and Master Sommelier Jason Smith at Art & Wine: A Perfect Pairing held the second Wednesday each month. At this unique experience, flavorful libations are paired with Warhol’s marvelous masterpieces bringing new perspective to iconic works.

Art lovers will salivate over the food and art at Picasso at Bellagio, named after the influential Spanish artist. The AAA Five Diamond restaurant offers an exceptional multi-sensory dining experience featuring delectable dishes inspired by the artist’s regional cuisine of France and Spain while surrounded by Picasso’s original masterpieces. Those preferring Pop Art will find an unexpected treasure at Bellagio’s PRIME Steakhouse – a Roy Lichtenstein tapestry. The Still Life tapestry is infused with Lichtenstein’s own “cartoonish” flair, making this one of Las Vegas’ true hidden gems.


mozen bistro10 places for great Asian cuisine in Las Vegas
by Kristine McKenzie
Las Vegas has a large mix of Asian restaurants that serve a variety of cuisine from Chinese and Japanese to Thai and Korean. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it be classic Asian dishes or something more exotic, you’ll find it in these resort restaurants:

Kumi, Mandalay Bay: Award-winning chef Akira Back serves modern Japanese cuisine with a Korean American twist at Kumi. Start out with either a cool or warm shared plate with items like shishito peppers, Kobe tataki, miso black cod and more. Entrees include options such as Jidori chicken, a teriyaki grilled salmon and a toban filet with mixed mushrooms and Nanbanzu soy. The restaurant also has a sushi bar and a lunch menu featuring bento boxes.

Koi, Planet Hollywood: This Japanese restaurant was a hot spot in New York and L.A. before landing in Vegas. The menu features traditional sushi and sashimi and a variety of specialty rolls. Cooked dishes include sautéed tiger prawns, steamed Chilean sea bass, Kobe-style sirloin and roasted duck breast.

Yellowtail, Bellagio: Chef Akira Back offers modern Japanese creations at Yellowtail. Be sure to try the big eye tuna pizza, served with micro shiso and truffle oil. Other menu items include lobster carpaccio, shikoku octopus and duck prosciutto. Save room for assorted mochi or the green tea mousse cake for dessert.

Ping Pang Pong, Gold Coast: Don’t miss this dining gem, which was named one of the Top 10 Chinese restaurants in America by “Travel + Leisure” magazine. You can order traditional favorites like noodles, fried rice, beef, pork and seafood dishes. Ping Pang Pong is open until 3 a.m. for the late-night crowd.

Bar Masa, Aria: Chef Masa Takayama serves fresh seasonal dishes using fish that have not been out of Japan’s coastal waters for more than 24 hours. The chef’s toro tartare with caviar is to-die-for. Other choices include wasabi blast tuna, spicy cucumber cilantro tataki, toro wasabi daikon and many more. Braised dishes include a short rib with tosazu vinaigrette and a beef sukiyaki with foie gras.

MOzen Bistro, Mandarin Oriental: MOzen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of Asian dishes. The lunch menu features a sushi bar and savory Thai dishes. At dinner, guests can try Bento by MOzen Bistro. These two pre-selected bento box choices feature six different dishes from different cuisines such as Thai green shrimp curry, steamed grouper or nigiri.

Nobu, Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace: Nobu Restaurant and Lounge at Caesars Palace is award-winning chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s largest restaurant. The menu features appetizers and a wide variety of cold dishes and hot entrees. One mouthwatering choice is the Toro tuna topped with Ossetra caviar and gold flakes. Hot dishes at Nobu include a variety of options like melt-in-your-mouth Japanese Wagyu prepared in a choice of styles. Try the toban style where you cook the tender slices of meat to your liking on hot stones. If the choices are too overwhelming you can always go with a sampling of Nobu’s cuisine with a multicourse Omakase menu spotlighting either signature items or the chef’s daily creations.

Tao, Venetian: Tao — part nightclub, part beach club, part restaurant — is a 40,000-square-foot mega complex that always has a lively crowd. The restaurant is a two-story space, with tables overlooking a wall of candles and a giant Asian statue. Start your meal with a small plate like lobster wontons or a crispy tuna sashimi roll with edamame. Tao offers a wide array of sushi and sashimi, dumplings, soups, tempura dishes and spring rolls. There are also noodle and rice dishes, Peking duck, Chilean sea bass and an endless array of other options.

Hakkasan, MGM Grand: Hakkasan restaurant serves classic Asian food by Michelin-starred Chef Ho Chee Boon and his team of wok and dim sum chefs. Dishes include stir-fried black pepper ribeye beef with merlot, and silver cod with Champagne and Chinese honey. The restaurant is part of a massive five-level, 80,000-square-foot nightlife and dining experience, which also includes a nightclub, lounge and outdoor area.

Andrea’s, Encore: Andrea’s combines contemporary Asian cuisine with a nightlife experience. Diners can enjoy shareable Asian dishes including sushi, shellfish, dim sum pot stickers, dumplings, rolls, scallion pancakes, noodles, fried rice and more. Signature dishes include the crispy blue crab and scallop, five spice garlic lobster, Wagyu beef sliders and truffled ponzu rock shrimp tempura. Top resident DJs spin sets after 11 p.m.


dressed up dogChecking in on pet-friendly Vegas

by Renee LiButti
Is Sin City going to the dogs? Las Vegas isn’t just a paradise for people anymore. It’s becoming a blissful retreat for four-legged creatures. Numerous hotels (including several on the Strip) offer accommodations for travelers who have their pets in tow. It’s not at all uncommon these days to see visitors at the front desk checking in with their canine comrades. Plus, there are numerous shops, restaurants, shows and attractions geared toward the owners of the furry set. Here’s just a sampling of what’s available in pet-friendly Vegas.


Thanks to the following pet-friendly hotels, you won’t have to leave your pooch behind on your next Vegas visit. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind. These hotels usually have policies regarding the maximum weight limit and number of dogs allowed in each room. You should also expect to pay a higher room rate along with an additional deposit and cleaning fee. In addition, dogs must be leashed while in the hotel’s public spaces – such as to and from the room en route to walking and relief areas. Be sure to ask about these and other rules or restrictions when you make your booking.

Caesars Entertainment — The PetStay Program is designed to offer dog-friendly accommodations, amenities and experiences to travelers in Las Vegas. Caesars Entertainment launched it in October 2010 at Caesars Palace, The Quad and Rio. The program was so popular that in early 2011 the company expanded it to five more properties: Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris Las Vegas and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. At each of these resorts, there are rooms on floors or in areas that have been designated as pet-friendly zones. When owners and their dogs check in, they’ll receive not only a special package that includes things like food and water dishes, a pet mat and treats, but also a map with locations in these zones to be used for walking routes and relief areas. Owners will also be given a list of dog-friendly resources for pet walking, pet sitting, grooming services and veterinarians.

In celebration of National Dog Week, which occurs during the last week of September, Caesars Palace will host the first ever “Running of the Bulldogs” event. It will take place Sept. 28 beginning at 10 a.m. and feature 30 bulldogs racing in front of the property on the Bella Luce Terrace toward a doghouse replica of The Colosseum. The winning pooch will receive a laurel wreath crown, a blue ribbon and loads of treats, while its owner will get a two-night PetStay room package along with dinner for two at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill.

Vdara Hotel & Spa — Late in July, this sleek all-suite resort in CityCenter on the Strip launched a dog-friendly program dubbed V-Dog. Not only does it permit canine companions to stay in select deluxe suites (for an additional $50 per night), but it also sets out to spoil them. On arrival, all pooches are given a welcome package that includes a fresh dog treat from a local bakery and eco-friendly waste bags. Just steps from the main entrance, Vdara boasts a dog park with a walking path that is open 24 hours. The resort also has an in-suite doggie menu. Created with health-conscious pets in mind, options include the Fetch of the Day, a seared filet with sweet potatoes, green beans and yellow squash, and the Chicken à la Coop, hormone-free baked chicken with whole grain brown rice. If owners should have to leave their best friend alone in the room, Vdara can provide a crate or have the concierge arrange pet-sitting services by experienced animal lovers.

The Westin Las Vegas Hotel, Casino & Spa and The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa — Both Westin properties gladly receive tail-waggers. They also supply mats and food dishes, pet beds and a “Dog in Room” sign for your door. Generally, the rooms allocated for dogs are situated on the lower floor of the resorts in order to be close to designated walking areas. If your canine requires grooming, a sitter, access to parks, a veterinarian or even a pet travel agent, the concierge can provide assistance. Through Spa Moulay, which is based at The Westin Lake Las Vegas, you can indulge your dog in true pampering. Canine massage is on the spa’s menu of treatments. Designed to “enhance the body and wellness of dogs” with owner participation, it utilizes compassionate touch for contentment and self-healing. You can book either a 30- or 50-minute session that costs $40 and $75, respectively.

Man’s best friend can enjoy luxury accommodations and Yappy Hour at Rumor, The Las Vegas Boutique Resort.

Rumor, The Las Vegas Boutique Resort — This off-Strip all-suite boutique hotel opens its arms to dogs as guests. In fact, you’ll spot two Chinese foo dog statues, which are said to bring good luck, marking the main entrance. Man’s best friend will be treated like royalty here with such amenities as plush dog beds, in-suite bowls and an outdoor dog run. There are even opportunities for your dog to expand its social circle. On every third Thursday of the month, Rumor throws a Yappy Hour. Basically, this is a happy hour for you and your dog, complete with “yappatizers” and music spun by a live DJ. All sizes and breeds are welcome as the four-legged squad will have the run of the house in the resort’s courtyard from 6 – 9 p.m. Along with free doggy goodie bags, you and your furry pal can enjoy canine-themed events and contests with a variety of prizes. Yappy Hour will next be held on Oct. 17.

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas — Like most Four Seasons hotels, this one located inside Mandalay Bay is pleased to greet pooches. All guests checking in with a dog will receive a welcome kit. Pet beds are also available, and there are other special amenities, like a little treat that’s sent up to your room for your pooch. In addition, there’s an area outside the front entrance where dogs can be walked.

THEhotel at Mandalay Bay and The Cosmopolitan also have reputations for coddling canines on the Strip. Near the Strip, pet lovers should consider staying at Alexis Park and Artisan Hotel Boutique or one of several motels from well-known chains, including Americas Best Value Inn and Suites, Best Western Mardi Gras Hotel & Casino, Days Inn Las Vegas at Wild Wild West and Super 8 Koval (next to the Ellis Island Casino & Microbrewery). Super 8 Las Vegas is a great choice for visitors who want to be in the downtown vicinity.


With the exception of service animals, pets are rarely permitted inside restaurants in Las Vegas due to health code regulations. However, there are several eateries in town with patios where your canine companions are welcome.

One such place is Annie’s Gourmet Italian. Located in Henderson on the corner of Horizon Ridge Parkway and Valle Verde Drive, this family-owned restaurant not only allows pets on its patio, but it also has a “Pet Meals” section on the menu. So while you savor home-cooked Italian food prepared by Annie DeFalco Payton, your dog can chomp down on either two meatballs or chicken balls and an organic frozen yogurt dessert for $7.95.

You can also take your pooch to dine on the patio at Crown & Anchor, a British pub situated east of the Strip near UNLV, or the Grape Street Café, an Italian restaurant in Summerlin.

Some of the cool and colorful stuff on stock at Flea Bag’s Barkery and Bow-tique.


Want to purchase something special for your furry friend? There are numerous stores in Las Vegas that sell grooming items, all-natural pet food and accessories for dogs.

Head over to The District at Green Valley Ranch and heel at Flea Bag’s Barkery and Bow-tique. Fresh treats (including holiday cookies and personalized birthday cakes) are baked here daily. Flea Bag’s also carries an array of unique dog accessories – ranging from strollers and beds to clothes, bejeweled collars and custom-made tags.

For a luxury grooming experience, make tracks for Sniffany & Co., located in southwest Las Vegas at 6115 S. Rainbow Blvd. It also boasts an in-house bakery and retail area, so you can pick up fresh pet treats (like the Puppy Love cookies) or browse an assortment of carriers, beds, clothing, toys and harnesses. Just picture buying this: A Chewy Vuitton bed for your dog to lay its wet nose on at night.

There are two other wonderful doggie gift shops in Sin City. The Prince & Princess Puppies & Boutique, also in southwest Las Vegas at 6870 S. Rainbow Blvd., Ste. 104, has every kind of puppy bling imaginable. The Dog House is an organic dog food and treats manufacturer in Town Square Las Vegas.

Shows and attractions

Pet lovers will delight in watching “Gregory Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theater.” This charming afternoon show plays at the V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Talented dogs and cats that were rescued from shelters across the country are the stars. Put together by world-champion juggler Gregory Popovich, it features a variety of fun skits, including a fire-fighting canine crew who rescue cats from a “burning” building.

You’ll also be able to spend a fun-filled afternoon at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. It’s a magical place created by two of Germany’s greatest exports – legendary magicians Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn – to protect some of the planet’s endangered animals. The Secret Garden is filled with white lions, white tigers, panthers and leopards. The 2.5-million-gallon Dolphin Habitat is also a joy to see and an amazing learning experience. Comprised of four interconnected pools, it’s home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.

Finally, observe winged wonders in the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo. You’ll step into a tropical paradise when you visit the resort’s courtyard next to the pool area. Several species of exotic birds can be found here. You’ll not only be awed by the famed pink flamingos, but also by swans, ducks and other fascinating feathered friends. The ponds, waterfalls and a lagoon filled with koi are also exquisite to view. You can walk through this oasis at any time, seven days a week – and it’s free of charge!



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