Thursday, 28 July 2011

Vegas Without The Hangover

Let me begin by acknowledging my feelings about Las Vegas: I've had many fun times there, some amazing meals (ones at Mix and the now-closed Daniel Boulud Brasserie come to mind) and a few ridiculous boozy gambling adventures. But when I walk through a hotel casino at 5:30 a.m. to catch a morning flight home and see an overweight woman plopped on a stool, ciggy hanging out of her mouth, hand reaching into a plastic cup of coins to nab another quarter with her inappropriately-long fake nails, I can't help but curl my upper lip in disgust

Because I prefer my entertainments untainted by revulsion, on my latest trip to Vegas, I set out to have a slightly different experience: I came for two days (my preferred length of time to spend in Sin City), had a spa treatment, shopped a little, walked around outside at night without lingering on the strip and most importantly, stayed in a casino-less hotel. I headed to the Trump Las Vegas.

Donald Trump's hotel collection  includes gilded outposts in New York, Honolulu, Chicago, and Panama. His Las Vegas outpost, just off of Las Vegas Boulevard, offers 1,282 rooms in the new ranging from a 450-square foot studio (with kitchenette, jacuzzi tub, king-size bed and pull-out sofa), 900-square foot one bedroom-suites (with full kitchens), 1,400-square foot two-bedroom suites and 3,000-square foot three-bedroom suites. When Mr. Trump visits Vegas, he stays in his exclusive three-bedroom suite, which boasts book-laden shelves, oversized mirrors, artistic bowls and other touches picked out by Ivanka Trump, who is very involved in the aesthetic of the hotels, down to designing the uniforms worn by spa employees.

The hotel's spa features the conveniences you expect at these large resorts: an amenity-plush locker room, sauna and steam room, coed relaxation room with fruit and tea, where clients wait before for their treatments.
I went for the 90-minute Balancing Emeralds massage that used the gemstone for harmony and compassion (I mostly just felt relaxed). Four-legged guests can also get a rub down. (The pet-friendly hotel offers doggie massages, Bowser Beer and dog-walking services for the truly pampered pup.) On the same floor as the spa, is a small fitness center and pool. If you spend time at the pool, I highly recommend a cabana, where you can find refuge in the shade or fry your body on one of the oversized lounging sofas and grab cool beverages and fruit from the refrigerator.

When it comes to dining, skip the room service (it's unfortunately over-salted, over-cooked and my $6 cappucino is one of the worst I've ever had) and sample the offerings of executive chef Georg Paulussen at the hotel's upscale restaurant, DJT. His menu features mostly American fare like wedge salad and a crab cake sandwich, but his German background shows through with the addition of Schnitzel on the menu.

There were complimentary shuttles to the Wynn and Caesar's Palace from the grand entrance, but of course that's exactly what I didn't want to experience on this trip. I didn't take one. I just relaxed.

Was my weekend one of those crazy "what happens in Vegas..." experiences? No, but that was never the goal.
I wasn't carrying winnings, but it was nice to leave the hotel for my early morning flight - walking under chandeliers untainted by cigarette smoke - not feeling wrecked and in need of a hair-of-the-dog pina colada. The woman with the cup of coins was nowhere to be seen.

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