What happens in Vegas? Eight secrets of high rollers
Believe it or not, money can’t buy everything in Las Vegas. Of course, you can always spend big on ritzy suites, high-reserve games, and Michelin meals, but a few secret amenities are available only to a discerning—and high-rolling—few. From off-the-menu dining and incognito nightclubs to a gaming lounge with a $1 million buy-in, these are the eight most exclusive Vegas experiences reserved for very, very important persons only.
Book an “unbookable” suite
Vegas resorts are notoriously secretive about their top suites, keeping invite-only accommodations exclusively for high rollers. Recently, however, a handful of these “unbookable” suites at properties like the Palazzo and the Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace have became available to any traveller who has the currency to reserve them. Among the most impressive is the Palazzo Presidential, which starts at $US8000 ($A9888) per night and features multiple fireplaces, private pools, a home theatre, and sprawling terraces. The $US25,000-per-night ($A30,900) Nobu Villa is another recent public addition, giving regular Joes the VIP treatment with a Zen garden, a traditional onsen bathtub, and a sky deck with unrivaled views of the Strip.
Drop a million
Have you ever wondered where the high rollers play? As of last June, they’ve all been throwing the dice at the Cosmopolitan of Vegas’s new Reserve lounge, an exclusive gaming salon where the minimum buy-in is $US1 million ($A1.24 million). Guests must be accepted into the Adam D. Tihany-designed space, which has an art-deco-men’s-club vibe with slick wood panelling and a brass bar. Located on the 71st floor, the lounge also offers complimentary cigars and top-shelf spirits like Macallan M and Louis XIII Black Pearl.
Score entry into a secret nightclub
Of Vegas’s many secrets, few are truly well kept. The Wynn Las Vegas’s Living Room is the rare VIP experience that you cannot buy your way into. Reserved for members and guests only, the incognito lounge, located within the hotel’s new nightclub Intrigue, is accessed via a secret passageway from its Lakeside restaurant. It also offers a guaranteed what-happens-in-Vegas-stays-in-Vegas experience: Photos and smartphone use are strictly prohibited.
Not long ago, Le Cirque executive chef Wilfried Bergerhausen was “dared” by VIP regulars to create the ultimate off-menu dish, a Surf and Turf extravaganza that has evolved into a singularly indulgent dish using every single high-end ingredient in the Michelin-starred restaurant’s kitchen. The centerpiece of this decadent meal is Japanese wagyu steak covered in perigourdine sauce made from truffles, topped with foie gras, and finished with a layer of shaved truffles. Adding surf to that turf is a 1 kilogram, butter-poached Maine lobster tail topped with caviar and an edible, 24-carat gold leaf. The dish is completed with a deep-fried potato fondant balanced atop a beef bone containing marrow. Of course, the real challenge is actually finishing the $US325 ($A400) dish.
Rule the runway
High rollers fly private — and they don’t do airport security. That’s why they fly with JetSuite, one of the few charter services that can arrange a private car transfer to collect passengers right on the runways of Vegas’s General Aviation airports. Luggage goes straight from jet to trunk, and travellers never set foot inside the airport. At the Signature Flight private hangar, arriving travellers also have direct access to conference rooms with their own driveways, ensuring total privacy.
To be sure, every haute-cuisine menu in Vegus has langoustine on it — but only one promises the freshest of the fresh. Unlike other restaurants that receive frozen shipments of the palatable prawn from Northern Europe, the Wynn’s Costa di Mare receives the delicacy still alive and kicking, thanks to a meticulous air-travel system that transports the crustaceans in tanks (from a secret location, no less), allowing chef Mark LoRusso to ensure the dish is fresher than anywhere else on the Strip. The effort is worth it: Costa di Mare’s langoustine is by far the best in Vegas.
Get bubbles on demand
In the Sky Lobby on the 23rd floor of the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, is a reason to celebrate: A vending machine there sells splits of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut or Rosé. Insert a $US20 ($A25) gold coin (available at reception) and an automated arm retrieves your chilled bubbly.
While indoor cigar lounges connected to fine restaurants are a thing of the past in Vegas, you can fire up your hand-rolled Havanas after an elegant meal at Mr. Chow at Caesars Palace or Aureole at Mandalay Bay. Both have outdoor cigar-friendly havens with garden views, where ashtrays can be found alongside a favorite digestif.