WITH THE AVERAGE VACATION IN LAS VEGAS LASTING ONLY ABOUT THREE DAYS, crafting the perfect itinerary can be a formidable challenge. There's a seemingly endless array of shows, attractions and restaurants, so how do you go about recommending the right activities for the right people?
When you break it down to demographic groups, it gets a whole lot easier. Take baby boomers, for example. Born between 1946 and 1964, this is an active generation that typically has money to spend. As they finish raising their kids, the "me generation" is looking to experience new things, yet has a reverence for the past. They like plush hotels and great meals and aren't afraid to try something they haven't done before. In fact, the bragging rights associated with eating in an ultra-chic hot spot or seeing a popular show can be a major driver for their vacation plans.
But you don't have to worry about the psychology behind their motivations. You just have to plan a memorable getaway. Here are some suggestions for creating three perfect days in Las Vegas that your baby-boomer clients won't stop talking about once they get home.
Book them into a luxury hotel and have them fly out early so they are there for lunch. Suggest the Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas (www.wynnlasvegas.com), the only casino resort to score five stars from Mobil and five diamonds from AAA. Or perhaps they want to stay at the newest resort in town. The Palazzo (www.palazzolasvegas.com, 877-444-5777), scheduled to open around December 20, features a 50-floor tower with more than 3,000 of the largest standard suites in town. The Signature at MGM Grand (www.signaturemgmgrand.com, 877-612-2121) and the Four Seasons Las Vegas (www.fourseasons.com/lasvegas, 702-632-5000), which is attached to Mandalay Bay, are other options for those who want to stay at a casino resort but in a more exclusive environment.
After check-in, have clients head straight to the pool for some lounging around and a bite to eat poolside. This respite will usher in the vacation mindset and prime them for the remainder of their stay. If they are players, both Mandalay Bay and Wynn have gaming on the pool deck.
To set the romantic stage before dinner, they should visit the Fountains of Bellagio. Opera and classical music accompany choreographed water movements. It's larger-than-life beauty on a grand scale. Shows are every half hour before 8 p.m. and then every 15 minutes until midnight.
The Fountains also can be a focal point for dinner that evening. One unrivaled dining experience is Picasso, a Bellagio restaurant displaying an extensive collection of artworks by the master and serving four- and five-course tasting menus of French cuisine with Spanish influences. Reservations are a must, especially for a fountain view (www.bellagio.com, 702-693-8105). Directly across the street from the Fountains, and high atop the Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort, the aptly named Eiffel Tower Restaurant (www.eiffeltowerrestaurant.com 702-948-6937) is a cozy spot to enjoy Chef J. Joho's French cuisine.
This is the day for your clients to relax by the pool, go shopping or sightsee. When the 450,000-square-foot Shoppes at The Palazzo (www.theshoppesatthepalazzo.com) opens in January, it will be home to a Barneys New York, Christian Louboutin, Coach and nearly 60 more upscale stores. Next door is The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, with outlets for such retailers as Mikimoto, Jimmy Choo and Burberry. Bargain hunters will love the Las Vegas Premium Outlets (www.premiumoutlets.com, 702-474-7500), which has such stores as Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana and Elie Tahari.
If shopping isn't on the agenda, while away the afternoon reliving the golden age of Vegas. The Liberace Museum (www.liberace.org, 702-798-5595, $12.50) celebrates one of Vegas' top showmen of all time. His glittering stage jewelry, rare and antique pianos, famous sequined and bejeweled costumes, rhinestone cars and more are exhibited. The museum is open until 5 p.m. Downtown, the Fremont Street Experience (www.vegasexperience.com) offers a glimpse of the pre-megaresort era. Here is a five-block open-air promenade of old-school casinos, such as Binion's and Golden Nugget, as well as dining and entertainment, including a light show projected onto a canopy 90 feet overhead.
That evening, celebrate with the ultimate dining experience: Joël Robuchon, a restaurant at the MGM Grand (www.mgmgrand.com/dining, 702-891-7925) that has a 16-course tasting menu for $360 per person, among other choices. It's located inside the super-posh Mansion at MGM Grand. Another option is the five-star and five-diamond Alex at Wynn Las Vegas (702-248-DINE). Chef Alessandro Stratta focuses on French-inspired Riviera cuisine, with dishes such as foie gras, Wagyu beef and frog legs. Alex specializes in wine pairings with the tasting menu, which costs about $325 per person, or $199 without wine.
Before or after dinner, take in a show. Love, at the Mirage, is Cirque du Soleil's Beatles homage and 1960s flashback, a dance-oriented show set to new arrangements of Beatles songs. Performances are at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and tickets run between $69 and $150 (www.mirage.com/entertainment, 702-792-7777). Much cheekier is An Evening at La Cage at the Riviera Hotel (www.rivierahotel.com, 702-794-9433), starring Frank Marino as Joan Rivers. Other impersonated stars include Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Bette Midler and Liza Minnelli. Showtime is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $55. Direct from Broadway comes Mamma Mia!, a musical based on the songs of ABBA, at Mandalay Bay (www.mamma-mia.com, 800-632-7400). Tickets range from $49.50 to $110.
The true romantic will take their sweetie to renew their vows. If they want it to be serious and heartfelt, Chapel of the Flowers (www.littlechapel.com, 702-735-4331) has packages starting at $199 for a simple ceremony and priced up to the $3,500 range for an elegant affair. They pay between 15 to 30 percent commission, depending on the package. To renew vows in kitschy style, have clients don their blue suede shoes for the Graceland Wedding Chapel (www.gracelandchapel.com, 702-382-0091). Either "young" or "old" Elvis can perform the ceremony, starting at $199. The $799 Famous Dueling Elvis Package gets both!
On their last day, clients can sleep late and hit brunch after a leisurely morning packing up and checking out. Sterling Brunch at Bally's Las Vegas (702-967-7777) includes champagne, sturgeon caviar, freshly prepared sushi, omelets and beef tenderloin. It's $65 per person, and the last seating is at 1:30 p.m. At the Palms (www.palms.com, 702-942-7777), the highly rated Bistro Buffet is bargain-priced at just $16.99 and runs until 3 p.m. Their specialty is deep-dish bacon and apple pancakes.
Time permitting, spend the last few hours in Vegas at the Springs Preserve (www.springspreserve.org, 702-822-7700), a "green" attraction that features a reconstructed desert wetland and showcases working environmentally friendly building designs. Admission costs $18.95.