Strip Tease: Get Ready for JCK Las Vegas With Our 2015 Las Vegas Guide



Yoga? Skydiving? French ­brasserie cuisine? When you’re not ­at JCK Las Vegas, there are plenty of ­tantalizing ways to spend your days (and nights).

Between appointments with favorite vendors and walking the show floor to scout new designs, JCK Las Vegas attendees may feel the need to unplug. Fortunately, there are plenty of brand-new things to see and do in Vegas—including lots of opportunities to nourish your soul and recharge your batteries. Hanging out in the park, vitamin C ­showers, and yoga on the Strip are just a few of the ways you could fill your off time. If, however, thrill ­seeking is more your speed, we’ve some great suggestions on how to get that adrenaline rush. Whatever your style of socializing, the city most people still associate with late-night revelry is welcoming a new day!

The Outsiders

The Delano Burger at Della’s Kitchen: topped with aged cheddar, smoked pork belly, herb aioli, and lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Dig in!

Vegas visitors traditionally spent their time inside windowless casinos and air-conditioned restaurants, at mock destinations beneath the sterile veneer of fake skies. Over the years, those who ventured outside along the Strip encountered men handing out escort cards, cheesy souvenir shops, and the relentless desert sun. Until now. Developers have recently made a serious investment in the great outdoors, creating charming playgrounds for visitors immune to the siren call of the slots.

Last June, an open-air plaza, part of the Strip-facing facade of the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino, opened to the public with a passel of live entertainment (musicians, artists, and street performers) alongside eateries Yusho, Diablo’s Cantina, and the Double Barrel Roadhouse. The plaza is part of an indoor-outdoor district that includes a patio at New York-New York Hotel & Casino as well as a 20,000-seat Las Vegas arena and park that will be completed by spring 2016.

The Monte Carlo Resort & Casino boasts a newly built-up outdoor plaza featuring live entertainment and a host of new restaurants.

“People used to park their cars and stay in their hotels,” says Suzie Rugh, public relations manager of MGM Resorts International. “Those days are over. People get out there; they move from property to property to happen upon a different experience.”

Beauty and the East

For devotees of the Delano, the South Beach, Fla., hot spot once owned by Madonna, the big news is that Delano Las Vegas debuted in September. Imagine the white Deco multistory Miami hotel with a dash of Nevada desert decor.

JCK Las Vegas attendees will be drawn to the lobby, which has been divided into three social spaces: 3940 Coffee and Tea, a coffee bar; Franklin, a lounge featuring tiny lights descending from the ceiling that resemble fireflies in a nighttime sky; and the comfort food–driven Della’s Kitchen.

Yusho offers Japanese street food like grilled chicken wings and shishito peppers. (We especially liked the crispy chicken skin and the fried oyster steamed buns!)

As for the hotel itself, the 43-story tower adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino features unusual details like ice buckets modeled after Franklin Roosevelt’s own hatbox. And good news for travelers fretting over leaving Fido: There are dog-friendly suites that boast a canine menu with frittatas and, ahem, hot dogs plus butler services such as brushing. JCK show­goers might gravitate to the Delano’s Sage Living Room, a 1,257-square-foot meeting space that can host casual social gatherings or relaxed business meetings. Or, after a busy day, head for the Bathhouse Spa for a four-hand Double the Pleasure massage.

Later this year, chef Alain Ducasse plans to open Rivea on the property. The French-Italian restaurant will have an adjacent lounge and outdoor patio.

Meanwhile, another East Coast establishment, New York City’s beloved burger joint Shake Shack, opened in December at New York-New York just across the Brooklyn Bridge. Even Manhattanites will have something to look forward to—an expanded beer and wine menu, goodies from local bakery Gimme Some Sugar, and the Shackapalooza, a frozen custard-style dessert big enough to sate Vegas-size appetites.

Hit Parade

The beautiful thing about eating and partying in Vegas is that there’s always something new on the scene. In January, ARIA Resort & Casino welcomed the Bardot Brasserie, described by James Beard Award–winning chef Michael Mina as the reincarnated version of “a café along the Champs-­Élysées in the 1920s.” Try the onion soup gratinée—which can be customized with Périgord truffles, braised oxtail, and a soft-poached egg—or the steak frites fried in beef fat. The main dining room features black lacquered walls paneled with gold pinstripes and a series of Parisian columns.

Among the culinary hot spots at ARIA: Sage, featuring ­farm-to-table, artisanal American cuisine (left); and Bardot, Michael Mina’s new French brasserie

For those who came of age in the 1990s, run, don’t walk, to the Mirage Hotel & Casino to see baritone Nathan Morris and tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman—aka Boyz II Men, the best of that decade’s slow-jam boy bands—hand out roses to the crowd when they perform their hit “I’ll Make Love to You” to super-enthusiastic fans. “They are so, so good,” Rugh says. “They sing to the ladies who rush the stage. It’s just a fun show.”

In 2014, Boyz II Men distributed a total of 5,472 roses to concertgoers while they crooned “I’ll Make Love to You.”

Under the heading “Only in Vegas”: The fountains at the Bellagio, immortalized in such films as Ocean’s Eleven, continue to wow visitors, having staged 11,336 shows in 2014. Now, there’s a new reason to check out the waters: DJ/producer Tiësto has created a medley of electronic dance music specifically for the structure. An explosive burst of water kicks off the fountain’s choreography of three fast-paced songs, “Footprints,” “Rocky,” and “Red Lights” from Tiësto’s new album, A Town Called Paradise.

All Is Well

Health and wellness has been called the new expression of luxury. In response to the growing travel trend, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino recently completed its Stay Well collection of 171 rooms and suites. At check-in, guests are greeted at a lounge equipped with an air purifier, dawn-simulator alarm clock, and aromatherapy.

The Bellagio’s choreographed fountain show launches daily every 30 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes in the evening.

In Stay Well rooms, expect vitamin C–infused showers that neutralize chlorine; water purification systems; light therapy; LED lights that don’t disturb melatonin levels; EMF shielding from electric and magnetic rays; and a WELL shield, which breaks down bacteria and viruses on surfaces. Guests also get access to the Cleveland Clinic’s wellness software and Stay Well meeting rooms designed to promote energy, focus, and productivity.

MGM’s health offerings also include virtual biophilia (window lights that bring a natural environment to meeting spaces), noise reduction features, ergonomic furniture, healthy menu options, and a Wellness Moment Portal that provides guided meditations.

Health and wellness is catching on elsewhere in the city, too. Each Saturday at 8 a.m., there is a complimentary yoga class for guests of the Monte Carlo at the Strip-side outdoor plaza.

If this sounds less like Las Vegas and more like Palm Springs, well, that’s the point.