In such volatile times, there are few things that say "out of touch" to your clients or employees more than a lavish winter getaway in the French Alps or Maldives.
But rather than instigating an SEC investigation with a bon vivant trip in your G5, why not take advantage of the rare recession travel bargains found in your American backyard. Few cities offer the grandeur of penthouse suites, world-class gaming and populist accessibility than Las Vegas.
Before you book into just any room, the city's top hotels are marking down their once off-limit suites, which used to start at $400 a night. While it isn't exactly Monte Carlo, Vegas is a fun-filled high-roller getaway that won't invite Schadenfreude from co-workers or even a subpoena from the attorney general's office.
Encore at the Wynn is the city's newest five-star resort property, an angular high-rise hotel and casino equal parts art and entertainment. Improving on an already successful Wynn platform, the new
features a main floor casino with towering columns and canopied pavilions that divide gaming areas into mini parlors. Five restaurants and a shopping arcade surround the main casino, which is camouflaged in Marie Antoinette architecture, salon seating areas and chandelier-strewn ceilings. The pool atrium is home to a family-friendly and European-style beach club, the latter offering weekend DJs and a singles cabana scene.
The signature curve design of the hotel offers seemingly endless hallways lined by carved doorways and sparse walls. Rooms are designed with a contemporary deco-inspired aesthetic with oversize LCD-television screens, black sofas with cream-colored piping and modern art lithographs. All rooms feature automatic drape controls, signature Wynn bath products, and well-equipped bars with gourmet snacks and top-shelf alcohol. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout bespeak the architectural quality of the hotel, framing the Western-Las Vegas strip and its endless neon horizon. But perhaps best of all, rooms are currently available for select weekends for as low as $219 for entry-level rooms and $750 for Resort Suites.
Its bronzed '90s high-rise facade does little to advertise the sedate and stylish world found within Mandalay Bay's
. The entrance is almost impossible to find, located behind the Mandalay Bay Resort through a labyrinth of underground parking garages ultimately leading to a hospital-like valet area. Don't judge it just yet. Just past the glass sliding doors is a Metropolis-theme masterpiece that unfolds with rich mahogany woodwork, marble floors and artwork from Richard Serra. Stylish guests in strapless Dior catwalk the lobby, defying the image of all-you-can-eat Vegas, into a '20s theme martini bar or rooftop Mix Restaurant home to Michelin-star Alain Ducasse.
THEHotel is still one of Vegas' most stylish hotels, with oversize guest rooms boasting multiple plasma-screen televisions, in-room cocktail bars and deep-soaking spa bathtubs. The 43-floor hotel tower offers some of the best views of Vegas. It has apartment-minded living rooms more about size than plush, with its utilitarian sofas, club chairs and masculine writing desks. The modest bedrooms of the Deluxe Suites feature king beds with poly-cotton sheets and European duvet covers, connecting to the main bathroom with house-branded toiletries, deep soaking tub and marble vanities. Normally priced upwards of $399 per night with a mandatory two-night stay, weekend rooms were found from $169 per night with no nightly minimum.
Away from the taxicab and pedestrian mayhem of the Las Vegas Strip, the Palms is home to loft-style apartment tower
, located a short walk from the main casino complex. A glassy entrance opens to a sedate lobby of Madagascar-wood-paneled walls, dark slate floors and sunken leather seating area remarkably free of slot-machine sirens typical of a Las Vegas Hotel. Perks include a poolside eatery by Simon Kerry, a red-theme Rojo lounge and an outpost of Sunset Tan for anyone looking to freshen-up their fake-bake before hitting the pool.
The 650-square-foot studios and 1,500-square-foot suites are currently priced as low as $199 and $499 a night, respectively. These skyscraper bachelor pads mix the flair of an Italian yacht with minimalist lounge furnishings and shiny wood-paneled walls. All rooms come with deluxe gourmet kitchen, and imported china and cookware should you want to make breakfast, but good luck finding a grocery store. Bathrooms are the best in Vegas, lined in white Carrera Marble with floating countertops and porcelain sink bowls under wall-mounted chrome fixtures. A wall of glass encloses a separate wet room and sunken tub with massage jets much cheaper than a visit to the in-house Drift Spa.
It's the gold-standard of five-star luxury on the Vegas strip. The
, originally created by Steve Wynn, went on to star in "Ocean's 11," which made the property a bona fide hotspot. Beyond the faux-Italian lake with choreographed fountains exploding to show tunes on the half-hour (every 15 minutes at night), this high-roller resort features designer boutiques, Michelin-star eatery and an art collection. Best of all, the hotel's penthouse-level suites offer one of the best luxury values currently on the Las Vegas strip.
While Michael Smith they are not, the design of the one-bedroom penthouse is a bit stuffy, with white-marble-lined entry foyer leading to a combined living-and-dining room of mock-Versace décor drawn in plush draperies and Renaissance-esque artwork. There's a Rat Pack-style wet bar with barstool seating for in-room entertaining as well as a separate powder room for the utmost of privacy. Bedtime is greeted in a separate bedroom room with fluffy 400-thread count sheeting, Goose down pillows and electric blackout curtains for hangover recovery. Amazingly, the rooms often priced in the $1,000 to $2,000 range offer limited weekend availability from $499 per night.
All prices were quoted for a Feb. 8 stay via Expedia and hotel Web sites.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.