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24 Hours in Vegas

24 Hours in Vegas

Trip Plan Tags: 
spa + wellness
Las Vegas,
North America,
United States

I'm a fan of all things over-the-top, indulgent, and kitschy. Also Elvis. I love Elvis. So how is it that I managed up until last week to miss out on the tackiest, booziest, most over-the-top city in the US? It's a mystery I'll never be able to solve.



Playboy Club + Moon, Nevada

Palms Fantasy Tower, 4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 942 7777

The Playboy Club and Moon nightclub occupy the top two floors of the Palms' Fantasy Tower. The Playboy Club marks the rebirth of Hef's old brand, and you'll have to pay a cover and wait in line up to 45 minutes after 10 p.m. to access the gambling/lounge area (the only gambling space in town to demand an entry)—where you'll find, yes, hot women in bunny suits dealing cards and delivering drinks. The decor is sexy-cheesy: neon Playboy signs, fireplaces. Those looking for a something more 21st-century head up the escalator to Moon, where the dance floor is framed by massive windows looking over the Strip and live projections on the ceiling. The demographic skews younger in Moon and older in Playboy, but there is a free flow of people between the two.

Playboy club open daily from 8 pm; Moon open Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:30 pm.

Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce


Ghostbar, Nevada

The Palms, 4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 938 2666

Because there's no dance floor, Ghostbar attracts a slightly older clientele who like to step outside on the terrace for a cigar. But be careful: If you plan on heading up to this rooftop lounge at the 56-story Palms before heading to Rain nightclub, you may never actually make it. Designed in a retro-futuristic motif, it's famous for the window in the floor of the terrace that looks straight down over the Strip. On weekends, the crowd is shoulder-to-shoulder, so seats are hard to come by. This was the spot where Britney Spears decided to get married—so you know the drinks are strong.

Open nightly from 8 pm.


Via Bellagio, Nevada

Bellagio Hotel & Casino, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 888 987 6667; 702 693 7111

The wonder of Via Bellagio lies not only in its architecture (designed to resemble a Milanese galleria) but also in its collection of high-end brand names: Armani, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci, Prada. But no intimidating salespeople here: They're mostly helpful and inviting. Though it's part of the Bellagio resort, Via Bellagio has its own valet parking just west of the Strip on Flamingo Road.

See + Do

Neon Museum, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 387 6366

The junkyard lot known as the "Boneyard" might seem and sound ominous, but it's overflowing with more than 100 pieces of vintage nonoperative signage that trace Las Vegas's unique physical history. Among the mountains of metal and broken bulbs are the letters from the old Stardust sign and the 20-foot-tall high-heeled shoe that once revolved atop the Silver Slipper's marquee. Tours of the Boneyard are available by appointment only (submit your request on the museum's web site), and well worth it for those who are nostalgic for the Las Vegas of a bygone era.

Liberace Museum

See + Do

Gambling in Las Vegas

Gambling remains Las Vegas's bread and butter, and it's still the reason most people come here. Even if gambling is not your thing, give it a shot: Spending an hour or so at a low-stakes blackjack table is a blast—as long as you know your own limit. As with restaurants, you can judge a good Las Vegas casino by the number of locals playing there. Near the Strip, that's the Palms, where the comps and drinks come fast. The Palms also has one of the best poker rooms in town, where dealers remember regulars. Careful, though: The action moves fast.

For high-limits gambling, where the minimums start at $100 and push $1,000 in games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette, the Wynn and Bellagio have separate rooms away from the masses; the dealers and staff are also extremely attentive. The lowest minimums on table games such as blackjack, roulette, and craps can be found in the Station casinos such as the Red Rock Resort off the Strip (, or downtown at the Four Queens, Binion's Horseshoe, or Golden Nugget—usually to the tune of 25-cent roulette and $2 blackjack. Low minimums draw crowds, so expect to wait for a seat.

Slots are everywhere. Make sure to get comp points as you play: The Wynn has a new tracking system that uses your room key. And everybody should see a genuine bingo hall at some point: It doesn't get more real than the big room at the Plaza, located downtown. Think old ladies and crazy people waiting for B22.

Cigarette smoke is ubiquitous, but for nonsmoking areas, check the tables and poker room at Bellagio, the Mirage, and large sections of Harrah's and the MGM Grand. Finally, cocktail waitresses bring free drinks to anyone playing slots or table games, or in the sports book—a $2 tip is customary.


Cravings, Nevada

Mirage, 3400 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 702 791 7355

Is it wrong to visit Vegas and not eat at a buffet? Up to you, but if you must, go for the one that cost $20 million to build. Designed by Adam Tihany, the man behind dozens of Vegas restaurants, including Spago, Aureole, and Le Cirque, Cravings in the Mirage was modeled after buffets in Asia, where diners get cooking stations instead of mountains of stringy shrimp and soggy French toast. There are around a dozen of these stations here, with chefs making Italian, Japanese, Mexican, barbecue, and so forth. The food itself is on par with most reasonably priced white-tablecloth restaurants, making the $25 all-you-can-eat price tag at dinner one of the best food bargains in Vegas. Cocktails are not included, but if you grab a seat at the bar in the back, you won't have to deal with the dizzying striped carpet as you hike to your table far, far away.

Open Mondays through Fridays 7 am to 10 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 8 am to 10 pm.

Editor's Pick


Fantasy Tower Suites at the Palms, Nevada

4321 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tel: 866 942 7770, Tel: 702 942 7777

Two types of people stay here: Those who want to know how high rollers live, and actual high rollers. Located next to big brother property The Palms, about a mile off the Strip, the 53-story Fantasy Tower is mostly filled with regular rooms for the wannabe rollers (they're comfortable and similar to those at the Palms). The buzz comes from Hugh Hefner's Playboy Club on the top level and the 14 Fantasy Suites and Sky Villas—both seem to have been designed by an overimaginative 14-year-old boy. The 10,000-square-foot Hardwood Suite will give you an idea of the silliness: a split-level NBA-inspired pad with an actual half basketball court and three massive courtside Murphy beds for postgame activities. Classy it ain't, but it could be awfully fun. Slightly more demure are the Hot Pink Suite for bachelorettes and the Erotic Suite, with a stripper pole in the shower. Hef's own suite has a cantilevered Jacuzzi that sticks out over the building. None of this comes cheap—suites go for about $3,000 to $40,000 per night and can be viewed comprehensively on the hotel's website. If you're a mere mortal, the best you can hope for is sharing an elevator with a music celebrity—this is the only hotel in Vegas with a recording studio.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.