Checking out what’s new in Vegas at MGM Resorts

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Las Vegas is constantly evolving, and no one is more attuned to the necessity of making those changes than MGM Resorts International, the company behind such Vegas properties like Mandalay Bay, Aria and Bellagio. Two weeks ago, Bullz-Eye was invited to check out MGM’s latest hotel, the completely renovated Delano Las Vegas, and sample the accommodations, restaurants and nightlife that visitors can expect during their stay. But because there’s a lot more to what MGM Resorts is doing beyond the launch of the Delano to enhance its guest experience, we were invited back this past weekend to witness first-hand some of the newer additions that have helped transform Las Vegas into a destination that’s more about luxury than gambling.

In fact, MGM has seen a major shift over the last 10 to 15 years in how important things like food, entertainment, pools and nightclubs have become for the typical Vegas visitor, to the point that casino gaming now only makes up about 30% of its business. That’s a pretty remarkable statistic for a city where gambling used to be its bread and butter, but it just goes to show why MGM is striving to stay ahead of the curve in addressing the priorities of its guests, and they’ve done an amazing job so far. This may have been my first visit to Sin City, but after discovering all the cool things it has to offer, it definitely won’t be my last.

Day One

There’s nothing worse than air travel, especially when you’re forced to deal with unwanted layovers and delays, so by the time I finally arrived in Las Vegas and checked into my room at the hip and swanky Delano, the only thing on my mind was face-planting into the comfy hotel bed for a much-needed nap. But the folks at MGM had invited myself and three other travel writers joining me on the trip to an once-in-a-lifetime cognac dinner at Sage inside Aria, and it was an event not to be missed.

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In addition to a specially crafted five-course menu by Chef Shawn McClain, with Drappier champagne pairings chosen by Director of Wine Kim Wood, we sampled five different cognacs brought by special guest Benedict Hardy, the CEO of Hardy Cognac. Though the menu featured plenty of highlights, including a Fois Gras Custard Brulee, Kobe Skirt Steak Diane and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, the chance at tasting some high-end cognacs was a real delight, especially the pre-1870s unblended variation confidently called Perfection, a genuine antique that runs $25,000 bottle (or about $800 a glass), of which only 200 or so remain.

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Testing out the new BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tire in Baja, Mexico

BFGoodrich Tires, the company that created the first all-terrain tire back in 1976, is set to launch its most capable light truck tire ever this fall: the all-new BFGoodrich Tires All-Terrain T/A KO2.

Engineered from BFGoodrich’s championship off-road motorsports racing technology, the KO2 promises to deliver exceptional toughness, durability and traction for traversing harsh conditions, including gravel, dirt, rock, mud and snow.

To prove just how capable these new tires are, BFGoodrich invited us down to Northern Baja a few weeks ago to test out the All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires in some of the toughest conditions imaginable. Over the course of two days, we tackled everything from rocks, dirt, sand and mud as we drove on parts of previous and current SCORE Baja 500 and 1000 courses.

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Delano Las Vegas another feather in the cap for MGM Resorts

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As MGM Resorts continue to expand and modernize their portfolio of properties in Las Vegas, the momentum picks up with the recently launched Delano Las Vegas. Bullz-Eye visited the new resort recently and found out exactly what the hype was all about with the Delano opening her doors in Vegas. With its all-suite boutique offering, Delano Las Vegas (which is the same building as the former The Hotel) brings the effortless style and unparalleled service of the original Delano South Beach to the energy and buzz of the Las Vegas Strip.

When you first enter the Delano Las Vegas, you know there is something different about this hotel, from the private and separate entrance from the attached Mandalay Bay resort and Casino, to the natural desert fixtures welcoming you to the true desert resort. This all-suite oasis features rooms with a clean color palette of whites and neutrals, like the 725 square-foot king suite, which incorporates Delano’s iconic window sheers, crisp white linens and oversized tufted headboards, updated with playful gold accents for a bold and modern touch. Each suite features a private bedroom with a king-sized bed, a spacious spa-style bath and separate living room with its own powder room. Clean and neat is measured to the max and we appreciated the understated luxury that was very cool without trying too hard.

We started most days at the 3940 coffee and tea joint on the lobby floor. Inspired by the shaded area of a sun-drenched desert, 3940 is a comfortable retreat featuring mid-century modern furniture, plush sofas and communal seating. The ceiling’s unique lighting features cast a patterned glow to the comfortable surroundings, where we lounged and unwound by the marble fireplace or in the alluring living room. The menu is perfect for a quick bite or refreshing beverage and one can enjoy one of their many artisanal teas, freshly squeezed juices and signature coffees, or perhaps sample one of the signature menu items such as our Breakfast Burrito and Ham & Brie Paninis. The granola with yogurt was superb and was a smart healthy option.

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First Drive: 2015 Toyota Camry, Yaris & Sienna

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Testing new vehicles is always an adventure, but the opportunity to test new vehicles in Hawaii is just a whole different experience. Auto journalists love cars, but we also love to drive cars in adventurous destinations featuring incredible roads with twists and turns in places so grand that you realize how spectacular other places on earth can be. The sunny Kona District stretches for about 60 miles from Kona International Airport to beyond Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii’s lava-lined western coast. Along this expansive area, we found everything from coffee farms to historic Hawaiian landmarks. Our homebase was the Fairmont Orchid, which is a luxurious Hawaiian resort on the Kohala Coast inspired by culture, well-being and genuine Aloha. To take in all of the Big Island while driving a stable of new offerings from Toyota can make for eye-opening visuals in the 2015 Camry, Yaris and Sienna. These new Toyotas are so different and compete in three distinctive segments, but all shared the same careful design and manufacturing expertise that is synonymous with a Toyota.

There is no car more important to Toyota than the Camry, and for 2015, the folks at Toyota continued their quest to be king of the midsize car market with a new 2015 Camry that ups the stakes. Yes, the best-selling car in America for the last 12 years just got better! When redesigning the Camry for 2015, Toyota went bumper to bumper and floor to roof, changing or re-engineering nearly 2,000 parts. Only the roof remains unchanged, and it caps off the boldest Camry body ever. That provides an idea of the scope of the transformation that also endows the new Camry with a stiffer body structure, enhanced aerodynamics and its quietest ride ever. The redesigned, upscale interior and advanced instrumentation with intuitive controls help keep the driver safely focused on the road. The redesigned interior also looks and feels much more upscale, featuring premium, soft-touch materials throughout. The 2015 model is easily the best-handling and most comfortable-riding Camry ever. Beneath the bolder body lines, the Camry’s body structure has been bolstered with additional spot welds to enhance rigidity. Retuned suspension systems in all models put an edge on handling agility while taking the edge off bumps.

The exterior of the Camry just keeps getting sexier and the 2015 model is like no Camry we’ve ever seen before. An aggressive looking front bumper and grille, pronounced side character lines and low-profile LED headlamps give the new Camry a far more expressive style. It’s a sleeker look that’s also slightly longer (1.8 inches / 45 mm) and features a widened track (0.4 inches / 10 mm) that communicates a dynamic stance and presence. In profile, a pronounced body line starts from the Camry’s muscular front fender and spans across the doors and rear quarter panel, conveying a sense of motion. The fun doesn’t stop there, as the new cabin takes this segment upscale and will surely have some rivals looking for the medicine cabinet! Everywhere you look and touch, the Camry presents premium materials, an overall roomier feel and enhanced amenities.

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Travelocity’s Courtney Scott with top travel destinations for Labor Day

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Courtney Scott is the Senior Travel Editor for Travelocity.com. She is also really hot and has traveled to the coolest places on earth. If you’re going to take travel advice, why not get it from an expert?

We asked Courtney for a list of great vacations and cheap deals for guys in seek of a final party destination on Labor Day weekend. 

Las Vegas, Nevada:
$119/night at the four-star SLS Las Vegas right on the Las Vegas Strip. Stay three nights and get the third night free! It will be a weekend of live DJs and EDM: Steve Akoi at Wet Republic, Steve Angello at Encore Beach Club, David Guetta, Krewella and many more!

Cancun, Mexico:
$127/night for a deluxe room with kitchenette at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort, located on Playa Mujeres. For $54/night, you can stay at the Suites Sina Cancun, right in the Cancun hotel zone, a property on the laguna with more budget accommodations, but a great location and value.

Miami, Florida:
Vacation like royalty at the Lord Balfour right in the heart of South Beach on Ocean Drive. You will enjoy a room fit for a king for only $185/night (while inventory lasts). Events are happening all around Miami. You can sail away on chic South Beach Lady Yacht on Saturday, which is hosting the annual All White Yacht Party hosted by Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s Karlie Redd, or on Sunday, the Rock the Yacht Labor Day Party Cruise will set sail at Bayfront Park. Of course, if you’d rather be on land, there are pool parties happening throughout Miami.

Denver, Colorado:
Denver’s summer of festivals continues through Labor Day weekend where you’ll enjoy A Taste of Colorado food festival with tasty treats from over 50 local restaurants and food trucks. There is no shortage of pubs and saloons around Denver, and a must-visit is My Brother’s Bar, one of the oldest bars in Denver. Looking for live music?  You can head to the Bluebird Theater or Summit Music Hall. For those looking to party, SOCO (South of Colfax) is the place to be. It’s Denver’s nightlife district and is home to Denver’s best nightlife venues. You can stay at the gorgeous Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Denver for $146/night.

When you book on Travelocity.com, use promo code GO50 for $50 off $250 or more on your hotel and GO75 for $75 off $750 or more with a three-night minimum stay.

And when you’re done shopping for a trip, visit Courtney’s website and YouTube account for more from the travel expert.

  

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