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.

sage

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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Bellagio Poker Room still rules

Bellagio

The changes in Las Vegas have been stunning over the years. With the recent addition of City Center and also the hip and trendy Cosmopolitan hotel, the standard for the best spots in Vegas is constantly evolving.

Still, many of the established names still hold up even with the new competition. The Bellagio for example is still one of the best spots in Las Vegas, particularly if you’re looking for an upscale experience with a female friend.

It’s also still one of the top destinations for poker. The Bellagio Poker Room remains one of the best in town and the spot where many pros go to play. Everything is top notch, from the luxury surroundings to the dealers and the cocktails. It’s open 24/7 with around 30 tables. Of course you’re not coming here if you have a small bankroll. The minimums are higher than you’ll find in many other rooms on the Strip and you’ll see some huge pots here.

Then you have Bobby’s Room, the ultimate spot for poker high rollers. It’s described on the Bellagio website as follows: “Be one of the privileged few to get in on the high-stakes excitement inside our signature poker room. Decked out in winning style, this coveted experience pays tribute to its namesake, Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 World Series of Poker Champion and Chief Design & Construction Officer, President & CEO, CityCenter. Within its storied walls are tables providing maximum privacy and concentration.” If you’re heading to Las Vegas with a serious bankroll and an appetite for some white-knuckle poker, then this is your spot!

Of course many players love the online world of playing poker. It’s a completely different experience but many enjoy the convenience of being able to play at any time. It’s excellent for poker practice. But of course there are all sorts of issues as well like deposits. If you’re having trouble depositing funds on online poker sites you can read why credit cards are being declined can be read here. Hopefully we’ll get to the point where the regulators finally acknowledge this is a game of skill and even out the rules for everyone. Until then places like the Bellagio offer a real experience for poker that you really can’t match online.

  

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