Rock Star Date at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

The hubs and I had a planned dinner date with some customers of his on Saturday night at the Greek restaurant, Milo’s, in the new Cosmopolitanhotel. It is supposed to be fabulous, so I was super excited to go there, even though the last two weeks have been jammed pack with dinners, travelling, and events. It’s always fun to try something new, especially in Vegas. This way you get to stay in the know when people ask, “Where should we go/eat/stay?”

Had the babysitter all set up, got myself motivated and all dolled up for a night on the town (we were going to hit up Marquee, the nightclub at the same hotel), and drove the distance to the Strip from my house fighting So Cal traffic on the I-15. When I arrived at the valet at Aria, Rock Star hubby was waiting outside for me with the news that our plans for the evening had been cancelled. To which I informed him that he was taking me out anyway. Though I would have been perfectly content to be at home in my jammies, in bed, catching up on my recorded shows, I had also taken a shower, shaved my legs, did my hair and put on make-up, so I wasn’t racing home to get all un-done either!

Usually, we would have just grabbed a drink and something to eat at Aria, but since we already had plans to leave the property, we thought we would venture to somewhere we hadn’t been before. Rock Star hubby is not so much into the scene at the Cosmopolitan….it’s a little young and loud for his taste….we decided to hit up one our favorite international and national hotels, the Mandarin Oriental, located in the City Center.

The Door Man at the Mandarin Oriental

We love the Mandarin Oriental hotels for many reasons…the style, the elegance, the service…but mostly because it brings us back to our honeymoon spent travelling through South East Asia and our stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Thailand. We had never been to the one in Vegas before, and have heard amazing things about their 23rd floor lounge. Since we were dressed for it, we decided to check it out, and make it our Valentine’s Day date, since we knew we would be spending the real thing with our kids.

The Mandarin never ceases to amaze me with it’s timeless style. From the minute we left the Aria resort and entered onto the Mandarin property, we knew we were in a different place, a place that seemed like miles from the Las Vegas Strip. As we walked up to the front doors, we were greeted by men in overcoats and top hats, on stand by to direct us to wherever we wanted to go inside the hotel. The lobby itself was sleek and simple. Almost to the point that we weren’t exactly sure if we were in a lobby, as the Concierge and Front Desk are not in the line of sight. We found the elevators, cleverly designed to blend into the wall decor, which reminded me of a trompe l’oeil you would find in an old European building, but in a modern, chic way. Though the hotel itself may reflect the designs and decor to match that of the City Center, you can’t escape the traditional luxury that is a constant with the Mandarin Oriental. This was specifically noted when we stepped into the elevator to take us up to the 23rd floor, and waiting inside for us was a plush, red velvet bench for two.

 

Relaxing on the ride up

With only two buttons available in the elevator, we chose the one that would take us to the lounge on the 23rd floor, known as the Mandarin Bar. It is amazing. Again, greeted by not a soul as we entered the Sky Lobby, but in awe of its profound beauty, we made our way over to the left side of the building where the sounds of their in-house DJ was beckoning us. We were seated at a table for two that looked directly over the Strip, and onto the visual arts provided by the buildings in the City Center, the Cosmopolitan and the Planet Hollywood hotels. What designer wouldn’t take advantage of such a breath taking view? Windows floor to ceiling, chic Asian decor, and beautifully concocted drinks, this had turned into the perfect date night.

DJ spinning the mood

 

I’m not going to lie, the drinks, though delicious and interesting, are a little pricey. But it’s what to be expected at such a high class joint. We were served a lovely tray of munchies to keep us satisfied until our dinner…Wasabi Peanuts, Asian Trail Mix and Smoked Almonds. Rock Star hubby ordered his usual, Absolut Mandarin and soda, while I decided to be a little adventurous and try their signature cocktail, The Golden Leaf Martini. The original recipe calls for Hendricks gin, but since I’m not a gin drinker, I opted for the Hanagr One Citron vodka, which they blended with mandarin, pineapple, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. For a special occasion, it was worth the $20.

After marvelous, uninterrupted, adult conversation, we headed back over to the Aria for dinner. The Aria has many fabulous restaurants, but one of my favorites is Union. The menu changes often, and the night I brought my college girlfriends there for dinner, they had a bone-in fillet on the menu that was seriously, to die for. As we were walking into the restaurant, I noticed several people with huge lobsters on the table, and they looked incredibly delicious as well. I also love how they seat a party for two in an oversized booth, looking out into the casino. It keeps you stimulated, yet feels private enough for a great conversation, while their in-house DJ (obviously a trend) keeps your energy up for anything! It is Vegas, anything could happen…and the mood in Union keeps it fun and exciting. Unfortunately, the bone-in fillet was not on the menu that night, but Rock Star hubby knew what to order and we indulged in a fillet and shared a lobster tail, that was so memorably delicious. I really wanted the “Ritz” stuffed lobster, which I have been told is out of this world, but RSH likes to keep things simple, so we went with the tail, still awesome.

To end the night, we topped it off with a visit to my favorite French

Banana Nuetella Crepe...need I say more?

bakery…Jean Phillipe. If you have never been to the one at the Aria or Bellagio, the home of the Chocolate Fountains, you really are missing out on the most aesthetic and decadent bakery in Las Vegas. From the handmade chocolates and gelato, to the bistro sandwiches, gorgeous pastries, cookies and the most insane fantasy cakes you could ever dream of, Jean Phillipe out-does himself every time. My hot spot is the crepe station. Crepes take me back to my days of travelling and living abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France, where I took the liberty to eat a crepe or two every day. It is also the place where I discovered Nuetella, and have been in love ever since. RSH treated me to my absolute fave, a banana and Nuetella crepe, to-go.

As we walked passed all the finely dressed specimens in line, vying for their chance to get into the nightclub, Haze, I was so grateful that wasn’t me. After two weeks of a crazy rock star life, I was more than happy to kick off my Gucci heals, wash all the smokey eye shadow off my face, pull my hair in a pony, jump in my comfy bed and watch my shows while enjoying my late night dessert. Our fast paced life had finally slowed down, and the night turned out to be rather enjoyable, and fun, in a non-rock star kind of way.

 

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