Sunday, August 1, 2010

Food, Fun & Friends at the Monte Carlo, Las Vegas

A trip to Las Vegas wouldn't be complete without hitting some great restaurants, relaxing by the pool or getting pampered at the spa. Of course, because it's ME talking - I have to add shopping, gambling and hanging out with friends.

I found ALL OF THESE in ONE place on my recent visit at. The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino and the City Center Complex.

Restaurants - 

Whether ii's casual Mexican food at Diablo's Cantina or an elegant evening sipping some of the world's most expensive cognac's at Andre's Restaurant you'll never have to leave the comfort of your hotel to have the time of your life. Even dining at the Monte Carlo exudes unpretentious luxury.

Diablo's Cantina - if you're looking for FUN, great food from South of the Border and inexpensive prices, then Diablo's is the place to go. It's loud and boisterous and so comfortable that you'll feel like you've been there many times before. While it's large in size (13,000 sq ft on 2 levels), the active bar and camaraderie make it feel like it's much smaller. Try one of their FROZEN specialty drinks or s signature Margharita. It's a great way to cool off after a HOT day in the sun.

The Diablo's Box of Angry Calamari ($12) was AWESOME. Served with 3 dipping sauces and surrounded by chilie's these sublime rings of calamari were lightly fried in batter and TDF. The biggest problem? Trying to choose between tacos and burrito's to the succulent chicken that was wood grilled and coated with a sweet and hot sauce (the special of the day).

BRAND Steakhouse - I LOVE an upscale steakhouse that still has a casual feel and BRAND is just that. If you're serious about your meat, this is one restaurant that you don't want to miss. From the "Hot Rocks" appetizer (where you cook your thin slices of perfect sirloin over HOT ROCKS) to the 120 oz steak for 6 - there's not a beef lover who wouldn't have a difficult time deciding which cut to choose. If you're dining partner is not a carnivore (shame on them), there is Maine Lobster and other non-beef items to choose from as well.

Andre's Steakhouse - While I didn't get the opportunity to dine here, I did get the chance to see their amazing selection of Cognac and Armagnacs. This 4-Diamond restaurant is one of the TRUE Celebrity Chef experiences as Andre himself is found overseeing the kitchen in this great French restaurant. I'm going to make it a point to come here next time I visit.

Of course there are MANY more options for dining both at Monte Carlo as well as at some of the other restaurants located at Crystals - the newest shopping, dining and entertainment mecca.

Entertainment -

We were able to score tickets to  impressionist/comedian Frank Caliendo's show on this visit.. You may remember him from Mad TV or his famous impressions of John Madden. His Vegas act includes all of the impressions that you LOVE about him and more, coupled with music and banter back & forth with the band (and audience) that makes each of his performances unique. On top of that - he's TRULY a nice person. We met him backstage before his performance and while we were dining at BRAND Steakhouse he saw us and came over to our table to talk for a while.

Shopping - 

Crystals - If you were a BIG winner at the tables, Crystals has plenty of options to spend those winnings. A shopping mall filled with high end luxury stores from Louis Vuitton to Tiffany, there's no shortage of clothes, jewelry and accessories for the high roller.. Me? I did a little window shopping, but kept my cash in my wallet. I was more interested in the art installations and restaurants (like Beso and the uber-cool Pods for coffee).

The Pool - 

Go ahead and reserve a cabana by this fun and active pool area. While we had the luxury of a party cabana (with a private swimming area, tv, cooler and food service), you'll have just as much fun if you grab a tube and float in their pool that surrounds a small center island.

The Spa - 

Of course, all of this eating and shopping can be EXHAUSTING. So, what's a girl (or guy) to do? Well, here's what I DID! I stopped into the Spa at the Monte Carlo for a little pedicure (my favorite way to relax). I threw down my $75 and opted for a Spa Pedicure and boy was I glad that I did (you don't have to spent that much, and can get a  more traditional pedi for less). I was pampered and polished and thoroughly enjoyed every sybriatic second of the visit.

By the way - guests of the Monte Carlo can use the spa facilities for only $5. Talk about being a winner at the casino - that's as good as getting 2 blackjack's on a split.

Of course, you know I saved the best for last....

I spent a little time each day at the casino and a good long time on my final day. I'll spare you the ups and downs of my gambling, but I will tell you that I walked away from the blackjack tables with just enough winnings to upgrade my flight home to first class. I also made a new friend. If you go to the Monte Carlo Casino and LOVE to play BlackJack - look around for a dealer named Etta. She's the ONLY Israeli dealer at the casino and she's a LOT OF FUN. Win or Lose - you'll walk away from her table feeling entertained.

All in all, I found the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino to exude that unpretentiously luxurious feel that they've been trying to achieve. You'll find it to be a GREAT value and I'm sure that I'll be visiting again SOON (only next time I'll be planning on staying upstairs at their upscale Hotel 32). Don't forget to check out their Special Offers page for some GREAT DEALS!

Thank you to the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, who providing me with this trip to visit and review their operation.All opinions stated above are my own.


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The Shopping Mama said...

Sounds like you had a great time!

Mary Jo Manzanares said...

It was so great meeting you in Las Vegas, Zippy. I loved side-by-side pedicures at the spa.

Zippy said...

Mary Jo - I so hope that we get to meet up on another trip. I learned so much from you.

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