Photo: Courtesy of The Cromwell Las Vegas
Looking for some bachelorette party inspiration? It's time to reconsider a classic bachelorette party destination — Las Vegas! Vegas is known for its over-the-top everything. The hotels aren't just places to sleep, they're pleasure palaces with nightclubs, gaming, shows, and more. And the restaurants aren't just places to eat, they're culinary destinations where celebrity chefs produce extravagant creations and dining is a spectacle. In the last decade, Vegas has become one of the top dining destinations in the world, and a one-stop shop for anyone looking to sample from the world's top chefs. For foodies, Vegas offers plenty to do for a bachelorette weekend or a girls' trip — even if you don't want to set foot in a casino.
Where to eat:
Vegas has no shortage of incredible restaurants lining the Strip — and beyond. From classic diner food to refined French gastronomy, there's something for everyone. Figure out what kind of cuisine appeals to you, or which celebrity chef's food you want to try, and narrow down your selections from there.
You'll find most of the big name chefs represented in Sin City: Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis, and many, many more. Renowned chef Jose Andres has a number of restaurants scattered up and down the Strip. For a lively girls' night out, head to Jaleo at the sexy Cosmopolitan hotel for Spanish tapas, paella, and craft cocktails, including the chef's twist on gin and tonics.
On weekends, don't miss brunch at Michael Mina's Parisian-style bistro, Bardot. While the dinner selections are equally decadent and delicious, it's brunch that's the star. Along with temptingly rich dishes like the hunter's waffle (poached eggs and duck confit on a waffle draped in rich Maltaise sauce), croque madame, and croissant Benedicts with lobster or smoked salmon, diners can opt to add a bottomless glass of rosé wine to the experience for just $20.
When it's time for dinner, stick around for classic Italian in a sophisticated setting at Carbone, or wander down the strip for traditional French bistro fare at Mon Ami Gabi, or inventive interpretations of Chinese cuisine at Mr Chow.
Tip: Las Vegas restaurants are often huge, seating hundreds of diners, but the best ones do fill up. Be sure to make reservations early for your top choices. If you can't snag a table at a place you're dying to try and you're traveling with smaller crew, consider going earlier in the evening and scoring seats at the bar. And if you're traveling with 'maids on a smaller budget, consider dining at the more expensive places for lunch, when prices are lower.
What to do in between meals:
Even with three meals a day, there'll still be some downtime in the schedule of any food-centric trip to Vegas. If avoiding the casinos is a priority, it's easy to find other activities that will do more than just kill time.
Check out a bit of Las Vegas history at the Neon Boneyard, an outdoor collection of some of the city's most iconic old neon signs. One-hour tours are offered every day (and night) and the docents share secrets and insider knowledge of the city's history, from its heyday to today. Tours often sell out, so be sure to book in advance.
For a bird's-eye view of the Strip, take a spin on the High Roller, one of the city's newer attractions. The 28 glass-enclosed pods on the 520-foot ferris wheel take 30 minutes to complete one full revolution, so you have plenty of time to admire the views. Pods hold up to 40 people, and it's possible to reserve a pod for your group, or book the Happy Half Hour experience; the ticket includes an open bar with unlimited beer and mixed drinks inside the cabin.
To take your own cooking skills to the next level, learn from the best with a private cooking class at Guy Savoy. The classes are available for up to six people and take place in the Guy Savoy kitchen with Executive Chef Julien Asseo, who walks students through the creation of two dishes, such as a carrot-ginger soup with poached egg, and an herb-crusted rack of lamb with stuffed pasta. Along the way, the charming Chef Asseo gives student tips on chopping, poaching the perfect egg, making herb-infused olive oil, and much more—all in a patient, clear, and easy-going way that immediately puts students at ease. If you've ever wanted to spend time in one of the world's best kitchens and get one-on-one instruction from a top chef, the class is a worthy investment. Bonus: at the end, students get to eat their creations, plus dessert, paired with wine.
Where to stay:
The boutique Cromwell is the perfect place for those looking to avoid much of the casino scene. Unlike at some Strip hotels, where reaching your room means a 30-minute walk through the smoky casino, at the Cromwell it's just a minute or two from the lobby to the hotel elevators. And unlike large hotels, where the check-in area is a mob scene, the small size of the Cromwell—it has just 188 rooms—ensures a more personal experience without a lengthy wait. The rooms are decked out in sexy Parisian décor, with dark wood floors, leather headboards, and vintage touches, like luggage-inspired dressers. Room service is provided by Giada's and there's an onsite pool and nightclub, Drai's. The lobby bar, Bound, serves excellent craft cocktails in a relaxed setting, and guests are treated to a complimentary glass of champagne.
If you'd prefer a bit more action without all the trappings of the biggest casinos, the ARIA is another great option. With a perfect location mid-Strip, dozens of great restaurants (like the aforementioned Bardot), multiple lounges, and commanding views of the Strip from every room, it's a swanky option perfect for those who want to avoid some of the Sin City fray without sacrificing a luxury experience.