There's more to Las Vegas than bright lights, casinos and Elvis impersonators - the Nevada city is a culinary capital packed with award-winning restaurants and watering holes, great night spots and lounges so peaceful, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were off the Strip entirely. Lured by the promise of cocktails and food, GLAMOUR.COM jetted off to the winter sunshine to enjoy five extravagant days of pure indulgence. For those of you who are thinking of doing the same (or, indeed, need a little convincing), here are our best bits:
Where to stay
Description: A huge, newly-built casino resort that fuses far eastern décor with modern American polish.
Review: From the impressive fountain displays at the hotel's entrance, to the beautiful, gilded bars, huge swimming pools and quiet (yes, quiet) casino floors, every effort in this massive resort has been made to make guests feel as comfortable as possible. We stayed in a large double room, complete with a marble sit-down shower and sunken bath, and stunning views over the Las Vegas skyline. Everything in the room - from the heating, to the lights, alarms and even room service - can be organised from the touch of a button. Oh - and the whole place is scented with musky spices and vanilla, too. Bonus!
Where to eat
Description: A modern, inventive take on traditional Mexican cuisine
Review: Tucked away just off the Strip, this warm and inviting boutique restaurant serves modern Mexican cuisine in a relaxed, unstuffy environment. Our group particularly enjoyed the ahi tuna tostado, (a spicy, Mexican take on raw sashimi), Chilean sea bass, and spicy tomato soup, complete with jalapenos, avocado and corn pieces. Look out too for the restaurant's fantastic own-brand Alien Tequila, too. Far from the usual shot fodder, this distinctly aromatic liquor is almost cognac-like in taste - great on the rocks, or as part of a fantastically-refreshing Alien Margarita.
Description: Celebrity chef Kerry Simon's tongue-in-cheek take on a-typical American food at Harrah's
Review: For the American journalist among us, the entire menu at the Soviet Russia-themed restaurant (complete with a glittering hammer and sickle suspended above our table - no joke) was a nostalgic nod towards the dinners he would of eaten as a child - think mini burgers, tater tots, candy floss, and strawberry shortcake push pops all conjured into adult form. Be sure to leave your diets at the door - this is gourmet junk food to the nth degree.
Description: Gourmet steakhouse at Planet Hollywood
Review: A meat-eater's paradise, this low-lit, luxurious restaurant cooks every cut to perfection and serves it with an equally delicious range of sides, including truffle-creamed spinach, goose fatted roast potatoes (Nigella would be proud), and the most gigantic slab of 24-layer chocolate cake we have ever seen. Vegetarian? Fret not - there are pasta dishes and sides available that are perfectly suitable and equally delicious. Great wine list, too.
Description: A fusion of modern and traditional Italian dishes tucked away in the Aria casino resort
Review: Elastic waistbands at the ready - this light and homely Italian serves deceivingly hearty, family-sized portions. Expect everything from gourmet pizzas, to truffle-laced veil, rustic pasta dishes and one of the largest Italian wine collections in the whole of Las Vegas. A vegetarian menu is also available, as are any other requirements you may need - the service is inspiring, to say the least.
Best for vegetarians and vegans
Description: A fusion of Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine at the Palazzo casino resort
Review: It sounds bizarre, but these polar-opposite cuisines actually marry pretty well. Not only were we bowled over by the fantastic cocktails, huge range of sake and wonderful presentation, but the food itself was amazing. Alongside robato grilled meats and raw sashimi dishes, there is a wide range of vegetarian and vegan dishes, including a brilliant shiitaki coconut mushroom soup, latino vegetable tempura and a 'Veggie Kun' samba roll sushi selection. We're getting stomach rumbles just thinking about it!
Description: High-end modern Japanese restaurant at the MGM Grand casino resort
Review: We couldn't have been more impressed with the taster plates at this restaurant if we tried. Dishes were served in the most creative way possible - think mini-Japanese gardens filled with dry ice and dishes served on fish bowls with real goldfish swimming around in them. The home-grown tofu is so high in quality, it almost tastes like fresh buffalo mozzarella and the seaweed salads are delicate and refreshing. Worth visiting just for the theatricality, let alone the great veggie range.
Where to drink
Description: Balcony bar overlooking the fountains at the famed Bellagio casino-resort
Review: If you're looking for a really romantic spot to linger over a pisco sour or a fine glass of bubbly, then the fountain bar at The Bellagio is a great choice. Sit out on the balcony to enjoy the spectacular fountain displays (they have to be seen to be believed) and admire the impressive wine collection. Did we mention there's an almost life-sized replica of the Eiffel Tower, too? Yep, it's nuts, but endearingly so.
Description: A steakhouse and sky bar at the Rio casino resort
Review: If the fish-bowl-sized bubbling cauldron of Witch Doctor cocktail doesn't get you, then the breath-taking views of the Las Vegas skyline on the bar balcony will. It might not be the most happening place on the strip, but it's worth a look just for that, we reckon.
Description: Modern Mexican restaurant and bar at the MGM Grand casino resort
Review: The food here is excellent, but this particular restaurant and bar is also extremely well-regarded for its superb selection of tequilas and accompanying cocktails. From traditional shots, to high-quality, barrel-soaked liquors to sip on-the-rocks, this place is a must for spirit enthusiasts.
Best for cocktails
Description: Laid-back cocktail bar in the Aria casino resort
Review: This was by far our favourite watering hole, not just for the laid-back atmosphere, great service, and convenience of it all (the bar made the perfect meeting place positioned between the casino and the hotel lobby) but the outstanding quality of cocktails. We loved their inventive 'hangover cocktails' menu, which includes three different takes on the traditional Bloody Mary and a delicious coconut, rum and peanut blend which will cure - tried and tested - even the most pounding of self-induced headaches.
Honourable mentions go also to Bar Fontana at the Bellagio for its expertly-mixed Pisco Sours, Mundo's for the refreshing Alien Margarita and Sinatra's at Encore for its Rat Pack-themed menu and whiskey-lovers favourite, the Sinatra Smash.
Best for luxury
Description: Sophisticated modern American bar and restaurant with 'global influences'
Review: This bar is particularly renowned for its superb selection of modern, vintage and high-end absinthe, served in a variety of ways - from traditional sugar and icy water, to flambéed orange and cocktails. Expect other rarities and boutique liquors served by supremely knowledgeable barmen who will happily talk through each beverage's origin and history.
Andre's Cigar & Cognac Lounge
Description: Homely vintage cognac and cigar lounge in the Monte Carlo resort and casino
Review: When we say vintage, we mean it - some of the cognacs in this luxurious lounge are almost 300 years old, and worth just as much ($700 a shot, anyone?). If you really want to escape the hustle and bustle of the Strip, the carpeted rooms, comfortable arm chairs and open fireplaces provide the perfect environment in which to savour a brandy or two.
See also the Fontana Bar at the Bellagio for its Champagne list and Sirio's for Italian wine.
How to get there
BA offers daily flights from Heathrow to Las Vegas from £584 return including taxes.
Visit ba.com or call 0844 4930787
Need more info?
Contact the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority at , or call 020 7367 0979