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Travel: Las Vegas is a feast for the senses

© Anthony MairThe Bellagio hotel with its dancing fountains on the Las Vegas Strip
The Bellagio hotel with its dancing fountains on the Las Vegas Strip

Electrifying neon lights, lip-smacking cuisine and mind-blowing entertainment – Las Vegas is a relentless assault on the senses.

As our Virgin Atlantic flight started its descent, I was explaining to one of my fellow passengers that I was envious he was about to taste Sin City’s wonders for the first time.

Saying that, I’ve been lucky to visit the Entertainment Capital of the World a few times, and each time, I still get that same “Vegas Virgin” feeling.

So, after flying in with my friends Joe and Jonathan, the three of us were all set for some fun.

In Vegas, all five of your senses are heightened, even your smell. And although this may seem like a peculiar thing to point out, each of the city’s resorts has its own distinctive scent – some more pleasing than others.

Thankfully, the two hotels I stayed in during the trip were fragrantly fresh.

First up, I checked into the iconic Bellagio Resort & Casino, which has recently revamped its luxurious guest rooms.

Then, for the second half of the week, I was at one of Aria Resort & Casino’s redesigned AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star Sky Suites, meaning I was picked up and dropped off at the airport by limo, and granted access to the dedicated lounge, concierge and secluded Sky Pool.

Another sense that was explored at the resort was my sense of touch, as I was booked in for a midweek Ashiatsu Massage at The Spa at Aria.

The spa at Aria

The therapist, supported by bars on the ceiling, massaged my back, neck and shoulders with her feet, using a blend of Shiatsu and Swedish techniques.

There isn’t much respite for the ears in the “City Without Clocks”. But if you’re in the mood to party, the entertainment starts early.

For clubbers, the ideal way to unlock the best day and nightlife is by purchasing one of TAO Group’s Vegas Party Passes.

By wearing these wristbands, the three of us could jump the queues at eight renowned venues including Hakkasan, Wet Republic, Omnia, Jewel, TAO and TAO Beach, and Marquee.

We spent a night with a table at Aria’s Jewel to watch DJ CLA, while our usual Sunday afternoon drinking and dancing session was spent at the Asian-inspired tropical oasis, TAO Beach Dayclub.

If you’re a sports fan, check out the Stadium Swim pool amphitheatre at the new Circa Resort & Casino.

Aria Resort & Casino (Pic: Tory Kooyman)

We ordered buckets of ice-cold Coronas to watch the Kentucky Derby, on the jaw-dropping 143 x 40-foot LED screen.

If there’s one sense that will be truly satisfied in Vegas, it’s in your tastebuds.

Michael Mina at Bellagio is the best seafood eatery in the city, and we nibbled on everything from caviar and clams, to oysters and lobsters.

The next evening was at The Mayfair Supper Club. The food was again remarkable, but what elevated this place further was the entertainment, as it evolved from a swinging prohibition-era jazz club to a late-night dance party.

Late nights can easily become early mornings, and there is no better spot for brunch in Sin City than on the shore of the dazzling Bellagio lake at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago.

We took our seats and washed down big eye tuna tartare, smoked salmon and pancakes with bottomless mimosas before the server brought over three sparkplug cocktails to send us on our way.

New York-themed Mad Apple show by Cirque du Soleil (Pic: Matt Beard)

On our final evening in Vegas, we had a special preview of Cirque du Soleil’s first new production on the Strip in two years, Mad Apple at New York-New York.

We spoke with the brains behind the show, British producer Simon Painter, who told us to settle in for laughs, music, magic and mayhem in the company of comedian Brad Williams, freestyle rapper Chris Turner, vocalist Xharlie Black and an ensemble of acrobats, soul singers and street performers.

Simon admitted his cocktail of high-octane entertainment may not make an ounce of sense at times but, like Las Vegas itself, it’s guaranteed to be sense-sational.


Restaurants in Las Vegas serve just about every genre of cuisine imaginable, at every price point.

Seafood is particularly popular – more than 60,000lbs of shellfish is consumed in Vegas every day, more than in the rest of the United States combined.


Virgin Atlantic Holidays offers five nights in Las Vegas from £1,035 per person including scheduled Virgin Atlantic Economy flights direct from London Heathrow to Las Vegas and accommodation at the five-star Aria Resort & Casino.

To find out more go to