In a city filled with flashy, over the top landmarks, there's one symbol of Sin City that outshines them all. Never mind the vintage "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign, the fake Eiffel Tower and New York skyline, or Wayne Newton's toupee, the real mark of this town is, without question, The Bellagio. I mean, it's the backdrop to Diddy's latest Ciroc commercial - what further proof is needed of its preeminent status?
While we were planning our recent Las Vegas adventure, MJ made a shrewd suggestion - "Bellagio Day." Knowing that there are few places on the planet that I love more than The Bellagio, she suggested we spend a full day and night checking off all of my favorite spots in the resort. The genius behind the plan was it freed up the other three days to see the rest of Vegas - read: stuff she wanted to do - otherwise all of our time would be eaten up by my 2 or 3 daily visits to The Bellagio. She's a smart one, that MJ.
|Bellagio Day began with a run to the famous Las Vegas sign.|
Although we saved a chunk of change by staying down the street at The Mirage, we started this adventure by reinvesting a portion of the savings into a pair of Bellagio spa day passes. At $29 a piece this is easily the best value in all of Las Vegas. For nearly three hours, MJ and I enjoyed the tranquility of the spa's steamroom, whirlpools, and sauna, in between stints on the comfortable loungers with a plate of fresh fruit, juices, and the Kindle. It was the perfect way to recharge and begin Bellagio Day, plus I'm sure MJ benefited from the few hours spent apart from me.
As I stood on the balcony outside the spa which overlooks the Conservatory, the zombie-like state of my fully relaxed mind was almost a little scary. The solution: an iced coffee from Jean Philippe Patisserie and some time at the roulette table. Caffeine and adrenaline - the perfect offset to the peaceful start to Bellagio Day. Even more perfect that I hit on green which paid for our spa day passes.
|The view of the Conservatory from the spa balcony.|
After strolling through the Via Bellagio shops, all the while keeping an eye out for a Real Housewife or Britney, we headed back to The Mirage to get ready for the second half of Bellagio Day.
The next stop on our tour was the Petrossian Lounge. Located just off the lobby, this is easily my new favorite spot in Las Vegas. Not only do you have an outstanding view of the lobby's Chihuly ceiling, but the people watching is incredible. The Petrossian lies right on the main path between the lobby, casino, and the Conservatory, so there is a constant flow of people. At one point, Kelsey Grammer passed by pushing a stroller with his new baby and wife. And yet, he was just one of the crowd - seemingly unnoticed by everyone.
Perhaps that's part of what makes The Bellagio so great - here the nobodies are somebodies and the somebodies are nobodies. The view from arguably the best table in the Petrossian Lounge most definitely had me feeling like a somebody. Then again, the Bellagio Cocktail and chocolate covered strawberries probably accounted for the bulk of this sensation.
From the Petrossian Lounge it was on to Michael Mina for dinner. As one of the signature restaurants at The Bellagio, expectations were higher than normal for Michael Mina, and it certainly delivered. The atmosphere was a posh, yet comfortable, oasis just off the mind-numbingly busy Conservatory, reminding me of the outpost for another chef with San Francisco roots - Gary Danko.
|The bar at Michael Mina|
We opted for the three course "Sunset Menu," which I had to request seeing as the server was clearly not inclined to share it voluntarily - thank you advance research. The meal and accompanying wine pairing was exceptional, the highlight of which was my tuna tartar. The finishing touches of this dish were done at the table, and it was worth every penny of the $15 pre-fixe supplement. The only knock against Michael Mina: the photographer roaming the restaurant, interrupting every table to ask if they wanted a picture. Seriously, will someone please remind them they're The Bellagio and not Carnival Cruise Lines.
With over an hour on our hands, we decided on the fly to head to Picasso for a post-dinner glass of bubbly. The bar at this Five Diamond Award winning restaurant is small, but the atmosphere is off the charts thanks to the $100 million worth of masterpieces adorning the walls. The outdoor terrace also happens to be the best place to watch the Bellagio fountains, although sadly it was closed due to the cold weather. Not that we minded...to have visited Picasso twice in as many years was a special and unexpected treat.
|Champagne and a Picasso works for me.|
Finally, it was time to take in the highest rated Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas - O. Like all Cirque shows, there were certainly some awe inspiring acts, however as a whole I'd say this one was a miss. It was a little long, a little slow, and there were even times where I had a difficult time staying awake. The logistics of how they pull off the show are truly amazing, but overall I'd rank The Beatles Love and even La Nouba at Disney above O. Those are shows that I can see again and again, I have a feeling that O will be a one and done.
|The "O" Theater|
Our last stop of Bellagio Day was supposed to be the Lily Lounge, so that MJ and I could try and hang out with the cool kids. Sadly, my pseudo-nap during O left me tired, cranky, and dreading the walk back to The Mirage. Probably wasn't much of a loss - the last thing I needed was another round of outrageously priced cocktails. But boy does The Bellagio know how to make a cocktail...
|Obligatory ceiling photo.|
The Bellagio isn't just the symbol of Las Vegas, it's an experience. To walk in the lobby, snap an obligatory photo with the ceiling and then move on is to only scratch the surface of what makes this resort so special. Setting aside an entire day to experience all that The Bellagio has to offer might seem like poor use of valuable time, but trust me... You'll be glad you did.
Enjoy Your Stay