New Year’s Resolutions: Vegas Style

So you’ve made a resolution to get fit, stay fit, or at least visit a gym in 2017… but then you came to Las Vegas – a city made to destroy any resolutions. Fear not. Tucked amongst the bars, the gourmet restaurants, and the world’s biggest candy shops, are some of the best hotel gyms you’ll ever find, and below we’ll tell you about three of our favorites [Pro-tip: If you go at dinner time, you may just have the place to yourself.]

CAESARS PALACE:

We’ve had some pretty great workouts at the Caesars Palace fitness center. Located in Caesars celebrated Qua Baths and Spa, the 5,500 sq ft fitness center has a $25/day fee unless you are Diamond or Seven Stars with Total Rewards so keep that in mind. Caesars Palace features state of the art cardio and weight lifting machines [including a Smith machine], as well as an array of free weights. They, like the other fitness centers on this list, also feature bikes, however, they have them arranged in a circle so that you’re facing each other which is good if you’re with others so you can chat, but bad if you’re awkwardly facing a bunch of strangers as sweat pours down your face – if you care about things like that. They also have stretching/flexibility machines which is really rare in hotel gyms. Be sure to cap off your workout with a chilled towel [!!!] and a piece of fresh fruit.

THE COSMOPOLITAN:

The Cosmopolitan boasts two fitness centers – one in each of their towers, one is 5,250 sq ft and one is 2,087 sq ft… oh, and one has a boxing ring. The sleek fitness center is very swanky, just like Cosmo itself – with dark wood floors, wall sconces illuminating dark-ish [at least for a gym] corners. They have a large selection of cardio and weight machines, as well as the aforementioned boxing ring. If you’re more of a group fitness buff, you’ll definitely want to check out Sweat 60 – it’s a 60 minute  HIIT class that they offer twice a day Tue-Sat which includes plyometrics, strength training, core stability exercises, and of course, boxing. It’s only $15 for 60 minutes. They also offer private tennis lessons if that’s more your thing. After you sweat it out, be sure to grab a piece of fresh fruit on your way out!

ARIA:

Bright, airy, spacious, and packed with nearly every machine [including a Smith machine] you could want, we’ve had some of our best workouts at the Aria fitness center. The 6,000 sq ft fitness center overlooks the pool so you have a great view and plenty of natural light. But here’s the thing, Aria’s fitness center offers more than any other hotel gym we’ve ever seen – and we’ve seen a lot.

In addition to their array of cardio and weight machines, medicine and stability balls, and free weights, Aria offers group and individual training as well as specialty workouts including combat cardio, kettlebell training, TRX, yoga, pilates, strength training and body sculpting, barre, spinning, as well as full body composition testing, and a full wellness program.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL. If you prefer to get your sweat on while not being confined to a gym, check out their “Indoor Hike” which will get you moving and sweating while exploring some of the scenic areas of Aria. Seriously, the best hotel gym ever. If we could buy a full-time membership there we would.

[Photo cred: aria.com]

Best New Show of 2016: The Bronx Wanderers

2016 took a lot of things from us: Prince, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, and here in Las Vegas, it took the Broadway show, Jersey Boys. While we were still mourning the loss, a little show opened up at Bally’s just one month later that helped ease the void in our souls. The Bronx Wanderers is, in our [obviously not that expert opinion] the best new show in Las Vegas for 2016. And the best part? It features A TON of Frankie Valli’s songs in a couple different medleys.

 

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Vinny Jr., Vinny Sr., and Nicky Adinolfi. [Photo via The Bronx Wanderers]
Founded by Bronx-born patriarch, Vinny Adinolfi [a former record producer] and his two sons, Vinny Jr, and Nicky, The Bronx Wanderers tells the stories behind the songs that have inspired the elder Adinolfi through a musical journey of high energy, just try not to sing along, hits by pop icons including Dion and The Belmonts, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Elvis, Billy Joel, The Beach Boys, Queen, and Bruno Mars.

 

While Vinny Sr. is clearly the leader and de-facto emcee of the show, it’s Vinny “the kid” who really shines. A true showman; he can sing, he can play a few different instruments, and his personality and showmanship just radiate from the stage. If Las Vegas is looking for the “next Wayne Newton,” this kid is it. His version of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is perfection.

The Bronx Wanderers is part oldies, part rock ‘n roll, but 100% entertaining. It’s such a great time that we’ve seen it twice in the three months it’s been running.

The Bronx Wanderers play nightly at Bally’s in the Window’s Showroom – go check it out in 2017.

New Year, New Vegas

Happy New Year! New Years are all about optimistically looking towards the future and anticipating all the [good] changes and things to come. While people love to muse about becoming a new version of themselves, Las Vegas as a city embodies that mentality on the regular.

No other city in the world experiences as many changes as this neon paradise does every year. Hotels, restaurants, shows, nothing is safe, nothing is sacred; it could all be completely changed tomorrow – as evidenced by the pile of rubble that the iconic Riviera became in 2016 – but like the mighty phoenix, something new will swiftly rise up. With that said, let’s look to some of the new changes and additions we’re most looking forward to in 2017!

Backstreet Boys: Oh my God, they’re back again. It was music to nearly every millennial girl’s ears when Planet Hollywood announced that the original, the best, boy band of the late 90s, early 00s would be the latest stars of yesteryear to embark on a residency at The Axis at PH. The Boys join a rotating roster of 90s super powers including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez and Lionel Richie. Backstreet Boys: Larger Than Life begins rocking your body in March.

In-N-Out at The Linq: In a city overflowing with amazing restaurants, the number one restaurant Lyft riders requested rides to using the service in 2016 was In-N-Out Burger. For decades travelers have either cabbed, called an Uber or a Lyft, or [gasp] made the trek to walk to the In-N-Out on Tropicana, but those days are finally over. In-N-Out is slated to open their very first Strip outpost on the Linq Promenade in January 2017. Can you say late night Animal Style everything?!

Chik-fil-A: While we’re on the subject of fast food, let’s talk about this earth-shattering news: VEGAS IS GETTING CHIK-FIL-A. The southern staple is slated to open it’s first outpost in Henderson on January 26. This may not be as exciting to travelers but Vegas locals are counting down the days until they can get those chicken tenders and waffle fries.

Pro-Sports Hit the Strip: Professional sports have long stayed far away from Las Vegas due to the perceived risks associated with legal sports betting. All that changes this year when Las Vegas gets it’s first professional sports team to rally behind with the newest NHL expansion team: the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights will train in Summerlin and play their games at the brand new T-Mobile Arena at The Park.

NoMad Las Vegas & Park MGM Grand: As hotel nerds, we love any new or renovated hotel news. 2017 will see MGM’s Monte Carlo Hotel split into two hotels, Park MGM Grand, a luxury resort which will anchor The Park, and a Las Vegas version of the Sydell Group’s New York City hotel, NoMad Hotel. The space will also house a Vegas version of the celebrated Italian food market concept, Eataly.

Blue Ribbon Brasserie: Another New York to Vegas concept, Blue Ribbon Brasserie is slated to take over the space in Cosmopolitan currently occupied by Blue Ribbon Sushi. Blue Ribbon Brasserie is a late-night (but really, anytime) industry favorite in Manhattan with the best duck club sandwich ever.

Las Vegas is constantly evolving and these are just a few of the changes 2017 will bring, they just happen to be a few that we are most looking forward to. Well these, and the re-opening of the pedestrian bridge outside of the Tropicana – seriously, how long does it take to complete a pedestrian bridge?!

IT’S ALWAYS POOL SEASON IN VEGAS… SORT OF

Las Vegas is a land dotted with palm trees and endless sunshine, but buyer beware, all that shines is not necessarily warm. If your plan is to lounge by a glamorous Vegas pool and soak up the rays, you may want to plan your trip wisely. While Las Vegas is in fact in the desert and the sun does show itself around 300 days out of the year, it does get cold. Like really cold. I mean seriously, I’ve seen it snow.

That being said, many of the pools here stay open year round. I guess if you’re from Canada maybe what my thin blood considers “down jacket weather,” you consider pool weather? Ergo, in this beautiful desert land, I can wear my winter coat and you can wear your bikini and we can all coexist – although you will have fewer options.

If you’re looking to get your polar bear swim on, here are some of your options:

Stay warm by the fire with a s'more or two or three.

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Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay: Usually “toptional” during warmer months, this day club turns into an all-ages pool after October. For those of us who think it’s a little chilly to take a dip, they also offer reservable firepits and S’mores packages. Open 9am-5pm.

What a blissful way to spend a Sunday! Photo by @worldtraveladventurers

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Bellagio Pool: If you really want to get in the water without going into shock, the pool at the Bellagio is probably one of your best bets as they keep the main pool warmed to a toasty 80 degrees all winter. The Cypress Pool is closed for the season, but the hot tubs are open. Open 9am-5pm.

#VenusPool is waiting…

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Venus Pool Club at Caesars Palace: Like Moorea Beach Club, this typically adults only day club welcomes guests of all ages in the colder months. Open 9am-6pm.

Escape from the ordinary. #HowManyDays until you're here?

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MGM Grand Pools: Guests staying at MGM Grand have a choice of two pools during the winter- the Academy or the Producers pools. The Producers Pool is nice for those avid swimmers as they typically have three lap lanes blocked off. Open 9am-6pm.

Time to dive into some relaxation! The view isn't half bad either. #vegas

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Soleil at Paris: The Soleil Pool at Paris has a couple things going for it – the first is that it is a relatively small pool so maybe, just maybe the sun will warm it faster. The second is that it is IN. THE. SUN. There’s not really a spec of shade at this pool so that sunshine will definitely help keep you warm. There is also a hot tub – sadly, that’s in the shade. Open 10am-4pm. 

Our pool is heated and open all year long!😎💙#LINQLife #TheLINQPool

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Linq Pool: The Linq pool is a rectangular little party pool that is in the shade nearly all day – BUT it is HEATED. They have games and floating beer pong tables for those die hard, winter pool partiers. Open 9am-5pm.

I'm ready for some Sunday Funday action at @marqueelv Dome today! I go on at 3 🙌🏽🙌🏽

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Marquee Day Club at Cosmopolitan: If you’re really looking to step up your pool party game, the Marquee Day Club puts up their #dayclubdome and keeps the summer party going every  Saturday, Oct. 29- March 13, and on holiday weekend Sundays. Open 11:30am-sunset. 

It's a perfect day for the pool. When are you arriving?

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Palazzo Pool: The Palazzo Pool is open to guests at the Venetian and Palazzo and is an expansive pool deck surrounded by tropical foliage. The Venetian/Palazzo pool complex is one of my favorite pools during the summer because of their labyrinth of little pools. Open 10am-4pm. 

This is by no means an inclusive list of all the open pools in Las Vegas and the hours are subject to change so please verify with the hotel before your visit.

 

 

VEGAS HAS BIKES!

 

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You can rent a cruiser 24-hours a day at one of 21 RTC Bike Share stations.

Earlier this the month, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada [RTC] quietly rolled out a new program that, while a seemingly small step, is actually quite significant in terms of establishing Las Vegas as a “real” city; ladies and gentlemen, Las Vegas now has a bike share program downtown.

Every single major city from New York to car-obsessed Los Angeles has a bike share program. These programs appeal not only to tourists who don’t want the expense or hassle of renting a car, but also to locals. In New York City, a city that I would certainly be a more than a little bit nervous riding a bike in, the tremendously successful Citi Bike program has provided a new transportation option in a city where the majority of both residents and visitors don’t have access to a car. In Vegas a majority of our tourists are traveling from countries where biking is far more popular than in the U.S.which means that they may be far more likely to rent a bike than a car – especially if they aren’t as comfortable with driving laws etc.

RTC Bike Share is a partnership between RTC, Bicycle Transit Systems [Bike Transit], and BCycle. There are currently 21 stations sprinkled throughout downtown where riders may “check out” a bike for just $4 for a 30-minute ride, $8 for a 24-hour pass [riders can take as many trips as they want within that period] or $20 for a 30-day pass. There are 180 bikes and they can be returned to any RTC Bike Share station.

This is all great and I’m all for it, except one little thing. Have you seen the drivers in Las Vegas? They. Are. Scary. I’m scared to drive in Vegas half the time, let alone share a road with them without a metal box protecting my bod. Downtown Las Vegas currently offers a number of bike lanes and routes and even more are planned for the future, so fingers crossed, this program really takes off. Would you ride a bike in Las Vegas?