From its sassy origins in gaming and feathery entertainment, Las Vegas has evolved into a world-class meeting destination with an emphasis on luxury. What was most striking on a recent trip was the number of upscale arts and entertainment choices, including the rotating exhibitions at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, multiple Cirque du Soleil productions, and the original masterpieces enveloping diners at Renoir in The Mirage.
For fine dining options, some of the resorts' most highly touted restaurants, including Bellagio's Le Cirque and Picasso, are dinner-only establishments that welcome groups for private luncheons and late afternoon receptions. Or, for an extra-special evening, the Chef's Table at MGM Grand Conference Center offers an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at food preparation with customized tasting menus, unique presentations, and introductions of courses by individual chefs.
Las Vegas rivals Madonna when it comes to mastering the art of reinvention. Treasure Island, which is now popularly known as “TI”, has jettisoned its pirate theme and decor and dedicated itself to the adult audience. New York-New York and Bellagio have recently invested more than $100 million collectively to enhance their guest rooms' decor and technology.
The Las Vegas meeting experience is also reaping the fruits of investment. Rio Hotel & Casino is undergoing an expansion that will add 60,000 square feet of meeting space; the Venetian has unveiled 150,000 square feet of additional meeting space, and Bellagio's new Spa Tower will feature 60,000 square feet of meeting space.
In addition to all the new meeting options, there's guaranteed to be a new place to play golf each time you bring a group back. Las Vegas mega-mogul Steve Wynn's glossy new resort, set to open next spring, will feature an 18-hole Tom Fazio — designed golf course. Farther off the Strip, everyone is talking about golf at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas, with 36 holes.
Fast-moving meeting attendees will appreciate the 25 new SpeedCheck kiosks conveniently located inside McCarran International Airport. Six more kiosks are at the Las Vegas Convention Center, making the facility the only convention center in the United States with the ability to offer attendees a boarding pass before they arrive at the airport.