Take on Vegas
Hosting the live Dancing With the Stars at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, our moving ambassador of good taste, Carson Kressley, reports on the scene from this wildly popular American destination. Since arriving earlier this month (and he'll be there through early July), he’s already identified the places you’ll want to visit. Here, he shares some of his finds with FarewellTravels.
FarewellTravels: What do you like most about Las Vegas?
Carson Kressley: I love that this city is really open 24 hours. Even more so than places like New York, London or Tokyo. If you want to go to the Hermes store or get a cheeseburger at 1 am - no problem!
FarewellTravels: Las Vegas is all about gambling. What’s your game?
Carson Kressley: When I chose to play at the Encore, which is my personal favorite hotel in Vegas--it’s elegant and whimsical and over the top all at the same time--I choose blackjack. I know roulette and craps have a classy James Bond flair, but I have no idea how those games work, so it's blackjack for me!
I never bet more than 100 dollars. With my luck, I figure that's already a steep price to pay for five minutes of entertainment. Honestly, I prefer buying shoes to gambling. I give them the money, they hand over the shoes. That's how I like to spend my money.
FarewellTravels: Any fashion tips for how to dress at the tables?
I think you should always dress up to go out In Vegas. If you look good, you'll feel confident and just be more successful at the tables and, more importantly, life! Also you will have an easier time getting into the nice clubs and restaurants if you look your best.
FarewellTravels: Do you have any favorite restaurants there?
Carson Kressley: All of the restaurants at The Cosmopolitan. I especially love Stk (a steakhouse) and Comme Ça (French brasserie).
FarewellTravels: Have you found a great dish (or drink) we should make a point of getting when we go there?
Carson Kressley: The crab claws at Piero's, a legendary rat pack restaurant off the strip.
FarewellTravels: Have you had a chance to get to a spa?
Carson Kressley: Oh yes! Love the spa at the Mandarin Oriental. It's divine and the whole place is smoke free. And then there's The Beach Club at the Encore--pools, hot tubs, cabanas--the daytime party scene.
FarewellTravels: What about shopping?
Carson Kressley: The Premium Outlets, just north of the strip, is where you can really hit the jackpot. There's Dolce & Gabbana, Tory Burch and St. John--just to name a few.
There's major world-class shopping in Vegas including The Crystals™at CityCenter™ which has a Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tom Ford, Gucci, Lanvin, Stella Mc Cartney®, Paul Smith, Versace, Dior, and Fendi store all under one roof.
And there are many other retail choices at the casinos and the Fashion Show Mall (which true to its name has runway shows daily). And The Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. They've got it all.
FarewellTravels: Are you just looking or have you bought anything there?
Carson Kressley: Yes I buy clothes like cattle graze. A few items here and there over the course of several days. I like to buy watches here because the selection and number of reputable retailers is unparalleled. I shop the outlets about once a week and I troll the high-end stores for that one luxury treat I will reward myself with after the job is done.
Aside from clothes and accessories, there's an emerging arts district
near downtown and I bought some very well-priced but amazing artwork here.
FarewellTravels: Any favorite shows?
Carson Kressley: Mystère by Cirque du Soleil--18 years and going strong, it's a Vegas classic.
FarewellTravels: When you're not working, what do you do in Vegas?
Carson Kressley: I'm always working because I'm designing a new clothing collection called "Love, Carson" for www.shopnbc.com. It's great being here, because shopping is so huge and I'm finding inspiration everywhere I look.
FarewellTravels: Do you have a chance to get out of town at all?
Carson Kressley: Oh yes. That's me on horseback (on the right) at the Bonnie Springs Ranch, which is about 30 minutes outside the strip but a world away. The place has a great story and is owned by a 94-year-old former show girl. Also, outside of Vegas, the Valley of Fire and the red rocks are gorgeous.
FarewellTravels: In movies, Vegas is always where people go to get wild and crazy (What Happens in Vegas, Hangover…). Do you find yourself fighting the temptation to go wild and crazy yourself?
Carson Kressley: There’s only one way to answer that. No comment.
Photo Credits: Courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau and Carson Kressley.