Since we’re just getting over the holiday rush and everyone is starting to think about their New Year’s Eve plans, I thought I would lighten things up a little and discuss some of the hotspots I enjoyed this year when visiting two of my favorite destinations for work: Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Due to the high number of trade shows that our clients attend, I had the opportunity to visit both locations quite a few times throughout 2016 and wanted to share some of my favorite dining and lodging venues. Everyone has time constraints while traveling, but if you have a few spare minutes, below are my recommendations for a little bit of recreation and downtime.
As anyone who has visited can testify, there are hundreds of restaurants in Las Vegas that cater to every kind of palate. However, before making dinner reservations, deciding on comfortable lodging is your first priority. I highly recommend staying at the Wynn Encore and exploring the variety of restaurants and other amenities. Not only are the rooms spacious, the service is second to none. More importantly, the facility does a great job of filtering out the smoke in the casino. Additionally, the Wynn is essentially like one-stop shopping for your dining and recreational needs.
For breakfast in Las Vegas, you should check out Jardin–located on the border of the Wynn Encore and the Wynn Resort. Dining is available at the bar, formal dining room and poolside. Try the eggs benedict or the three egg omelet.
Given the rash of meetings that travelers contend with during a Vegas business trip, many people end up skipping lunch. However, if you’re looking for a quick and informal restaurant to grab a bite, I recommend Zooza Crackers, which is also located in the Wynn. The New York delicatessen style restaurant has a delightful laid-back atmosphere and is connected to sports betting center (nothing beats enjoying a great meal and then wagering on your March Madness bracket). I recommend the Pastrami Sandwich on Rye.
For an upscale dinner, I have to recommend Sinatra, which is also located within the Wynn Resort. The restaurant is a tribute to Frank Sinatra and carries some of his favorite dishes. The food and service is outstanding, as is the wine list. One of my favorite dishes is the Branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) and the Caesar Salad for an appetizer. Paired with a delightful Sauvignon Blanc and the music of “Ol’ Blue Eyes,” the combination can’t be beat.
If nightlife and dancing is your thing and you follow the celebrity DJ scene, you have to check out XS at the Wynn. The eclectic venue features the likes of Skrillex and David Guetta, who spin tunes until 4:00 a.m. If you stay into the early morning hours and need early morning snack, check out Allegro where things are going until 4/5 in the morning. The club can be hard to get into, but if you’re staying at the Wynn, they’ve got you covered.
Affinity for Vegas aside, my favorite destination for business travel is Los Angles. Outside of your work obligations, the city features beaches and hiking within a twenty minute ride from downtown. Additionally, it’s also home to some world-class dining and nightlife options that cater to everyone’s desires and personalities. If you’re one of our many readers from the data center industry, I also know that you may be making a trip to LA for the newly relocated Data Center World conference in the spring. Here are a few recommendations, offered after many visits to the area.
Whether you’re looking for something a little more casual or formal, there are countless places to dine in Los Angeles. When it comes to formal dining, one of the favorite places my colleagues and I visited this year was Boa Steakhouse on the Sunset Strip. The pleasant vibe inside and large seating areas are perfect for a business dinner. In addition to a range of great steaks, the wine list is also outstanding. I recommend the center cut filet and Charred Tuna Tartare to start.
When it comes to breakfast in LA, I have one go-to spot: The Farm on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills. If you’re a car fanatic, grab a seat outside and you’ll see just about every type of exotic automobile built in the last 50 years. [If you arrive between 8:00 a.m. & 9:00 a.m. you have a pretty good chance of seeing David Spade, who dines there most mornings. Hint: keep your eyes open for a late 2000s Chevy Impala…] The other benefit of dining at The Farm is the free two hour parking in a variety of nearby garages. I highly recommend that you try The Farm’s Huevos Rancheros and signature Bloody Mary.
If you’re looking for a casual dining experience that still encompasses the LA vibe, check out The Larchmont on Melrose Avenue. I highly recommend the Moroccan Spiced Lamb Shoulder. Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the newer restaurants in LA that features a great lunch and dinner: Craig’s. Also, located on Melrose, this is the place to go if you want to track down LA’s A-list. While it’s very difficult to get reservations, it’s worth the effort to at least pop in for a drink at the bar.
Like Las Vegas, LA is known for its nightlife. This year, my favorite LA nightclub was the Doheny Room. In addition to having a club vibe to it, the venue has a two floor lounge that also serves a delicious dinner. Both the club and lounge are popular locations for LA’s A-list.
Food and nightlife aside, one of the most important components to a trip to Los Angeles is quality lodging. While there are many great hotels in the LA area, I would highly recommend two: Hotel Angeleno (which is located on the Brentwood/Bel Air line) and the Mondrian (located on the Sunset Strip). Hotel Angelino is conveniently located right off of the 405 freeway, reasonably priced, and has a top floor restaurant with a 360 degree view of LA’s skyline. Fair warning: if you stay here you’ll need a car since it’s somewhat off of the beaten path.
The Mondrian is popular with the younger crowd, slightly more expensive, but features a poolside nightclub that is quite popular. The rooms are spacious with a view of either the Hollywood Hills or Downtown LA. It’s located in the heart of the Sunset Strip, so you can walk to some great restaurants and nightlife.
Adam Waitkunas authors the column “Anecdotally Adam” and is President of Milldam Public Relations.