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Even in today’s economy, there are still ways to splurge in Las Vegas.
Photo: PR (Zero-Gravity Flight, Las Vegas)
What separates Las Vegas from many destinations is the live-our-dreams factor. And if we can’t live them, at least we can ponder them and wonder, “Who really does this stuff?” Whether it’s opulent accommodations, a divinely decadent meal, or an adrenaline-infused adventure, anything is possible in Sin City.
Nowhere is that mindset more evident than the Fantasy Tower at the Palms Casino Resort. Here you’ll find an assortment of mind-blowing accommodations, including the totally awesome Hardwood Suite, the only hotel room in the world with an indoor basketball court.
The suite covers 10,000 square feet on two floors and features a basketball half-court smack in the middle. The Hardwood Suite also contains a locker room, scoreboard, pool table, full bar with lounge, and a pond-sized Jacuzzi big enough to accommodate both starting lineups.
The price for a night is $25,000, but nobody said hoop dreams come cheap. For an extra fee you can sport customized team jerseys. Best of all, since the Hardwood is a suite among suites, you don’t have to worry about the guy in the room below pounding on the ceiling and yelling to knock off the dribbling.
HIGH-FLYING HIGH ROLLERS
If you feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, Vegas has the antidote. Hop aboard a Zero-G flight, and you can experience the sensation of floating weightless in space. The thrill of Las Vegas lies in its defiance of all things conventional, so why not step it up a notch and defy gravity?
A Boeing 727, tricked out like a zero-gravity playroom, carries passengers aloft and executes a series of 12 to 15 parabolic maneuvers—smooth swooping arcs that deliver about 30 seconds of weightlessness. That’s at least a dozen Oh-My-God-I-Can’t-Believe-I’m-Floating moments.
It’s the same zero-gravity simulation used to train astronauts. By the end of the flight, passengers will have logged six to seven minutes of reduced gravity—about as much as Alan Shepard experienced on America’s first manned space flight.
Passengers float, turn flips, and ping-pong off padded walls. When the crew tears open a bag of M&M’s, passengers gobble them Pac-Man-style. And you don’t have to fumble with your camera phone to convince friends of your Superman-like exploits. Zero Gravity Corporation provides photographers and video cameras to document each trip.
Although it is called a Zero-G flight, it actually costs almost five Gs—$4,950 to be exact. But passengers take their flight suit home, thus solving all future Halloween costume dilemmas.
ONE EXPENSIVE BURGER
Unlike other Vegas indulgences, you don’t have to be a high roller to enjoy a meal at Le Burger Brasserie at Paris Las Vegas. The joint is actually an elegant sports bar that dishes up some of the most scrumptious burgers in town.
Guests choose their meat—beef, chicken, lamb, or salmon—and the type of bun (each baked fresh in-house) and select from a smorgasbord of fresh toppings. After you’ve built and devoured the burger of your dreams, the only thing more surprising than the heavenly taste is that it only set you back about a 10 spot.
All the delicious burgers in Le Burger Brasserie are modestly priced—with one notable exception. Their signature dish is the Kobe Beef and Maine Lobster Burger. This inspired creation comes topped with caramelized onions, imported brie, crispy prosciutto, and 100-year-aged balsamic vinegar and is served with a bottle of Rose Dom Perignon champagne. Price: $777.
Go ahead and put it on your expense account. The folks in accounting could use a good laugh.
NEED FOR SPEED
If the posh nightclub experience, day at the spa, or the fancy feasts aren’t quite blowing off enough steam, sign up for the Mario Andretti Racing Experience, take some laps at nearly 200 mph, and you’ll feel loads better.
At Las Vegas Motor Speedway—you didn’t think you were going to roar down the Strip, did you?—you’ll have a chance to drive a full-size, open cockpit Indy-style racecar during a timed session for $429.
During your tenure on the track, you’ll be in constant two-way communication with your personal instructor via a state-of-the-art in-car radio system, but there’s no one in the car with you and no lead car holding you back. This is the real deal, including being outfitted in a professional racing suit and wearing authentic Racing Electronics ear buds.
If getting behind the wheel isn’t a feasible option, but you still yearn for the experience, you can be a ride along and take three laps at upwards of 180 mph. There is a reward, however, for gripping the steering wheel—drivers receive a souvenir racing license and graduate certificate stamped with his or her top speed.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
Some luxury is so swanky it doesn’t need a theme. Book a stay at Skylofts at MGM Grand and you’ll understand. You’re picked up at the airport in a Maybach 62 limo that will turn heads. Upon arrival you are whisked past the commoners. No lobby check-in for you. You ride secret elevators to the top two floors of the MGM Grand, emerging in a different world.
Each two-story Skyloft, designed by renowned architect Tony Chi, is loaded with customized amenities. Want infinity edge spa bathtubs with inset television and immersion chamber steam showers that are akin to a religious experience? You’ve got it. How about Bang & Olufsen and Sony HDTV entertainment systems? All yours. Innovative wireless remotes operate virtually everything in the loft, like the TV, DVD, radio, draperies, temperature, and lighting. And anything the remote can’t handle, the butler will.
That’s right, a 24-hour butler and concierge come with Skyloft. Your butler will unpack, arrange room service, press your clothes, and provide any other services you require. Of course, you get what you pay for. Room rates range from $800 to $10,000 nightly.
THE SWEETEST INDULGENCE
When your sweet tooth demands royal treatment, head for The Palazzo. Sweet Surrender Cupcake Shop has gathered the most exclusive ingredients from around the globe to create the heavenly Decadence D’Or, the ultimate cupcake.
They start with Palmira Single Estate Chocolate cultivated from the rare Porcelana Criollo bean. Then they add Tahitian Gold Vanilla Caviar—the world’s most labor-intensive agricultural crop. The regal morsel is topped with Louis XIII de Remy Martin cognac and gold flakes.
It is served on a festive paper plate. Ha! Of course not. It is encased in a hand-blown sugar Fleur-de-Lis and presented on a crackled-gold glass-curved plate and bowl (top right), all for $750. Sweet Surrender offers many delicious, irresistible everyday treats as well.
Palms Casino Resort
Zero Gravity Corporation
Le Burger Brasserie
Mario Andretti Racing Experience