Quiet Elegance in the Las Vegas Frenzy

The sometime slow, even snail-like pace of Montecito often inspires the urge to get away to a more vibrant, quicker, livelier setting like, for example, Las Vegas, a relatively short five-to-six-hour drive through rolling hills, red rock and scrub-filled desert.

Planning for two fun-filled days was complicated because of the plethora of entertainment choices, but I finally settled on two Cirque du Soleil shows, “O” and “Love.” Choosing a hotel was easy: The quietly elegant 424-room Four Seasons, one of Las Vegas’s few non-gaming sleeping & dining establishments. Located at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, the Four Seasons occupies floors 35 through 39 of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and is reached by direct access from the street. Prices here begin at $325 for a spacious 500-square-foot room replete with marble bathroom, 42-inch plasma screen television, executive writing desk and walk-in closet.

From the 39th floor I had a full view of the scene below; flashing lights, advertisements for shows and restaurants, swarms of taxis and the milling crowds of people below on skinny sidewalks. Amidst the crowds and noise of Las Vegas, the Four Seasons remains calm and quiet. If you want to gamble, there is a Four Seasons elevator that accesses the Mandalay Bay Casino. Room cards are used as keys to enter and exit the Four Seasons and guests can come and go as they please.

Annually listed in Travel and Leisure magazine, this year garnering #2 in Vegas of the World’s Best Hotels, it is easy to see why this “Oasis of Serenity” makes the top of the list, from trademark Four Seasons bed and linens, to L’Occitane products found in the bathrooms, to the complimentary overnight shoeshine. The evening turndown includes a plate of fresh fruit, Voss water and an assortment of light and dark chocolates on a fluffed-and-ready pillow.

After a show and whirlwind tour of the Vegas Strip, the first step into my room at the end of the night was a pleasure. The curtains were drawn, the bed turned down with a pair of slippers on each side, and classical music played over the stereo system; the flat-screen television displayed an image of a tree in winter with snow falling.

Dining at the Verandah

The Verandah is one of two restaurants in the Four Seasons, the other being Arnold Palmer Steakhouse. In keeping with the elegant relaxed mood of the hotel, the restaurant is large but divided into cozy sections offering tables for two, 10 or 20. I sat in a comfortable booth, my back against silk pillows, sipping wine by the glass.

Michael Goodman has been an executive chef with Four Seasons for more than 15 years, having arrived in Las Vegas from San Francisco to open Verandah some four years ago. This is the tenth restaurant he has opened for Four Seasons and he says Las Vegas is a great city for chefs and that the force of the culinary scene has transformed the city. To Goodman, the key chef for this transformation was Wolfgang Puck, and the restaurant, Spago. “He [Puck] started the trend, with other chefs to come in,” Goodman says.

The Verandah offers “my way” meals, or simple alternatives to the mostly Italian dinner menu. The meals are created by choosing a protein, vegetable and carbohydrate of choice. Goodman describes this perk as added freedom for the guest, “offering foods that people can relate to and not pretending to be something other.” I ordered one of these simple meals, a ribeye with sautéed asparagus and garlic buttered risotto. The menu has additional perks: items can be ordered entrée- or appetizer-sized, allowing the guest more room to order and the opportunity to try the various plates.

Whether you are a couple or small family, Four Seasons features child-size bathrobes, complimentary milk and cookies, children’s menus, and can arrange bonded babysitting services upon two hours notice.

If you’d like to plan a Las Vegas getaway, you are invited to call Four Seasons, 2960 Las Vegas Boulevard, at 702-632-5000.