My Kind of Las Vegas

20 Oct 2009, Posted by Jennifer Iannolo in food, travel

When I decided to go to BlogWorld & New Media Expo this year, I had one of those double-edged sword moments. I couldn’t wait to see old friends and make new ones — but ugh, Las Vegas. It’s the one town I try to avoid, because it just isn’t for me. My kind of gambling involves business risk, so I am maddened by the “ding-ding-ding” when I walk through casino mazes designed to keep you trapped inside when you just want daylight.

This trip, thankfully, was a bit different. Planet Hollywood Resort invited me to stay as their guest during my trip, and as I’d never been to their hotel, I accepted with an open mind (and braced myself for the “ding”-ing).

Guess what? Unlike many of the other hotel casinos in Las Vegas, this one is far better suited to my taste, with a sleek, modern design — thank you, designer gods. It actually looks more like a hotel that happens to have a casino, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed every time I walked through the door. This was a very good thing.

I know a lot of people who travel to Vegas for business, and they often find the bells-and-whistles setting to be too much. I found that at Planet Hollywood, I could at least tune it when I wanted to. There’s still room for lots of fun, certainly (some of which I witnessed from the upstairs balcony), and the attached mall is massive, but you can also be zen-like and flake out at the spa. I really wish I’d had time to fit that in; however my room overlooked the dancing Bellagio fountains, so I at least got a bit of eye-candy between BlogWorld events and sessions.

The only thing I really missed was a bathrobe in my room. I realize that all hotels in Las Vegas are designed to keep you out of that room and in the casino, but I really craved a robe for those rare moments of downtime. Now that Las Vegas has become as much a business destination as a party one, I’ll be interested to see how the formula changes over time.

Nonetheless, I left Las Vegas a happy camper this time, and enjoyed my stay even more than I expected to. Of course, part of the journey involved food (like it ever wouldn’t). I was a guest for a tasting dinner at Koi restaurant inside Planet Hollywood, which also happened to be the locale of my pal Jen Kushell’s first foodgasm. This was intriguing.

The setting for our meal was a sumptuous table set with velvet couches overlooking those dancing Bellagio fountains. After more than a few lychee martinis (well, they go down easy), course after course appeared with sushi, spicy tuna on papadums, baked lobster on crispy rice (seen above – the Kushell foodgasm dish), sexy mashed potatoes and other sultry creations. Color me satisfied. You can see all of the dishes in my Facebook album of our Koi tasting.

I also had great company, which always makes a difference at dinner: Jennifer Kushell (@ysnjen), Rohit Bhargava (@rohitbhargava), Tiffany Monhollon Wilson (@tmonhollon) and Chef Mark (@ChefMark).

Many thanks to Brandie Feuer at Planet Hollywood (@phvegas) and BlogWorld party-man extraordinaire Joe Morin (@josephmorin) for making my stay a memorable one!