Finding the best things to do in Las Vegas can be a daunting task, but with the help of a concierge, travelers can winnow through the myriad options to find highly recommended places to visit. Here, Candace Ortiz, the assistant front office manager at the new NoMad Hotel, shares some of her favorite experiences in Las Vegas. Ortiz has been in the hotel industry for more than 15 years and worked as a concierge for the past four.
"This is where I am meant to be," she says. "I am passionate about each and every guest that I meet. It excites me to help them plan out their days and fill it with all of the wonderful things Las Vegas has to offer."
Tell me about one of your favorite places to send first-time Vegas visitors.
One of my favorite places to send first time Vegas visitors would definitely be to the Las Vegas Strip! I would give my guest a map and point out all of the amazing things they should see such as the Bellagio fountains (at night of course), the Volcano at Mirage and the Gondolas at Venetian. The Las Vegas Strip is unlike no other and I want my guest to see it all.
I want to update my Facebook photo. What should I have in the background of my selfie?
For a new Facebook photo everyone does the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign, I like to think outside the box and go for something with a bit more edge. I would have my guest go to Skyfall located at the top of Delano and have the entire Las Vegas Strip be the background.
Tell me about your favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas.
My favorite hidden gem in Vegas is Bonnie Springs Ranch. It’s located in Red Rock Canyon. It is a replica of an authentic 1880’s mining town. It opened in 1974, and has now grown to include a petting zoo, café, hotel, wax museum and saloon. Bonnie Springs has sentimental value to me as I have been going there since I was a child and I now take my children. It’s one of my most cherished traditions, and I love sharing that with my guests. They also transform around Halloween time into Bonnie Screams! I can speak from experience that that is completely terrifying.
Where should I eat if I want to celebrate a special occasion? How hard is it to get a reservation while I’m in Las Vegas?
When celebrating a special occasion, I like to recommend Bavette’s Steakhouse. They have a very intimate ambiance perfect for your special occasion. Although it is one of the more popular restaurants, as your concierge I am happy to secure you a reservation.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had as a concierge? What about the craziest request?
The most unusual request I have had as a concierge has to be when a guest called me at around 12:15 p.m. on New Year’s Eve requesting a horse-drawn carriage ride down the strip to the Little Chapel of the West and back to the hotel at around 6:30 p.m. We had to do some compromising as the Strip was closed due to New Year’s Eve, but it all worked out and the guest was happy.
The craziest request I received was a guest wanting to set up a proposal at our restaurant, the twist is that he wanted us to arrest him in the middle of his dinner and as we were handcuffing him he would propose. Needless to say, after all the commotion she said yes!
Who is your favorite Las Vegas celebrity chef? Why?
My favorite celebrity chef is Gordon Ramsay. I have always followed his work, admired his work ethic and not to mention his food. Also, my kids and I love "Master Chef Junior."
Where do you like to send guests to brunch?
I like to send guests to Herringbone for brunch. I love the fresh seafood, carving stations, ricotta pancakes and so much more.
I want to experience classic Las Vegas. Where do you recommend that I go?
To experience classic Vegas, I would send you to Fremont Street Experience in Downtown Las Vegas. It is not only iconic with the older Vegas feel, but you also have the led light show on the world’s largest video screen! It’s an experience like no other.
Where do you like to do some people-watching in Las Vegas?
I like to people watch while sitting at a restaurant like Hexx at Paris. They have open seating out on the Strip so you can dine and have the perfect spot for people watching.
How about nightlife? I want to hang out with friends but avoid the nightclubs. Where should I go?
We have some of the best nightlife here in Las Vegas. If you are not looking for a nightclub scene I would send my guests a little off strip to The Golden Tiki. It’s a tiki bar theme hangout with music and fun drinks.
What tips do you give first-timers?
My tips for first timers would be to sign up for M life rewards for the savings on show tickets and discounts on food venues throughout MGM Resorts properties.
Describe your perfect evening out in Las Vegas.
The perfect evening out would start with an amazing dinner at our brand-new NoMad Bar. Then I would go to see my all-time favorite show "Ka" by Cirque du Soleil. Grab a drink at The Chandelier bar, I love the atmosphere there and of course the bling! Ending the night in a Maverick Helicopter on a Vegas Nights tour.