David McMahon, the meeting concierge manager at Mandarin Oriental, has lived in Las Vegas for the past five years. Here he offers up some romantic tips for Las Vegas visitors, just in time for Valentine's Day 2018.
Tell me about one of your favorite places to send first-time Vegas visitors.
Las Vegas has a plethora of attractions, dining, entertainment and excursions which can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. I customize the guest-client experience to fit their preferences. Watching the iconic fountains at Bellagio while enjoying a delectable meal at either Prime, Picasso, Lago or Yellowtail at the Bellagio is a must for first-time visitors.
I want to update my Facebook photo. What should I have in the background of my selfie?
I would suggest taking a beautiful aerial view of the strip during your Maverick Helicopter ride, Red Rock Canyon’s natural wonder, or an architecturally pleasing background consisting of Mandarin Oriental, Aria and The Shops at Crystals.
Tell me about your favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas.
The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas Spa is truly a hidden gem of wellness. The two-story, Forbes Five-Star rated spa is a tranquil escape from the excitement of the Las Vegas strip. My favorite treatment is “East Meets West” focusing on pressure point therapy and restorative stretching.
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?
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire featuring French cuisine with contemporary flair is intimate and lovely. Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand is superb, SW Steakhouse at Wynn, Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres at the SLS, and Le Cirque at Bellagio are additional worthy celebratory options.
I always suggest booking a reservation in advance since many restaurants tend to become fully committed. Feel free to reach out to your concierge to secure hard to get reservations and note special occasions.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had as a concierge? What about the craziest request?
No request is unusual since I expect the unexpected. I had a guest who wanted to create a circus environment bringing several zoo animals into a suite for a small gathering. We attempt to fulfill all requests as long as it is legal, within property guidelines and charged accordingly.
Who is your favorite Las Vegas celebrity chef?
It is hard to pick only one celebrity chef since I enjoy various styles of cooking and each chef’s specific attributes. A few of my favorites include Joel Robuchon, Julian Serrano, Michael Mina, Jose Andres, Wolfgang Puck, Thomas Keller and Scott Conant.
I want to experience classic Las Vegas. Where do you recommend that I go?
The Fremont Street Experience in Downtown features classic Las Vegas options including Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza and the Golden Nugget (Steve Wynn’s first Vegas property). Caesars Palace’s original casino—lower ceilings and 1970s chandeliers—still has the classic Vegas vibe.
Where do you like to do some people-watching in Las Vegas?
I usually don’t people watch since I would rather be part of the action. However, the Bellagio Lobby and Fremont Street Experience always provide interesting people-watching opportunities.
What’s the must-see show in Las Vegas right now?
What tips do you give first-timers?
I always suggest guests/clients to contact their property concierge and/or personal Las Vegas contact for recommendations. We have long lasting relationships with restaurants, vendors, shows and attractions which will enhance their experience and create amazing memories.
Describe your perfect evening out in Las Vegas.
The perfect evening in Las Vegas would consist of pre-dinner drinks at Mandarin Bar overlooking the fabulous Strip, delicious table side dinner service at Carbone at Aria, seeing the “Michael Jackson One” show, dancing/drinks at Omnia Nightclub, and a nightcap at either Mastro’s Ocean Club at The Shops at Crystals, Sweets Raku in Chinatown or The Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar.