We asked Vdara concierge Phillip Samaniego for his favorite Las Vegas attractions, restaurants and more.
Tell me about one of your favorite places to send first-time Vegas visitors.
For all first-time visitors, I recommend seeing Fremont Street at least once during their visit. It is such a fun, lively place with a lot of great and talented artists and performers. They also have excellent prices on drinks.
I want to update my Facebook photo. What should I have in the background of my selfie?
If you are looking for a great background for your newest selfie, I recommend the Fountains at Bellagio. Wait for the crescendo in the music and snap it!
Tell me about your favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas.
My favorite hidden gem in Las Vegas is a sleek ultra lounge called Downtown Cocktail Room. Located on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street with nothing more than a neon sign that reads “Downtown” to identify it, you gain access to this secret place via a hidden door. They have an amazing seasonal cocktail menu and a DJ.
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?
An excellent place to dine when celebrating a special occasion is Herringbone located on the promenade level of Aria. This restaurant offers California coastal cuisine and has an amazing salt and brine bar where you can order items such as crab legs, shrimp, oysters and lobster tail.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had as a concierge? What about the craziest request?
The most unusual and the craziest request would have to be the one time a guest called and was asking for a Donald Trump impersonator. It may not seem strange to most of you, but this was before Mr. Trump became our president and I thought it was such an out-there request.
Who is your favorite Las Vegas celebrity chef?
A celebrity chef in Las Vegas that I like is Wolfgang Puck. He has several restaurants including the popular Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill located at the MGM Grand.
I want to experience classic Las Vegas. Where do you recommend I go?
If you are looking for a piece of classic Las Vegas, I recommend dining at Battista’s Hole in the Wall located off of Flamingo Road, east of the Strip. You can get a great Italian meal without breaking the bank.
Where do you like to do some people-watching in Las Vegas?
For people-watching, you can’t go wrong just walking up and down Las Vegas Boulevard. The intersection of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, right in front of Bellagio is a great place. This is the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.
What’s the must-see show in Las Vegas right now?
The must-see show in Las Vegas right now is Cher at Park Theater. She combines memorable hits with a charming personality for this great evening out. Park Theater is an amazing venue and the show feels right at home there.
What tips do you give first-timers?
The size of the Las Vegas Strip is deceiving to new eyes. My number one tip when visiting for the first time is: pace yourself. The Strip can be too much to tackle in one day so I recommend breaking it up into two to three days so that you can enjoy everything it has to offer, but not to exhaust yourself on the first day. Another tip is to drink plenty of water, especially during the summer months. The worst thing you can do while on vacation is be hospitalized for dehydration.
Describe your perfect evening out in Las Vegas.
The perfect evening out in Las Vegas would begin with cocktails and appetizers at the Vice Versa Patio & Lounge located in the lobby of Vdara. From there I would see a fabulous concert at T-Mobile Arena, followed by a fantastic sushi dinner at Sake Rok located at The Park next to T-Mobile Arena. After dinner, I would take a casual stroll down the Las Vegas Strip and end the night with a song or two at the Fountains of Bellagio.