To Vegas With Love

Over the years, I’ve had many wonderful times in Las Vegas. Like everyone else, I was heartbroken about last Sunday’s tragic events. And a little unnerved because, during my recent visit a few weeks ago, I stayed right next door to Mandalay Bay. It was a sobering reminder of how fragile life is–and how important it is to live every day fully, as tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.

Vegas has always been a place about making the most of every moment, by experiencing the joys of good hospitality, great entertainment and fantastic food. I was fortunate to enjoy all three during my recent weekend getaway.

I had already been to Sin City with family, friends and significant others. This was the first big trip with my beloved dog Benji. And it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Our JetBlue flight was easy breezy, as both Benj and I slept for the duration. Upon arriving at the swanky Delano Hotel, our host for one night, I knew immediately this would be a much more relaxing stay than I’ve had at other Vegas properties.

Benji relaxing in our suite with his Delano welcome amenity: biscuits, a poop bag and leather toy

A non-gaming, non-smoking hotel, the Delano has an inviting boutique vibe that makes you forget you’re right on the Strip. Spacious accommodations, first class staff and pet-friendly amenities—including dog walking services and a pet relief area right in front—made for a perfect night (full hotel review coming soon in 25A Magazine!).

One of the major highlights—Rivea, the Delano’s Alain Ducasse rooftop restaurant on the 64th floor.

Rivea: the terrace view from 64 stories above

Joining me for a decadent multi-course dinner on the terrace was college friend Tiffany. Though we hadn’t seen each other in about twenty years, that time melted away as we talked about life, work, singlehood and getting through tough times. We talked for hours and didn’t want the night to end.

Tiff and me and my first-ever bubble tea

Friday, Benji and I moved to the Residence Inn across from the Convention Center. Part of a complex of three Marriott properties, the all-suite hotel is an ideal choice if you want to be off the Strip but still in a central, convenient location.

As soon as we arrived, I was treated to the warmth and home away from home atmosphere for which Marriott is known. I checked in with an upset stomach and having just caught my finger painfully in a door. The kind front desk agent offered Band Aids, first aid ointment and a handful of herbal tea packets.

Our spacious digs at the Residence Inn

We were upgraded to a penthouse suite—a spacious loft with a living room, eat-in, fully-equipped kitchen, loft bedroom and two full bathrooms. Plenty of room for Benji and me to roam around and kick back. The pool was modest but well maintained, and blissfully quiet compared to the loud, crowded scene at most Sin City resort pools.

The Residence Inn’s pool: a low-key haven of relaxation

Much like trips to Vegas with my parents back in the 80’s, this one afforded the opportunity to see some amazing entertainers.

Despite lip synching for most of her 90-minute set, Jennifer Lopez dazzled with flawless dancing and eye-popping costumes, performing most of her hits and an unexpectedly beautiful cover of Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.” My beloved Ricky Martin–the reason for my trip–blew the roof off of the Park Theater with incredible singing and dancing, playing an energetic mix of his signature pop tunes and soulful ballads.

All In: Ricky’s Vegas show was one of his best productions ever

For the last show of the weekend, I went old school with Tiffany (and Benji too!), visiting the Tropicana’s Laugh Factory to see Rich Little. At 78, the legendary comedian is just as hilarious as I remembered him to be when I saw him decades ago. And I had the pleasure of telling him so at a meet and greet afterward.

Rich Little and me

Definitely a memorable, exhilaratingly fun weekend from start to finish.

Sending so much love to everyone in this amazing city–and praying for healing.


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