Home to Nevada’s only AAA Five Diamond lodging properties, Las Vegas offers planners and groups award-winning places to meet, stay and play all under one roof.
From unique venue options to customer service that simply can’t be beat, here’s a look at the crème de la crème of what Las Vegas has to offer. It’s a good bet they’ll make your next event sparkle.
Your luggage is missing and you have a meeting to attend first thing in the morning. What to do? Well, if you’re a guest at SKYLOFTS, the luxury boutique hotel at the MGM Grand, the answer is quite simple: Relax.
“An international executive’s luggage was lost by the airline,” recalls Colleen Schmitz, director of luxury sales. “He arrived at the hotel at 9 p.m. and headed straight to an event. He was scheduled to open a morning session at 8 a.m. the next day. While the guest attended his event, with his measurements in hand, SKYLOFTS’ concierge and butlers personally shopped for the guest head-to-toe. We had a seamstress in his loft at midnight, and his new clothes were pressed and ready for him in his loft by 6 a.m.”
SKYLOFTS’ posh two-story, one- to three-bedroom lofts can transform into some of the city’s most unique meeting venues—the dining room tables can easily do boardroom duty—offering anywhere from 1,400 to 6,000 square feet of space. The hotel’s name isn’t just window dressing either, given the unbeatable vistas of the Vegas skyline courtesy of 24-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows.
“To see how a Five Diamond hotel is willing to challenge itself every day in order to accommodate an event was remarkable,” says Joerg Rickers, partner and managing director of JR Travel Concepts, who booked an event to launch the Audi R8 at SKYLOFTS.
“[Our] three-bedroom loft was changed into a five-star dining experience for about 45 guests every night that included a cocktail reception, a dinner upstairs where the bedrooms became dining rooms, followed by a dessert buffet, finished with coffee and top-shelf digestives. It was, to this day, one of the highlights in our almost 10 years of being in the event industry.”
Planners can customize their food and beverage menus by choosing from one of the MGM Grand’s award-winning restaurants or have a menu created by France’s Chef of the Century, Joël Robuchon. Meet-and-greets with the MGM Grand’s collection of James Beard award-winning and Michelin chefs can be arranged, or entertainment can be provided by Cirque du Soleil-caliber performers.
“Given enough time, resources and creativity, the opportunities at SKYLOFTS are endless,” Schmitz says. “We cater to VIPs of all ages—including executives’ children’s parties.”
With 260,000 square feet of meeting space (200,000 at Wynn, 60,000 at Encore) and many rooms that provide a terrace or balcony overlooking the property’s lush golf course or glistening pools, the campus at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore feels like it’s far from the City of Neon. But that’s only part of what makes it so special.
“It’s our team that truly sets us apart [from the competition],” says Danielle Babilino, senior vice president of hotel sales. “They all share such a passion for taking care of our customers.”
From offering back-of-the-house tours to “the little stuff” like bringing a client’s favorite cookies (fresh-baked) with the morning coffee, the staff truly goes that extra mile to make sure meeting planners and event attendees feel like they’re home.
“One time, an event attendee fell ill and went to the hospital,” recalls Babilino. “Without being asked, our senior convention services manager, Marshellina McKinley, went to the hospital to visit the guest.”
Although central, Babilino notes that both Wynn and Encore go beyond customer service when it comes to superlative events. The resorts have booked events at Wynn’s Ferrari dealership in the past, as well as intimate dinners on the “Le Rêve” stage.
“I always feel so well taken care of,” says Kathy Marsh, president of CME Science, who has held several three-day courses for physicians at Wynn and Encore. “Most of the work is done before we even get onsite. The rooms have always been set up on time, often early, and I can easily find someone if I need any last-minute changes.”
When you’re planning something big, look no further than the Venetian and the Palazzo. Offering more than 2.25 million square feet of flexible meeting space, including the 1.2 million-square-foot Sands Expo and Convention Center, the Venetian and the Palazzo are not only ideal for planners hoping to make some green, but also go green with their next event.
“The Venetian and the Sands Expo and Convention Center are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified,” explains Kasha Mackelprang, assistant director of catering and conference management. “Combined with the Palazzo, which in 2008 received LEED for New Construction Silver certification, the property now comprises the largest LEED building in the world.”
Given the size of the facility, communication is important when planning an event. Naturally, the staff has everything taken care of.
“The smooth working relationship between the hotel and the Sands makes it seamless to work with them both,” says Marisa Garamendi, senior account manager for Enterprise Events Group, who has booked several events at the Venetian and the Palazzo in the past. “It really does make life a lot easier when doing a buyout.”
Despite its large size, the property can still feel scaled-down so planners don’t have to worry about a guest getting lost.
“We have the ability to block out an entire level or levels to allow for exclusivity,” says Mackelprang. “And the meeting spaces are only a five-minute walk from the Venetian or the Palazzo suites.”
A non-gaming oasis right on the Las Vegas Strip, the Four Seasons Hotel provides planners with the best of both worlds: a quiet business atmosphere with almost 30,000 square feet of meeting space (including the Four Seasons Ballroom with automobile access) and gaming and entertainment at the adjoining Mandalay Bay.
Since the Four Seasons is a non-gaming hotel, groups are its main priority. The property features the only kosher kitchen on the Strip, allowing the hotel to service Jewish events from 12 to 600. But everyone is always treated like a VIP.
“The Four Seasons is known for its personalized, intuitive service,” says Shelly Gray, director of sales. “A meeting planner was once passing through our hotel lobby during the holiday season when he noticed the gingerbread display our pastry chef creates each year. He casually mentioned to our sales manager that the smell of gingerbread reminded him of home and his childhood.”
That evening the planner received a special gift at turndown: Gingerbread cookies the pastry chef had made especially for him. Don’t think anything about booking an event at the hotel is ever “cookie cutter.”
“Your event’s success is truly their goal,” says Audrey Bloom, who planned an event for the Surgical Infection Society at the Four Seasons last April. “They deliver what they promise and are very thorough. I’m hooked!”
Think of Bellagio and certain words instantly come to mind. Elegant. Extraordinary. Exquisite. Elephant. Wait… elephant?
Proving no request is ever too enormous, “Once the technology company Pink Elephant booked an event here and they wanted to have someone ride an elephant into the ballroom,” recalls Fletch Brunelle, senior vice president of hotel sales and marketing. “Needless to say, our security was a bit nervous.”
Offering more than 200,000 square feet of meeting space with 50 meeting rooms, the 45,458-square-foot Grand Ballroom and two AAA Five-Diamond restaurants, Bellagio knows how to make an event memorable.
Planners can book VIP tours of the Fountains of Bellagio so their guests can see how one of Las Vegas’ most popular attractions operates, or enjoy an interactive cooking session with one of Bellagio’s award-winning chefs in its exhibition-style kitchen. Of course, sometimes it’s the little things that leave the biggest impression.
“One thing I will never forget is when a member of our executive team was walking the convention floor and mentioned he had a headache,” says Muriel Wilson, director of conferences and events for Virtuoso, an international travel network that returns to Bellagio every August.
“The next thing he knew, there was a Bellagio staff person standing in front of him with a silver tray, bottled water and aspirin. You simply can’t put a price on that type of customer service.”