Hot Vegas Summer

Justin Timberlake at Fontainebleau Las Vegas Opening (Courtesy Fontainebleau)Bleau Bar at Fontainebleau Las Vegas (Connie Zhou)Don's Prime at Fontainebleau Las Vegas (Bill Milne)Fontainebleau Las Vegas (Peter Arnell)Tiesto at LIV Beach (Sammy Dean)Oasis pool deck (Jay Byrd Productions)Lapis Spa Wellness co-ed space at Fontainebleau Las Vegas (DREX Agency/Mark Mediana)Bellagio - The Pinky Ring - Yabu Pushelberg in collaboration with Bruno Mars (Courtesy of The Bellagio)Bellagio - The Pinky Ring (Courtesy of The Bellagio)RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE! (Marco Ovando)Daybed at Dive In Movies - The Cosmopolitan (Courtesy The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas)Dita Las Vegas: A Jubilant Review (Fiestaban Photography)Dita Las Vegas: A Jubilant Review (Fiestaban Photography)Dita Las Vegas: A Jubilant Review (Fiestaban Photography)Exosphere - Original Emoji (Sphere Entertainment) ICRAVE7 at Sphere (ICRAVE)LPM Bar & Restaurant at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (Courtesy The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas)Tomatini at LPM Bar & Restaurant at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas (Courtesy The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas)Temptation Sundays at the Luxor pool (Trevor Oshana)

New hotspots Fontainebleau, Sphere, The Pinky Ring and LPM, and more, are worth the trip

Pandemic, what pandemic? Las Vegas is back, baby! Down to just 19 million visitors in 2020, the desert destination topped 40 million visitors in 2023 aka pre-lockdown numbers. The Strip is bopping with world-class entertainment, dining, gambling–and all the things that “stay in Vegas.” The Brightline West high-speed rail from L.A. to Sin City won’t be live until 2028, but a road trip or a flight to Vegas is a no-brainer for Angelenos seeking a fun getaway. Here’s our pick for four of the newest hotspots and to-dos this spring and summer, on and off the glittering Strip:

Fontainebleau Las Vegas

Opened in mid-December, with a picture-perfect roll of the dice by headline performer Justin Timberlake, flanked by Jessica Biel, Tom Brady, Cher and Paul Anka around the high-stakes craps table, Fontainebleau Las Vegas is the newest–and most elegant–resort on the Strip. Sleek mid-century modern design elements mirror its iconic Miami Beach counterpart, which just celebrated its 70th anniversary. Soaring columns throughout the casino and resort as well as signature bow ties–a nod to famed Fontainebleau designer Morris Lapidus–accent almost everything outside and inside the 67-story hotel, including massive crystal chandeliers and the gleaming wall in the spacious reception. The resort has welcomed tons of A-listers (like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Lana del Rey), plus locals and visitors curious to experience the hotel, recently added to Esquire’s “41 Best New Hotels,” Condé Nast Traveler’s “Hot List” and Travel + Leisure’s100 Best New Hotels of the Year.”

As the season heats up, one of the coolest spots to dip into is LIV Beach, an adults-only pool party, with DJs, cocktails, and blue-and-white striped cabanas. The Oasis Pool Deck provides refreshments at Bleau Isle, its central bar, offering signature frozen cocktails, and FB Slim’s, a swim-up bar, serves up spritzes and alcohol-infused popsicles. But to feel really restored, the Lapis Spa has got you. As the latest luxury spa on the Strip, the expansive wellness center provides treatments blending ancient healing traditions with modern technology, including its avant-garde facilities like the Aufguss Sauna (complete with a Sauna Meister who dances (it’s Vegas, baby!) at set times inside the wooden chamber). Light scenes and music in the co-ed communal area are meant to inspire the mood; and, setting itself apart from any other spa on the Strip, “lo-tide” mornings are lit in a calming blue tone and “hi-tide” afternoons are lit in a soft red tone for a more social, club-like vibe. The communal space features the coolest contraption–a snow shower that dumps powder onto guests to chill them out. It’s fun and laughter-inducing–and will be extra welcome in the blazing Vegas summer. “Every element is designed to ensure guests emerge not just refreshed, but transformed,” Jennifer Lynn, Director of Spa & Wellness, told LA Weekly.

For L.A. visitors wanting to feel at home, the resort features Chef Evan Funke’s Italian eatery Mother Wolf (plating faves from its flagship Hollywood location, including the airy, round bread and spaghetti all’arrabbiata) and collaborations with Vincent Laresca and the Roadside Taco team. “We’re thrilled to have them as partners and see their concepts grow beyond the L.A. area,” Fontainebleau President Maurice Wooden told LA Weekly. “When it comes to Las Vegas and Los Angeles, there are so many synergies, but accessibility is also key. Being just a few hours drive, or a short flight away, is what strengthens the connection between the two cities.” 

Bars include Azul, for crafted mezcal and tequila; Bleau Bar, in the center of the casino with the biggest chandelier in the house and Collins, named for Fontainebleau Miami’s famous avenue. For a quieter retreat, go upstairs to Nowhere, the resort’s take on a speakeasy with live music.

 Casual and fine dining options abound, including classic steakhouse Don’s Prime. Other standouts: Chef Gabriela Cámara’s Cantina Contramar, Chef David Grutman’s Komodo, Chef Alan Yau’s Chyna Club and Washing Potato and Chef Josh Capon’s Capon’s Burgers. “We are doubling down on bringing something new to the table,” Anthony Olheiser, Senior Vice President of Food & Beverage, told LA Weekly. “All of these concepts we’ve introduced are unique in their own way, but together they fit into the tapestry of Fontainebleau Las Vegas.”

Since Post Malone performed as BleauLive Theater’s opening act for the hotel’s New Year’s Eve mega bash, the resort venue has been booking top talent. Coming up: Third Eye Blind (June 22), Daryl Hall & Elvis Costello (June 23), Hootie & the Blowfish (Aug. 23 & 24), The Smashing Pumpkins (Sept. 27), Keith Urban’s 10-show run (Oct. 4-Feb. 22) and more.

And, after a history of collaborations with Formula One in Miami, the Vegas hotel recently announced an F1 nightclub collab, LIV on the Paddock Club Rooftop, to debut when the international race returns to pound the Strip for its second, consecutive year in November. “We’ve just begun to showcase this incredible sport here in Las Vegas,” Fontainebleau’s Wooden told LA Weekly. “The energy, it’s infectious, and will reverberate throughout our resort.”

If you’re thinking of escaping to Las Vegas, here’s some more incentive: Fontainebleau is now offering Drink, Dine, Shop and Indulge free valet parking through Labor Day, in addition to its free, four-hour self-parking, for hotel visitors coming to eat, drink, gamble, shop, spa and repeat. 

Fontainebleau Las Vegas, (Rooms range, reduced rates available.)


Everyone is fascinated by Sphereyou know, that big, glowing ball that does everything?–or they should be. The truth is, Sphere is unlike anything else, anywhere. The technology used to power the Exosphere, the world’s largest outdoor LED display that we have suddenly become accustomed to seeing lighting up the Vegas skyline, and the venue’s interior, which includes the world’s highest-resolution LED screen, are unrivaled. Most of us caught our first glimpse of this awesome marvel when U2 opened Sphere in September, rocking the first of 40 sold-out concerts with mind-blowing visuals and special effects. Phish recently completed a sold-out run of four shows, and Dead & Company launches their 24-show residency on Thursday, May 16.

Can’t afford a concert ticket? Though still pricey, we can vouch that visiting Sphere, at least once, is worth it. During The Sphere Experience, guests can interact with the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, Aura. Yes, she talks back, and, yes, it’s amazing and also spooky. (As in: The robots are taking over, and there’s nothing we can do about it; even though the main message clearly being conveyed here is: Robots, good. We even crack jokes.) There’s also a 50-foot-tall holographic wall and a demonstration of Sphere Immersive Sound. (Cool, even if it  feels a bit like a CES convention.) A plus: the diverse array of tasty food and drink concessions.

The second part of The Sphere Experience is a screening of Academy Award-nominated director Darren Aronofsky’s Postcard from Earth. The multi-sensory film is gorgeous (with breathtaking scenes of seems-so-real-you-can-almost-touch-it nature, animals, and space)–and basically serves as a high-production sci-fi portrait (or PSA) about our planet–past, present and future. The movie showcases all of Sphere’s immersive technologies–including the highest resolution LED visuals; crystal-clear sound targeting every viewer; haptic (moving and vibrating) seats; scents and environmental effects, like wind. It’s a captivating, complete 4-D experience that may leave your mind (and you) spinning. “The Sphere Experience is an amazing way to take in all of the venue’s next-generation technologies,” Jennifer Koester, president of Sphere business operations for Sphere Entertainment Co., told LA Weekly.” Audiences have been coming from around the world for Postcard from Earth, which has truly redefined the cinematic experience.” All in all, Sphere is by far the coolest attraction off the Strip–and it’s air-conditioned, which alone could make the entry fee worth it.  

Sphere, Ticket prices, starting at $79, plus fees, range per experience.

The Pinky Ring by Bruno Mars

The hottest, coolest nightclub on the Strip, The Pinky Ring, is tucked away from the casino at Bellagio Las Vegas. The intimate entertainment and cocktail lounge curated by Bruno Mars, opened in February, kicking things off with an all-star party, including Mars’ guests Janelle Monáe, Victoria Monét, Lady Gaga, Babyface, Gayle King and T-Pain, setting the vibe.

Decorated in muted brown, cream and gold tones, with luxurious, Art Deco-meets-1970s styled touches, seating, booths, and marbled cocktails tables and bar counters, the hotspot gives the singer’s personal penthouse. Soft lighting was designed to make guests feel and look fancy while sipping craft cocktails, like the decadent, signature Mars Mocha (chocolate rum, Cognac, espresso, banana, and thick, toasted sesame froth), or getting down under a rotating disco ball. 

The Pinky Ring features nightly performances by a house band The Diamonds, plus DJ sets, personally selected by Mars, with music from a variety of eras and genres, reflective of his funk, soul, pop, and R&B inspirations. Depending on the night, guests can catch Mars’ longtime band The Hooligans, and Mars is known to take to the stage himself, unannounced to lucky guests.

Meant to be a private and exclusive hideaway for big-name celebs or those who want to be like them, although also open to the public, the first rule of The Pinky Ring is: No Phones Allowed. What happens in The Pinky Ring, stays in The Pinky Ring. Catchy, right? Also: no food.

The Pinky Ring, Walk-in reservations, 5-8 p.m. Bar seating is free. Three live music sets per night. Online reservations (range from $50-$20,000) here

LPM at The Cosmopolitan 

It takes a lot for foodies to be swept off their feet, but during our first visit to celebrity favorite LPM Restaurant & Bar at The Cosmopolitan, that’s what happened to us–and hopefully will happen to you. From the moment guests are seated at the light and art-filled, indoor/outdoor LPM (short for La Petite Maison or The Little House) restaurant, which opened in November, they are invited to experience the essence of the French Riviera–and to be transported to the artistic world of French artist and bon vivant Jean Cocteau and his creative friends. The shared, sensory experience starts à table, where a plate of fresh, whole tomatoes and a lemon, plus a knife, olive oil, and salt and pepper grinders, await guests, who are guided to make–and savor the act of preparing and delighting in–a flavorful yet simple tomato salad. Servers bring freshly baked baguette or French country bread tableside to dip in the olive oil, et voilà: joie de vivre!

The soft, leather-bound red cocktail menu, embossed with the silver scripted title, “Recipes for our Friends,” includes specialty drinks and stories inspired by Cocteau. Almost life-changing is LPM’s signature Tomatini–a shaken martini with tomato, vodka, white balsamic vinegar, simple syrup and cracked pepper, with a tomato garnish–and a light as a feather mouthfeel and invigorating taste. Another must-imbibe is Lettre à Coco, celebrating the artist’s enduring friendship with Coco Chanel. The cocktail, made with Ketel One, champagne cordial, jasmine, bergamot, rose and, oui, a splash of Chanel N°5–the first perfume created and made famous by the designer–is imbued with a huge, ice cube ball, and was surprisingly delivered with a small, pink envelope with a red, wax seal and scented with the fragrance. The “handwritten” note in French we received read: Coco, tu es irremplaçable car tu es différente. Bisous Jean.” (“Coco, you are irreplaceable because you are different. Kisses Jean”). The note is a riff on a Chanel quote: Pour être irremplaçable, il faut être différente.” (“To be irreplaceable, you must be different.”) Not only is the drink impeccably delightful, tasty and fun, it is decidedly different. 

Standout starters: burrata and cherry tomatoes, Yellowtail carpaccio with guacamole and citrus dressing, warm prawns in olive oil and lemon juice. Main dish: lamb cutlets marinated in olive, aubergine caviar and pine nuts. 

Lest you think all this is only for the rich and famous, LPM has introduced a cocktail hour for modest budgets. From 5-7 p.m., guests can explore a selection of creatively crafted cocktails, including the Tomatini, for just $11. The upscale but low-key gourmet happy hour also offers an array of small, flavorful bites for $12 or less, making for a lovely start to a night out on the town.

“LPM is rooted in the spontaneous lifestyle of the timeless Mediterranean shores filled with vibrant flavors, inspired creativity and a buzzing atmosphere,” Nicolas Budzynski, CEO of London-based LPM, with 10 global locations in Miami, Dubai, Hong Kong, and next month, Mykonos, told LA Weekly.We bring guests to our world of glamourous comforts, unpretentious service and surprise indulgences so everyone comes away with their own story to tell.”

Must Sees:

Dita Las Vegas: A Jubilant RevueDita Von Teese’s sexy burlesque show with Bob Mackie costumes, at Jubilee Theater at Horseshoe Las Vegas, through June 15. Tickets (starting at $76) here.

RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE!A flamboyant, empowering production starring RuPaul’s “showgirls” from the Emmy Award-winning hit, at Flamingo Showroom at Flamingo Las Vegas, through Sept. 9. Tickets (starting at $49) here.

Pool Perks:

Dive In Movies at The CosmopolitanEvery Monday, May 20-Sept. 9, at 8 p.m., Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas is presenting a selection of blockbuster hits, timeless classics and family favorites projected on a 65-foot screen. Watch in the pool, poolside, or reserve a premium daybed or cabana with a food and beverage minimum. Free for hotel guests, first responders and military. General admission: $15, or $10 for locals. Reserve tickets here.

Temptation Sundays at Luxor HotelThe Strip’s most fabulous, all-inclusivity pool party is back again, every Sunday through Sept. 1, from 12-6 p.m. Hosted by Eduardo Cordova, nightlife impresario behind LGBTQIIA+ club Queen Las Vegas, this rainbow pool season, which returned on May 12, will feature guest appearances from Drag Queen Fantasia Royale Gaga and a Pride Month appearance by RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Queen JaymesMansfield

Reserved seating options include lounge chairs with umbrellas, daybeds, a mini-fridge and cabanas, which can be booked in advance at Temptation Sundays is open to hotel and non-hotel guests ages 21+. Space is limited, guests are encouraged to plan ahead and make reservations. Admission prices vary. Reservations can be made online here.
















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