Sensory overload are the two words that comes to mind when I think of Las Vegas. You recognize it right away. Even as you’re landing the gleaming and over-the-top lights can’t be ignored. With the endless row of casinos it’s easy to see Vegas as only a hot spot for excess and gambling, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find there’s actually loads more to see and do – you just need to know where to find it. Here’s how to do Las Vegas the non-traditional way (no gambling required).

Where to stay:
If you are a one-stop-shop kind of traveller looking to maximize your relax time, Aria is for you. Interconnected, complex with a modern twist of opulence, Aria is a complete Vegas experience from the casino to restaurants, to a world-class spa, and even high end shopping. Being one of the newest additions to the strip it provides that perfect mix of luxury and comfort, minus the uptight atmosphere that often goes hand in hand with the high-end hotel culture. Your suite? The Sky Suites. Ushered through the private entrance you will be met by a concierge and escorted up to your spacious (1,000 square feet!) personal refuge. Warning! You might never want to leave. You could take up a Vegas residency, no?

The Shops at Crystals

Where to shop:
Whether you are in the mood to splurge or just need an eye candy fix, Crystals at Aria is a gem filled with designer labels. Home to Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford and more… your credit card will need a break post-shop.

GALLERY: 9 luxury travel accessories

If you are in the market for something a little more hip and pop culture driven, head to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Just a short walk, on the Strip’s interconnecting elevated sidewalks, you will find yourself in the most eclectic collection of shops (think brands like Allsaints, Monorgam and Kid Robot). Here the shopping experience is all about curated fashion; hand picked labels and even haute couture rentals.

For the best places to eat and spend a night out, read on to the next page…

Hakkasan-Las-Vegasbywww-Rukes-co.jpgHakkasan Night Club in the MGM Grand Hotel. Image courtesy of

Where to party:
You can’t go to Vegas and not experience the nightlife. It’s just not possible. The problem will be choosing which hotspot to spend the night. Dance the night away with star Djs at Marquee Night Club in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Marquee boasts both an impressive indoor space with resident Djs spinning club-banging anthems for Vegas’ socialites and a modern outdoor lounge complete with its own booth spinning deep house and trip hop. An added bonus? The 60,000 square feet space includes seven bars, roof top patio overlooking the strip and a pool that turns into a skating rink during the winter months.

Your other dance option: Hakkasan Night Club in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Since its opening in April, Hakkasan managed to excel in the art of throwing the best party in town. Embrace the chaos of the passionate crowd while Testo and Calvin Harris take the stage for their eagerly anticipated performances. With multiple rooms spinning a myriad of sounds, from deep house and techno on the main floor, to open-format music in the Ling Ling Club, Hakkasan promises to be yet another unforgettable evening in Las Vegas.

Picasso Restaurant

Where to eat:
Think brunch in Vegas – not breakfast. Breakfast is way too early after enjoying the nightlife. The perfect fix? The French brasserie Comme Ca located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Dreamed up by its founder, chef David Myers, Comme Ca gives a modern spin to authentic brasserie experience – think seasonal locally grown produce, their French twist on the American brunch is definitely worth a try. Especially if you thought that lard (yes, lard!) was not something worthy of salivating over (the delicious duck confit cinnamon roll will prove otherwise). For more of a traditional start to the day try the quiche and delicious side of beet salad (yum!). And brunch always calls for a cocktail, no? Sip on refreshing morning cocktails like Ginger Joy and Thyme for Burbon.

TRAVEL TRENDS: The new travel hotspots

For a traditional dining experience (and to be honest, a bit of a Vegas spectacle) head over the home of the Strip’s most beloved attraction, the renowned fountains at Belagio. The show is repeated every 15 minutes from 7pm until midnight. Stay for a while and enjoy both the fountains and delights of fine ding at Picasso restaurant. The Michelin and Five Diamond award winner offers a feast, perfect for both special occasions or pure indulgences. Make sure to ask for the seat on the terrace to have an unobstructed view of the fountains while enjoying culinary creations of Chef Julian Serrano. The must try: The quail salad.

How to travel like a jetsetter
Black Book Travel Guide: Las Vegas

Weekend getaway: 6 hot spots in New York