Where Do You Find A 500 Item Buffet? Las Vegas, Naturally

bac·cha·nal   [n. bah-kuh-nahl, bak-uh-nal, bak-uh-nl; adj. bak-uh-nl]
1. a follower of Bacchus.
2. a drunken reveler.
3. an occasion of drunken revelry; orgy; bacchanalia.
4. the new $17 million, 500+ item buffet at Caesars Palace

Longtime Las Vegas lovers will remember the epic Bacchanal at Caesars Palace, a Roman-style feast that closed in 2000. Like all good things, it’s come back around. In early September, the hotel and resort will open a 21st century adaptation of the Bacchanal Buffet to the tune of $17 million.

That’s one expensive restaurant. Just what does one get when they spend that much? A culinary experience that rivals a Vegas show, it seems. Touting what the Palace says will be the “most variety on the Las Vegas Strip,” Bacchanal Buffet will feature more than 500 items from classic favorites such as made-to-order omelets, the freshest seafood and roasted meats like prime rib to cutting edge, regional comfort food like breakfast pizzas, red velvet pancakes, wood fired Neapolitan pizzas and Chinese dim sum, even roasted South Carolina shrimp and grits.

The views? The property’s famous Garden of the Gods pool complex. Because you want to go swimming after eating at a 500 item buffet, naturally.

Let’s break that down by the numbers:
Size: 25,000 square feet
Seating: 600 guests
Kitchens: 9, including Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, American, Seafood, Pizza, Deli and Dessert.

Most kitchens will feature an interactive chef, crafting a total of:
Dinner: More than 300 items
Breakfast: More than 95 items
Pastry: An additional 115 pastry items available during dinner (who knew there were 115 kinds of pastry?)
Bread: More than 20 different varieties of fresh-baked bread and rolls
Soups: More than 10 daily soups, many of which will rotate daily
Cheeses: 7 farmstead American cheeses available year round with 3 changing seasonally

Lest you think, wait! that’s not enough … there will also be crepes made-to-order, oyster shucking, house-smoked ribs and brisket, and yes, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Because usually those who eat at a 500-item buffet are watching their waistlines.
The prices are fairly reasonable – $19.99 for breakfast, $24.99 for lunch, and $39.99 for a seafood dinner, or a $10 supplemental charge for the standard Caesars buffet pass.

We’ll add one more stat: average number of pounds gained if you eat at this restaurant once a day during your stay: approximately 5.

Hotel Openings: First Look Inside Las Vegas’ Nobu Hotel

Sushi and celebrity lovers alike know Nobu as one of the country’s ritziest places to order your tuna and tempura. Now you can know it as a place to lay your head as well. Nobu Hospitality is opening their first hotel in Las Vegas, now taking reservations from October 1, 2012.

The first branded hotel venture by a celebrity chef, Nobu Hotel includes not only a top toque but a celebrity actor as well – Robert De Niro is also a partner in the hospitality group.
A Hotel Within A Hotel
Earlier this week in New York City, the group showed off the initial plans for their new hotel, which will be located inside Caesar’s Palace.
The hotel-within-a-hotel will offer a Japanese Zen feel, from the wooden tiles that extend from the elevator to the hallways to the sleek cherry blossom patterned carpet and custom light fixtures inspired by origami. Sleek touch-screen elevators will add a hint of the hotel’s cutting-edge technology and guide guests to the 181 hotel rooms and 18 suites with Strip or garden views.
“We have created a distinctly Japanese experience in the heart of Las Vegas with the first Nobu Hotel, but with a playful interpretation of Nobu’s style and the Vegas bravado,” said Rockwell, founder and CEO of Rockwell Group. “Using the grand canvas of a hotel, we were able to elaborate on the use of hand-crafted, curated materials that create a luxurious effect and provide a world-class Nobu experience.”
Inside the Guest Rooms
Guest rooms will be distinctly more Zen-like then most of their over-the-top counterparts and will feature neutral tones with hints of purple and aqua. Custom art by up-and-coming Japanese artists will feature a mix of traditional prints and expressionist designs, speaking to the link between traditional Japanese and modern art. The main focal point of the room will be the feature wall that displays a custom calligraphy, as seen in the photo above.
Bathrooms will feature rich teak fittings, stone tiles and traditional black Umi tiles. Walk-in showers will offer multiple showerheads and a teak bathing stool, a commodity seen in traditional Japanese bathhouses. Toto toilets and sinks that showcase custom freestanding concrete bowls set on wood plinth are designed to evoke a garden fountain. Luxurious bath amenities will include a selection of products by Natura Bissein, featuring a signature rosemary and white tea scent designed exclusively for Nobu Hotel.
A Zen-Like Experience
The arrival experience will include personalized service with in-room iPad registration and a traditional hot tea welcome amenity.

The unique turndown service will include his and hers yukata robes and slippers displayed bedside along with an exclusive Nobu Hotel blend of scented sleep oils. An upgraded minibar curated by Nobu will consist of unique selections including organic Wild Poppy blood orange chili juice crafted from orchards in California, chocolate-dipped Pocky pretzels, Japanese beer and an assortment of Dean & Deluca snack items. Nobu’s signature brands of chilled sake and Genmai-Cha brown rice green tea will also be available.
Nobu Hotel guests will also have private access to the adjacent 11,200-square-foot restaurant and lounge with priority seating and 24-hour access to Nobu cuisine through the first ever in-room dining menu.
The menu will include popular Japanese items, along with Nobu’s signature twists on American classics. A selection of bento boxes will offer a customary Japanese breakfast and the Vegas-themed High Roller, which features lobster wasabi, Wagyu steak, spicy garlic shrimp and an assortment of nigiri and premium sushi rolls. Additional menu items will include green tea waffles served with braised short rib, egg and aged maple; bagel and lox featuring salmon sashimi served on an “everything bagel” made of crispy rice; the RLT with rock shrimp, butter lettuce and Maui onion tomato salsa in a creamy spicy sauce; and the tonkatsu sandwich with panko pork and prune katsu sauce on shokupan bread.
The hotel is now taking reservations for October 1 and beyond. We’ll keep you posted on an opening date! What do you think? Can’t wait to stay or would prefer just to dine and stay elsewhere?

Caesar’s Palace plans new luxury tower

Las Vegas‘ famed Caesars Palace yesterday announced opening dates for the Octavius Tower, a 668-room hotel tower including 60 suites and six luxury villas. On sale today for stays beginning January 2, 2012, the resort’s sixth tower will offer a “resort within a resort” experience with a private entrance, separate hotel lobby and direct access to the Garden of the Gods pool oasis and gardens. Rooms will go on sale Thursday, September 15, for guest arrivals beginning January 2, 2012.

While expansions and additions to Las Vegas hotels are nothing new, the Octavius Tower marks another luxury market expansion, similar to properties like Wynn (Encore) and The Venetian (The Palazzo) that have opened separate yet related luxury hotels near their own properties in recent years. The expansion comes hot on the heels of more than two years of renovations and major milestones (remember The Hangover?) and the opening and planned opening of restaurants like Central Michel Richard, Nobu and Old Homestead Steakhouse.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the timing for the opening of Octavius Tower,” said Gary Selesner, regional president of Caesars Palace. “With very high hotel occupancy over the last six months and the unqualified success of the Augustus Tower – Octavius’ sister tower – we look forward to offering our guests the new luxury rooms along with an elevated service experience in both towers.”

Spacious guest rooms, starting at 550 square feet, will offer a modern, luxurious decor incorporating new technological advances found at other Strip hotels, including 42-inch flat panel, high-definition television screens, convenient media hubs with multiple outlets for easy connectivity, and bedside docking stations with iPod capabilities.

An innovative application for iPad/iPod Touch devices will offer guests direct accessibility to communicate with room service, housekeeping, reservations and front desk services.

The opening of the Octavius Tower marks the completion of the $860 million Caesars Palace expansion.

Vegas casino fined for dancing gambler

Las Vegas has a reputation for letting visitors get away with all kinds of “bad” behavior. Activities like gambling and drinking on the street get a free pass in this anything-goes gaming capital. But apparently that permissive Vegas attitude doesn’t extend to all behaviors, particularly if you like celebratory dancing when you hit it big at the tables.

Vegas casino Caesar’s Palace was recently fined $250,000 for allowing a player at their high-stakes Baccarat tables to dance and walk on the tables during play. According to a complaint filed by Nevada Gaming regulators, the culprit got up from his chair and climbed on the game table for a stretch of 45 minutes, walking, dancing (and playing) along the way.

Why didn’t Caesar’s Palace stop this dancing fool? It probably had something to do with the fact the perpetrator was playing a high-stakes game. Apparently when there’s big money involved, you can get away with a lot more than if you start doing the jig on top of a $5 Blackjack table. Word to the wise – if you’re going to celebrate big winnings in Vegas, best leave your dancing shoes at home – or at least keep them off the gaming tables.

[Photo by Flickr user Alex Cheek]

Harrah’s, Caesars Palace create personalized trips for guests

Las Vegas is sinfully decadent in all the right places, but if you don’t know where to go or how to get your name on “the” list, you’re out of luck. News from The Strip is that Harrah’s and Caesars Palace have launched a service to fix all that. Catering to every need of bachelors, bachelorettes, divorcees, just-turned-30/40/50-mid-life crisis travelers, corporate executives, Kardashian wanna-bes and just about any other personality that visits Las Vegas, Harrah’s and Caesars Palace announce their new concierge trip planning service.

“Total Experiences” is a new, complimentary program created by Harrah’s to provide trip planning services and insider access to groups of leisure travelers staying at Harrah’s resorts in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and beyond.

Veronica Smiley of Harrah’s Entertainment is spearheading the new program and tells me it’s the ultimate planning option for all travelers.

“Each group of travelers is connected with their own Total Experiences Specialist, who handles all details of the group’s itinerary both before and during their stay, including creating VIP experiences for those guests who may not be high-rollers,” said Smiley.

The specialist can pull together everything from golf outings to private tables at the hottest clubs, depending on the guests’ needs.

“This is a complimentary service where guests pay for only what they book; the more the group adds to their itinerary, the greater the access and upgrades their Specialist can offer.” So, what has Smiley produced?You say you want to recreate “The Hangover” with your buddies (sans Mike Tyson’s tiger)? No problem. Smiley and her team can book you the “Hangover Suite” at Caesars Palace and plan a full guys night out with all the perks including tickets to see the Pussycat Dolls and a private gaming table in the Pussycat Dolls lounge, VIP passes to PURE nightclub and gaming lessons, if necessary.

Girls need a little getaway? Take a group cooking lesson with a Michelin-star chef and get backstage to meet-and-greet with Cher after her concert. Want a personal shopping tour of Caesar’s and some behind-the-scenes looks at the top jewels in Sin City? Not a problem, according to Smiley.

“We look at our portfolio of activities and make some recommendations for the guests based on what they’re looking for. We’ll find something for every budget and type of traveler.”

Here’s how it works: You and a group need to book at least five rooms and the concierge services are free. Tell your specialist what you’re interested in, your budget and whether you want to go wild and crazy or just focus on winnings. Your specialist will create a package and you’re off to Las Vegas. Smiley says the service does get discounts for group bookings but guests don’t pay an additional fee for using this service.

“You pay for what you book; you can get as much or as little as you want,” said Smiley. “Our only motivation is to create a whole new set of loyal customers.”

No more waiting in lines at nightclubs or begging bouncers to let you backstage at the Barry Manilow concert.