TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: The Gay Travelers in Las Vegas

Published Date Author: , July 9th, 2010
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Donald and Ray in Las Vegas

Donald and Ray in Las Vegas

We have recently returned from a “beyond FABULOUS” adventure to Las Vegas. If you can’t have fun in Las Vegas, you might as well stay home for the rest of your life.

Suite at the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas

Suite at the Vdara Hotel in Las Vegas

We visited the city for 7 nights and was busy 24/7. Our first adventure was checking into the beautiful VDARA Hotel (at left) which sits right next to the Bellagio. It is owned by the MGM Resorts, International which owns several resorts in Las Vegas, including the MGM, Mirage, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, New York and other.

We highly recommend that you stay at any of these properties under the MGM umbrella. They try hard to make gays feel comfortable and are known for hiring “out” gays. They KNOW the value that gays perform in the work force.

The Beautiful Vdara Hotel

The Beautiful Vdara Hotel

The VDARA accommodations are all suites and are extremely spacious. Their staff is unbelievably friendly. Two staff members that were exceptional were Chase at the front desk and Troy at the Valet desk.

Mayor Oscar B. Goodman in his office, officially welcoming Donald and Ray to Las Vegas

Mayor Oscar B. Goodman in his office, officially welcoming Donald and Ray to Las Vegas

The first full day, the Mayor, Oscar B. Goodman officially welcomed the “Award-Winning, Celebrity Travel Columnists” to Las Vegas in his office in City Hall.

Our first night we dined at the Botero Restaurant which is located at the Encore Resort right next to the Wynn. The food, food presentation, atmosphere and the service was a solid 10! Everything was perfect.

After dinner we went to see the “LeReve” show which is at the Wynn. It is a very dramatic water show and is quite spectacular! Don’t miss seeing this show when you are in Las Vegas.

Pink Jeep Tours

Pink Jeep Tours

We then took a historic tour visiting many of the sights in Las Vegas. Pink Jeep Tours offers the finest of tours that we have ever taken! Our tour guide Shanin knew the city well and explained everything in fine detail.

We have been going to Las Vegas for 37 years and learned more about the city on this tour than we ever knew before. Be sure and take this tour when visiting the city. They also offer Hoover Dam tours as well. Their website is: http://www.pinkjeep.com/

The next night we dined at Picasso Restaurant located in the Bellagio. This was our finest dining experience! For our appetizer we had the Caviar and it was the best that we have ever had! We opted for the “Menu De’gustation” which included a Maine Lobster Salad, Pan Seared U-10 Day Boat Scallops with Potato Mousseline and Jus de Veau, Saute’ed “A” Steak of Foie Gras, Brookestone Cherries, Fonseca Tawny Port, balsamic Reduction and Roasted Almond.

The next course was Roasted Lamb Chops with sweet bell pepper farci and the final course was the dessert which was absolutely to die for! Expensive? Perhaps! But hey, you only live once. We will have fond memories of this dining experience for years to come.

Another fun and interesting dining experience was at Nine Fine Irishmen which is located in the New York-New York Resort. We had the finest fish and chips that we ever had and also the steak sanger, an open-faced grilled ribeye on toasted ciabatta with onion, zucchini and dried tomato with spicy red pepper mayo.

For dessert we had the sticky toffee cheesecake with warm caramel sauce and the dark chocolate mousse coated with rich chocolate ganache.

Ray and Donald with Nathan Burton, David and Lance

Ray and Donald with Nathan Burton, David and Lance

Later in the day we caught an afternoon show at the Flamingo Resort. The REAL name of the show is the Nathan Burton Show however we called it Emily Burton’s brother’s show! just because his sister, Emily is so nice.

Nathan puts on a wonderful show and the audiences loves it. Be sure and see his show when in Las Vegas. He is a good magician.

Donald and Ray with a Las Vegas Showgirl - We HAVE to show off our diamonds!

Donald and Ray with a Las Vegas Showgirl) We HAVE to show off our diamonds!

The next day was a fun filled day in Las Vegas. We toured the BODIES EXHIBIT at the Luxor and then the SHARK REEF AQUARIUM at the Mandalay Bay. Then off to lunch, and what a lunch it was.

We dined at the BORDER GRILL at the Mandalay Bay which is called “modern Mexican”. We don’t care what they call it, but it was the best of the best!

Our dessert tray at the Border Grill

Our dessert tray at the Border Grill

Our server Tom was great! We had the chef’s tasting menu which turned out to be a 6 course lunch! Everything they make is very innovative and they let their imaginations run wild! This HAS to be the finest Mexican dining experience that we have ever had!

They are “family” owned and we mean FAMILY! Congratulations to the owners, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger.

After lunch we toured the TITANIC: The ARTIFACT EXHIBIT at the Luxor Resort. We had seen it about 10 years ago in Chicago and they have certainly captured everything perfectly.

Then off for to the tables and slot machines for some fun.

For dinner we went to the Tender Restaurant at the Luxor. This is a restaurant from the “old school” and our servers John and Manuel KNOW how to do everything right! It is such a great dining experience when servers KNOW exactly what they are to do. These were two of the most professional servers in Las Vegas.

After our huge lunch at Borders, we opted for their famous American Kobe beef meatloaf stroganoff with foie Gras, black truffles, sun-dried tomatoes, cippoline onions, wild mushroom sour cream sauce and fettuccine. Naturally we had to have some dessert. We had their signature dessert, grandma’s old-fashioned chocolate cake (just like grandma used to make, rich and moist chocolate cake with chocolate fudge ganache, chocolate sauce and vanilla bean galato!) Don’t know about you but OUR grandmothers never made anything that fabulous!

Later that evening we went to see the LION KING at the Manadaly Bay. Everyone raves about it!

The following morning we went in the car and drove out about 20 miles to tour a national park. When in Las Vegas it is nice to get away from the hustle and bustle once in a while.

Driving back into Las Vegas, we had lunch at the BLT BURGER located in the Mirage. The manager is Michael and he is on top of everything. We opted for the Combo Special which included their classic burger (7 ounce grilled certified Black Angus beef, your choice of fries “skinny, fat or waffle” and a fabulously wonderful milkshake). We had the “All Nighter” milkshake which was filled with Kahlua, Bailey’s, Espresso, Coffee and Ice Cream. We could have stayed there all day long! But we have more places to go and more things to see.

Our next stop was Siegfried & Roy’s SECRET GARDEN and Dolphin Habitat located in the Mirage. Do not miss this experience!

A short rest and drinks on the 23rd Floor bar of the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel. If you really want to experience something that is truly fabulous then stay there. Their bar has breath-taking views of the entire city. This is a MUST when visiting Las Vegas. We were very fortunate to meet and have drinks with the Communications Director of the hotel, Alex Acuna.

Next to the Mayor, we think that he is one of the best pubic relations man in the city. He KNOWS what he is doing and he KNOWS how to get things done. Everyone is town talks about how great he is!

Then off to L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Restaurant at the MGM Grand for dinner. We had their “club menu” which was a 6 course dinner, starting with Le Foie Gras, La Langoustine, Le Veau and Le Saint Pierre, Les Fromages, Les Tartes, and Glaces Et Sorbet. Afterwards we saw the Las Vegas show, ZUMANITY at the New York-New York Resort.

And we have so much more to see and do. “Walking the Strip” is what everyone does. You can always rest when you get home! Lunch at Julian Serrano Restaurant at the Aria. Everything was perfect and we had yet another 2 hour lunch. Luckily for us, the Aria is within walking distance from the VDARA so we walked back to our suite to rest until dinner.

Dinner was at the Sage Restaurant which is also at the Aria. We opted for their 6 course dinner. Our server Marcus was perfect and friendly. Our dining experience there was wonderful. Then off to see VIVA ELVIS: Cirque Du Soleil also at the Aria. It was a great show!

Las Vegas Food to Die For

Las Vegas Food to Die For

Another great restaurant to try out in Las Vegas a little off the strip but well worth the drive.

Paymond’s Mediterranean & Lounge is just “GOOD, TASTY food in a neighborhood atmosphere”.

Their prices are extremely good and the quality of their food is tremendous.

They have been supporters of the gay community for years. Everything that we had was wonderful (see the pictures of our meal at left and below.

You certainly cannot go wrong dining there. They are located at 4161 South Maryland Parkway.

This is just GOOD HOME COOKING at it’s best !

Fish & Chips Las vegas Dessert

Donald and Ray with Eduardo Cordova

Donald and Ray with Eduardo Cordova

Our Las Vegas adventures don’t end there! BE SURE AND CHECK OUT “Eduardo Cordova Presents”. He produces the most FABULOUSLY WONDERFUL gay nights at the MIRAGE RESORT!!

You will KNOW that you are not in Kansas anymore. His productions are so great that we simply cannot describe them! All the gay stars in Heaven ascend down on his productions. They are packed with everyone!

Our favorite was on Sunday nights at the BARE POOL LOUNGE at the Mirage which is an outside venue. It is truly UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! It is worth gay people flying into Las Vegas for just this one night! CLOSET SUNDAYS at the Revolution Lounge at the Mirage and HEAVEN SATURDAYS at the Bare Pool Lounge at the Mirage. His assistant, Jason is awesome!

(Donald and Ray with Frank Marino)

Donald and Ray with Frank Marino

Donald and Ray with Frank Marino

Going to Las Vegas without seeing the multi-talented Frank Marino would be like going to New York City and not seeing the Statue of Liberty! Frank has been performing for over 24 years in Las Vegas. His “new and improved” show is now at the Imperial Palace.

Featuring Dolly, Tina, Madonna, Cher, Bette, Diana, Liza, Britney and of course starring Frank Marino as Joan Rivers. Frank’s show has improved and gotten a lot better over the years. It was always great but now even greater. Divas is the new HIT on the Las Vegas strip! He is truly one of the most beloved headliners in Las Vegas. He and his partner, Alex just celebrated their 17th Anniversary on July 4th. Congratulations Frank and Alex.

And now ladies and gentlemen, we present to you Mr. Showmanship himself… The fabulously wonderful… the man who truly did it his way… the man who we had our 35th Anniversary in his Palm Springs estate a few years ago… L I B E R A C E !!!!!

Entrance to the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas

Entrance to the Liberace Museum in Las Vegas

One of the first places we always go when visiting Las Vegas is to the Liberace Museum. And what a museum it is! Located just east of the Las Vegas strip at 1775 East Tropicana Avenue, it is truly “beyond Fabulous”.

The Liberace Museum was founded April 15, 1979. Tanya Combs is the Director and the tour guide, Bette LaCombe is the finest and most memorable tour guide that we have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She LOVES her job and you can tell!

Everybody taking the tour was talking about how great she was. The museum houses many of Liberace’s costumes and she goes into detail about all of them. They even let you try one on! There is the Jewelry Collection which is worth the tour itself. Many of Liberace’s autos are on display. And then there are the pianos! They are in every conceivable shape and size and age. You also get to see several of Liberace’s antiques which are truly museum quality.

(Ray at the famous Liberace “Mirrored” Baldwin Grand Piano)

Ray at the famous Liberace "Mirrored" Baldwin Grand Piano

Ray at the famous Liberace "Mirrored" Baldwin Grand Piano

After the tour you visit the Café which has the most “fabulous” person who takes care of you. His name is Howard and we thought of him as the “Goodwill Ambassador” of the Museum. It’s all about having fun and all the staff there is wonderful.

After a nice lunch, we were extremely fortunate in going to a very special concert there in the Liberace Cabaret Showroom. Do NOT miss this show! The name of it is “Liberace and Me” with the extremely talented Philip Fortenberry at the keyboard.

Philip closes his show in a similar way that Liberace closed his own show with a wonderful rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You”.

Donald and Ray with Philip Fortenberry

Donald and Ray with Philip Fortenberry

Between the brilliance of Philip’s playing and the people reminiscing about Liberace, there was not dry eye in the audience. Philip has several C.D’s out so be sure and check his website at http://www.philipfortenberry.com/.

And then on your way out of the Museum you walk thru the gift shop.

Donald and Ray's matching Liberace "piano" rings

Donald and Ray's matching Liberace "piano" rings

Among the items offered for sale are Liberace related items, compact discs and video cassettes; along with a selection of music related books, giftware, stationery and jewelry. Does the end stop there? NO WAY!

Frick and Frack , alias Jan and Jean, the sales associates LOVE what are doing. The are fun, funny and MORE FUN! You would almost think that they are part of the entertainment for the Museum. Why is it way too many people in this world are just too boring? Thanks Bette, Howard and Frick and Frack! From the moment you walk into this Museum until you finally leave (and you won’t want to leave), you will have a marvelous adventure and one to remember for years to come.

The mission of the Liberace Foundation is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance and artistic exposure. Celebrating over 30 years of Funding the Arts since 1976, The Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts has awarded more than 2,700 students with scholarships.

One of the MANY costumes on display

One of the MANY costumes on display

The Legend REALLY does lives on at the Liberace Museum! And always remember the words by Liberace, “Nobody will believe in you unless you believe in yourself!” Check out their website at www.liberace.org. And, by the way, Liberace would have been 91 this year and we are sure if he were still alive that he will still be wearing all of this “beyond fabulous” costumes. And why not?

We have been to Las Vegas many times over the years. It keeps changing and changing which any resort city has to do. If you have never been, then GO! See for yourself what it is all about.

Photographs, movies or anything else cannot prepare you for the all the glitz, glamour and excitement that the town has to offer. It is truly one of the most amazing cities in the world. We have so many people to thank for our latest “Las Vegas Adventure” and that is what going to Las Vegas is… an adventure. You NEVER get tired of going to Las Vegas.

A special thanks to: David Gonzalez at the MGM Resorts International, Alex Acuna at the Mandarin Oriental, Jace Radke at the Las Vegas City Hall, Michael Bertetto at the Wynn/Encore, the entire staff at the Liberace Museum and Eduardo Cordova and staff.

We always tell our readers to talk to everyone when traveling. You just never know who you are going to meet up with. On this trip we made new friends who live here in the Midwest, David Sandy and his partner Lance. We will be seeing much more of them in the future in our travels.

And now, VIVA LAS VEGAS !!!!!

Don & ray - Gay TravelersAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

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Wade Rouse - Gravatar

www.waderouse.com Wade Rouse said on November 5, 2010, 2:32 pm:

How Fun!!! We have never been to Vegas!! Looks like we need to add it to our offical destination list on our next book tour this spring!

Author Wade Rouse

Bill Bates - Gravatar

Bill Bates said on November 30, 2010, 7:59 pm:

D and R,

Next time I go to Vegas I want the Donald and Ray Restaurant Tour! Since Las Vegas seems to reinvent itself every 5 or so years I guess I’m overdue for another assalt on my senses and waistline.

Many thanks for the recommendations.

Cheers,

Bill

James - Gravatar

James said on July 23, 2012, 4:11 pm:

Having been lucky enough to have spent time with the two of you in PalmSprings I would climb in your suitcase and live your fabulous travels anytime .

Candi Murray-Washington - Gravatar

Purpleroofs Candi Murray-Washington said on August 4, 2012, 10:37 pm:

You guys are having too much fun! When I grow up ,I want to be just like y’all! Happy Travels:-)

Pierre - Gravatar

Pierre said on January 14, 2013, 12:31 pm:

hello do you know if i can order from one ring like you’ve boughten ?
Thank you very much :)

Joe DeMarco - Gravatar

www.abodyonpine.com Joe DeMarco said on March 3, 2013, 1:10 pm:

What a fun review of Vegas. I’ve been thinking of taking a trip there and you guys have given me so much information, I’m delighted.

You both always do a fabulous job!

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