court, the retractable telescopic seating
system allows for standing events of up
to 6,400 people, or smaller gatherings of
2,400. Like the T-Mobile Arena, natural
light and external access are emphasized
via features including 70-foot windows and
With superstars including Bruno Mars,
Cher and Ricky Martin booked for multi-year “extended engagements,” the venue
is designed for artists to customize their
show, while dropping the “fourth wall”
between performer and audience. With the
farthest seats just 145 feet from the stage, a
giant projection mapping technology and
studio-sharp sound system fully immerse
fans in the action.
The venue marks Phase 1 of MGM’s $450
million transformation of the Monte Carlo
into the 2,700-room Park MGM. Slated for
completion in late 2018, the makeover will
incorporate a 292-room Nomad lifestyle
hotel on the upper floors.
In May 2016, Las Vegas Sands Corp. and
partners, including Madison Square Garden and Live Nation, announced a possible
17,500-seat off-Strip performance venue.
Then there is a proposed $1.9 billion,
65,000-seat domed stadium targeting the
NFL’s Oakland Raiders, approved by the
Nevada legislature last year.
Will the Raiders (or another team)
jump to Vegas? NFL Commissioner Roger
Goodell, for one, continues to “entertain”
“It’s clear the Las Vegas market has
become more diversified and more broadly
involved with entertainment and hitting
big events,” Goodell stated in a press conference last December. “There is a growth
to the market. You can see the trajectory
and where it’s going when you look at the
84 Meetings Today // 02.17
LE REVE—THE DREAM, WYNN LAS VEGAS
What inspired you to create Lip Smacking Foodie Tours?
The decade I spent working in several top Vegas restaurants and steakhouses left me
hungry for more. Immersing myself in blogs and articles, visiting new restaurants and
developing inside connections, I saw the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge
with others. With hundreds of restaurants on and off the Strip, deciding where to dine,
and what to order, can be overwhelming—and expensive. Showcasing top restaurants and
their signature dishes, our tours, ranging from 2.5 to 5 hours, eliminate the guesswork
while providing a unique VIP experience.
For groups of up to 75, our menu includes the Afternoon Culinary Adventures tour of four
top Strip restaurants, or five-restaurant Savors of The Strip evening tour. The Downtown
Lip Smacking Tour showcases the local chef-driven scene in the original Las Vegas, week-
enders have the Lip Smacking Boozy Brunch, and our Savory Bites & Neon Lights tour
concludes with a Maverick Helicopters’ Strip flyover and limo coach back to the hotel.
All tours feature rock star treatment. Bypassing the line and ushered straight to the ta-
ble, the group samples three to four of the restaurant’s signature dishes while interacting
with the chef. It’s VIP, but great value, because sampling signature dishes the traditional
way can cost an arm and a leg. Between restaurants, our guides also incorporate local
flavor by sharing insider information about Las Vegas.
Food brings people together, and for groups, we create uniquely memorable experiences
while fostering mingling and networking. On our tours, you meet and socialize with everybody.
Does dining qualify as entertainment in Las Vegas?
Absolutely. Many restaurants incorporate an entertainment factor to elevate the experience—I call it “dinner and a show.” For example, Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las
Vegas, from superstar Spanish chef Jose Andres, features an open-fire paella pit with a
million-dollar ventilation system. When the paella is ready, a cowbell rings and the pan is
passed around for photos. Guests can eat croquettes from a shoe (Andres’ riff on “soul”
food), and heads tilted back, drink from a narrow-spouted porron.
At Milos, also at The Cosmopolitan, guests can hand-select Mediterranean seafood
flown in that day for their meal. Our beverage package includes ARIA’s Sage restaurant,
featuring a flaming tableside absinthe preparation. “Interactive, engaging, social me-dia-ready and entertaining” are key criteria for our tour venues.
Q&A with Donald Contursi //
Founder and President // Lip Smacking Foodie
Tours // www.vegasfoodietour.com