Located In The Heart Of The Strip.
Las Vegas, as young to the world as it might be does have a vibrant and storied history. From its earliest days in the mid-1800s, when a group of Mormon settlers left Utah to settle in the Las Vegas Valley, to the modern influx of people that came to seek a better quality of life during the economic boom of the 1990s, Las Vegas is ever changing.
One of, if not the most common thought-of-eras in Las Vegas history would have to be the days of the Wise Guys, the Mobsters, the Goodfellas. The famous Bugsy Siegel, a Jewish American Gangster was one of the first Wise Guys to develop the Las Vegas Boulevard aka “The Strip”. He helped lay the foundation and paved the way for more mobsters to stay at the house that Bugsy built, the World Famous Flamingo, which is remarkably still standing in a modified form.
The skyline of The Strip has continued to evolve many times throughout the years. In Las Vegas, what is new becomes old and what is old becomes new again. The Las Vegas Strip is much like an old house that has been painted over and over, or the alternative, demolished, blown up, bulldozed and rebuilt.
Although some of my favorite places like the Sands or the Desert Inn no longer exist, it is amazing to see places like Caesars Palace and the Flamingo still standing. The Flamingo actually still pays homage to Bugsy Siegel with the Rat Pack themed Bugsy’s bar. Flanked on both sides of the famous pink and orange lit Flamingo Hotel and Casino are proof that what is old and antiquated can become shiny and new again.
To the south of the Flamingo, the old Barbary Coast has been revamped into the hip and happening boutique property now named The Cromwell. On the north side of the Flamingo, the once Asian-themed Imperial Palace, featured card games like War at a casino table; it had great domestic beer for or only 75 cents.
As of 2014, and after an astounding $200 million dollar renovation, the old Imperial Palace has been transformed into the LINQ. The fine lines, wrinkles, and sun spots are gone; a sense of youth has taken over the shell with trendy style.
World’s Tallest Observation Wheel, The High Roller.
Pulling into the entrance of the LINQ, we zipped right under the newly finished High Roller. This massive observation wheel is 55 stories high in the sky and the changing of the multicolored lights brightening up the Vegas skyline is truly impressive.
The High Roller has officially changed the Vegas skyline. Tucked behind the LINQ, you can see it from almost every vantage point in central Las Vegas. With its changing colored lights at night and its stature during the day, it is the new must do in Vegas. Currently the world’s tallest observation wheel, it has views of The Strip below and of all sides of the Las Vegas valley. Each cabin can hold up to 40 people. The cabins can be reserved in their entirety (complete with your own bartender). or you are welcome to ride in small groups or solo. Options are unlimited with what you can host in these cabins: a bachelor, bachelorette, birthday, or wedding party is an adventurous way to celebrate high up in the desert sky. Tickets run $24.95 during the day and $34.95 at night and the 360 degree trip takes about 30 minutes.
High above the Las Vegas sky on The High Roller.
My excitement to experience the new LINQ was growing quickly. A young and hip valet took our car away. We were whisked into the VIP services check in and the staff in this exclusive area could not have been more impressive and helpful.
We reveled in the transformation of the LINQ’s lobby area and large lounge: quite an inviting place for a drink. Beyond our vantage point at the central bar, we noticed a sign that looked all too familiar. It read, “The Hash House A Go Go”. This is a welcome and exciting surprise; The Hash Hash A Go Go is a San Diego breakfast institution. As a San Diego native I have dined often at the Hash House A Go Go; I know their menu well, which is known for gargantuan plates piled high with tasty fare. It is a rare occasion to finish the plate clean at the Hash House. Self-proclaimed as “Twisted Farm Food” the plates are garnished with a Rosemary sprig that fits the scale of the oversized plates. Some breakfast favorites are the “Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken Benedict w/ maple reduction, two eggs, bacon mashed potatoes, and biscuit”; if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, the “Griddled French Toast” is dipped in banana cinnamon cream and served with pecan maple syrup.
Perfect cocktails after checking in at the LINQ.
Finishing our cocktails, there was no doubt where we would be dining for breakfast tomorrow. During the walk to our room, I was struck by a pleasant sense of nostalgia. I had been here many times when it was the Imperial Palace and it brought back many memories. The hallways of the LINQ are now shiny and new; dizzying shades of blue, green, and white adorning the floor, walls, and ceiling.
Inside our modern room, that feeling of nostalgia and familiarity quickly dissolved. The room was full of clean lines and modernization. The bed was comfortable, the furnishings chic and the room was clean! The room at the LINQ made for a comfortable weekend.
Modernized rooms at the all new LINQ Las Vegas.
Smack dab in the middle of The Strip, you cannot beat the location of the LINQ. The possibilities for fun at this hotel are endless. A great stop for a Vegas first-timerr or repeater; Caesars, Flamingo, Bellagio, Paris, and City Center are all minutes’ away by foot.
Friday night in this city was calling us, so we hit The Strip to explore. Well-appointed signage on the ground floor led us to the new Promenade which is adjacent to the LINQ. The Promenade has a plethora of options: from shopping to drinks to food and to entertainment. The long boardwalk style walkway leads right to the entrance of the High Roller, so it is a spectacular view. The Promenade offers Sprinkles Cupcakes, the Haute Dauggery, The Yard House, and the Tilted Kilt.
The Brooklyn Bowl at the LINQ’s Promenade.
One of the highlights of the Promenade is the NY transplant called Brooklyn Bowl. This is where bowling and night life meet. With 32 lanes and 12 beers on tap, it can host shows for 2000 of your closest friends. Snack on Cajun Shrimp Cocktail, a Wedge Salad, or one of their filling French Bread Pizzas, such as the mouthwatering San Gennaro, loaded with sausage, mozzarella, and peppers. Brooklyn Bowl has many options to help soak up the cocktails and make sure you don’t leave hungry.
While strolling the Promenade something caught my eye. Kale, Apple, Ginger, Lemon, and Cucumber. Let’s get something out in the open, I am a huge juicer! If it can be juiced I will juice it! This is like a night out dream come true, a real bar in disguise as a juice bar.
Could this really be the world’s perfect combination, where I can have some fun and get some electrolytes too? Aptly named Squeeze, they have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks which is quite genius because they really can ring their registers all day long. Word is that it is locally owned and operated. For around a whopping $11.00, The Watermelon Margarita, is a blend of fresh watermelon juice, lime juice, agave, sea salt, and Patrón Tequila. – hardly nutritious, but it tastes delicious. Build a custom drink or choose one of their “Fresh Cocktails” from the menu. With my “healthy” Margarita in hand we were off to pedestrian The Strip!
We stopped in the reincarnated O’Shea’s, Its iconic logo still glowing green. The vibe has taken on a whole new life. Grouchy union bartenders who had worked at O’Shea’s for decades have been replaced with hip help and visitors. O’Shea’s is writing a new chapter with Beer Pong and Top 40 Pop Music blaring in the background, I was hoping for someone to do a keg stand or a beer bong! Wandering back through the casino of the LINQ I threw some money into modernized slots and then off to my LINQ dreamland in my comfy bed.
Slots and table games are all the rage at the new boutique hotel, The Cromwell.
The bright desert morning sun was peeking through the blinds, begging me to rise and shine. We were hungry – Vegas morning hungry – time to knock out the stomach grumbling at The Hash House A Go Go? Or try something new? Word on the street had it that the blonde spikey-haired guy who drives bad ass cars and isn’t afraid to try the best food across Americas has opened up a place; Guy Fieri had taken up shop at the LINQ. Why not see what the man behind Triple D — “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives”— is cooking up for breakfast?
A glimpse behind the scenes at Guy’s Vegas Kitchen.
Guy Fieri has a soft spot for Vegas and it is readily apparent than with his Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen and Bar, conveniently located within the LINQ. It is open from 10 a.m.-2 a.m. daily and without a doubt it is 8 shades of Guy Fieri. From the burnt edge feel of the menus to the concept of Guy Fieri incorporating his tattoos into the decór, there is both a modern and rustic feel. This is a man cave that girls can be invited to. One thing unique about Guy’s Kitchen is that it has a frozen tap system at the bar for shots. This is not your old school shot mixing in the martini shaker. This system can hold 8 differently crafted shots to purely dispense without the risk of them being diluted by all of that ice in the shaker. It was breakfast, so no shots for me!
Spicy Dragon’s Breath Chili Cornbread Benedict at Guy’s Vegas Kitchen.
Guy’s menu is modern and creative, encompassing a California-Mexican vibe. I went with the standard of sausage, bacon and eggs; they came with a soft and creamy biscuit, perfectly cooked over-medium eggs, Applewood smoked bacon, and potatoes that were sautéed with onions and peppers. Ben ordered the “Dragon’s Breath Chili Cornbread Benedict”, which is a loose and wild interpretation of Eggs Benedict. We are talking sweet cornbread topped with the special secret recipe Dragon’s Breath Chili, white cheddar, and two perfectly poached eggs. Next time I go I want to try
the Carne Asada Chilaquiles, topped with Guy’s signature Rojo Salsa, fire roasted poblanos, and cotija cheese. When I saw a plate of those whiz by, they definitely caught my eye.
The LINQ has many amenities to explore by day such as the Pool, the Spa, and the Salon to get your hair done before going out on the town. One of the interesting entertainment amenities that still exists from the former Imperial Palace is the Automotive Collection. This auto collection really is world renowned and holds over 200 autos, all with different stories about the mob and celebrities — a LINQ to a true piece of Americana history.
A night of catting around the time with night time adventures would begin again soon enough.
A night of dancing & drinks at the new Drai’s Nightclub.
The sun had set and the neon lights began to brilliantly flash. We wondered our way over to the Cromwell to gamble. Lady Luck smiled on us. With money in our pockets, we headed out for booty shaking at Drai’s nightclub.
The original Drai’s was in the old Barbary Coast and opened in the late ’90, but was brought back to life completely remodeled with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, the perfect layout for nightclubbing fun! Drai’s is filling up their calendar and attracting top talent to the nightclub. After dancing until my feet hurt, it was time to hit the sack back in the inviting room back at the LINQ. Lights out! The rest is none of your business — we all know the cheesy saying: “What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” — so I guess “What happens at the LINQ stays at the LINQ”.
— Feature story by Michelle Schoser, Jetsetters Magazine correspondent; photos by the author and Ben Davis and courtesy of the LINQ,