These Vegas insiders provide all the answers
Lisa Carson, concierge at Four Seasons Las Vegas
Which restaurant has the best Cherries Jubilee? I want a helicopter ride, now. Can you get me tickets to a show? And where’s the best fish in Las Vegas?*
Answers to all of the above: no problem for the Four Seasons’ concierge, Lisa Carson. With 14 years of service, the last five in Las Vegas at the Four Seasons, Carson enjoys the challenges of her position. The most- asked query: Where do locals eat? Per Carson, the indoor/outdoor Verandah restaurant at her own hotel, since it’s the only nongaming venue on the Strip, attracts the locals, who not surprisingly try to stay away from gambling.
Those in the hotel business like the latenight sushi at Sushi Mon, which is open to 2 a.m. Carson also likes her side of town: the Green Valley/Henderson area. “The District shopping area is filled with local people,” Carson notes. “There are outdoor cafes that welcome dogs, movie nights outside and live jazz. It’s a place where you feel like you belong.” Henderson also boasts a well-regarded public magnet school program.
Several times a week, Carson and her family can be found at Exploration Park in Mountain’s Edge, where hiking, a water park and a Western Town play area draw local families.
*Michael’s Gourmet Room @ South Point Casino. No problem. Yes. Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare @ Wynn — fish is flown in daily from the Mediterranean.
Anne Marie Whitmore, Palazzo chef concierge
As prexy pro tem of the Southern Nevada Hotel Concierge Assn. (SNHCA), the Palazzo’s Anne Marie Whitmore is all about networking. The org’s 140 members represent 17 properties in Las Vegas and as chef concierge (Whitmore’s also a member of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or (The Golden Keys), an international association of concierges), it’s Whitmore’s business to know what’s up everywhere, whether booking a private jet or a spa treatment for a guest.
The SNHCA supports more than 24 local charities, including Opportunity Village that aids those with physical and intellectual disabilities, providing them with vocational training. The annual holiday season Magical Forest benefits Opportunity Village and is a mainstay of the winter social whirl. Additionally, the concierge group votes a series of annual awards (such as best ultra-lounge) to venues that best accommodate hotel concierge requests and their guests.
On the homefront, Whitmore’s found the city of Las Vegas’ many parks and recreational centers a real plus for her children. Unlike many cities, Las Vegas does much to encourage active teens and has numerous amenities for them to use, from city pools, skate parks and after-school activities, such as basketball leagues, fencing and cooking classes.
Year round, the climate is Las Vegas’ best attribute, Whitmore advises, including the accessibility of nearby Mt. Charleston, with all the ideal aspects of winter such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding and snow, without any of the negatives, such as shoveling snow. Death Valley’s springtime wildflower bloom is also “absolutely amazing,” per Whitmore.
Todd Worz, director of VIP marketing for TAO Beach at the Venetian
Todd Worz definitely has one of the more enviable jobs in Vegas — he oversees TAO Beach at the Venetian, the exclusive rooftop ultra-lounge that hums day and night with lovelies. Daytime also means European-style sunbathing, as in topless.
But being one of Vegas’ go-to-guys did not happen overnight. An eight-year veteran of Vegas nightlife, Worz built up his 25,000-name database one night at a time. He worked his way up from the ground floor — beginning with construction work on Light followed by stints at the door at Rande Gerber’s Whiskey Sky at the Green Valley Ranch to Babies (now Body English) at the Hard Rock to TAO.
He maintains his contacts through the Las Vegas nightclub pro accessory du jour: the BlackBerry Curve. His massive Rolodex: virtual and managed by Mobile Storm for email blasts and phone campaigns — essential aspects of nightlife strategic marketing.
While the club pros aren’t organized like the local concierges with an official org, “As big a city as it is, it’s still a small town,” Worz explains. Despite the stiff competition, there’s also much cooperation as well as ever-changing industry watering holes.
These days, popular after-hours spots include Noir at Luxor,”a mix of locals and captains of industry,” says Worz, and Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club, which welcomes both sexes. Explains Worz, “They have great chicken fingers and french fries with the added amenity of topless women.” Eye candy + latenight good eats — now that’s Vegas, baby.