New York. Paris. Rome. We travel the globe in 30 minutes on the Strip, but it’s still not the real deal. Plus, that darn casino is attached. We see the megaresorts every day on our drive to work (or all day if it’s your place of work). We dine in the resorts’ restaurants, hang out in their bars, then party our asses off in their clubs.
No wonder out-of-towners assume we live in hotels.
To escape the daily grind — or people grinding against us daily — we all need a little vacation now and then. And what better place to live it up than in Vegas? Locals frequently take “staycations” in town, but shelling out a chunk of cash for a megaresort room is starting to get a bit painful. For many, jet-setting around the globe is out of the question and our cars probably won’t make it to Cali again.
What to do … what to do …
Well, if you’ve got about 60 bucks and enjoy fine art, you can combine partying and relaxing all in one stop, minus the typical unimpressed staleness that comes from living here too long. Maybe somewhere without slot machines. An absence of fanny-packs. No mile-long walk to the car.
Granted, the Artisan has been there for years, yet remains a virtual secret except for those in the know looking for a non-Vegas-y place to enjoy a cocktail. The outside of the hotel is unassuming and people who’ve driven past it while on the freeway incorrectly write it off as a dive.
But it truly is what’s inside that counts (just don’t look out the windows; there’s not much of a view). Paintings and mirrors cover every square inch of the walls and ceiling. Bookshelves with aged volumes are throughout the lobby and lounge. Rich hues, ornate attention to detail, and unique ambiance could just as easily make one think you’re in New York, Paris or Rome, but without the cheesy intentional copycat elements. Even though it’s practically under the freeway at Sahara and I-15, it’s amazingly secluded and peaceful … at least until 2 a.m.
The boutique hotel jumped back on our radar a few weeks ago when a new afterhours launched in the hotel’s lounge. With a grand opening last Friday, a steady crowd filtered throughout the lounge until the sun came up. Almost like a group of college students on spring break, familiar faces abounded and a number of them took advantage of the afterhours hotel room special and remained on property throughout the weekend.
The rooms are just as detailed as the rest of the hotel. No customary paintings of fruit bowls here (except for Cezanne’s). Each room features replicas of works from a specific artist: Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet. The plantation shutters on the windows successfully block out the morning rays for the weary partier who danced—and drank—the night away.
When not sleeping or dancing, there really is no reason to leave the property … unless you need to run home to feed the cat. A quaint pool with ample shade is available. Every day at 5:30 p.m., guests can enjoy a wine reception, and if you have to bring work along with you, there’s free wi-fi. (Free porn, too. No joke!)
The Artisan also has a restaurant on site. Though dinner might cost you more than the $59.99 afterhours room special, Chef LouRoss — yup, the same one from Hell’s Kitchen — made the meal worth it (though the neglectful waitress on duty last Saturday night might leave a bad taste in your mouth. We’ll excuse it once since there was also a wedding reception at the same time).
The new afterhours party is a bit different than what we’re used to in Las Vegas as well (though many of the same people are there). There’s plenty of comfortable open seating, cheaper drinks, a special late-night menu (complete with dinner and breakfast options), and underground house and dance music. The added lighting for afterhours is minimal; the lounge has enough to look at as it is. The music is bumping ’til around 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings, so non-afterhours attendees may want to request a room further away from the party. But for $59.99 (plus the minimal fees, taxes, etc) one can party all night Friday, check in Saturday morning when afterhours ends, and stay until Sunday at 2 p.m.
So enjoy your Vegas vacation with out all the Vegas. Though the absence of “last call” is something we’ve come to cherish.