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Las Vegas on $250 a Day

Amanda Friedman Insider Las Vegas

Photo: Amanda Friedman

4 P.M.

Eager to try my hand again at blackjack (and earn enough money to hit the Wynn shops in earnest), I strut into the luxurious Bellagio Casino like a high roller, "diamond" earrings flashing. I set my cash down on a $10-minimum blackjack table (one hand, $10) and promptly lose. With no play money to wager, I slink back to our hotel for a rest.

6:30 P.M.

To avoid the after-10 p.m. cover charge at Mix Lounge (3950 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702/632-7777), we stroll over for pre-dinner cocktails. Located on the 64th floor of the Hotel at Mandalay Bay, it’s a spectacular space, with curvy black-leather banquettes, glowing round tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows with 360-degree views of the Strip and the valley. I try the citrusy Mixopolitan ($15), and we watch gape-mouthed as a lightning storm rolls in—this is by far the best show in town.

8 P.M.

Eager to check out Vegas’s new breed of "hip buffets" (a contradiction in terms?), we take a cab ($14) to The Buffet at TI (3300 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702/894-7111). The Jeffrey Beers-designed dining room is sleek and modern, with a smorgasbord of dishes ($20). The desserts alone are worth the trip—seven flavors of homemade ice cream and mouthwatering crème brûlée.

9:30 P.M.

We’ve already added our names to the secret guest list at one of the city’s hottest clubs, Pure, at Caesar’s Palace (3570 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702/731-7873) by calling the venue early in the day, so we breeze in past the throngs and avoid the $20 cover charge. We sip gin and tonics ($10), scout the icy, all-white interior, and hit the dance floor.

11:30 P.M.

We’re not ready for bed, so we catch a ride on a double-decker Deuce bus ($2) to Peppermill’s Fireside Lounge (2985 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702/735-4177), a 1970’s throwback with low couches and a fire pit, mirrored ceilings, and genteel cocktail waitresses in long black gowns. Martinis ($8.50) in hand, we toast our good luck: we’ve still got enough cash for a cab ride back to our pyramid.

TOTAL SPENT: $239

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