By Melinda Newman
People escape to Las Vegas for a myriad of reasons, from celebrations and weekend getaways to the energetic nightlife and unrivaled entertainment. But no matter the purpose of your trip, there is one constant that appeals to all visitors: you know you’ll be treated like the VIP you are. Now Vegas connoisseurs can explore the country, while keeping themselves in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. Whether it’s Biloxi’s beguiling Southern hospitality, the Capital Region’s historic legacy or Detroit’s rich musical heritage, these resorts allow you to discover storied destinations with unique charm and will leave you eager to soak up the local culture and traditions. No matter where your travels take you, finding top-notch experiences is a must. Here’s our list of recommended resorts where there’s something to explore around every corner.
MGM National Harbor
Prince George’s County, Maryland
THE TOWN: As the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. serves as the pulse of the nation. The city’s fast-paced, international flair blends seamlessly with the stately monuments that stand guard over the city, from the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials to the Washington Monument and the White House.
THE RESORT: Nearby, MGM National Harbor’s modern, progressive design pays homage to the surrounding grand monumental architecture. High on a hill overlooking the Capital Region, the resort’s bold white exterior complements D.C.’s historic marble structures. Inside, the influence of the region can be found throughout, from the art to the cuisine: pieces from local and international artists punctuate the space and restaurants including Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and FISH by José Andrés incorporate rich culinary traditions entrenched around the Chesapeake Bay. And, for those looking to dress for the occasion, Sarah Jessica Parker’s first brick-and-mortar showroom, SJP, carries her LBD line. Even the inviting conservatory reflects the natural environment with designs using local flora.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
THE TOWN: Atlantic City is home to the first and most famous boardwalk in the world. Visitors come from around the globe to enjoy the world-famous salt water taffy and soft breezes. Constructed in 1870, the bustling four-mile seaside pathway offers glistening, panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and retail shops and attractions on the other. Adjacent to the Boardwalk, visitors flock to the SteelPier: the historic amusement park originally opened in 1898. In its heyday, the Pier, dubbed “The Showplace of the Nation,” was renowned for its attractions, ranging from Frank Sinatra to diving horses.
THE RESORT: Borgata brings a sophisticated elegance to the jewel of the Jersey Shore. Here you can enjoy the heady East Coast summer evenings on the deck of the Borgata Beer Garden or from the patio of Wolfgang Puck American Grille. And Borgata’s entertainment slate rivals New York City’s with national headliners such as Josh Groban, Tony Bennett and The Killers, not to mention New Jersey native Frankie Valli, regularly featured at Borgata’s Events Center.
MGM Grand Detroit
THE TOWN: Founded in the early 1700s by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, Detroit is the undisputed automotive capital of the United States, but the city’s sweet soul comes straight from Motown, or, as the sign over the famed record label’s entrance once read: Hitsville USA. The soaring sounds of the Temptations, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson, The Miracles and a 12-year-old Stevie Wonder swept through Motor City in the early ‘60s before spreading nationwide to become the voice of young America.
THE RESORT: Whether music or motors, the spirit of innovation fills Detroit and MGM Grand Detroit, the only Forbes Four-Star hotel in the city. Located downtown, the resort strikes all the right chords in its Axis Lounge, where local bands play Motown’s classic hits. You can even find nods to the natural environment at IMMERSE Spa, where forest motifs and soothing water elements (including an indoor pool) reflect the woodsy, lake-filled geography. The tastes of the city can be found as well as the only Downtown home to Detroit fast food favorite: National Coney Island. Grab a Coney Hot Dog and then make your way to the expansive poker room to take part in the action.
THE TOWN: With wide sandy beaches and warm Gulf waters, it’s easy to see how Biloxi became the favorite summer destination for Southerners as early as the 1800s. Founded in 1699, Biloxi is one of the oldest cities in the country and, as such, is steeped in tradition. Alternately ruled by the British, French and Spanish, the city brims with multicultural flavor and nowhere are those influences reflected more fully than the food, including the ultimate melting pot dish: gumbo.
THE RESORT: Embracing the rich heritage of the town, Beau Rivage offers the best of Biloxi. Indulge in “dock-to-table” dishes designed by Executive Chef Kristian Wade, who grew up on the Pascagoula River, at Coast Seafood & Brew; experience the legendary boisterous celebrations of The South at Party Gras, a family-friendly event during Mardi Gras filled with music and games, then keep the party going at the intimate Beau Rivage Theater, where the likes of Kenny Loggins, Smokey Robinson and Alice Cooper headline; or revel in the stunning natural environs – marshlands, old growth trees and lush greens – at Fallen Oak, the Tom Fazio-designed golf course available exclusively to Beau Rivage guests.
THE TOWN: Made famous in song by blues titans “Honeyboy” Edwards, Big Joe Williams and Sunnyland Slim, Highway 61 (“Blues Highway”) runs through the heart of Tunica. Not surprisingly, this distinctly Deep-South tradition seeps into every nook and cranny of the picturesque Mississippi Delta town. Known as the Gateway to the Blues, Tunica lies perfectly situated between Memphis – home of the King, Elvis Presley – and Clarksdale, the small Mississippi town where bluesman Robert Johnson was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical immortality.
THE RESORT: In this midst of all of this is Gold Strike, nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River in view of the paddleboats that leisurely travel up and down the waterway. This sportsman’s paradise, located near the Tunica National golf course and the 2,500-acre Tunica Lake, offers the only smoke-free gaming area in the region and the 800-seat Millennium Theater, which boasts the biggest names in entertainment.Now that you’ve perused some of the best resorts in the country, it’s time to plan your next adventure. And (bonus!) the M life Rewards loyalty points you earn in Vegas apply to these resorts as well. That means going all out on this vacation only ensures your next one is just as amazing.