Friday, June 1, 2012

Escape from Douchebaggery, Part 19: The Artisan Hotel Boutique

We're up to installment number 19 Escape in our Escape From Douchebaggery journey through Las Vegas, loyal readers. Look at how far we've come. Will the 20th entry be a super-special 3D edition where I unearth the ultimate hidden Las Vegas hipster gem? Or will I get lazy and just writeup another Downtown bar and call it a day? Stay tuned to find out. (Spoiler alert: it will probably the latter, if I'm being honest.)

This will be the first entry where I take back something I said in an earlier post (this is a rare event in both my digital and real world life; I'm generally a stubborn dude). Back when I wrote my 16th EFD post (were ever really so young?), I endorsed Downtown's El Cortez Cabana Suites as the "closest thing Vegas has to a truly hipster-approved hotel." Friends, not to take anything away from the still wicked-awesome wicked-awesomeness of The Cabana Suites, but I made that claim before a friend convinced me I had to stay at The Artisan Hotel Boutique, a truly cool, artsy, and weird place with a Gothic aesthetic that I had somehow never checked out until recently.

The Artisan is off the beaten Strip path a bit, located within easy walking distance to The Las Vegas Convention Center, The LVH (the new name for the rechristened Las Vegas Hilton), and (most conveniently) a monorail station so you can whisked around The Strip in an elevated train that feels like an artifact from a future that never happened. The Hotel's non-central location is a big positive, actually, in the fact that it keeps the masses away so that the awesome venues held within do not become as overcrowded as many Strip bars, clubs, and restaurants.

But enough about that... The Artisan's location is easily the place's most boring feature. You'll realize that you're in a place with its own sense of style the moment you step into the funky Boutique's lobby, which is filled with quirky Gothic fountains, statues, and paintings (both original works and recreations of famous pieces). Check in was swift and easy and the quirky staff was extremely helpful.

As I've always stated, a nice room is great and all, but who really spends any time in their rooms while they're in Las Vegas? But as far as spaces used exclusively for quick pregame drinking sessions and crashing after 4:00 in the morning, The Artisan's rooms are pretty darn cool. Each and every room has a different, distinct design, though all of them extend the uniquely Gothic, old school vibe of the rest of the resort. Our large suite featured vintage cabinets and wall mirrors as well as a writing desk and colorful framed paintings on the walls. The rooms also boast a ton of great features like free water bottles (score!), free Wi-Fi (double score!), and free access to an "adult channel" (the biggest score!). It was almost cool enough to keep my crew from heading out into the Las Vegas night... almost. (Okay one of the guys in our crew decided to hang back for he claimed would be a "quick disco nap"... but I'm pretty sure he was enjoying the free adult channel.)

Another surprise is Artisan's gem of a restaurant, Mood, which serves delicious food made with farm fresh ingredients. The dining room keeps the vibe of the rest of the resort going, but we opted to dine on the patio under the warm desert sky. My friends and I enjoyed a series of sharable plates, with the highlights being their excellent Grilled Lamb Lollipops and house specialty Sliders. I enjoyed an order of their Donuts and Beer dessert, where fresh, hand-made and warm versions of America's favorite sugar-filled calorie bombs were paired with a tall glass of Guinness. Simple and perfect.

After our excellent meal at Mood, we wandered over to The Artisan's Bar and Ultralounge. The very mention of the term Ultralounge usually gets my douche-senses tingling, but this place is seriously cool. The most successful extension of the resort's theme, the sexy/ cool bar fully embraces the Gothic aesthetic with plush red seats that feel like they got to the resort via time machine, funky statues, and checkered floors, that kind of gave the place a Lynchian vibe. Artwork fills every space, as some of the paintings and mirrors were even nailed to the black ceilings.
We approached the shiny mahogany bar area where a beautiful mixologist poured us a few amazing cocktails made with fresh muddled fruit that were so good they immediately made me regret excluding the place from my recent review of Las Vegas cocktail culture.

The DJs were spinning an eclectic mix and my friends and I got out on the dance floor and impressed scared the ladies with our killer moves. After about half an hour of dancing and realizing that all the women who had been partying a few moments previous had abandoned the dance floor (because they were too intimated by our awesome prowess, I'm certain), we took a few drinks outside onto their patio, where we chatted with a few locals who admitted (begrudgingly because they don't want tourists invading it) that the bar was one of their favorites in town. No place is perfect, and the joint does offer bottle service (something that always turns me off), but there is seating available for the non fancy-pants people. I'll say that I dug the place so much that if I was ever to lose my mind and decide to pointlessly splurge on the right to hang out at a reserved couch as hostesses bring my group ridiculously marked up liquor bottles, The Artisan's Bar and Ultralounge is probably the place I'd choose to do the pointless splurging.

The resort also has a chilled out pool area, where we enjoyed a round of Bloody Marys as we detoxed from the previous evening's partying. Cabanas are available for rent, but paying money to hang out by the pool seems pretty silly and empty to me. Unfortunately, the European-style pool becomes a crazy pool party during summer weekends; even the coolest resort can't help but indulge in the horrifying yet lucrative Las Vegas daylife trend.

The Artisan completely blew me away from the moment I entered the lobby until I checked out on Sunday morning. The place has rocketed to the top of my mind-list as the hippest hotel in Las Vegas, and even gives all of The Ace Hotel locations I've visited a run for their money in terms of hipster hotel cred.

Plus, they offer guests a free adult channel. The Artisan truly is heaven in Sin City.

No comments:

Post a Comment