City of romance

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and you can just imagine the frenzy going on in Vegas.

Historically, Valentine’s Day is the most popular day to get married in Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Marriage Bureau, 2,138 couples came to pick up their wedding license from Feb. 12 – 14, 2009. That’s more than 4,000 individuals getting married on or around Valentine’s Day in Vegas! And with a total of 92,725 weddings performed here in 2009, the number speaks for itself.

You may not be in Vegas right now on the most romantic day of the year, but don’t fret – Vegas captures the spirit of Valentine’s every day. We came up with a Top 10 list of must-see places to make your special weekend the most romantic ever.

1. Experience Pariseiffel_couple

What could be more romantic than the cities of Paris and Vegas combined? With Paris Las Vegas you don’t have to travel all the way to France to experience the Eiffel Tower, and you can enjoy views of other Las Vegas Strip properties too.

“When you’re that high up, it’s absolutely stunning,” said Ryan Simmons, Paris Las Vegas Total Rewards director, who oversees the Eiffel Tower Experience.

Since the Eiffel Tower Experience captures the romance of France, proposals here are very popular. This year, one guest brought in three dozen roses and spelled out, “Will You Marry Me?” on the floor of the observation deck. The staff also hung up lights to make the setting even more romantic.

“We do whatever we can to make the guests’ experience out of this world,” Simmons said.

For proposal celebrations, you can opt for a private arrangement, which closes off the entire floor, or a semi-private arrangement, which ropes off a section of the deck. Guests may order à la carte items like chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.

To take romance to another level, the Eiffel Tower Experience also arranges weddings for up to 20 guests. The bride and groom can even have a violinist or cello player perform at the wedding.

2. Observing Vegas

Measuring 1,149 feet tall, the Stratosphere Tower stands high above other Vegas buildings. Set at an astounding 869 feet with a 360-degree-view of the city, the Stratosphere’s outdoor observation deck is the tallest of its kind in the country. In fact, the deck is so high, you can see helicopters at eye level. If you’re looking for a romantic time to go, plan on heading to the deck near sunset. You’ll see the rainbow of colors in the sky, followed by lights illuminating the city just moments after. Also check out the Top of the World restaurant, which features a moving floor that rotates a full 360 degrees in one hour. End the evening with champagne and strawberries at the lounge.

3. Romance with a view

mixdiningFrom the glimmering lights of the Strip below to fine dining and a dance floor just steps away, Mix at Mandalay Bay’s THEhotel is an equal balance of energy and elegance. It is a one-stop experience in romance, offering a view from 64 stories up, culinary creations from a world-renowned chef, fine champagne and a place to dance the night away.

“You can come over and have a glass of champagne in the lounge, go over and have dinner with one of the best chefs in the world and do bottle service,” said general manager Steve Moberly. “We want to create that all encompassing experience [and] put it all up there for you.”

Considered one of the most romantic spots in town, the focal point of the dining room is its chandelier. Featuring more than 15,000 hand-blown crystal bubbles, each piece hangs individually from the ceiling. “There’s a great energy,” said Moberly. “And the lights from the Strip really warm up the room.”

The menu offers a blend of items from French and American to Italian and Japanese. Couples can also share savory platters, similar to tapas style. In addition, Mix has one of the largest champagne selections in the city. And since the menu changes seasonally, guests can always expect something new.

4. Up, up and away

It’s one thing going up an elevator to the highest level of a property. But how often do you really get to float up high in the sky?

Located across from Mandalay Bay, Cloud Nine Balloon Experience offers a trip 500 feet above the Strip in the world’s largest, land-tethered helium balloon. At 11 stories high, the balloon stands taller than the Statue of Liberty. You’ll be eye-level with the top of Mandalay Bay and experience a 360-degree-view of the Strip. Highlights include the initial takeoff and the chance to walk the deck and take pictures. The ride is peaceful and a great way to start the evening. Cloud Nine Experience can also arrange private events with unlimited balloon rides, dining, music and entertainment.

5. Venice nights

gondolacoupleIf you prefer to stay on the ground and you’re not afraid of water, then capture the romance of Italy with a gondola ride at the Venetian.

“We transport riders to the most romantic city in the world and it’s a nice little getaway from the hustle-and-bustle from the casino,” said Cristiano Bracali, a gondolier.

Gondoliers are experienced in helping to make moments special. Bracali once had a couple on board who wanted him to sing a traditional Italian love song. The woman explained that it was her parent’s wedding song. She called her parents in Milan, Italy so Bracali could serenade them via cell phone.

If you’re thinking of popping the big question, gondoliers can help with that too.

“Proposals are quite frequent down here because they are so romantic,” Bracali explained. “One that sticks out in my mind the most is a young couple who were very much in love. I (sang) the song to them and pulled around the corner and there was all of her family and many of her close friends standing there. She was very shocked. He dropped to one knee and proposed to her, with everyone watching.”

Guests have the choice to ride inside or outside the hotel. “Each one has their strengths,” Bracali noted. “Outside is very romantic at nighttime with the beautiful lights of the city and inside is always 76 degrees.”

6. Message in a bottle

If you want to escape the Strip, a ride through calm waters at Lake Las Vegas is another way to show your affection. The gondola rides at Lake Las Vegas offer a unique Message in a Bottle service. This message can be anything from a birthday greeting or an anniversary wish to a personalized poem or a marriage proposal.

“Every [message] is special and the recipient is always beaming at the end of the cruise,” said Elisa Mohr, vice president at Gondola Adventures. “We had a gentleman arrive with a custom scrapbook detailing the couple’s romance. The last photo was a sketch of them on a gondola with his proposing by bottle message, which then floated to the side of the boat right on cue.”

To keep the memory alive, guests can also purchase a message box, which Mohr describes as a wooden trunk with an old-style latch. “Many guests purchase this special box to display in their living room as a keepsake.”

The rides offer appetizer and gourmet dinner cruises. Each cruise is a minimum of one hour, which allows couples to focus on each other the whole time. Together with the sparkling waters and the outdoor experience, you’ll feel miles away from the world.

7. Fantastic fountains

bellagiocoupleIf you’re walking along the Strip with your sweetie, make sure to stop by Bellagio and see the dancing waters. You’ll hear music that actually follows the rhythm of water shooting as high as 460 feet, leaving its audience in awe. Created by WET Design, the fountains feature several professionally choreographed musical routines, so you’ll get a chance to experience different shows during your trip.

As for you diehard romantics, the fountains at Bellagio offers a proposal package on the Terrazza di Sogno (Terrace of Dreams), a balcony overlooking the fountains.

“[It] features access to [the] private lakeside balcony, floral arrangements, champagne and flutes,” explained Gene Bowling, front feature manager at Bellagio. “You also can perform a wedding ceremony on the same balcony with the fountains in the background.”

Even if you don’t plan on getting hitched, the fountains should definitely be on your list.

8. Spa day

On your next trip to Vegas, why not spend a day of pampering together? Now more than ever, men are joining their wives or girlfriends for a day of relaxation and spa treatments.

Shared between the Palazzo and Venetian, Canyon Ranch SpaClub  is ideal for couples. “We did design [the spa] with couples in mind,” said Blake Feeney, spa director at Canyon Ranch Spa.

From the conservatory lounge to the wave room, you can spend plenty of quiet time snuggling with your honey. The lounge evokes the feeling of nature, complete with its spacious setting, waterfall fixture and woodsy accents. Just steps away in the wave room, guests can lie back on a recliner, listen to calming music and a look up at the reflective “wave” ceiling.

The Rasul Ceremony is one of the most popular services among couples. The Rasul chamber is decorated with candlelight, rose petals and twinkling lights within a fiber optic sky. “The service dates back 100 years back in the Orient,” Feeney explained. “It was a cleansing and a purification ceremony used to prepare wives for their wedding night. It’s nice, cozy and just a little steamy.”

Whether you try the Rasul ceremony or even a couple’s massage, Feeney said it’s the overall experience of quiet time together that counts. Afterwards, couples can enjoy a light lunch, dinner or freshly made sweets and smoothies at Canyon Ranch Grill  just next door.

9. A love story

Chick flicks and tear-jerkers may not be something that all men look forward to, but  “Phantom – The Vegas Spectacular” at the Venetian is a show both genders appreciate.

No other production in town captures romance like “Phantom.” Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, it is a tale of unrequited love. Christine Daaé, an aspiring opera singer befriends a lonely man (who she believes to be a ghost) and refers to him as her “angel of music.” The Phantom falls in love with her and the drama unfolds when he finds out she is engaged to her longtime love.

Along with the compelling story, talented cast and elaborate wardrobe and makeup, you’ll see a massive chandelier drop from the ceiling, leaving a startling (yet mesmerizing) impression.

10. A suite for your sweetie

Whether you want something posh and elegant or modern and futuristic, there’s a room in Vegas perfect for your romantic getaway.

At Aria hotel inside CityCenter, you can enjoy quality time with your significant other without leaving the room, thanks to modern technology. For instance, you can turn on the “Do Not Disturb” sign with one click of a button, and without ever getting out of bed.

For bath time with a view, some of the rooms inside M Resort feature a tub that faces the floor-to-ceiling bedroom window, and an unbelievable view of the Strip from 400 feet above the city.

For a rustic, lodge feel, the Silverton offers rooms reminiscent of a warm cabin.

If you’re looking for something more edgy and glam, the newly-built Hard Rock Hotel Tower suites bring out your inner rock star.

Depending on the type of weekend you plan on having, make sure to choose your room accordingly.


Most folks take their Vegas jackpot winnings back home, but my dad decided to stay here instead. That’s how I left Seattle almost 20 years ago. I moved from greenery and rainy days to hot summers, palm trees and desert. As much as I love my hometown, I decided to stick around Vegas. This city just has so much to offer. You don’t even have to be a gambler, bar hopper or an all-night partier. I love Vegas for its awesome vegan-friendly spots, concerts, swanky hotel suites and spas so big, they’re like castles. The pool scene is not too shabby either, which is why I love taking stay-cations. Besides living it up -- Vegas style -- I’m hanging out with my handsome hubby, adorable baby girl, two cats and super-fluffy Shih-Tzu. I’m also a huge fan of '90s music, shows and movies. You can find me on Google+ and Twitter.