Road Trip

WHERE: Las Vegas

GUIDE: George Maloof Jr., age 37, president of the newly opened 42-story, 455-room Palms Casino Resort. With his family, Maloof also owns the NBA's Sacramento Kings, the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs, and soccer's Sacramento Knights. The Maloofs sold another Vegas property, the Fiesta Casino Hotel, in January 2001 for $185 million.

BEST SPOT TO PEOPLE-WATCH: The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. The place rings up the highest sales of any shopping center in the world, and you get all kinds of people in and out. All kinds. Plus, the ceiling changes colors throughout the day -- it goes from sunrise to sunset every hour -- so the atmosphere is in constant flux.

LOCAL DRINK OF CHOICE: Red Bull and vodka.

BEST-KEPT SECRET: Cafe Chloe. It's a small Italian place with a great chef and great service in the residential area of Las Vegas, about five miles west of the Strip. A famous local chef opened the place about a year ago, and it's become extremely popular very fast.

LOCAL CAR OF CHOICE: Lamborghini Diablo -- not that you see hundreds of them, but there are a few running around town.

WHERE TO GO TO CLEAR YOUR HEAD AFTER LOSING AT THE CRAPS TABLE: Red Rock park at sunset or sunrise. It's a natural alternative to all the neon, and it's just 20 minutes west of the city. It's a beautiful, tranquil place.

BEST REASON TO LIVE HERE: The freedom to do what you want, when you want. All night if you want. It's all so convenient -- the entertainment, the dining, the shopping, and probably some of the best spas in the world. Everything's here.

BEST ROAD TO DRIVE FAST ON (AND NOT GET A TICKET): Lake Mead Boulevard East, which winds around Sunrise Mountain. It's spectacular.

WHAT TO PACK: Party clothes. Before people come to Las Vegas, they tend to shop for that one hot outfit, so be forewarned: people are pretty decked out. It's the party capital of the world.

BEST REASON TO VISIT HERE: The weather. Winter days are warm and dry -- today it's probably in the 70s -- so it's basically desert living. Even nights this time of year generally don't go below the 40s.

BEST SIDE TRIP: Death Valley is pretty cool. It's about two hours away.

WHERE TO CELEBRATE A DONE DEAL: AndrÉ's Restaurant on Sixth Street. It's a French restaurant with six small dining rooms that's been around for some 20 years. It's located about half a mile from downtown in a residential neighborhood. Very quiet and romantic in a city where quiet isn't often the aim.

Written with Kate O'Sullivan

The Inc Life

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