Date posted: 2/05/2019 5 min read

Las Vegas – excess all areas

Heading to AICPA’s 2019 Engage mega-conference in vibrant Las Vegas? Stay a little longer to catch all the Vegas sights.

In Brief

  • The 2019 AICPA Engage conference is being held in Las Vegas from 9-13 June.
  • While the super-sized conference will focus on US laws and tax code, CA ANZ members whose clients have international assets can especially benefit.
  • There’s more than just hitting the slots in the City of Sin – catch Barry Manilow in concert or grab a cocktail in one of the sky-high roof top bars.

By Matthew Brace

Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the World, or the Capital of Second Chances. Whatever you call it, few cities epitomise excess like Las Vegas. This loud, buzzing, neon beacon in Nevada’s Mojave Desert has an almost endless supply of hedonistic distractions.

Eat

A new and popular spot is Cleaver steakhouse on Paradise Road, on the route to McCarran Airport. It’s one of the few Las Vegas eateries not in a hotel or part of a chain, and its happy hour (5pm-8pm) has half-price steaks.

For good ol’ American smoky barbecue try Mabel’s BBQ just off the casino in the Palms Casino Resort, and if you’ve won big on the tables head to the classy new Cipriani at the Wynn Plaza hotel.

Mordeo in Chinatown touts itself as a boutique wine bar but our spies tell us it’s the food that’s the real draw: Spain meets Latin America meets Japan.

If you can’t decide which cuisine you fancy, drop into Block 16 Urban Food Hall at The Cosmopolitan on the Las Vegas strip. Think of it as a food court with a lot of class. Chow down on porchetta from Portland, New Orleans-style doughnuts and sliders, and more.

If you still have space for a cocktail or two, hit one of the sky-high rooftop bars. For elegance try Skyfall Lounge on the 64th floor of the Delano hotel, situated within the grounds of the Mandalay Bay Resort. If you’re up for some grooves, head to the VooDoo Lounge on top of the Rio hotel to drink in the view.

Sleep

For full-on glitz and glamour on the Strip, it’s hard to go past the Bellagio, but for sheer class, spend a little extra at the Four Seasons. The former shows off with its dancing fountains and art museum. The latter is a serene, luxuriously appointed and casino-free hideaway. It’s tucked inside the much larger Mandalay Bay Resort and, with only 400 or so rooms, it’s tiny by Vegas standards.

A Vegas veterans’ favourite is the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel. It’s a black pyramid, with lifts that run diagonally up and down its slanting walls.

If you want that classic Vegas experience then the MGM Grand is the go. With more than 5000 guest rooms, it’s one of the biggest hotels in the world, and the venue for AICPA Engage 2019.

Another Vegas icon is Caesars Palace, where Roman-inspired decadence has been drawing crowds for more than 50 years. Inside Caesars is the Japanese-inspired Nobu Hotel, which is modest and exquisite and a mere six years old.

Shop around online for great hotel deals; vegas.com is a good place to start.

“Whatever you call it, few cities epitomise excess like Las Vegas.”

Play

Before you’re tempted to gamble a cent, take a neon-infused helicopter ride up the Strip after dark (book online in advance at vegas.com). It’s memorable and will make you feel like Elvis arriving for a concert.

For a good city snapshot (pun intended), visit the Las Vegas News Bureau exhibit at the Convention Center, which has photographs of entertainers and major events spanning 70 years. The Mob Museum is equally Vegas and showcases organised crime’s impact on the city.

Drop in to the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art to check out the Picassos and relive a bit of Ocean’s 11. We can’t promise Julia Roberts will show up but you will get to see some great paintings.

During the conference dates, Barry Manilow will be swinging into the final performances of his tour at the Westgate; Lady Gaga performs her Enigma show at the Park MGM; and Cirque du Soleil has no fewer than four different spectaculars in action. It’s best to book ahead for all shows. For something a little different, check out the adults-only comedy musical Zombie Burlesque at Planet Hollywood, all about a 1950s nightclub frequented by undead acrobats and dancers. Check out vegas.com for tickets.

Good to know in Las Vegas

  • It’s going to be hot in June. Expect highs up to and maybe above 40°C, very low humidity and warm desert nights.
  • Time your hotel checkout carefully to avoid the crowds. Some hotels are so vast they have airport-style rope lines to channel the thousands of guests checking out at the same time.
  • Las Vegas has one of the highest concentrations of ATMs in the world, but watch out for card skimming. Try to use ATMs at banks or in secure, highly visible locations such as the airport. Check online for advice about scams (bit.ly/tripsavvy-las-vegas-scams and bit.ly/smartertravel-las-vegas) and ask your hotel concierge.

AICPA Engage 2019

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Engage 2019 is an amalgam of eight conferences running concurrently, with 338 sessions over four days.

AICPA says the super-sized conference offers accounting and finance professionals fresh ideas to strengthen core practice, and will feature candid conversations about the disruption accounting is going through.

The more technical sessions on accounting and auditing focus on US laws and tax code. However, non-US practitioners can learn a lot from the other conference streams, such as those on global marketing. There’s also a theme investigating how accountants can master digital opportunities.

Any CA ANZ member whose clients have international assets (especially in the US) can benefit from the conference stream dedicated to estate planning. The Tax Strategies for the High-Income Individual sessions will help delegates to think of tax as a proactive opportunity rather than merely a burden.

Todd Helton, AICPA’s senior director for meetings and conferences, says Engage 2019 is the “perfect opportunity to hear from powerful influencers and leadership pioneers, and share experiences with peers who know what you’re going through and the challenges you face.

“One of the key advantages for delegates is the access they get to content, leading subject matter experts, resources and vendors,” Helton says. “Delegates can attend any session and when they leave they can access materials from all sessions, which ensures they miss nothing. Also, all our Engage 2019 sessions are broadcast live online for those who have registered, so they can attend virtually if they can’t physically get to Las Vegas.

“All these conferences used to be held separately at different times of the year,” he explains. “We combined them in 2017 to capture all the elements that impact an accounting firm. Delegates get the chance to learn, to experience a unique conference environment and to network with peers and leaders.”

AICPA ENGAGE 2019

9-13 June 2019

MGM Grand, Las Vegas, US

aicpaengage.com

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