Friday 2 November 2007

Water-themed Sensi Offers Zen-like Bathroom-Going Experience

Bellagio Las Vegas
3600 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV USA 89109

Where is it?

The restaurant is located in the Bellagio Hotel. To get there from the front desk, head towards the Spa Tower, rounding the left side of the Bellagio Conservatory and going past the spa and down the hallway to the convention center area.

To find the restaurant's bathroom itself, enter through main entrance and turn left at the greeting station -- there is an opening in the stone-covered walls there (looking much like a cave entrance). Inside are the loos.

What's it like?

This is a stylish, water-themed restaurant filled with unique modern decorative touches. The walls here are made of giant stone blocks. The tables look like they are made mostly of dark-stained bamboo. The chairs are metallic and wood mixes. And indoor waterfalls and infinity pools dot the dining room and bar area, lulling people with the sounds of gently rushing water. Combined, the decor exudes a sort of Southeast Asian feel that's both exotic and hip.

The kitchen is in the middle of the place, enclosed by four glass walls, and the idea is that the guests can watch the chefs make their food firsthand from any spot in the dining room while waiting for their meals. The menu is brief, with only about 15 items available at one time, and the cuisine fuses various Asian styles (Indian, Thai, Japanese, etc.) into dishes that are approachable to American palettes -- all while containing some traditional frills. While decent, I found that the food tended to pile on its ethnic touches a little too thickly: The kabobs were well grilled but were also so heavy with spice that you wondered if the chefs were trying to cover up the taste of inferior meat; the Kobe beef mini-burgers were good but would have been better without all the accouterments (bean sprouts, wasabi mayonnaise, etc.) so that I could actually taste the meat used (isn't that the point with Kobe beef?). Ironically, the best thing I tasted while here was the homemade ginger beer, which was a refreshingly spicy mix of ginger, soda, cane sugar and lemongrass.

While the dining room is ornate and complex, the bathrooms take a decidedly minimalistic route when it comes to decor. This is a simple station, made only for one. The walls and floor are covered with jet-black marble tile, giving the place a stark yet sophisticated look. A white toilet sits at the far end of the place, jetting out of the wall like a piece of modern art. The sink, a bowl-shaped overlay made of blue glass, sits placed atop a clear glass vanity counter, with a metallic faucet that looks like an old farmhouse spigot. It's clean, cool, functional -- and combined, the place it extends the idea that you're in a cave (remember that you essentially walk into a cave to get here), which makes it perfect for longer visits that require privacy.

And if you think about it, all the flowing water around you in the dining room does initiate the need for a longer visit.....

Marks out of 10:

10. It's a work of thematic art. Bravo.

Comments to the Management:

Wishful thinking here, since it's hard to improve upon near-perfection, but how about placing a smaller waterfall inside the lavatory?

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