By Bill Bradley

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Welcome to the first in a series of travel logs about Las Vegas and why you should come to the Flamingo Resort for the APSE Summer Convention August 15-18, the organization’s first in-person meeting in two years.

There will be journalism and panels and … oh, the Las Vegas Strip outside your hotel.

Here are some facts about the Flamingo: The architectural theme is Art Deco. The hotel is located across the street from Caesars Palace, kitty-corner from the Bellagio and next door to the Linq. It was opened in 1946 by the famed mobster Bugsy Siegal.

But know that this is Las Vegas, so every resort tries to keep you from leaving the property. The enticements to stay put include:

Shows

• By the time you get to Vegas, Piff the Magic Dragon will have already returned for daily shows for a couple of months. The comedian dressed in a sad dragon costume was a finalist for America’s Got Talent. If you like sarcastic comedy, you won’t get burned.

• Believe it or not, the first and last day of the conference is… Drum roll, please … the last two episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. The drag reality series is ending its latest season at the Flamingo Showroom. Tickets are still available.

• Donny Osmond also returns for his residency at the Flamingo, but won’t start until two weeks after we leave.

Dining

• Attached to the Flamingo is a “boutique hotel” called the Cromwell. (Most of the hotels in Las Vegas have boutique hotels attached for upscale clientele.) Inside the Cromwell is “Giada’s,” as in Giada de Laurentis of the Food Network. It might be the best Italian meal you’ve ever had. Try the Prix Fixe meal and you won’t regret it for lunch or dinner.

• If you’re looking for more of a flip-flop and sandals crowd, right in front of the Flamingo is Margaritaville. Yes, the one owned by Jimmy Buffett. No pop-tops on the floor, but blenders full of that frozen concoction that helps you help you hang on. Try a Cheeseburger in Paradise (seriously!) or a Cuban sandwich chased with a slice of key lime pie.

• In the mood for a tomahawk steak? Try Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse. It doesn’t open until 5 p.m. It can be a little pricey, but they have some excellent dry-aged beef and it will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time 50 years. If your group is feeling bold, try the Premium Seafood Tower as an appetizer.

• If you’re looking to reach all the palettes in your group, there’s always the Flamingo food court. It features Johnny Rockets for burgers, L.A. Subs for sandwiches and Pan Asian Express for dumplings.

Drinking

• The place to drink at the Flamingo is not the hospitality room. It’s the Bird Bar, a bird-themed bar that faces the Strip. Try the Flamingo-Rita, the Jungle Bird or, my favorite, the Blue Jay. Just don’t stare at all the bird cages hanging around.

• Bugsy’s Bar is in the center of the casino and it can serve almost anything you can ask for. Just be aware, it’s going to be loud as you’ll be in the middle of all the action. But there’s great people-watching and a great array of sports on TV.

• You can always go back to Margaritaville, where they serve Jimmy Buffett’s own beer, Landshark Lager – better than a Corona or a Pacifico.

One more thing

       Don’t forget to check out the wildlife habitat featuring, you guessed it, flamingos. Located in the center of the resort, the habitat features Chilean Flamingos, ducks, ibis and pelicans. Worth checking out.

Here’s the link to register: https://www.apsportseditors.com/apse-summer-conference-registration-hotel-reservations-are-now-open/

Next: A look at the Linq, the promenade next door to the host hotel.

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