Cast out in the dry, dusty Nevada desert, Las Vegas is a bright, neon-lit force to be reckoned with. If ever a city was built with a hedonist in mind, this is it.
Already wide-eyed from too many martinis in the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class cabin, our group checks into The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (001 702 693 5000; hardrockhotel.com). Optimistically located on Paradise Road, here is a temple to hard living, with Zildjian cymbals for lights, lifts inscribed with quotes from rock'n'rollers and chandeliers styled from saxophones.
The faces of musicians stare down at us from the paintings that line each wall as we pad down the hallway to our suite, their eyes seemingly warning us of the adventure that lies ahead.
Fittingly, the Sex & Pistols suite is maxi-machismo. Ddesigned by New York-based architect Mark Zeff, one half of the room is decked out like a western saloon and the other styled on a contemporary loft apartment. We waste no time in pulling on our sharpest shirts and bracing ourselves for the night.
Dinner is booked downstairs at a branch of Nobu (001 702 693 5090; nobu restaurants.com). Set against a slick David Rockwell-designed backdrop, contemporary Japanese fare is given a sexy, South American twist. A variety of beautifully dressed plates is served, but the standout is what Nobu has earned its culinary credentials for: black cod with miso. I just hope it doesn't make an ugly reappearance later.
Stomach lined, it's time to leave the Hard Rock and step out into the sticky Nevada night as the sky turns an incredible lavender colour. We head to the Bellagio (001 702 693 7111; bellagio.com), just in time to catch the fountain show – sprays of choreographed water shooting into the air against Disney-style music – before stepping inside. Beneath the magnificent hand-blown Fiori di Como chandelier by Dale Chihuly, we make our way into the casino. The jangling of coins and the mechanical jolt of levers fill the room.
Fuelled by strong cocktails, we splash the cash on blackjack, roulette and oh-so glamorous baccarat, before swallowing our losses and making our way to the Caramel Lounge (001 702 693 8300; lightgroup.com). We push past the beautiful people, slink into a plush booth and order a couple of caramel-coated shots. If these don't get the party started, nothing will. It works a treat, so now it's time to duck beneath the notoriously taut velvet ropes at Tao Beach (001 702 388 8338; taolasvegas.com), a faux-Balinese beach oasis and nocturnal playground tucked inside The Venetian. VIP bottle service ensures that we're kept well lubricated. I don't know whether it's the Veuve on ice or our British accents, but a bevy of girls flocks from across the room to join us.
Waking up the next morning isn't easy, but a slice of light cutting through the curtains helps and I pull myself from high-thread-count sheets. After coffee at the Hard Rock's Espumoso Caffe, we step blinking into the sunshine, almost ready for some poolside action.
There's only one place to be: Rehab Sunday (001 702 693 5555; rehablv.com). We settle down with a round of Rockstar Lemonades to take off the edge. Everyone's here: the filthy rich, the famous and the fabulous, writhing to a thumping bass line. I struggle to hear the sweet nothings someone is whispering in my ear. But that's as far as this story goes. After all, what happens in Vegas...
A Hedonist’s Guide to... (Hg2) is a luxury city guide series for the more decadent traveller. For more information, see hg2.com