Laura Janelle Downey

Forbes Travel Guide Correspondent

  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Laura Janelle Downey is a correspondent who covers Atlanta for Forbes Travel Guide. After receiving a master’s in journalism at Florida A&M University, she landed in New York City as a reporter for People, where she once followed Billy Crystal to the men’s bathroom just to get a quote. Since then, she has been a fashion/entertainment editor, magazine journalism professor and managing editor of 944 and Vegas/Rated magazines. Her favorite pastimes include hitting the spa, finding out which Five-Star hotel has the most comfortable bed and trying out delicious dishes in any given city.

  • On September 23, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the dress code at Aureole Las Vegas?

    The dress code at Charlie Palmer's Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Aureole Las Vegas located inside of Mandalay Bay is business chic. It’s an upscale restaurant so guests should don dressy attire. Women should come in dresses or put on a flirty blouse underneath a jacket with pants or a skirt (and of course, heels — this is Vegas, after all). And men should wear Oxford shirts with pants and loafers. Enjoy a meal prepared by executive chef Vincent Pouessel and be sure to grab a seat by the window so you’ll have a prime view of Swan Court, which includes a waterfall and beautiful birds to boot!
  • On September 19, 2013
  • On September 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the dress code at Craftsteak?

    The dress code at Craftsteak, which is located inside MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, is business casual. Ladies should plan on wearing a designer dress with heels and bring a jacket just in case it gets a little chilly in the restaurant (or the theater if you’re planning on attending the late-night KÀ performance after your meal). Men should wear long sleeve button-up shirts, dress pants and classic penny loafers. You’ll fit right in for your meal at our Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Tom Colicchio’s restaurant. Try any of his signature dishes such as the lobster bisque or the braised short ribs for a great start to a fantastic evening in Sin City.
  • On September 18, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What is the dress code at Bouchon?

    If you’re planning on dining at Bouchon, which is located inside of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino, come dressed in smart casual attire. I’ve had brunch there on the weekends and noticed that women tend to dress in pants (or jeans) and blouses or in flirty dresses. The guys wear khaki pants and cotton polo shirts. During the week when I’ve gone in for lunch, I’d wear work attire (think business dress and heels or a suit). Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Thomas Keller’s upscale French bistro is perfect for a business lunch or brunch with the girls. But if you’re coming in for dinner, dress it up — you are in Vegas, after all!
  • On September 9, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What’s the best time to visit Château Élan?

    The best time to visit Château Élan is from mid-February to the fall, especially right around Thanksgiving time. It’s a sight to see when the vines are changing into crisp hues such as yellow and red. And, since the property is such a popular place to experience (more than half-a-million visitors stop by the resort each year), you will never run out of things to do in the autumn, like take a cooking class in the luxury hotel’s 1,600-square-foot Culinary Studio, or in the spring, when you can work on your hole-in-one at Night Golf (yes, there are glow-in-the-dark balls, tee-markers and flagsticks).
  • On September 9, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    What restaurants does Château Élan have?

    With a variety of restaurants to choose from at Château Élan, you will never get bored. There’s the hotel’s main restaurant, Versailles, which is located in the glass atrium and is the go-to for a breakfast (omelet station) and lunch buffet (salad station and entrées such as seared snapper with chardonnay sauce and grilled chicken breast with marinara). The restaurant also serves dinner options, such the four-cheese spinach ravioli. Also in the atrium is L’Auberge Lounge, where you can grab light fare like the Braselton house salad (mixed greens with candied pecans, local cheddar and peach-lemon vinaigrette) and pair it with the Chalet at the Chateau, which is a Godiva, espresso vodka and crème de cocoa blend.

    At The Spa at Château Élan, Fleur-de-Lis is open for breakfast (Georgia shrimp frittata, anyone?) and lunch (a favorite item on the calorie-counted menu is the seared crab cakes). The Atlanta hotel also is home to the popular Paddy’s Irish Pub. Folks go there for its fish and chips, live music and to see the authentic furnishings imported directly from Ireland. In the winery, you have two dining options — the French-inspired Café Élan and Le Clos, which seats 28 and features fresh menu items from the local harvest. And if you want to grab a bite before you hit the links, head to Golf Grille, which is located inside of the Château Élan Golf Club. For breakfast, give the golfer’s sandwich a try (a fried egg, cheddar and bacon, sausage or ham on an English muffin) and for lunch, go for the “golf club” (turkey, Virginia ham, bacon, tomato, lettuce, Swiss and cheddar neatly placed on two slices of whole wheat bread).
  • On September 9, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Where is Château Élan located?

    Château Élan is located in the small town of Braselton, Georgia. With a population of less than 10,000, the welcoming community continues to grow. If you’re planning on a weekend escape from Atlanta and want to drive to the resort, hop on I-85 north, and you’ll get there in less than an hour (45 minutes with no traffic). Coming in from out of state is easy, too — the nearest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (50 minutes). If you’d prefer to charter a private jet, plan to fly into Barrow County Airport, which is just 15 minutes away from the gorgeous grounds of the luxury hotel.
  • On August 29, 2013
    Jamie Bean is now following Laura Janelle Downey
  • On July 11, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    How should I dress for by Cirque du Soleil?

    If you’re planning on going to see KÀ by Cirque du Soleil, you can wear casual attire to the performance at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. Men can come dressed in jeans, a cotton polo shirt and loafers while women can wear anything from a dress to jeans and a T-shirt, or a blouse with a skirt and flats. If you’re going to see the late show at 9:30 p.m. and plan on going to a fancy dinner before, you’ll probably be a little more dressed up than others, but overall, the environment is laid-back — although I don’t recommend wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops to the performance. In Vegas, you always want to stand out wearing some of your best attire. If not, trust me, the locals will know you’re definitely not from there.
  • On July 8, 2013
  • On June 30, 2013
  • On June 28, 2013
  • On June 28, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    How long is Zarkana?

    If you’re planning on going to see a performance of Zarkana, be prepared to sit through 90 fascinating minutes of the Cirque du Soleil show, which is located inside of the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino. When you go to purchase your tickets, make sure you pick the best show time that works with your schedule. There is a show at 7 p.m. and one at 9:30 p.m. and no shows on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It is best if you arrive at the theater at least 30 minutes in advance to buy snacks, drinks and use the restroom before the performance begins.
  • On June 27, 2013
    Laura Janelle Downey answered the question: Laura Janelle Downey

    Where should I eat before seeing Zarkana?

    If you are interested in grabbing a bite to eat before you see the Cirque du Soleil performance of Zarkana, there are plenty of options inside Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star ARIA Resort & Casino. I recommend eating at any of these fantastic restaurants, which include American Fish by Michael Mina, Javier’s, Tetsu or Julian Serrano. You’ll be in for a treat when you try the Alaskan Halibut at American Fish or when you order the Quesadilla de Mariscos (think quesadilla filled with Monterey Jack cheese, Dungeness crab, and shrimp sautéed with butter and more) at Javier’s. At Tetsu, savor every bit of the lamb chop (accompanied by red cabbage), and at Julian Serrano, pick from tapas selections including mixed seafood ceviche, seared scallop and salmon with truffle. Once you’ve had any of these filling plates, you’ll be ready to meet Zark and enjoy the show.