Xania Woodman

Correspondent

  • Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Xania Woodman is a correspondent who lives in Las Vegas and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. In addition to curating Vegas Seven magazine’s dining, beverage and nightlife coverage, she regularly contributes to the nationally distributed Vegas Rated and the annual guidebook The Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas. Her work has also appeared in Saveur, and thanks to Expedia Australia, she finally can say, “I’m big in Oceania.” When she’s not judging a cocktail competition or checking out the newest bars, she is writing about them for Forbes Travel Guide and her blog, NowDrinkThis.com.

  • On November 11, 2014
    Robert Weaver is now following Xania Woodman
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  • On July 3, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best wedding venues in Las Vegas?

    Everyday, couples choose Las Vegas as the destination for the wedding of their dreams. And why shouldn’t they? We have predictable weather, resorts and restaurants in every price range, plus makeup artists, wedding planners, a convenient airport, costumed officiants... In fact, all of Las Vegas is poised to help couples say “I do,” whether for the first time or a recommitment.

    Over the years I’ve attended a number of weddings, and I have to say that the golf courses do the best job, from the catering and reception spaces to the actual ceremony, usually on the green. Fountains, ample parking and fleet of golf carts ready to whisk high-heeled guests to and fro are a plus! If you’re beginning your search, check out Dragonridge Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Anthem Country Club.

    On the other hand, the Strip has so much to offer couples, from the convenience of chapels on site, to the abundance of restaurants, nightclubs, shows and planning services to make the whole affair seamless. Bellagio, Venetian/Palazzo, Caesars Palace and Wynn Resorts offer very beautiful traditional packages.

    But if you had something a little different in mind, allow me to direct your attention to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, the Neon Boneyard, the Artisan’s "unique" chapel and—my favorite—the Cosmopolitan’s pop up wedding packages—complete with photo booth and eraser wedding rings. All you need is a sense of humor and the love of your life!
  • On July 2, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best spas in Las Vegas?

    We should all treat ourselves more often. That's the conclusion I always come to after a visit to the Palms Place's Drift Spa & Hammam. It starts with check in in the reception area, purveyor of all things good-smelling: candles, incense and such. My shoulders immediately drop as an attendant shows me to my locker, and outfits me with a soft robe, slippers and towel. The locker rom has showers, restrooms, dressing areas and vanities thoughtfully stocked with amenities.

    I always arrive early for my deep-tissue massages (writers often have trouble with our rotator cuffs, hips and lower backs, not to mention the stress) so that I can take advantage of the quiet area. A little lounge offers curtained chaises, a kettle with herbal tea options, trail mix and fresh fruit, a fridge filled with cold juice and water, all the women's magazines you could desire and a flat screen TV usually tuned to a film or show of the romantic comedy variety. I believe the last time I visited, Sex & The City was on.

    When it's appointment time, the therapist scoops you up from here. And when the bliss is over, she drops you back here. I like to hydrate and grab a couple of magazines, then head to the wet areas: wet and dry sauna, hot tub, plunge pool and chaises with ice cold water, frozen towels and cucumbers for your eyes. The room faces directly west, so afternoons and sunsets are beautiful from this room. I make a few circuits from hot tub to saunas to plunge pool and back. The facilities are very clean and modern, and well attended with plenty of fresh towels and a helpful staff. Guests slip under that spell, too, and are very respectful of each other's space and vibe.

    Of course, I have no idea what's going on over in the men's side of the spa—it could be a wild frat party over there! But I doubt it. Ommmmmm.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What is the one must-do activity in Las Vegas?

    You're going to eat. You're probably going to take in a show, stroll the Strip, gawk at the casinos, and you might even take a photo in front of the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. You may hit a club or party pool, and chances are you'll gamble a little. So what's the one thing everyone should do while here? Personally, I think no visit is complete without watching the Bellagio fountains. You can do this from the Strip, day or night, or you can see them from many vantage points including Hyde nightclub, Yellowtail, Todd English's Olives or Jasmine in Bellagio, or from across the street at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and Chateau Nightclub & Gardens in Paris Las Vegas, or even from Scarpetta in the Cosmopolitan. Years ago, a group of guy friends visiting from the East Coast had me take a photo of them silhouetted against the water show, just like in Oceans 11. Whether you just catch a glimpse over brunch or plot the perfect place to stand (perhaps to pop an important question?), it's the best free show in Las Vegas. 

    Bellagio Fountain Showtimes
    Monday–Friday
    3–7 p.m., shows every 1/2 hour
    7 p.m.–midnight, shows every 15 minutes

    Saturdays, Sundays* and Holidays
    Noon–7 p.m., shows every 1/2 hour
    7 p.m.–midnight, shows every 15 minutes

    *On Sundays Fountain show times begin at 11 a.m. and run every 15 minutes for the Fountains Brunch at Jasmine.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best spas in Las Vegas?

    We should all treat ourselves more often. That's the conclusion I always come to after a visit to the Palms Place's Drift Spa & Hammam. It starts with check in in the reception area, purveyor of all good-smelling things: candles, incense and such. My shoulders immediately drop as an attendant shows me to my locker, and outfits with a soft robe, slippers and towel. The locker rom has showers, restrooms, dressing areas and vanities thoughtfully stocked with amenities.

    I always arrive early for my deep-tissue massages (writers often have trouble with our rotator cuffs, hips and lower backs, not to mention the stress) so that I can take advantage of the quiet area. A little lounge offers curtained chaises, a kettle with herbal tea options, trail mix and fresh fruit, a fridge filled with cold juice and water, all the women's magazines you could desire and a flat screen TV usually tuned to a film or show of the romantic comedy variety. I believe the last time I visited, Sex & The City was on.

    When it's appointment time, the therapist scoops you up from here. And when the bliss is over, she drops you back here. I like to hydrate and grab a couple of magazines, then head to the wet areas: wet and dry sauna, hot tub, plunge pool and chaises with ice cold water, frozen towels and cucumbers for your eyes. The room faces directly west, so afternoons and sunsets are beautiful from this room. I make a few circuits from hot tub to saunas to plunge pool and back. The facilities are very clean and modern, and well attended with plenty of fresh towels and a helpful staff. Guests slip under that spell, too, and are very respectful of each other's space and vibe.

    Of course, I have no idea what's going on over in the men's side of the spa—it could be a wild frat party over there! But I doubt it. Ommmmmm.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the most unusual dining experiences in Las Vegas?

    If two's company, and three's a crowd, what’s dinner for nearly 200? In Las Vegas, it's called Project Dinner Table, and even at $190 per person, it’s one of the hottest tickets in town. This communal dinner party takes place six nights each year at unique open-air locales, such as Gilcrease Orchard, the Neon Boneyard and the streets of Town Square and Downtown. Chefs from all over Las Vegas clamor to be a part of this memorable, charitable affair.

    Dinner usually begins with a social hour, with cocktails and wine while the finishing touches are put on the table. It’s the most cordial of free-for-all scrambles to claim seats at the long table, all white table-clothed and decked with flowers. Vegetarians get a little marker to let servers know they love their veggies as the six or more courses arrive family style, paired with beer and wine. Live music rings out in these somewhat unorthodox dinner settings, along with laughter, conversation and "cultural moment," that can range from poems to short book readings. Last summer, I recited a humorous beat poem accompanied by the bongo drums! Anything goes, as long as it helps bring hundreds of new and old friends together under the stars.  

    Before dessert, after-dinner cocktails and coffee from Boulder City, Nevada’s own Colorado River Coffee Roasters, Project Dinner Table founder Gina Gavan presents the participating charity with a check and brings the chefs out for a bow and a round of applause that brings the orchard down.

    Dinner 20 – Apr 20, 2013, 5:30 p.m. at the Neon Museum, featuring chefs of the MGM Grand.

    Dinner 21 – May 18, 2013, 6:00 p.m. at Tivoli Village, featuring chefs Bradley Ogden, Sam Marvin and Angelo Sosa’s Poppy Den.

    Dinner 22 – June 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m. at TPC Golf Course, featuring chefs from Tao Group and TPC.

    Dinner 23 – Sept 21, 2013, 6 p.m. at Dream Racing, featuring chefs from Bellagio.

    Dinner 24 – Oct 19, 2013, 5:30 p.m. location TBD, featuring chefs from the Venetian and the Palazzo.

    Dinner 25 – Nov 10, 2013, 3 p.m. location TBD, featuring chefs from Red Rock Resort and Green Valley Ranch.

    For tickets, updates and more information, visit ProjectDinnerTable.com.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What is the one must-do activity in Las Vegas?

    You're going to eat. You're probably going to take in a show, stroll the Strip, gawk at the casinos, and you might even take a photo in front of the iconic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign. You may hit a club or party pool, and chances are you'll gamble a little. So what's the one thing everyone should do while here? Personally, I think no visit is complete without watching the Bellagio fountains. You can do this from the Strip, day or night, or you can see them from many vantage points including Hyde nightclub, Yellowtail, Todd English's Olives or Jasmine in Bellagio, or from across the street at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and Chateau Nightclub & Gardens in Paris Las Vegas, or even from Scarpetta in the Cosmopolitan. Years ago, a group of guy friends visiting from the East Coast had me take a photo of them silhouetted against the water show, just like in Oceans 11. Whether you just catch a glimpse over brunch or plot the perfect place to stand (perhaps to pop an important question?), it's the best free show in Las Vegas. 

    Bellagio Fountain Showtimes
    Monday–Friday
    3–7 p.m., shows every 1/2 hour
    7 p.m.–midnight, shows every 15 minutes

    Saturdays, Sundays* and Holidays
    Noon–7 p.m., shows every 1/2 hour
    7 p.m.–midnight, shows every 15 minutes

    *On Sundays Fountain show times begin at 11 a.m. and run every 15 minutes for the Fountains Brunch at Jasmine.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best spas in Las Vegas?

    We should all treat ourselves more often. That's the conclusion I always come to after a visit to the Palms Place's Drift Spa & Hammam. It starts with check in in the reception area, purveyor of all good-smelling things: candles, incense and such. My shoulders immediately drop as an attendant shows me to my locker, and outfits with a soft robe, slippers and towel. The locker rom has showers, restrooms, dressing areas and vanities thoughtfully stocked with amenities.

    I always arrive early for my deep-tissue massages (writers often have trouble with our rotator cuffs, hips and lower backs, not to mention the stress) so that I can take advantage of the quiet area. A little lounge offers curtained chaises, a kettle with herbal tea options, trail mix and fresh fruit, a fridge filled with cold juice and water, all the women's magazines you could desire and a flat screen TV usually tuned to a film or show of the romantic comedy variety. I believe the last time I visited, Sex & The City was on.

    When it's appointment time, the therapist scoops you up from here. And when the bliss is over, she drops you back here. I like to hydrate and grab a couple of magazines, then head to the wet areas: wet and dry sauna, hot tub, plunge pool and chaises with ice cold water, frozen towels and cucumbers for your eyes. The room faces directly west, so afternoons and sunsets are beautiful from this room. I make a few circuits from hot tub to saunas to plunge pool and back. The facilities are very clean and modern, and well attended with plenty of fresh towels and a helpful staff. Guests slip under that spell, too, and are very respectful of each other's space and vibe.

    Of course, I have no idea what's going on over in the men's side of the spa—it could be a wild frat party over there! But I doubt it. Ommmmmm.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best steakhouses in Las Vegas?

    Stop two locals on the Strip—just kidding, we don’t walk on the Strip if we can help it. But if you do find yourself in the presence of two locals or, better yet, two “born-and-raiseds,” get yourself a fresh cocktail, ask them “Golden Steer or Circus Circus?” and then watch the fight ensue. I’m a conscientious objector in this war; I love both of these famous, old-school steakhouses! And I’ve enjoyed many fine evenings at each. But when pressed, I ask people what sort of an experience they’re looking for, as that’s the big differentiating factor.

    The oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas (since 1958), the Golden Steer is located near the former Sahara, and just off the Strip. Every cabbie knows it. The strip-mall entrance gives way to the foyer, bar and lounge area. Beyond, the large, bright dining room hosts large groups at long tables, while the smaller, dimmer rooms are where couples canoodle in massive leather booths named for the stars of stage and screen who are said to have spend time here in their day. A la carte is the way here—although the chateaubriand for two comes with vegetables. I love the throwback appetizers (clams casino, oysters Rockefeller), tableside Caesar salad and varying accompaniments, the tuxedoed wait staff and even the crotchety bartender. For about $10 corkage per bottle, I can bring in my own wine treasures to enjoy with Golden Steer’s Prime aged steaks, always cooked the way I order.

    On the other hand, The Steak House is inside Circus Circus, so one must cross the casino to find it deep within. The bar and dining room is very dark, at most dimly lit. The bartender is equally crotchety—just more local charm! Servers are a little more casually dressed, but no less adept, folks who have made their careers in the steak-and-wine trade. The book-lined dining room is filled with large round tables of polo-shirted conventioneers still wearing their nametags, and with the ubiquitous canoodling couples. (I’ve personally canoodled at both places and still call it a tie.) Dinner here is more of a combo affair—entrees come with starters and sides. Steaks are 21-day-aged and cooked over an open-hearth mesquite charcoal broiler—I love the flavor! I’ve never brought a bottle of my own here as the wine list has so many items prices well below what's found elsewhere on the Strip.

    In all, I call it a toss up. Both are busy, with Circus Circus usually filling up first. So start there, and if you can’t get a reservation, give Golden Steer a try.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best steakhouses in Las Vegas?

    Stop two locals on the Strip—just kidding, we don’t walk on the Strip if we can help it. But if you do find yourself in the presence of two locals or, better yet, two “born-and-raiseds,” get yourself a fresh cocktail, ask them “Golden Steer or Circus Circus?” and then watch the fight ensue. I’m a conscientious objector in this war; I love both of these famous, old-school steakhouses! And I’ve enjoyed many fine evenings at each. But when pressed, I ask people what sort of an experience they’re looking for, as that’s the big differentiating factor.

    The oldest steakhouse in Las Vegas (since 1958), the Golden Steer is located near the former Sahara, and just off the Strip. Every cabbie knows it. The strip-mall entrance gives way to the foyer, bar and lounge area. Beyond, the large, bright dining room hosts large groups at long tables, while the smaller, dimmer rooms are where couples canoodle in massive leather booths named for the stars of stage and screen who are said to have spend time here in their day. A la carte is the way here—although the chateaubriand for two comes with vegetables. I love the throwback appetizers (clams casino, oysters Rockefeller), tableside Caesar salad and varying accompaniments, the tuxedoed wait staff and even the crotchety bartender. For about $10 corkage per bottle, I can bring in my own wine treasures to enjoy with Golden Steer’s Prime aged steaks, always cooked the way I order.

    On the other hand, The Steak House is inside Circus Circus, so one must cross the casino to find it deep within. The bar and dining room is very dark, at most dimly lit. The bartender is equally crotchety—just more local charm! Servers are a little more casually dressed, but no less adept, folks who have made their careers in the steak-and-wine trade. The book-lined dining room is filled with large round tables of polo-shirted conventioneers still wearing their nametags, and with the ubiquitous canoodling couples. (I’ve personally canoodled at both places and still call it a tie.) Dinner here is more of a combo affair—entrees come with starters and sides. Steaks are 21-day-aged and cooked over an open-hearth mesquite charcoal broiler—I love the flavor! I’ve never brought a bottle of my own here as the wine list has so many items prices well below what's found elsewhere on the Strip.

    In all, I call it a toss up. Both are busy, with Circus Circus usually filling up first. So start there, and if you can’t get a reservation, give Golden Steer a try.
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best wedding venues in Las Vegas?

    Everyday, couples choose Las Vegas as the destination for the wedding of their dreams. And why shouldn’t they? We have predictable weather, resorts and restaurants in every price range, plus makeup artists, wedding planners, a convenient airport, costumed officiants... In fact, all of Las Vegas is poised to help couples say “I do,” whether for the first time or a recommitment.

    Over the years I’ve attended a number of weddings, and I have to say that the golf courses do the best job, from the catering and reception spaces to the actual ceremony, usually on the green. Fountains, ample parking and fleet of golf carts ready to whisk high-heeled guests to and fro are a plus! If you’re beginning your search, check out Dragonridge Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Anthem Country Club.

    On the other hand, the Strip has so much to offer couples, from the convenience of chapels on site, to the abundance of restaurants, nightclubs, shows and planning services to make the whole affair seamless. Bellagio, Venetian/Palazzo, Caesars Palace and Wynn Resorts offer very beautiful traditional packages.

    But if you had something a little different in mind, allow me to direct your attention to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, the Neon Boneyard, the Artisan’s "unique" chapel and—my favorite—the Cosmopolitan’s pop up wedding packages—complete with photo booth and eraser wedding rings. All you need is a sense of humor and the love of your life!
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best wedding venues in Las Vegas?

    Everyday, couples choose Las Vegas as the destination for the wedding of their dreams. And why shouldn’t they? We have predictable weather, resorts and restaurants in every price range, plus makeup artists, wedding planners, costumed officiants. In fact, all of Las Vegas is poised to help couples say “I do,” whether for the first time or a recommitment. Over the years I’ve attended a number of weddings, and I have to say that the golf courses do the best job, from the catering and reception spaces to the actual ceremony, usually on the green. Fountains, ample parking and fleet of golf carts ready to whisk high-heeled guests to and fro are a plus! If you’re beginning your search, check out Dragonridge Country Club, Red Rock Country Club and Anthem Country Club.

    On the other hand, the Strip has so much to offer couples, from the convenience of chapels on site, to the abundance of restaurants, nightclubs, shows and planning services to make the whole affair seamless. Bellagio, Venetian/Palazzo, Caesars Palace and Wynn Resorts offer very beautiful traditional packages. But if you had something a little different in mind, allow me to direct your attention to Mt. Charleston, the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, the Neon Boneyard, the Artisan’s unique chapel and—my favorite—the Cosmopolitan’s pop up wedding packages—complete with photo booth and eraser wedding rings. All you need is a sense of humor and the love of your life!
  • On June 30, 2013
    Xania Woodman answered the question: Xania Woodman

    What are the best hair salons in Las Vegas?

    My hair is—how shall we say—complicated. It needs love, affection, one-on-one attention. And a beer. It definitely needs a beer while getting cut, colored and styled, a process that can take two hours or more. I get all of the above and so much more (critical insider gossip!) at Hillary Salon, Downtown in the Arts Factory. Stylist Hillary makes the magic while salon manager Michael keeps the place working. He's usually the one who pops his head in before I go under the clippers to offer an ice-cold Samuel Adams, a freshly pulled espresso or a cocktail from Bar+Bistro downstairs. Food, too, if you missed lunch. 

    The salon itself is funky, a one-chair affair tucked inside the equally funky Arts Factory artist enclave that is also home to galleries, architects, a photography studio and a roller-derby outfitter. Most websites that state them have the salon hours wrong; this couple is huge in the Downtown arts scene, and they have a band. So if Hillary doesn't have clients, they're out, off doing something cool, somewhere cool. So appointments here are a must! Hours fluctuate day to day. However, they typically operate Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., by appointment, $60 per hour.

    "Our business model is simply to maintain our integrity," Michael says. "We pride ourselves on our honesty. We don't sell things we wouldn't use ourselves, and we don't perform services that we can't in good conscience recommend. And rule No. 1: no gimmicks." My kinda joint.