With glorious imagery from Rio de Janeiro and the Summer Olympics playing incessantly on our TV screens August 5-21, we’ll long to experience Brazil’s vibrant culture without having to leave the Valley.
With that in mind, prepare for the pool and your night on the town with a Brazilian wax, the specialty at the Birthday Suit. (7645 S. Rainbow Blvd., Suite 101, 702-425-1343; 3700 S. Hualapai Way, Suite 103, 702-850-8272; TheBirthdaySuit.com). Since opening the first location five years ago and now with a second location in Summerlin, Brazilian waxes account for about 90 percent of the full-service spa’s daily business. (Full women’s, $35; $20 for first-time guests; full men’s, $70; $60 for first-timers).
Then check out Fogo de Chào Brazilian Steakhouse’s Downtown Summerlin location, which joined its Flamingo Road location (FogoDeChao.com) last fall. “The way we set up the space and circulation, the gauchos kind of dance for you, they perform for you,” says Bilal Ajami, the company’s director of design architecture. “Anything that represents the cowboy culture of southern Brazil, which is not that different than the Western American cowboy, we express in materials.” Metal, wood, stone and leather abound. The Market Table, under the symbolic trees reminiscent of Araucaria trees, and the grill are focal points. “It’s not just to see the meat cooking,” Ajami says. “It’s more to see how the gauchos are performing, how they season the meat, how they prepare it and how they come out to serve it. When you look through the window, you’re drooling.”
After dinner, go see Le Rêve—The Dream at the Wynn, where four current performers are recent Olympians. Identical twins Carolina and Isabela Moraes (Brazil) competed in synchronized swimming in 2000 and 2004; Hiromi Kobayashi (Japan), synchronized swimming, 2008; and Kristina Lum (U.S.), synchronized swimming, 2000. They’re not alone, as 10 former Olympians are artists in four of the current Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil productions on the Strip.
If competition is more your thing, the International Brazilian Jiu‑Jitsu Federation world master championship will be at the Las Vegas Convention Center August 25-27. And keep an eye out for the Las Vegas City FC, which is gearing up to join the United Premier Soccer League. Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho was in town in May to promote it.
And, of course, the Rio Hotel-Casino will have promotions to coincide with the Olympics: The All-American Bar & Grille will be the viewing station; the Rio Spa & Salon will have Olympic-themed specials; participating bars and restaurants will represent Olympic countries and related brands to form a Cocktails Around the World Passport Program.
From one global destination resort city to another, perhaps Olympic-wary Rio residents are wondering the best ways to experience Vegas about now. –Paul Szydelko