I only got to understand the fascination that everybody has about Las Vegas, after visiting it last Spring.
While in the first day I was revolted by the extravagance and the kitsch, the water expense of this desert town (because every hotel has some sort of luxurious fountain), the unlimited energy consumption and by those men and women almost completely naked provoking you to take a picture for money with them, there’s undoubtedly this energy 24/7 that becomes an addiction and every evening you want to go out, to see more, to experience more: food, casinos, shows or just to be part of the intense atmosphere of the streets. For a few days, not more, otherwise it drains you from every drop of energy and money of course :).
A little bit of history … as I always like to add to my posts:)
This mesmerizing city has lived some interesting times in its very short history. Four major factors influenced it: a railway, gambling, the Hoover Dam and the mafia. I can recommend you The Mafia Museum on Fremont Street as a great place where you can learn about all these facts.
A little over 100 years old, Las Vegas formed thanks to the construction of a railway from Utah to California. The steam engines of the trains needed water and they found enough water to refill in this territory. Gambling and alcohol consumption exploded among the working class population, being their only way to entertain in this isolated and dusty town. Hoover Dam was built 50 km away on Colorado River, and 40-50000 workers arrived during those hard depression years to work on the construction site. Some of them then settled in Las Vegas. And then Mafia rapidly set eyes on the town, sensing the huge potential to make big money.
The fabulous Casino – Hotels
There are basically only two important streets in Las Vegas: the “historic” one and the “new one”.
Freemont Street is considered the “Old Town” of Las Vegas, where the first gambling barracks appeared. But the main attraction of today is the world largest’s LED roof that covers these streets and every evening when the lights turn on, changing colors on the rhythm of loud music, it becomes a giant open air disco place. However, don’t go there alone like I did, especially during the evening. There were many many strange characters around.
“The Strip” how it’s known today is the most famous boulevard of Las Vegas, 7 km long, jam-packed with the luxurious casino-hotels that never turn their lights off, bars and theaters and shops. In simple works is where you’ll have all the fun. The first investors of Las Vegas were in fact the mafia heads and although those days are gone, their taste for extravagance lived on until today. You can freely walk inside all of these hotels, some of them housing luxurious gardens, Zoo gardens, art galleries and shows that run multiple times a day.
In my opinion this is the most elegant in Las Vegas and it was my favorite one.
The fountain on the outside and the architecture of the hotel recreate the image of the Bellagio village, one of the most famous places around Lake Como in Italy. But not only is this inspired from Italy, but all the luxurious marbles in the hallways were exclusively brought from Italy as well. Steven Wynn, one of the most influential investors and hotel owners in the recent decades in Las Vegas and also an art collector spared no money on exquisite building material. There’s also a garden inside the hotel, with stunning natural flower arrangements, that change from season to season, coming up with new themes every new year. The Fine Art Galley houses famous paintings, but visiting this one comes with a cost.
And last but definitely not the least, be sure to wait for the Bellagio Fountain shows, that run hourly every day.
The Venetian and The Palazzo
This casino-resort comes second in my top. It is a huge place and it was built to look like Venice, probably the most visited Italian town. They recreated the canals with the gondolas taking you from one place to another, one luxury shop to another or one restaurant to another and also the most iconic monuments and buildings from Venice. You could spend an entire day in this maze of hallways and chambers without seeing everything. They even recreated the blue sky, however I always got headaches after spending not more than one hour around here because of the artificial lights and air:)
There’s a strong love for everything Italian in Las Vegas, that’s a fact🙂 Cezar’s Palace is inspired by Ancient Rome and what a better place to house your Casino but inside the Colosseum? Although I liked the look of it on the outside it’s no match in my opinion for the Venetian to the inside. But there are some cool statue shows that you’ll want to check out, like the God’s Show.
If you haven’t been inside an Egyptian pyramid before now it’s your chance! The Luxor and the Sphynx welcome you into their dark and mysterious world. And at night from the tip of the pyramid you cannot miss the Sky Beam, known as the strongest light in the world.
Although the exterior of this hotel doesn’t say too much, there’s a decent sized Zoo in the backyard of this hotel, but it’s no free entrance. It was costing 16 USD and I did’t want to go there because I don’t want to support this kind of places anymore. But the coolest place from this resort are the Volcanos in front of the hotel! During day time, you can pass near them and not even realizing what they are, because they are covered by flowers and gardens and palm trees. But in the evening, the roaring sound makes you stop for another cool show on the streets of Las Vegas: Volcanoes spilling fire and lava:)
New York, New York
Although I heard the rooms inside it are pretty shabby, has a very cool exterior in my opinion, replicating the iconic buildings in New York. And if you’re a fan of roller coasters, there’s one running just outside this hotel taking you from Times Square, around Lady Liberty and through Brooklyn Bridge.
Bally and Paris
This is another stunning casino-hotel, that I only saw from the outside. Eiffel Tower raising from the roof of the beautiful Opera of Paris, what a great sight!
The Flamingo Hotel
Is also worth mentioning. It was opened in 1946 and is the first luxury casino-hotel from The Strip of Las Vegas, still in use today. The name was inspired by the elegant pink flamingo birds found to the inner gardens of the hotel. Today still there are many beautiful flamingos and parrots that you can see flying around. It belonged to the famous and feared mobster Bugbsy Siegel. But only one year after the inauguration, the property was closed because of bankruptcy and Bugbsy was killed by his fellow mobster associates and investors, being blamed for stealing away the profits.
Aria, Wynn & Encore
All though they don’t have a theme like most of the “older” hotels, among the latest additions to the Strip it’s worth mentioning Aria Hotel, connected by a suspended tram line with the Luxor and with a great All You Can Eat court hall. Then The Wynn and the Encore hotels, right over the street from the Venetian, also developed by the magnate and investor Steven Wynn, both look so elegant with the tall glass ceiling, gardens, exquisite flower arrangements and lovely natural light that I enjoyed a lot.
MGM Grand Arena is where we attended Ka, our first Cirque du Soleil show ever and really liked it. And in our last night staying here, I finally gave it the pressure around me and it’s inside the Venetian where I spend my first dollar on a slot machine and won 8 back:). Beginner’s luck I assumed, so I stopped right there my short gambling career!
This put and end to an interesting week in the Fabulous Las Vegas but we embarked the next day to another great trip: we were heading to the Grand Canyon!
You can also read that story here: Grand Canyon and South Rim
Visited Las Vegas March 2018