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Las Vegas Holidays

Las Vegas is a phenomenon. It’s easily one of the most exciting, jaw-dropping and eye-wateringly wonderful holiday destinations in the world. Families with kids love it just as much as singles and couples. It’s perfect whether you are on a budget or if you’ve got plenty of cash to splash around and want some extraordinary luxury. It’s got some of the best shops in America, many of the finest restaurants and most of the best entertainment. The huge hotels can defy belief, the people-watching is fantastic and the fun really does last 24 hours a day.

If you fancy a flutter then you will obviously be in the right place – one lucky bet and your whole holiday and more can be paid for. But don’t worry if gambling leaves you cold. Plenty of people go to Las Vegas every year and never put as much as a quarter in a slot machine. Here are all the facts you need to know about this incredible city – and all the best tips on how to enjoy it.

Neil Simpson is an award-winning journalist and author and has written travel articles for the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Telegraph and Mail on Sunday.

Las Vegas

Described as ‘The Entertainment Capital of the World’, Las Vegas conjures up a vision of a holiday destination that’s totally unique. Mention Las Vegas and a plethora of ‘casinos’ spring to mind. Glamour and glitter, likewise, seem to flash before one’s eyes. Its very name evokes an aura of bright shining neon lights that burn incessantly throughout the long hours of the night. Referred to as ‘a city of superlatives’, Las Vegas is purported to be ‘a city that never sleeps’! In Las Vegas the brightness of the night eclipses that of the day!

And nowhere else is this nightly dazzling neon brightness more apparent than in the city’s glitzy area known as ‘The Strip’. ‘The Strip’ is a four mile long thoroughfare which forms part of the Las Vegas Boulevard, and which boasts some of the largest casinos on the planet. And ‘excitement’ is inevitably ‘the name of the game’ here, as thousands of prospective gamblers throng the neon-lit street. And the excitement that pervades the atmosphere is described as being positively ‘euphoric’.

The majority of British tourists who choose Las Vegas as their holiday destination travel there by air, and the city’s nearest airport is McCarran International Airport – which is described as ‘the eleventh busiest airport in the U.S.A. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways planes both land at this airport – and these flights include ‘scheduled flights’ and ‘charter flights’.

McCarran International Airport lies just over two miles from Las Vegas and it’s estimated that the journey from the Airport to the city takes only about ten minutes by road. But, while a surfeit of taxis is always available, the cheapest form of transport on offer is the ‘Citizens Area Transit Bus’ – known as C.A.T. Bus Routes 108 and 109.

Accommodation – where to stay in Las Vegas? That’s obviously the next question one would ask oneself!

Las Vegas, of course, abounds with hotels. And described as a hotel that ‘epitomises perfection’ is The Bellagio Resort Hotel. Based at Las Vegas Boulevard South, ‘Hotel Bellagio’ was built in 1998. Considered to embody ‘the height of leisure and luxury’, the concept of this hotel was conceived by Steve Wynne, whose aim, it is claimed, was “to create a hotel that would exemplify absolute quality while emphasising romance and elegance – romance in the literary sense, a place of ideal beauty and comfort, the world everyone hopes for, as it might be if everything was just right.” The hotel overlooks a lake that extends for more than eight acres, which is intended to resemble Italy’s Lake Como. And more that 1,000 fountains are set to stage ‘water ballets’ above the lake – which soar to a height of 240 feet.

The whole property has been designed to resemble an Italiante theme. And its opulent interior includes a 3,000 room tower, a salon, and 16 restaurants, one of which is a gourmet French restaurant called ‘Picasso, which has original Picasso pictures on its walls and a carpet that’s been designed by Picasso’s son, Claude.

In addition, the hotel has a shopping promenade, conference facilities – which can accommodate up to 5,000 people, a conservatory, botanical gardens, a theatre, and a casino that’s described as being ‘aesthetically the most pleasing casino in Las Vegas’! The hotel also has a vast courtyard featuring six outdoor pools and four spas. And here sun beds and parasols are also provided for potential sun-worshippers.

In fact, it’s claimed that The Bellagio’s construction cost more than one billion dollars! And while ‘The Bellagio’ might be regarded as Las Vegas’ most luxurious hotel, the city lays claim to numerous other spectacular hotels which are referred to as ‘Theme Hotels’.

One of these is ‘The Venetian’ – with its ‘Grand Canal, ‘Venetian Lobby’, ‘St. Mark’s Square’ and ‘Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum’. Here can be found larger than life wax figures of famous celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, Pavarotti, Shirley MacLaine, Whoopie Goldberg, Ella Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley – to name but a few…… Other venues include ‘Guggenheim Las Vegas Museum’, ‘Hermitage-Guggenheim Museum’, and a ‘Doge’s Palace Casino’!

Another is ‘Aladdin’, which is designed to conjure up images of exotic Arabian lands, and whose attractions include a ‘Dessert Passage Shopping Arcade’, and a ‘flamboyant Casino’ with an ‘enormous Aladdin’s Lamp’ as its centrepiece. ‘Hotel Mandalay Bay’, with its ‘lush tropical foliage, tiny pagodas and temples’ is another ‘Theme Hotel’ – its theme being Southeast Asia – and it boasts a popular ‘rumjungle’ that converts from a restaurant into a nightclub, and a 12,000 seat Events Centre.

‘Hotel New York – New York’ is described as ‘an exciting place’ featuring as it does landmarks such as The Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and the Grand Central Station – not to mention ‘The Statue of Liberty’ that towers above the scene! Likewise, the ‘Eiffel Tower’ model that dominates the ‘Paris Las Vegas Hotel’ is equally impressive.

Another ‘Theme Hotel’ of note is ‘Caesars Palace’, which opened in 1966 and was described at the time as being a particularly ‘opulent and ostentatious’ hotel. Noted for its ‘Forum Shops’, within its walls can be located: ‘the Lost City of Atlantis’ – with its ‘Statue of Poseidon’; ‘Planet Hollywood’ – a huge restaurant filled with Hollywood memorabilia, and claimed to be ‘one of the largest repositories for movie mementos in the world’; a ‘Festival Fountain’, which is ‘guarded by four animatronic statues of Roman notables, who ‘talk’ about the days of the Roman Empire’; and a ‘Sky Ceiling’ which ‘simulates a constantly changing sky’ – with the sun shining in the morning, the clouds floating by in the afternoon, and the stars twinkling in the evening.

Other ‘Theme Hotels’ that can be located in Las Vegas are ‘Hard Rock Hotel’, ‘Treasure Island’, ‘Rio’, and ‘Excalibur’. And, of course, Las Vegas abounds with many more hotels that do not embrace any specific theme, but are also very popular. It is even claimed that some of the hotels cater for their residents’ needs to such an extent that they need not move out of the buildings throughout the duration of their stay.

In addition to ‘The Strip’ there is also an area known as ‘Glitter Gulch’ that is worth exploring. Situated ‘downtown’ the ‘Glitter Gulch Lights’ have to be seen to be believed, for the area is described as ‘one of the brightest places on earth’ Las Vegas’s ‘First Casino’ was launched in this area, and described as a ‘never-to-be-forgotten experience’ is a walk down Fremont Street, ‘a pedestrian mall covered with a 90 ft. high ‘Space Frame’ containing more than two million lights’. Las Vegas abounds with ‘Gourmet Restaurants’ which offer cuisine of every national kind. And these include a British Restaurant known as ‘Aristocrat’, with ‘Beef Wellington’ on offer on its menu!

Numerous museums too can be located in Las Vegas, including one that is known as ‘Elvis-A-Rama’. Here a huge collection of Elvis Presley’s memorabilia is on display, which is claimed to be worth more than three million dollars. And among the artefacts that are on display are his ‘blue suede shoes’!

Las Vegas being ‘a City of Casinos’, one would credit it with having more casinos than anywhere else in the world. In fact, it even has one casino called ‘Monte Carlo’! But the number of casinos would appear to be endless – and a list of all the available casinos would almost constitute a feature article in its own right!

Sufficient to say - there are no shortage of casinos in Las Vegas! As the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’ it would appear to have every form of entertainment at hand. And, being a ‘glittering city’ in every sense of the word, its ‘neon-lit nights’ can lay claim to having attained a world-wide reputation

Roberta Crookes has worked as a newspaper journalist throughout most of her life, writing news stories, editorial features, advertisement supplements, and reviews. And in the course of her work she has interviewed many famous people from all walks of life. She has also managed to combine parallel careers in both journalism and acting, and, being Welsh speaking from North Wales, her main television featured parts have been Welsh language roles with BBC Wales.