Las Vegas – The Insider's Guide
21 fabulous things to do in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas - The Insider’s Guide
Las Vegas uncovered
The insider’s guide to 21 of
the city’s greatest attractions
There is only
by Sara Benson, Telegraph Travel destination expert
There’s a lot to lure you to this Wild West town on the edge of the Nevada desert. The city’s vibrant nightlife and glamorous resorts draw crowds from around the world. You can gaze at the casinos’ free-for-all shows, or dig into the city’s hurly-burly past at offbeat museums, while adventures for thrill-seekers await both on and off the Strip.
Pleasure-seekers come not just to gawp at that fabled casino architecture – from the Eiffel Tower to ancient Egyptian pyramids – but to sample cuisine delivered by star chefs and tour fashion-forward shops, art galleries and chic nightlife. There’s always something to do, no matter what time it is – making this city the perfect antidote for jet-lag.
Get ready for around-the-clock action on the neon-lit Strip. Las Vegas Boulevard is jammed with buzzing casinos, over-the-top attractions, luxury hotels, high-end restaurants and electrifying nightlife.
Saunter past the velvet ropes at a hot nightclub, sip cocktails under the stars at a rooftop bar, or take in a stage show starring a Hollywood celebrity. Then roll out of bed just in time for a champagne brunch buffet before sunning yourself at a shimmering pool club, thronged by the great and the glamorous.
And then there’s the out-of-town distractions, including the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon – a natural wonder unmatched anywhere else.
Feeling lucky? Well, as blackjack players say: “Hit me!” Here are 21 great things to see and do while you’re in Las Vegas.
In recent years, Las Vegas has become a culinary capital of contemporary cuisine,
where top chefs bet their reputations on
high-flying foodie ventures at the Strip’s casino hotels
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire
Fusion food meets ultra-modern luxury at this destination dining spot
Among the French masters that have landed on the Strip, Pierre Gagnaire’s dining room at the Mandarin Oriental hotel is one of the leaders of the pack. Tucked away on the elevated 23rd floor, with jewel-like night-time views and a gold-medal wine list, here the chef’s modern French menu artfully fuses the best of Californian, European and Asian cuisine.
Elegant tasting menus change with the seasons, while deliciously decadent dishes such as crispy langoustine with lemon paste or succulent Colorado rack of lamb are available on the à la carte menu.
Gourmands can linger over the chef’s “Grand Dessert” – a creative array of small dishes – while oenophiles will ooh and aah over the wine loft, a focal point of the dining room.
Effortlessly chic, yet refined in a way that belies the surprisingly affordable prices
From chef Julian Serrano, whose two Michelin stars and multiple James Beard awards have made him a local favourite with foodies, comes this lakeside dining space at the imposing Bellagio casino.
Mostly served on small plates meant for sharing, the chef’s contemporary Italian and American fare is light and seasonal – from the Insalata di Mare with grapefruit dressing to a signiature focaccia topped with fava beans and roasted pork cheek. More substantial main dishes, such as pistachio-crusted salmon or braised duck, are also likely to tempt your tastebuds.
The most indulgent way to experience Lago is at Sunday brunch, when the Bellagio’s dancing fountains are spritzing outside and a delectable prix-fixe menu offers pastries, antipasti and wonderful classic desserts such as panettone and tiramisu.
Lago by Julian Serrano, Bellagio, 3600 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 693 7111). Small shared plates $8-$20, dinner main dishes $28-$60, three-course brunch $38.
Forget everything you know about buffets - the Bacchanal sets the new standard
Located inside Caesars Palace casino, smack-dab in the middle of the Strip – and recently renovated to the tune of $100 million – this ultra-modern version of the casino buffet features an impressive total of over 500 daily menu items including more than a dozen chef’s specials and nine show kitchens, where dishes are made to order.
Carnivores can savour classics such as the prime rib and beef brisket, along with unlimited king crab legs, while Chinese, Mexican and Italian fare – as well as tastes of the American South – also make an appearance. Consider upping the ante with a drinks upgrade, such as bottomless mimosas with brunch.
Patrons can choose from one of the three high-ceilinged dining rooms,
each with its own distinctive feel
and themed around a material: steel, wood and glass. There are no reservations, but wait times are greatly eased by nifty self-service check-in stations.
It’s show time!
Las Vegas once staked its reputation on topless showgirls, over-the-top magicians and cheesy variety shows. These days, more refined alternatives are available.
Cirque du Soleil
On the Strip’s many stages, the most dazzling shows are performed by a French-Canadian
post-modern circus troupe
Cirque's signature mix of fantastical imagery, aerial acrobatics and body-bending gymnastics, slapstick humour, and mesmerizing special effects make its shows the hottest tickets in town.
The aquatic adventure O at the Bellagio and whimsical Mystère at Treasure Island Casino are the Strip’s original Cirque shows and don't disappoint, but if you fancy trying out something newer, you can groove in your seat during a tribute to the Fab Four at The Beatles LOVE at the Mirage casino.
Alternatively, you could visit the MGM Grand to be thrilled by the martial arts-inspired Kà or head south to Mandalay Bay casino, where the King of Pop lives on in Michael Jackson ONE.
Fantasy blends with aquatic trickery in this exuberant Vegas extravaganza
Le Rêve is a dramatic theatre-in-the-round spectacular, based at the Wynn casino. It is the creation of theatre director Franco Dragone – who also worked with Cirque du Soleil – and plays out on an aquatic stage that can hold an astounding one million gallons of water.
Exotic birds, fantastical costumes and bubbling special effects transport viewers into a spellbinding fantasy world, while acrobatics, synchronized swimming and thrilling 80-foot dives ensure an unforgettable experience – be prepared to get splashed poolside in the front rows!
For the ultimate romantic night out, splurge on “Indulgence Seating”, complete with cosy sofa, complimentary champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and a private high-definition video monitor that lets you spy on what’s happening behind the scenes during the show.
Le Reve, Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 770 9966). Tickets from $115-$205. Performance times: Friday-Tuesday, 7pm & 9:30pm
Expect a thrilling variety show and the most outré jokes on the Strip
No-holds-barred, comically twisted and more imaginative than any other variety show on the Strip, Absinthe is an adults-only treat of burlesque, magic and more. Aimed at a younger crowd, this one-of-a-kind cabaret is lorded over by a comical emcee called the Gazillionaire, who hurls pointed insults at hapless members of the audience in the front rows. The colourful acts in this fast-paced, 75-minute variety show change rapidly from circus-style acrobatics to va-va-voom dancers to retro roller-skating numbers.
Penn Jilette from Penn & Teller
“It’s the global capital of live entertainment. I love the crazy idea of sticking a place in the middle of the desert and cramming it with entertainment.”
Absinthe is performed in theatre-in-the-round style, so there isn’t a bad seat in the house – unless you’re easily offended or lack a bawdy sense of humour. Look for the striped tent set up in the Roman Plaza outside Caesars Palace casino resort through October 21, 2016, after which the show is moving down the Strip to the Cosmopolitan casino. Tickets sell out fast.
Absinthe, 3570 Las Vegas Boulevard South until Oct 21, 2016; 3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South from Nov 1, 2016 (001 800 745 3000). Tickets $99-$139. Performance times: Wednesday-Sunday, 8pm & 10pm (until Oct. 21, 2016); for new showtimes starting on Nov. 1, check the website.
Thrill a minute
There’s plenty to get the pulse racing, from natural wonders to adrenaline adventures
A timeless ethereal landscape, sculpted by wind, water and time, is a must for any visitors to the region
Measuring more than 275 miles long, over 10 miles wide in places and deeper than one vertical mile, the Grand Canyon is almost unfathomably immense.
Soar over the canyon in a private helicopter
Skip the Skywalk and instead visit the National Park. Spend your day hiking, taking a mule ride or simply snapping photographs from different vantage points along the rim. The canyon’s South Rim gets 90 percent of the crowds and has the most visitor services, while the North Rim (accessed via Utah and a scenic drive through Zion National Park) is wilder and more remote.
From Las Vegas, several companies offer bus tours, or you can take a flight-seeing trip aboard a private helicopter. It’s over four hours each way from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park by car; it’s well worth staying overnight at the canyon so you catch sunset and sunrise – just be sure to book in advance.
A 7-day entry permit for Grand Canyon National Park (001 928 638 7888) costs $30 per car (South Rim open year-round; North Rim open mid-May through to mid-October only).
Play with some very grown-up toys in this suped-up shooting range
Operated by a US military veteran, Battlefield Vegas is the biggest indoor shooting range in the city, handily located near the Strip behind the Circus Circus casino hotel. Costing a whopping $2.5 million to build, the venue combines a fully equipped indoor shooting range with a five-acre outdoor park housing historical military vehicles, including a jeep from the Second World War and a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter.
Inside, you can peruse an enormous collection of over 350 different weapons – from fully automatic machine guns to vintage pistols – dating from the First World War through present-day action weaponry used in Afghanistan. Then you can pull the trigger, aiming at a paper target and supervised (thankfully) by a range instructor. While you're there, you can even have the satisfaction of crushing a car by driving over it in a military tank (if you’re willing to part with $2,500).
Even if you’re just looking for a quick shooting experience, call at least two hours in advance for free transportation from the Strip in an authentic Humvee truck.
Battlefield Vegas, 2771 South Industrial Road (001 702 566 1000). Shooting packages from $99, plus taxes
Stratosphere Tower and SkyJump
Touch the sky up this futuristic tower or try one of the word's most terrifying descents
Get a thrill more than 100 storeys above the Strip atop this tripod-legged skyscraper’s observation deck – reachable by the fastest elevators in the US –where you’ll be at eye level with the clouds.
Above the observation deck, a trio of thrill rides will put your heart in your stomach. Insanity dangles riders over the edge of the tower, then spins them around like a blender; The X-Scream roller coaster dips you into thin air on a giant see-saw, while Big Shot – the world’s highest thrill ride – catapults screaming tourists toward the tower’s pinnacle, then drops them into zero-G weightlessness.
Real daredevils pay for the SkyJump, a chance to freefall more than 850ft on a zip-line, a journey which starts with stepping off the 108th floor of the tower. There’s no other adrenaline rush like it in town (except perhaps winning a big pay-out at the poker tables).
Stratosphere Tower and Sky Jump, 2000 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 380 7777 ). Elevator ride & tower observation deck costs $20, with unlimited thrill rides $40; SkyJump from $120.
From wild west rodeos to above-par golfing, sports enthusiasts will find ample outlets for their competitive streaks.
Bali Hai Golf Club
This centrally located gem is a must for golf enthusisasts
Las Vegas is a prime golfing destination for pros and amateurs alike because the desert weather is dependably sunny and dry for most of the year. The PGA Tour stops in Las Vegas at championship courses in suburban Summerlin – but that’s a long way to go from the Strip. More conveniently for Vegas visitors, Bali Hai Golf Club was built right on the Strip, immediately south of Mandalay Bay casino.
With 2,500 waving palm trees and impeccably manicured greens, this 18-hole, par-71 course features fast-playing, fairly long greens and a few tricky water features, including an unusual island green. While playing a round here, don’t be surprised to hear the roar of jet planes overhead – McCarran International Airport is so close to the Strip that you could make this golf course your last stop before flying out. Otherwise, unwind after the 18th hole in the club’s resort-style restaurant and bar.
Bali Hai Golf Club, 5160 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 888 427 6678). Green fees from $59; golf club, shoes & cart rentals available (surcharge applies)
No trip to Nevada would be complete without taking in a taste of the state's yee-haw heritage
Underneath Sin City’s glitz and glamour, the gambling capital of Las Vegas is still a ranch town at heart and traditional rodeo events held every year celebrate Nevada’s cowboy and cowgirl heritage.
The granddaddy of all rodeos is the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (“NFR”) in early December. Pro cowboys ride bucking broncos and lasso calves as they compete for top honours at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Stadium. During the day, the rodeo sponsors a cowboy Christmas gift show, while at night there are county-and-western music concerts and rowdy after-parties at casinos.
You can get just as many thrills-a-minute at the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals – which rolls into town in late October or early November – taking place at T-Mobile Arena. At the city’s long-running Helldorado Days in mid-May, you can join the family-friendly Old West fun with traditional rodeo events.
Single-day NFR tickets from $64 (PBR from $40), plus taxes and fees; Helldorado Days admission from $10. See nfrexperience.com; pbrworldfinals.com; elkshelldorado.com for more information
No town does boxing quite like Vegas
Fight Night is the city’s favourite sporting event. It’s also an excellent excuse to party all weekend long. Enormous crowds descend on the Strip and the parade of luxury sports cars and muscle cars cruising Las Vegas Boulevard looks like it’s straight out of The Fast and the Furious movies.
Watch championship boxing matches up close at one of the Strip’s premier arenas or catch a live simulcast on the big-screen TVs at raucous sports bars or the casinos’ race and sports books. It’s not only boxing that gets fight fans revved up in Vegas, but also mixed martial arts match-ups under the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) banner.
"I’ve never competed in Las Vegas, which is known for its boxing matches, but I go there at least three or four times a year to watch American boxers like Floyd Mayweather. I’d love to compete there one day."
On the afternoon before a big fight, you can often watch the opponents weigh in, and if you’re extremely lucky, get the autograph of a champion. Many of the biggest fights take place at Mandalay Bay casino or the T-Mobile Arena across Las Vegas Boulevard from the MGM Grand casino.
For more information, contact 001 702 892 0711; lasvegas.com/shows-and-events/sports. Tickets from $15, plus taxes and fees
Flash the cash
Even the most seasoned shopper is set to experience something new at Las Vegas’s big-budget, high-drama spending destinations.
The Shops at Crystals
Whether you're window-shopping or doing some serious purchasing, Crystals provides a pleasingly glamorous experience for fashion enthusisasts
With catwalk fashions and haute couture on offer, Crystals shopping mall at CityCenter is a power shopping destination. Browse brand-name boutiques from the likes of Dior, Versace and Stella McCartney, or pick out a diamond watch from Cartier or Van Cleef and Arpels.
It’s not the roll call of fashion houses alone that impresses, it’s also the post-modern architecture by Daniel Libeskind, whose signature jutting angles make the building and its flagship Prada and Louis Vuitton showrooms seem to pop out onto the Strip. Don’t miss the water feature titled “Glacia”, with illuminated columns of carved artificial ice emerging from the floor. In the middle of the mall, gawk at the three-storey modern “treehouse” sculpture rising from the floor almost to the rooftop.
More casual spots for food and drink inside the mall that won’t empty your wallet include celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Cucina, an Italian kitchen, and Todd English P.U.B., a modern American gastropub with live sports on big-screen TVs and plenty of pints of beer to go around.
Grand Canal Shoppes
Shopping doesn't get much more Vegas than this. Browse designer boutiques amid a mock-up of Venice's most famous sights
Where else can you shop along faux cobblestone streets while singing gondoliers gracefully ply the waters of indoor canals? Nowhere else but at this mega mall, which winds between the luxurious Venetian and Palazzo casino resorts on the Strip. Clinging to its Italianate theme, this indoor shopping palace is anchored by high-end Barneys New York department store, where you might spy A-list celebrities on a shopping spree.
Nearby, throngs of tourists take souvenir photos in front of an elegant two-storey waterfall. High-end boutique shops include European designers and American stars such as Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch. Elsewhere, Bauman Rare Books specializes in vintage and hard-to-find tomes.
Families with kids in tow gather at the gelato stands around St. Mark’s Square, where carnival street performers and costumed opera singers roam. If you tire of hoofing it through the mall, step aboard a gondola for a serene float, starting near St. Mark’s square. Or take a seat at one of the mall’s dozens of chic restaurants and cafes, including Tao Asian Bistro and Nightclub, where a golden Buddha overlooks the dance floor. Outside, cross over a replica of Venice’s Rialto Bridge – oddly, it’s equipped with modern escalators.
Grand Canal Shoppes, 3377 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 414 4525). Shared gondola ride $30 per person; private gondola (for two people) $120.
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
Ancient? Far from it. Take time to shop in a modern marvel
Perfectly poised in the middle of the Strip, this mall certainly looks impressive. With a nod to the ancient Roman theme of the adjacent Caesars Palace casino, the Forum Shops sprawls beside Las Vegas Boulevard. You could walk straight into the mall from the buzzing casino, but the grandest entrance is the rotunda just off the Strip, where escalators spiral up three floors.
More than 150 boutiques and restaurants are found along the mall’s massive walkways, where ceilings are painted with the illusion of blue sky and clouds. Adults may think it’s all a bit silly, but children will love the animatronic “Fall of Atlantis” show and the 50,000-gallon aquarium of tropical fish, both free attractions.
“In Vegas I always go to the shops. Their malls feel like miniature cities and offer great bargains. The ones to see include the Crystals at the CityCenter complex, the Fashion Show Mall and the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.”
High-powered fashion houses lined up inside the mall include Versace, Fendi and John Varvatos. If you find yourself suddenly hungry while window shopping, there are more than a dozen restaurants to pick from.
This city’s rocket-fuelled nightlife outshines everything that happens during the day. Here’s where to get the party started.
Have your gladdest rags (and swimear) at the ready for one of the most exclusive nights out on the Boulevard
After dark on weekends, XS – Encore casino’s posh nightclub – delivers an extra-large dose of glamour. Superstar electronica DJs such as David Guetta and Diplo have club residencies here and spin for holiday party events. The crowd is svelte, young and dressed to the nines.
After sashaying up marble stairs past the billowing gold curtains, you’ll enter the club’s inner sanctum, where pyrotechnics and LED lasers boost the libidinous energy. After you’ve hit the crowded dance floor, slip outside and cool off with cocktails poolside. When desert temperatures sizzle in summer, XS even hosts “nightswim” events.
The club’s dress code is strictly enforced: no athletic wear, no flip-flops or sneakers, no baggy or ripped jeans, no shorts and no hats. Waits to get in can be excruciatingly long, especially for men. To shorten the wait, book ahead for VIP bottle service at a leather booth beside the dance floor or inside a chic cabana by the pool.
XS, Encore, 3131 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 770 0097 ). Cover charge $20-$50, cocktails from $15.
Sip sky-high cocktails at this contemporary gem
Enjoy eye-popping panoramas (for free) during the glass elevator ride up to the 64th-floor Skyfall Lounge inside the stylish Delano hotel at Mandalay Bay casino resort. Although the lounge’s name alludes to James Bond, its contemporary design is more whimsical than cutting-edge, with red leather couches and gold-coloured club chairs reflecting the desert sunset hues.
Swill an exquisite craft cocktail or a beer on the sky-high patio that affords 180-degree views of the Strip – and don’t miss the equally vertiginous views from inside the bathrooms (seriously!).
The ideal time to arrive is just before sunset, not just for luminous views over the desert valley and mountains, but also for happy-hour discounts on drinks and nibbles. After 9pm, the lounge becomes a quasi-nightclub, with DJs spinning dance music for the mingling crowds.
The party on the Strip doesn’t stop when the sun comes up. It only pauses long enough for a cat-nap and a boozy brunch, then fires back up again at daytime pool clubs, where DJs make the soaking-wet crowds jump.
The Hard Rock’s legendary Rehab pool party started this trend more than a decade ago, but these days you’ll find the young crowds at Wet Republic, the MGM Grand’s seasonal pool club.
“The best city I have been to for nightlife is Las Vegas. I went there five or six times in my early 20s. It is a great place to go with a group of friends. I am not a big gambler. It is the atmosphere and fun that I enjoy there.”
Here the cocktail servers are as beautiful as runway models, and the pools are some of the biggest in town – a 6,000 sq ft number for all guests to use , plus private VIP pools. For all-out luxury, reserve a poolside cabana, outfitted with teak furnishings, an enormous daybed and a personal misting system.
The dress code is 'fashionable swim attire' (translation: no athletic wear, no baggy clothing, no boots or hard-soled shoes, and no torn or cut-off apparel). Be sure to buy your tickets in advance for big-name DJs and celebrity guests.
Wet Republic, MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 702 891 3563). Cover charge $20-$50, cocktails from $16
Weird and wonderful
It’s time to get freaky. Round off your trip by learning about Vegas’s offbeat history or soar high above the Strip in a gigantic futuristic wheel.
Discover the history of Vegas's golden era via some of its most famous iconography at this underrated cultural gem
Perhaps you’ve wondered where all those flickering, fantastical neon casino signs go when they’ve been retired. To find out, catch a cab from downtown’s historic casino row, nicknamed “Glitter Gulch”, and speed north to this hidden tourist attraction. Its quirkiness calls out to curious sightseers, shutterbugs and pop-culture historians.
Take a trip through time by joining one of the museum’s guided tours of the outdoor “boneyard”. Hear tales of Vegas’s golden era, studded with celebrity scandals and mobsters galore, while wandering among more than 200 vintage neon signs, many saved from casinos before they were dynamited. Iconic gems such as the Stardust casino’s magnificent marquee and Binion’s lucky horseshoe sign have found their eternal rest here.
Seven of the collection’s best-loved signs have been fully restored and are lit up after dark for night-time tours, which fill up quickly – so book ahead online to avoid being turned away. Otherwise, ask about last-minute tour availability at the museum’s new visitor centre, inside the mid-century modern La Concha Motel lobby, designed by boundary-breaking architect Paul Revere Williams.
Neon Museum, 770 Las Vegas Boulevard North (001 702 387 6366 ). Day tour: $18; night tour: $25. Guided tours usually depart every 30 minutes daily, schedules vary.
An essential stop for understanding how this desrt town became a den of vice and pleasure
Not nearly as nefarious as its name implies, this offbeat attraction in downtown Las Vegas opened its doors on the anniversary of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Here, you can step inside the former federal courthouse where the famous Kefauver hearings took place in the 1950s.
Officially called the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, this only-in-Las-Vegas cultural institution takes on the sensationalised story of how the mob built “Sin City”, transforming it from a desert town into a razzle-dazzle hub for gambling and other vices. Save a couple of hours to explore the museum’s three floors stuffed with documentary evidence, artefacts and photographs that tell both sides of the cat-and-mouse game played by mobsters and the US legal system during the mid-20th century.
Afterwards, peruse the souvenirs sold in the gift shop: toy Tommy guns, fedora hats, “Fuhgeddaboutit” T-shirts and fake brass-knuckles key chains. Take a look at the events calendar for the chance to meet true-crime writers and wiseguy confidantes.
Mob Museum, 300 Stewart Avenue (001 702 229 2734). Admission $24.
Ready to top off your Vegas holiday? Soar high above the Strip on the world’s largest observation wheel, the High Roller
Over 100ft taller than the London Eye, this revolving attraction is the city’s newest and shiniest landmark. Set back from Las Vegas Boulevard, the gigantic wheel is hung with 28 futuristic-looking pods, inside each of which 40 passengers can squeeze. It’s like a slow-moving party in the sky, since boozy drinks are allowed and you can bring all of your friends on board with you.
Each of the glass-enclosed cabins grants 360-degree panoramas of the Strip’s towering casino hotels and the desert valley around Las Vegas ringed by jagged mountain peaks. Riding the wheel after dark costs more, but it’s worth it for the glittering views of the Strip’s neon lights.
It takes 30 minutes for the wheel – which is colourfully lit up at night – to make just one revolution. That’s plenty of time to take in the scene, post a few photos on Instagram, and relax before you float back down to earth. Afterwards, amble down the LINQ promenade for boutique shopping and drinks and a live music show at Brooklyn Bowl, imported from New York City.
High Roller, 3545 Las Vegas Boulevard South (001 866 328 1888 ). Daytime tickets $23; night-time tickets $37.
It happens in Vegas when you stay with MGM
With up to 11 British Airways flights a week direct to Vegas, you can bet on the time of your life at MGM’s fabulous resort hotels
By Lucy Fry
There is a wealth of activities and opportunities on offer at any of MGM’s first-class resort hotels in Las Vegas.
From poker lessons and cuisine clubs to lagoon pools and Michelin-starred restaurants, guests can get everything they want from a range of hotels to suit all budgets without needing to leave the resort grounds.
Now with up to 11 weekly British Airways flights direct to Las Vegas from London Heathrow (all bookable through ba.com) it is easier than ever to enjoy the ultimate Vegas holiday.
Anyone interested in experiencing world-class hospitality should consider the celebrated Bellagio, set amid the multicoloured lights of the Bellagio fountain so intrinsically associated with Las Vegas.
Pool life: use one of the five outdoor pools
Not only is there no need to leave the resort, but you will probably have no desire to. Here you can shop, eat, be pampered and inspired. Stroll down Via Bellagio to peruse the Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany & Co, Dior and Fendi luxury outlets; choose from 18 places to eat, not including the two AAA Five Diamond restaurants Picasso and Le Cirque.
Use the five outdoor pools, four whirlpools, 51 private cabanas and pool bar; luxuriate in one of the 56 treatment rooms at the 55,000 foot spa; take in the smash-hit show O by Cirque du Soleil and then enjoy the view across The Bank and fountains from the Hyde Bellagio nightclub and lounge bar.
Room with a view: kick back and relax
For a range of VIP experiences, upgrade to a Bellagio Suite and enjoy limousine transfers to and from the airport, exclusive check-in, use of the Chairman’s Lounge, line passes for restaurants and buffets, and a range of high class concierge services.
MGM GRAND HOTEL AND CASINO
If you are a lover of grandiosity, power and might, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, the largest hotel in Vegas (and one of the largest in the world), is a colossal must-see empire.
Incredible views: a great spot for an evening drink
It is heaven for gaming and leisure fans; perhaps best known for its grand casino, a 170,000ft dedicated space that includes 2,500 slot machines and video poker, the MGM also has a 6.6-acre grand pool complex with a 1,000ft-long lazy river.
The MGM Grand also has 20 eateries to choose from, including cafés, delis, grills and the Michelin-starred club and restaurant Hakkasan, where you can enjoy award-winning Cantonese food with a soundscape of tunes from world-renowned DJs such as Calvin Harris and Tiësto. Shows include KA by Cirque du Soleil and offerings from the Comedy Club.
THE SIGNATURE AT MGM GRAND
Connected via walkways to the MGM Grand and just one block away from the Vegas strip, The Signature at MGM Grand is three towers with suite-only, non-smoking, no-gaming accommodation.
Take a dip: cool down in the pool or soak up the rays
Most suites have balconies with fantastic views of the city, and suite guests can enjoy true exclusivity with a separate lobby and check-in, valet parking, private heated outdoor pool complex with cabanas, in-suite kitchen facilities and custom-designed furniture. It really is a signature MGM experience.
Bright lights: take in the amazing views of the city
LUXOR LAS VEGAS
If you are after originality and atmosphere, the Luxor’s pyramid-shaped, Egyptian-themed hotel is just for you. Located at the south end of the strip, the Luxor is famed for its powerful summit light beam and the inclinators (elevators on an incline) that run at 39-degree angles inside the pyramid.
Stylish design: the Luxor's Aurora bar
Stay in one of the pyramid rooms or suites or, to truly indulge, upgrade to the Tower, which has one of the largest pool decks in Vegas (125,000sq ft) along with day beds, cabanas and sunloungers galore.
Food includes high-quality steak, seafood, Mexican and traditional American fare.
Luxury living: stay in one of the pyramid rooms
The Luxor’s shows are impressive: choose from the magician Criss Angle (in partnership with Cirque du Soleil) and Jabbawockeez, whose show PRiSM has brilliant dance routines and laser lighting. Nightclub aficionados will also love LAX, favourite with A-list celebrities and the social jetset crowd.
Prepare to be treated like royalty at Excalibur’s castle-style hotel where princes (and paupers) can enjoy an array of casino games.
Slide of your life: Excalibur is great for families
Located at the south end of the strip, Excalibur is a great choice for families and adventurers; the Camelot-themed resort is excellent value.
Choose between dining options such as the Excalibur Buffet and The Steakhouse at Camelot. Excalibur’s dinner show, Tournament of Kings, includes jousting and dragons.
CIRCUS CIRCUS HOTEL, CASINO & THEME PARK
Family-friendly, affordable and comfortable, Circus Circus is the best-value hotel on the strip. Here you will find newly remodelled, warmly decorated rooms, a round-the-clock casino and free world-class circus acts performing daily on the centre stage.
World-class acts: a great value hotel
Circus Circus also has the only RV park on the strip as well as some spacious suites, a skyrise tower and a 3,000sq ft free-form swimming pool.
NEW YORK NEW YORK HOTEL AND CASINO
This midrange Vegas institution has not only a 150ft replica of the Statue of Liberty and a 300ft-long copy of the Brooklyn Bridge but also 12 towers that architecturally re-create skyscrapers such as the Chrysler and Empire State buildings.
Spacious suite: everything you need all in one hotel
For a different view of this Big Apple-themed hotel, take one of the rollercoaster rides that circumnavigate it, whose cars are designed to replicate classic cabs.
For a more cinematic view, step inside the hotel’s Coyote Ugly bar (inspired by the film of the same name) or visit The Bar at Times Square to watch duelling pianos.
There is also a delicious range of casual dining here: the best-tasting American food at Shake Shack; more Stateside favourites at Broadway Burger Bar & New York Pretzel; Italian favourites on offer at NYC Pizzeria; and a range of chocolate-inspired alcoholic drinks at The Chocolate Bar.
Beyond the chandeliers, marble floors and neoclassical arches, the four-star Monte Carlo also has an impressive array of facilities, including the largest ice bar in North America – complete with ice sofas, ice glasses and handcrafted ice sculptures.
Chill out time: the pool area is a huge hit with guests
Among the entertainment options are the Blue Man Group, a humorous music and artistic show led by a cast that is painted blue. You name it, the Monte Carlo has it, including shops, convention facilities, a fitness centre and spa, as well as a choice of dining options nearly (but not quite…) as expansive as the number of hotel rooms (nearly 3,000).
Seeing the light: home to impressive facilities
Food choices include steak, sushi, Southern and Italian-inspired dishes as well as the make-your-own pizza restaurant. For water babies and big kids, the Monte Carlo is about as good as it gets; its huge pool area has a lagoon pool, wave pool and long, lazy river.
For drama, it does not get much better than a stay at the Mirage. Here guests can gaze nightly at the Mirage volcano as it erupts 60ft into the air, now with new fire effects and music.
Spa day: indulge in some me-time
The Mirage is well situated next to Caesar’s Palace and opposite Madame Tussauds, and its elaborate aquarium has about 1,000 aquatic life forms in its 20,000-gallon saltwater display, including sharks, stingrays, eels, sea bass and puffer fish.
And if you fancy doing some yoga with dolphins, the resort is home to Siegfried and Roy’s secret garden and dolphin habitat, where guests can learn about bottlenose dolphins, white Tigers and white Lions – an opportunity not found elsewhere in Vegas. Other entertainment includes the Beatles Love by Cirque du Soleil, which celebrates the band’s music, lyrics and legacy.
DELANO LAS VEGAS
This suite-only hotel next to Mandalay Bay has a boutique style and ambience, and prides itself on its very personalised service. The suites are luxurious but not flashy – at least 725sq ft and decorated with crisp whites and neutrals.
Pure relaxation: enjoy the exclusive swimming pool
Although rooms do range, with King, Queen, Scenic and Dog (pet-friendly) suites and penthouses on offer, each promises the Delano’s signature view, a panoramic, floor to ceiling window that offers a 180-degree vista.
The Delano Beach Club offers guests dedicated and exclusive swimming and relaxation, including a submerged chessboard, signature cocktails and chaises lounges, in the luxurious pool club just moments from Mandalay Bay Beach.
But for a truly unparalleled view, there is the newly opened Skyfall Lounge where the crowd gathers and morphs as the sunset drops. Other highlights include the gorgeous Bathhouse Spa and Della’s Kitchen, a modern, chic breakfast and lunch spot cooking choice meat with herbs grown on site.
ARIA RESORT AND CASINO
Said to have the most technologically advanced rooms and suites in the US, Aria features one-touch control of curtains, lighting and temperature.
Star-studded service: dine in style at the Aria Resort
Rooms are luxurious and offer inspiring views of the Vegas skyline through their floor-to-ceiling windows, although for those staying at the Sky Suites it really is a star-studded service all the way, starting with complimentary transfers from the airport on arrival and continuing with a Sky Pool area and private elevators reserved for suite guests.
These one-bed beauties have more than 1,000sq ft of floor space and spa-inspired bathrooms, while the Sky Penthouse Suite is nearly 1,500sq ft with incredible views over the strip. Mood lighting, mod cons and magic views, it is easy to see why the Aria Sky Suites is one of only 116 hotels in the world to have won a Forbes Travel Guide 2015 Five Star award.
VDARA HOTEL AND SPA
Just one block from the strip, the Vdara Hotel and Spa is an all-suite, gaming-free hotel that is nestled behind the likes of Bellagio.
Striking design: the Vdara Hotel and Spa
It is a quieter, calmer choice but none the less opulent, with distinctively designed suites whose crescent shape and unique skin of patterned glass create one of the most striking design statements in Vegas to date. All have fully equipped kitchens and open-plan spa-style bathrooms.
If that is not enough space to languish in, try Vdara’s 40,000sq ft pool area with its cabanas, spa cabanas, plunge pools and bar, or head over to the Espa-branded spa (Vegas’s first) for some quintessential luxury.
The spa is on two floors, and takes guests on a therapeutic journey through a range of temperatures, treatments and moods. You do not have to leave the suite to eat (in-suite services available 24 hours) but it might be a shame to miss out on the stylish aesthetic of Vdara’s Vice-Versa Patio and Lounge, a stylish foodie haven at the centre of the hotel.
MANDALAY BAY RESORT AND CASINO
A big player in any Las Vegas hotel game, the Mandalay Bay Resort is 43 storeys high, with more 3,000 rooms (including more than 40 penthouses), a vast casino and gold leaf on the windows. If that is not enough to attract you, there is the 11-acre tropical water environment, including a wave pool, lazy river, real sand and beachside gaming.
Big player: enjoy the tropical water environment
Guests at the Mandalay Bay, which is located at the south end of the strip near the Luxor and Excalibur, can enjoy complimentary tram transports between the three hotels and the use of the 30,000sq foot Spa Mandalay and nearby Bathhouse Spa and The Spa at Four Seasons.
Perfect setting: the Mandalay Bay Resort
The entertainment is excellent, with Michael Jackson One by Cirque du Soleil performed in the Michael Jackson Theatre and various eclectic live music events at the House of Blues Concert Hall.
For more information, visit ba.com