I have only once visited las Vegas, so I do realise that there is a lot more to do and see!! I'l give my verdict on my experience.
Walking the Strip was an experience in itself. I have never seen such amazing hotels. They are huge. There was one mile of shopping in one hotel!!
The hotels are all themed e.g. Vanecian, you felt that you were in Venice. The inside of the hotel had a blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling. It was so realistic with the lighting that you felt you were outside. They have paid so much attention to detail in these hotels. Outside the hotel there was a man made stream and gondolas. You could pay to go for an adventure on the gondola! This hotel had Madame Tussauds and a theatre. That is just a quick idea of how big these hotels are.
The Paris Hotel also stood out on the strip because of the huge Eifel Tower it had buit at it's enterance. Amazing to see.
The water dance at the Bellagio was worth seeing also. In the evening, there was a water show for the public to see every half an hour (and i think every hour during the day). The water moved to the music - truly beautiful. This was free.
Almost every hotel had a casino in Vegas, they were also massive. But it's something worth seeing. You've normally got to go through a casino to get to the toilet! There were even slot machines on the pavements. Hard to believe, i know!
It is such a fun place, like a fairgrund for adults! People say that you will either love it or hate it, I guess this is true, but it is worth visiting to experience the over the topness of the place!! I loved it.
I went at the end of December. It was about 10 degrees (F) there, but I would like to return in summer (especially to make the most of the awsome pools that these hotels have).
We didn't visit any nightclubs because we never carried our passports with us, they were asking to see your passports at the enterance of clubs (don't know if this is the case for every club or whether I looked under age-I doubt it because I am 32!). We spent our evenings in the casinos, sitting at the bar chatting to people. We lost track of the time a couple of nights and didn't end up in bed until 5am-they have no clocks in the casinos and it's all artificial lighting. It looks the same in the casino day and night.
Fantastic shopping malls ,some with fashion shows going on inside. They are huge, there is something for everybody. If you like clothes and shoes, take enough cash with you. Bakers is a lovely shoe shop, they have a website too.
Experiencing the rides on the Stratosphere Tower is brilliant. The rides are frightening even to the toughest of people. Approx $28 for 2 rides. I would catch the monorail or taxi down to that area. North part of the strip looks quite rough.
Almost every hotel have shows. We went to see The Blue Man in The Vanecian,it was worth the money ($200 of 2 good seats) and I only went to see it for my husband! Really entertaining and funny and they didn't even say a word. Music was genius. Also went to see American Legends in Hurrahs ( I think!), much cheaper ($60 for2), but yet again it was good. I think they do have the best impersinators in Vegas.
One word of advice, wear comfy shoes! I love to wear my heels, but make sure you wear a comfortable pair and flat if possible during the day. You walk much mare than you realise.
Las Vegas wasnt really top of our list when planning our honeymoon, as neither my hubby nor I are gamblers. Other places we wanted to visit though meant that this glitzy town was on the way and we felt we had to take it in for a couple of days so decided to book into The Mirage, which is quite a luxurious hotel right in the middle of The Strip. Ive already done a review on it and the Secret Garden within it so Im going to concentrate on other things we saw at various hotels down the 2 mile section of Las Vegas Boulevard that is commonly shown on shows such as the original CSI, in what I call The Strip Experience.
There are lots of hotels along this area that catch the eye, as the lights go on. We managed to have a look in a lot of them, spread over two nights but to be honest, once you get past the façade of the theme, they are all much the same. Obviously there are various levels of luxury within them but they are all just big casinos, trying to catch your attention with the flashy lights and cries of excitement, as someone wins big. Thats not to say we didnt enjoy seeing the various facades along the way.
Our hotel was well placed so the first night we decided to walk towards the impressive Stratosphere and to take in the sights along the way. It has to be said that this is certainly the quieter end of The Strip at the moment with new building work going on along the way so there arent as many hotels as down the Mandalay Bay end but there were a couple of real treats to see. Hotels are built up and torn down quite a bit in Vegas, as they all try to outdo each other and we were told that this sort of thing happens on a regular basis. Of course there are some that stay around for years and years too but new fronts are upgraded all the time to keep it fresh. The second night we made it down to the Luxor and this was a lot busier with many hen and stag parties out on the Friday night.
Im not going to write about all the hotels we saw, as we just didnt have the time over two nights to visit them all inside, but instead I would prefer to write in a bit more detail about certain events and things that can be seen in specific ones, and in my opinion, shouldnt be missed if you are visiting.
T.I. is the sister hotel to The Mirage and it has to be said that for one of the smaller hotels, it is one with a most impressive show that goes on every night. It is situated next door to The Mirage and there is a little train that takes you between the hotels if you dont want to walk. This may seem lazy but with the temperature sitting in the mid 90s at 11pm and the fact that the heat from the pavement burns your feet constantly though your shoes, its not a bad idea to take a seat and relax from the crowded sidewalks. Its also an excellent way to get views of both hotels grounds and the pool, as it takes you high above the road.
Inside the hotel it is decorated beautifully with a bit of a pirate theme ongoing throughout. One of the most impressive things we saw inside was a big chopper. Now ladies, calm yourselves. Im talking about a motorbike that helps to promote the show that goes on outside Treasure Island each night. This motorbike has been specially designed to feature one of the Sirens of T.I. It has amazing details and when you really study it you can see that every part of the bike is actually a part of a woman or siren, which tempts young sailors and pirates to their death.
This then brings me on nicely to the Sirens show. Outside the hotel you can see the pirate theme with two very large ships in their own lagoons. There are also skulls in the rocks and palm trees that surround them with gangways made of wood with rope barriers. It is all very well decorated and gets extremely busy at show time so there is a policy of no pushchairs in this area during the shows and this is purely for safety reasons.
The show is free to anyone who wants to view it and it is performed four times each night. There is a board outside with show times on it so its best to check first, as I have heard that times can be changed. There is a special area at the front where residents of T.I. or The Mirage can get into by showing their room keys but there is also a splash zone so if youre all dressed up you might want to avoid this. We were quite happy to get a chance to cool down a bit so didnt mind this at all, and it was more a splash than a soaking. It lasts around 15 minutes and is well worth a viewing.
The show is an amazing display of light and fire and starts with something for all those red-blooded fellas out there. The Sirens ship is full of fit young women who love to sing and dance and basically shake their booty to anyone who wants to watch. Do not fear though ladies, because the Sirens love to attract fit young men and this they do when the other pirate ship starts to make its way towards them. At this point you see that the other ship is moving from its starting position round the corner. There is a bit of a battle between the two ships with lots of explosions and fireworks before the pirate ship sinks and the men are forced to swim across to the Sirens boat. Its all a bit of fun and the singing and dancing routines are great. We then see some amazing displays of diving into the water from some of the guys, who are all bare-chested and obviously work out a lot if their six-packs are anything to go by. The show ends when the Sirens get their men and there is a big fireworks display to finish it off.
You cant really miss the clown sign as you approach this hotel and as you enter you can see that the theme is well kept inside. This, like a lot of the hotels in Las Vegas, is owned by MGM Mirage, who seem to be getting a little bit of a monopoly on The Strip. Inside you soon see that there is a circus area and around the main ring of the arena are sideshow stalls or as it is better known, The Carnival Midway, where you can roll balls or throw darts to win various prizes. This really is one that is aimed at the kids and whether you are 5 or 50 with a sense of fun, youre sure to enjoy the atmosphere. Popcorn and cotton candy are all for sale too and the best bit of all is that you get to watch circus acts at any time between the hours of 11am to midnight for free.
The act we saw when we visited was a trapeze act and this was extremely well received by both children and grown-ups alike. Its many years since Ive been to a circus and I had forgotten the sense of excitement about it all. This hotel certainly has a way of bringing those feelings back and if you enjoy this type of entertainment or have kids with you that need a break from the more serious settings, then this has to be top of your list. The good thing about this, apart from the fact that it is free, is that it actually takes place during the day too so you dont have to keep the kids up late to see it all.
We didnt go right down The Strip to go inside the tallest hotel but I wanted to give it a little mention, as it is the first hotel you spot when you arrive in Las Vegas. It stands at an impressive 1,149 feet above the city. At the top is a ride that starts on a platform 921 feet high and goes up 160 feet at the speed of 45 miles an hour before coming down at the same speed. It looks impressive but along with the 2 other rides at this amazing building, I had to give them a miss. I am absolutely terrified of heights and this was not for me.
This hotel is also well known for The Top of the World restaurant, which serves amazing food but can be quite expensive by all accounts.
This hotel is owned by Harrahs Entertainment and is extremely luxurious both inside and out. It is well known for its spa facilities so if youre looking for a hotel fit for the gods then this is the place to go. For us it was wonderful to look around the Forum Shopping Areas where you can see lots of expensive designer shops and to wander around the various pools and fountains outside. It is all done with a very Roman feel to it with grand pillars and statues both inside and out. A lot of the hotels look a bit tacky and out of place during the day without the lights to give them the right atmosphere, but this one was just as impressive to walk round in the daylight hours as it was to pass by in the evening.
Back to the MGM Mirage group again and what you see shining up into the sky from any position on The Strip is a beam of white light. This comes from the top of a black pyramid and is the strongest beam of light in the world. As you follow the line of it you can barely believe how high it reaches and it looks as if it is trying to touch the stars in the night sky. It has been created using curved mirrors and Xenon lamps to focus this light into a single beam and can apparently be seen from outer space.
Inside the hotel it is, as you would expect it to be, full of Egyptian wonder and artifacts. One thing we would have like done was visit King Tuts museum and tomb but unfortunately for us we arrived a little bit lat in the night for this and we missed it. It is supposed to be quite amazing with each room and artifact recreated to the precise size the originals were. There is a charge for this exhibit.
Another luxurious hotel owned by MGM Mirage is The Bellagio. When you enter the lobby of this hotel, the first thing you should do is to look up at the ceiling. This is where youll see a vast array of colours. These colours are made up of 2000 hand-blown glass flowers and are called the Fiori di Como. Dale Chihuly created this masterpiece and the flowers literally hang down from the sky with the light from the window above shining through. Despite being nearly 10 years old it is still the largest glass sculpture in the world and is definitely worth a visit.
As well as this impressive lobby, you can also visit The Botanical Gardens or the Gallery of Fine Art in this hotel. We didnt get the chance to have a look at these areas but I have heard that the gardens are beautiful.
The main attraction for this hotel though has to be the one outside. This show, like many others outside the hotels is free to go to and runs throughout the day in either 15 or 30 minute intervals depending on the day and season. The only reason that it might not go ahead is because of high winds and this is easy to understand when you see it happening. I am of course talking about the Dancing Fountains.
I have seen Waltzing Waters before where light and water play alongside music to make it appear as though the fountains dance along, but I wasnt quite prepared for the feeling of sheer wonder at the height and vastness of these ones. The music varies throughout the day but when we saw this spectacular sight one evening, the music that accompanied it was This Kiss by Faith Hill. Although this choice of music might seem a little bit cheesy to some, it seemed the perfect accompaniment with us being all loved up on honeymoon. To give you some idea of the scale of it, the lake that it takes place in is 1000 foot long and there are over 4000 white lights to help make this show the most incredible water display you will ever see. The water varies in height and direction throughout each performance and there are times when it can shoot up as high as 250 feet, which is quite spectacular to see.
***Other Bits & Bobs***
Other hotels are of course impressive when all lit up and I have only gone into details about a few. The Venetian looks lovely from the outside, as does Paris and it does make you feel strange walking along a US street, seeing landmarks from all over the world. Its nice to see that they add in a bit of America too with the popular New York hotel. You can walk past the Statue of Liberty and see the roller coaster going round the top of the hotel here too. Excalibur is another fun one for the kids and has a real Disney feel to it with the Sword in the Stone featured heavily. Its a magical place to walk through and worth a quick tour.
Riviera also has something to offer anyone who wants to get their hands on a piece of ass although the only reason my I let my hubby cop a feel was because it was a line of brass women advertising the show inside. This brings me on to one of the annoying things for me on The Strip because no matter where you go, people are trying to shove cards into the hands of any male walking along. These little postcards advertise women who are available at various prices and can be delivered to you in 15 minutes. It was a bit amusing to start with but did get very irritating after a while when you just wanted to walk down the street, especially since we were walking along holding hands or with our arms round each other.
Touring The Strip can be very tiring and even at night the temperatures in August stay in the high 80s and 90s so you really have to watch your fluid intake. During the day we hit temperatures of over 110 degrees too so its important to try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Luckily there are lots of shops there that do not charge the earth for non-alcoholic drinks and there is also a lovely ice-cream parlour at the back of Harrahs that helped keep us cool for a little while. The air-conditioning in the hotels is great but of course the intense heat hits you even more when you step out into the sunshine again.
I have to say that Vegas really exhausted me. Its a busy city and if I was returning I think I would be looking to go midweek when its a little bit quieter, as the Friday night was hectic and even though we were trying to stroll along, we found ourselves being hurried by the crowd of people. The intense heat really got to me, and my feet burned through my shoes, so much so that by the end of the second evening, I could barely walk and we had to get a taxi from The Luxor back to The Mirage and that was me walking in sensible shoes too. I have no idea how some of the women managed to walk around in little sandals with high heels.
It is certainly an experience that I am pleased to say that I have carried out though and the sights at the various hotels were amazing although there were many more things we wished we had time for. I loved the T.I. show and the fountains at the Bellagio and would recommend them to everyone but we didnt make it down to Mandalay Bay where there is a shark reef or to MGM where the lions are.
During the day a lot of the hotels do look a little bit tacky without the sparkling lights to show them off but as soon as the sun goes down, the city comes alive with a magical air about it. I hope that I can go back someday and it was nice to see it, as I can point out different things now and say weve been there when watching certain shows and films but it was also nice to know that we were going to hit the open road again and that we would be able to relax in quieter destinations on our journey.
When Ciao add this catagory to their site this review will appear there too with pictures.
The Strip is an experience you can never forget! Where else can you go to visit Egypt, New York, the Tropics, Rome/Greece, Hollywood, see wild tigers, Flamingos etc ? This is the street of lights, excitement, gambling like you've never seen before! The Hotels on the Strip have to compete with each other, to attract their visitors and try and keep them interested enough to stay and gamble in their Casinos, so alot of competition here, which is good news for the tourist!
From its first hotel - Hotel Nevada - in 1906 -Then Bugsy Siegel's Flamingo Hotel (which some argue that it was not him who started this), and his Mob, opened in 1946 . The Rat Pack were well known guests at the Sands Hotel and Casino in the 50s and 60s - Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr visited often. There was Elvis in the 1970s (though you can walk along the street, or into any casino and still see many impersonators!),
Then in 1989 Steve Wynn opened the Mirage, the first of the luxury mega-resorts. then followed - the Luxor, Treasure Island, MGM Grand, New York New York, Monte Carlo - just some of the 23 major hotel-casinos that have appeared since 1989. The Wynn, opened in 2005, is luxurious, as is The Venetian. The rooms in The Venetian are fabulous, as 2 of our guests let us peek at theirs, as we could not afford the luxury of staying there!
There are lots of hotels with over 120,000 hotel rooms available. So if you want to stay in a pyramid, take a gondola to go shopping, eat out in Central Park Or Times Square, Sit and have lunch overlooking Flamingos, the choice is endless?
There are world class restaurants and all you can eat buffets, plenty of bars and lounges (many offering free entertainment), nightclubs, great shopping, and attractions ranging from Madame Tussauds to the Guggenheim. So many different prices ranges for each restaurant, bar or cafes to list, but shop around as there are cheap places to eat as well as the more expensive!
Cheap transport options means you're never too far away from the action! Taxis perhaps about $6 from one end to the other.....
The Monorail stops at the back of some of the Hotels, but feel sometimes you have to walk miles through these hotels to get to it, and you would be as well, walking to wherever you are going!
One Ride Ticket $5
Two Ride Ticket $9
Ten Ride Ticket $35
One Day Pass $15
Three Day Pass $40
Personally. I never used this, as one of attractions is actually walking along the Strip, that way you don't miss much! Take good walking shoes though, as even walking about some of the Hotels can be miles!
The resort hotels are attractions in their own right and they are so big and accomodate so many themed playgrounds, even rollercoasters! One I drew the line at is the Stratosphere ! At over 100 stories above the ground, the Stratosphere has the world's three highest thrill rides.... the Big Shot, X Scream and Insanity the Ride.
One of them, Insanity-The Ride consists of an arm that extends out 64 feet over the edge of the Tower and spins! As the ride spins faster and faster, the riders are propelled up to an angle of 70 degrees. Riders will experience being flung over the edge of the Tower and literally facing downward The ride is 900 feet above the Las Vegas Strip' Not for the faint hearted, so I just opted for looking up with my mouth hanging open at the people who dared to do this, and even that made me feel nauseous!
The dancing fountains of Bellagio have to be seen....these fountains dance to music, and are in the the quarter-mile-long lake in front of the Bellagio, the free show generally lasts between five and 10 minutes, and run every half hourup till 8pm, then every 15 minutes up to midnight.
One could go on forever about 'The Strip' as there is so much to say, and don't think you could ever cover it completely! If you are a gambler, well, you are in Heaven! You cannot go anywhere, I mean anywhere, without hundreds of brightly lit slot machines, gambling tables, and the noise from these machines still buzz in your ears when you come home! One thing you will notice, is every hotel, has their casino right at the front of the Hotel, so you cannot avoid walking through them to get to Reception etc.....good ploy but not for the easily tempted person.
The Strip at night just sums up Las Vegas! The lights are amazing and the whole place is alive (especially weekends, where it is crowded!) all the way through the night....no clocks in Vegas.....no closing times, it is a 24 hour non stop hive of activity! So prepare for sleepless nights! You can eat, drink, gamble at anytime of the day or night.....
One down side of the Strip, with it being so crowded and it attracting so many visitors, you can have many visitors who are not there just for the gambling or fun of it all....... there are about 2000 purses and wallets stolen every day in Las Vegas! So be on your guard.....it is a haven for thieves!
Expedia, I found is the best place to look for Hotel rates, as they all vary from season to season, and of course, the weekend rates for these Hotels can quadruple in price! We stayed in the Flamingo, which I feel is middle of the road type of Hotel, but we were with 45 other people, and some stayed in The Venetian (expensive), Bellagio (expensive), Caesars (not too bad, but dear enough!), Harrah's (upper region) and some stayed in the Imperial (cheap and cheerful)! One other option is to get away from the Strip and the Best Western was a real bargain and only 2 blocks away from the Strip....this was only $30 a night if you come to an arrangement that you will stay more than 2 nights! So look into the smaller places, they are good quality and you can get their prices down!
Overall, I found The Strip to be more expensive than say Downtown, but you can still find your Denny's, McDonald's etc to eat out on a cheaper budget!
All in all, The Strip is a playground for everyone of all ages! You can find things like the souvenir shops and some Hotels either tacky or way up market, you have it all on The Strip......and the designer shops inside the Hotels are expensive, but go outside and you will find cheap shops selling everything and anything!.....