Las Vegas

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Go totally over the top in the capital of kitsch

In a nutshell…

If it’s kitsch glamour and excess you’re after, look no further than the lights of Las Vegas. This oasis of decadence is home to 19 of the 20 biggest hotels in the world and, of course, endless casinos.

If you are unwed when you arrive there’s a good chance you’ll get hitched before you leave, for here is a place that caters to every possible nuptial whim. The local Yellow Pages guide has 14 pages of wedding possibilities, ranging from The Little White Chapel, where you’ll be following in the footsteps of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, and Jack and Vera Duckworth, through to marriage in a hot‐air balloon, or the highly functional 24‐hour drive‐thru wedding window (get married without leaving your car!). And with 120,000 hotel rooms available, there’ll be no shortage of places to stay for any wedding guests either.

Magnetic attractions

  • New York, New York hotel This Manhattan lookalike comes with its own 150ft replica of the Statue of Liberty, and another of the Empire State building. The Manhattan Express Rollercoaster runs through the skyscraper complex and is one of the best in town.
  • Luxor Hotel A glass life‐sized pyramid dominates this hotel shaped like a 20‐storey sphinx.
  • Liberace Museum This must‐see shrine to the bejewelled entertainer contains his furniture, costumes, jewellery, autos and pictures, not to mention the world’s largest rhinestone!
  • King Tut’s Tomb and Museum Inside the Luxor hotel this is a full‐size replica of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber and golden throne. You can even take a simulated tour round the archaeological dig, Raiders of the Lost Ark‐style.

Romantic rendezvous

  • Bellagio Take a wander around this hotel’s nine‐acre lake. You’ll have ol’blue eyes himself belting out over the PA system, and a display of baroque fountains that would reduce Liberace to tears.
  • Limousine ride Limousines are a common site down the strip, but with a bottle of champagne for two all those glittering lights make this a great romantic moment.

Love bites and love potions

There is fierce competition for your holiday dollars here in Vegas, which means you’ll never have to pay more than a fiver to eat plenty, often from an all‐you‐can‐eat buffet. It’s possible to find every cuisine known to mankind here, from burgers to kosher to Vietnamese, and there are over 800 restaurants to do it in. The Golden Gate Diner on the Strip is the home of the shrimp cocktail, served in the classic tulip glass.

For a romantic setting, try Manhattan of Las Vegas, which has a candle‐lit sunken dining room, chandeliers and a stained glass ceiling. Picasso in the Bellagio hotel, meanwhile, boasts original paintings and ceramics by the master himself. And while you’re here, why not pop into local boy Andre Agassi’s All‐Star café for a drink?

Propose here

No, it’s not quite Paris but the Eiffel Tower Experience is a half‐sized replica of the real thing and has an observation tower atop its 50 storeys. The setting may not be real ‐‐ but your intentions doubtless are. Pourquoi pas?

To get you in the mood

Vegas has spawned hundreds of romantic films, from Indecent Proposal to Honeymoon in Vegas to the darker Leaving Las Vegas. Then, of course, there was the hour‐long episode of Friends, with its cliff‐hanger ending leaving Ross and Rachel married (by mistake), and Chandler and Monica on the brink. As for music, there’s the lounge songs of Sinatra and anything by the King himself, Elvis Presley. Viva Las Vegas!

Language of love

Happy anni‐Vegas‐ary!

Who loves ya baby?

Jackpot! = congratulations!

Uh‐uh‐uh! = I do!

Stags and hens

When you eventually drag yourself away from the casinos, Vegas has lots of other attractions for groups. Speedworld has a variety of virtual racing rides, including Star Trek ‐‐ The Experience, an intergalactic journey aboard a virtual shuttlecraft. There’s also a casino called Spacequest that’s got futuristic slot machines and characters from your favourite episodes popping out at you all over the place. And those who fancy experiencing the sensation of being flung over the edge of a 900ft building will enjoy Insanity, the white‐white knuckle ride at the Stratosphere Tower.

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