THIS is the hotel you want to see the inside of. Not only does it have Forum Shops (which is a shopping centre in Ancient Rome!) but it wins when it comes to attention to detail. The first of the large hotels to be built on the new Strip in 1966 it really set the bar high with 3,960 rooms and still has one of the largest and most striking exteriors. Forget Oxford Street…this is where you want to go shopping and is the home of the largest H&M IN THE WORLD 💎👛💄👠👗
The Bellagio…with the air of being one of the most expensive hotels (but only an extra $25 a night) it certainly is posh. Set in large grounds with a lake at the front and a long sweeping drive up to the front, it is set back farther than most from the Strip. Currently hosting Cirque du Soleil’s “O” (the most expensive of their shows though whether it is because of the venue or by popular demand we don’t know), along with the 10 minute fountain display and botanical garden display there aren’t many other must sees. The fountain display is to Michael Jackson and runs every 30 minutes or so through the evening and the botanical gardens are beautiful…but it’s a room, not gardens.
But that is not to say you will be at all disappointed! Everything in Vegas is completely over the top with no expense spared (I mean look at the ceiling🙉). The Bellagio was completed the year after NYNY in 1998 but is almost twice the size with 3,950 rooms and multiple pools, shops, theatre, spa, wedding chapel and more shops etc etc.
To start with, just to get in you must first alight the double escalators up to the arched entrance which is about half a mile from the actual entrance (don’t worry there are travelators all the way, this is America after all!). Walk through the main entrance with the glass flower ceiling and just follow your nose (for what feels like another half a mile) and you will find the botanical gardens. From there you’re on your own! Handheld maps of each hotel need to be invented, you will burn off whatever calories you consumed at each meal by just walking around the hotels (but then probably re-consume them by all the lovely treats you find on your way…chocolate fountain 🍫
Back to that chocolate fountain…yes that is all real and yes that model AND dress are 100% chocolate, as I said, everything is over the top, don’t bother putting your camera away.
So our lavish home for the week was at one of the original hotels: New York- New York! Opening in 1997 it has one of the most impressive exteriors, including of course, a roller coaster, as well as a pool, arcade, spa, theatre and indoor streets mimicking New York cafes and bars. The casino and hotel are one of the smaller buildings on the Strip (small being 2024 rooms) but the casino floor area has high ceilings and the open plan design means it’s far less clastrophobic than other larger casinos.
It also plays host to Hershey’s World, where you can get a snap of the Statue of Liberty made out of twizzlers and jelly beans (I mean why not), but if you just want the chocolate it’s far cheaper to cross the street and got to the local ABC shop. Coyote Ugly is a great dance bar for everyone (free shots if you’re a gal 🚺) and Times Square bar is the place to be for karaoke. Brought the kids? Not a problem, it’s got a whole floor of arcades for them and a day pass on the roller coaster for when they’re not in the pool.
There are your standard tourist shops inside but don’t go mad as soon as you get there. Across the street there are lots of tourist shops that sell the same stuff for less and where you can get you daily snacks without having to pay hotel prices. Invest in one of the refillable cups ($9 with free refills on the day of purchase and $1 any day after and there are 50 shops where you can do this).
Although the strip may look walkable be warned, just because you can see it does not mean it is close! You lose your sense of scale, so though you can see Caesars Palace from the hotel it’s over a mile walk away and in the heat it’s a mission. But not to fear, there is a great bus route (get the three day bus pass) and two monorails. One from behind the MGM ($5 one way or $12 for 24 hours) and goes up the east side of the Strip or get a free monorail which runs on the west side from Excalibur to the Luxor and Mandalay Bay, from which you can walk to the Vegas sign (20 mins).