From Sinatra and the Rat Pack to Clooney and his gang of eleven, Las Vegas has been a popular backdrop to many great stories and no matter what you think of Las Vegas, the mere mention of the place will conjure up great images for everyone who hears the name.
At the south end of the famed strip, we stayed at the Tropicana. With 1,375 newly renovated suites, the attraction for us was the tropical pool area where we could wind down in a surrounding that was reminiscent of a poolside paradise in Mexico.
For only $7 for a 24 hour pass, the price is right and you can hop on and off any of the buses that runs up and down the famous four mile route of the Las Vegas Strip and the awe-inspiring collection of grand hotels, casinos, shopping malls restaurants and nightclubs as well as many other attractions and some of the most interesting characters, all willing to pose for photo.
Or if you have a comfortable pair of shoes and a couple of strong legs, then I recommend walking because the hotels themselves are the best tourist attraction along the famed route and very much worth the time it takes to walk through.
Each of the hotels hosts its own version of a 24-hour party with the dazzling lights and bells of the slots and the seductive beauty of the tables. Mood lighting and large patterned carpets round out the ambiance and in the miles of great places to visit, the following are a few of my favorites.
Across the Las Vegas Blvd from our weekend home and right next door to the pyramid shaped Luxor is the Excalibur Hotel and its royal accommodations that look more like Disney’s castle than King Arthur’s when it is lit up against the Vegas night. Their 2000 rooms all have a touch of the classic castle-theme.
The remarkable reproduction of the immense Manhattan skyline behind the replica of the New York Harbour and a 150 foot model of the statue of Liberty, New York, New York is the 2024 room, four-star hotel with a full size roller coaster that drags riders up to a top height of 203 feet before dropping back down 144 feet through a crazy ride of corkscrews, loops and the exhilarating, 180-degree heartline spiral on a train that is designed to look like New York cabs.
Just down the street, the Fountains of Bellagio are the mesmerizing show of water, music and lights. Each of the complex water shows is unique and amazing and set in a 9-acre manmade lake.
Across from the gorgeous water show is Planet Hollywood and the miracle mile shops that features the Rainstorm, a miracle in the desert featuring thunder, lightning, fog and pouring rain. Then on to the reproduction of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel. Guests of the hotel enter through the Arc de Triomphe and stroll past the Louvre and at the end of the day, star gaze from the top of the tower itself. Guestrooms at Paris Las Vegas feature French-inspired furniture and decadent marble bathrooms
With 3348 rooms, Caesars Palace is the four star hotel with the Roman Empire as its theme is also the home of the popular and luxurious Forum Shops mall.
A trip to the Fremont Street Experience is a must. A combination of vintage Vegas and modern technology meet at this lively party, held along the main thoroughfare in downtown Vegas and was our favorite stop and by itself is well worth a return trip.
The Viva Vision canopy and light show towers 90 feet above the ground and spans the length of five football fields or a very long street of great entertainment. The lighted ceiling features more than 12 million LED modules and a 555,000-watt sound system.
We took advantage of our choice of three stages; one on each end and one in the middle as we wandered along the pedestrian only street that connected the Plaza Hotel on one end and the Neonopolis shopping mall on the other, with blocks of hotels, casinos, souvenir shops and many a provides something for everyone.
Just below the Viva Vision canopy at the top of a platform is the Flightlinez at Fremont Street Experience. You can zoom at speeds up to 30 miles per hour on one of the four lines that are each 800 feet in length. And you never know who you will run into. Here, Marilyn, Elvis and I pose for a quick photo.
It took us almost a half century to make our first visit to Vegas and will be back much sooner. We had a great time and certainly recommend the trip.