One of my favorite things about Vegas is just wandering around the hotels. On this trip, I managed to walk through eleven hotels. There’s a lot to see for free if you don’t mind walking. Each hotel has its own singular feel and have spectacular things to see. Many hotels have free events like the Bellagio fountain show or the Mirage’s volcano eruption.
I’ll start with the Cosmopolitan, where we stayed and where the conference was held. I was rather excited about this hotel since I had enjoyed the advertising when it first opened. The commercials showed strange happenings in elevators with a wonderful soundtrack of electric swing. The hotel lived up to my expectations. I’m still trying to put my finger on the theme of the hotel. Maybe you could call it bizarre elegance or style with an edge. I feel the term steampunk could be applied but I may be overusing the word.
The lobby had these incredible large square pillars that were covered in screens showed different animations and real life videos of wondrous bizarre happenings. For instance, the elevator scnes from the comericials would appear; each pillar acting as a separate elevator bank. One side would show the front of the elevator with a man holding an alligator, the other three sides would show the sides of the elevator. Or there would be bare light bulbs twinkling on and off. Or the screens would show fantastical plants. Another video was a music video but with just arms and legs in bright colored clothing. The main bar “Chandelier” is a multi-story chandelier. Curtain of beads hang from two stories down. It’s pretty fantastic. On Friday night, I discovered that there is a little stage at the bar where they had ballroom dancers swing dance to electric swing music. It was pretty sweet.
During the week in the evenings, there are dancing girls near the front if the hotel. Some dance on tables behind gaming tables and some dance in boxes in the windows. The entire place is hooked up with LCD screens so there are sleek flashing lights. These dancing girls wore full leotards with giant multi-buckle belts. And there is a secret pizza place. It is called such because it does not exist on any map nor is it labeled. You have to be told that it exists. But once you know to look for it on the third floor, it’s actually very easy to find it. The pizza is okay; it’s a bit too greasy.
Next I’ll talk about ARIA where I saw Zarkana. It’s located next to the Cosmopolitan. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the ARIA hotel since I was only there for the show. But it looks very classy and sleek. It doesn’t have the edge or naughtiness of the Cosmopolitan. The thing I remember most about it were the giant butterflies hanging from the ceiling in the lobby.
There is a shopping mall called Crystals that may be affiliated with the hotel. It’s one of those fancy malls with Nanette Lepore and Jimmy Choo. There was this amazing wooden structure rising to the roof that looked like a giant cannon. On the first floor, there were pools with a light up swan sculpture and trees that rained. There was also a fountain with round pillars rising up. Inside each pillar was a whirlpool lit up different colors.
On the other side of the Cosmopolitan is the famous Bellagio. I think it is the classiest of the hotels. It almost feels like it puts up with the gaming as a side thing. There are these beautiful curtains hung over the gaming areas. The lobby has this incredible multi-colored Chihuly glass ceiling. There is a wonderful atrium that always has wonderful flower arrangements. This time, there were giant flowers and snails covered in flowers. There was a smaller greenhouse that had these beautiful exotic birds flying around. And there was a giant tree surrounded by flowers and a koi pond. If you walk through the tree (there’s a passage), you see screens showing a face-to-face view of the koi below. So cool.
Behind the flower atrium area, there is a Chihuly store so you can see smaller sculptures by the artist. So organic and bright. And if you turn the corner, there is a chocolate fountain. Three types of chocolate, dark, white and medium, flow from the ceiling to the floor. It’s the largest fountain of its kind according to the plaque.
And there are the famous Bellagio fountains. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the fountain, the Bellagio has this giant pond in front. Every 15 minutes from 10 until 11 or so, they have a fountain show synchronized to music. The jets push water up in wondrous ways; sometimes as high as the hotel itself.
I must have seen bits and pieces of shows there about 10-15 times. It felt that every show was accompanied by different music every time. They may repeat songs between days but I don’t recall it. There was Frank Sinatra, classic arias from famous operas, and more. My personal favorite was seeing the fountains synchronized to Chicago’s “All That Jazz.” It was perfect. And I was lucky enough to have a hotel room window facing the pond so I could watch the show from my room.
That’s all for now!