Bellagio of Las Vegas
Simply Bellissimo!by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 1/08/2009
You can easily get spoiled when you have a bit of luxury in your life and that's very much been the case with us when it comes to hotels.
Having stayed first at deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World and then having become Disney Vacation Club members, let's just say we're used to the finer things in life whenever we travel anywhere and that includes hotels. However, there's one place in the world where you can get luxury at a reasonable price, and the simple reason is it's something that every hotel there offers -- and there's exceptionally fierce competition. Welcome to Las Vegas! Not only is it the gambling capital of the world, it's also home to some of the world's most opulent resorts and they're all within easy reach of each other, so they're all desperate to get your trade. That means amazing rooms available at a reasonable rate.
That was very much our experience when we went to book a room there for our recent visit. On our first visit together two years ago, we had stayed at the Venetian and while we had loved our time there, we did feel that it was a bit far from the action, located towards the top end of the Strip. When we left Vegas, we left feeling that we hadn't really done the place justice, thanks in part to our jetlag, which often meant that we were up in the early hours of the morning and then falling asleep by early evening. It meant we didn't get to experience a lot of things that we had hoped to do in Vegas, and one of those things was viewing the fountains outside the Bellagio. Sadly, the only night that we were able to see them, the wind was too strong and the fountains were turned off. So, where better to stay than on our return to Vegas, but at the Bellagio?
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Looking at prices, it quickly became apparent that a lake view room, which would give us a direct view of the fountains outside, wouldn't cost that much more than a standard room; and in this case, I guessed that the view outside would be worth the extra money. We were talking something like $50 more each night. Was it worth it? You bet it was -- every single cent. The fountains at the Bellagio perform every afternoon and evening, unless the winds get too stiff (in which case there's a distinct possibility that they will end up soaking the spectators and presumably the drivers along the Strip, which apparently doesn't go over well)!
On weekdays, there's a show every half-hour from 3:00 pm until 8:00 pm, and then every 15 minutes until midnight. On weekends and holidays the shows start at midday, taking place every half hour until 8pm, and again every 15 minutes after that until midnight. This meant we had plenty of opportunities to catch the fountains performing, and that's exactly what we did. They're certainly more spectacular after dark, as the lights definitely add something than you just don't get during daylight hours.
As for the rooms themselves, ours was beautiful. It was such a pleasant change to have so much room in which to lay out our suitcases after some very small rooms in central Chicago and New York City. As we walked in, there was a hallway, with the bathroom off to our right. This was huge, with expansive floor space, a walk-in shower, and a bath (although interestingly not a spa bath, which I had half expected from such an upscale resort).
The bedroom also had lots of floor space, along with a desk by the window and comfy chairs -- just perfect for admiring the fountains! As well as the space and the huge king sized bed, which was perhaps the most comfortable we found during all of our stops on this trip, they also, perhaps unsurprisingly, had a really cool gadget that I fell in love with. You could just reach out from your bed and open or close the window drapes -- I must admit being able to do that did make me feel like a star!
As for the rest of the complex, the Bellagio, like all the other major resorts on the Strip in Las Vegas, is colossal. It can easily take you five or ten minutes to exit the resort, as you walk first through the casino, then past the restaurants, and out through a very upscale shopping mall that includes Chanel amongst its retailers. The lobby is something quite breathtaking. The second you walk inside, your eyes head upwards to the ceiling, which is decorated with 2,000 hand-blown glass flowers. (Disney cruisers may recognize the blown glass flowers as the work of Dale Chihuly, the sculptor behind the chandeliers in the lobbies of the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic.)
From there, your eye then gradually registers that there's more color beyond that in the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden. The beauty about this is that the display changes regularly throughout the year. Two years ago, we saw the spring display, which was stunning with the color from the flowering bulbs, but I wasn't sure what to expect for fall. If anything, this was just as colorful, using unusual and striking plants such as chili peppers, along with a life-size scarecrow, a tree with a face cut into it that moved, and even what looked like a human-sized Venus Fly Trap! What you see in here is unique and innovative and, as it's under a glass ceiling, it looks very different during the day and at night. Looking at the detail that goes into these designs, it's not hard to accept that more than 100 people put these displays together.
One of the other major draws about staying here is that the Bellagio is also home to our favorite Cirque du Soleil show, simply titled "O." It's based above, on, and in water, and is a show that every visitor to Las Vegas should see. We saw it for the second time and were just as awe struck as during our first visit to it. This is something we will see every time we're in Vegas.
The Bellagio's location in the middle of the Strip made it a joy to get to the other shows we enjoyed during our stay, as many of the other resorts are within easy walking distance. We really felt that we had found a home during our time at the Bellagio, and we've already agreed that it will be our home on future visits to Las Vegas, complete with that amazing view of the fountains again!
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Updated 1/08/2009 - Article #14
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