Saturday, December 9

Las Vegas: one city, many destinations

You’ll have heard the old saying, “Join the navy to see the world”. Well, you don’t have to join the navy; just take a
holiday to Las Vegas and you can be in two or three continents in the space of a couple of square miles. Desperate to outdo each other and attract your attention, the hotels in Las Vegas have turned themselves into mini replicas of tourist attractions fromall over the globe. Where else can you be in Paris one minute andEgypt the next?


Take the Luxor Hotel and Casino, for example. As with everything in Vegas reality takes a back seat and fantasy takes over. InEgypt you can go and visit the Valley of the Kings and stand in awe before the Great Pyramids; in Las Vegas you can eat yourbreakfast in one. The Luxor Hotel is in the shape of a pyramid and the whole place plays along with the Egyptian theme. And with a huge Sphinx at the entrance you would be forgiven for wondering if you had too much wine with your dinner the night before when you look out of your bedroom window. As if that wasn’t enough you can view a look-alike of Tutankhamun’s Tomb and, if you have any imagination at all, feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you remember the curse that dogged the folks who wereat the opening of the original.


Just around the corner from Egypt you bump into the Eiffel Tower. Well okay, not the real one, but apart from its size you would behard put to tell the difference. This is the Paris Las Vegas’ pièce de résistance, a half size exact replica of the Eiffel Tower in the back garden. This happens to be my favourite of all the incredible sights in Las Vegas, no doubt because I love Paris and this replica is so real!

So as to confuse your senses further, just behind the tower stands a copy of the Arc de Triomphe. Things are getting really crazy. You book a holiday to Las Vegas in the USA and here you are looking at the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

The hotel really pushes the illusion to its limit with its built-in market place that comes with a ceiling painted to look
like the sky, the whole thing fashioned to look like a typical French village.


Yes, I know you’re already in the USA, but how about a trip to the east coast, just a block or two away? Located on Las Vegas Blvd is the fantastic New York New York Hotel, the closest to the Big Apple that I’ve ever been. The façade of this hotel is a concoction of all the familiar sights from the real thing, miniatures of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building and so on, a complete composite of the New York skyline.

Inside the hotel there is an unbelievable roller coaster ride which travels in and out of the buildings. If you dare to venture onto it you will be riding in small versions of New York’s chequered cabs. All through the hotel you will feel that you have stepped from the streets of Las Vegas into the streets of New York. Familiar names crop up as you walk around, Central Park, Broadway: you truly could be forgiven for thinking that you had been transported two and a half thousand miles east.


Take a virtual visit to Italy and experience the romance of Venice at the Venetian Hotel. Just when you think that you have seen it all this hotel knocks you back with yet another astonishing display. This time it’s a half mile ride on an
authentically modelled Venetian gondola complete with singing gondolier. You are transported along an imitation Grand Canal, (could there be such a thing?), passing under typical bridges, one looking suspiciously like the Rialto to me. The ladies in your party will enjoy the typically Italian shopping experience as they meander through the Grand Canal shopping mall, gondolas floating peacefully by.

We began with the idea that by travelling to Las Vegas for a holiday you could get a taste of the best that many other
countries of the world could offer, albeit scaled down a little. The best thing of all is that you can wander around and enjoy the settings of these wonderful hotels without being a guest. However, you might find that there is a charge for the use of some of the facilities. And I hope you noticed that the words casino and gambling haven’t been mentioned at all until now! There is lots of fun and entertainment on offer in this largerthan life location. I hope you will find the time to visit and experience some of the magic for yourself.