Saturday, 27 August 2011


Welcome to fabulous, viva Las Vegas. As soon as you drive past that infamous, iconic sign after miles and miles of desert you know you've entered a whole different world all together. One full of light, life and money (even if it is yours) but Vegas is more than just a place for gambling or the city where Frank Sinatra-along with Dino, Sammy and the rest of the Rat Pack boys-did things his way. So whatever your vice, in this city do as you please, but here's some recommendations we're sure you can bet on. Let's roll the dice...

Whether your looking to get hungover with your wolf pack, or look as slick and smart as George Clooney and Brad Pitt as you try and take over some casino's (forget the 'Ocean's Eleven' speech the house always wins), this city in Nevada makes for the perfect night to hit the town. You can party on like Wayne and Garth in this world. I mean where else can you venture to New York, Paris and Egypt in the same night? Plus driving or walking the strip reveals the best this place or neon has to offer. From the vintage, classic signs of the past that where a part of American history to the constant modernisation the Las Vegas strip shines so much brighter than anything else, even New York's Times Square (hey, that's here too) the epicentre of the world.

It's little wonder from Mase's 'Feel So Good' to Lil' Wayne's 'Lollipop' that they've been filming expensive, money burning hip-hop videos here for years now. Sure there may be no account for taste or tack here, but hey your in Vegas and if you can't live it up here, where can you? Besides with escalators on the streets you really can walk in style in this visual orgy that really has everything for the eyes to see, stimulating all the senses too. If you really want to splurge (depends on how much you win) a helicopter ride really gives you an aerial, awesome-inspiring, amazing view of this strip that plain and bare really is something else.

I know your waiting to hit the casinos though right? If you can take your eyes off all of the lights and play your cards right then see if your gamble pays off when the chips are down in this strips classic, famous casinos. From the palms, to whatver you can get your fingers on, just make sure you play a good hand. Take the beautiful Bellagio for example in all it's bold brilliance. Or the fabulous flaunt of the Flamingo, a place that inspired the name of the stunning solo album from The Killer's frontman and hometown hero Brandon Flowers. Or why not hit Paris or New York or the French feel of the Monte Carlo? Or if that betrays your God like status (please!) then why not take a trip up to Caesar's Palace (and no, he didn't live here, stop asking and annoying the staff).

All these casino's and many more will guarantee you an unforgettable, classic night in all their grand spectacle. You don't even have to wait for Cher or Barry Manilow to get here (but you really should try and catch a truly magic Penn & Teller show, those two entertainers don't miss a trick). These places really make for one a real interesting night, whether your rolling dice or rolling out on the dance floor. Gambling or clubbing where else can you see woman smoking Cuban cigars so casually? Plus can you ever say you've danced the night away in a pirate ship, buying rounds for American troops that have come home? HOORAH!

'The Entertainment Capital of the World' has more to exclaim than a vast and vibrant nightlife however. With magnificent malls in the many numbers and beautiful boutiques that will leave your girlfriends mouth and your wallet open, shopping is also on the cards and in the bags here with even designer labels painted at a lower, more affordable price. You see these places don't need your money, the house and the city will take care of doing a pretty good job of that. Plus when a place can afford to put a roller coaster in the middle of a shopping centre you know your good for a bargain.

Thinking a little less green, even the hippest hotels here are in budgets price range, no need for hotels here really. With so many unique, incredible places to lay your hat at, the choice and the theme is yours. May we suggest you rock out at the legendary Hard Rock of all Hard Rock's however? You know the place whose guitar front was totalled by a plane flew by Nic Cage and John Malkovich in 'Con Air'. Where else but a place where you can check in with Bruce Springsteen motioning at you to keep quiet or wake up to Prince's purple suit staring at you? Money still plays in this casino/hotel as does Johnny Cash's guitar. Plus everybody loves the famous Hard Rock Café, so how about breakfast?

Still if that doesn't whet your appetite, even more food is on the menu for brunch, lunch dinner or even a light snack in Las Vegas. Just make sure you take a bite or two out the Tao Beach or the Mon Ami Gabi. Mmm, mmm. How's that for a review? Or if you like it a little tougher how about the meaty Delmonico's Steakhouse? Or the Mesa Grill for your fill?

It's clear to the average holiday maker that Las Vegas is more than just cards and dice. There are many great concert venues bringing performers in from Donny Osmond to Wayne Brady as they all perform marathon dates that cross off more calendars than excited kids waiting for Spring break. Sports also play here with the Thomas & Mack Centre just outside the strip. Home to UNLV, some great college basketball and even some preseason Lakers and Summer league NBA (not this lockout year however) but as for an NBA franchise, after the 2007 All-Star game, forget about it.

Still if you want to get further away from the strip and the beaten track why not drive out the city, from the beautiful, isolated and serene desert scene and sublime Spring Mountains, to nearby (ish) state Arizona and visit a National Park American landmark and one of the worlds eight wonders; the Grand Canyon. Your close enough, and the incredible, structurally grand Hoover Dam is on the way. As for the canyon, this inspiring, vast beautiful wonder can not be done justice by words or the new, groundbreaking, glass floor 'Skywalk'. You simply have to see this unforgettable experience for yourself. Still, this isn't Vegas, so let's get back on track.

A track that trains the eyes to Black Jack, Lady Luck and a festival of neon that runs all night, every night. The city of Las Vegas will take you everywhere and the Fremont Street Experience is the best mall and most attractive, pedestrian by name but not by nature with it's lavishing cool, 'Viva Vision' LED canopy and much more to offer below, amongst and beyond. An experience as classic as the waving Binion's Horseshoe sign, which is pure, Americana vintage and second only to a neon lady waving her leg in iconic and synonymous status with this place.

Believe us, you can make it in this town. Vegas has New York in it's pocket as the real city that never sleeps, even with it's cool eerie daytime feel. The casino's never shut their lights off, so expect to be kept awake by a place so illuminating Frank Sinatra built a house on the outskirts when he was banned from the city just to be close to it. Love it or loathe the thought this is just one place you have to visit and what happens here shouldn't stay here. Go tell a friend how fabulous this place is. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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