Las Vegas, also known as Sin City, is the gambling capital of the world. Vegas is located in the US state of Nevada which legalised gambling back in 1931, long before it became the tourist hotspot it’s known as today. In fact, some reports suggest that around 41 million people visit Las Vegas each year and around 10,000 couples get married in the city every month. In addition, there are around 104 casinos in the city, many of them located on the strip and others located downtown and in the suburbs. In order to cater to all of these visitors, Las Vegas has constructed numerous hotels, some of which are the biggest in the world.
While in Vegas you can gamble at some of the city’s finest casinos, go for a long shopping spree, grab a bite to eat at some of the best restaurants around the city or watch a show or concert by popular musicians and performance artists. Las Vegas has been around for just over 100 years, but it’s already become one of the most fascinating cities in the world, with a long history to boot.
How To Get To Vegas
You can fly to McCarran International Airport, the main airport used to travel to Las Vegas, from London Gatwick and Heathrow airports. The airport is located in Paradise, just south of Downtown Las Vegas.
Flights from London to Las Vegas take around 10 hours and prices differ drastically depending on the time of year you decide to visit. Visiting in June, July and August, the hotter months where temperatures can reach around 40ºC, can cost anything up to £2,5000 for two people. However, travelling during the cooler months, January and December where temperatures generally stay between 15-20ºC, can cost as little as up to £1,000 for two people.
However, you’ll still need to book a hotel in the city which can cost up to £1,000 for a week at smaller chains and independent hotels, and over £1,000 if you decide to stay at some of the more famous and luxurious hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, but more on that later.
Travelling To Your Hotel
Once you’ve booked your plane tickets and hotel, you’ll find to make your way from the airport to your hotel. This can be done by getting a taxi from the airport. Over ten taxi companies provide services to and from the airport, making it easy for you to grab a ride but it’s important to understand that all taxis charge a $2 fee on fares originating from the airport.
You can also hire a limousine to arrive at your hotel in style or an Uber, the service only launched in Vegas in 2015 as it was initially barred from airport pick-ups and drop-offs. If you decide to hire an Uber, however, you’ll need to meet your car or get dropped off at the parking garage at McCarran International Airport as Ubers are still not allowed near airport terminals.
Other ways to reach Las Vegas include catching the Route 108 and 109 buses from Terminal 1 as well as the Westcliff Airport Express (WAX) and Centennial Express (CX) routes.
Passports And Visas
The United States has a visa waiver program which allows tourists from the UK to visit the city for up to 90 days without a visa. Before travelling, you’ll need authorisation from ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) or you will be refused entry into the United States. Applications cost around $14 and while most applications are processed without a problem, they should be done well in advance of travelling.
In addition, there are some restrictions that may prevent you from entering the United States. This includes being arrested for certain crimes, being a dual national of Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria, and having travelled to Libya, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen after March 2011.
Where To Stay In Vegas
There are a huge number of hotels available throughout Vegas, each vying for your attention by offering unique restaurants, gambling opportunities and entertainment. The casinos vary in size and price, so it’s important to find one that caters to your needs while also meeting your budget. Unfortunately, with the high number of hotels available in the city, it can be hard to make up your mind, which is why we’ve decided to discuss our top ten Vegas hotels.
1. ARIA Resort & Casino
ARIA Resort & Casino launched back in 2009 and is still as popular as ever. The hotel is located along the Vegas Strip and contains over 4,004 rooms, 16 restaurants, 10 bars, a large casino space as well as a pool area, salon, spa and convention centre.
Meanwhile, the casino space includes slot machines, poker and table games as well as sportsbooks. CNN travel described ARIA Casino as the best for slots, with machines including Anchorman, Wheel of Fortune 3D, The Simpsons and the Walking Dead.
ARIA Resort & Casino
3730 South Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas, NV 89158
General inquiries call 702-590-7111
Room reservations call 866-359-7757
Price of room per night: $119 – $2,150
Entertainment: JEWEL Nightclub and ARIA Fine Art Collection
Restaurants: Jean Georges Steakhouse, Carbone, Bardot Brasserie and The Buffet at ARIA
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened in 2010 and has become one of the most popular hotels in Vegas. The hotel consists of two highrise towers that house 3,027 hotel rooms, a huge casino space, a spa and gym, a theatre, convention centre as well as a dozen shops and restaurants.
The Cosmopolitan’s casino offers visitors a wide range of activities including over 1,300 slot machines, table games and a busy sportsbook. The casino also hosts regular slot tournaments which offer fantastic prizes.
Entertainment: Pool-side Movies and The Chelsea concert venue
Restaurants: Blue Ribbon, China Poblano, É By José Andrés and Eggslut
3. Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Hotel
The Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Hotel is a $2.7 billion resort founded by Steve Wynn back in 2005. The site, which covers 215 acres, has 2,716 hotel rooms, a huge casino and convention centre as well as several restaurants and the famous Wynn Plaza shopping mall. Combined with its adjacent hotel the Encore Las Vegas, the entire Wynn complex has 4,750 hotel rooms.
Wynn’s casino offers a huge collection of slot machines as well as dozens of poker rooms and table games. You’ll also find that Wynn runs a sportsbook and has launched mobile apps you can download to access exclusive competitions and prizes.
Entertainment: Concerts at Encore Theatre and Le Rêve Aquatic Theatre Show
Restaurants: Sinatra, Wazuzu, Cipriani, Costa Di Mare and SW Steakhouse
4. Mandalay Bay and Delano Las Vegas
The Mandalay Bay was founded back in 1999 that houses 3,209 hotel rooms as well as a casino. Situated around the hotel and casino is the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre and the Mandalay Bay Events Center. One of the hotel’s towers operates as the Delano Las Vegas and the Four Seasons Hotel, which is independently operated, occupies five floors within the Mandalay Bay tower.
The Mandalay Bay casino features over 1,200 slot and video poker machines as well as a great selection of table games including craps, roulette and blackjack. Poker tables are also available as well as a sportsbook.
Entertainment: Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil and Shark Reef Aquarium
Restaurants: Rivea, Libertine Social, Aureole, Lupo, Stripsteak and BBQ Mexicana
5. MGM Grand
The MGM Grand is a hotel located on the Vegas Strip which currently holds the title as the largest single hotel in the United States. The complex is home to 6,852 hotel rooms, five outdoor pools, a convention centre, a spa and the MGM Grand Garden Area. There are also numerous restaurants, shops, bars and clubs located on the property.
MGM operates a huge casino which offers over 2,500 slot machines as well as over 100 table and poker games. The casino even has its own High Limit slots area where players can win up to $500,000 on machines! In addition to this, MGM’s casino runs a sportsbook where you can bet on sporting events and races.
Entertainment: Topgolf, David Copperfield Illusion Show and KÁ Cirque du Soleil
Restaurants: China Tang, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and MGM Grand Buffet
The Bellagio is a hotel resort located on the Las Vegas Strip. Inspired by Bellagio, Italy, the hotel is known for its elegance as well as for the lake built between the venue and the Vegas Strip where you can find the Fountains of Bellagio, a synchronised water fountain. The site is also home to 3,933 hotel rooms, a large casino space, five outdoor pools, a spa with 56 treatment rooms as well as a fitness centre, convention centre and multiple restaurants and shops.
The Bellagio casino has over 2,300 different slot and video poker machines as well as various table games and poker rooms. The casino runs a race and sportsbook and also holds regular slot tournaments which offer large cash prizes.
Entertainment: O by Cirque du Soleil, Gallery of Fine Art and Fountains of Bellagio
Restaurants: Sadelle’s, Spago, LAGO, PRIME Steakhouse, Picasso and Pool Café & Bar
7. Caesars Palace
Caesars Palace is arguably one of Las Vegas’ most well-known hotels. The site, which opened back in 1966, is known for its Roman Empire theme and has almost 4,000 hotel rooms across six towers, as well as a convention centre and a chain of successful restaurants. Caesars Palace also houses The Colosseum, a 4,296-seat theatre where musicians such as Celine Deion, Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Sammy Davis Jr., Stevie Nicks, Rod Stewart, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett and more have performed.
On top of all that, the hotel features a large modern casino which offers table games such as poker, craps, roulette, baccarat and more, as well as slot and video poker machines and so much more.
Entertainment: Absinthe, Jerry Seinfeld, Sting Residency and Madonna Madame X Tour
Restaurants: Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, Bacchanal Buffet and Mesa Grill
8. The Venetian
The Venetian Las Vegas is a hotel situated on the Las Vegas Strip which opened back in 1999. The hotel has over 4,000 rooms that all feature Venetian design. It’s also home to a convention centre, several popular restaurants and numerous pools. In addition, you’ll find the site shares the famous canals and its Grand Canal Shoppes with sister hotel tower the Palazzo.
The Venetian also has a large casino space which a huge collection of slot and video poker machines as well as numerous table and poker games. In addition, the Venetian features the Venetian Race & Sportsbook where a single video screen can show up to 42 events at the same time!
Entertainment: The Cocktail Collective, TAO Nightclub and Australia’s Human Nature
Restaurants: Mott 32, LAVO, TAO, Cañonita, Royal Britannia Gastropub and PrimeBurger
9. The Palazzo
The Palazzo is the sister hotel of The Venetian and together, the two towers from the Venetian Resort & Casino. The Palazzo offers 3,068 hotel rooms, as well as a convention centre and several restaurants. The Palazzo also shares the fantastic canals and Grand Canal Shoppes with its sister, as well as the replica St. Mark’s Square, Barneys New York, Madame Tussauds and more.
Similarly to The Venetian, the Palazzo hotel is home to a large casino space which offers slot and poker machines, table games and poker rooms. However, you won’t find a large sportsbook television screen here!
Entertainment: Elektra Cocktail Bar, The Dorsey, Rosina and Jackson Browne
Restaurants: Solaro by Wolfgang Puck, Majordōmo Meat & Fish, Chica and Sushisamba
10. Paris Las Vegas
Paris Las Vegas is a hotel complex located on the Vegas Strip which is designed after Paris, France. The complex is home to replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and La Fontaine des Mers. Meanwhile, the hotel has 2,916 rooms, a popular nightclub, several restaurants, a spa, a convention centre and much more.
The casino floor at Paris Las Vegas features 40-foot ceiling paintings that resemble the blue sky as well as paintings that mimic life in Paris. The games, meanwhile, include slot and video poker machines, table games and poker rooms.
Entertainment: Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck, Chateau Nightclub and Anthony Cools
Restaurants: Gordan Ramsay Steak, Mon Ami Gabi and the Eiffel Tower Restaurant
The Las Vegas Strip
The Las Vegas Strip is a stretch of road that runs through South Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada. The Strip is one of the most iconic attractions in the state due to the high concentration of hotels, casinos and shops that surround it. The Vegas Strip is around 4.2 miles in length and, despite often being referred to as being in Las Vegas, it is located just south overlapping the towns of Paradise and Winchester.
It took several years for The Strip to become the iconic landmark it is now. However, it all began back in April 1941 when the El Rancho Las Vegas hotel opened with 63 rooms. This was followed by the Hotel Last Frontier which opened in October 1942 with 105 rooms, the Flamingo Hotel which opened in December 1946 with 105 rooms (Operated by American mobster Bugsy Siegel), the Thunderbird hotel which opened in September 1948 with 76 rooms and the Desert Inn which opened in April 1950 with 300 rooms.
Over time, more and more hotels and casinos began to open on the Strip and they progressively grew larger and larger. This meant that the smaller hotels and casinos that launched on the Strip were pushed out for large resort-like hotels and casinos. These included the Tropicana, The Royal Nevada, The Stardust Resort & Casino, The Treasure Island, Excaliber and more. All of the openings helped popularise the city and the stretch of road eventually earned the name the Las Vegas Strip.
Today, many of the original hotels that opened on The Strip have since been renovated, rebuilt and expanded. Many have also changed names, such as the Marina Hotel and Casino which is now known as the MGM Grand Hotel or the Dunes which is now known as the Bellagio.
Hotels Outside The Strip
Most tourists visit the city to view the casinos and hotels around the Strip, but there are actually several great casinos located deeper into the city and away from the Strip. One hugely popular hotel and casino is the Plaza Hotel and Casino which is located in downtown Las Vegas. The casino is owned by the Tamares Group and has been frequently used in films. It appeared in the 1995 film Casino during a scene where Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone argue over money. It also appeared in Looney Tunes: Back In Action and Honey, I Blew Up The Kid along with many other films.
Another popular off-Strip hotel is the Golden Nugget located on Fremont Street. The Golden Nugget is known for its cheaper rooms as well as its luxurious interiors inspired by the Strip’s more expensive hotels. Like The Plaza Hotel, the Golden Nugget has appeared frequently in films such as Viva Las Vegas, the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever and in Next.
The M Resort Spa Casino is another great hotel and casino. Located south of Vegas in Henderson, the resort launched in March 2009 and was designed by Anthony Marnell III, the son of Tony Marnell, the man who developed resorts including Wynn Las Vegas, the Bellagio and Caesars Palace. The M Resort offers bigger and cheaper rooms than its Strip alternatives and focuses on rewarding loyal and returning customers. Its slot and table casino rooms are also bathed in sunlight and the resort features three different pools to keep visitors busy when they’re not gambling.
What To Do In Vegas
While Vegas is mostly famous for its casinos, there are numerous other activities you can do while there. The city is popular for its numerous malls such as the Shops At Crystals, located at CityCenter, which boasts from designer stores such as Balenciaga, Dior, Celine, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Saint Laurent, Versace and many more.
Other popular shopping centres include the Bellagio which include shops such as Chanel, Capri, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Omega, Prada, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tiffany & Co. and Valentino. The Wynn Esplanades is another popular shopping destination and includes well-known designer shops such as Breitling, Celine, Le Labo, Louis Vuitton, RtA, Saint Laurent, Stella McCartney and many others.
Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of shopping as Vegas offers much more than this. You can catch a show from some of your favourite musicians or you can watch a theatre or musical production. There is an abundance of theatre and musical shows at Vegas, some of which include the Cirque Du Soleil productions, magic shows such as David Copperfield and Piff The Magic Dragon Show, adult shows such as Magic Mike and Zombie Burlesque, comedy shows such as Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club and Potted Potter. You’ll also find mind reading and psychic shows, tribute shows and so much more.
The fun doesn’t stop there as Vegas is also home to some of the best nightclubs around as well as several great pool clubs, bars and strip clubs, but more on all this later.
Things To Do Around Vegas
While hanging out in Las Vegas can be incredibly fun, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of attractions to visit around or just outside of the city. For example, you can visit the Valley of Fire State Park which is Nevada’s oldest state park. Located an hour away from Sin City, the park is filled with red rock formations and you’ll discover amazing petroglyphs and rock shapes throughout the park.
You can also visit Death Valley National Park which is great for walking and hiking. The park is over three million acres and you can easily spend an entire day there visiting beautiful canyons and scenic viewpoints. You can even visit Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America.
Rhyolite is a ghost town situated near Death Valley, around a two-hour drive from the Vegas Strip. The city was once a booming gold town in the early 1900s with its own hotels, casinos, schools, stock exchange and a bank but the town quickly fell into decline with most residents moving elsewhere by 1910. The town was also used as a filming location for films such as The Air Mail, The Island and Cherry 2000 but has become a popular tourist destination over the last decade.
Other popular activities to do around Vegas include hiking around Red Rock Canyon State Park where you can see red sandstone formations, a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, visiting the Zion National Park which is Utah’s first national park, visiting Hoover Dam and Lake Mead where you can tour the power plant or dam and visit the observation deck for some amazing views.