Vegas has always been a haven for night owls, the unique cluster of vast hotels, constantly-ringing casinos and exuberant Cabaret venues in the middle of the Mojave desert has long held the nickname ‘sin city’, but in recent years Vegas has become even more delightfully sinful. Now recognised as one of the world’s major hubs for nightlife and entertainment culture, Vegas regularly plays host to world famous DJs such as Calvin Harris, boasts cutting edge dining experiences (a Nobu restaurant recently opened in the city) and has become the setting for many a feature film based on hedonism and excess (The Hangover, anyone?).
Vegas then, is the place to be for young, fashion conscious thrill-seekers, but what about the older generation? If you’re sporting more metal in your hip than on your earlobe, and your sunglasses double up as varifocals, then what does sin city have to offer you? This is a theme explored in Jon Turteltaub’s new film, Last Vegas, in which a cast of legendary Hollywood silver foxes (Robert DeNiro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline) take to the strip for one last hoorah – Douglas’ character’s stag party before he marries a woman half his age.
Needless to say, hilarity ensues in this charming, slightly more sedate emulation of the Wolfpack’s Vegas tribulations (the Hayes and Jarvis team all agree it’s a must-see!), but can those of the more mature persuasion enjoy a holiday in what is arguably the most alluring party spot in the world for youngsters? You bet (sorry).
The Mob Museum
DeNiro has starred in more gangster movies in his time than I’ve had hot dinners, but you needn’t be a crime film buff to enjoy the collection of fascinating artefacts and memorabilia on show in this downtown-Vegas museum, itself a former federal courthouse and U.S Post Office. Learn about the secret lives of some of the most infamous organised crime bosses including Al Capone and John Gotti, a welcome break from the slot machines.
Grand Canyon Flights
Talking of crime, it would be almost criminal to visit Vegas and not see the Grand Canyon from above. Granted if you’re visiting Vegas and below 35 you may be a little too queasy owing to the previous night’s antics to be weaving round a gorge in a helicopter, but this official (probably) natural wonder of the world over the border in Arizona is not to be missed. At 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and with a depth of 6,000 feet the Grand Canyon can realistically only be explored from the air, and with many different companies offering tours, there is plenty of choice and some great opportunities to get a bargain. If only Morgan Freeman and his dulcet tones could provide the commentary…
The Rat Pack Show
The West End and Broadway have a genuine contender in Vegas which is quickly becoming the show business capital of the world. Anyone who’s anyone has performed here, and the city lights make a stunning backdrop for huge acts such as Celine Dione and Elton John. For a slice of nostalgia however, why not relive the good old days with ‘The Ratpack is Back’ at the Rio Las Vegas. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. And Joey Bishop tributes belt out classics like ‘New York, New York’ evoking all the carefree, 1960s charm associated with this suave musical style. Watch out for a cameo from Marilyn Monroe!
Vegas is famous for simulating famous buildings and landmarks from around the world, while these may be impressive, they’re not quite the real thing. You won’t care about that however as your own personal gondolier guides you gently around the tranquil waterways of the Venetian hotel, evoking the historic, romantic spirit of its Italian namesake. Make the experience even more authentically Italian with a visit to the Espressamente Illy cafe serving 54 flavours of artisan gelato.
If you feel like you still need to take the weight off your feet, then Vegas has an abundance of spas all boasting a plethora of rejuvenating treatments, sure to leave you rested, relaxed and ready to take on another day in the city. Spa Mandalay, in the Mandalay hotel is one of the city’s finest, the palatial interior ensures the most luxurious experience possible, providing a sanctuary from the non-stop thrill ride of the strip.
Take a Gamble…
It’d be rude to write a blog post on Vegas without mentioning the reason millions of tourists flock here year after year, and have been for so long. When it comes to gambling, the house might always win, but if you miss out on the buzz and furore of the casino floor then you’ve seriously lost out. Gambling in Vegas isn’t about putting your life savings on black, but soaking up the dizzying sights and sounds of this brightly lit Colosseum of commerce where millions of dollars are made and lost in the roll of a die. The best thing about visiting a casino in Vegas is the fact that everyone’s equal; male and female, rich and poor, young and old – take a seat next to an oil tycoon at the Texas Hold’Em table and try your luck!
Vegas might be gaining popularity with the ‘it’ crowd and establishing itself as one of the world’s most fashionable party spots, but that doesn’t mean that this exhilarating city has nothing to offer seasoned revellers. No matter your age, make like Michael Douglas and co. In Last Vegas and pay a visit to this Mecca of excess. Last Vegas was released on 3rd January 2013 in UK cinemas. For more information on holidays in Las Vegas click here.
Las Vegas inspiration
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
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