The billions that visit Vegas casinos every year aren’t there just for the slot machines. The legendary glitz, glamour, and outrageous decadence of a megaresort casino is designed to dazzle. Besides the obvious reason to visit a casino, check out the following Vegas casino amenities and activities bound to make your bucket list.
The Race to be the Best
Back in the early years of Las Vegas casinos, people were content just to drive to the desert for the gambling action. Soon it wasn’t enough just to throw a pair of dice or flop down a hand of cards –people wanted to be spoiled. And casino owners were happy to heed the voice of the people –anything to draw the gambling dollar. Early casinos were simple affairs, modeled after quaint western saloons, so the highlights of the ‘resort’ usually consisted of a steak dinner and a bit of horseback riding.
Competing casinos started expanding to add more rooms, more games, and yes, more steaks. Casino billboards advertised all-you-can-eat steak dinners for a few dollars, which led to all-you-can-eat buffets and dinner shows. It got to the point where visitors came for the games, and stayed for the cheap eats.
Over the years, casinos started offering the best entertainers in the world in their lounges, live and in person. Legends like Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack became common fixtures in lounges on the Strip. Soon Vegas became a full experience based on sensory overload, and when the age of the megaresort casino dawned, the dazzle and decadence hit an all-time high.
And in their race to provide the most luxurious, the best dining, the biggest rooms, and the best entertainment, casino moguls did us all a favor. To this day, places like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Macau are based on one principle: bedazzle the bejesus out visitors.
Stay in the Best Hotel Rooms on Earth
Millions change hands in a single day in a megaresort casino, and the high rollers who burn through their chips will only stay in the best hotel suites. Casino hotel rooms were once just a place to crash between gambling sessions, but now they are an attraction in and of themselves. Today’s luxury casino hotel rooms are huge, sprawling spaces festooned with boutique touches and designer décor.
The same ostentatious splendor present in the lobby bling spills over into the finest hotel rooms on Earth. And you don’t have to be a high roller to stay in one of these luxurious rooms. The best rooms in the best casino resorts are always reserved for high rollers who might stroll in to roll high, and casinos give these choice rooms away for free to VIPs.
But sometimes you can even score one of these luxury lofts in the sky for a steal. Especially on a week day. Casino resorts may let these rooms go for serious bargains—if you’re willing to gamble for a while. It’s important to remember that the main business of casinos is the gambling; the rooms were designed to keep gamblers on site. But you’re never required to gamble –you can always take the room deal alone.
Some travel sites even recommend staying in luxury casino hotel rooms over any other options in the same city. You’ll get more bang for the buck. And one of the best parts of a Vegas hotel casino: you’re right in the heart of the dining and entertainment attractions of a lifetime.
When early casino mobsters like Bugsy Siegel ran casinos in Vegas, they were drunk on power. They flew in top entertainers just to wow their friends and peers. But soon other casinos began hosting top-of-the-line acts just to attract more gamblers. And competing casinos followed suit. Soon Vegas developed a vibe of its own, and the whole town became known as a place to disappear and let slip the dogs of hedonism.
In recent years, there has been a drop in gambling revenue in some of the bigger casino resorts in the gambling boomtowns. A casino is no longer a golden cash cow of endless rows of seniors on slots gently being milked. The new generation is just not that into gambling in land-based casinos. Why would they be? Anyone can just pick up their smartphone and gamble online.
So casino owners recently started to ramp up the entertainment options. Gone are the days of aging has-been celebrities slowly sliding into the desert dust in forgotten Vegas lounges. The new megaresorts have revitalized the artist residency programs, and now offer once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to see the hottest artists of today and enduring musical legends up close and personal, right in the casino resorts.
Artist residency programs are popular for artists as well. Rather than touring non-stop to perform in arenas for 10,000 or more, artists can now perform in smaller venues—in one place. Saving all that energy previously wasted on traveling means the artist can put on one hell of a show in a smaller venue, for months on end. Rather than artists traveling to the fans, now the fans travel to see the artists.
A Feast to Make Bacchus Blush
Get ready to strap on the feed bag. When it comes to feeding the hungry masses, casinos go the extra mile. Gone are the days of greasy spoon, chuckwagon buffets full of heavy slabs of meat and potatoes. Today’s casino buffets are catered by top chefs, and feature dozens of live cooking stations which chop and roll sushi or stir fry octopus. Crack fresh crab legs from the catch of the day, or wallow in champagne and caviar brunches.
The best part of the buffet experience is that you’re spoiled for choice. You don’t have to choose quantity over quality; indulge in both at the same time. The top casino resorts have spared no expense in their efforts to dazzle you, entice you, entertain you, and wine and dine you. And if the finest in culinary treats weren’t enough, most of the buffets in the top casinos offer and all-you-can-drink option with each buffet.
In addition to the legendary buffets, top resort casinos offer unique restaurants by celebrity chefs and themed eateries with unbeatable ambience. From rows of eateries built to resemble French villages to a Bacchanalian feast fit for a Caesar (at Caesars Palace no less), get ready for the theatre of food.
There are enough activities crammed into Las Vegas to keep everyone occupied on and off the gaming floors. As if a room with a Vegas view weren’t enough, you can ride the largest observation wheel in the world, the High Roller. But if you have a need for speed leaning toward the adrenaline rush, clamp onto the FLY LINQ Zipline and fly 12 stories above the Strip. You can choose a seated ride or strike a superhero pose, Superman style. Soar from the top of the LINQ casino tower over the LINQ Promenade to the bottom of the High Roller.
But you don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie to get your kicks in Vegas. You can feast on awesome spectacles of music, light, and sound all along the Strip. The famous Bellagio musical fountain shoots jets of water high into the air, synchronized to the most popular music of the last century, from Sinatra to Broadway themes, and everything in between. The show runs every day from 3pm to midnight in 15-30 minute intervals. And it’s absolutely free.
Another awesome spectacle of earth, wind, and fire is the erupting ‘volcano’ at the Mirage hotel. Just around 7, 8, and 9 p.m., eruptions of flames and music greet visitors. Continue on along the Mirage theme path to a treasure island, a dolphin habitat, an island cocktail lounge, and more.
What Stays in Vegas
There’s ample reason why Vegas has its reputation as a decadent Babylon. The huge amount of money spent on entertaining and thrilling the throngs is unmeasurable. This gambling town has earned all of its nicknames, from Fabulous Las Vegas, to ‘the World’s Playground,’ ‘Sin City,’ and more. Some of the more hedonistic souls out there might use the old excuse ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ to hide their adventures.
But others might make memories that last a lifetime.