Names like Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Caesars, The Venetian, Treasure Island, The Mirage, MGM Grand, New York New York, Mandarin Oriental, Monte Carlo, Excalibur, Aria, Paris, Luxor, Flamingo, Tropicana, Wynn, Encore, The Palazzo, Circus Circus, Stratosphere… are signature for Las Vegas.
But Las Vegas is also packed with clubs like XS, Minus 5 Ice Bar, The Bank at The Bellagio, LAX, Hyde, Marquee at The Cosmopolitan or the recently opened $200 million Hakkasan —at the MGM Grand where Studio54 used to be— where you can dine at a dramatic culinary theater and the center stage for Michelin-starred chef Boon and his team of wok and dim sum chefs, and then drink and dance the night away. Hakkasan’s first nightclub debuted just 7 months ago back in April 2013.
The team behind Hakkasan spared no expense in designing their colossal nightclub & restaurant. This megacomplex clocks in at over 80,000 square feet, giving it top honors as one of the nation’s largest nightclub. The highly sought-after DJ’s can earn upwards of $200,000 per night. The lighting and the sound system are first-rate with concert-rated acoustics. There are 5 levels of club space with a variety of experiences on offer.
It’s all about entertainment in Vegas, all about partying. There’s practically nothing else, other than a normal city doing everyday life. The Strip, the area were all these amenities are found and which you, as a tourist, will probably never leave, is actually only a 5km (3.1miles) walk along Las Vegas Blvd.
But be aware that Las Vegas is not cheap. Front of the line admission ranges from $25 up to the thousands. Most probably is that you end up paying $40 for a reduced fee because “you’re on the list” thanks to a very friendly promoter on the street that’ll show you the way in and let you know which overrated D-lister is deejing tonight, and not before having sucked in 1hr waiting queue. The normal entrance fee at Hakkasan, for instance, $110 for male entry, and drinks can very easily start at $20 and $10 for beers (+ 18% tax).
— Ben Sanderson: I came here to drink myself to death.
— Sera: How long will it take you?
— Ben Sanderson: I’d say about three to four weeks.
The vibe here is dress-to-impress. Even though you’ve got every kind of crowd here, everyone is dressed in their most crisp shirts and shortest dresses, looking sharp, not sure about the “classy” though.
Let’s face it, The Strip is a money fuelled party oasis in the middle of the desert, but not classy at all. The most classy ornaments you’ll find are the buildings themselves, or at least some of them. The Bellagio, The Venetian and The Caesar’s Palace are my three favourite hotel & casino resorts.
— Alan Garner: Can I ask you another question?
— Lisa: Sure.
— Alan Garner: You probably get this a lot. This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace is it?
— Lisa: What do you mean?
— Alan Garner: Did, umm… did Caesar live here?
— Lisa: No.
— Alan Garner: I didn’t think so.
Don’t miss the Bellagio fountain show, which repeats on every full hour:
The morning after, the sun shone on Vegas and the vision of the city was completely different. More kind of an amusement park for children, with also freaks from the decadent binge drinking of the night before still drunk dragging their way through The Strip. The late night owls and the early risers, all under the heating sun rays of the desert.
The Gun Store
(2900 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89121) We were ready to leave Las Vegas behind, off to the Grand Canyon, but first had an appointment with the american style. I must say, being European (or simply not stupid), I’m comfortably against the NRA and their mottos and this place stunk to NRA fanatics. But although I would never own a gun, I did enjoy 100% the experience of feeling and shooting one under a controlled environment. I think the queue was worth it all the way.
And off we go along US-Route 93, off Boulder City, into Mohave County —Arizona—, direction to Flagstaff.
When the night was dark we stopped for diner at a Cracker Barrel (I-40, Exit# 51 | 3520 Stockton Hill Rd, Kingman, AZ 86401-3005). Our waiter was genuinely amused by European visitors and his kindness and service quickly made up for the overprized burger the night before at PBR in Las Vegas. Is it that surprising to encounter tourists from afar somewhere between Flagstaff and Kingman? Or was he just earning his well deserved tip? Either way, the food was great, the atmosphere extraordinary and the prize was very fair. And I’m wanting to go back so badly!!