Las Vegas Overview
- Neon-lit desert fantasy
- City life
- High-rollers and showgirls
A glowing oasis of artificial lights in Nevada’s Mojave Desert, Las Vegas’ raison d’être is the whole-hearted, full-blooded pursuit of decadence and indulgence; it puts Caligula’s pleasure barge to shame.
The humungous casinos along the original Sin City’s Strip contain so much more than acres of blackjack tables and one-armed bandits: there’s top-notch dining, extravagant entertainment and fantastic shopping – in fact, the city is constantly thinking of bigger, better and more outrageously showy ways to part you from your cash (or help you spend your winnings). Sooner or later, visitors discover that the casino almost always wins, but it it’s great fun finding that out while your perfect your poker face.
Literally Las Vegas
If you want to get rich from gambling, build a casino. That said, it would be crazy to visit Vegas without having a flutter (providing you’re over 21, that is). Poker, blackjack, baccarat, slots, roulette, craps, bingo (yes, bingo)… there are endless, highly entertaining ways to lose your money in this town. Mr Smith will swear he broke even at the blackjack table.
- Don’t hail a cab off the Strip; just go to any hotel entrance and the attendants there will summon one up for you. The taxi attendant will need a dollar or two as a tip. Apparently the taxi attendant at the Bellagio earns a six-figure salary from tips alone. The Strip is only about four miles long, so it’s often quicker to walk when the traffic’s bad.
- Tipping culture
- Around 20 per cent is standard; check whether it has been added automatically to your restaurant bill. In casinos, you should tip the dealer around $5 an hour; you should give your cocktail waitress a buck for every drink or two as well.
- Siesta and fiesta
- This city never, ever, ever sleeps. Whatever you want, it’s available 24 hours a day – although you can no longer obtain an instant marriage licence round the clock. It’s easy to lose track of time in the casinos, where clocks and windows are notable by their absence.
- Packing tips
- Money – as much as you can afford to lose. Lots of smart/casual clothes – Las Vegas is surprisingly fussy about dress codes and many of the better restaurants and bars have no-trainers policies.
- Recommended reads
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson; The Valkyries by Paul Coelho.
- Vegas may appear to lack the subtlety and refinement necessary for fine cuisine, but don’t be fooled; the city is home to some of the world’s best restaurants. Famous chefs from around the world have set up their subsidiaries here, and you can get any style of cuisine you fancy at any time of day. This is also the realm of the bargain-priced all-you-can-eat buffets, which cynics would say are designed to take your mind off the money you lose gambling.
- US dollar.
- Time zone
- GMT -8 hours.
- Dialling codes
- Country code for the United States: 1; Las Vegas: 702.
- Do go/don't go
- With 300 days of sunshine a year and only six inches of rain, you’d be pretty unlucky to get a bad day in Vegas (this is a desert, after all). In the height of summer, the temperatures can get unbearable, but then you do have climate-controlled casinos that you never have to leave.