Hotel Review: Bellagio Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, USA
Words by Richard Jones
Even on the Las Vegas Strip, where over-the-top comes as standard, the word ‘Bellagio’ conjures up images of outrageous indulgence. Indeed, if you let slip that you are staying in one of the resort and casino’s 3,000 plush rooms and suites, the admission will be met by a knowing nod and raised eyebrow.
Since its creation on the site of the legendary Dunes hotel 20 years ago, the AAA Five Diamond property has been the yardstick for opulence in Sin City and it remains the resort by which all others should be judged.
But a lot can happen during two decades on the famous Strip, and with new hi-tech, five-star hotels springing up constantly, how is this Italian-inspired giant maintaining its lofty reputation?
Named after the picturesque Lombardy town, the ‘Pearl of Lake Como’, Bellagio’s calling card has always been the eight-acre man-made lake and its iconic fountains, immortalised by George Clooney and co in the 2001 heist film Oceans Eleven.
A lot of the resort’s main attractions overlook the spectacular water show (the largest in the world when it was created two decades ago), which takes place every 30 minutes during the day and 15 minutes on an evening.
However, behind the powerful water jets and beige lakeside facades, there are a plethora of luxury treats to explore and enjoy inside the hotel. After arriving in a limousine from McCarran airport and checking in at the Chairman’s Lounge VIP area, I headed up to Bellagio’s Presidential Suite.
Within this exclusive 4,075 square-foot estate, guests have access to their own solarium, indoor garden, fireplace, L-shaped bar and conference room. Its two master bedrooms both have private bathrooms complete with therapeutic baths and rainforest Swiss steam showers.
A stay in the Presidential Suite also entitled me to customised complimentary services, including premium seating for some of MGM Resorts’ portfolio of restaurants, clubs and shows.
During my first afternoon, I was invited to Sadelle’s to sample dishes from its Sunset Menu, and this afternoon tea with a twist was the perfect way to get my short stay started. I devoured tuna tartare on toast, shrimp cocktail and salmon rillette, washed down with a couple of glasses of fizz and a blood orange cocktail.
Then in the evening, after a few seasonal cocktails at Lily Bar & Lounge, the resort’s club, Hyde, was calling. Home to a diverse rotation of DJs, as well as live performances and VIP hospitality, this indoor/outdoor venue has set the nightlife benchmark for a few years in Vegas.
However, its main assets are the views. The club looks out over the jaw-dropping fountains, as well as the famous neon-drenched Strip, and I challenge anyone to find a better setting for a nightspot in the world.
The next day I needed relaxation, and the refreshing azure waters at Bellagio’s expansive pool area provided the perfect place to cool down in the sweltering desert heat.
Although these romantic oases are worthy of a full day, for real water-based rejuvenation, you should head to the Bellagio Spa & Salon. Located on the hotel’s second floor, this 65,000 sq ft haven features a Zen-influenced design that blends granite, travertine and jade surfaces with water walls and hand-blown glass décor.
There are four whirlpools at its centre, as well as a steam and sauna area. Nevertheless, the spa’s best section is actually the balcony overlooking the pool courtyard, which is perfect for a mid-morning coffee, snack and snooze.
I was also booked in for a Jet Lag Oxygen Facial – an 80-minute treatment using advanced hyaluronic technology with antioxidants and vitamins, specially designed to reset the travel-weary.
Suitably rejuvenated, a late lunch followed at Harvest By Roy Ellamar, whose fresh, market-inspired menu is like a breath of fresh air amid the burger-and-fries and buffet culture still dominating parts of the Strip.
Adjacent to Harvest are the Bellagio’s famous Conservatory & Botanical Garden. Each season, a 120-strong team of horticulturalists and designers transform this 14,000-square-foot floral playground into a showcase of the distinctive sights and smells evoking the four seasons.
During my stay, a 32-foot-tall model of Japanese landmark Osaka Castle served as the centerpiece, while light pink-flowered cherry trees lined the path dissecting flower beds bursting with calla lilies, chrysanthemums and tulips.
After a stroll through here, I took my seat for one of the most popular shows on the Strip, Cirque du Soleil’s aquatic-based O. Named after the French word for water, eau, the performance embraces the concept of infinity, celebrates the elegance of water, and emphasises the connection between the sea and the land.
The theatre that stages O resembles a 14th-century European Opera House and is home to one of the most technologically-advanced sets in the world that transforms at the drop of a hat from a stage into 1.5-million gallon pool.
Before I checked out of Bellagio the next day, I said farewell to its most famous area of water, the lake, by sitting down for al fresco brunch overlooking the fountains.
Initially I was tempted to visit Lago By Julian Serrano, and sample the James Beard Award-winning chef’s freshly baked pastries, but I instead opted for Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s revolutionary California-fare restaurant.
I had a poached Gulf shrimp cocktail, followed by an artisanal wood-oven salumi pizza, washed down with an aptly named Reel Around The Fountain handcrafted cocktail containing Aperol, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Moscato d’Asti, strawberry and lemon juice.
From my table, I had a front-row seat for the aforementioned fountain show. And no matter how many times you have seen the 1,200 nozzles and 4,500 lights doing their thing, the dazzling display still makes you smile.
Like the resort behind it, the show draws in thousands of tourists day after day, year after year. And although other hotels and attractions continue to spring up in the desert, both the Bellagio and its fountains still effortlessly top the bill in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
Address: 3600 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109, USA
Phone: +1 888-987-6667
Four nights in Las Vegas with Virgin Holidays, including scheduled Virgin Atlantic flights from London Heathow direct to Las Vegas, room only accommodation at the Bellagio Las Vegas from £1638pp. Price is based on two adults travelling on 08/09/2019, sharing a Penthouse Suite and includes all applicable taxes and fuel surcharges which are subject to change.
Virgin Holidays is a member of ABTA and is ATOL protected. To book: visit virginholidays.co.uk, call 0344 557 3859 or visit one of their concession stores located in Debenhams and Next or one of the standalone stores nationwide.
For upgrades to a Presidential Suite, please visit bellagio.mgmresorts.com