Six of the best: Las Vegas hotels

BRIAN JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 06/09/2013
Caesar's Palace hotel
Getty Images

BE SEDUCED: Camp decor and statues abound, and subtlety is an unknown concept at Caesars Palace.

The Luxor Hotel
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LUXOR HOTEL: Start with ancient history at the southern end of the Strip, where a Sphinx welcomes you to a 30-storey pyramid made of black glass.

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THE LUXOR

Start with ancient history at the southern end of the Strip, where a Sphinx welcomes you to a 30-storey pyramid made of black glass, and into the world's largest lobby.

Sadly, the super-kitsch theme of the original Luxor has been toned down, with many of the nodding stuffed camels removed, but huge pharaonic statues remain.

One of the nightclubs is now inexplicably themed on London's Savile Row, but at least the buffet restaurant has archaeological decor, and the huge pool is framed in temple columns. Don't pass on the Margarita popsicles offered poolside - Cleopatra never had it this good.

Guest rooms for two from US$34 ($43) a night. See luxor.com.

NEW YORK NEW YORK

This must have the most striking exterior of any themed hotel, with a facade along the Strip that packs in scaled-down replicas of New York landmarks including the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Statue of Liberty.

The roller coaster that swoops around them is one of the best adrenaline rides in town. The interior was also once extensively themed, but Central Park has now gone, though Greenwich Village remains, down to its fire hydrants and fake graffiti.

In contrast, rooms are a bit bland and can be a long walk away; ask for one with windows well away from screaming roller-coaster fans.

Guest rooms for two from US$50 ($63) a night. See newyorknewyork.com.

PARIS

A half-size Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are eye-catchers on the hotel exterior, while the interior runs to cobbled streets, baguette-stuffed bakeries and Gallic fountains.

But Paris really wins for its variety of themed eateries; even its buffet restaurant offers French regional specialties such as coq au vin and hearty bouillabaisse. At Mon Ami Gabi brasserie, you can (unusually for Vegas) sit outside and watch the passing parade as you tuck into mussels and frites.

Its Chateau nightclub has great views over the glittering Strip and fountains of the Bellagio. Book a newer Red Room on upper floors.

Guest rooms for two from US$80 ($101) a night. See parislasvegas.com.

THE BELLAGIO

The Bellagio's exterior is modelled on a Tuscan lakeside village but, once you get inside, you'll find more opulence than in any other themed hotel; mosaic floors, an art collection that runs to Renoirs, and designer duds in every store.

It's worth checking out the lobby ceiling, decorated with hand-blown glass flowers. If a hefty cover charge doesn't deter, The Bank is one of the best nightclubs in town: Cristal champagne flows, the bar is lined in gold crocodile leather, and artificial snow falls.

But the financially challenged needn't despair, because the Bellagio's best show - its fabled dancing fountains - can be enjoyed free.

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Guest rooms for two from US$159 ($201) a night. See bellagio.com.

THE VENETIAN

Kudos to this hotel, which has even trained pigeons to flap around its piazza, just to add authenticity to surrounding landmarks such as the Doge's Palace and Rialto Bridge.

The outside is gobsmacking, but the interior is extraordinary, too, with gondoliers floating down shop-lined canals, elaborate frescoes and sculptured figures copied in every detail from the real thing.

It's like Disneyland for adults, featuring more luxury than kitsch, swimming pools set in Italian-style gardens, sophisticated Venetian food at Canaletto restaurant, and a lavish spa.

You might never stray outside: the world's largest resort has more than 7000 rooms and endless entertainment.

Guest rooms for two from US$169 ($214) a night. See venetian.com.

CAESARS PALACE

Fans of old Hollywood movies will recognise the decor here, and expect Charlton Heston in a toga to be manning the concierge desk.

Decadent, camp decor and statues abound, and subtlety is an unknown concept - staff even wear gladiator costumes.

Somehow, you can't help being seduced anyway by the combination of 1960s kitsch and modern luxury. The ostentatious granite and marble swimming pools, modelled on Pompeii, are Vegas' best.

In lieu of the Roman circus, there's plenty of entertainment for the masses, with top shows, the legendary Cleopatra's Barge for an evening cocktail, and a Bacchanal Buffet fit for a glutton.

Guest rooms for two from US$109 ($138) a night. See caesarspalace.com.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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